It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of Times~April 1859~22nd to 30th

It Was the Best of Times; it Was the Worst of Times

Charles Dickens begins the publication, in serial form, of his Tale of Two Cities. Congressman Sickles literally gets away with murder. The Fugitive Slave Law keeps aggravating tensions between North and South. The threat of war in Europe among Catholic countries concerns the Pope. Travel on ocean or river can be fraught with danger.

April 22– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “What a humiliating spectacle is presented to the world in the trials now going on at Cleveland of your humane and Christian citizens. . . . What a work of moral regeneration yet remains to be done in Ohio, in Massachusetts, throughout the North, in opposition to slavery and slave-hunting! But this very prosecution will give a fresh impetus to our noble cause.” ~ Letter from William Lloyd Garrison to Professor James Monroe of Oberlin College about the trials of the Oberlin-Wellington rescuers.

Willim Lloyd Garrison

Willim Lloyd Garrison

April 23– Saturday– Ripley, Ohio– “The colored colony of Upper Canada have recently made a commendable movement, which promises to open for them a better prospect for the future. A convention, held at Chatham, has appointed a commission of five of its members to proceed to Africa immediately, with instructions to select a suitable site for the establishment of a new Industrial Colony, to which is proposed to remove the great body of the colored colony of Canada, as rapidly as possible.” ~ Ripley Bee.

April 23– Saturday– Paris, France– French troops begin to depart for Piedmont in anticipation of war with Austria.

April 23– Saturday– Milan, Lombardy, Italy– Austrian General Franz Gyulai, who commands the Austrian troops in this province, delivers an emphatic demand to Turin that the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia disarm within three days or face attack.

April 24– Sunday– near Island Sixty, the Mississippi River– The steamboat St. Nicholas, on its way from St. Louis, Missouri to New Orleans, Louisiana is passing about ten o’clock in the evening when its boilers explode and the vessel catches fire. About forty people are killed and many more are injured or burned and the steamboat is completely destroyed.

April 25– Monday– Washington, D. C.– After deliberating for seventy minutes, the jury in the Daniel Sickles’ murder trial announce their verdict of “not guilty” to cheers in the courtroom. [After a twenty-day trial, the popular Sickles is acquitted in what is generally regarded as the first temporary insanity defense in U.S. legal history.]

April 25– Monday– Chicago, Illinois– The Chicago City Railway Company opens its first line of horse-drawn trolley service, running from State Street as far as Twelfth Street.

April 25– Monday– near Louisville, Kentucky– Seven foot nine inch tall James D. Porter, known popularly as “the Kentucky Giant,” dies in his sleep at age 49. [Porter had been born in Portsmouth, Ohio but had lived most of his life in Kentucky. He had been of normal size as a child but shot up to his remarkable height after his seventeenth birthday. He opened and ran a coffee-house near Louisville on the Portland Canal. He became famous when Charles Dickens, during his visit to the United States, saw and wrote about him. He turned down all following offers of employment on the stage, including with P.T. Barnum, and dies quietly in his sleep at his home near his business.

April 25–Monday– near what will become the city of Port Said, Egypt–The French-owned Suez Canal Company breaks ground for construction of the canal to link the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

Suez Canal, 1881 drawing

Suez Canal, 1881 drawing

April 27– Wednesday– Newark, Ohio– “It is not generally known that, since the first day of the present month, it is a criminal offense, in Ohio, to carry concealed weapons, yet such is the fact. A law was passed by the Legislature, on the 29th of March, to take effect on the 1st of the present April, which provides ‘That whoever shall carry a weapon or weapons concealed on or about his person– such as a pistol, Bowie-knife, dirk, or any other dangerous weapon– shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction for the first offense, shall be fined not exceeding $200, or imprisoned in the county jail not more than thirty days; and for the second offense not exceeding $500, or imprisoned in the county jail not more than three months, or both, at the discretion of the court.” ~ Newark Advocate.

April 27– Wednesday– Rome, Italy– As war looms between Piedmont, Austria, and France, and with nationalist street demonstrations taking place all over Italy, Pope Pius IX issues an encyclical calling for public prayers for peace between Roman Catholic nations. “And so We exhort you [Catholic bishops], to stir the faithful committed to your vigilance in view of your outstanding piety, to turn to God in prayer, so that He might grant His deeply desired peace to all. For the same reason We have ordered that public prayers be offered by all within the Papal Territories to the most kind Father of Mercies. Following the illustrious example of Our predecessors, We have decided to have recourse to your prayers and those of the whole Church. And so We ask that you order public prayers in your dioceses as soon as possible. Having implored the patronage of Mary, may your faithful strenuously beseech our merciful God to turn his wrath from us and banish war to the very ends of the earth. By doing this, he may illuminate all minds by His divine grace and inflame all hearts with the love of Christian peace. He may insure that all may be rooted in faith and love. These then would diligently keep His holy Commandments and humbly beseech His forgiveness for their sins. Turning aside from evil and doing good, they would walk in the ways of justice, exercise mutual charity among themselves and obtain salutary peace with God, with themselves, and with all men.”

Pope Pius IX

Pope Pius IX

April 28– Thursday– Milwaukee, Wisconsin– “The Oberlin Women– God Bless Them. It is not perhaps generally known that a number of the wives of the indicted are sharing prison life with their husbands, refusing to accept private hospitality, but constantly cheering the inner walls of that frowning judicial fortress with their smiles and their words of cheer. . . . The jail room of Bushnell was guarded by bailiffs yesterday and last night, though the Marshal had had the test of every possible assurance that Mr. Bushnell had no desire to escape. Mrs. B. is permitted to share his imprisonment, which she does with a true woman’s devotion to one who is persecuted for no other crime but obeying the Golden Rule, of doing unto others as ye would that they should do unto you. Mrs. Peck, Mrs. Fitch, Mrs. Plumb, and other noble women of Oberlin, also cheer, by their presence, the prison life of the husbands, fathers and brothers, on whom the officials of the Federal Government are thus wreaking the vengeance of the ‘sum of all villainies.’”~ Milwaukee Sentinel, reporting on the status of the Oberlin-Wellington rescuers imprisoned in Cleveland, Ohio.

April 28– Thursday– New York City– “The President having found that it will be impossible for him to discharge his public duties in a satisfactory manner, unless he can devote to them a few hours in each day without interruption, we are therefore authorized to state that he will not receive visitors on any day until 1 o’clock P.M. After that hour he will be happy to see his fellow-citizen as usual.” ~ New York Times, reprinting a notice from the Washington Constitution.

April 28– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Senor Jose Marta Mata presents his credentials as ambassador from the Juarez Government of Mexico to President Buchanan.

April 28– Thursday– St Louis, Missouri– “A strike among the laborers in some of the brick yards, which has been in progress for several days, assumed a riotous character yesterday, and a considerable amount of property was destroyed. The police were called out, and after a slight skirmish, resulting in the wounding of several laborers and two policemen, the rioters were dispersed. This morning the men assembled again in large force, and assumed such a threatening attitude that the Mayor gave orders to the military to preserve the peace.” ~ report to the New York Times.

April 28– Thursday– seven miles off the coast near Ballyconigar, Ireland– The 1500 ton American ship Pomona, headed for New York in bad weather with a crew of 37 and 372 emigrants, hits the Blackwater Bank, a sand bank and becomes stuck fast. As the storm intensifies, all attempts to launch small boats fail. The severely damaged ship slips off the sand bank and sinks, killing 386 people. Twenty crewmen and three passengers survive when one boat manages to pull clear from the wreck. The captain and first mate go down with the ship.

figurehead of the Pomona

figurehead of the Pomona

April 29– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– In The Liberator William Lloyd Garrison takes note that during 1858, in Boston, there were nine colored men married to white women, the same number as in 1857. “There is not an instance reported of the marriage of a white man with a black woman.”

April 29– Friday– Brooklyn, New York– After five years of planning and construction, the city’s ambitious scheme of reservoirs, pipes, and water mains nears completion and the city organizes a big civic celebration.

April 29– Friday– Vienna, Austria– The Austrian Emperor Franz Josef publishes a declaration of war against the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and thereby unknowingly walks into a trap set by the secret arrangements between the French Emperor Napoleon III and Piedmont Prime Minister Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour.

April 30– Saturday– New York City– “The Southern journals are just beginning to realize the difficulty of enforcing a law which is directly contrary to the sentiment of the community in which it is to be executed. They have all along insisted upon enforcing the Fugitive Slave law in Northern States, and imposing Slavery upon the Territories without regard to the will of their inhabitants. They now find, however, that they can carry on the Slave-trade and rely upon their own juries for impunity; they are quite reconciled, therefore, to the embarrassments they labor under in the other matters. Interest weights more than argument in practical affairs.” ~ New York Times.

April 30– Saturday– Staunton, Virginia– “Your two letters came in my absence from home & since my return I have been so disturbed by this calamity which has befallen Stuart that I have had no thoughts of anything else. You have no doubt seen from the papers that Baldwin Stuart is dreadfully if not fatally injured by the Steamboat explosion near Memphis. He lives there now & his mother & father have by this time reached him. Our accounts of his condition are very meager but they are such as to excite the worst apprehensions, of hideous disfigurement or of death.” ~ Letter from John B. Baldwin to John H. McCue.

April 30– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “Allow me also to thank you as being one of the very few distinguished men, whose sympathy we in Illinois did receive last year, of all those whose sympathy we thought we had reason to expect. Of course I would have preferred success; but failing in that, I have no regrets for having rejected all advice to the contrary, and resolutely made the struggle. Had we thrown ourselves into the arms of Douglas, as re-electing him by our votes would have done, the Republican cause would have been annihilated in Illinois, and, as I think, demoralized, and prostrated everywhere for years, if not forever. As it is, in the language of Benton ‘we are clean’ and the Republican star gradually rises higher everywhere.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Salmon P Chase.

Charles Dickens, 1858

Charles Dickens, 1858

April 30– Saturday– London, England– Charles Dickens publishes the first chapter of The Tale of Two Cities in today’s edition of the London weekly magazine, All the Year Round, a new journal he has founded and controls. [The weekly installments will continue until November 26, 1859, when the great story of the French Revolution will conclude.]

Talk with You on Political Matters~April 1859~13th to 21st

Talk with You on Political Matters~ Thomas Pickett to Abraham Lincoln

Many people are looking ahead to the 1860 election. The trials of the Oberlin-Wellington rescuers continues. Public attention is focused on the Sickles case. A popular Frenchman dies. George Peabody makes a large donation. In India the English take a final measure of vengeance for the Indian mutiny.

The Sickles crime

The Sickles crime

April 13– Wednesday– Rock Island, Illinois– “At the request of several citizens of this place, I write to request that you will deliver your lecture on ‘Inventions’ in this city at such time as may suit your convenience. We think a full house would greet you. Please write and let me know whether it will be within your power to come. I would like to have a ‘talk’ with you on political matters – as to the policy of announcing your name for the Presidency – while you are in our city. My partner (C. W. Waite) and myself are about addressing the Republican editors of the State on the subject of a simultaneous announcement of your name for the Presidency.” ~ Letter from Thomas J. Pickett to Abraham Lincoln. [Lincoln holds a patent awarded in 1849 for an invention to lift boats and barges over shoals and obstructions in rivers and streams. As a lawyer representing railroads he constantly manifested great interest in technological advances. He remains the only U S President to hold a patent.]

April 14– Thursday– Mexico City, Mexico– The Conservative Government, locked in conflict with the Constitutional Government, led by Benito Juarez, in the ‘War of Reform,’ retaliates for the recognition extended by the United States to the Juarez government. The Conservative leaders, Felix Zuloaga and Miguel Miramon, order that all United States consulates in areas under their control be closed and they expel the American consul here.

April 14– Thursday– Woodstock, England– Don Antonio Arrom de Ayala, the Spanish consul to Australia, commits suicide in the Duke of Marlborough’s Blenheim Park. On his body investigators find a long letter addressed to the Duke apologizing for the intrusion. He wrote, “It may be a childish feeling but one cannot blow one’s brains out in a common road. . . . So I have not found another proper place to die decently than your handsome park, and you must bear the inconvenience of a dead man in your grounds. I mean no offense.”

April 15– Friday– Cleveland, Ohio– The ten day trial of Simeon Bushnell in federal court for his part in Oberlin-Wellington rescue ends today with a guilty verdict. The judge sentences him to sixty days in prison.

April 15– Friday– Shivpuri, India– The British military authorities begin the court-martial of Tatya Tope, one of the remaining leaders of the Indian Rebellion, whom they captured a week ago.

