Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Atlanta Garden #5: Crossed Square and Draft Dodging

Atlanta Garden #5: Crossed Square by Denniele Bohannon

Crossed Square can recall Georgians who crossed Confederate recruiters at every turn.

Samuel Pearce Richards (1824-1910)
Atlanta diarist Sam Richards, in his forties during the Civil War, hatched methodical plans to avoid serving in the Confederate Army. Once men his age were required to join, Richards bought a substitute.

 When enlisting a substitute was no longer a way out, he tried a couple of draft-exempt occupations.
 "The life of a soldier never had any charms for me, and a soldier’s death I do not covet." 
Union cartoon "Southern Volunteers" detail, 1862
Library of Congress

 Crossed Square by Jeanne Arnieri

Carrie's father Maxwell R. Berry avoided conscription himself. In a short autobiography published in the Pioneer Citizens' History of Atlanta, 1833-1902 he recalled:
"Being in impaired health and not feeling very beligerant [sic] or anxious to engage in the unpleasant pastime of killing Yankees, I sought...the position of Money Clerk in the Southern Express Company's office." 

The Southern Express was the Confederate parallel to the Adams Express (the national UPS of its day.)
 Adams Express office in the field.
They undoubtedly delivered many quilts to soldiers.

Apparently working in the Southern Express accounting department gave Maxwell a Confederate draft exemption.

 Crossed Square by Jeanne Arnieri who is doing 2 sets

Carrie's family used every means at their disposal to avoid conscription. Uncle William Markham's industry, the iron mill, provided an exemption for family members and workers on the payroll. Like Oskar Schindler's list during World War II, the list at the Rolling Mills sheltered employees.

These quasi-legal draft dodgers lived alongside many other Atlanta residents out of uniform, some deserters, some runaways avoiding small-town conscription. In the interests of morale perhaps The Southern Confederacy, an Atlanta newspaper, did not often mention the "skulkers who are hiding about her secret places, when they should be at the front face to face with the foe,"

Georgia Senator Rebecca Latimore Felton (1835-1930)
who served one day in the Senate in 1922.

In 1917 during another discussion over a wartime draft Rebecca Latimore Felton recalled earlier Southern resistance when "conscription was not popular...."

Atlanta Constitution
"Resistance became more determined, gangs of deserters grew larger."

 Crossed Square by Addie

One reason for desertion was the poverty the soldiers' service imposed on their families. Cyrena Stone of Atlanta described poor county women walking barefoot ten miles to Atlanta, clad in rags, looking for sewing work. "The dresses of these country women are sometimes made of flour sacks dyed with bark....They said their rich neighbors persuaded their husbands to volunteer in the first of the war, promising that their families would never suffer. But the promise was forgotten & the little sewing they could get hardly kept them alive."

 Crossed Square by Becky Collis

Carrie's father had a few close calls. After Sherman moved on to other parts of Georgia, Maxwell Berry was ordered to report to a court of some kind in Macon, threatened with impressment once again for collusion with the enemy, although the Confederate authorities let him return home in January 1865.

Carrie's Diary 1864

His younger brother Oscar S. Berry did join the Confederacy's 30th Regiment of the Georgia Infantry at war's beginning when he was 20. He was killed in September, 1864 in Alabama while Atlanta was under Union occupation. Niece Carrie did not mention his death in her diary.

Oscar's memorial is in Jonesboro, Georgia

Detail, "Southern Volunteers"

 Crossed Square by Becky Brown

The Block

The block is BlockBase #1904: Crossed Square from 
the Household Journal magazine with set-in seams. The pattern
shows an easier way to piece this variation on a log cabin type of block.

Above the cutting instructions for 10" and 15" blocks.

A rather random mix of shading and pattern in nine-patches, about 1910.

Perhaps based on this variation:
Nebraska Farmer 

Here's a fairly recent, full-size variation on a single block sold 
in an online auction a few years ago.

Read the 1902 Pioneer Citizens' History of Atlanta, 1833-1902
See page 275 for Madison [sic] Berry's biography.


Martha said...

The stark reality of economic class on military conscription has held through the millennia. Thank you for this illuminating history. And, I can't believe there was really someone named "General Pillow!"

Barbara Brackman said...

Good name for a fat cat.