Honor your WWII Air Force heroes


An interactive archive of images and information

The American Air Museum website records the stories of the men and women of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) who served their country from the UK in the Second World War. It also records the memories of the British people who befriended them. Browse, edit and upload your own photographs and memories to help us build an online memorial to their lives.


Looking for other sources

By some accounts, the ladies of Columbus visited the cemetery in late April of 1862, decorating the graves of Confederate soldiers who were killed at Shiloh, or succumbed from their wounds after the battle. They resumed the practice on April 25, 1866. Noticing that the graves of Union soldiers went undecorated, the women of Columbus placed flowers on the burial plots of their former enemies.

Columbus wasn’t the only American town to remember the war dead in that spring of 1866. But it could be argued that the Mississippi commemoration had the most impact. The simple act of generosity and reconciliation was noted in Horace Greely’s New York Tribune and it inspired Frances Miles Finch’s poem, “The Blue and the Gray,” which became required memorization for generations of school children.

The Columbus event also influenced the establishment of a formal Memorial Day. In 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of a veterans group called the Grand Army of the Republic, issued General Order Number 11 designating May 30 as a memorial day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” The first national celebration of the event took place on May 30th of that same year, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Originally known as Decoration Day, the commemoration officially became Memorial Day at the turn of the century. By that time, the practice of decorating the graves of dead soldiers had become customary throughout the nation. But the annual act of remembrance might have never occurred, except for a bloody Civil War battle, and an act of kindness by a group of southern women.

Any dates prior to this date?


One of the early Decoration Day commemorations took place at Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, Mississippi, on April 25, 1866. This event made national news, and the following is one of the articles about it.

Springfield Republican (MA), June 2, 1866:

The Columbus (Miss.) Sentinel abuses the women of that place for having placed flowers on the graves of the Union dead, at the same time that they decorated the graves of their own friends. The Vicksburg Herald, on the contrary, which is edited by an ex-Confederate soldier, says: ‘We envy not the narrow-heartedness of journals that can find fault with so noble an action. To our mind, it speaks volumes for the purity of woman’s character. Our ladies are not politicians – they are Christian women. And while engaged in decorating and preserving the graves of our soldiers, they thought not of war-like strife, nor of vengeance against the dead. They only knew, as they viewed those solitary graves of strangers in a strange land, that they were sleeping far away from home, far from mothers and sisters, and as they dropped the Spring roses of our own sunny clime upon their silent resting-places, it was with the Christian hope that some fair sister in the North, in a like charitable spirit, might not overlook the silent graves of our Southern sons which are scattered among them.”


Navy divers to help raise confederate warship artifacts


NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Navy is preparing to send one if its premier diving teams to Georgia to help salvage a Confederate warship from the depths of the Savannah River.

Before it ever fired a shot, the 1,200 ton ironclad CSS Georgia was scuttled by its own crew to prevent its capture by Gen. William T. Sherman when his Union army took Savannah in December 1864. Today, it’s considered a captured enemy vessel and is property of the U.S. Navy.

The shipwreck is being removed as part of a $703 million project to deepen the river channel so larger cargo ships can reach the Port of Savannah. Before the harbor can be deepened, the CSS Georgia has to be raised.

After years of planning, archaeologists began tagging and recording the locations of thousands of pieces from the shipwreck in January. They’ve been able to bring smaller artifacts to the surface, but the Navy is being called in to raise the 120-foot-long ship’s larger sections and weapons. Navy divers are scheduled to arrive at the site near downtown Savannah about 100 yards from the shore on June 1.

The Navy divers assigned to the project are from the same unit that’s had some of the military’s highest profile salvage operations. That includes the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, TWA Flight 800, Swiss Air Flight 111, as well as the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

Divers from the Virginia Beach-based Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 2 also provided damage assessments and repairs on the USS Cole following the terrorist attack on it in Yemen in 2000 and pulled up wreckage from an F-16 that crashed off the eastern shore of Virginia in 2013.

