West Point Classmates~2

West Point Classmates~2

Career soldiers who had graduated from the military academy at West Point, New York, became generals on both sides during the Civil War. At times this meant classmates or friends ended up on opposite sides, even fighting one another. Some of these soldiers were outstanding leaders, some were mediocre and some down right incompetent or dangerous to their commands. Here is the second of several random samples. Take note of the class rank. [Union generals are designated as USA. Confederate generals as CSA.]

Class of 1835:

George Morell, USA, 1st in a class of 56

George Morell

George Morell

George Gordon Meade, USA, 19th in a class of 56

George Gordon Meade

George Gordon Meade

Class of 1836:

Danville Leadbetter, CSA, 3rd in a class of 49

Danville Leadbetter

Danville Leadbetter

Montgomery Meigs, USA, 5th in a class of 49

Montgomery Meigs

Montgomery Meigs

Class of 1837:

Braxton Bragg, CSA, 5th in a class of 50

Braxton Bragg

Braxton Bragg

Jubal Early, CSA, 18th in a class of 50

Jubal Early

Jubal Early

John Sedgwick, USA, 24th in a class of 50

John Sedgwick

John Sedgwick

John Pemberton, CSA, 27th in a class of 50

John Pemberton

John Pemberton

Joseph Hooker, USA, 29th in a class of 50.

Joseph Hooker

Joseph Hooker

Such Wicked Instument as the Federal Army~September 1864~26th to 28th

Such Wicked Instrument as the Federal Army ~ Sally Wendel Fentress.

While Southerners lament Sherman’s wickedness, his process of forcing civilians out of Atlanta moves ahead. He advises President Lincoln of his situation. Plenty of fighting takes place throughout the South. North and South vibrate with political activity. Consideration of possible Canadian federation makes the news in the United States. European radicals form the International Workingmen’s Association which, in several forms and spin-offs, will be a political force for the next half century.

September 26– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– “We took a stroll in the vicinity of the Chattanooga depot yesterday morning, and witnessed some interesting sights. About twenty box cars filled with refugees, principally from the late confederate city of Atlanta, were upon the track, awaiting orders to proceed further northward. Each car appeared to contain a separate family, and many of the occupants did not wear the wretched aspect one would suppose, after making such a lengthy journey with such limited accommodations. A large portion of them were children, the apparent ages of many of whom would seem to indicate that all the able-bodied male population of the South had not abandoned the peace and quiet of family joys for the field of Mars. Some appeared to have been in comfortable circumstances, and they appeared to like the change.” ~ Nashville Daily Times and True Union.

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

September 26– Monday– Port Republic, Virginia; Weyer’s Cave, Virginia; Brown’s Gap, Virginia; Roswell, Georgia; Vache Grass, Arkansas; Osage Mission, Kansas; Richland Creek, Tennessee; Arcadia Valley, Missouri; Shut-in-Gap, Missouri; Ironton, Missouri– Brawls, altercations, raids, and minor engagements.

September 27– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Hallett & Davis piano factory on East Newton Street is entirely destroyed by fire. The loss is close to $250,000. About 200 pianos, in various states of construction, are lost. [The loss would amount to $3,820,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

September 27– Tuesday– New York City– “A rigid economy on the part of housekeepers at this crisis in the gold market, would bring about a wonderful revolution in the general provision business, before the dawn of another Sunday morning. The fall in gold may stagger the dealers to some perceptible degree. But in order to strike a blow at the petty trade combination which they shall really feel, economy, rigid and systematic, is the grand requirement of the time. Most families could do with half the quantity of butter they consume, and feel as well as look the better for the abstinence. The same applies – although in a less degree – to heavy joints of meats which are often allowed to go to waste. Let economy be the order– if only to see how the experiment will work.” ~ New York Times.

hairstyle & ornaments~ Godey's Lady's Book ~ September 1864

hairstyle & ornaments~ Godey’s Lady’s Book ~ September 1864

September 27– Tuesday– Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania– “I take this opportunity to write to you to let you know how I am. I am well and my wound is Almost healed up and I hope that these few lines will find you well. I received your letter and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well. I haven’t got transferred to New York yet I tried to when I was at home but I could not. So I had to come back here. the Doctor ask me when I came back if I did not want my discharge. I told him that I would rather be transferred to New York and if I could not that I would like to have my discharge, he said that he would get me transferred or give me my discharge. I walk with crutches yet. Thomas Flood is well and is ward master of this ward. I think [it] likely that I shall go home. Some time this month there was an order in the paper that we was all A’goin’ to be Sent home to vote.” ~ Letter from Union soldier James S. Stilwell to Walt Whitman.

September 27– Tuesday– Winchester, Virginia– “At Newtown a Negro told me that [Confederate Colonel John] Mosby and some of his men were in town and would attack us as we passed through. I caught a citizen and sent him to Colonel Mosby with my compliments and told him to get out of town or I would burn it. The citizen asked me if I had orders to burn the town. I told him we would have the fire and get the order afterwards. The Rebels left, and we could see them on the hills but not near enough to fight. . . . One lady invited me into her house and gave me a good lunch. Two young ladies present turned their chairs and sat facing the wall but this did not take my appetite away. I dined at a house near Kernstown and then returned to Winchester, arriving late in the afternoon. . . . I passed last evening with some young ladies in the city and today I am invited to dine with one of the residents. I hope we shall be allowed to spend the winter in Winchester, for it is great fun. One young girl told me that when the Union and Rebel troops were fighting in front of her house, she ran out on the front steps in her excitement. She also said when she saw the Union flag she cried for joy.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

September 27– Tuesday– Centralia, Missouri– A small Confederate force attacks the town, killing 24 Union soldiers in the town and another 116 in an ambush. The Confederates burn parts of the town.

