A Hard Fate

City Hall, April 28, 1862.
To Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, U. S. Flag-Ship Hartford:

Your communication of this morning is the first intimation I ever had that it was by your strict orders that the United States flag was attempted to be hoisted upon certain of our public edifices by officers sent or there to communicate with the authorities. The officers who approached me in your name disclosed no such orders and intimated no such design on your part, not would I have for a moment entertained the remotest suspicion that they could have been invested with power to enter such an errand while the negotiations for a surrender between you and the city authorities were pending. The interference of any force under your command, as long as those negotiations were not brought to a close, could not be viewed by us otherwise than as a flagrant violation of those courtesies, if not of the absolute rights, which prevail between belligerents under such circumstances. My views and sentiments with reference to such conduct remain unchanged. You now review the demands made in your former communication, and you insist on their being complied with unconditionally, under a threat of bombardment within forty-eight hours; and you notify me to remove the women and children from the city that they may be protected from your shells.

Sir, you can but know that there is no possible exit from this city for a population which still exceeds in number one hundred and forty thousand, and you must therefore be aware of the utter inanity of such a notification. Our women and children cannot escape from your shells, if it be your pleasure to murder them on a question of etiquette. But if they could, there are few among them who would consent to desert their families and their homes, and the graves of their relatives in so awful a moment. They would bravely stand the sight of your shells tearing up the graves of those who are so dear to them, and would deem that they died not ingloriously by the side of the tombs erected by their piety to the memory of departed relatives.

You are not satisfied with the peaceful possession of an undefended city, opposing no resistance to your guns, because of its bearing its hard fate with something of manliness and dignity, and you wish to humble and disgrace us by the performance of an act against which our nature rebels. This satisfaction you cannot expect to obtain at our hands.

We will stand your bombardment, unarmed and undefended as we are. The civilized world will consign to indelible infamy the heart that will conceive the dead and the hand that will dare to consummate it.

Respectfully,
John T. Monroe,
Mayor of New Orleans.

Vagabond Refuse of the Northern States

PROCLAMATION.

Executive Office,
Opelousas, La., May 24th, 1862.

To the People of Louisiana:

The general commanding the troops of the United States now holding possession of New Orleans issued the following order on the 15th instant:

As the officers and soldiers of the United States have been subject to repeated insults from the women (calling themselves ladies) of New Orleans, in return for the most scrupulous non-interference and courtesy on our part, it is ordered that hereafter when any female shall, by word, gesture or movement, insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation.

By command of Major-General Butler.

The annals of warfare between civilized nations afford no similar instance of infamy to this order. It is thus proclaimed to the world that the exhibition of any disgust or repulsiveness by the women of New Orleans to the hated invaders of their home, and the slayers of their fathers, brothers and husbands, shall constitute a justification to a brutal soldiery for the indulgence of their lust. The commanding-general, from his headquarters, announces to his insolent followers that they are at liberty to treat as women of the town the wives, the mothers, the daughters of our citizens, if by word, gesture or movement any contempt is indicated for their persons, or insult offered to their presence. Of the nature of the movement and the meaning of the look, these vagabond refuse of the Northern States are to be the judges.

What else than contempt and abhorrence can the women of New Orleans feel or exhibit for these officers and soldiers of the United States? The spontaneous impulse of their hearts must appear involuntary upon their countenances and thus constitute the crime for which the general of those soldiers adjudges the punishment of rape and brutalized passion.

History records instances of cities sacked and inhuman atrocities committed upon the women of a conquered town, but in no instance in modern times, at least without the brutal ravishers suffering condign punishment from the hands of their own commanders. It was reserved for a Federal general to invite his soldiers to the perpetration of outrages, at the mention of which the blood recoils in horror — to quicken the impulses of their sensual instincts by the suggestion of transparent excuses for their gratification, and to add to an infamy already well-merited these crowning titles of a panderer to lust and a desecrator of virtue.

Maddened by the noble loyalty of our people to the government of their affections, and at their disgust and execration of their invaders — stung into obliviousness of the world’s censure by the grand offering made of our property upon the altar of our liberties — his passions inflamed by the sight of burning cotton illumining the river, upon whose waters floats the powerful fleet that effected the downfall of our chief city — disappointed, chafed and chagrined that our people, unlike his own, do not measure liberty, truth or honor by a pecuniary standard, he sees the fruits of a victory he did not help to win eluding his grasp, and nothing left upon which to gloat his vengeance but unarmed men and helpless women.

