Bayne, Lt. Col. Thomas Livingston (5th Co., Washington [LA] Artillery), “Life in Richmond, 1863-1865,” Confederate Veteran, Volume 30 (1922), p. 100-101

LIFE IN RICHMOND, 1863-1865.

[The following account of private and of official life in Richmond during the period preceding the fall of the Confederate government is an extract from an unpublished memoir of himself, written in 1870, by the late Lieut. Col. Thomas Livingston Bayne, for the information of his descendants. At the outbreak of the war Colonel Bayne was a distinguished member of the New Orleans bar. He enlisted in the Fifth Company of the Washington Artillery, Army of Tennessee. After his recovery from a severe wound, received in the battle of Shiloh, he was appointed captain of artillery and assigned to duty as assistant to Colonel Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, War Department, Richmond. - John Donnell Smith, Captain Battery A, Alexander's Battalion Artillery, A. F. V., Baltimore, Md.]

Early in 1863, General Gorgas felt the need of certain ordnance supplies which could not be secured within the country, and, with the permission of the Secretary of War, he arranged to procure two fine steamers to run the blockade. These steamers were very successful, and shortly afterwards the other chiefs of Bureaus - the Quartermaster General, Surgeon General, Chief of Engineers, and Commissary General - desired permission to procure and use steamers to carry out cotton and purchase foreign supplies. The Secretary of War felt that there would be conflict between his different officers, and to avoid this he created a separate “Bureau of Foreign Supplies,” and promoted me from the rank of major, which I had attained, to that of lieutenant colonel and ordered me to report directly to him as Chief of the “Bureau of Foreign Supplies.” In the discharge of my duties I had charge of all of the purchases of cotton for the War Department, its transportation and shipment, of the shipment of all foreign supplies, and of all of the ships employed by the government. The proceeds of cotton shipped went to the credit of the Treasury Department.

I applied for and obtained the assignment of I. M. Seixas to Wilmington, N. C., of J. D. Aiken to Charleston, and of N. Harleston Brown to Mobile; and I asked for the appointment of Joseph Denegre as captain and his assignment to me as my assistant. All of these orders were granted, and soon our bureau was organized.

Meanwhile I had removed my family to Richmond. Captain Denegre, Maj. Stephen Chalaron, and I kept house together. We rented a very comfortable furnished home for $600 per month. I paid three-fifths, Denegre and Chalaron each one-fifth, for rent and other expenses. Our house was situated on Cary near Fifth Street. It was commodious and well furnished. We were able several times to provide rooms for sick and wounded soldiers. Poor Dick Hewitt died in our house. We were enabled to live very well by thus combining our pay and allowances. My pay and allowance as lieutenant colonel amounted to about $325 per month, Chalaron and Denegre had from from $200 to $250 a month.

Denegre's father was in Europe, and he received from him full supplies of clothing and divided them liberally with his friends. Hon. George Trenholm, the Secretary of the Treasury, assisted us in securing from abroad sugar, coffee, canned meats, etc., and I sent to Alabama for some bacon, which was forwarded to us. Very often John (our dining-room boy) went to market with me, carrying on his shoulder a side of bacon, which I exchanged for fresh meat, selling the bacon at $6 to $8 per pound, and receiving the fresh beef or mutton at $2 to $3 per pound. As the Confederate money continued to depreciate, it became more and more difficult to buy provisions with it. I desired to avoid the accumulation of any debts during the war, and therefore sold or bartered anything we had for provisions. My wife sold a New Orleans bonnet for $600, taking payment in five turkeys estimated at $120 each. Finally, when we had exhausted all that we could sell, including a diamond ring, I borrowed fifty pounds sterling from Denegre, and when the war closed I borrowed twenty-five pounds more to leave with my wife until I could reach New Orleans.

Our residence in Richmond was as pleasant as it could be during the war. As chief of one of the bureaus, and reporting to the Secretary of War, I had access to the War and Adjutant General's Departments, where I would learn the earliest news, and where I could be of service to my friends. Judge John A. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War (formerly one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States), was my intimate friend. Burton A. Harrison, the private secretary of the President, was also an intimate friend. My relations with the chiefs of the bureaus of the War Department, with the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of War were very pleasant. My duties made me to some extent an intermediary between the Secretaries of War and Treasury. I saw the President often on business, and met him and his family socially at his house. I recollect that at one time I was sent for to come to the President's office to meet General Lee. The yellow fever prevailed at Bermuda and Nopan, the places from which, or through which, our foreign supplies were generally drawn. The governors of both the Carolinas and the local authorities at Wilmington, N. C., established a quarantine and kept vessels loaded with government supplies out in the bay for fifteen or twenty days. General Lee complained of this, and the object of the conference was to see whether or not vessels could be sent in from other ports, and thus avoid the necessity for quarantine. Mr. Davis was very reluctant to overrule the local authorities or to come into conflict with the governor of a State. He was disposed, to adhere to his views of State Rights, even in such a case as this; but General Lee was indisposed to allow the municipal authorities of Wilmington to stand in the way of supplying his army. Finally the question was put by General Lee, whether or not provisions could not be sent in from Halifax. The answer was that the departure of all steamers from Halifax was at once telegraphed to Boston and New York, and vessels were dispatched to intercept them; besides, the distance was so great that the steamers would be loaded with coal and could not carry much cargo. In answer to some suggestion about avoiding vessels sent out and captured, the President said: “General, I have great confidence in your ability to whip Yankees, but I do not think we can deceive them.” The discussions between the President and General Lee were most easy and kind, and the tone was that of men having entire confidence in each other.

I have referred to judge Campbell as Assistant Secretary of War. The circumstances of his appointment were as follows: He had come out from New Orleans with us and was in Richmond without anything to do. He had no inclination to practice law there while the war was raging. One evening in 1863 (or possibly .1862), I was sitting upon the doorsteps of the residence of General Randolph, the Secretary of War, with Mrs. Randolph and other persons visiting the house. General Randolph was within doors. Mrs. Randolph called my attention to this, and said: “My poor husband is so tired and so much afraid of being called out, that he must keep within doors. Can you not suggest some person from New Orleans or elsewhere who will relieve him?” I did not think of any person at the moment, but the next morning, through General Gorgas, I suggested judge Campbell. The Secretary of War sent for me and asked me if I had assurance that judge Campbell would accept the appointment. I told him that I had never mentioned the subject and had never heard judge Campbell express himself, but I was satisfied that he was willing to do anything he could. I ascertained afterwards that several members of Congress from Alabama opposed the appointment, but after a few days General Randolph requested me to speak to judge Campbell, stating that if it was agreeable he would call upon him. He called, and the appointment was made. Judge Campbell intimated that he would prefer a modest military position and assignment to duty with the Secretary of War rather than the appointment of Assistant Secretary of War.

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