September 28– Wednesday– New York City– “The preliminary conferences of the delegates appointed to discuss the question of a Federative Union of the Provinces, have closed. Meetings of a more or less formal character have been held at the capital towns of the three Maritime Colonies, and the leading delegates who have been entertained at a public banquet in Halifax have partially broken the seal of silence heretofore imposed upon their deliberations. The sum of the revelation then is, that the scheme of Union, so far as it has been canvassed, is found to be practicable. The members present at the various conferences are united in their opinion as to the desirability of a Union, which, while it shall leave each Province a certain control in all matters of local concern, shall yet subordinate the whole to a strong central governing body. The general feeling is in favor of a federal system which shall designate the specific powers, functions and responsibilities of the local governing bodies; leaving all else to the absolute control of the central body – our system inverted, as it were, in this essential feature. The whole scheme, however, is only yet conceived in the crudest form. Another meeting of the delegates will be held at Quebec, to consider something like a common basis of action for reference to the Legislature of each separate Province as they now stand. During the coming sessions of the Colonial Parliaments, the business of Federation will be dealt with in detail; and probably several sessions will be consumed in its discussion, before a final decision is reached. The important announcement has been made by Sir Richard Graves Macdonnell, the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, that he has instructions from the Imperial authorities in England to give all the official aid and encouragement in his power to the proposed scheme of federation. And we find that at the Halifax banquet Admiral Sir James Hope, speaking, as he said, from an intimate knowledge of the state of public feeling in England is thus reported, on the question of ultimate independence for the confederated Colonies: ‘Rest well assured that your aspirations for nationality will find nothing else than a cordial response among us.’ . . . . And it is this question of ultimately cutting loose from the monarchical system that will be found to be the great source of sectional division and strife. The purest monarchists in this hemisphere to-day are the descendants of the French noblesse of Lower Canada. All their traditions go back beyond the imperial and revolutionary era. The edicts of the Kings of France are their law; the customs of the monarchical era are still their rule. And from these it will be an almost hopeless task to undertake to wean them by any specious promise of independence.” ~ New York Times.

delegates to the Canadian Charlottetown Conference

delegates to the Canadian Charlottetown Conference

September 28– Wednesday– New York City– “The Journal of Commerce takes upon itself to deny our statement that when the news of Sheridan’s victory was posted on its bulletin, the crowd that gathered round cheered for President Lincoln. We are not surprised at this, for the fact is a hard one for the Copperheads to get over. Certainly no one in the crowd thought of cheering for McClellan. But we allege again that the crowd did cheer for President Lincoln, and if the Journal desires it the fact can easily be established by affidavit.” ~ New York Times.

September 28– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– President Jeff Davis approves the request of General John Bell Hood to relieve native Georgian General William J. Hardee of duty with Hood’s army. Hardee, who does not get along well with Hood, accepts an assignment to command the troops along Georgia’s Atlantic coast. [There he will encounter Sherman and his army again in December.]

September 28– Wednesday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “Since my last date I have entered into an arduous task that of school teaching. Aunt Anne requiring an assistant, I agreed to assist her in the mornings, Ida in the afternoons. Have heard a report of the capture of Athens, Alabama, by General Forrest. Rumor says that he captured 30 pieces of artillery besides 1300 prisoners. Ma has been attacked with Erysipelas [skin disease causing raised red patches on the face and legs] again. Has not been well since her first attack and is now very sick. I think that she despairs of her life but the Doctor seems to have no fears. Ma has so much depending on her that she, in her hurry and anxiety to get well, injured herself more materially than she otherwise would do. Oh, what if the Great God should see fit to take her! What a helpless family she would leave! Since the Federal invasion our property has been ruined and stolen. Three brothers in the Army, nothing to live upon. Good God! shall we be reduced from ease and affluence to abject poverty! We can collect no debts that have long since been due, therefore we are so helpless it is truly hard, very hard to say ‘Thy will be done.’ O When will the cruel, cruel war cease. How long shall we be outraged and humiliated by our heavenly Parent through such wicked instrument as the Federal Army.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

September 28– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I have positive knowledge that Jeff Davis made a speech at Macon on the 22nd which I mailed to General Halleck yesterday. It was bitter against Johnston & Governor Brown. The militia is on furlough. Brown is at Milledgeville trying to get a legislature to meet next month but he is afraid to act unless in concert with other Governors. Judge Wright of Rome has been here and Messrs Hill and Nelson former members of our Congress are also here now and will go to meet Wright at Rome and then go back to Madison and Milledgeville. Great efforts are being made to re-enforce Hood’s army and to break up my Railroads, and I should have at once a good reserve force at Nashville. It would have a bad effect if I were to be forced to send back any material part of my army to guard roads so as to weaken me to an extent that I could not act offensively if the occasion calls for it.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to President Lincoln.

September 28– Wednesday– London, England– A varied assortment of leftists and radicals from England, Ireland, France, Germany, Poland and Italy meet at St Martin’s Hall. They form the International Workingmen’s Association [a/k/a The First International, which will function in various states of turmoil until 1876].

delegates to the First International

delegates to the First International

September 28– Wednesday– Cambridge, England– Birth of Barry Dell Pain, journalist, poet and author. [Dies May 5, 1928].

Barry Pain--1891

Barry Pain–1891

West Point Classmates~1

West Point Classmates~1

Career soldiers who had graduated from the military academy at West Point, New York, became generals on both sides during the Civil War. At times this meant classmates or friends ended up on opposite sides, even fighting one another. Some of these soldiers were outstanding leaders, some were mediocre and some down right incompetent or dangerous to their commands. Here is the first of several random samples.

Class of 1822:

Isaac R Trimble, CSA, 17 of a class of 40.

Isaac R Trimble

Isaac R Trimble

David Hunter, USA, 25 of a class of 40.

David Hunter

David Hunter

Class of 1823:

George S Greene, USA, 2 of a class of 35.

George S Greene

George S Greene

Lorenzo Thomas, USA, 17 of a class of 35.

Lorenzo Thomas

Lorenzo Thomas

Class of 1826:

Albert Sidney Johnston, CSA, 8 of a class of 41.

Albert Sidney Johnston

Albert Sidney Johnston

Class of 1827:

Leonidas Polk, CSA, 8 of a class of 38.

Leonidas Polk

Leonidas Polk

Philip St George Cooke, USA, 23 of a class of 38.

Philip St George Cooke

Philip St George Cooke

Class of 1829:

Robert E Lee, CSA, 2 of a class of 46.

Robert E Lee

Robert E Lee

Joseph E Johnston, CSA, 13 of a class of 46.

Joseph E Johnston

Joseph E Johnston

I Am Becoming A Sad-Souled Woman~Sptember 1864~24th and 25th

I Am Becoming a Sad-Souled Woman ~Lucy Virginia French.

