Journal of John B. Patrick, February 15, 1862-June 9, 1862


Journal of John B. Patrick, February 15, 1862-June 9, 1862


John B. Patrick was a member of The Citadel's Class of 1855. He served as a professor of mathematics at the Arsenal Academy in Columbia from 1859-1865 and as secretary for the Board of Visitors from 1862-1865. During the Civil War, he was lieutenant in charge of the Battalion of State Cadets. His journals span from 1861-1865 and detail his personal life and health, religion, his work at the Arsenal Academy, cadet discipline, and Civil War activities.




The Citadel Archives & Museum



Materials in The Citadel Archives & Museum Digital Collections are intended for educational and research use. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright. For more information contact The Citadel Archives & Museum, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, 29409.


John B. Patrick Civil War Journals








Date Valid


[Page 1]
Saturday, Feb. 15.

Another damp day. Two letters, one from Father-in-law, and one from Bro-in-law, J. R. P. G. were received this evening. The former tells me that sister-in-law Pauline, now going to school here, must come home and go to the school in Greenville - that school being as good as any here. My own impression is that it is a better school - yet I regret to give Paul up - she is so lively and agreeable. - Joel says that provender for horses can be had in very small quantities only, that they get scarcely enough to keep them alive - Poor animals! it is a pity that they should be compelled to suffer on account of the wickedness and folly of men. But it cannot be helped, I suppose.

Sunday, Feb 16.

I have been at home all-day, confined to bed part of the time, by a large boil on my knee. It has given me considerable pain. But I do not complain of affliction. – I rather regard it as an evidence that my health is good.

Monday, Feb. 17.

Though quite lame yet, I have heard my recitations as usual. The class finished Arithmetic to day and will – to-morrow, recite in Algebra for the first time. Hope they will do well in it.

Intelligence, in this morning’s paper, states that our forces were still in possession of Fort Donelson, that a fight has was kept up there for three days in succession, that enemy had been reinforced and that the fight would probably be renewed. Our

[Page 2]
men labor under great disadvantage, but I have an abiding faith that the victory will be ours. May it be so!

Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Unpleasant news came this morning. It is stated that Fort Donelson has surrendered and that thirteen thousand of our men have been taken prisoners, but this I cannot believe. There is to my mind, an air of improbability in the dispatch. It comes to us in too indirect a way in the first place, and in the second it is too meager. But apart from this I cannot think that our loss is so severe. We may have been defeated, but I think that our loss is less than is stated. I will hope for the best, at any rate.

Wednesday, Feb. 19.

It is said that Gen. Pillow, with ten thousand men, has arrived at Nashville, and that Gens. Johnson & Beauregard are there with sixty-five thousand men and will give the enemy a battle if attacked. Much more cheering news this than that we had yesterday! How thankful we should be for it, when we remember that such an overwhelming force came against our men! Rain again to day.

Thursday, Feb. 20

The duties of the day have been performed. - I sent a package to Bro. Charles - containing two colored over shirts and a smoking cap - hope they will reach him safe. A letter from Bro. Charles, received to day, says

[Page 3]
that the Reg’t to which he belongs is anxious to be engaged with the enemy.

Friday, Feb. 21.

To day having been set apart by the municipal authorities, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, Academic exercises were suspended. There was service in all the churches. At the Baptist church Dr. Reynolds delivered a very able discourse. It was appropriate to the occasion. His text was taken from 1st Peter fifth chap. 6th verse. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”

Received this evening from my friend T. H. M. a letter written as usual just one week after mine reached him. A model of punctuality he is. His letter is much like those he has written for a long time past.

Saturday, Feb. 22.

Walked about a great deal to day. Had the pleasure of meeting Bro. L. R. Marshall, now on furlough. He asked me to meet him at the Book-Store, to help him select a lot of “prize books” which he intends presenting to the Baptist S. School, in this city. I did so cheerfully. Bro. Marshall is a liberal man. Going into the army has not caused him to forsake his principles. But alas! a great many of our young men will be ruined by this war.

Sunday, Feb. 23.

Did not go to church this morning, in consequence of having been up all last night, guarding

[Page 4]
the prisoners now confined in the district jail. Thirteen of them have escaped within the last few days, and the citizens are not willing to trust them to the safe keeping of the guard that has hitherto had charge of them. Hence the reason the cadets were ordered out. I am glad to hear that they (the prisoners) are soon to be removed from here. - Attended the meeting of the S. School Association this afternoon. I was again elected Supt. of the S. school. Three years have now passed away since I was first called to this position. I trust that I shall be enabled to accomplish more good in future than I have hitherto. The office is a responsible one - and one that affords opportunity for usefulness.

Monday, Feb. 24

Went to the depot this morning and saw sister-in-law on the board the cars for home. Had to walk about a good deal to day, attending to business.

Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Lt. Jamison, being sick I heard his classes in Mathematics to day, and thus increased my duties from four to six hours in the recitation room. I did not drill, because of boils on my leg that prevent my walking without great pain.

Wednesday Feb. 26.

Heard only one of Lt. Jamison’s classes to day. I [am] still suffering pain, from the boils on my leg. It has rained a great deal to day - No drill.

[Page 5]
Thursday, Feb. 27.

Have discharged my duties as teacher to day. Did not drill in consequence of the soreness of my boils. A letter from Bro. Charles tells me that he has not received the package I sent him on last Thursday. I have taken measures to inquire after it, and to have it delivered to him.