In Georgia, Navy divers will pull up parts of the ship’s armor systems, steam engine components and small structure pieces. They’ll eventually be sent to one of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command’s repositories and Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

“The desire to maintain the ship in somewhat of a conservable state is one of the primary concerns. That’s a little bit different from typical salvage. Often times, aside from human remains or things like a flight data recorder, it’s simply object recovery. It’s bringing it up safely and disposing of it. Whereas these artifacts will be preserved for future generations,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jason Potts, the on-scene commander for the CSS Georgia operation.

The weapons, which include four cannons and about 50 projectiles that are either rifle shells or cannon balls, will be handled by explosive ordnance disposal technicians from Kings Bay, Georgia.

Potts said the weapons systems would be removed first, then divers would focus on the propeller and main shaft, portions of its steam machinery and large portions of the ship’s armored encasement. The armor for the ship, which was anchored off Fort Jackson as a floating gun battery, was made out of railroad iron.

Archaeologists will still make sure there are no other remnants remaining after the Navy divers leave at the end of July. Work to preserve and catalog all of the individual artifacts is expected to take another year or more.

Understanding White Privilege

Recently I wrote a little bit about my life in response to Rob Baker’s White Privilege article. Baker seems to have his panties in a wad a comes back with another article that is supposed to prove White Privilege

Taking points from his article Understanding White Privilege at https://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/understanding-white-privelege/

As Jerry Springer says point number one. became distraught over a sentence I No Baker I did not become distraught, I simply wrote a response about this supposed White Privilege to show you I missed out.

Point # 2 — However, George’s white privilege is still a very real thing, and here is why. Nope never had any Privilege no one else had.

Point #3 ( this is a whole list of things—

Citizenship – Natural born citizens in the U.S. have a distinct advantage over immigrants. Always have, and due to the political structure, always will. All races are natural born same as me

◾Race – The obvious, being born white. I just point out I had no White Privilege Baker can’t you read? being a non white does not stop you from getting an education or working hard. The military takes all races. Isn’t it a fact qualified minorities do get job preferences???

Gender – Males have a distinct advantage in this country over females. Well that door swings both ways. Good looking men and women of all races get cat calls — Perhaps you should get in shape!!!!!

Class – Obviously being born wealthy has distinct privileges which the majority of the country does not enjoy.
I don’t know anyone born wealthy, all the wealthy people I know worked their way up. Besides there are wealthy people of all races.

Sexual Orientation – Often we hear of homosexuals being oppressed in the news simply because of their sexual preference. Well to be honest I never saw a male homosexual in the steel business, I did see several women Black, White, Asian, not sure what their sexual preference may be, but as long as they could do the job, I didn’t really care

Point #4– George and other people need to recognize is that I am not stating that there should be any type of guilt involved Don’t worry yourself about me feeling guilty, I don’t. Everyone has the chance to get up and go to work. Those that refuse I don’t feel sorry for them.

Point #5 —I noticed the story did not end with his arrest or his eventual lynching. No court in the country would convict me for defending myself. Lynching?? Really Rob? How many lynching do we have today. Perhaps if I shot a baby in the face—-

Point #6 — I debated on whether or not to write this post. Purvis’s online antics are known to be rather juvenile. I had no trouble in writing this post. Bakers posts are known to anti-white, ignorant and historically inaccurate.

White Privilege get you some today. It is known by another name— AMBITION!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Our Art is a Reflection of Our Reality”

Recently Rob Baker made this comment White privilege is a very real thing. on his blog at https://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/our-art-is-a-reflection-of-our-reality/ No remember Baker has a cushy job as a teacher.

I thought about that for about 30 seconds, maybe less, because I know it is a load of hooey. Since I have given this subject some deep thought, let me tell you about MY White Privilege

I was born to a sharecropper in rural southwest Mississippi way back when. I did manage to graduate from a high school which had NO air conditioning and very little heat as it was built in the 1920s. The high school was about 3 miles from my house and I had the White Privilege of walking to school for two years. The Black school was two blocks from my house and had heating and air, built in the 1950s. Our brilliant elected officials decided to shut down this modern school and keep the old one open

After high sch0ool I hade theWhite Privilege of either joining a branch of the military or being drafted. I chose to join the Navy. While I was in the I had the White Privilege of being named a boiler tender. Temperatures sometimes reached 140-150 degrees in these fire rooms. I was not the only white fellow who exercised his White Privilege because at most there were less than ten Blacks in our division, about 100 men. The ship was de commissioned and I was sent to the Seabees. While in this unit I had the White Privilege of working with all special forces units of the US military. While in the Navy, I had the White Privilege of losing most of my hearing, contacting asbestosis, almost getting killed 3 times, and nearly losing a hand. While injured traveling through Atlanta I had the White Privilege of being attacked by 7 or 8 longhairs. Let’s just say before Atlanta police showed up I was holding my own.