Lucy French mourns the current state of affairs and wonders what, if anything, men are good for doing. Mary Chesnut laments that Sheridan’s victories are blows on a corpse. The escaped Southern spy Belle Boyd marries her captor in England. Across the South plenty of skirmishing takes place. Officers of a Federal unit of black soldiers are ambushed. The commandant at Andersonville denies any wrong doing.

widows in cemetary images

September 24– Saturday– Columbia, South Carolina– “These stories of our defeats in the valley fall like blows upon a dead body. Since Atlanta fell I have felt as if all were dead within me forever. Captain Ogden, of General Chesnut s staff, dined here to-day. Had ever brigadier, with little or no brigade, so magnificent a staff? The reserves, as somebody said, have been secured only by robbing the cradle and the grave, the men too old, the boys too young.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

September 24– Saturday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Wood is being brought into the city from outside the picket lines under the direction of army officers, and on last Thursday, Dr. J. M. Osburn, Quartermaster James Helm and Second Lieutenant E. Bently, all of the 3rd Regiment United States Colored Heavy Artillery, went out to oversee the work. For some reason or other, they determined to ride a short distance further. They apprehended no danger and were riding along gaily, when suddenly seven bushwhackers who were lying in ambush fired on them. Dr. Osborn fell immediately from his horse, Lieutenant Bently rode a short distance and also fell from his horse. Quartermaster Helm, who was unhurt, spurred his horse to get away, but had gone but a short distance when the horse ran against the limbs of a tree and the quartermaster was knocked off, but managed to get away and reach the city on foot. A company of twenty cavalry men were at once went out and recovered the body Lieutenant Bently, which they brought to the city. The body of Dr. Osborn was not found until yesterday morning, when a person near the place found it and brought it to the city. The murdered officers were probably killed by the first fire, but the bushwhacker amused themselves by firing their revolvers at the corpses. Over twelve balls were thus fired into the dead body of Lieutenant Bently. When the party of cavalry went out for the bodies, they found no guerrillas. Quartermaster Helm is of [the] opinion that the murderers were regular Confederate soldiers. Retaliatory measures will probably be adopted. The other officers of the 3rd Regiment met last night and passed resolutions of respect for the memory of their deceased brother officers.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

September 24– Saturday– Andersonville, Georgia– Confederate Captain Henry Wirz, commandant of the prison camp, denies the validity of a derogatory report of prison conditions made to the Confederate government by an inspector, which charged that prison rations were not cooked and firewood was not provided for inmates.

Henry Wirz

Henry Wirz

September 24– Saturday– Athens, Alabama; Fayette, Missouri; Jackson, Missouri; Farmington, Missouri; Magnolia, Florida; Mount Jackson, Virginia; Milford Haven, Virginia; New Market, Virginia; Luray, Virginia; Forest Hill, Virginia– Raids, encounters in force, skirmishes and firefights.

September 25– Sunday– New York City– “The Liverpool Mercury says that Mr. and Mrs. Hardinge, (Miss Belle Boyd) who were married in London on Thursday, have arrived in Liverpool, and are staying at the Washington Hotel, preparing for a speedy departure to the Confederate States, where, in spite of the blockade, Mr. Hardinge intends to convey a portion of the wedding-cake for distribution among his friends. Relative to the withdrawal of Mr. Hardinge from the service of the North, the Morning Post says Mr. H. needs no excuse for the step he has taken in renouncing his allegiance to the Federal cause, and espousing the fair ‘rebel,’ whom he has now sworn to love, honor and cherish. Though in obedience to the wishes of his father he served for some time in the Federal Navy, in which service he rose to be Lieutenant, his Southern sympathies were notorious in the North, where it was well known that he had long tendered his resignation, which Mr. Secretary Welles refused to accept, and thus he was forced to continue in a service which he would gladly have renounced long since. Though more than suspected of Southern sympathies, he kept his word when he promised the executive of the Federal navy that the name he bore – a name which had descended to him from a long line of ancestors in Great Britain and America – should not be disgraced, an proved his readiness to perform his duty on many occasions, especially by heading a body of 120 men sent ashore to storm a breach at Wilmington, and capturing the fort, though when the muster-roll was called afterwards only 25 survivors could respond. He did not escape, as he received a severe wound in the chest, and will carry his honorable scar to the grave. Having now finally quitted the service of President Lincoln’s Government, he intends to signalize his devotion to Secessia by entering the ranks of her army, and thus winning his way to confidence and that command which his birth and education gave him a right to expect.” ~ New York Times. [The news is a bit old. Hardinge and Boyd were married on August 25th. Shortly, Hardinge will return, alone, not to the Confederacy but to the North and will be promptly arrested. He will be held until February, 1865. When released he will return to Boyd in England, in poor health and die within a year, leaving Boyd a widow with an infant daughter. She will return to the United States at the end of 1867, be married two more times, bear four children, have a career on stage and die June 11, 1900, at age of 56, of a heart attack. See, Belle Boyd: Confederate Spy by Louis A Sigaud, (1944); Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott, (2014).]

Belle Boyd

Belle Boyd

September 25– Sunday– Shenandoah Valley, Virginia– General Sheridan’s Federal troops move toward Staunton, Virginia, destroying railroads and buildings, seizing animals and food stuffs.

September 25– Sunday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “With Sherman’s success in Georgia– Farragut’s at Mobile– Sheridan’s in the Shenandoah Valley—the death of General Morgan and other minor successes of the Federals—it is no wonder we feel gloomy. . . . The rumor that a Negro garrison is to be sent here, and that Andy Johnson will soon conscript every man, both black and white, bond and free between the ages of 15 and 50 into the Yankee army—(his proclamation to that effect being just issued) has not tended to cheer our spirits, in the least. I begin now to look forward to the worst—to hope for nothing—to expect only disaster—and endeavor to meet it when it comes, not so much with fortitude and courage, but a with a sullen and stolid indifference. I have wished a thousand times that I had never married—that I had no family pressing upon me—no little children over whose present and future welfare to vex and worry—if I had no one but myself—it would be a small matter—I should not then care for all this trouble I should get out of it. There are some who always seem to ride upon a top wave—even in times like these I see people who seem always to have plenty—to be in need of nothing—even to be making profits out of the times. Such is not our case. We make nothing save by the hardest of ‘hard licks.’ We are preyed upon on all sides—we get forward with no work—we gain nothing,—in short as Mrs. Myers says of her family– ‘When it rains soup our plate is always bottom upwards.’ I have tried to ‘turn an honest penny’ by selling off the surplus of housekeeping articles which I brought from Bersheba– but although such things are scarce and high, I cannot sell anything. No one seems to want them when they have to pay out money, or provisions for them. Well, it grows harder and harder with us, oh! I dread this coming winter. The house, which a very little energy and labor might make comfortable before the cold weather sets in remains just as it was when we returned to it– tho’ we have been here now 2 ½ months. On Friday night we had a rain storm—the roof leaked like a sieve and tho’ a few hours time and a few nails and shingles would make it all secure—it remains thus—and will so remain until the plastering all falls, and the ceiling is ruined. Malone and the Colonel [her husband] ‘Knock round’ – their principal employment seems ‘going to town.’ I often wonder what men were made for! To keep up the species I suppose– which is the only thing they are ‘always ready’ [for] and never slow about doing! For my part I am quite wearied and worn out with their general no accountability– and wish they were all put into the army, where they could kill each other off– the less of them the better! Well, I suppose it will be right a ‘hundred years hence.’ I suppose I am beginning to become embittered by years of hardship, privation and sorrow. Verily, this world is a hard one, would to God I had never come into it! Having come into [it] however, let me endeavor to bear the ‘siege of troubles,’ the ‘stings and arrows of outrageous fortune,’ as best I may– trying meanwhile to comfort myself with the old Spanish proverb– ‘Patience– there is an end of all things.’ . . . Great Heaven! when shall we have rest and peace? Will it ever come in our day? I am becoming a sad-souled woman– full of secret sorrows– full of heart-burnings, full of longing for the great and good– full of impatience and repining at the chains, the iron chains of everyday circumstance which bind me back from all that my better nature aspires to! How sad a thing it is to feel how powerless, how insignificant, how incapable we are! When the heart is fired for great deeds, when the eye is fixed on some high standard—when the whole nature is straining and struggling forward to have the petty chains of everyday wound about you, a perpetual hindrance and stumbling-block—oh! it is hard-hard! And no one to appreciate your sacrifices– sacrifices of your best and highest pleasures at the shrine of everyday duty– sacrifices which were it not for them– you would not be forced to undergo!” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