April 16– Saturday– Ripley, Ohio– “The signal discomfiture of Governor [Henry Alexander] Wise [of Virginia], in his efforts to supplant Mr. Hunter as United States Senator, was anything but a favorable augury of his Presidential prospects. But the desperation of the Black Democracy, and the utter hopelessness of the cause for 1860, with a Lecomptonite at their head, has gradually undermined their pride, and prepared them to overlook Mr. Wise’s past errors, for the sake of his supposed ‘availability.’ We have remarked numerous signs of Mr. Wise’s improving prospects, which he owes entirely to his opposition to the Lecompton fraud concocted by his own party friends. His star for the present at least, is in the ascendant, and we shall not be surprised if he should become the candidate of the party for the Presidency. The Southern wing of the party demand that the South shall have the next Presidential nomination, and Mr. Wise is the only prominent Anti Lecomptonite of the party south of Mason and Dixon’s line. Hence the necessity of forgiving his past [eccentricity], since that eccentricity can alone secure a Southern President.” ~ Ripley Bee. [Wise, a lawyer, age 52, has been governor since 1856. While an outspoken defender of slavery, he is seen as moderate on other issues, particularly religious toleration and, unlike some Southerners, opposes re-opening international slave trade. He will serve as a Confederate officer during the Civil War and will die September 12, 1876.]

George Peabody

George Peabody

April 16– Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland– George Peabody (1795-1869), an American businessman and financier, living in London, had made a gift of $1.5 million to found a music institute for his home city in 1857. The Peabody Institute was incorporated on March 9th, five weeks ago. Today the cornerstone is officially laid at the corner of Charles and Monument Streets in the city. [The building will not be completed until after the Civil War and will finally be dedicated on October 25, 1866. His gift would equal $41.3 million in today’s dollars using the Consumer Price Index.]

April 16– Saturday– Cannes, France– Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian and political analyst, dies of tuberculosis at age 53. In the United States the 1851 reprint of his Democracy in America remains popular in the North.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

April 17– Sunday– New York City– “The Sickles Case. The second week of this very important trial is over, and there is still no immediate prospect of its conclusion. When the cause was commenced there was a general impression that its hearing would be concluded in a week or ten days, and that it was pre-judged to a great extent. But we find, on the contrary, that every step is closely contested by counsel on both sides. Indeed, so strong is the personal feeling, that counsel of proverbial coolness have lost their tempers and engaged in bitter wordy wars, hardly suited, as the Court remarked, to the dignity of the profession. It must be remembered, however, that the case is rather a remarkable one in its personal aspect. A new District Attorney is trying a lawyer for killing another lawyer, and he the predecessor of the prosecutor. The Washington lawyers are straining every nerve to justify the memory of their former confrere; while the New York lawyers are the intimate personal friends of the prisoner at the bar. So, for the last three or four days, the trial has been one of skill between the lawyers, while the Court, jury, prisoner, and, indeed, the country at large, look on the proceedings as the audience in a gymnasium might regard a lengthened contest between eminent masters of the fence. From the questions of law and fact already raised the case has assumed an aspect of the deepest importance. It is so regarded throughout the Union, and both lawyers and layman are deeply interested in the precedents which it will establish. We should not be surprised to see new evidence introduced and new issues raised; so that the trial might last two weeks longer.” ~ New York Herald.

April 17– Sunday– Panama City, [then part of Columbia, now] Panama– In the midst of Palm Sunday celebrations an argument between white and black youths escalates into a full scale riot with troops called out. An exchange of gunfire kills the commander of the soldiers and the situation becomes tense. The U.S. consul, concerned about American property and civilians in transit across the Isthmus of Panama, signals U.S. Navy vessels in the harbor and eight hundred sailors and marines are speedily dispatched to the port. The rioting dissipates and the sailors and marines are back on their ships before midnight.

April 18– Monday– Cleveland, Ohio– The trial of Charles Langston, a black man, begins in federal court for his part in the Oberlin-Wellington rescue, in violation of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Attorneys Rufus Spalding and Albert Riddle prevail in demanding the selection of a new jury rather than use of the same jury as in Bushnell’s trial. Jury selection is completed by only by 4 o’clock in the afternoon. This is part of the defense strategy to drag out the proceedings and increase coats to the government. In the meantime Anderson Jennings and Richard Mitchell, the Kentucky men who claimed ownership of the fugitive slave, continue to be held in protective custody to keep them safe from the wrath of abolitionists who appear to be shadowing them and from the sheriff of Lorain County, Ohio, who has warrants for their arrest on kidnaping charges under Ohio law.

 

the Oberlin Rescuers in front of the jail, Cleveland, Ohio, April 1859

the Oberlin Rescuers in front of the jail, Cleveland, Ohio, April 1859

April 18– Monday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The Texas papers give particulars of the proceedings of several meetings recently held . . . for the purpose of taking measures to expel members of the Methodist Church North, who are accused of being abolitionists. At one meeting a committee of fifty was appointed to wait on Bishop Jayne with a warning. They performed their duty on a Sunday, while the Bishop was engaged in the morning service in the church. It was also resolved that the Methodist Church North could not be tolerated in Texas, and that it must be put down if necessary. A committee was appointed to draft other resolutions to be acted upon at an adjourned meeting.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

April 19– Wednesday– Shivpuri, India– The British military authorities hang Tatya Tope, one of the last leaders of the Indian Rebellion, whom they captured on the 8th April.

April 20– Wednesday– New York City– Bayard Taylor, age 34, whose name is a household word in the United States thanks to his six volumes of accounts of his travels in Africa, the Middle and Far East, and the American West, today announces that he will now write for the weekly New York Sunday Mercury, which has gained fame for its regular coverage of the sport of baseball since 1853. The news creates a sensation in the press across the country and is an impressive advertising coup for both the circulation of the Mercury and the sale of Taylor’s book sales. [Taylor will continue to gain in reputation, publish several novels and more books of travel and poetry, translate Goethe’s Faust into English, teach at Cornell and serve the Union cause in various ways during the Civil War. He dies December 19, 1878.]

 

Bayard Taylor

Bayard Taylor

April 20– Wednesday– New York City– “Some of the regular democratic organs are questioning Judge Douglas, Chevalier Forney and their anti-Lecompton ‘popular sovereignty’ newspapers, whether they do or do not intend to abide by the nomination and the platform of the Charleston Convention? All such questions, we presume, will be answered in the Convention, and not before. We suspect, too, that the upshot of the Convention will be the final dispersion of the democracy,

and two or three scrub tickets; for it is manifest that the fixed policy of every prominent clique of the party jugglers for the succession is rule or ruin.” ~ New York Herald on the upcoming 1860 national convention of the Democratic Party in Charleston, South Carolina, and whether debate about Kansas as a free or a slave state will divide the party.

April 21– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– “The New York Tribune, in publishing letters from prominent Republicans who replied to invitations to attend the Jefferson Birthday Celebration in Boston, omits the letter of Honorable Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois. Whether the Republicanism to which that gentleman gives utterance is unsuited to the appetite of that disorganizing sheet, or whether it disliked to contrast his sentiments with its recent support of Douglas, we do not care to inquire. Sufficient for us is the omission– a part and parcel of which the Tribune has pursued toward one of the ablest and purest Republicans in the Union, since he dared to oppose the nominee of that sheet for United States Senator from Illinois. We state the fact only; we do not complain.” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune. [Horace Greeley, founding editor of the New York Tribune, had backed Senator Douglas for re-election in order to split the Democratic Party by pitting Douglas against the Southern wing of the party and weaken it in the upcoming 1860 presidential election.]

Minute Mass of Proof~April 1864~21st to 23rd

Minute Mass of Proof ~New York Times

More and more becomes known about the Fort Pillow massacre. The Sanitary Fair in New York City raises a small fortune for the work of the Commission. Walt Whitman continues to receive support for his work with the sick and wounded. A Yankee woman serving as a doctor causes a stir in Richmond because– gasp!– she wears pants just like a man! A young Southern woman is threatened with arrest for aiding the rebels. The United States signs a treaty with some Native Americans but will never keep the promises. Soldiers write home. The world continues turning.

seal of Sanitary commission

April 21– Thursday– Salem, Massachusetts– “I have been very much interested in your hospital work, of which I have heard through my brother, Dr. Russell of Boston. I inclose seventy-five dollars, which I have collected among a few friends in Salem, and which I hope may be of some little service to our brave boys, who surely should not suffer while we have the power to help them. You have our warmest sympathy in your generous work, and though sad to witness so much suffering, it is indeed a privilege to be able to do something to alleviate it. I hope to be able to send you an addition to this contribution, and thought of waiting for a larger sum, but I see that you are having numbers of sick sent in to Washington daily, so you will be in immediate want of money.” ~ Letter from Lucia Jane Russell Briggs, the wife of the pastor of the First Parish Church, to Walt Whitman. [Her $75 would equal $1150 in today’s money, using the Consumer Price Index.]

April 21– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “There was a pleasant party at our house last evening, with an attendance of about three hundred. All passed off pleasantly, and all who expressed themselves seemed much gratified, as we were. It is spoken of as one of the most agreeable parties of the season.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

April 21– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– The Senate ratifies a treaty between the United States and Red Lake and Pembina bands of Chippewa Indians. In key parts the treaty provides that in return for the ceding of valuable lands in Minnesota and in lieu of previously agreed annuities, the “United States will also expend annually, for the period of fifteen years, for the Red Lake band of Chippewas, for the purpose of supplying them with gilling-twine, cotton mater, calico, linsey, blankets, sheeting, flannels, provisions, farming-tools, and for such other useful articles, and for such other useful purposes as may be deemed for their best interests, the sum of eight thousand dollars: and will expend in like manner, and for a like period, and for like purposes, for the Pembina band of Chippewas, the sum of four thousand dollars. . . . [and] to furnish said bands of Indians, for the period of fifteen years, one blacksmith, one physician, one miller, and one farmer; and will also furnish them annually, during the same period, with fifteen hundred dollars worth of iron, steel, and other articles for blacksmithing purposes, and one thousand dollars for carpentering, and other purposes.” [The United States will default on all of these provisions.]

April 21– Thursday– Morton Hall, Virginia– “Every thing seems to work well this & by God’s blessing I think it will be to us the most successful year of the war – Every thing here is very quiet but the storm may come at any time. I think we are ready for it & that we shall succeed. Everything here is as quiet as the country away from the army – we only see the soldiers now & then as they go to or return from picket. The General intends to go into camp in a day or so, so that we may get used to it. The grass is very nice & green here & our horses are doing well – if we can stay here a short time they will improve much. The Chief Commissary sent us some fine fish today – I wish I could send mine up to you – they issue good rations to our troops, better than ever before – but corn meal is the only bread stuff they issue now.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife, Sara.

April 21– Thursday– Memphis, Tennessee– “I went round according to appointment, met Captain Woodward at 11 o’clock. Colonel Patterson went with me. Captain Woodward had not seen the Provost Marshall, he went as soon as I left, came round to Mrs. Facklen’s after dinner, and brought bad news. . . . he could not treat me as the order read– it was issued from old [Union General] Hurlbut, I was to be arrested and carried to Alton [Ohio] on first Boat that passed– for carrying letters through the lines, and smuggling, and aiding the Rebellion in every way in my power– he sent me word I must not think of attending Jennie Eave’s wedding, or go out of doors at all, he would be compelled to arrest me if it came to him Officially, but as my Father was a Royal Arch Mason, and [he] a Mason, he would take no steps, if I would be quiet.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

April 21– Thursday– Camden County, Georgia– “Mrs Linn and baby thrive well. She has nothing to live on but corn meal and rice; but she is very uncomplaining and bears all patiently. We are making inquiries of all we see if there is anything in the shape of edibles to be found in the county; but nobody knows of anything– not a point! The pickets are living on field peas and rice, and the animals are suffering. There is money enough and nothing to buy.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 21– Thursday– off the coast of Velasco, Texas– The British ship Laura, trying to run the blockade, is seized by a Union warship.

April 21– Thursday– Tunica Bend, Louisiana; Cotton Plant, Arkansas; Harrison’s Gap, Alabama; Masonborough Inlet, North Carolina; Cane Patch, South Carolina– Hit-and-run fights, raids and bloody affairs.

April 21–Thursday– Erfurt, Germany– Birth of Max Weber, sociologist, philosopher and political economist. [Dies June 14, 1920.]

 

Max Weber at age 30

Max Weber at age 30

April 22– Friday– New York City– “The massacre stands without a parallel – words can give no adequate idea of the blood and destruction. Evermore the place will be held in horror and known as the spot where the blackest deed of the war recorded itself.” ~ New York Times comments about Fort Pillow.

