Circular letter from Governor Andrew G. Magrath urging the military for continued public and private support, 23 February 1865
This letter comes from the papers of South Carolina Governor Andrew G. Magrath (1813-1893). He served as governor from 1864 to 1865 in the closing months of the American Civil War. As the last Confederate governor, his papers document the frustrations, anxieities, fears, and hopes of South Carolinians.
“Never at any time more than now,” Magrath writes, “have public and private interest been so closely connected.” Again we hear urgency, echoing here as in the galloping immediacy of repeated phrasing—never at anytime, more than now. This letter expresses the urgency, of course, but also the emphasis on a mutually sustaining and necessary relationship between public and private interest. Yet there is something else moving here as well, between the lines. One senses that Magrath is making an argument that public and private are mutually sustaining, not simply making an observation or crafting a public appeal. And one senses that Magrath fears he is losing his case. By now he’s read his share of exemption requests; he’s pleaded in vain with Confederate authorities; and he himself has fled Sherman’s marching columns, now cutting a swath into Columbia and Charleston.
It is a “natural desire” for men such as those with the Captain to want to “visit their homes and neighborhoods for a time”; perhaps allowing them leave to visit scenes of desolation and loss might actually inspire them to greater effort. But they also might not come back. --Dr. Paul Anderson, Clemson University
Circular letter from Governor Andrew G. Magrath. 23 February 1865. Series 513004. Governor Andrew Gordon Magrath, Letters received and sent, 1864-1865. South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.
Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction and South Carolina’s role in these events.
Indicator 3-4.4 Outline the course of the Civil War and South Carolina’s role in significant events, including the Secession Convention, the firing on Fort Sumter, the Union blockade of Charleston, and Sherman’s march through South Carolina.
Indicator 3-4.5 Summarize the effects of the Civil War on the daily lives of people of different classes in South Carolina, including the lack of food, clothing, and living essentials and the continuing racial tensions.
Indicator 3-4.6 Explain how the Civil War affected the South Carolina’s economy, including destruction of plantations, towns, factories, and transportation systems.
Standard 4-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the Civil War and its impact on America
Indicator 4-6.6 Explain the impact of the Civil War on the nation, including its effects on the physical environment and on the people—soldiers, women, African Americans, and the civilian population of the nation as a whole.
Standard 8-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Civil War—its causes and effects and the major events that occurred during that time.
Indicator 8-3.5 Compare the military strategies of the North and South with regard to specific events and geographic locations in South Carolina, including the capture of Port Royal, the Union blockade of Charleston, and Sherman’s march through the state.
Indicator 8-3.6 Compare the effects of the Civil War on the daily life in South Carolina, including the experiences of plantation owners, women, Confederate and Union soldiers, African Americans, and children.