September 25– Sunday– Sulphur Branch Trestle, Alabama; Farmington, Missouri; Huntsville, Missouri; Henderson, Kentucky; Johnsonville, Tennessee; Walnut Creek, Kansas– Raids, skirmishes and pitched battles.

No Advisor So Able, Bold, Sagacious~September 1864~23rd and 24th

No Adviser So Able, Bold, Sagacious~ Gideon Welles.

In a shakeup of his Cabinet, President Lincoln asks for and graciously receives the resignation of Postmaster General Montgomery Blair. Blair, age 51, is against slavery yet is seen by Radical Republicans such as Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner as too moderate in his views. Blair’s dismissal appears to be made to appease the radicals. A Southern woman looks for a biblical justification of slavery. Sherman’s continued presence in Georgia worries many. News of deaths comes frequently.

Lincoln and his Cabinet

Lincoln and his Cabinet

September 23– Friday– near New Market, Virginia– “I have only time to write you a few words– We had a battle yesterday at Fisher’s Hill, which resulted quite disastrously from the fact that our men broke & ran & we lost some 15 pieces of artillery & a good many small arms & some prisoners – but we brought off all our wagons & nearly all of our troops and are now making a stand here, the enemy’s coming slowly after us – I hope we may not have to fall back any further, but should not be surprised if we came up to Harrisonburg or even to Staunton, but movements are on foot to aid us & I think all will soon be well. Our troops behaved badly – & got into a panic – Colonel Pendleton was mortally wounded, just at dark & we had to leave him in Woodstock. I am truly sorry for his young wife – he was one of the best officers in the army & it will be difficult to fill his place . William got scared in the stampede & I have not seen him yet, but hear that he went up the road badly ‘demoralized.’ Thanks to a Kind Providence I escaped – my horse was hit by the fragments of a shell & one piece struck my hand but did no damage. If William comes home I want him to come back. I do not want Mr. Geedings to sell my horse for less than $15 or $1600. Love to all– write soon Don’t get the ‘blues’– all will yet be well. Don’t know of any one you know hurt.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

September 23– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “You have generously said to me, more than once, that whenever your resignation could be a relief to me, it was at my disposal. The time has come. You very well know that this proceeds from no dissatisfaction of mine with you personally or officially. Your uniform kindness has been unsurpassed by that of any other friend, and while it is true that the war does not so greatly add to the difficulties of your department as to those of some others, it is yet much to say, as I most truly can, that in the three years and a half during which you have administered the General Post-Office, I remember no single complaint against you in connection therewith.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Postmaster General Montgomery Blair.

Montgomery Blair

Montgomery Blair

September 23–Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Mr. Bates and myself came out of the Executive Mansion together and were holding a moment’s conversation, when Blair joined us, remarking as he did so, ‘I suppose you are both aware that my head is decapitated, that I am no longer a member of the Cabinet.’ It was necessary he should repeat before I could comprehend what I heard. I inquired what it meant, and how long he had had the subject submitted or suggested to him. He said never until to-day; that he came in this morning from Silver Spring and found this letter from the President for him. He took the letter from his pocket and read the contents– couched in friendly terms– reminding him that he had frequently stated he was ready to leave the Cabinet when the President thought it best, etc., etc., and informing him the time had arrived. . . . I asked Blair what led to this step, for there must be a reason for it. He said he had no doubt he was a peace-offering to Fremont and his friends. They wanted an offering, and he was the victim whose sacrifice would propitiate them. . . . In parting with Blair the President parts with a true friend, and he leaves no adviser so able, bold, sagacious. Honest, truthful, and sincere, he has been wise, discriminating, and correct. Governor Dennison, who is to succeed him, is, I think, a good man, and I know of no better one to have selected.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 23– Friday– Cleveland, Tennessee– “This night our dear &only brother left this world of sorrow to dwell in realms of eternal bliss. Gently & softly the sad news came of General Morgan’s death, tempered from a thunderbolt to a mournful regret that our southern Marion had fallen. Killed in Mrs Williams’ garden at Greeneville, Tennessee.”~ Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.

September 23– Friday– Augusta, Georgia–”The doctrine of self government I suppose of course to be right and yet our Southern people do not appear to have learned the art, even if they had the right granted them. Where is there more power exercised than is displayed in the manner in which our Generals are ‘relieved’? But as to the doctrine of slavery altho I have read very few abolition books (Uncle Tom’s Cabin making most impression) nor have I read many pro slavery books, yet the idea has gradually become more and more fixed in my mind that the institution of slavery is not right, but I am reading a new book, Nellie Norton, by the Rev. E. W. Warren which I hope will convince me that it is right. Owning a large number of slaves as we do I might be asked why I do not free them? This if I could, I would not do, but if Mr. Thomas would sell them to a man who would look after their temporal and spiritual interest I would gladly do so. Those house servants we have if Mr. Thomas would agree to it I would pay regular wages but this is a subject upon which I do not like to think and taking my stand upon the moral view of the subject, I can but think that to hold men and women in perpetual bondage is wrong. During my comparatively short life, spent wholly under Southern skies, I have known of and heard too much of its demoralizing influence to consider the institution a blessing.” ~ Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas. [The book to which she refers is Nellie Norton: or, Southern Slavery and the Bible; A Scriptural Refutation of the Principal Arguments upon which the Abolitionists Rely; A Vindication of Southern Slavery from the Old and New Testaments by Reverend Ebenezer W Warren. He developed the book out of a sermon he preached early in 1861 as the war began and published the work in 1864, so it is "hot off the press" as Mrs Thomas reads it. He pastored the First Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia, from 1860 to 1871 and again from 1879 to 1891.]

slaves praying with their feet

slaves praying with their feet

September 23– Friday– Front Royal, Virginia; Woodstock, Virginia; Mount Jackson, Virginia; Athens, Alabama; Rocheport, Missouri– Raids, hard skirmishing and firefights.