My White Privilege really kicked in after service in the Navy. It brought me a whopping $.90 an hour in one of the filthiest jobs I ever had. My White Privilege soon got me out of these and into a bottling company where I got a whole $.20 an hour raise. man I was living high on the hog!!!!!!!!!!!

My White Privilege soon decided I didn’t like this job, so it got me into the pressure vessel and piping field as a sandblaster. That was dirt but not as dirty as before. I now made $2.30 an hour. I begged these my supervisor to let me be a welders helper. he did and my White Privilege and I was on a roll. As a welders helper, I had most of face blistered, and burns were just part of the White Privilege of working long hard hours. I would stay after a 12 hour shift to practice welding so I could push my White Privilege up the economic ladder. In 30 some odd years of welding, my White Privilege got my eyes burned several times, numerous burns on EVERY part of my body, and constant blisters on my knuckles. MyWhite Privilege let me work in the cold, rain, sometimes sleet and snow, inside pre-heated metal ranging up to 300 degrees. Because of my White Privilege I have worked 12 hour days for 37 days straight and on my last job worked 6 weeks 14 to 18 hour days. At a pace like that you just become mechanical. Before I left the welding trades my White Privilege also gave me a hip and knee replacement, but not on the same leg.

In the comment section of bakers blob, there are only two comments one from Isabel, who never posts unless their is a race issue involved and some named Jonathan Winskie, whom I have never heard of. I would like to tell you folks I would just like to share some of my White Privilege with you.

Jefferson Davis on why the Confederate States were fighting — part 3

And this was the man who was President of the United States under Franklin Pierce, and who is now the heart, soul, and brains of the Southern Confederacy ! (Davis was Sec. Of War under Pierce.GP)

His manner put me entirely at my ease,—the Colonel would be at his, if he stood before Caesar, — and I replied, —

“We thank you, Mr. Davis. It is not often you meet men of our clothes, and our principles, in Richmond.”

“Not often, —- not so often as I could wish; and I trust your coming may lead to a more frequent and a more friendly intercourse between the North and the South.”

“We sincerely hope it may.”

“Mr. Benjamin tells me you have asked to see me, to ”

And he paused, as if desiring we should finish the sentence. The Colonel replied, —

“Yes, Sir. We have asked this interview in the hope that you may suggest some way by which this war can be stopped. Our people want peace, —your people do, and your Congress has recently said that you do. We have come to ask how it can be brought about.”

“In a very simple way. Withdraw your armies from our territory, and peace will come of itself. We do not seek to subjugate you. We are not waging an offensive war, except so far as it is offensive-defensive,-that is, so far as we are forced to invade you to prevent your invading us. Let us alone, and peace will come at once.”

“But we cannot let you alone so long as you repudiate the Union. That is the one thing the Northern people will not surrender.”

“I know. You would deny to us what you exact for yourselves, — the right of self-government.”

“No, Sir,” I remarked. “We would deny you no natural right. But we think Union essential to peace; and, Mr. Davis, could two people, with the same language, separated by only an imaginary line, live at peace with each other? Would not disputes constantly arise, and cause almost constant war between them? ”

“Undoubtedly,-with this generation. You have sown such bitterness at the South, you have put such an ocean of blood between the two sections, that I despair of seeing any harmony in my time. Our children may forget this war, but we cannot.”

“I think the bitterness you speak of, Sir,” said the Colonel, “does not really exist. We meet and talk here as friends; our soldiers meet and fraternize with each other; and I feel sure, that, if the Union were restored, a more friendly feeling would arise between us than has ever existed. The war has made us know and respect each other better than before. This is the view of very many Southern men ; I have had it from many of them, —- your leading citizens.”