To-morrow has been set apart by Pres. Davis, as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer; and I trust it will be observed by our people from one end of our Confederacy to the other. Oh! that we could as a people recognize our dependence on Divine Providence, and would approach the mercy seat in a spirit that would be acceptable to God. We need his Almighty arm to support us and enable us to repel the enemy. Our young men, in the army, are being ruined, for all civil and peaceful avocations. Speculators and extortioners are impoverishing the families of those who have entered the service of the country. That all this may be stopped and that speedily is my earnest prayer.

Friday, Feb. 28.

This was more generally observe (as a day of fasting &c) than last Friday. At the Baptist church, the congregation was about as large as it usually is on Sunday. Dr. Reynolds preached from the same text as on last Friday - He had been requested to repeat the sermon, delivered a week ago, but he could not do this. He recapitulated briefly, and then enlarged on points not mentioned before. An admirable discourse it was. While he was preaching, I wished for the whole Confederacy to hear him.

[Page 6]
He alluded to the Providences of God as manifested in the recent disasters sustained by our arms. - To interpret them was a difficult matter, but we might safely interpret them as means of discipline. Our people were less disposed trustful, or less mindful of their dependence on God’s Providence now, than in the earlier days of this struggle. Perhaps our reverses were designed to humble us &c. - Several evils had increased among us - A tendency to blend church and state had been evinced - it was the source of untold evils - they (C & S) should be separate. Profanity and drunkenness had increased. The speaker rejoiced that measures had been taken to shut up the stills and thus quench the liquid fire. - We had the responsibility of taking care of a peculiar institution - we had not discharged our duty with fidelity - servants should not be sent off to worship by themselves, but should meet at the same time and place with their masters. Notwithstanding the Divine’s unqualified reception of the Bible doctrine of the utter depravity of the human breast there were some phases of crime that at which he stood aghast. He then alluded to the fall of Fort Donelson in the most pathetic manner - the families of the brave men that fought there deserved sympathy & aid but instead thereof, speculators and extortioners raised the prices on the common necessaries of life, as soon as the wires brought the news that the fort had fallen. If these were specimens of the people of the C.S. he should hang his head in despair, and resign himself to any judgment God might send upon us. But he rejoiced that they were not - they were only

[Page 7]
here and there, colossal statues of human guilt that the law could not reach. Perhaps no law could be made to meet so heinous a crime. - It was the duty of all good men to arraign them before the tribunal of public opinion. In conclusion, he exhorted to a more firm reliance on the Providence of God and to a more consistent walk, on the part of all. - Such is an imperfect outline of one of the best discourses it has ever been my fortune to hear.

Saturday, March. 1.

Attended to a number of little business matters to day, and feel that I have done a good deal to get them all straight.

Sunday, March 2.

Just as I was starting to S. school this morning, I was informed that the Supt was absent. This detained me at home until after the corps had gone to church. I then went to church, - heard a good sermon. - Lieut Col. Goodlett & his wife dined with us.

Monday, March 3.

The Supt being absent this morning, I attended to his duties, in addition to my own. No startling news from the seat of war to day.

Tuesday, March. 4.

I have been a little disappointed to day, by the intriguing disposition of an auctioneer who has on hand, some books that I desire purchasing. A man who will not comply with his promises is indeed a disagreeable one - a worthless one.

Wednesday, March. 5.

There is another call for men to enter the army. Five thousand are wanted, “for the war.” I have been thinking

[Page 8]
about the propriety, or rather whether it is my duty to go under existing circumstances. My health, I know, is frail, and I doubt whether I could stand camp life long. Again, I am engaged where some man is to be employed, even if I am not, so that I do not see what would be gained to the service by my going. And then too if I go away from here, I have no home for my family, except to send them to my Father or Father-in-law, and what is worse I have nothing to leave them for a support, until my return. I shall endeavor to follow the path of duty, wherever it may lead.

Thursday, March. 6.

Nothing unusual to day. I am not quite as cheerful as usual. I have been made to feel that good intentions are not always appreciated. But we must expect this in life.

Friday, March. 7.

There was snow last night, and it is now quite cold. Early vegetables that were not entirely killed last night will be likely to be frost bitten to-night. - We have sickness yet in our family. Our servant who has been in bed for the past two weeks, is still unable to be out; and our little babe is suffering a great deal, apparently from a sort of cramp colic. Hope all will be well soon. I know that afflictions are often, in mercy, sent to remind us of our dependence upon an over ruling Providence.

Saturday, March. 8.

Was pleased this morning to receive a handsome present from one of the cadets. It was a very valuable book - one that I needed and was about

[Page 9]
purchasing. But it was not the value of the book so much as the spirit manifested by the cadet that pleased me. But pleasures and pains succeed each other often and sometimes rapidly in this life. This evening, I have the mortification to learn that three of our cadets have been taking intoxicating drinks - two of them are perfectly drunk - as helpless as dead men. The matter was brought to my notice by the corporal of the guard - the young man who presented the book this morning. - It will undergo investigation, and the young men will most likely be suspended. A sad commentary on human nature, thus to see human beings - men made in the image of God - degrade themselves below the level of the brutes that perish!

Sunday, March 9.