September 24– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We learn from a reliable source that Dr. William Park a citizen of Jackson county, residing near Ravenswood, was killed on Wednesday last by Captain Kennedy’s Home Guards, under the following circumstances: Some of Kennedy’s men pressed one of Dr. Park’s horses for the purpose of going on a scout. The doctor asked the privilege of going to town with the men to see if he could not get his horse released. Shortly after leaving the house on the way to town, one of the soldiers shot the Doctor in the head killing him almost instantly. Parks voted for the [Virginia] ordinance of secession but had never been charged with any other act of disloyalty. The act is universally denounced as an unprovoked and unjustifiable outrage and if the circumstances have been correctly reported to us the perpetrators should at once be brought to justice.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. [West Virginia had been part of Virginia but many residents opposed secession, thus leading to the split from Virginia.]

September 24– Saturday– near New Market, Virginia– “I am sorry to tell you that your Brother John is no more. He was killed in the battle at Winchester, shot in the head I think, though I am not certain for I did not see him, though I was told by some one who professed to know, he lived but a very short time after he was struck. I would of written to you immediately but I did not have time, I wrote home, and told my wife to tell Mary to write to you about and let you know the worst, I have but little good news to tell you, we had another hard fight on the 19th were victorious until about three o’clock, the Yanks flanked us and we had to fall back which raised a perfect stampede.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Charles Baylor to his friend Charles W. McGuffin.

third battle of Winchester

third battle of Winchester

September 24– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Sheridan follows up his work, and bids fair to disperse and annihilate Early’s entire army. The effect of his successive victories has been a great fall in the price of gold, or an appreciation of paper currency. We are, I think, approaching the latter days of the Rebellion. The discomfiture of Early is likely to make Lee’s continuance in Richmond uncomfortable, yet where can he go to make a more effectual stand? Some indications of a desire on the part of the authorities of Georgia to effect a restoration, are more than intimated, and a prevalent feeling of despondency is manifest throughout the Rebel region. An effective blow by Grant at Richmond or the retreat of the Rebel army will be the falling in of the crater.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 24– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues an Executive Order detailing the purchase and resale of products “of States declared in insurrection.”

September 24– Saturday– Cleveland, Ohio–The brig Sultan leaves the harbor in the afternoon, sailing east on Lake Erie. In the evening, about five miles away, it strikes a sandbar and sinks. One man survives. Seven others die. The vessel and cargo are a total loss.

September 24– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Sherman still occupies Atlanta and I’m afraid he will soon pay his respects to other portions of our beloved state. I’m afraid his visit will be rather longer than you expected. He is daily running six or eight raids loaded with commissary and smaller stores, into the city preparatory, I’ve no doubt, to sending the greater portion of his army elsewhere. I don’t generally make prophecies; but I’m going to make one now. I predict that in less time than six months, General Hood’s army will be feasting on the Yankee rations now in Atlanta. All Sherman’s boasting will be but to his shame. He will surely meet with his just deserts for the manner in which he treated the people of that afflicted city. I received a letter from Sister yesterday, saying they were still living in dread of Yankee raiders. I do hope her fears may prove groundless; but I’m afraid twill be a forlorn hope. I think it is Sherman’s intention to inflict as great injury upon the people of Georgia as he possible can. O how I do pity those who as so unfortunate as to be in their line of march. May you and others, dear to me, escape that dreadful calamity. Our cause now looks gloomy. Our armies are suffering defeats, and every thing looks anything but peaceful. Our enemies are putting forth every energy to crush and annihilate the rebels. Although this dark cloud of oppression is hanging over our beloved land, threatening to spend its fury upon us, still I believe it has a ‘silver lining’ and will soon pass away, revealing to us a happy and prosperous country. There is an old saying that ‘the darkest hour is just before day,’ doesn’t it seem as if it were nearly day?” ~Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

Union soldiers in Atlanta

Union soldiers in Atlanta

September 24– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I have returned to the Sharpshooters. I came back day before yesterday evening. I have not regained my strength fully yet, but I got heartily tired of the hospital and had much rather be here than there. I am doing no duty here yet. The boys say they want me to get entirely well before I set in for good. The Doctor gave me a pint of cherry bark bitters when I left which does me much good. Well I suppose the booming of cannon is in hearing of you. It is getting too close to be healthy. It makes me feel bad to think of it, but I hope it will come no nearer. Of course I can tell nothing about Sherman’s intentions only by guess, but it is my opinion that he will do but little more there for the present.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

The Victory of Sheridan Has A Party-Political Influence~September 1864~21st to 23rd

The Victory of Sheridan Has a Party-Political Influence. ~ Gideon Welles.

Fremont’s withdrawal from the presidential race and Sheridan’s victories in the Shenandoah Valley begin to spell success for Lincoln’s reelection Hard fighting continues in that Valley. Train accidents, common in the time period, occur with unfortunate regularity. At the time injured workers usually fall into poverty as workers compensation does not yet exist nor do unemployment benefits. Sherman’s expulsion of the citizens of Atlanta continues. Fashionable women consider clothes for the new season.

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

September 21– Wednesday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Presidential question has in effect been entered upon in such a way that the union of the Republican party has become a paramount necessity. The policy of the Democratic party signifies either separation, or reestablishment with Slavery. The Chicago platform is simply separation. General Mc Clellan’s letter of acceptance is reestablishment with Slavery. The Republican candidate on the contrary is pledged to the reestablishment of the Union without Slavery; and, however hesitating his policy may be, the pressure of his party will, we may hope, force him to it. Between these issues, I think, no man of the Liberal party can remain in doubt; and I believe I am consistent with my antecedents in withdrawing, not to aid in the triumphs of Mr. Lincoln, but to do my part toward preventing the election of the Democratic candidate. In respect to Mr. Lincoln, I continue to hold exactly the sentiments contained in my letter of acceptance. I consider that his Administration has been politically, militarily and financially, a failure, and that its necessary continuance is a cause of regret for the country. . . . But in the uncertain condition of affairs leading men were not found willing to make public a dissatisfaction and condemnation which could have rendered Mr. Lincoln’s nomination impossible; and their continued silence and support established for him a character among the people which leaves now no choice. United, the Republican party is reasonably sure of success; divided, the result of the Presidential election is, at the least, doubtful.” ~ Letter from General John C Fremont to a committee of political leaders.