“They are mistaken,” replied Mr. Davis. “ They do not understand Southern sentiment. How can we feel any thing but bitterness towards men who deny us our rights? If you enter my house and drive me out of it, am I not your natural enemy?”

“You put the case too strongly. But we cannot fight forever; the war must end at some time; we must finally agree upon something; can we not agree now, and stop this frightful carnage? We are both Christian men, Mr. Davis. Can you, as a Christian man, leave untried any means that may lead to peace? ”

“No, I cannot. I desire peace as much as you do. I deplore bloodshed as much as you do; but I feel that not one drop of the blood shed in this war is on my hands,—I can look up to my God and say this. I tried all in my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, and for twelve years I worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad and blind; it would not let us gov

1864.] 0ur Visit to Richmond. 379

ern ourselves; and so the war came, and now it must go on till the last man of this generation falls in his tracks, and his children seize his musket and fight his battle, unless you acknowledge our right to self – government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence,–and that, or extermination, we will have.”

“And there are, at least, four and a half millions of us left; so you see you have a work before you,” said Mr. Benjamin, with a decided sneer.

“We have no wish to exterminate you, “answered the Colonel. “ I believe what I have said, — that there is no bitterness between the. Northern and Southern people. The North, I know, loves the South. When peace comes, it will pour money and means into your hands to repair the waste caused by the war; and it would now welcome you back, and forgive you all the loss and bloodshed you have caused. But we must crush your armies, and exterminate your Government. And is not that already nearly done? You are wholly without money, and at the end of your resources. Grant has shut you up in Richmond. Sherman is before Atlanta. Had you not, then, better accept honorable terms while you can retain your prestige, and save the pride of the Southern people?”

Mr. Davis smiled.

“I respect your earnestness, Colonel, but you do not seem to understand the situation. We are not exactly shut up in Richmond. If your papers tell the truth, it is your capital that is in danger, not ours. Some weeks ago, Grant crossed the Rapidan to whip Lee, and take Richmond. Lee drove him in the first battle, and then Grant executed what your people call a ‘ brilliant flank movement,” and fought Lee again. Lee drove him a second time, and then Grant made another ‘ flank-movement ’; and so they kept on,—Lee whipping, and Grant flanking, —until Grant got where he is now. And what is the net result? Grant has lost seventy-five or eighty thousand men, —more than Lee had at the outset, —-and is no nearer taking Richmond than at first; and Lee, whose front has never been broken, holds him completely in check, and has men enough to spare to invade Maryland, and threaten Washington! Sherman, to be sure, is before Atlanta; but suppose he is, and suppose he takes it ? You know, that, the farther he goes from his base of supplies, the weaker he grows, and the more disastrous defeat will be to him. And defeat may come. So, in a military view, I should certainly say our position was better than yours.

“As to money: we are richer than you are. You smile; but admit that our paper is worth nothing, —it answers as a circulating-medium; and we hold it all ourselves. If every dollar of it were lost, we should, as we have no foreign debt, be none the poorer. But it is worth something; it has the solid basis of a large cotton-crop, while yours rests on nothing, and you owe all the world. As to resources: we do not lack for arms or ammunition, and we have still a wide territory from which to gather sup plies. So, you see, we are not in extremities. But if we were,—if’ we were without money, without food, without weapons,-—if’ our whole country were devastated, and our armies crushed and disbanded,—could we, without giving up our manhood, give up our right to govern ourselves? Would you not rather die, and feel yourself a man, than live, and be subject to a foreign power?”

“From your stand-point there is force in what you say,” replied the Colonel.

“But we did not come here to argue with you, Mr. Davis. We came, hoping to find some honorable way to peace; and I am grieved to hear you say what you do. When I have seen your young men dying on the battlefield, and your old men, women, and children starving in their homes, I have felt I could risk my life to save them. For that reason I am here; and I am grieved, grieved, that there is no hope.”

