"All's well"

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donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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"All's well" The hourly call of guards at night at many military prisons. The procedure was used primarily to inform their officers that they were awake at their posts. In the Confederacy's Pemberton Prison in Richmond, sentries called the hours by their post number, such as, "Post Number 1. Two o'clock. All's well."

From The Language of the Civil War by John D. Wright page 7.
 

James B White

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It was also the refrain of the well known hymn, and a soothing cry that many civilian townspeople remembered from the previous decades, when it was more common to have night watchmen call the hours in villages. I'm not sure how long the custom lingered and how common it still was in the 1860s. Here's an antebellum mention of it in Charleston SC, and it was such a familiar experience, with Biblical overtones, that it slipped into all kinds of metaphor, as in this sermon: "Three millions of [slaves'] voices send up their frantic shrieks, and despairing death groans from the southern prison-house of bondage, yet in careless indifference, the cry still rises, 'all is well!'"
 
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