Louisianians! will you suffer such foul conduct of your oppressors to pass unpunished? Will you permit such indignities to remain unavenged? A mind so debased as to be capable of conceiving the alternative presented in this order, must be fruitful of inventions wherewith to pollute humanity. Shameless enough to allow their publication in the city, by the countenance of such atrocities they will be multiplied in the country. Its inhabitants must arm and strike or the insolent victors will offer this outrage to your wives, your sisters and your daughters. Possessed of New Orleans, by means of his superior naval force, he cannot penetrate the interior if you resolve to prevent it. It does not require a force of imposing magnitude to impede his progress. Companies of experienced woodsmen in every exposed locality, with their trusty rifles and shot-guns, will harass his invading columns, deprive him of his pilots, and assure him he is in the country of an enemy. At proper points larger forces will be collected, but every man can be a soldier to guard the approaches to his home. Organize then quickly and efficiently. If your enemy attempt to proceed into the interior let his pathway be marked by his blood. It is your homes that you have to defend. It is the jewel of your hearths, the chastity of your women, you have to guard. Let that thought animate your breasts, nerve your arms, quicken your energies and inspire your resolution. Strike home to the heart of your foe the blow that rids your country of his presence. If need be, let his blood moisten your own grave. It will rise up before your children a perpetual memento of a race whom it will teach to hate now and evermore.

Thos. O.  Moore.

Nomenclature of Our Southern Armies

Sheet music cover for the piano piece entitled Beauregard's March, published by Miller & Beacham, Baltimore, c. 1861.
Sheet music cover for the piano piece entitled Beauregard’s March, published by Miller & Beacham, Baltimore, c. 1861.

The North Carolinians are called “Tar Heels;” South Carolinians, “Rice Birds;” Georgians, “Goober Grabbers;” Alabamians, “Yaller Hammers;” Texans, “Cow Boys;” Tennesseans, “Hog Drivers;” Louisianians, “Tigers;” Floridians, “Gophers;” Virginians, “Tobacco Worms;” Arkansians, “Tooth-picks;” Missourians, “Border Ruffians;” Kentuckians, “Corn Crackers;” and Mississippians, “Sand Lappers.” The Cavalry, “Buttermilk Rangers;” Infantry, “Webfoot.” A regiment of deserters from the Federal Army, kept behind by us to build forts, “Galvanized Rebs.” The Federals called us “Johnnies;” we called them “Yanks” and “Blue Bellies.”

Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee, Journal of B. L. Ridley, Lieut. General A. P. Stewart’s Staff, C.S.A.

Our Cause Is Just and Holy

Confederate Second National Flag carried by the Consolidated 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiment.
Confederate Second National Flag carried by the Consolidated 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiment.

Come, all ye sons of freedom, and join our Southern band,
We are going to fight the Yankees and drive them from our land.
Justice is our motto and providence our guide,
So jump into the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Secession is our watchword, our rights we all demand;
To defend our homes and firesides, we pledge our hearts and hands;
Jeff Davis is our president, with Stephens by his side;
Brave Beauregard, our General, will join us in the ride.

Our wagon is the very best, the running gear is good;
Stuffed ’round the sides with cotton, and made of Southern wood.
Carolina is the driver, with Georgia by her side,
Virginia holds the flag up, and we’ll all take a ride.

There are Tennessee and Texas also in the ring;
They wouldn’t have a government where cotton wasn’t king.
Alabama and Florida have long ago replied;
Mississippi and Louisiana are anxious for the ride.

Old Lincoln and his Congressmen with Seward by his side,
Put old Scott in the wagon just for to take a ride.
McDowell was the driver, to cross Bull Run he tried,
But there he left the wagon for Beauregard to ride.

Manassas was the battleground. the field was fair and wide;
They Yankees thought they’d whip us out, and on to Richmond ride;
But when they met our “Dixie” boys, their danger they espied;
They wheeled about for Washington, and didn’t wait to ride.

The Tennessee boys are in the field, eager for the fray;
They can whip the Yankee boys three to one, they say;
And when they get in conflict with Davis by their side,
They’ll pitch into the Yankee boys and then you’ll see them slide.

Our cause is just and holy, our men are brave and true;
We’ll whip the Lincoln cutthroats is all we have to do.
God bless our noble army; in Him we all confide;
So jump into the wagon and we’ll all take a ride.

The Southern Wagon (1861).

Our Just Rights Will Be Respected

…wherever the voice of justice and humanity can be heard, our declaration, and our just rights will be respected. But the blood which flows in our veins, like the tributary streams which form and sustain the father of rivers, encircling our delightful country, will return if not impeded, to the heart of our parent country. The genius of Washington, the immortal founder of the liberties of America, stimulates that return, and would frown upon our cause, should we attempt to change its course.