“I know your motives, Colonel Jaquess, and I honor you for them; but what can

380 our Visit to Richmond. [September

I do more than I am doing? I would give my poor life, gladly, if it would bring peace and good-will to the two countries; but it would not. It is with your own people you should labor. It is they who desolate our homes, burn our wheat-fields, break the wheels of wagons carrying away our women and children, and destroy supplies meant for our sick and wounded. At your door lies all the misery and the crime of this war,-—and it is a fearful, fearful account.”

“Not all of it, Mr. Davis. I admit a fearful account, but it is not all at our door. The passions of both sides are aroused. Unarmed men are hanged, prisoners are shot down in cold blood, by yourselves. Elements of barbarism are entering the war on both sides, that should make us—you and me, as Christian men — shudder to think of. In God’s name, then, let us stop it. Let us do some thing, concede something, to bring about peace. You cannot expect, with only four and a half millions, as Mr. Benjamin says you have, to hold out forever against twenty millions.”

Again Mr. Davis smiled.

“Do you suppose there are twenty millions at the North determined to crush us?”

“I do,—to crush your government. A small number of our people, a very small number, are your friends,— Secessionists. The rest differ about measures and candidates, but are united in the determination to sustain the Union. Whoever is elected in November, he must be committed to a vigorous prosecution of the war.”

Mr. Davis still looking incredulous,

I remarked, —
“It is so, Sir. Whoever tells you otherwise deceives you. I think I know Northern sentiment, and I assure you it is so. You know we have a system of lyceum-lecturing in our large towns. At the close of these lectures, it is the custom of the people to come upon the platform and talk with the lecturer. This gives him an excellent opportunity of learning public sentiment. Last winter I lectured before nearly a hundred of such associations, all over the North. —from Dubuque to Bangor,–and I took pains to ascertain the feeling of the people. I found a unanimous determination to crush the Rebellion and save the Union at every sacrifice. The majority are in favor of Mr. Lincoln, and nearly all of those opposed to him are opposed to him because they think he does not fight you with enough vigor. The radical Republicans, who go for slave-suffrage and thorough confiscation, are those who will defeat him, if he is defeated. But if he is defeated before the people, the House will elect a worse man,—I mean, worse for you. It is more radical than he is,—you can see that from Mr. Ashley’s Reconstruction Bill,— and the people are more radical than the House. Mr. Lincoln, I know, is about to call out five hundred thousand more men, and I can’t see how you can resist much longer; but if you do, you will only deepen the radical feeling of the Northern people. They will now give you fair, honorable, generous terms; but let them suffer much more, let there be a dead man in every house, as there is now in every village, and they will give you no terms, — they will insist on hanging every Rebel south of Pardon, my terms. I mean no offence.”

“You give no offence,” he replied, smiling very pleasantly. “I wouldn’t have you pick your words. This is a frank, free talk,and I like you the better for saying what you think. Go on.”

“I was merely going to say, that, let the Northern people once really feel the war,—they do not feel it yet,-and they will insist on hanging every one of your leaders.”

“Well, admitting all you say, I can’t see how it affects our position. There are some things worse than hanging or extermination. I’ve reckon giving up the right of self-government one of those things.”

“By self – government you mean disunion, — Southern Independence ? ”

1864.] Our Visit to Richmond. 381

“And slavery, you say, is no longer an element in the contest.”

“No, it is not, it never was an essential element. It was only a means of bringing other conflicting elements to an earlier culmination. It fired the musket which was already capped and loaded. There are essential differences between the North and the South that will, however this war may end, make them two nations.”

“You ask me to say what I think. Will you allow me to say that I know the South pretty well, and never observed
those differences?”

“Then you have not used your eyes. My sight is poorer than yours, but I have seen them for years.”

The laugh was upon me, and Mr. Benjamin enjoyed it.

“Well, Sir, be that as it may, if I understand you, the dispute between your government and ours is narrowed down to this: Union or Disunion.”

“Yes; or to put it in other words: Independence or Subjugation.”

“Then the two governments are irreconcilably apart. They have no alternative but to fight it out. But it is not so with the people. They are tired of fighting, and want peace; and as they bear all the burden and suffering of the war, is it not right they should have peace, and have it on such terms as they like?”