September 21– Wednesday– New York City– “Sheridan seems doing much to help our defense. His victory of the 19th grows bigger and higher as we learn more about it and about his way of following it up. It was a hard-fought battle, decided at last by a heavy cavalry charge. That is a new feature in our battles, I think. Another new feature is that he seems to be pushing the retreating army vigorously, even as Blucher after Waterloo, and was when last heard from near Strasburg, thirty miles from his original position. No victorious army, rebel or national, has heretofore made what seemed a prompt effort to secure the fruits of victory by pressing on the heels of its losing adversary.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

third battle of Winchester

third battle of Winchester

September 21– Wednesday– Washington, D. C.– “The victory of Sheridan has a party-political influence. It is not gratifying to the opponents of the Administration. Some who want to rejoice in it feel it difficult to do so, because they are conscious that it strengthens the Administration, to which they are opposed. The partisan feeling begins to show itself strongly among men of whom it was not expected. . . . Some attempt is made by the Richmond papers to help the cause of McClellan by an affectation of dread of his superior military attainments and abilities and his greater zeal for the Union. The effort is so bald, so manifestly intended for their sympathizing friends, that no one can be deceived by it. There was a time when such stuff had a market in the North, but that time has gone by.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 21– Wednesday– en route to Richmond, Virginia– “Since my last we have left the valley and are now en route for Richmond or some other point south. I suppose Grant is making a great arrangement to take Richmond and General Lee getting ready to meet him. God defend the right. Iforgot to say that I was complimented very highly for my conduct in the cavalry fight the other day. I was laughing most all the time and cheering on the boys sometimes from fifty to seventy-five yards in front of the brigade on my horse. I hope you will not scold me dear Molly, for if I fall in this war let me die like a soldier and let my name illustrate the blood of my veins.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer W A Stilwell to his wife Molly.

cavalry battle

cavalry battle

September 21– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Would it not be desirable to teach music systematically in our public schools by the employment of a competent teacher? In St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, and nearly all other large cities, special music teachers are employed for the schools, and their labors not only communicate a very desirable accomplishment, but aid materially in the maintenance of school discipline. If the increased expense of employing a special music teacher would be objectionable, then specific attention to music as a branch of study might be required under the direction of our present excellent teachers. Perhaps the introduction of music in connection of Dio Lewis’ Light Gymnastics, for two or three hours a week or more, might be advantageous.” ~ Memphis Bulletin

September 22– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Early in the morning two trains collide. None of the passengers are injured. However, both locomotives are damaged and the engineer and greaser in one of the engines are scalded by escaping steam from the broken boiler.

period railroad accident

period railroad accident

September 22– Thursday– Fisher’s Hill, Virginia– General Jubal Early’s Confederates lose another battle to a larger Federal force. Total Confederate casualties– killed, wounded, missing– amount to 1235; Union losses amount to 528.

September 22– Thursday– near Strasburg, Virginia– “We have had stirring times since we have been in Camp– we got to camp 8 miles below Winchester last Friday evening– on Monday morning we met the enemy near Bruce Town– they came up on 3 sides and nearly cut us off before we could get out they commenced firing on us from 3 sides– we had to fall back– a good many of the brigade were wounded – [the] 2 young Shepherds were wounded one of them I think mortally– John N. Wheat was badly wounded in the shoulder but I don’t think it is dangerous– I brought him off the field– after riding a piece we overtook Fielden Templeton who came with us– as soon as we found the doctor he dismounted to have his wound dressed but the Yanks pressed us so hard we had to mount and double quick– John got very sick– I was afraid he would faint and fall off if he had the yanks would of gotten him for they were in sight of us– after we passed through Winchester I thought he was safe we traveled nearly all night to keep ahead of the army then could hardly do it for John was not able to ride fast– the army fell back to Fishers Hill– that night we got about 1 ½ miles above– Tuesday morning I turned back and joined the command– I hope John will have luck to reach home safe– when you write please let me know how he is. Risk Shewy must be captured– his horse was shot in the leg we have not heard from him nor [his] horse.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James R. McCutchan to his cousin Rachel Ann McCutchan.

September 22– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I send this as an explanation to you, and to do justice to the Secretary of War. I was induced, upon pressing application, to authorize the agents of one of the districts of Pennsylvania to recruit in one of the prison depots in Illinois; and the thing went so far before it came to the knowledge of the Secretary that, in my judgment, it could not be abandoned without greater evil than would follow its going through. I did not know at the time that you had protested against that class of thing being done; and I now say that while this particular job must be completed, no other of the sort will be authorized, without an understanding with you, if at all. The Secretary of War is wholly free of any part in this blunder.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to General Grant.

September 22– Thursday– Rockbridge County, Virginia– “I was taken down with fever at New Market about the middle of August and sent to Staunton for treatment. Two weeks ago I was sufficiently recovered to come to this place. I am now well and will return to duty in a few days. Mary is with us. Her health is still very delicate. She read your letter of July 28th & answered it at once. This week I received your letter of July 14th. I am endeavoring to carry out your request but doubt my ability to accomplish anything. I have written to General Wise invoking his aid & hope it will be more potent than my efforts. Some of your friends have been killed since your capture, though I believe none with whom you were very intimate. Colonel Lang & Thornhill were killed below Winchester week before last. Poor Lang we shall miss him greatly.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John D Imboden to his brother Frank.

September 22– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– Approximately 3500 people have left the city headed into other parts of the Confederacy. A similar number have taken General Sherman’s offer to move somewhere in the North, some going as far as New York City.

wagon train of refugees

wagon train of refugees

September 22– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “Friends are drawn together in adversity. . . . Our cause is not lost. Sherman cannot keep up his long line of communication, and retreat, sooner or later, he must. . . . Let no one despond.” ~ Speech by Confederate President Jeff Davis to a group of Georgia refugees.

September 22– Thursday– Augusta, Georgia– “Was it ominous that I should find my pen split when I took it up to write tonight? In these troublous times how superstitious we become. Shall I dare hope that this new Journal which I am commencing will record Peace, an independent Southern Confederacy? Truly the skies are gloomy and the heavy storm appears ready to discharge its thunders in our very midst. Yet how calm, how indifferent we are, we laugh, we smile, we talk, we jest, just as tho no enemy were at our door. And yet the idea has several times suggested itself to me that someday I would have to aid in earning my own support. We have made no arrangement whatever for such a contingency. Gold has increased in value and we have not a dollar and yet I am hopeful of the success of our cause, the ultimate success of our Confederacy, while I do not think it improbable that we will lose our fortunes before that final success is achieved.” ~ Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas.