April 22– Friday– Dayton, Ohio– John Dobbins, a deserter from the Union Army, is hanged for murdering a Mr Lindenwood during a drunken brawl in February of 1863. “One of the clergymen present then offered up a prayer, after which Dobbins arose and repeated some original lines of poetry, commencing ‘Adieu to all, of high or low degree,’ when the Sheriff adjusted the noose about his neck. He was perfectly calm; he assisted the Sheriff in the adjustment of the rope by moving his head, so as to accommodate the noose; and he several times cautioned the officers to ‘be sure that the rope was fixed right, so as to do the deed quickly.’ These were his last words, and he shook hands with the Sheriff, who stepped from the fatal platform. The next instant, at precisely 10 1/2 o’clock, the trap sunk, and Dobbins passed into eternity. The dreadful work had been done most thoroughly.” ~ as reported in the New York Times on April 24.

April 22– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “The female Yankee surgeon captured by our pickets a short time since, in the neighborhood of the army of Tennessee, was received in this city yesterday evening, and sent to the Castle in charge of a detective. Her appearance on the street in full male costume, with the exception of a gypsy hat, created quite an excitement amongst the idle Negroes and boys who followed and surrounded her. She gave her name as Dr. Mary E. Walker, and declared that she had been captured on neutral ground. She was dressed in black pants and black or dark talma or paletot. She was consigned to the female ward of Castle Thunder, there being no accommodations at the Libby for prisoners of her sex. We must not omit to add that she is ugly and skinny, and apparently above thirty years of age.” ~ Richmond Sentinel. [Walker (1832-1919), a trained and advanced thinking physician, wore a modified officer’s uniform because of the demands of traveling with soldiers and working in field hospitals, but kept her hair long so that people would know she was a woman. She carried two pistols at all times and occasionally smoked a cigar as did Generals Grant and Sherman. Upon their recommendation she will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. See Dr Mary Walker: The Little Lady in Pants by Charles McCool Snyder (1962).]

 

Dr Mary E Walker wearing her Medal of Honor

Dr Mary E Walker wearing her Medal of Honor

April 22– Friday– Orange County, Virginia– “Mag, you’ve spoiled me writing to me so often, and if you don’t continue I am afraid I will go craving you to please write to me oftener, for awhile, at least until the coming campaign commences. I wish I could write you an entire letter without a single reference to military affairs; but being directly in the war, how can I do otherwise? The day appointed by President Davis and recommended by our beloved commander, General Lee, for fasting and prayer, was, I am proud to say, properly observed in our brigade. Prayer meeting was held twice, and two excellent sermons delivered on that day. Since that time I have seen Mr. Hyman, a Baptist minister of Thomas Georgia Brigade, baptize and receive into the Baptist church, nine of our best soldiers. On the night of the same day, quite a number were sprinkled into the Methodist Church. We were to be reinforced from some point. Subsequent events have proven that we were right in our conjectures. From all accounts Longstreet’s corps is undoubtedly at Charlottesville, about twenty-five miles from this place. There is no doubt now that our brigade will in a few days be reinforced by the addition of the sixty third Georgia Regiment, for some time stationed in Savannah, and the tenth Georgia Battalion.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee.

April 22– Friday– Camden County, Georgia– “There is a better state of things today. Kate has sent us a nice piece of beef and Mrs. Linn a piece also. The cows are now coming in and we shall fare very well with milk.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

 April 22– Friday– Wortley, England– Birth of Phil May, one of the finest cartoonist and caricature artists of the nineteenth century. [Dies August 5, 1903.]

 

Phil May~self portrait

Phil May~self portrait

April 23– Saturday– New York City– “There is now an overwhelming and painfully minute mass of proof of the truth of the first reports of the rebel massacre of our troops, black and white, at Fort Pillow. We have had, and have given, the evidence of eye-witnesses, the evidence of victims offered in their last moments, the evidence of persons who visited the scene of the butchery immediately after it, and we have had other evidence not less conclusive, such as the arrival at Cairo of some of the bodies, which bore upon them marks of the worst barbarities charged against the rebels. It now only requires the official statement of the officers appointed to investigate the matter, to furnish irrefragable proof for history. It was super-serviceable labor on the part of any one to deny the massacre, in behalf of the rebels. Jeff Davis officially proclaimed this to be his policy, and he was backed up in his ferocious proclamation by the whole rebel press. To deny that the rebels would carry out their measure is preposterous to the perception of all of us who know that, atrocious as rebel threats have been, their deeds have always been more bloody than their threats.” ~ New York Times.

 

activity at the New York Sanitary Fair

activity at the New York Sanitary Fair

April 23– Saturday– New York City– The Sanitary Fair closes today, bringing in close to $1,000,000 for the work of the U S Sanitary Commission.

Preparations for the Spring Campaign~April 1864~18th to 20th

Preparations for the Spring Campaign ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes ans Walt Whitman are impressed with General Grant. Federal officials conduct an investigation of the Fort Pillow massacre. A similar incident occurs at Poison Springs, Arkansas where Confederates kill and mutilate black Union soldiers. Confederate General Chalmers brags about teaching a lesson to “the mongrel garrison” at Fort Pillow. Women–north and south–do what they can for their side. Religious enthusiasm abounds among soldiers. In Europe the Danes and the Germans go at each other.

April 18– Monday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “The 6th Corps was reviewed by Lieutenant General U S Grant, and the display was fine and the weather delightful. . . . General Grant is a short thick set man and rode his horse like a bag of meal. I was a little disappointed in the appearance but I like the look of his eye. He was more plainly dressed than any other General on the field. . . . I had the pleasure of saluting for the first time the Lieutenant General and received his acknowledgment. We are making our preparations for the spring campaign which cannot be delayed much longer.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

General Grant

General Grant

April 18– Monday– Cairo, Illinois– “Their demand of the flag of truce having been refused, the order was given by General Forrest in person to charge upon the works and show no quarter. Half an hour after the issuance of this order a scene of terror and massacre ensued. The rebels came pouring in solid masses right over the breast-works. . . . We saw several Negroes burning up in their quarters on Wednesday morning [April 13th]. We also saw the rebels come back that morning and shoot at the wounded. We also saw them at a distance running about, hunting up wounded, that they might shoot them. There were some whites also burning. The rebels also went to the Negro hospital, where about 30 sick were kept, and butchered them with their sabers, hacking their heads open in many instances, and then set fire to the buildings. They killed every Negro soldier Wednesday morning upon whom they came. Those who were able they made stand up to be shot. In one case a white soldier was found wounded. He had been lying upon the ground nearly twenty-four hours, without food or drink. He asked a rebel soldier to give him something to drink. The latter turned about upon his heel and fired three deliberate shots at him, saying, ‘Take that, you Negro equality.’ The poor fellow is alive yet, and in the hospital. He can tell the tale for himself. They ran a great many into the river, and shot them or drowned them there. They immediately killed all the officers who were over the Negro troops, excepting one, who has since died from his wounds. . . . Major Anderson, Forrest’s assistant adjutant-general, stated that they did not consider colored men as soldiers, but as property, and as such, being used by our people, they had destroyed them. This was concurred in by Forrest, Chalmers, and McCulloch, and other officers.” ~ Report by Union Lieutenants Francis Smith and William Cleary.

April 18– Monday– Poison Spring, Arkansas– Confederate forces attack a Federal supply train, guarded by black troops, which has been foraging for corn. The out-numbered Union troops are finally overwhelmed after repelling two attacks. Total Federal casualties are 301, dead, wounded and missing, of whom 182 are black soldiers from the First Kansas Colored. Confederate losses amount to 94. The Southerners take no black soldiers as prisoners. Wounded black soldiers are killed and the dead are scalped and stripped by the rebels.

Poison Spring

April 18– Monday– Camden County, Georgia– “We were called about 3 o’clock this morning to Mrs. Linn. We hurried down but found the boy there before us. Old Nelly [a midwife, probably a slave] was officiating. It is a nice fat baby. The people here are quite like the Israelitish women. They hardly give a baby time to turn about. This is the fourth baby that we have waited on since the war broke out. Our mulatto– Josy– is the prettiest baby of the [other] three– he is a handsome, cunning little fellow. Clarence claims him as his. . . . Went over to Kate’s in the afternoon. She gave us a basket of radishes, and a basket of flower roots. . . . Yesterday Mr. Fisher succeeded in driving up three cows which gives us about two quarts of milk per day. We can now wet our rice and hominy and although it does not taste much like milk, it is a valuable acquisition. We fare well.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 18– Monday– Plymouth, North Carolina; Decatur, Alabama; Citrus Point, Virginia; Hunnewell, Missouri– Altercations, showdowns, and melees.

April 18– Monday– Dybbol Mill, Denmark– In what turns out to be the decisive battle of the war, a large German force defeats the Danes. Danish casualties– dead, wounded and missing– total 4,834. Total German casualties amount to 1201. This is the first battle monitored by delegates of the Red Cross, namely, Louis Appia and Charles van de Velde.

Battle of Dybbol Mill

Battle of Dybbol Mill

April 19– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The President did not make his appearance to-day in Cabinet. He was in Baltimore last evening at the opening of the fair, and is reported to have made a speech. He has a fondness for attending these shows only surpassed by Seward. Neither Seward, nor Blair, nor Chase was present with us to-day. Blair was with the President at Baltimore. Being a Marylander, there was propriety in his attendance.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

April 19– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Well, Mother, we have commenced on another summer, & what it will bring forth who can tell? The campaign of this summer is expected here to be more active & severe than any yet. As I told you in a former letter Grant is determined to bend every thing to take Richmond & break up the banditti of scoundrels that have stuck themselves up there as a ‘government’– he is in earnest about it, his whole soul & all his thoughts night & day are upon it– he is probably the most in earnest of any man in command or in the government either– that’s something, ain’t it, Mother? & they are bending every thing to fight for their last chance; calling in their forces from southwest &c.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

April 19– Tuesday– Orange County, Virginia– “We are now with General Lee’s army in Virginia, got here yesterday and I guess will stay here until the great battle of the war. The Yankees are concentrating a large force here now, so are we. I think we are going to have worse fighting here this spring than we have ever had. I hope to come out safe and get home to those I love. I am very glad to get back to Virginia and hope we will stay here as long as the war lasts. Our people are making great preparations for a siege at Richmond. I don’t want to be in the siege, it will be so sickly if we are surrounded and hemmed up in there and then if the Yankees get us in and surround us then I can not write to my dear Molly, but I don’t think they will ever get us surrounded. They will have some hard fighting to do first.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W R Stilwell to his wife Molly.

April 19– Tuesday– off the coast of Velasco, Texas– The British ship Fanny, trying to run the blockade, is seized by a Union vessel.

April 19– Tuesday– Plymouth, North Carolina; Leesburg, Virginia; Marling’s Bottom, West Virginia; King’s River, Arkansas; Boiling Springs, Tennessee; Marion County, Alabama; Charleston, Missouri; Waterhouse’s Mill, Tennessee; along the Yazoo River, Mississippi– Altercations, fire fights, raids, confrontations of varying degrees, all presaging the coming bloodshed of the summer campaigns and most all of it in the states of Confederacy.

April 20– Wednesday– New York City– Today’s New York Times carries a lengthy article about the massacre at Fort Pillow.

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

April 20–Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– The War Department announces a reduction in the amount of rations to be received by Confederate prisoners in response to reports of Confederate mistreatment of Union prisoners.

April 20– Wednesday– Camp Randolph, Virginia– “There is preaching nearly every day or night as it suits. The preaching is pretty well attended and pretty good attendance is had during the services. The weather for the past week has been very fine but it has gotten colder the last day or two and to day looks as if we would have snow I do not think there will be much fruit this year especially in the part of the country as it has been so cool that I think it would all be killed. Our sharp Shooters are now out practicing firing at a target which reminds us very much of the commencement of a battle but it is to be hoped that we are not to have many more battles to fight as from late northern news they are more unsettled now than they have been for some time past. General Grant seems to be making great preparation for an active campaign but some persons think it is only done for a show.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Thomas M Smiley to his aunt.