“I don’t understand you. Be a little more explicit.”

“Well, suppose the two governments should agree to something like this: To go to the people with two propositions: say, Peace, with Disunion and Southern Independence, as your proposition,-and Peace, with Union, Emancipation, No Confiscation, and Universal Amnesty, as ours. Let the citizens of all the United States (as they existed before the war) vote ‘ Yes,’ or ‘ No,‘ on these two propositions, at a special election within sixty days. If a majority votes Disunion, our government to be bound by it, and to let you go in peace. If a majority votes Union, yours to be bound by it, and to stay in peace. The two governments can contract in this way, and the people, though constitutionally unable to decide on peace or war, can elect which of the two propositions shall govern their rulers. Let Lee and Grant, meanwhile, agree to an armistice. This would sheathe the sword; and if once sheathed, it would never again be drawn by this generation.”

“The plan is altogether impracticable. If the South were only one State, it might work; but as it is, if one Southern State objected to emancipation, it would nullify the whole thing; for you are aware the people of Virginia cannot vote slavery out of South Carolina, nor the people of South Carolina vote it out of Virginia.”

“But three-fourths of the States can amend the Constitution. Let it be done in that way, —in any way, so that it be done by the people. I am not a states man or a politician, and I do not know just how such a plan could be carried out; but you get the idea,—that the PEOPLE shall decide the question.”

“That the majority shall decide it, you mean. We seceded to rid ourselves of the rule of the majority, and this would subject us to it again.”

“But the majority must rule finally, either with bullets or ballots.”

“I am not so sure of that. Neither current events nor history shows that the majority rules, or ever did rule. The contrary, I think, is true. Why, Sir, the man who should go before the Southern people with such a proposition, with any proposition which implied that the North was to have a voice in determining the domestic relations of the South, could not live here a day. He would be hanged to the first tree, without judge or jury.”

“Allow me to doubt that. I think it more likely he would be hanged, if he let the Southern people know the majority couldn’t rule,” I replied, smiling.

“I have no fear of that,” rejoined Mr. Davis, also smiling most good-humoredly. “I give you leave to proclaim it from every house-top in the South

Jefferson Davis on why the Confederate States were fighting — part 2

To give us a moonlight view of the Richmond fortifications, the Judge proposed to start alter sundown; and as it

1864.] Our Visit to Richmond. 375

wanted some hours of that time, we seated ourselves on the ground, and entered into conversation. The treatment of
our prisoners, the status of black troops, and non-combatants, and all the questions which have led to the suspension
of exchanges, had been good-naturedly discussed, when the Captain, looking up from one of the Northern papers we had
brought him, said, —

“Do you know, it mortifies me that you don’t hate us as we hate you? You kill us as Agassiz kills a fly,-because you love us.”

“ Of course we do. The North is being crucified for love of the South.”

“ If you love us so, why don’t you let us go? ” asked the Judge, rather curtly.

“ For that very reason, —— because we love you. If we let you go, with slavery, and your notions of ‘ empire,’ you ’d run straight to barbarism and the Devil.”

“We ’d take the risk of that. But let me tell you, if you are going to Mr. Davis with any such ideas, you might as well turn back at once. He can make peace on no other basis than Independence. Recognition must be the beginning, middle, and ending of all negotiations. Our people will accept peace on no other terms.”

“I think you are wrong there,” said the Colonel. “When I was here a year ago, I met many of your leading men, and they all assured me they wanted peace and reunion, even at the ‘sacrifice of slavery. Within a week, a man you venerate and love has met me at Baltimore, and besought me to come here, and offer Mr. Davis peace on such conditions.”

“ That may be. Some of our old men, who are weak in the knees, may want peace on any terms; but the Southern people will not have it without Independence. Mr. Davis knows them, and you will find he will insist upon that. Concede that, and we ‘ll not quarrel about
minor matters.”

“We‘ll not quarrel at all. But it’s sundown, and time we were ‘ on to Richmond.’ ”

“That ‘s the ‘Tribune ‘ cry,” said the Captain, rising; “ and I hurrah for the ‘Tribune,’ for it ’s honest, and—-I want my supper.”

