You Have Done Your Part Nobly ~ Senator John Sherman
Senator Sherman praises his brother’s efforts in Georgia yet worries about General Grant’s failure to take Richmond. More and more of Georgia is laid waste. Confederate forces in northern Virginia have success. Whitman heals.
July 23– Saturday– Atlanta, Georgia– “It really made me sad to witness the ruin and destruction of the place. The soldiers have broke open many stores and scattered things over the streets promiscuously. There is the same noise and bustle on Whitehall [Street] but instead of thrift and industry and prosperity, it is hurried scramble to get away, fleeing from the wrath to come. If Sodom deserved the fate that befell it, Atlanta will not be unjustly punished, for since this war commenced it has grown to be the great capital place of corruption in official and private circles. While I regret the loss of Atlanta on account of its great value to the country as a military base and its incalculable value on account of its arsenals, foundries, manufacturies and railroad connections, I can scarcely regret that the nest of speculators and thieves, &c. is broken up. The constant and glorious patriotism and self-sacrificing devotion to our cause displayed by the women of Atlanta is the only redeeming virtue of the place.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his mother.
July 23– Saturday– Burge Plantation near Covington, Georgia– “I have been left in my home all day with no one but Sadai. Have seen nothing of the raiders, though this morning they burned the buildings around the depot at the Circle [Social Circle, a near-by town]. I have sat here in the porch nearly all day, and hailed every one that passed for news. Just as the sun set here Major Ansley and family came back. They heard of the enemy all about and concluded they were as safe here as anywhere. Just before bedtime John, our [slave] boy, came from Covington with word that the Yankees had left. Wheeler’s men were in Covington and going in pursuit. We slept sweetly and felt safe.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.
July 23– Saturday– Tanauan, Batengas, the Phillippines– Birth of Apolinario Mabini, lawyer, political theoretician and revolutionary, who will serves as Prime Minister from January to May, 1899. [Dies May 13, 1903.]
July 24– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “Since I last wrote to you my illness has been gradually alleviated, until now I go about pretty much the same as usual. I keep pretty old-fashioned hours, rise early, dine at 1, & go to bed before 10. My head feels clear & comfortable, & my strength has returned almost, but not quite up to what it was. . . . I am trying to make arrangements to publish my volume [Drum Taps]. I shall probably try to bring [it] out myself, stereotype it, & print an edition of 500. I could sell that number by my own exertions in Brooklyn & New York in three weeks. . . . Mother’s age I think begins to just show– in a few weeks, she will commence her 70th year– still she does most of her light housework. My sister & her children are well. . . . Well, William, about the war I have to inform you that I remain hopeful & confident yet. I still think Grant will go into Richmond. My brother [George] describes the spirit of the troops as confident & sanguine under all their trials.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D. O’Connor.
July 24– Sunday– Mansfield, Ohio– “We all feel that upon Grant and you, and the armies under your command, the fate of this country depends. If you are successful, it is ardently hoped that peace may soon follow with a restored union. If you fail, the wisest can hope for nothing but a long train of disasters and the strife of factious. All our people cling to the hope of success, and seem perfectly willing to submit to taxation, bad administration, and every ill short of disunion. Whether it is the result of education, the constant warnings of the early Southern statesman, or the reason of the thing, everybody here dreads the breaking up of the union as the beginning of anarchy. The very thing they fight for in the South is for them, and for us, the worst calamity. What can be more terrible than the fate of Kentucky and Missouri. A man cannot go to bed at night, except in fear of the knife and torch. This lawlessness will extend all over the country if we do not have military success. . . . Bad precedents in time of war will easily be corrected by peace. But the anarchy of unsuccessful war will reduce us to a pitiable state, in which we shall easily fall victims to demagogism or tyranny. Every one feels that you have done your part nobly. Grant has not had such success. No doubt he has done as well as any one could with his resources and such adversaries. Still he has not taken Richmond, and I fear will not this campaign.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman.
July 24– Sunday– Kernstown, Virginia– Confederate troops defeat the Union forces and drive the Federals back across the Potomac River. Total Confederate losses– killed, wounded and missing– are approximately 600 and Federal losses total approximately 1200.
July 24– Sunday– Cobb County, Georgia– “I feel very lonely this pleasant, bright, cool day, no company and hearing constantly this morning the heavy cannonading at the South East which I am informed was kept up the most of last night – man killing his brother man, like beast of prey, without even the excuse of hunger or passion towards each other and I am in ignorance if one of my poor children may not be among the slain; this sad war, this war brought on by the corruption of politicians– how often are my feelings painfully excited toward that class of human demons, for whose corrupt occupation I have all my life felt the bitterest contempt, the most of them would willingly despoil Heaven for an office.” ~ Diary of William King.