April 20– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Private John Kennedy . . . returned here wounded last Thursday. . . . He, unable to move around on account of his wound, was tied up to a tree and lashed with a gun-sling. He saw the rebels kill several (to him unknown) colored soldiers after the surrender. Some of them were shot, others knocked on their heads with muskets until they died. Some few of the rebel officers and men objected to these cruelties and outrages, but could not prevent it. He says he saw several wounded, but does not know more than one of my men killed during the fight. Mr. A. Alexander, a citizen of Memphis and sutler in my battery, was bravely fighting the rebels notwithstanding his age (over 50 years). He is reported to have been killed during the fight and afterward seen dead, still holding in his hand the musket he used so well. He leaves a destitute widow with two small children. He was a poor, but honest man.” ~ Official report of Captain Carl A. Lamberg, Battery D, Second U.S. Colored Light Artillery.

April 20– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Tate and I arrived in Memphis quite early, put the horse up, then walked up street together, met Nannie and Anna Perkins. . . . went . . . to see Captain Woodward, to know what I must do in regard to an order which I heard was issued for my arrest— he advised me to keep very quiet until he could see the Provost Marshall and learn something in regard to it. I came to Mrs. Facklens, although she has a house full of Yankees boarding with her– they seem to be very gentlemanly, Dr. Irwin and Dr. Sommers, the latter has his family, Wife and two children– We spent a pleasant evening at Chess &c. Mrs. Facklen has been very fortunate in her selection of boarders.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

April 20– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Miss Ada M, the Matron of the Refugee Home, was in our room this eve, and said that she was yesterday preparing some sewing for some young Misses, who were conversing earnestly about the Yankees. Finding their ideas rather erroneous with regard to that class of people, she made a remark to the effect that she was one herself. ‘Why, you ain’t a Yankee?’ exclaimed a Miss of fifteen dropping her work in bland astonishment. ‘Yes, indeed, I am,’ was the reply. ‘Why,’ said the girl, with remarkably large eyes, ‘I’ve allays hearn tell that the Yankees has horns, and one eye in the middle of their foreheads!’” ~ Journal of Elvira Powers.

April 20– Wednesday– Oxford, Mississippi– “The lion-hearted McCulloch, with his ‘fighting brigade’ of Missourians, Texans, and Mississippians, nobly assisted by Colonel Bell, with his gallant brigade of Tennesseeans . . . stormed the works at Fort Pillow. . . and taught the mongrel garrison of blacks and renegades a lesson long to be remembered. While we rejoice over our victories, let us not forget the few gallant spirits who yielded up their lives to their country, and fell as brave men love to fall, ‘with their backs to the field and their feet to the foe.’”~ Speech by Confederate General James Chalmers to his troops.

Harper's Weekly cartoon depicts Confederate atrocities

Harper’s Weekly cartoon depicts Confederate atrocities

April 20– Wednesday– Dalton, Georgia– As part of the religious revival sweeping through the Confederate armies, Bishop Stephen D Elliott of the Episcopal Church administers confirmation to four Confederate generals.

A Rebuke to Reappearing Tyranny~April 1859~1st to 12th

A Rebuke to Reappearing Tyranny ~ Abraham Lincoln

Attorney Lincoln, his eyes on the 1860 presidential election, sends his regrets to Boston for not attending the Jefferson Day dinner. Other signs of the issues dividing the nation appear like spring flowers. Radical John Brown is raising funds. An alleged fugitive slave is arrested in Pennsylvania and found not to have been a slave, much to the disgust of Southerners. In Ohio the first of the Oberlin-Wellington rescuers goes on trial. Some Northern newspapers lambast Southern dominance of the Democratic Party. War brews in Europe. The United States extends diplomatic recognition to liberal reformers in Mexico. British forces capture a rebel leader in India. The world turns.

April1– Friday– Concord, Massachusetts– John Brown gives a public speech in the Town Hall as part of his campaign to raise financial support for his antislavery work but gives no public hint of his plans to start a slave revolt.

John Brown

John Brown

April 1– Friday– Frederick, Maryland– “As for yourself Dear Edward let me say, that before you enter upon the public service of your country, I long to see you enlisted in the service of Him, by ‘whom Kings reign & princes rule.’ This is the best preparation for such a trying, responsible work. A letter from Lizzie just after yours, told us of your visit to them, & how much gratified they were. I am very sorry you had so much trouble to find them.” ~ Letter from a female friend to Edward McPherson of Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

April 1– Friday– southeastern coast of Spain– The Count de Montemolin, a claimant to the Spanish throne of Queen Isabella II, lands with 3,600 soldiers and begins a march toward the city of Valencia. [Unfortunately for the Count, neither he nor any of his staff had told the soldiers of their mission and when they discover its purpose they will immediately declare themselves loyal subjects of the Queen and arrest their leaders, including the Count. Isabella, age 28, will show mercy and deport her cousin, the Count.]

April 1– Friday– South Indian Ocean– The Indian Ocean, an Australian clipper ship carrying gold and passengers from Melbourne, Australia, to Liverpool, England, hits an iceberg, losing two of her masts. The captain and a dozen members of the crew abandon ship and take to the lifeboats but the second officer and the remainder of the crew refuse to give up the ship. [More than five weeks later, the vessel, the second officer, his loyal crew, his forty passengers and 25,070 ounces of gold will arrive safely at the port of Valparaiso, Chile. The men who took to the boats will never be seen or heard of again and presumed lost at sea.]

April 2– Saturday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– At the Saturday morning market a U.S. Marshal arrests Daniel Dangerfield, claiming that he is a fugitive slave escaped from the ownership of Elizabeth Simpson of Athensville, Virginia. News of the arrest spreads quickly through the town and marshals send him to Philadelphia this evening to avoid demonstrations or attempts to free him. In Philadelphia he immediately appears before the Fugitive Slave Commissioner who holds the case over until Monday.

April 4– Monday– New York City– In the finale of their performance at Mechanics Hall Bryant’s Minstrels, a group of white singers who perform in blackface, debut a song called “Dixie” by Daniel Emmett (1815-1904), a Northerner, born in Ohio. [He had written the song some weeks earlier. It becomes an instant hit and Emmett will soon sell the rights to the song for $500, which would equal $14,500 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

Daniel Emmett performing in blackface, c.1860

Daniel Emmett performing in blackface, c.1860

 

April 4– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Proceedings begin in the matter of the alleged fugitive slave Daniel Dangerfield. A crowd numbering in the thousands gathers outside the court. In the courtroom, spectators include Lucretia Mott and Passmore Williamson. George Earle and J Miller McKim defend Dangerfield, arguing that this is a case of mistaken identity.

April 4– Monday– Washington D.C.– The trial of New York Congressman Daniel Sickles for the murder of District Attorney Philip Barton Key opens in the Washington court of Judge T. H. Crawford. Sickles’ defense team includes Attorney James T. Brady of New York and Attorney Edwin Stanton, originally from Ohio, who has practiced in Washington since 1856. [Brady, age 44, is an extremely successful lawyer who in criminal cases has won acquittals for over 40 clients and had only 1 convicted. Stanton, age 44, will serve as Lincoln’s Secretary of War.]

April 5– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The state legislature passes a law requiring milk inspections throughout the state by appointed milk inspectors to enforce the nation’s first such action.

April 5– Tuesday– Cleveland, Ohio– The trial of Simeon Bushnell, a white man, opens in federal court. He is on trial for violating the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 by helping escaped slave John Price escape from his captors in Wellington, Ohio the previous September. [Price, also known as Little John, was being returned to slavery in Kentucky but a group of students and faculty from Oberlin College, together with local citizens, had acted before he could be put on the train at Wellington. Price was freed, hidden, and helped in his successful flight to Canada. A federal grand jury indicted 37 people for breaches of the Fugitive Slave Law, including John Mercer Langston, and his brother Charles, both black graduates of Oberlin. All the defendants have refused to post bail, thus imposing expense and inconvenience on the United States and generating increasing public sympathy. Also, Bushnell and Langston have managed to have kidnaping charges filed in an Ohio court against the four men who snatched John Price. See, History of the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue by Jacob R Shipherd (1859; reprint 1969) and The Town That Started the Civil War by Nat Brandt (1990).]

the Oberlin Rescuers in front of the jail, Cleveland, Ohio, April 1859

the Oberlin Rescuers in front of the jail, Cleveland, Ohio, April 1859

April 6– Wednesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Fugitive Slave Commissioner finds that Daniel Dangerfield is not an escaped slave and releases him to return to Harrisburg. Before he leaves a jubilant anti-slavery crowd parades Dangerfield around the city in triumph, much to the disgust of Southern observers and newspapers.

April 6– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– “Your kind note inviting me to attend a festival in Boston, on the 28th instant, in honor of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, was duly received. My engagements are such that I cannot attend. Bearing in mind that about seventy years ago two great political parties were first formed in this country, that Thomas Jefferson was the head of one of them and Boston the headquarters of the other, it is both curious and interesting that those supposed to descend politically from the party opposed to Jefferson should now be celebrating his birthday in their own original seat of empire, while those claiming political descent from him have nearly ceased to breathe his name everywhere. Remembering, too, that the Jefferson party was formed upon its supposed superior devotion to the personal rights of men, holding the rights of property to be secondary only, and greatly inferior, and assuming that the so-called Democracy of to-day are the Jefferson, and their opponents the anti-Jefferson, party, it will be equally interesting to note how completely the two have changed hands as to the principle upon which they were originally supposed to be divided. The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man’s right of property; Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar. I remember being once much amused at seeing two partially intoxicated men engaged in a fight with their great-coats on, which fight, after a long and rather harmless contest, ended in each having fought himself out of his own coat and into that of the other. If the two leading parties of this day are really identical with the two in the days of Jefferson and Adams, they have performed the same feat as the two drunken men. . . . All honor to Jefferson to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a mere revolutionary document an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there that to-day and in all coming days it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to H. L. Pierce and others.

Abraham Lincoln, attorney-at-law

Abraham Lincoln, attorney-at-law

April 6– Wednesday– near Neath, South Wales, Great Britain– At the Mair Colliery, the working of a new shaft breaches a wall that releases into the mine several hundred thousand gallons of water accumulated from old workings over the years. With the whole mine flooding rapidly, frantic efforts are made to bring the eighty-one workers and their pit-ponies to the surface. Fifty-five men and two ponies escape; however, twenty-six other men and all the other animals drown.

April 7– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– “The proverb which says that It never Rains but it Pours, was never more strikingly illustrated than on Monday and Tuesday last, when the Republican victories in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Springfield, and the State of Connecticut, came crowding each other over the wires. The example of New Hampshire seems to have infected the whole country. . . . The whole hocus pocus of the Democratic platform has come down in a heap– Popular Sovereignty, Dred Scott, Cuba Stealing, Slave Trade, and the whole fabric of fraud and falsehood. To every sagacious observer of political events and the current popular opinion, it must be evident that nothing but the grossest incapacity and mismanagement can prevent a Republican triumph in the nation in 1860. The campaign has in one sense already begun. Each general election is looked upon as indicative of the result of the great battle next year, and the contestants everywhere make their appeals on the basis of that strife. To this point in the latter half of Mr. Buchanan’s term, the success of the Republican cause has been complete and uninterrupted. Whatever may be predicted upon present majorities, coupled with thorough organization and a righteous cause, may be set down to the account of Republicanism in the approaching Presidential contest. Who does not say that Freedom shall achieve a conclusive triumph in 1860?” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

April 7– Thursday– Vera Cruz, Mexico– Robert Milligan McLane presents his credentials to Benito Juarez thereby conferring United States recognition upon the Liberal government, much to the chagrin of the Conservatives under General Miramon.

April 8– Friday– Probnitz, Moravia– Birth of Edmund Husserl, philosopher and founder of the school of philosophy known as phenomenology. [Dies April 27, 1938.]

Edmund Husserl, in 1900

Edmund Husserl, in 1900

April 8– Friday– Paron forest, north central India– After more than a year of effort and aided by an informer turncoat, the British capture Tatya Tope. [Ram Chandra Pandurang Tope, age 45, better known to his enemies as Tatya Tope, or Tantia Topee, was a civilian adviser to Nana Sahib, one of the early leaders of the Indian Rebellion which began in May, 1857. As the fighting progressed Tope developed into a brilliant guerrilla leader, always one step ahead of his British pursuers and with a powerful capacity to rebound after defeat. He was active for twenty-three months, long after all other resistance was quelled. See generally, Indian Uprising of 1857-8: Prisons, Prisoners and Rebellion by Clare Anderson (2007); The Indian Mutiny by John Harris (2001); The Indian Mutiny of 1857– Military History from Primary Sources by G B Malleson & B Carruthers (2013).]

April 9– Saturday– Vienna, Austria– The Austrian Empire mobilizes in response to the war preparations of Piedmont-Sardinia.