After attending Sabbath school, where I made remarks as I thought proper, it being the first time I have been able to attend the school, since my re-election as Superintendent, I went to church. Bro. Breaker gave us a good sermon. - After the services were commenced, a message arrived from our Governor, requesting the prayers of the church in behalf of our country and its cause, and especially for the success of our arms in a battle raging at Newport News. This request was announced to the congregation at the close of the sermon, and a most fervent prayer was offered by the pastor. Feeling that we could not spend the afternoon better than in a prayer meeting, I left

[Page 10]
my seat and ascended the pulpit, just before the singing of the doxology, and suggested to the pastor that a meeting of this be appointed. He thought the suggestion a proper one and appointed the meeting at 4 o’clock, at the old church. The attendance at this hour, showed that our people were deeply interested, and that they felt their dependence on God. Dr. J. L. Reynolds conducted the meeting and lectured in his usual happy style. Would that we could always have such interesting prayer meetings! We should have more evidences of the Divine favor, for He “will hear those who call upon Him in spirit and in truth.” - Attended church this evening.

The cadets that I referred to yesterday as being intoxicated, evinced so much feeling, and made so many such solemn promise for the future, that the Sup’t, with a view of saving the young men, concluded not to suspend them and to punish them in the Academy. Under the circumstances, I think he was right.

Monday, March 10.

A little circumstance occurred to day, which although it related to an unfortunate event, was in itself pleasing. One of the cadets who happened to get under the influence of liquor, and about whom I spoke yesterday, came to me for advice saying that he was a member of a Baptist church, and wished my advice in the premises. He manifested a commendable spirit, and I gave advice in accord-

[Page 11]
ance with what I understand to be the teachings of Scripture.

Tuesday, March. 11.

Received a letter this evening, from my friend, Mr. D. C. Anderson, asking me to recommend him for an office in one of the Regts to be raised for Confederate service, under the recent call. I shall cheerfully do so. Mr A. is a deserving and competent young man.

Wednesday, March. 12.

Wrote Mr. A’s recommendation to day, and carried it down to the Gov. I hope he will secure the appointment he seeks. - Paid my city taxes to day. While on the street I was made to feel sad by the intelligence that Gen. Ben. McCollouch had been killed in a recent battle in the West. It is stated that our loss was heavy, yet there is a probability that we have gained the victory. Attended prayer meeting this evening, and was glad to see a better attendance than for some time past.

Thursday, March. 13.

Received another letter to day, asking a recommendation for a commission. It was from a deserving young man and I complied with the request.

Friday, March. 14.

I have, this day, been engaged in the unpleasant duty of deciding on the cases of those cadets who are not standing well in their studies, i.e. I have examined them with a view of deciding whether they will be able to pass the probationary term. I have found a number that cannot pass. I regret that it is so.

[Page 12]
Saturday, March. 15.

A letter from Bro. Charles to day, says that he prefers to volunteer for two years or during the war, rather than be subject to a draft hereafter. He asked my advice and I have given it in these words. “I say unhesitatingly volunteer.” I know that he has hard and trying duties to perform, yet we all have to make sacrifices in these “war times.” I have written to Col. Chesnut, Chief of the Department of Military, applying for a commission for him in one of the Regt’s, to be raised under the Gov’s recent call. I hope to will succeed in securing a place for him, but there are so many applications, that I have thought proper not to let brother know that I have put his name in, lest his hopes should be raised, merely to receive the sting of disappointment.

Sunday, March 16.

Attended S. school and church as usual this morning. This evening I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Manly, Jr. preach. He gave us a good sermon from the text, “Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

Monday, March. 17.

Met my friend and class-mate, R. C. Carlisle, to day. He is a Doctor of Medicine now. I have not seen him since we graduated, Nov. ‘55. He has changed considerably in six years, and says that I too have changed. His business here, is to file an application for a commission in one of the Reg’ts to

[Page 13]
be raised under a late requisition for troops. He asked me to recommend him, a favor which I granted cheerfully. He took tea with me, and I must confess that it gave me great pleasure to have his company. We alluded to the experience we had ten years ago as cadets, and remarked on the changes that have taken place.

The mail brought me a letter this evening, from my friend J. Furman Dargan, asking my influence in securing him a commission in one of the Regts above mentioned. - I have written a recommendation which I hope may be of service to him. I feel, however, that a recommendation from one so little known as myself, can have but little weight with the Executive Council.

Tuesday, March. 18.

Had my sympathies enlisted to day in behalf of a father, who writes me to aid him if I can in keeping his son here. I have written in reply that “if I could, consistently with our Regulations, be instrumental in keeping him here, I should cheerfully do so, &c.” It is, I confess, trying to one of a sympathetic disposition, to write a father that there is no hope for his son to succeed with his studies.

Wednesday, March 19.

There was a heavy rain to day, accompanied by some thunder.

Thursday, March 20.

The usual duties of the day have been discharged. I am feeling some interest in the appointments

[Page 14]
that are to be made by the Gov. and Council. It is rumored that our Supt. is likely to have the command of one of the Reg’ts tendered to him. Should this occur, it will necessitate changes here that will in some way affect me. This I do not desire. I prefer to occupy my present position, for a few years at least. I feel however, an abiding confidence that I shall be directed in the path of duty. My destiny is in the hands of Him who cannot err. He will I trust lead me in the way that I can be most useful to my race.

Friday, March. 21.

The duties of the day have been discharged as usual - Mr. or rather Lieut. J.M.J. - who has been boarding with me for some time, bade me goodbye this evening. He has, in consequence of his health, been compelled to give up his position here. On taking leave of me he gave me a warm shake of the hand, thanked me much for my attentions to him while here and expressed the hope that whenever any changes are to be made here, I may get the position I desire. For this kind wish I remember him with more pleasure, of course, than if he had appeared indifferent as to what happened to me in future.

Saturday, March. 22.