September 23– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– A locomotive on the Boston and Eastern Railroad explodes at the Ipswich Depot, killing the fireman and severely injuring the engineer.

fall fashions of 1864

fall fashions of 1864

September 23– Friday– New York City– “The opening of Fall fashions has been signalized by a larger display of novelties this season than we remember to have seen for several years. Bonnets have undergone a total revolution; extraordinary innovations have been introduced into garments for outside wear, while in dress and ornamental fabrics, many quite new and elegant designs and combinations have made their appearance for the first time in this country. Prices, of course, rule high, but this is to be expected in ‘war times,’ and as labor is plenty, wages good, and business active, few object to the advanced rates. Bonnets which were formerly sold for ten dollars are now sold for thirty, but this seemed to make little difference to the crowd which, as usual, attended the semi-annual exhibition. Possibly fewer bonnets were sold, but certainly a much larger quantity of materials were purchased. Many ladies seeking to economize by exercising their ingenuity, and taste in the making up of their own head-gear. . . . Winter cloaks have hardly as yet made their appearance, but it is already understood that the tight-fitting paletot, with or without a cape, will be one of the most prominent styles. Round cloaks are also in vogue, made in velvet, beaver or plush, and trimmed in the first instance with flat braids and hanging buttons, and in the second with heavy chenille fringe. . . . Gored dresses have been reviving this fall, and are made to a considerable extent in poplins, in heavy ribbed silks, and in moire antique. In black poplin, they are sometimes corded down the seams with thick crimson, or gold colored silk, and the same idea carried into the trimming of the waist and sleeves. The skirt is always laid in large single fox plaits, and hangs very long behind. . . . For early Fall wear grey dresses, trimmed with black taffetas, stitched on with the sewing machine, in effective designs, are in excellent taste – flat trimmings having largely taken the place of fluting, ruches, and the line. Low bodies are made altogether for evening dresses, with Grecian folds, when the material is thin, and long wide scarf of the material at the back, edged with quilting of tulle, or ribbon, and floating nearly to the bottom of the skirt. In thicker materials, the body is made low and square, cut off sharply upon the hips, and descends in long tails behind. One of the new and pretty French lace capes, with a volant, may be worn with these waists, or a tucked or puffed Pompadour chemisette.” ~ New York Times.

outerwear-fall, 1864

outerwear-fall, 1864

Story of a Failed Peace Mission~September 1864

A Failed Peace Mission

James Gilmore, age 42 at the time, was a Massachusetts writer and journalist. James Jaquess, age 44, came from Indiana and was a Methodist minister, educator and Union officer who believed that he could “covert” President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy to peaceably ending the war. At their own request, President Lincoln permitted them to undertake a personal, unaccredited mission to meet with Davis which they actually did on July 17th, 1864, in Richmond, without any results. Jaquess lived to June 17, 1898 and Gilmore until November 16, 1903. Jaquess lectured about his experience during the fall political campaign of 1864. Gilmore made money lecturing and writing about his experience for many years after the war. Under the pen name “Edmund Kirke” Gilmore wrote an article which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, Issue 83, September 1864, pp. 372-383 “Our Visit to Richmond.” What follows are several excerpts from the last half of that article:

the Atlantic Monthly building in Boston

the Atlantic Monthly building in Boston

We called again, at nine o’clock, at the State Department. Mr. [Judah P] Benjamin [Confederate Secretary of State] occupied his previous seat at the table, and at his right sat a spare, thin-featured man, with iron-gray hair and beard, and a clear, gray eye full of life and vigor. He had a broad, massive forehead, and a mouth and chin denoting great energy and strength of will. His face was emaciated, and much wrinkled, but his features were good, especially his eyes,– though one of them bore a scar, apparentlymade by some sharp instrument. He wore a suit of grayish-brown, evidently of foreign manufacture, and, as he rose, I saw that he was about five feet ten inches high, with a slight stoop in the shoulders. His manners were simple, easy, and quite fascinating: and he threw an indescribable charm into his voice, as he extended his hand, and said to us,

“I am glad to see you, Gentlemen. You are very welcome to Richmond.”

And this was the man who was Secretary of War of the United States under [President] Franklin Pierce, and who is now the heart, soul, and brains of the Southern Confederacy! His manner put me entirely at my ease,– the Colonel [Jaquess] would be at his, if he stood before Caesar,– and I replied, “We thank you, Mr. Davis. It is not often you meet men of our clothes, and our principles, in Richmond.”

“Not often, not so often as I could wish; and I trust your coming may lead to a more frequent and a more friendly intercourse between the North and the South.”

“We sincerely hope it may.”

“Mr. Benjamin tells me you have asked to see me, to”– And he paused, as if desiring we should finish the sentence.

The Colonel replied, “Yes, Sir. We have asked this interview in the hope that you may suggest some way by which this war can be stopped. Our people want peace, your people do, and your Congress has recently said that you do. We have come to ask how it can be brought about.”

“In a very simple way. Withdraw your armies from our territory, and peace will come of itself. We do not seek to subjugate you. We are not waging an offensive war, except so far as it is offensive-defensive, that is, so far as we are forced to invade you to prevent your invading us. Let us alone, and peace will come at once.”

“But we cannot let you alone so long as you repudiate the Union. That is the one thing the Northern people will not surrender.”

“I know. You would deny to us what you exact for yourselves, the right of self-government.”

“No, Sir,” I remarked. “We would deny you no natural right. But we think Union essential to peace; and, Mr. Davis, could two people, with the same language, separated by only an imaginary line, live at peace with each other? Would not disputes constantly arise, and cause almost constant war between them?”

“Undoubtedly, with this generation. You have sown such bitterness at the South, you have put such an ocean of blood between the two sections, that I despair of seeing any harmony in my time. Our children may forget this war, but we cannot.”

“I think the bitterness you speak of, Sir,” said the Colonel, “does not really exist. We meet and talk here as friends; our soldiers meet and fraternize with each other; and I feel sure, that, if the Union were restored, a more friendly feeling would arise between us than has ever existed. The war has made us know and respect each other better than before. This is the view of very many Southern men; I have had it from many of them, your leading citizens.”

“They are mistaken,” replied Mr. Davis. “They do not understand Southern sentiment. How can we feel anything but bitterness towards men who deny us our rights? If you enter my house and drive me out of it, am I not your natural enemy?”