April 12– Tuesday– Detroit, Michigan– Michael Phelan of New York defeats John Seereiter of Detroit in a billiards match billed as the world championship and wins a prize of $50,000. [The prize would equal $1,450,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

April 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Lord Lyons, Her Britannic Majesty’s new Minister to the United States, presents his credentials to President Buchanan. Lord Lyons, a/k/a Richard Bickerton Pernell, arrived in Washington to replace the retiring Lord Napier. [At age 41, the career diplomat is undertaking his first major assignment in what be in total fifty years of service to the British Foreign Office. He will leave Washington in the spring of 1865 and will later spend twenty years as minister to Paris.]

Retribution Shall As Surely Come~April 1864~15th to 18th

Retribution Shall as Surely Come~President Lincoln

Lincoln, Congress and General Grant become aware of the Fort Pillow atrocity. Northen papers such as the New York Times give the matter a great deal of coverage. Union officers and soldiers talk of revenge. Skirmishing increases as does the food shortage in the South. Spring and summer promise to be brutal.

Harper's Weekly cartoon depicts Confederate atrocities

Harper’s Weekly cartoon depicts Confederate atrocities

April 15– Friday– Camden County, Georgia– “Had a dish of boiled rice and dry corn bread for breakfast. Nothing on it. For dinner a soup made of the beef bone that Kate gave us with rice and corn bread. It is a rainy day and gloomy. My thoughts continually at the North. I am homesick and I wonder what is my duty in regard to going, whether it will be made plain to me. It seems as if I could not stay contentedly another year and what shall we live on if we go North? It is a question that we cannot solve. I can hardly wait for mail day to come, and yet we are disappointed week after week. Now that we have been favored with letters I want them to come thick and fast. How long the three last years have been. They seem like a vast uncomfortable dream. Once I wished for a ‘lodge in a vast wilderness.’ I have realized the fallacy of such a wish, and now I am led to say ‘Oh, Solitude, where are thy charms?’ Give me Society, Friendship and Love. So ‘divinely’ bestowed upon man. I did not appreciate the blessing when I had it and this is a deserved chastisement. May I receive it with profit. Mr. Fisher is planting corn. Sybil is scratching in the garden. My homemade shoes are too thin to admit of my going out in the wet and so I stay in and think so hard of home. Oh! such a longing to see the girls and partake of their northern comforts once more– how little can they realize our forlorn situation.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 15– Friday– near Baton Rouge, Louisiana; near Presidio del Norte, New Mexico Territory; Camden, Arkansas; Greeneville, Tennessee; Bristoe Station, Virginia; Roseville, Arkansas; Milford, Virginia– Skirmishes, fire fights and bloody engagements.

April 16– Saturday– New York City– In two pieces about the Fort Pillow massacre, the New York Times describes Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest as a “guerrilla” rather than a regular army soldier and his troops as “a few thousand freebooters” while describing them as “fiends, bloodthirsty as devils incarnate” who “commenced an indiscriminate butchery of the whites and blacks” and calls on General Grant to investigate “his own responsible subordinates as well as these irresponsible rebels.”

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

April 16– Saturday– camp near Annapolis, Maryland– “I am first rate, we have had about 65 or 70 Recruits and we hear there are some 150 or 200 more in New York for us. General Grant and Burnside paid us a visit a few days ago, we had no review or any thing of that kind but the Regiment just fell in line and Grant rode along and looked at them and then went on about his business. We are getting quite a large force here and there is considerable speculation as to where we are going, but the general impression is that we will go back to North Carolina and through into Virginia. While Lee moves up from the front towards Richmond, but it seems to me time that something was underway if we are going to do much this Spring. I don’t see any signs of our leaving here for some time yet. We are having lots of drills, and have been kept pretty busy since we have been here.” ~ Letter from George Whitman to his brother Walt.

April 16– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– A report issued by the U S Commissary of Prisoners says that since the war’s start 121,937 Confederate prisoners have been exchanged for 110,866 Union prisoners. Another 29,229 rebels, including 8 Confederate generals, remain in Federal prisons and prison camps.

April 16– Saturday– Culpepper Court House, Virginia– “Julia [his wife] will start West in a few days and will stop at Covington on her way. She will remain at the house I purchased from Judge Dent until such time as she can join me more permanently. It is her particular desire to have Jennie go to St. Louis with her to spend the summer. I hope she can and will go. It has rained here almost every day since my arrival. It is still raining. Of course I say nothing of when the army moves or how or where. I am in most excellent health and well pleased with appearances here. My love to all at home.” ~ Letter from General Ulysses S Grant to his father.

General Grant

General Grant

April 16– Saturday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “Tonight we had a very interesting religious meeting and about twenty took part in remarks or prayer.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

April 16– Saturday– Orange County Court House, Virginia– “We drawed [sic] four days rations of old bacon yesterday which outranks General Lee and three days rations of meal, one day’s ration of flour which is excellent and is quite a treat to us. Drew and I have had one good mess of biscuits, which tasted like Sunday morning at home when new wheat comes in. I love biscuits as well as ever and I reckon always will if I can get them. . . . The boys keep me busy sewing, and I cannot keep up. I reckon I shall have to put up a tailor’s shop when I get home. I found some old tent cloth the other day which makes excellent haversacks, and I make them and sell them at $2.00 a piece, but have to sell on credit. I have only made one yet. It is thick and hard sewing and rather slow making money but much better than doing nothing or trying to die with the blues and homesickness. Dissatisfaction is the worst complaint a soldier can have.” ~Letter of Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

April 16– Saturday– Camden County, Georgia– “The day dawns upon us more cheerily out of doors but the weather is still cold for the season. Had another corn cake and boiled rice for breakfast but Grace came over from Kate’s with a piece of drum fish and a bunch of radishes for dinner which was a great luxury. Providence does not leave us to starve in the wilderness. Yet like the Israelites we are continually murmuring. We have had lettuce twice from our garden. All the vegetables are backward and hard to keep from frost. Crows, ground moles, hens and other things too numerous to mention. We plant and raise here under great difficulties. At supper we were obliged to fall back upon the rice and corn.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 17– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times presents a little more information about events at Fort Pillow and assures readers that more information will be provided in coming days.

April 17– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “We are embarrassed by state banks, state laws, and local issues and interests. The other day a determined effort was made in New York to run gold up to 200, but was promptly met by a free sale by the Government of gold and exchange, and the movement failed. It was aided by this very bad news from Fort Pillow, not so bad from the loss of men, but from the question of retaliation raised by the massacre of Negro troops. We all feel that we must either disband Negro troops or protect them. It is fearful to think about the measures that may be necessary, but what else can we do? An investigation will be made by the Secretary of War and by Congress, and if the rebels are determined to massacre prisoners, then a new and terrible stage of this war will be commenced.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

April 17–Sunday– Culpepper Court House, Virginia– General Grant, now aware of the events at Fort Pillow, demands that prisoner exchanges be balanced and include black Federal troopers among those exchanged on an equal basis. A failure to do so would “be regarded as a refusal on their part to agree to the further exchange of prisoners, and [would] be so treated by us.” This demand is refused by the Confederates.

April 17– Sunday– Orange County Court House, Virginia– “You must be of good cheer – I hope this campaign may, by God’s blessing, end the war– The news from Louisiana is very cheering – it is said Banks got a bad whipping & that he sent over 7000 wounded to Baton Rouge. Be of good cheer my love and try and not exert yourself too much. Many kisses for you all – the children must learn much this spring and summer.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

April 17– Sunday– Memphis, Tennessee– Union officers say that if the government fails to take retributive steps against the Confederacy for the atrocity at Fort Pillow, they will consider it their duty to shoot every man of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s command they meet and take no prisoners. Soldiers, black and white, threaten to shoot Confederate prisoners who served under Forrest and who are now in Irvin Prison.

Colored_Troops_eman_1_sm

April 17–Sunday– Savannah, Georgia–Due to a severe food shortage, a bread riot erupts among the citizens as women, some armed, defy soldiers and demonstrate, demanding bread. In desperation some women seize food and their leaders are arrested by the soldiers.

April 17– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “On Sabbath mornings we look with great impatience for the mail. Today a letter came from Fred. He was in good spirits– he had found a pair of saddle bags containing clothing and had found also a pretty girl from Virginia. He was before Palatka in Florida and expecting a battle daily. . . . No satisfactory news in the papers. A dish of lettuce and eggs was added to our corn cake at noon which relished nicely. Last night was very cold, a frost in some places.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 17– Sunday– off the coast of Velasco, Texas– The British ship Lily, trying to run the blockade, is seized by a Union warship.

April 17– Sunday– Beaver Creek, North Carolina; Red Mount, Arkansas; Ellis Ford, Virginia; Plymouth, North Carolina; Holly Springs, Mississippi; Limestone Valley, Arkansas; on the Mississippi River 35 miles below Memphis, Tennessee– Skirmishes and minor engagements.

April 18– Monday– New York City– “I suppose we must reconcile ourselves to the fact that New York is a grand, commercial, money-making center of the universe, and that learning and science are exotics which cannot be acclimatized.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

April 18– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of Richard Harding Davis, journalist and author. His articles on travel, foreign wars, sports and politics will make him the most widely known reporter of his time and be collected in a series of best-selling books. He will author ten volumes of short stories and seven popular novels as well as five successful plays. [Dies April 11, 1916.]

 

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

April 18– Monday– Baltimore, Maryland– “There is another subject upon which I feel that I ought to say a word. A painful rumor, true, I fear, has reached us, of the massacre, by the rebel forces at Fort Pillow, in the west end of Tennessee, on the Mississippi River, of some three hundred colored soldiers and white officers, who had just been overpowered by their assailants. There seems to be some anxiety in the public mind whether the Government is doing its duty to the colored soldier, and to the service, at this point. At the beginning of the war, and for some time, the use of colored troops was not contemplated; and how the change of purpose was wrought I will not now take time to explain. Upon a clear conviction of duty I resolved to turn that element of strength to account; and I am responsible for it to the American people, to the Christian world, to history, and in my final account to God. Having determined to use the Negro as a soldier, there is no way but to give him all the protection given to any other soldier. . . . We are having the Fort Pillow affair thoroughly investigated; and such investigation will probably show conclusively how the truth is. . . . If there has been the massacre of three hundred there, or even the tenth part of three hundred, it will be conclusively proved; and being so proved, the retribution shall as surely come. It will be matter of grave consideration in what exact course to apply the retribution; but in the supposed case it must come.” ~ President Lincoln in a speech at the Sanitary Fair.

soldiers of the 33rd U S Colored Troops

soldiers of the 33rd U S Colored Troops

The Cowardly and Inhuman Massacre~April 1864~14th & 15th

The Cowardly and Inhuman Massacre

The reports about the Fort Pillow atrocity begin to come. White Union officers commanding black troops vow to exact justice. Soldiers serving under Confederate General Forrest send home conflicting reports about Forrest’s own participation in the butchery.

Colored_Troops_eman_1_sm 

April 14– Thursday– camp near Annapolis, Maryland– “We were paid this afternoon for the Month of February, and I enclose you $50.00 and am sorry that I can’t send you more, but Mother if you need more before I get my next pay (which is due the last of this Month) you must certainly draw it from the Bank, as I send it to you for you to use it just when you want it. . . . I don’t see any signs of our leaving here yet awhile, Troops arrive here almost every day and go into Camp. We have only had some 60 or 70 recruits as yet, but we hear there are some 200 in New York for us. Generals Grant and Burnside paid us a visit yesterday. There was no grand Review as is generally the case, but the Regiments just fell in line and Grant rode along and looked at them and then went on about his business. There are all sorts of speculation about the destination of our Expedition but the general opinion is that we are to go to North Carolina for an advance into Virginia by way of Goldsborough while the Potomac Army makes another push for Richmond by the front door, but I am rather inclined to think that we are intended as a kind of reserve, to send where we are most needed.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

April 14– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Gold is reported at 190 to-day; that is, it requires one hundred and ninety dollars of Treasury notes, Chase’s standard, to buy one hundred dollars in gold, paper has so depreciated.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

April 14– Thursday– Orange County, Virginia– “I am sorry the hawks catch your chickens so badly. I wish I could be there to kill them. But I reckon I would not do much hawk killing unless I done better than when I was at home. You must get some ammunition and kill them yourself. You can soon learn to shoot, and it might be of great advantage to you, if the Yanks should ever get that low down in Georgia. I want women, children, old men and all to kill them every possible opportunity rather than let them pass through our noble old State. . . . The weather is fine and pleasant today and was also yesterday, which is quite a treat to us in one sense of the word at least, but of course will hasten the time of fighting, should it last long. Surplus baggage is being sent to the rear and a standing orders for the commissaries to keep seven days rations on hand, all of which indicates a preparation for the coming conflict.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

 

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

April 14– Thursday– Memphis, Tennessee– “There never was a surrender of the fort, both officers and men declaring they never would surrender or ask for quarter. As for myself, I escaped by putting on citizens clothes, after I had been some time their [the Confederates’] prisoner. I received a slight wound of the left ear. I cannot close this report without adding my testimony to that accorded by others wherever the black man has been brought into battle. Never did men fight better, and when the odds against us are considered it is truly miraculous that we should have held the fort an hour. To the colored troops is due the successful holding out until 4 p.m. The men were constantly at their posts, and in fact through the whole engagement showed a valor not, under the circumstances, to have been expected from troops less than veterans, either white or black.” ~ Report of Union Lieutenant Daniel Van Horn about the defense of Fort Pillow.