I was glad to hear from Bro. to day, that he has volunteered for two years of the war. He tells me that he had some objections to retaining his connection with the company he is now in, and

[Page 15]
that Col. Hagood sent for him, and after hearing the grounds of his objection, told him to re-enlist and that after the Regt was re-organized, he would give him a transfer to any Regt he might select. On hearing this writes he “I signed the roll.” May it please an All-Wise Providence to spare his life and employ him long as a useful servant!

Sunday, March. 23.

This is my birth-day. Thirty years of my life have passed way. Since my last birth-day I have experienced joys, as many perhaps, as one could expect. My health has been good, and I have been blessed with comforts far beyond many of my fellow men. - I have experienced some sorrows, and a good deal of anxiety, - yet taking all to-gether, I have great cause for gratitude to God that he has been so merciful to me. May it please Him to continue his blessings to me!

I attended S. school this morning, and have been to church twice to day.

Monday, March. 24.

My old acquaintance and friend, G. P. Anderson is spending the night with me. I met him on the street this evening and would have him come up and take the night with me. He is now on furlough, and is going home on a visit.

Tuesday, March. 25.

Bro. Phelps took tea with us this evening. I find it pleasant to have my friends visit me thus socially.

[Page 16]
Wednesday, March. 26.

We had a pleasant prayer meeting this evening, - two ladies came forward as candidates for baptism, and were received on a profession of their faith in Christ. Would that we oftener had the pleasure of enjoying such sessions!

Thursday, March. 27.

Bro. Charles writes me that he is very thankful for the efforts I have made to secure a commission for him. He wishes he could repay me for the interest I have taken in him. - This wish on his part, together with my own consciousness of having tried to advance his interest, is all the pay I desire, and all that I would secure. I hope he will not indulge in too many sanguine hopes - for if he should fail to get an appointment, it would be a severe trial to him.

Friday, March. 28.

The day has passed quietly away. I have, as usual, been busy. Wrote a letter home, advising the planting of little cotton and a large crop of grain. Answered Bro’s letter of yesterday.

A letter from my friend T. H. M. tells me that he has entered the service, and has been furloughed until July. He thinks that the officers, on a second consideration, will perhaps permit him to remain at home “in consequence of the nature of his business.” Unfortunate man! He has a noble but an unbalanced mind. Some think him

[Page 17]
insane, and I fear that such is the case. Certain it is, he is an extremely eccentric man.

Saturday, March. 29.

Columbia is now under martial law, so far, at least, as relates to persons leaving the city. This is as it should be.

Sunday, March. 30.

Attended S. school, and heard two sermons to day. Bro. Phelps preached both. I had him to dine with me, and as usual found his company agreeable. This afternoon I attended the funeral of a little child, and was requested to act as a pall-bearer. Dr. Reynolds officiated, and in the course of his remarks confessed that he had often asked himself the question “What could be the design of God in sending little children here, for such a brief career?” “It is,” said he, “a mystery that mortals cannot comprehend.”

Monday, March. 31.

The regular routine of duty has been discharged. Some time too, has been spent in conversation with my colleague, Mr. N. - we spoke of our prospects, and duties in the event of possible changes.

Tuesday, April 1.

Nothing out of the ordinary routine of duty, except that I have been arranging some papers that of the B. V. - a duty that should not have been neglected by those that preceded me in office.

Wednesday, April 2.

A letter from home this afternoon, brings information of an impressive nature. Four men, members of the church when I first made a profession of reli-

[Page 18]
gion, have recently passed away, and gone to receive their heavenly inheritance. One of them, Rev. W. T. Sanders, baptized me. He was, for many years, pastor of that church, and was instrumental in doing great good there. Nearly all the present members of the church were brought into church under his ministry, and to in common with all the others, looked up to him, with the utmost confidence, as their spiritual leader. He was an excellent, and a faithful minister, simple and unobtrusive in his manners, kind and sympathetic in his disposition - indeed his character was blameless. - A few months ago, under the influence of a sense of duty, he raised a company, and entered the service of the country as a Capt. But it seemed good to God to transfer him from the army of his country to that of Heaven. By his death, his congregation and country have lost the services of “a good man,” but the influence of his preaching, and of his pious and blameless life will be felt for years to come.

Another one, Mr. John Matheny, was a deacon of the same church from the earliest of my recollection until his death. He was eminently conspicuous for his on account of his unobtrusive virtues, and was noted for his sound judgment and the integrity of his character. In the words of the Apostle he was “a good man.”

A third one, Mr. Jesse Richardson, was at times (or at least on one occasion) a little inconsistent. But like Peter, he repented, at and at a “gray old age”

[Page 19]
he died as we believe in the exercise of the faith. - The fourth and last one of the number, Mr. Butler Sandifer, was a cousin of mine. For many years he was a consistent member of the church. Some months ago, he volunteered in the service of the country. While at the camp of instruction, near here, he paid me a visit, and I could but notice, as he bade me good-bye, that he had a presentiment that he should never see me again. He has gone to that land whence no traveler returns, never more to be disturbed by wars or rumors of war. Of him, as also of the other three, I feel that it may be said “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

Thursday, April 3.

A letter from Bro. Charles informs me, that he is in fine spirits. May he continue thus!

Friday, April 4.

Received, to day by Express, a package of diplomas with the request to have the Seal of the State impressed upon them, also to have them signed by the Academic Board here, and return them to Charleston the Citadel as soon as possible. I have complied with the request, except that I have not yet returned them to the Express Co. I will do this to-morrow. - It is proper to say that these are the first diplomas I have ever signed.

