Thomas Glascock Bacon Papers, 1861-1862
| Manuscripts Gifts 2007 | Front Page 2007 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2007
Seventeen manuscripts, 9 May 1861-4 January 1862, of Thomas Glascock Bacon (1812-1876) document this Edgefield District, S.C., native’s role as first commanding officer of the 7th South Carolina Infantry. Bacon had been active with the state militia long before the Civil War, and he also had served Edgefield as clerk of the Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas, 1844-1860. His command of the 7th South Carolina Infantry, however, lasted but a year, 15 April 1861-4 May 1862, before poor health forced his return to South Carolina, where Bacon subsequently served briefly as a reserves colonel. | Manuscripts Gifts 2007 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
The papers consist of military orders and correspondence. A number of items reflect the disorganization of the South Carolina volunteers and their command structure in the early months of the war.
Writing on 9 May 1861 from Camp Butler, a Confederate muster ground in South Carolina, Elbert Bland, captain of Co. H, took his commanding officer to task for what he perceived to be unauthorized breaches of military protocol. “I deny the right of any Quartermaster to make a detail from my company for any purpose without your positive order in writing,” Bland argued. “Quartermasters have no command….They are required to hire their teamsters & wagon¬masters and not detail them with an order even if it is possible to hire them.”
The resignation of officers and other maneuvering within the ranks was not uncommon either. Orders issued by Bacon on 20 May 61 announce that, in consequence of the resignation of Gabriel Mattison as captain of Co. B, and in compliance with General Orders No. 5 from brigade headquarters, W.L. Hodges was promoted from first lieutenant to captain, the second lieutenant was promoted to first lieutenant, the third lieutenant was promoted to second lieutenant, and an election would be held the following day for third lieutenant. J.W. Tompkins’ letter of resignation as commissary of the 7th Regiment, dated 26 May 1861 from Camp Butler, advises that it would be effective “the first June next when I shall be ready to turn over all stores in my hands to my successor.”
A statement, 26 June 61, signed by captains commanding various companies of the 7th Regiment - W. Lud[low] Hodges, Co. B; P.H. Bradley, Co. C; Samuel J. Hester, Co. D; David Denny, Co. E; John S. Hard, Co. F; J. Hampden Brooks, Co. G; Elbert Bland, Co. H; W[illiam] F. Prescott, Co. I; B.M. Talbert, Co. K - responds to a circular “emanat¬ing from Head Quarters of 1st Regmt advance forces of Army of the Potomac” stipulating that “‘All officers and corpse serving in the advance forces, will at once reduce their baggage to the amount of transportation furnished according to general order No. 17…” “We presume without investigation,” the statement reads, “that General Order No. 17 refers to the minimum amount of baggage allowed each Soldier and Officer. Against such a reaction we most respectfully protest - upon one single broad principal as follows: You are aware, our General in command knows, and the world knows, that Soldiers of the 7th Regmt. S.C.V. are not hirelings, but patriots, too who without money, and almost without clothing, cheerfully sacrificed the comforts of home, to be placed in the van of the advance forces of the Confederate Army, many of these men are now without shoes and not one of them has ever received from the Gov. of So.Ca. or the Confederate States a single knapsack, shoulder-strap, or gun-strap. In this condition we would respectfully suggest that to reduce their baggage would be an imposition almost insufferable. Through your influence we would beg that our petition be presented to the Head Quarters of our Brigade & also to the Head Quarters of the Potomac Forces, with the assurance that if the proper & accustomed modes of carrying baggage be given our Soldiers, they are willing and ready to march onward to victory or death."
Other letters include that from David McDaniel, 15 June 1861, questioning whether he should purchase a thoroughbred horse for the colonel or send his filly instead, and another, 30 July 1861, from S.B. Blocker, a third lieutenant with the 7th South Carolina Infantry, reporting that he had left Manassas for Gordonsville but found the place crowded and upon the advice of a physician had come to Richmond. “My Back is not much better than it was when I first received the injury, but I hope soon to be with you,” he writes. The doctor had advised that he take no exercise, but he hoped to “join the Regt. as soon as I get permission to leave the Hospital.” A postscript informs: “Since writing the above I have been advised by the surgeon in attendance to return to So. Ca. as I will be unfit for active service for at l[e]ast thirty days and if I can obtain a transportation ticket I will do so. I will join your command as soon as able.”
Among the military orders preserved here is General Orders No. 64, Head Quarters, 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac, near Centreville, 23 October 1861, “By Command of Gen. Beauregard,” issued in response to a Confederate victory, presumably at Ball’s Bluff: “Your enemy is demoralized by these defeats; his numbers give but temporary confi¬dence which at all times you can dissipate in an instant when animated by the resolution to conquer, or to die facing him. After the success of the 7th Brigade in the conflict of the 21 October, no odds must discourage or make you doubtful of victory when you are called upon by your General to engage in battle.”