April 14– Thursday– on the U. S. Silver Cloud, off Memphis, Tennessee– “All the wounded who had strength enough to speak agreed that after the fort was taken an indiscriminate slaughter of our troops was carried on by the enemy with a furious and vindictive savageness which was never equaled by the most merciless of the Indian tribes. Around on every side horrible testimony to the truth of this statement could be seen. Bodies with gaping wounds, some bayoneted through the eyes, some with skulls beaten through, others with hideous wounds as if their bowels had been ripped open with bowie-knives, plainly told that but little quarter was shown to our troops. Strewn from the fort to the river bank, in the ravines and hollows, behind logs and under the brush where they had crept for protection from the assassins who pursued them, we found bodies bayoneted, beaten, and shot to death, showing how cold-blooded and persistent was the slaughter of our unfortunate troops. . . . here there were unmistakable evidences of a massacre carried on long after any resistance could have been offered, with a cold-blooded barbarity and perseverance which nothing can palliate.” ~ Report of W. Ferguson, Acting Master, U.S. Navy, Commanding U. S. Silver Cloud on the massacre at Fort Pillow.

 

Fort Pillow

Fort Pillow

April 14– Thursday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “God grant we may humbly receive the blessings which have brightened our little Confederacy, drive this wicked band from our Sunny land, give us liberty and peace– oh! make us a Christian nation– we have suffered, yet we deserved thy punishment, we humbly crave thy pardon, and beseech thy blessings. The night spent as usual with me, sit in the Parlor with Father a short while after Tea.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson

April 14– Thursday– Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada– Charles Lot Church, prominent politician, the son of American Loyalists who fled the United States after Britain’s defeat in the American Revolution, dies at 87 years of age.

April 15– Friday– Cairo, Illinois– “Arrived in sight of Fort Pillow on Wednesday, the 13th , about 9 a.m. . . . . I went on shore, and while our men were engaged carrying the wounded on board the boat I with other officers, on invitation from [Confederate] General [James] Chalmers, visited the fort. We saw the dead bodies of 15 Negroes, most of them having been shot through the head. Some of them were burned as if by powder around the holes in their heads, which led me to conclude that they were shot at very close range. One of the gun-boat officers who accompanied us asked General Chalmers if the most of the Negroes were not killed after they (the enemy) had taken possession, Chalmers replied that he thought they had been, and that the men of General [Bedford] Forrest’s command had such a hatred toward the armed Negro that they could not be restrained from killing the Negroes after they had captured them. He said they were not killed by General Forrest’s or his orders, but that both Forrest and he stopped the massacre as soon as they were able to do so. He said it was nothing better than we could expect so long as we persisted in arming the Negro. Chalmers said that all of his forces would be out of the place by 3 o’clock of that day, and that the main body was already moving. He also said to the officers, myself included, that Forrest’s command would never fire on transport steamers. Chalmers told me they took about 25 Negroes as prisoners. We saw two bodies of Negroes burning. The above is all I know of the affair which is of importance.” ~ Report of Union officer John G. Woodruff.

April 15– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– A meeting at Fort Pickering of the white officers of the Second United States Colored Heavy Artillery unanimously adopts, among others, the following resolutions: “Resolved, That in the leaders and instigators of the cowardly and inhuman massacre of the survivors of the garrison, we recognize those unworthy the name of soldiers; that they have disgraced the position in which honor and chivalry are essential requisites, and that to the name of traitors they have now added that of cowards and murderers. Resolved, That, as American soldiers, we have always held that the person of a wounded and defenseless prisoner was sacred, but that the scenes at Fort Pillow admonish us that humanity forms no part of the policy of traitors. Resolved, That, as officers commanding colored troops in the service of the Union, we now know our doom if we are captured by our enemies; but that so far from being intimidated thereby, we accept the issue, and adopt as our significant motto, ‘Victory or Death.’” The officers request that numerous Northern newspapers reprint these resolutions so that the word comes to the attention of Confederate officers upon whom they intend to exact justice for the massacre at Fort Pillow.

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

April 15– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “After resistance had ceased the enemy, in gross violation of all honorable warfare, butchered in cold blood the prisoners and wounded. . . . The list of killed and wounded, so far as received, accompanies this report, and demonstrates the severity of the action. It is unquestionably true that the colored troops fought desperately and nearly all of them are now killed or wounded; but few are held as prisoners. . . . I cannot conclude this report without very earnestly calling the attention of the War Department through you to the necessity of some vigorous action on their part to insure the treatment due to soldiers to our colored troops. Not only is it due to our good name, but it will be necessary to preserve discipline among them. In case of an action in which they shall be successfully engaged, it will be nearly impracticable to restrain them from retaliation.” ~ Report of Union General Stephen A Hurlbut about the atrocity at Fort Pillow.

April 15– Friday– camp of the Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (Colored), Tennessee– “I have the honor to make the following statement in regard to the battle of Fort Pillow. I was not in the battle, but arrived there after the fort was captured . . . . They [Confederate soldiers] stormed the fort . . . and then commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of the command. The fort never was surrendered. I passed over the field of battle under the flag of truce (which was out to bury our dead), and I there saw men who were shot after they had thrown down their arms and were in hiding-places that they had selected after the fort was taken. A captain of one of the gun-boats informed me that the rebel General Chalmers told him they did not intend to show any mercy to the garrison of Fort Pillow when they attacked the same. When I went over the field I was under the escort of Colonel Greer, who informed me that it was the hardest battle that he was ever in–the most strongly contested. The appearance of a great many of the dead men’s bodies showed to me conclusively that they were murdered.” ~ Report of Union Captain William T Smith.

April 15– Friday– Jackson, Tennessee– “Have dispatched by telegraph of the capture of Fort Pillow. Arrived there on the morning of the 12th and attacked the place with a portion of McCulloch’s and Bell’s brigades numbering about 1,500 men, and after a sharp contest captured the garrison and all of its stores. A demand was made for the surrender, which was refused. The victory was complete, and the loss of the enemy will never be known from the fact that large numbers ran into the river and were shot and drowned. The force was composed of about 500 Negroes and 200 white soldiers (Tennessee Tories). The river was dyed with the blood of the slaughtered for 200 yards. There was in the fort a large number of citizens who had fled there to escape the conscript law. Most of these ran into the river and were drowned. The approximate loss was upward of 500 killed, but few of the officers escaping. It is hoped that these facts will demonstrate to the Northern people that Negro soldiers cannot cope with Southerners.” ~ Report of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

April 15– Friday– Brownsville, Tennessee– “The slaughter was awful. . . . Their fort turned out to be a great slaughter pen. . . . human blood stood about in pools . . . I with several others tried to stop the butchery, and at one time had partially succeed, but General Forrest ordered them shot down like dogs, and the carnage continued. Finally our men became sick of blood and the firing ceased.” ~Letter of Confederate soldier Achilles V Clark to his sisters.

 

April 15– Friday– Brownsville, Tennessee– “They refused to surrender– which increased our men & if General Forrest had not have run between our men & the Yanks & his Pistol and sabre drawn not a man would have been spared– we took about a hundred & 25 white men & about 45 Negroes the rest of the 800 are numbered with the dead– they sure heaped upon each other.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier S H Caldwell to his wife.

 

Anxiety on the Subject of Provisions~April 1864~10th to 13th

Anxiety on the Subject of Provisions ~ General Robert E Lee

General Lee and Southern civilians worry about food shortages. The withdrawal of General Longstreet from Tennessee poses increased problems for civilians. General Grant makes a good impression. Working women gain prominence and undertake the duties of nursing the sick and wounded. Freedom comes for serfs in Poland but at a terrible price. An atrocity against black soldiers takes place in Tennessee and it will echo for decades after the war.

illustration of Fort Pillow massacre two decades later

illustration of Fort Pillow massacre two decades later

 

April 10– Sunday– Nevada City, California– Birth of William Phillips, a/k/a Tully Marshall, his stage name. He will have a 30 year career as a character actor, both on stage and in film. [Dies March 10, 1943.]

April 10– Glasgow, Scotland– Birth of Eugene d’Albert, pianist and composer, with an English mother and German father. [Dies March 3, 1932.]

April 11– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– Birth of Lizzie “Lillie” Plummer Bliss [dies March 12, 1931], the second daughter and second of the four children of Cornelius and Elizabeth Plummer Bliss. Lillie, as her friends called her, will become an important art collector, philanthropist, and one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

 

Lillie Plummer Bliss

Lillie Plummer Bliss

April 11– Monday– approaching Charlottesville, Virginia– “Oh that peace, happy peace could be once more granted us so that I could once more embrace my dearest wife. Oh, Molly I love you so much and yet I am not allowed to see you nor even kiss thy cheeks, oh, if I would just kiss you again it would so me so much good. I can’t see how I ever did leave you when I was at home but God who has guarded us all the time I reckon guarded me in that also. I must bid you kiss the little children for and bid you an affectionate ado.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W H Stilwell to his wife Molly.

April 11– Monday– Camden County, Georgia– “Mr. Linn killed a pig and sent us a piece. The first meat we have had in eight days, with the exception of a rice bird. We were all eager for our supper but the pig was so poor and green that it made us sick. I awoke in the night distressed with hives– my body was covered with rash. All have been busy since the fire picking up nails– it is said there are none in the confederacy. A few weeks ago they were worth $300 a keg, now more. Mr. Fisher and John are now hurrying to plant corn. The nights are so cold nothing grows fast. Sybil had a tedious ride to King’s Ferry. Kate bought a common calico dress for $120., ten yards. Merchants prefer to keep their goods until the new issue. This banking business is a great swindle. People who deposited gold for safekeeping are obliged to give it up for this confederate trash.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 11– Monday– Columbus, Kentucky; Greenwich, Virginia; Kelly’s Plantation, Alabama; Richland, Arkansas; Chariton, County, Missouri– Raids, fire fights and blood-letting. Federal troops are probing and scouting from Rossville to La Fayette, Georgia.

April 12– Tuesday– New York City– “The middle of this month will witness in Europe another of those grand events which, like the President’s Proclamation of Emancipation in America, are to make these years forever illustrious in history. On the 15th of April, by a recent ukase of the Czar, every serf in Russian Poland is to be at once and forever set free from all bondage. He is to own the cottage and the plot of ground which he has been occupying, his time and labor are to be his own, and he is liberated from all claims to service and obligations of labor which his master may have possessed over him. For this great emancipation, he has only to pay to the Government a tax, by which ‘loyal masters’ are to be remunerated. More than this, the Polish serf is to become at once a self-governing citizen. He is to elect his own village officials, his mayor, and sheriff, and justice of the peace – a privilege which Prussia has never yet granted to the Prussian Poles. Thus, at a single stroke, millions of human beings are set free from an ancient oppression, and endowed with new privilege and rights.” ~ New York Times. [This move by the Russian Tsar is made in large part to undercut support for the rebellion which has run on since last January. The Tsar will prohibit the speaking of Polish and require the Russian language to be taught in Polish schools.]

 

Tsar Alexander II

Tsar Alexander II

April 12– Tuesday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “Yesterday we all rode to Culpeper, and saw General Grant, who went last night to Washington, and did go thence to Annapolis. I was well pleased with all the officers down there; among others was a Lieutenant– Colonel Comstock, a Massachusetts man. He had somewhat the air of a Yankee schoolmaster, buttoned in a military coat. Grant is a man of a good deal of rough dignity; rather taciturn; quick and decided in speech. He habitually wears an expression as if he had determined to drive his head through a brick wall, and was about to do it. I have much confidence in him.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his sweetheart.