Saturday, April 5.

Attended the regular church conference this evening. Had to perform discharge the unpleasant duty of preparing a charge of intemperance against

[Page 20]
one of the brethren. I dislike very much to have such duties to perform, but in this case, I had no alternative. It has been more than three months since I saw the brother intoxicated, and he has not appeared before the church to acknowledge his error, although, under promise to do so for nearly all of the time. As a conscientious man therefore, I could but do as I have.

Sunday, April. 6.

Spent the Sabbath as usual in the forenoon. This afternoon was our communion season. It was a pleasant one indeed. - This evening I am obliged to remain at home, as Capt T. has gone to Charleston and left me in command.

Monday, April 7.

Information has reached us to day that a great battle was fought on yesterday near Corinth Miss. It was fought near Shiloh Church, and hence is called the battle of Shiloh. It is said we gained a complete victory though at the loss of many valuable lives - among them Gen. A. S. Johnston, Commander in Chief of our army in that section. Never have I felt more deeply the fall of a soldier. After being abused by pretending politicians and scribbling newspaper correspondents, it would have been gratifying to him to see the wisdom of his policy acknowledged by those who had been so ready to condemn. Their consciences must indeed smite them now that he is no more, to reflect that their unjust criticisms, perhaps influenced him to expose his

[Page 21]
life unnecessarily. He died the death of a gallant soldier, having fallen at the head of his army in the thickest of the fight.

Tuesday, April. 8.

The details of the battle spoken of yesterday, are very vague and unsatisfactory.

Wednesday, April. 9.

The reports from the battle in the west are still unsatisfactory to some degree. - Attended prayer meeting this evening and was gratified to see a lady come forward as a candidate for admission into the church. It is encouraging to see that despite the excitement of the times, the Holy Spirit is operating on the hearts of men.

Thursday, April 10.

The Federals commenced bombarding Fort Pulaski to day and I believe they will reduce it, notwithstanding some think otherwise. I have no idea that the Federals would have erected batteries with a view to reduce the Fort had they not guns of a caliber and range sufficient to the undertaking. - Bro. Breaker and his wife took tea with us this evening. How much I should like to meet often with company so congenial in views and sentiments.

Friday, April 11.

Attended the Ladies’ Fair this evening, gotten up with a view to raise funds for constructing a gun-boat. There was a great deal of raffling going on. I was frequently asked to “take a chance,” and I as often declined. - I do not approve of the principle on which it is done, and for that reason cannot practice

[Page 22]
it, even though I acknowledge the end to be accomplished a good one.

Saturday, April 12.

Have felt wearied and anxious all day. I retired late last night and this, with the unsettled, and unsatisfactory state of public affairs has made me feel very restless. Perhaps, it is the design of Providence to humble us, and cause us to trust more implicitly in Him. There seems to be a spirit of prayer among the people of this city just now. The attendance at the Union prayer meeting this evening was good. So it was yesterday.

Fort Pulaski fell yesterday about 2 o’clock. Sooner indeed than I expected it would. It is said the surrender was unconditional. The result of the conflict at or near Corinth is yet doubtful, though I have a strong faith that the victory will be ours.

Sunday, April 13.

Spent the Sabbath as usual. Heard a good sermon this evening from the text, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord Jesus Christ.” Bro. Breaker proved conclusively that nothing of merit attaches to human conduct.

Monday, April 14.

I would like much to hear from the seat of war.

Tuesday, April 15.

Am still anxious to hear from the seat of war.

[Page 23]
Wednesday, April 16.

I was feeling depressed this morning, but am more cheerful now. Perhaps the statement of the enemy in acknowledging such an immense loss at the battle of Shiloh has had something to do with cheering my feelings. Such is the state that war brings us to. We like to hear of the slaughter and destruction of our enemies. Would that peace could again be declared.

Besides my ordinary duties to day, I have read some, spent a short time in superintending the transplanting of some plants, (cabbages, tomatos, and beets) in my garden. I find it pleasant to engage the mind with objects of this kind.

This evening I have been to prayer-meeting, where we had the pleasure of welcoming another candidate for baptism and membership with us. It is cheering, in these times of excitement, to know that the Lord is performing a good work of this kind among us.

Thursday, April 17.

Have the pleasure of the company of sister & her husband this evening. It is the first time they have visited us, and I hope we shall be able to make them enjoy it. - I retire this evening, believing that a great battle has been fought at or near Yorktown Va. to day. They had a heavy skirmish there yesterday, which doubtless was only the beginning of a great struggle. May it please God to give us the victory, and let the strife terminate then

[Page 24]
as did that of our forefathers in 1781, favorable to justice and civil liberty.

Friday, April 18.

This being, Good-Friday, Academic exercises were suspended. I was therefore at leisure, and spent a part of the day in walking through the city, in company with Bro. in law Kearse and sister Carolina looking at the flowers & flower gardens. They are all pleasing to the eye, yet for myself, I should not feel justified in expending so much as some do in flowers. It occurs to me that a part that is spent in this way might well be appropriated to furthering the cause of education or Christianity.

At the Union-prayer-meeting this afternoon, Dr. Thornwell in a few remarks advanced and and the idea that it was the design of Providence to break-up the government that once existed here, and form two rival governments. He said the interests of humanity and Christianity would be promoted by them more than they would ever have been under the old government.

Saturday, April 19.