July 24– Sunday– Union lines outside Atlanta, Georgia– “Our battery kept up a fire on the city all night. We could plainly see the burning fuse of the shell as it sped on its way. At one time there was a fire in the city, probably caused by our shell. The tall kind sergeant, you remember, was wounded in the breast last Sunday, I fear fatally. Few that were not with us will ever appreciate the fierceness of our struggle that afternoon; besides a strong enemy in front and on the left, we were exposed to the sun, which was literally scorching. After we had won the field and were at last relieved, the men were so exhausted that they could hardly move, and some had to be carried back though not wounded; among these was my Adjutant, who seemed to be in hysterias, and for a time I almost feared that he was dying. One Captain and Lieutenant, who had worked splendidly, were in about the same condition. I had not strength to speak above a whisper, but soon recovered. Our guns were so hot from rapid firing that the men could not touch the barrels.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.
July 24– Sunday– Burge Plantation near Covington, Georgia– “No church. Our preacher’s horse stolen by the Yankees. This raid is headed by Guerrard and is for the purpose of destroying our railroads. They cruelly shot a George Daniel and a Mr. Jones of Covington, destroyed a great deal of private property, and took many citizens prisoners.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.
July 24– Sunday– Hanover, Germany– Birth of Frank Wedekind, playwright. [Dies March 9, 1918.]
July 25– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The cane you did me the honor to present through Governor Curtin was duly placed in my hand by him. Please accept my thanks; and, at the same time, pardon me for not having sooner found time to tender them.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to William O. Snider of Philadelphia.
July 25– Monday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I am getting very uneasy & exceeding anxious to hear how and when Father, Yourself, Harris & all of Roswell are. Major Minturn tells me he hears regularly from his wife. It was through her we have heard of the destruction of our little village. The factory & every home in the place being burnt. It is impossible for me to realize it, and I want to hear all about it from some of the family. Oh how fiercely I could drive the scoundrels from my home that their presence might no longer pollute my native state. In all my engagements with the enemy when I come in sight of their blue Yankee uniforms a feeling more like that of a fiend than human takes possession of me and I only feel an intense desire to kill, to strike to the earth all that come in my reach. I rejoice that Johnston has been superceded by Hood. We have heard of the fighting there & are anxiously looking for further news. Atlanta, I expect, is now safe & I pray God we may have such a victory then as will have to [lead to] an early termination or cessation of hostilities but what will Father and yourself do for a home. Dear old Roswell I am afraid we will never meet in a home there again. Oh what a war, a cruel war, & how little the Yankees feel it.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington S King to his mother.
July 25– Monday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Another day of trial and anxiety has come, all nature seems cheerful, the skies bright and clear and the weather very cool for the season, and after Breakfast as I could not go to town I walked to the Picket station near the Graveyard, gave one of them [Federal soldiers] a letter to take to the P.O. for me and asked him to inquire for letters there for me . . . . I learnt that the report of the Federal Army having entered Atlanta some days ago was untrue, and that they were still out of it up to yesterday evening, that the fighting on Thursday and Saturday was very severe and the loss large on both sides, that on Thursday General McPherson (one of the best of the Federal Generals) was killed and . . . a large number of other officers on both sides, and the sacrifice of men great on both sides, how this needless war is spreading mourning and distress throughout our once prosperous and almost perfectly happy county– if the politicians were out of the way, how soon could the afflicted people reconcile their differences, and terminate this appalling and wicked sacrifice of Life and happiness.” ~ Diary of William King.
July 25– Monday– outside Atlanta, Georgia– “We are very near Atlanta, actually besieging it, only I doubt whether we have troops enough wholly to encompass it; still we are bound to take it, there can be little doubt of it. Our batteries throw shot and shell into the city and the forts around the city, and the rebels reply from their forts at times quite lustily. My regiment is in a very good position and, though one or two shells have struck within the camp, we are unhurt. Do you want my old hat? I have put it up and will send it off by mail. You can see the mark that bullet left on the 22nd of June. I have been through so many battles; nearly two hundred officers and men of my regiment have been killed and wounded in this campaign; I have been with them always, exposed as much as any, and have come out unscathed. I have faith that I will in the future and finally come home. The papers have doubtless told you how disastrously to the rebels the battles of the 20th and the 22nd resulted, and also that General McPherson . . . was killed. . . . There has been considerable fighting along the lines today. Our lines are moving from the left to the right with the view, I suppose, of meeting at the Mobile Railroad. Two of my men have been slightly bruised by a shell, otherwise we are all well.” ~ Letter from union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.