We all laughed, and the Judge ordered the horses. As we were about to start, I said to him, —

“You ‘ve forgotten our parole.”

“Oh, never mind that. We’ll attend to that at Richmond.”

Stepping into his carriage, and unfurling the flag of truce, he then led the way, by a “ short cut,” across the cornfield which divided the mansion from the high-road. We followed in an ambulance
drawn by a pair of mules, our shadow -Mr. Javins -— sitting between us and the twilight, and Jack, a “likely darky,”
almost the sole survivor of his master’s twelve hundred slaves, (“De ress all stole, Massa, ——stole by you Yaukces,”)
occupying the front-seat, and with a stout whip “ working our passage” to Richmond.

Much that was amusing and interesting occurred during our three-hours’ journey, but regard for our word for bids my relating it. Suffice it to say, we saw the “frowning fortifications,” we “thanked” the “invincible army,” and, at ten o’clock that night, planted our flag (against a lamp-post) in the very heart of the hostile city. As we alighted at the doorway of the Spotswood Hotel, the Judge said to the Colonel, —
“ Button your outside-coat up closely. Your uniform must not be seen here.”

The Colonel did as he was bidden; and, without stopping to register our names at the office, we followed the Judge and the Captain up to No. 60. It was a large, square room in the fourth story, with an unswept, ragged carpet, and bare, white walls, smeared with soot and tobacco-juice. Several chairs, a marbletop table, and a pine wash-stand and clothes-press straggled about the floor, and in the corners were three beds, garnished with tattered pillow-cases, and covered with white counterpanes, grown gray with longing for soapsuds and a

376 Our Visit to Richmond. [September

wash-tub. The plainer and humbler of these beds was designed for the burly Mr. Javins; the others had been made, ready for the extraordinary envoys (not envoys extraordinary) who, in defiance
of all precedent and the “law of nations,” had just then “ taken Richmond.”

A single gas-jet was burning over the mantel-piece, and above it I saw a “ writing on the wall” which implied that Jane
Jackson had run up a washing-score of fifty dollars!

I was congratulating myself on not having to pay that woman’s laundry-bills, when the J ridge said, —
“You want supper. What shall we order? ”

“A slice of hot corn-bread would make me the happiest man in Richmond.”

The Captain thereupon left the room, and shortly returning, remarked,

“ The landlord swears you ‘re from Georgia. He says none but a Georgian would call for corn-bread at this time of night.”

On that hint we acted, and when our sooty attendant came in with the supper-things, we discussed Georgia mines, Georgia banks, and Georgia mosquitoes, in a way that showed we had been bitten by all of them. In half an hour it was noised all about the hotel that the two gentlemen the Confederacy was taking such excellent care of were from Georgia.

The meal ended, and a quiet smoke over, our entertainers rose to go. As the Judge bade us good-night, he said to us, —

“ In the morning you had better address a note to Mr. Benjamin, asking the interview with the President. I will call at ten o’clock, and take it to him.”

“Very well. But will Mr. Davis see us on Sunday ‘P ”

“Oh, that will make no difference.”


THE next morning, after breakfast, which we took in our room with Mr. Javins, we indited a note— of which the following is a. copy —to the Confederate Secretary of State.

“Spotswood House, Richmond, Va.
“July 17th, 1864.

“Hon. J. P. Benjamin,
“Secretary of State, etc.

“DEAR Sm,-—The undersigned respectfully solicit an interview with President Davis. .

“They visit Richmond only as private citizens, and have no official character or authority; but they are acquainted with the views of the United States Government, and with the sentiments of the
Northern people relative to an adjustment of the differences existing between the North and the South, and earnestly hope that a free interchange of views between President Davis and themselves may open the way to such official negotiations as will result in restoring PEACE to the two sections of our distracted

“They, therefore, ask an interview with the President, and awaiting your reply, are

“Truly and respectfully yours.”

This was signed by both of us; and when the Judge called, as he had appointed, we sent it—together with a commendatory letter I had received, on setting out, from a near relative of Mr. Davis—to the Rebel Secretary. In half an hour Judge Ould returned, saying,-—
“Mr. Benjamin sends you his compliments, and will be happy to see you at the State Department.”