Attended to some business this morning. The remainder of the day, until late this afternoon I entertained Bro-in-law and sister. This afternoon I attended prayer-meeting again. Was glad to see a large attendance of ladies. It is to be regretted that the male population do not feel their dependence upon God, sufficiently to cause them to attend in

[Page 25]
larger numbers. I can but feel that if they were as much impressed with a sense of our dependence upon God as they should be, we should certainly see, and that soon, the hand of the Lord, made bare in our defense.

Sunday, April 20.

The services of the Sanctuary were unusually pleasant to-day. Bro. Breaker’s discourse this morning, was in strict accordance with my understanding of the Scriptures, and showed clearly that the keeping of Easter, as is done by Catholics and Episcopalians, is not a scriptural ordinance. The sermon this evening was on the importance of confessing our sins before God. The congregation was unusually large - many having come perhaps, to witness the administration of the ordinance of Baptism. A number of texts were cited in proof of the doctrine of immersion.

Monday, April 21.

Bro-in-law and sister left this morning for home - hope they met with no accident.

Tuesday, April. 22.

Attended to my duties as usual.

Wednesday, April 23.

Went with sister this evening to the “soiree” - an exhibition at the Belle Haven Institute. It consisted of The exercises were music on the piano, reading compositions by the young ladies, and a dialogue. All taken to-gether the exercises were highly creditable to teachers and pupils. The teachers are Virginia ladies - refugees from Alexandria Va. I have never seen ladies whose manners please me

[Page 26]
more. Simplicity, straightforward, and unaffected is one distinguishing characteristic, and to my mind is one of the most charming elements of beauty and virtue. The ladies deserve the sympathy and patronage of the public and I hope they will receive both in large measure.

Thursday, April. 24.

Was most agreeably surprised this evening to see mother and Bro. Charles come to see me. I somewhat expected them on to-morrow, but not before. They have come to stay but a very short while. Bro. Charles has to return to camps, his Reg’t having been ordered out sooner than was expected. I regret this, but am thankful to get to enjoy their company even for a short time. Both of them are looking well.

Friday, April 25.

After performing my duties, spent a part of the day, in riding over the city with mother and showing her the places of interest. I am feeling tired this evening and somewhat depressed in spirits at the idea of her and brother leaving in the morning. Sister too has determined to go home, contrary to my desires. I had hoped to have her here where she might enjoy the advantages of school, and society for some time to come.

Saturday, April. 26.

The carelessness of the hack driver caused mother and Bro. to be left this morning.

[Page 27]
This was, I confess a trial to my patience, not that I desired them to leave, for I wish they could remain many days, but I knew it was a disappointment to them and would be so to Father who was to meet them at the R. Road to day. The day has notwithstanding been a very pleasant one. They took the dis-appointment patiently, and we enjoyed each other’s company much. Bro. Breaker called on us all and dined with us - adding much to our enjoyment.

Sunday, April 27.

Went to S. school and church this morning - found but few out - the day being unfavorable. Hope Mother sister & Bro. are safe at home this evening. They had to leave this morning, Sunday as it was, Bro. Charles did not feel will willing to delay reporting longer than he could possibly avoid, and hence left this morning to take mother and sister home and go on thence to camps. May the blessing of God be with them and him!

Monday, April 28.

My usual duties have been discharged. I am more cheerful than for some days past, though the news from New Orleans is unfavorable. Gun-boats were opposite the city ready to shell it - the people will not surrender at last accounts and thus it is unknown what has been done by this time, or what is to be done soon. Yet I am hopeful for the ultimate success of our cause.

[Page 28]
Tuesday, April. 29.

Another day’s work is done. I have divided the class into five sections with a view thereby to promote the interests of all. The truth is the class is too large for one man to do justice to. I have undertaken to teach five hours a day, apart from my other duties. This is more than I have ever known an officer to undertake here, and I shall be thankful if I can continue it, without injury to my health.

Wednesday, April. 30.

This evening was rather unfavorable, there being appearances of rain, and hence we had no prayer meeting.

A letter from home and one from Charley to day tell me that all are well, for which I am thankful. True there was one unwell from cold, but I hope he will soon be over that. I still feel hopeful that our cause will ultimately triumph, though it must be confessed that the times are gloomy at present.

Thursday, May. 1.

Various rumors are afloat in regard to war movements, but I am resolved not to give way to vain doubts and fears. I can do the cause no good by looking on the dark side of the picture, and hence it would not be right to render myself unhappy, on account of what I cannot avert. I endeavor to exercise faith.

[Page 29]
Friday, May. 2.

Another day is gone. My usual duties discharged. I spent some time in conversation with friends and acquaintances who are just from the army. - I have ascertained that transfers are given only by the Secretary of War, and hence I fear that brother will not be able to secure one. The Union prayer meeting was thinly attended this evening because of the appearance of rain.

Saturday, May. 3d

The greater part of the day has been spent in attending to duties that may be termed incidental. I have written to Col. Hagood and the enclosed the letter to my brother asking the Col. to use his influence in procuring a transfer for my brother. This evening I attended our regular church conference. From all I can learn prodigious efforts are being made to save Charleston, but I fear it is too late. Judging from the success of the enemy wherever their gun-boats have been engaged. I believe they can take the city of Charleston if they try. I trust this opinion may prove untrue incorrect.

Sunday, May. 4.

Attended S. school as usual and went to church twice to day. I think the terms “devilish enemies” & “God’s earth” should not be used in the pulpit.

Monday, May 5.

I am feeling weary this evening and desire repose.

[Page 30]
Tuesday, May. 6.