— Fulwar Skipwith, 1st (and only) Governor of the Republic of West Florida,
Inaugural Address,  1810.

* * *

On 23 September 1810, after meetings beginning in June, rebels overcame the Spanish garrison at Baton Rouge and unfurled the flag of the new republic: a single white star on a blue field. This flag was made by Melissa Johnson, wife of Major Isaac Johnson, the commander of the West Florida Dragoons. It would later become known as the “Bonnie Blue Flag.”

The boundaries of the Republic of West Florida included all territory south of the 31st parallel, west of the Perdido River, and east of the Mississippi River, but north of Lake Pontchartrain. The southern boundary was the Gulf of Mexico. It included Baldwin and Mobile counties in what is now Alabama; the Mississippi counties of Hancock, Pearl River, Harrison, Stone, Jackson, and George, as well as the southernmost portions of Lamar, Forrest, Perry, and Wayne counties; and the Louisiana parishes of East Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Washington. Despite its name, none of present-day Florida lies within its borders. The capital of the Republic of  West Florida was St. Francisville in present-day Louisiana, on a bluff along the Mississippi River.

On 27 October 1810, West Florida was annexed to the United States by proclamation of President James Madison, who claimed it as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Initially, Skipwith and the government of West Florida were opposed to the proclamation, preferring to negotiate terms to join the Federal Union as a separate state. However, William C. C. Claiborne, who was sent to take possession, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the West Florida government. Skipwith and the legislature reluctantly agreed to accept Madison’s proclamation.

* * *

Born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, Fulwar Skipwith was a distant cousin of Thomas Jefferson. Skipwith studied at the College of William & Mary, but left at age 16 to enlist in the army during the American Revolution. He served at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. After American Independence was achieved, he entered the tobacco trade.

Following the French Revolution of 1789, Skipwith was appointed US Consul to the French colony of Martinique in 1790. He experienced the turmoil of the revolution, and the aftermath of the abortive slave insurrection in Martinique before departing in 1793. In 1795,  he was appointed Consul-General in Paris under Ambassador James Monroe.

Republic of Louisiana

Flag of the Republic of Louisiana between 26 January 1861 and her joining the Confederate States of America two weeks later, becoming the sixth sovereign state to secede from the old Federal Union following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Here’s to Our Confederacy

Cover of sheet music for the popular song The Bonnie Blue Flag.

The third verse of the song misstates the order in which the states seceded from the Union. The dates on which the states seceded are as follows:

South Carolina (December 20, 1860), Mississippi (January 9, 1861), Florida (January 10, 1861), Alabama (January 11, 1861), Georgia (January 19, 1861), Louisiana (January 26, 1861), Texas (February 1, 1861), Virginia (April 17, 1861), Arkansas (May 6, 1861), North Carolina (May 20, 1861), and Tennessee (June 8, 1861).

Thus, Alabama did not take South Carolina by the hand, but delayed its secession until the departure of Mississippi and Florida. The most likely reason for the discrepancy is literary license and a desire to fit within a certain poetic meter.

* * *

We are a band of brothers
And native to the soil,
Fighting for the property
We gained by honest toil;
And when our rights were threatened,
The cry rose near and far–
“Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star!”

CHORUS:
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

As long as the Union
Was faithful to her trust,
Like friends and like brothers
Both kind were we and just;
But now, when Northern treachery
Attempts our rights to mar,
We hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

First gallant South Carolina
Nobly made the stand,
Then came Alabama,
Who took her by the hand.
Next quickly Mississippi,
Georgia and Florida
All raised on high the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

Ye men of valor, gather round
The banner of the right;
Texas and fair Louisiana
Join us in the fight.
Davis, our loved president,
And Stephens statesman are;
Now rally round the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

And here’s to old Virginia–
The Old Dominion State–
Who with the young Confederacy
At length has linked her fate;
Impelled by her example,
Now other states prepare
To hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

Then cheer, boys, cheer;
Raise the joyous shout,
For Arkansas and North Carolina
Now have both gone out;
And let another rousing cheer
For Tennessee be given,
The single star of the Bonnie Blue Flag
Has grown to be eleven.

Then here’s to our Confederacy,
Strong are we and brave;
Like patriots of old we’ll fight
Our heritage to save.
And rather than submit to shame,
To die we would prefer;
So cheer for the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

— Lyrics by Harry Macarthy (d. 1880).

The Bonnie Blue Flag.