 

General Grant

General Grant

April 12– Tuesday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “The weather is warm and delightful, although the distant mountains are still capped with snow.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

April 12– Tuesday– Orange County Court House, Virginia– “My anxiety on the subject of provisions for the army is so great that I cannot refrain from expressing it to Your Excellency. I cannot see how we can operate with our present supplies. Any derangement in their arrival or disaster to the railroad would render it impossible for me to keep the army together, and might force a retreat to North Carolina. Thee is nothing to be had in this section for men or animals. We have rations for the troops to-day and to-morrow. I hope a new supply arrived last night, but I have not yet had a report. Every exertion should be made to supply the depots at Richmond and at other points. All pleasure travel should cease, and everything be devoted to necessary wants.” ~ Letter from General Robert E Lee to President Jeff Davis.

 

General Lee

General Lee

April 12– Tuesday– Fort Pillow, Tennessee–Confederate forces numbering about 2500 under General Nathan Bedford Forrest capture the Union garrison and massacre over 200 black troopers. Later reports indicate that they killed several unarmed woman, both black and white. Total Federal dead and wounded are 547. Total Confederate casualties are 80.

 

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

April 12– Tuesday– Blair’s Landing, Louisiana; Florence, Alabama; Pleasant Hill Landing, Tennessee; Van Buren, Arkansas; Fort Bisland, Louisiana– Brawls, scuffles and tussles.

April 13– Wednesday– New York City– “Working-woman’s Protective Union: Families and employers are informed that they can be supplied, free of charge, from the rooms of the Working-woman’s Protective Union, No. 4 New Chambers Street, with teachers, copyists, photograph colorers, gold leaf cutters, saleswomen, bookfolders, plain sewers, and operators on the different sewing machines. They also desire to say that they have the names or a large number of respectable young girls who wish to learn the various trades that are suitable and profitable for females, on their books, and hope through this channel to obtain employment for them.” ~ New York Times.

April 13– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Entered upon my duties to-day, as lady nurse of two divisions of tents at Small Pox Hospital. Not obliged to come here, but have accepted this most disagreeable place, as there are so few who are willing to take it. Expect to be quite confined to the place; and the hope of doing good in a position which otherwise would be vacant, is the inducement. The Hospital is about a mile out from the city, and near Camp Cumberland. It consists of tents in the rear of a fine, large mansion which was deserted by its rebel owner. In these tents are about 800 patients-including convalescents, contrabands, soldiers and citizens. Everything seems done for their comfort which can well be, with the scarcity of help. Cleanliness and ventilation are duly attended to; but the unsightly, swollen faces, blotched with eruption, or presenting an entire scab, and the offensive odor, require some strength of nerve in those who minister to their necessities. There are six physicians each in charge of a division. Those in which I am assigned to duty are in charge of Drs. R. & C. There is but one lady nurse here, aside from the wives of three surgeons, Mrs. B., the nurse, went with me through the tents, introduced me to the patients and explained my duties.” ~ Journal of Elvira Powers.

civil_war_nurse 

April 13– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “My presence in East Tennessee gave me a good opportunity of realizing the real condition of things in that ill-fated and unfortunate country. Its evacuation last August by General Buckner was a miserable military blunder, which time cannot soon repair. Its abandonment on a more recent occasion, though perhaps less inexcusable under the circumstances, is accompanied with evils scarcely to be realized or exaggerated. As the army of Longstreet fell back toward Virginia those of our southern citizens who had the means of doing sfell back too, and many of them will be able to find shelter and subsistence elsewhere. But my heart bleeds to have witnessed the condition of the families of our soldiers and our poorer people of true Southern proclivities. What will become of them? They are unprotected and without supplies– a prey to the rapacity, the cruelty, and the revenges of the unrelenting and malicious Union men of that country, to say nothing of the hostilities of the Yankees. A citizen there told me that if it were not for the fish in Chucky River many of them must starve. In its retreat the army swept the country of all its supplies. With the recuperative energy that characterizes that Scotch-Irish population, many of our farmers had endeavored to repair the desolation made before the reoccupancy of the country by Longstreet, were rebuilding their fences, &c., and doing other spring work on their plantations preparatory to planting some corn. Now, since our forces are withdrawn, the horses stolen, their fences burned the second and the third time, and no prospect of further protection from the pillaging enemy, the heart sickens at the contemplation of the spring and summer before them. No Egypt is at hand to which these virtuous, patriotic, and indigent people can repair to procure bread. They must not be left there to suffering and starvation. As the soldiery of Tennessee are standing like a bulwark of defense against the invasion of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, leaving their desolated homes and destitute families to the benignant care of the Government, will you listen to an appeal from one of their countrymen, an exile himself, and houseless and homeless, too, when, he suggests to the Confederate authorities to order at once the purchase or the impressment in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia of a supply of corn, the establishment immediately of a store-house or houses on our lines, and the authorized invitation to loyal destitute families to come there and be fed at least till harvest.” ~ Letter from Mr J G M Ramsey to President Jeff Davis.

 April 13– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “We are informed that a gentleman has recently obtained a patent for the manufacture of Kerosine oil, which has been thoroughly tested and found to be equal, if not superior to the Yankee article. He has made some from the Alabama coal, which gives a brilliant light. The material is inexhaustible. We expect soon to have some of it, when we shall say more about it. This will prove very pleasant news to those of our readers who are using tallow dips at one dollar each.” ~ The Southern Banner.

April 13– Wednesday– Camden County, Georgia– “We went over to Kate’s in the morning. Mr. Fisher took us in his cart as far as the creek. I wished to lend them $75.00 but they had no use for it. Shall probably lose it. Kate gave us a piece of fresh meat half dozen potatoes and a saucer of fresh butter. Such a rich day for us. I think we must gain some fat. Mr. Linn left at noon. His furlough was up and he must go leaving his wife in hourly expectation of illness. Before leaving Savannah he bought two pounds of coffee for $30.00. On the road he discovered that someone had given him a paper of peas in exchange [instead of the coffee beans]. He purchased a sack of flour for $125.00 that he had not found when he left here. The country is threatened with starvation. Major Bailey has gone fishing.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 13– Wednesday– Richland Creek, Arkansas; Columbus, Kentucky; Cleveland, Tennessee; Decatur, Alabama; Nokesville, Virginia; Smithville, Arkansas– Tussles, engagements, scraps and altercations.

 

The Summer Campaign Will Soon Commence~April 1864~8th to 10th

The Summer Campaign Will Soon Commence~Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery

Both sides make ready for long, hard fighting. Grant issues orders to his commandeers to push hard against the Confederacy. The New York Times updates its readers on differences between British and French policies. Soldiers and their families express their love and concern for each other. In the midst of war during a wet, muddy spring, romance blossoms.

womens fashions, spring, 1864

womens fashions, spring, 1864

 

April 8– Friday– Paris, France– “Some weeks ago I told you that the French Government had adopted the same regulations with regard to the treatment of belligerent ships in French ports as had been adopted a short time previously by England, but with a modification in regard to coal, on which my information was not then full. These regulations, embodied in a circular . . . have just been published, and will therefore come under your notice. By this document you will be informed that a very important modification has been made on the English regulations . . . . you will comprehend without difficulty, the reason of this difference between the two countries. England, which enjoys a monopoly of coal, desires to make of that article an article contraband of war, while France, which has but little coal, has every interest in not making it contraband of war. England will, therefore, naturally try upon every occasion to force the adoption of this precedent upon the maritime nations, for, in case of war between England and any other country, her steamers might be constantly supplied by coal from her numerous and well-supplied depots, while the enemy, reduced to a smaller number of depots, and prohibited from replenishing in the ports of any one nation oftener than once in three months, would find its steam force on the sea very greatly paralyzed. The rules, therefore, which have just been adopted by the two countries do not borrow either their general provisions nor their differences from the circumstance that they are issued to cover the present case of the Federal and Confederate vessels, but from general principles, which each Power wishes to establish as a precedent in the code of nations. Thus, a question of coal forces France to show more favor to rebel privateers than England, and yet the greater sympathy for the rebel cause exists in England.” ~ Dispatch from a reporter for the New York Times.

April 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I got a letter from Mother this morning, & she sends one to you for me to direct [to you] . . . you must write to Mother oftener; before she got this last letter it was too long, & seemed ten times longer than it was– if she don’t hear from you in a long while she just gets sick about it– she is getting pretty old, & shows it at last– still I think she is pretty well. Nothing new with me. . . . We are having another rain-storm set in here this morning. Congress is splurging away, doing some good things too.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his brother George.

April 9– Saturday– Culpepper Court House, Virginia– General Grant issues campaign orders. He tells General George Meade, “Wherever Lee goes, you will go there.” Similar orders are issued to General William Tecumseh Sherman, stressing that Sherman is to press the rebels without letup. He intends to launch simultaneous and massive assaults on both the eastern and western theaters of the war in May. Grant will command in the field, not from an office in Washington, accompanying General Meade in the campaign against General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. In Georgia, General Sherman is to push hard against the Confederates under General Joseph E. Johnston.

 

Federal troops begin to move out

Federal troops begin to move out

April 9– Saturday– near Stephensburg, Virginia– “The Summer Campaign will soon commence. We are engaged digging up the Earth, making breast works. This looks as though we will stand the rebs a fight here if they make an attack. We has a good position . There is height here that we can plant our artillery on that we can give them an introduction to some of the Yanks shells. . . . I must say that I am very well contented here but as long as I have parents, wife and children, I would rather be at home. I am glad that I can make myself so content. Time passes very fast with me. Although soldering is no fun but I must say with all the hardships and exposures that I have endured since I am in the Service, I have never had my health better. . . . I think that the summer will end this rebellion; and it may end me for all that I know. If it should, blessed by God, I have a bright hope that reaches beyond the grave.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

April 9– Saturday– Pleasant Hill, Louisiana– Confederate forces pursue the retreating Union force they beat yesterday at Mansfield and win another hard fight. Total Federal losses– dead, wounded, missing– are 1,369. The second victory in a row costs the Southerners a total of 1,626 killed, wounded and missing.

April 9– Saturday– Liverpool, England– Birth of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti, electrical engineer and inventor. [Dies January 13, 1930.]

 

Sebastian de Ferranti

Sebastian de Ferranti

April 10– Sunday– New York City– “Congress is doing bravely with its constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. Think of Reverdy Johnson sustaining and advocating it! ‘John Brown’s soul’s a-marching on’– double quick.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

April 10– Sunday– New York City– “On Easter Day [two weeks ago, March 27th] the congregation of the Church of the Holy Apostles, corner Twenty-eighth-street and Ninth-avenue, Rev Dr Howland, Rector, made their Easter offerings to remove the church debt. They amounted in the morning to $9,760 which has since been increased to $10,500 thus relieving the parish from all embarrassments, and making in all nearly $20,000 contributed within a very short time for this object entirely from within themselves. When the present Rector assumed the charge of the parish, about 17 years ago, it only contained 20 communicants, now they number upward of 400. While thus providing for home they have not neglected their duties outside. For several years they have maintained a missionary for the neighborhood, and another very flourishing parish in the vicinity owes its start and first support to generous hearts in this church, the two parishes now consisting of 600 communicants. The prospects for a future prosperous career are very bright.” ~ New York Times.

April 10– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, we expect a commencement of the fighting below very soon, there is every indication of it– we have had about as severe rain storms here lately as I ever see– it is middling pleasant now . . . . Mother, you don’t know what a feeling a man gets after being in the active sights & influences of the camp, the Army, the wounded &c– he gets to have a deep feeling he never experienced before– the flag, the tune of Yankee Doodle, & similar things, produce an effect on a fellow never such before. I have seen some bring tears on the men’s cheeks, & others turn pale, under such circumstances. I have a little flag (it belonged to one of our cavalry regiments) presented to me by one of the wounded– it was taken by the secesh in a cavalry fight, & rescued by our men in a bloody little skirmish, it cost three men’s lives, just to get one little flag, four by three– our men rescued it, & tore it from the breast of a dead rebel– all that just for the name of getting their little banner back again– this man that got it was very badly wounded, & they let him keep it. I was with him a good deal, he wanted to give me something he said, he didn’t expect to live, so he gave me the little banner as a keepsake. I mention this, Mother, to show you a specimen of the feeling there.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

 

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

April 10– Sunday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “Rain and mud. Today I again took charge of my Sunday School and had a pleasant time with the boys. The Chaplain preached a good sermon this afternoon. Las night I received a box of good things and sent for the [other] officers. We enjoyed the cake, cigars, etc very much.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes. [Heavy rains in Virginia wash out or otherwise damage a number of bridges which will pose problems for the movement of both armies.]