My great desire is that the unhappy war in which we are now engaged, could be terminated in a satisfactory and an honorable way to us. But it is part of patriotism to perform the duties required at our hands faithfully, and trust in God to give us victory in His own good time and way. We can do nothing unless He be with us. If He is for us then nothing can harm us.

Wednesday, May. 7.

The prayer meeting was better attended this evening than on some occasions heretofore. It is a beautiful evening, and but for the reflection that our kindred and countrymen are engaged in the toils and dangers of war, it seems that there would be nothing to mar our happiness.

Thursday, May. 8.

I am feeling anxious about our country and its cause this evening. Dispatches received here, indicate that the enemy are pressing us in many directions. May God grant to give us victory.

Friday, May. 9.

I am not feeling like writing, even if I had anything to write and as it is, I shall seek that repose which wearied nature requires.

[Page 31]
Saturday, May. 10.

This is a day of anxious solicitude. Information received here, says that the great battle expected for some time past at Corinth began yesterday. May God interpose in our behalf is my prayer. It is believed too, that there is fighting near York Town, Va. between Johnson & McLelan. Great armies are opposed, great interests are at issue, and great will be the casualties on both sides. My faith in the ultimate triumph, under Providence, of our cause is firm and unshaken. It is announced this evening, that Gen. Jackson has gained a brilliant victory in the valley of Va. I have never been more pleased with any statement of a fact than I was at this dispatch of Jackson to the war department. It was in these words “God blessed our arms with victory at McDowell’s on yesterday.” It will be seen that he claims no glory for himself but ascribes it all to the proper source.

Sunday, May. 11.

I am not altogether well to day, yet I am not enough indisposed to prevent the discharge of my usual Sabbath’s duties. I did not attend church this evening, because I am “in charge” and cannot have. I have been reading some and hope that I have not spent the time amiss. A letter from home this evening

[Page 32]
brings me the good news that all are well. Father seems to be in fine spirits for which I am thankful.

Monday, May. 12.

I am not feeling very well this evening, - hope to feel better in a day or two. Bro. Charles writes me that he has mumps, yet he had not gone to the hospital at the time he wrote. I fear he has acted imprudently. The silence of the Telegraph for the last day or two argues, I think, that battles pending perhaps being fought.

Tuesday, May. 13.

I am of the opinion, that there are some very indolent men in high position in our army and government. Otherwise, they would be more active in removing army stores, and munitions of war that are in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy.

Wednesday, May. 14.

Have just returned from prayer meeting. The air is very pleasant out since the rain this afternoon. - One [of] our cadets was suspended to day for assailing a cadet officer for an official act.

Thursday, May. 15.

In addition to my regular duties, I have been making arrangements for my family to start to Greenville in the morning, and am feeling weary. Besides this, I have had an appeal made upon my sympathies by the father of one of our cadets, who

[Page 33]
is likely not to be able to pass the examination to which I have replied in a manner that seemed proper to me.

Friday, May. 16.

I am alone this evening. My family left this morning for Greenville - hope they arrived there safe. To day was observed as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer in behalf of our country. I am sorry that the congregation was so thin. It is a matter of regret that it should be thin at any time, but more especially is it to be deplored at a time like the present.

Saturday, May. 17.

The day has seemed rather longer than usual - the effect of being alone I presume.

Sunday, May. 18.

I enjoyed the services of this Sanctuary very much to day, but was a little annoyed this evening by the whispering and laughing of some thoughtless young persons, while the ordinance of baptism was being administered. I hope the Lord is about to visit us with a revival. Four ladies joined to day and were baptized this evening, together with two colored persons who joined some time ago.

Monday, May. 19.

I am pleased at the manner in which my class has acquitted itself thus far. It is a pleasure to teach those who try to learn - a pleasure known only to those who labor for the good of their race.

[Page 34]
Tuesday, May. 20.

The examination is still going - the class doing well. - I have just written a letter to a a gentleman whose son has failed to exhibit a proper degree of proficiency in his studies. The father's interest in his son's welfare, induced him to make several suggestions with a view to having him retained here, to which I have replied in substance as follows. As a man I feel the force of your suggestions, but as an officer in the discharge of my duties here, I cannot with due regard to all the interests involved depart from the rule that has hitherto guided me - and have, therefore, advised your son to seek an honorable discharge.

Wednesday, May. 21.

The examinations closed to day. Taking it altogether, I am pleased with the result.

This afternoon, we formed the corps into a Battalion of six companies, and marched down to the residence of Gen. Jones Chairman of the Board of Visitors and where we were reviewed by him. Notwithstanding the inexperience of the corps in Battalion drill the demonstration was a very creditable one.

This evening, I attended prayer meeting and was pleased to see a larger attendance than usual. - I now seek repose for the night, comforted by the reflection that I am to have a little

[Page 35]
recreation. I feel the need of it very sensibly.

Thursday, May. 22.

We had a good rain to day, after which I transplanted some pepper plants.

I have been gratified this evening at the feeling manifested by many of the cadets on bidding me goodbye. They thanked me for the interest I have taken in them during the session that has just closed, and this in addition to the consciousness of having done all in my power to make their course profitable is a suitable reward for my labors.

Friday, May. 23.

It has now been one week since I have been alone - and a long week it has been. When engaged in the discharge of my duties, or reading I do not feel lonely, but when I come to the table or disengage my attention, I feel that I am alone.

Saturday, May. 24.