We found the Secretary—-a short, plump, oily little man in black, with a keen black eye, a Jew face, a yellow skin, curly black hair, closely trimmed black whiskers, and a ponderous gold watch-chain—in the northwest room of the “United States” Custom-House.

Over the door of this room were the words, “State Department,” and round its walls were hung a few maps and battle-plans. In one corner was a tier of shelves filled with books, — among which
I noticed Headley’s “ History,” Loss-

1864.] Our Visit to Richmond. 377
ing’s “ Pictorial,” Parton’s “ Butler,” Greeley’s “ American Conflict,” a complete set of the “ Rebellion Record,” and a dozen numbers and several bound volumes of the “Atlantic Monthly,” —
and in the center of the apartment was a black-walnut table, covered with green cloth, and filled with a multitude of “state-papers.” At this table sat the Secretary. He rose as we entered, and, as Judge Ould introduced us, took our hands, and said,-—

“I am glad, very glad, to meet you, Gentlemen. I have read your note, and “— bowing to me — “ the open letter you bring from Your errand commands my respect and sympathy. Pray
be seated.”

As we took the proffered seats, the Colonel, drawing off his “duster/’ and displaying his uniform, said, —

“ We thank you for this cordial reception, Mr. Benjamin. We trust you will be as glad to hear us as you are to see

“No doubt I shall be, for you come to talk of peace. Peace is what we all want.”

“ It is, indeed; and for that reason we are here to see Mr. Davis. Can we see him, Sir? ”

“ Do you bring any overtures to him from your Government? ”

“ No, Sir. We bring no overtures and have no authority from our Government. We state that in our note. We would be glad, however, to know what terms will be acceptable to Mr. Davis. If
they at all harmonize with Mr. Lincoln’s views, we will report them to him, and so open the door for official negotiations.”

“Are you acquainted with Mr. Lincoln’s views? ”
“One of us is, fully.”

“Did Mr. Lincoln, in any way, authorize you to come here? ”

“No, Sir. We came with his pass, but not by his request. We say, distinctly, we have no oflicial, or unofficial, authority. We come as men and Christians, not as diplomatists, hoping, in a frank talk with Mr. Davis, to discover some way by which this war may be stopped.”

“Well, Gentlemen, I will repeat what you say to the President, and if he follows my advice,— and I think he will, he will meet you. He will be at church this afternoon; so, suppose you call here at nine this evening. If anything should occur in the mean time to prevent his seeing you, I will let you know through Judge Ould.”

Throughout this interview the manner of the Secretary was cordial; but with this cordiality was a strange constraint and diffidence, almost amounting to timidity, which struck both my companion and myself. Contrasting his manner with the quiet dignity of the Colonel, I almost fancied our positions reversed, — that, instead of our being in his power, the Secretary was in ours, and momently expecting to hear some unwelcome sentence
from our lips. There is something, after all, in moral power. Mr. Benjamin does not possess it, nor is he a great man. He has a keen, shrewd, ready intellect, but not the stamina to originate, or even to execute, any great good or great wicked

After a day spent in our room, conversing with the Judge, or watching the passers-by in the street,—I should like to tell who they were and how they looked, but such information is just now
contraband, —- we called again, at nine o’clock, at the State Department.

Mr. Benjamin occupied his previous seat at the table, and at his right sat a spare, thin-featured man, with iron-gray hair and beard, and a clear, gray eye full of life and vigor. He bad a broad, massive forehead, and a mouth and chin denoting great energy and strength of will. His face was emaciated, and much wrinkled, but his features were good, especially his eyes,—though one of them bore a scar, apparently made by some sharp instrument. He wore a suit of grayish-brown, evidently of foreign manufacture, and, as he rose, I saw that he

vo1.. XIV. 25

was about five feet ten inches high, with a slight stoop in the shoulders. His man»

378 Our Visit to Richmond. [September,

ners were simple, easy, and quite fascinating; and he threw an indescribable charm into his voice, as he extended his hand, and said to us, —

“I am glad to see you, Gentlemen. You are very welcome to Richmond.”