George E. Farrington Letters

Transcript:

Letter from James Farrington
to George E. Farrington

September 23, 1864

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                        Quarter=Masters Department,
                                  
85th, IND. VOL. INFANTRY.
     
Atlanta Georgia,  September 23rd 1864. 

My dear Mother,
                          As I have told you
in my previous letters, we have
had an armistise for 10 days, for
the purpose of sending the rebel
families into the rebel lines,
On the morning of the 20th [-ish?]
I took charge of the Division
I am bound South for Dixie.  I had
108 wagons loaded to the bows with
household & kitchen furniture and the
inmates of the house.  We went
to Rough and Ready Station, on the
Macon R. R.  when we met the
Flag of Truce and the rebel troops
As we hurried them down so fast
the rebs could not keep up with
their share of the tasks, to receive
them from us.  so that I had to
spend two days with them before

 

 

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  I could get unloaded.  We mingled
freely with their officers and conversed
on all matters,  politics inclusive
I for the a portion of the time was
the only Federal Officer with them,
and at rebel Head Qrs with some
ten or a dozen Confederate officers
I spent the most of Wednesday morning,          
We played "Whist,"  "Eucre" and
had a very pleasant time generally
They were very courteous and polite,
and studiously avoided mention of
anything that might give offence
to me.  It was indeed a strange
sight to see the Blue and Grey, laughing
& chatting away, as if old friends.
It looked stranger however to see
rebel soldiers on duty, armed and
equiped, pacing their beats.  By
invitation I dined with them,  at
the same time I gave them some sugar
& coffee, which I assure you was
acceptable, for they had none at all
(as far as I could see)  We had corn
bread and some mutton, which formed
our dinner,  By force of circumstances
they live very plainly.  Their officers
were in full dress & looked very
trim in their suit of grey, which

 

 

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were apparently new, but the men did
not bear the appearance of soldiers,
Their uniform being of a light clay
color and of coarse texture, & the
worse for wear.
In company with a Confed officer
I witnessed their guard mounting
& them releiving their pickets.
They all seem anxious to learn the
news from the East, and just before
we left them I read them Sec'y
Stantons despatch to Gen Sherman, of
Gen Sheridans victory, which I had
just received  from one of our
officers. They looked very doleful
and one asked me "Lieut. you have
that officially"?   I assured them it
might be relied on.  Among their
number was one Major Mason of
Hoods Staff who is a regular old
"hale fellow, well met",  jolly, face
& easy always, and is so considered
I should judge, by their officers, for
he seemed to be the leading spirit,
When he heard it, he remarked "I
knew there was something up, no mail
for several days",  and continued
"I'll go the gulf, and climb a persimmon
tree"!  What then Major, I asked,

 

 

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"I will cut the tree off below me!
Most of them endeavored to appear
confident and put on a bold front,
but it is very evident, they are very
much
depressed, at their prospects,
They
know their losses, defeats and
that our army is increasing daily,
theirs is decreasing rapidly in
numbers.  We have plenty to eat, they
have
not, by their own acknowledge-
ments
, My friend, the Major, informed
me that they fed over ten thousand
citizens, while in this city, daily.
I heard him remark, to a lady, in reply
to some inquiry of hers, about where
they would go & what they would do,-
"Madam, God only knows, we cannot
spare much now, and winter is
approaching!"  It is indeed a fear
ful prospect for the citizens of the
South, and untold suffering will be
felt among them, and is already
manifesting itself.  Everything is taken
for the Army, what is left, the
citizens keep.
They expressed no desire to get rebel
money from us,  but were anxious to
get "greenbacks", and they lay it by
as the Major says, "for a rainy day"

 

 

  *Note to researcher:  This letter has been transcribed by Archives staff verbatim
as the words appear on the original written page.  The spacing, punctuation, and
capitalization are identical.  Words that are unclear have been enclosed in brackets.