The day has been actively employed. After attending to storing away Maj. White's furniture which I did to oblige him, I had a barrel of rice put up and sent to the depot, (or rather I went with it,) to be forwarded to Col. Goodlett. This done, I went to the printing office to learn the progress that is being made with the publication of the Official Register - came home gave some orders about my garden and then went to prayer-meeting. And now after spending a social evening with

[Page 36]
Capt Thomas who came over to sit with me, I seek that repose which wearied nature requires.

Sunday, May. 25.

A very thin attendance at Sunday School and church this morning. The inclemency of the weather kept them away I presume. Thus it is, a little unpleasant weather will keep persons away from church, when a great deal will not interfere with their secular affairs.

To night I am sitting up with the corpse of a little boy - the son of a Baptist brother. He died after a short illness. His parents are grieved and it is natural that they should be so, yet the little one is far happier now than they. No more pain or suffering awaits him in the blissful abode whither he has gone. He had not arrived at the age of discrimination between good and evil, and hence had no sins to answer for.

Monday, May. 26.

Attended the funeral of the little child whose death I referred to yesterday. There was a great deal of sympathy manifested for the bereaved parents.

After the funeral services were over, I went corrected the proof sheet (the remainder of it) of the Official Register that I am having published, - then dined, after which I went round to Bro. Breaker's and spent the afternoon in recording the min-

[Page 37]
utes of the church meetings for some months past. And now this evening, I am feeling fatigued and must retire early.

Tuesday, May. 27.

Wrote several letters this morning in answer to some that were received from relatives some days since. This afternoon has been spent in making arrangements to go to Greenville where I hope to recruit a little during the next ten or twelve days. I feel the need of recreation after the close confinement of arduous duties of the session.

Wednesday, May. 28.

Left Columbia this morning, and am now in Greenville. There was a great crowd on the cars - a number of sick soldiers belonging to Col. Moore's Reg't, and not a few refugees from Charleston. An incident occurred that elicited the sympathies of all on board. When the trains met they stopped a few minutes as usual, during which, a lady who was on her way to Charleston to see her sick husband, having heard someone say that he was probably on board our train, came on to see him or look for him. Just after she came on board both trains started and she was thus separated from her friends (for her husband was not on board) and compelled to go on back home or get off there in the country far from home where she knew no one. The car was stopped for her, but the down train was gone. The poor woman was in great distress, for she was much disappointed, and moreover, she knew not, for a little time, that she would be kindly cared for, and permitted to return to her home.

[Page 38]
Poor woman! I hope her husband will be spared to return to her. If it has turned out so that she could not go to him, it may be that it was designed for the good of one or both of them, we cannot tell. - I find my wife and babe not so well as when they left home. They are suffering from cold.

Thursday, May. 29.

Have spent the day very quietly here in the village where once I lived. A number of old acquaintances have called to see me.

Friday, May. 30.

Called to day at the residence of Mrs. A. the kind lady with whom I used to board. She was glad to see me. Both she and her family seem to cherish kind regards for me. It is pleasant thus to meet those for whom we cherish fond recollections.

Saturday, May. 31.

The day has passed pleasantly away.

Sunday, June. 1.

Go to Sunday School this morning - am pleased to see so large an attendance - 198 scholars. When I look around, however, I see that most of those who attended when I was here four years ago are not here now. By request, I consent to talk to the infant class, and afterwards Bro. Elford, the Supt. calls on me to address the school. I decline, but to my surprise at the conclusion of the last hymn he calls me out. I say a few words, as they occur to me and sit down. Attend church, and in the afternoon attend the monthly

[Page 39]
concert of prayer for the support spread of the Gospel. The day has been spent pleasantly and profitably to me and I hope it has been so to others.

Monday, June. 2.

Spent the day mostly in reading. This afternoon we hear that a terrific fight has been going on at Richmond (or rather about seven miles from that city) for two days. The Federals were driven back – heavy loss on both sides. Thank God! we have the victory if the report we have is true. All honor to the Ruler of armies both in Heaven and earth! We await particulars with great anxiety – our friends and kindred are there, and we feel solicitous about them. Rain is beginning to fall as it has after almost every other battle. Nature, it seems, weeps over our battle fields.

Tuesday, June. 3.

I have been spending the day very quietly. The news from the late battle-field is not very interesting, except so far as relates to the casualties.

Wednesday, June. 4.

Spent another day in reading.

Thursday, June 5.

As on yesterday and the day previous I have been very quiet to day.

Friday, June 6.

I am getting anxious to be at home. The news from our coast is such that I cannot feel

[Page 40]
satisfied to remain away from my post, yet I am detained here on account of sickness. I will stay until Monday morning and see if any change takes place for the better. I must go down then if possible as that is the day that I promised to return.

Saturday, June 7.

Visited some of my friends to day. It [is] pleasant to meet friends after the lapse of years.

Sunday, June. 8.

Heard a good sermon from Dr. R. Furman this morning from the text, “Give an account of thy stewardship for thou mayest be no longer steward.” After the sermon two young ladies were baptized in the presence of a very large congregation. Such a scene is of itself a sermon.

Monday, June 9.

Rose early this morning – started home – was made to feel very sad at seeing some members of the family bid goodbye. My feelings of sympathy are too strong for my own comfort under such circumstances. – I am at home now - found all going well.

Learn with surprise, that the Citadel Cadets have been ordered back to the Academy, and that an idea is entertained in some quarters of sending them up here to pursue their studies. I think the experiment a hazardous one – believe it will injure the Academy.


Patrick, John B., 1832-1900, “Journal of John B. Patrick, February 15, 1862-June 9, 1862,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed June 1, 2023,