 

April 10– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “I got so vexed at some of thy acquaintances in the neighborhood that I did not care about going to see any of the neighbors. Our Company was at home two months [and] some of the people begrudged our furlough [as] they said they knowed [sic] what we were sent home for– because they could not feed us in the army and said we had to come and eat off of [them] and that did not please my appetite but thank god I did not pester them– you may bet on that. I think you might have written to me some ago. I suppose you think I might have done the same but you know that it is against my profession to write much. I have been here ever since the 6 of March and have not got but one letter and that was from Andy. I have written home three or four times and to nearly all so I heard from Andy yesterday– he is well. I must bring my letter to a close. Write soon give my prayer & regards to uncles and cousins and be a good girl and do what you are told by cousin Becky– tell cousin John to write to me and give me the news– nothing more.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James Long to his sister Cynthia Long.

 

April 10– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “It will soon be two years now since I first left home, and nearly fourteen months since I was at home on furlough. It seems long indeed to be separated from you and my darling boy. I try to submit to it with as good grace as possible, knowing that I am doing my duty to my country, and by so doing I will have a clear conscience. I want this war to end and to be at home as bad as anybody can but I do not believe I could enjoy myself at homes such times as these if I was able to do duty. I would enjoy a furlough though to the greatest extent, but my chance for one is a long way off yet, I fear.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

 

April 10– Sunday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “Oh! what a relief to the weary, aching brain, when there seems naught for which to live; when this beautiful earth holds no joy; when the glorious sunsets, with their rose tinted clouds have no beauty; when our life’s barks seem drifting ceaselessly on, and we are powerless for good or ill-oh! what a relief to lie down, and closing our eyes, forget it all. To feel that at least while we slumber the scorpion-sting of memory is robbed of it’s poison,-the goading, burning lash of human thought stayed,-and then comes a day, glaring again,-and so it goes on to the bitter end. We are all alike in this wicked human world. Let us strive as we will to soar above it, at last it all comes back to us-human hearts full of passion, love, and beauty-full of sin, sorrow, and suffering; the world overflowing with good and ill. Sometimes in life our value is appreciated, and we can claim true, affectionate, friends,-meet with lofty, generous souls, whose very beings thrill with instinctive love for the whole human race; but mostly we are not understood until the flowers and shadowy, green grass bloom and fade above us, and we lie mute below. Such is my life, how long it must be, no matter, God in his own good time will brighten my life.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson

 

April 10– Sunday– Dooly County, Georgia– “With pleasure I accept the ring with all your love. I like it very much. It is a neat piece of work; something different from anything I’ve seen. I intend sending you some token of my love and remembrance soon. We heard from [my] Brother yesterday, he is in Greeneville, Tennessee, think that Army will be sent back to Virginia this spring. I hope so at least, as they prefer it to Tennessee. The Spring campaign will no doubt soon open and I do hope our Army will never invade Yankee soil any more. It seems we never meet with so much success as when we fight on the defensive.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer.

Oh This Cruel War!~April 1864~6th to 8th

Oh, This Cruel War~Confederate soldier W R Stilwell

In the midst of skirmishing and preparation for warm weather campaigns, soldiers long for the war to end. General Longstreet is ordered to return to Virginia. Food is scarce in many places of the Confederacy and hyper-inflation causes the Southern government to take drastic steps. On the same day the Confederacy observes a day of prayer and fasting the United States Senate passes a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. Women in many places are fearful and worried. Southern forces win a victory in Louisiana. General Sherman wants “spies and guerrillas” tried and executed. Problems at the prison camp in Georgia are rapidly increasing. The New York Times updates readers on the war in northern Europe and takes note of Congress’s disapproval of French intervention in Mexico.

Benito Juarez, Mexican leader of resistance to the French

Benito Juarez, Mexican leader of resistance to the French

 

April 6– Wednesday– New York City– “The unanimous declaration of the popular branch of Congress that the United States will not assent to any monarchical Government in Mexico, erected under the auspices of any European Power, is but the expression of the universal feeling of the people. We are glad the resolution was couched in the simplest form – that it was kept entirely free from the high-flown rhetoric which usually overlays such Congressional manifestoes, as if there were something imposing in the mere accumulation of words. . . . The American people perfectly well understand that the real object of this new monarchy in Mexico is not the good of the Mexican nation, but the prevention of the further enlargement of their own Republic. The French Emperor, himself, in his memorable letter of instructions to General Forey, explicitly announced that one of the valuable results which would come from the success of the expedition, would be the establishment of a balance of power on this continent. That was the primary purpose of the intervention. . . . It would probably never have taken other shape than mere talk, had not the outbreak of our rebellion presented, as was thought, a peculiarly favorable opportunity for its practical establishment. . . . The very fact that no attempt has been made to get a popular vote prior to taking the scepter, is in itself conclusive evidence that Maximilian, or those who manage him, were convinced that such a vote would not be in his favor. No intelligent man in the United States will believe for an instant that the Mexicans have so speedily and so completely lost all their love for republican principles, which, through every trial, has been their ruling passion for more than a generation. If they yield to the rule of this scion of the Hapsburgs, it is only as a conquered people. Nothing could be more chimerical than the idea that the power of the United States can be balanced by a throne of this sort, set up by foreign hands in the Mexican capital. Were it not so costly, the whole performance would here be considered a farce.” ~ New York Times.

April 6– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Spies and guerrillas, murderers under the assumed title of Confederate soldiers, deserters on leave, should be hung quick, of course after a trial, for the number of escapes made easy by the changes on guard during the long time consumed by trial and reference have made that class of men bold and dangerous, and our own scouts and detachments have so little faith in the punishment of known desperadoes that a habit is growing of ‘losing prisoners in the swamp,’ the meaning of which you know. This horrible attendant of war originated in the practice of our enemies, and I have seen it chuckled over in their public journals; but our own men are quick to learn, and unless a legal punishment can be devised you will soon be relieved of all such cases. I believe that the very demon should have a hearing and trial, but punishment should be prompt, yea speedy, or it loses its efficacy. I believe the laws I have quoted give the commander of an army in the field lawful power to try by court-martial, approve and execute the sentence, and I believe the law to be right and humane to society. If wrong I should be corrected at once. Forty or fifty-executions now would in the next twelve months save a thousand lives.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to the Judge Advocate General’s Office in Washington, D.C.

April 6– Wednesday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “Laura awakened me this morning with the news that Beulah [Belle’s dog] was at my door– oh! it seems there is always something to trouble me. Father allowed her to be chained, and so far has not killed her. We were very much surprised this morning by the arrival of five of [General Nathan Bedford] Forrest’s men– Eddie & Elb leading the advance, while Captain Jim Barber, Captain Farrell & Mr John Kirk brought up the rear– oh! I was so happy, we have spent a delightful day, have taken it time about standing Picket, with the horses hid in the woods– George Anderson came running up, had just had a nice race with the Yankees– in a little while Joanna & Nannie came from town with the news the Yanks were camping on Horn Lake creek tonight, having heard Forrest had a good many of his men in here on leave– they will have to be right smart if they get our five, with the assistance of Edmondson’s battery for Pickets– We all sat up very late, I left them in the Parlor– tis so much happiness to see so many of our Rebel friends-oh! I am happy, yet miserable, my heart is never free from pain, have mercy upon me, oh! my savior, guide and give me happiness.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

 April 6– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– At Camp Sumter (Andersonville prison) some poorly clad Union prisoners go to strip a dead prisoner of his clothing before burial, only to discover that their fellow soldier was not a fellow at all, but a woman who had posed as a Union soldier.

April 6– Wednesday– Camden County, Georgia– “We still eat our rice and corn three times a day. No meat. We are surprised to find how comfortable we can be with so little. Surely, man’s necessities are small. Mr Linn came home on ten days furlough. He says that flour is $300 per barrel. Men’s coarse boots $250.00. He bought a bottle of squills for $5.00 and a pound of soda for $5.00 for Sybil. We had letters from Julia with $70.00 for me and $50.00 for Sybil, for old clothing. Money not worth shucks. We can neither spend it nor keep it. It will be good for nothing after the first of July. This currency business is a perfect swindle. Kate sent over for Sybil to go to King’s Ferry with her tomorrow. The weather continues cool. It has been an unusually close winter– from the breathings [sic] of the northern snow hills.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher. [Squills are the bulb of sea onion plants of the lily family, cut thin, dried and used medicinally as an expectorant. The $300 for flour would equal $4,590 today, using the Consumer Price Index. However, since the Confederate currency at this time is worth considerably less than U S dollars, the figure would be many times higher. Her concern about Confederate paper money not being able to be spent is in response to the Currency Reform Act of 1864 which the government in Richmond passed to reduce the hyper-inflation. It required citizens to turn in their paper money for newly printed bills at a rate of 3 to 2; in other words, for the $70 she would receive only $46.66 in new currency.]

 

map of the Danish-German conflict

map of the Danish-German conflict

April 7– Thursday– New York City– The New York Times updates its readers on the war in Europe. The Germans and Austrians claim that the Danes brought the war on themselves. The Danes complain of German and Austrian atrocities against Danish civilians. [A detailed history of this war is provided by Bismarck’s First War: The Campaign of Schleswig and Jutland, 1864 by Michael Embree (2005).]

April 7– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “The President directs that you move with that part of your corps proper now in the Department of East Tennessee (that is, McLaw’s and Field’s divisions, and one battalion of artillery, that lately commanded by Colonel Alexander) to Charlottesville, Virginia. Arrived there, you will report to General Robert E. Lee. The infantry should first move by rail. If the means of transportation will permit, the artillery, its carriages, harness, &c., will go in the same manner; otherwise, it will march. Should the artillery go by rail, the artillery horses will be sent on the dirt road. Only such field transportation will be taken as is allowed for a campaign in the Army of Northern Virginia. Please see General Lee’s special orders, indorsed.” ~ Orders to Confederate General James Longstreet to move his soldiers from Tennessee back to Virginia.

 

General James Longstreet

General James Longstreet

April 7– Thursday– Lexington, Kentucky– Lucretia Hart Clay, widow of Henry Clay, dies at age 83 at the home of her son, John M. Clay. She bore eleven children, of whom only four survive at this time.

 

Lucretia Hart Clay beside her husband

Lucretia Hart Clay beside her husband

April 7– Thursday– Mount Gray, Arizona Territory– A Federal force of 59 soldiers attack a force of about 250 Chiricahua Apaches at their camp. Better armed and assisted by the element of surprise, the soldiers drive off the Apaches, burn the camp and about 300 pounds of food.

April 7– Thursday– Wilson’s Plantation, Louisiana; Bushy Creek, Arkansas; Woodall’s Bridge, Alabama; the foot of Sierra Bonito, New Mexico Territory; Rhea’s Mills, Arkansas; Port Hudson, Louisiana– Altercations, encounters and frays of various types.

 

April 8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Called this evening on Admiral Dahlgren, who is inconsolable for the loss of his son. Advised him to get abroad and mingle in the world, and not yield to a blow that was irremediable.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

April 8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– By a vote of 38 to 6, the Senate approves a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery and sends it to the House of Representatives.

April 8– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and warm– really a fine spring day. It is the day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, and all the offices are closed. May God put it into the hearts of the extortioners to relent, and abolish, for a season, the insatiable greed for gain! I paid $25 for a half cord of wood to-day, new currency. I fear a nation of extortioners are unworthy of independence, and that we must be chastened and purified before success will be vouchsafed us.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

April 8– Friday– Greeneville, Tennessee– “I was sorry to hear of Mother’s sickness but glad she is better. My own health is very good, today is fast day but somehow or other I don’t feel the same solemn obligations as in days gone by. I suppose the reason is that fast days come so often with me of late that I can’t feel right. I hope it is not for a want of religious interest, nevertheless I have kept the day. I am glad you have milk plenty. I know you will drink a glass for me. Oh, this cruel war, this cruel war, how many happy homes have been made desolate and unhappy by it. I hope it will soon end and let loved ones meet again.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W R Stilwell to his wife.

soldiers on the move

soldiers on the move

April 8– Friday– Mansfield, Louisiana– Confederate forces stop a Federal advance toward Shreveport. Union casualties– dead, wounded, missing– total 2,235. Total Confederate losses are estimated at 1,000.

April 8– Friday– Camden County, Georgia– “Last night we were awakened by a shell and rose from our beds to see the new mills and the adjoining buildings on fire. The little schooner came again and finished its work. Now all is gone. Sybil had gone over to Kate Lang’s to pass the night to take an early start in the morning for King’s Ferry as no one was hurt she continued her journey. Mr. Fisher and Lynn saved the machinery in a small out house. Gussy secreted himself and fired five times at the invaders. The pickets ran for their lives.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

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