“You put the case too strongly. But we cannot fight forever; the war must end at some time; we must finally agree upon something; can we not agree now, and stop this frightful carnage? We are both Christian men, Mr. Davis. Can you, as a Christian man, leave untried any means that may lead to peace?”

“No, I cannot. I desire peace as much as you do. I deplore bloodshed as much as you do; but I feel that not one drop of the blood shed in this war is on my hands– I can look up to my God and say this. I tried all in my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, and for twelve years I worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves; and so the war came, and now it must go on till the last man of this generation falls in his tracks, and his children seize his musket and fight his battle, unless you acknowledge our right to self-government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence, and that, or extermination, we will have.”

* * * * *

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States

“I know your motives, Colonel Jaquess, and I honor you for them; but what can I do more than I am doing? I would give my poor life, gladly, if it would bring peace and good-will to the two countries; but it would not. It is with your own people you should labor. It is they who desolate our homes, burn our wheat-fields, break the wheels of wagons carrying away our women and children, and destroy supplies meant for our sick and wounded. At your door lies all the misery and the crime of this war, and it is a fearful, fearful account.”

“Not all of it, Mr. Davis. I admit a fearful account, but it is not all at our door. The passions of both sides are aroused. Unarmed men are hanged, prisoners are shot down in cold blood, by yourselves.

Elements of barbarism are entering the war on both sides, that should make us– you and me, as Christian men– shudder to think of. In God’s name, then, let us stop it. Let us do something, concede something, to bring about peace. You cannot expect, with only four and a half millions, as Mr. Benjamin says you have, to hold out forever against twenty millions.”

Again Mr. Davis smiled. “Do you suppose there are twenty millions at the North determined to crush us?”

“I do, to crush your government. A small number of our people, a very small number, are your friends – Secessionists. The rest differ about measures and candidates, but are united in the determination to sustain the Union. Whoever is elected in November, he must be committed to a vigorous prosecution of the war.”

Mr. Davis still looking incredulous, I remarked, “It is so, Sir. Whoever tells you otherwise deceives you. I think I know Northern sentiment, and I assure you it is so. You know we have a system of lyceum-lecturing in our large towns. At the close of these lectures, it is the custom of the people to come upon the platform and talk with the lecturer. This gives him an excellent opportunity of learning public sentiment. Last winter I lectured before nearly a hundred of such associations, all over the North, from Dubuque [Iowa] to Bangor [Maine], and I took pains to ascertain the feeling of the people. I found a unanimous determination to crush the Rebellion and save the Union at every sacrifice. The majority are in favor of Mr. Lincoln, and nearly all of those opposed to him are opposed to him because they think he does not fight you with enough vigor. The radical Republicans, who go for slave-suffrage and thorough confiscation, are those who will defeat him, if he is defeated. But if he is defeated before the people, the House will elect a worse man, I mean, worse for you. It is more radical than he is, you can see that from Mr. Ashley’s Reconstruction Bill, and the people are more radical than the House. Mr. Lincoln, I know, is about to call out five hundred thousand more men, and I can’t see how you can resist much longer; but if you do, you will only deepen the radical feeling of the Northern people. They will now give you fair, honorable, generous terms; but let them suffer much more, let there be a dead man in every house, as there is now in every village, and they will give you no terms– they will insist on hanging every Rebel south of . . . Pardon my terms. I mean no offence.”

“You give no offence,” he replied, smiling very, pleasantly. “I wouldn’t have you pick your words. This is a frank, free talk, and I like you the better for saying what you think. Go on.”

“I was merely going to say, that, let the Northern people once really feel the war, they do not feel it yet, and they will insist on hanging every one of your leaders.”

“Well, admitting all you say, I can’t see how it affects our position. There are some things worse than hanging or extermination. We reckon giving up the right of self-government one of those things.”

“By self-government you mean disunion, Southern Independence?”

“Yes.”

“And slavery, you say, is no longer an element in the contest.”

“No, it is not, it never was an essential element. It was only a means of bringing other conflicting elements to an earlier culmination. It fired the musket which was already capped and loaded. There are essential differences between the North and the South that will, however this war may end, make them two nations.”

* * * * *

Judah P Benjamin

Judah P Benjamin

“Your very name, Sir, ‘United States,’ implies that,” said Mr. Benjamin. “But, tell me, are the terms you have named– Emancipation, No Confiscation, and Universal Amnesty– the terms which Mr. Lincoln authorized you to offer us?”

“No, Sir, Mr. Lincoln did not authorize me to offer you any terms. But I think both he and the Northern people, for the sake of peace, would assent to some such conditions.”

“They are very generous,” replied Mr. Davis, for the first time during the interview showing some angry feeling. “But Amnesty, Sir, applies to criminals. We have committed no crime. Confiscation is of no account, unless you can enforce it. And Emancipation! You have already emancipated nearly two millions of our slaves, and if you will take care of them, you may emancipate the rest. I had a few when the war began. I was of some use to them; they never were of any to me. Against their will you ‘emancipated’ them; and you may ‘emancipate’ every Negro in the Confederacy, but we will be free! We will govern ourselves. We will do it, if we have to see every Southern plantation sacked, and every Southern city in flames.”

“I see, Mr. Davis, it is useless to continue this conversation,” I replied; “and you will pardon us, if we have seemed to press our views with too much pertinacity. We love the old flag, and that must be our apology for intruding upon you at all.”

“You have not intruded upon me,” he replied, resuming his usual manner. “I am glad to have met you, both. I once loved the old flag as well as you do; I would have died for it; but now it is to me only the emblem of oppression.”

“I hope the day may never come, Mr. Davis, when I say that,” said the Colonel.

A half-hour’s conversation on other topics– not of public interest– ensued, and then we rose to go. As we did so, the Rebel President gave me his hand, and, bidding me a kindly good-bye, expressed the hope of seeing me again in Richmond in happier times, when peace should have returned; but with the Colonel his parting was particularly cordial. Taking his hand in both of his, he said to him, “Colonel, I respect your character and your motives, and I wish you well, I wish you every good I can wish you consistently with the interests of the Confederacy.” The quiet, straightforward bearing and magnificent moral courage of our “fighting parson” had evidently impressed Mr. Davis very favorably. As we were leaving the room, he added, “Say to Mr. Lincoln from me, that I shall at any time be pleased to receive proposals for peace on the basis of our Independence. It will be useless to approach me with any other.”

* * * * *

CSA Capitol Building, Richmond, Virginia

CSA Capitol Building, Richmond, Virginia

Thus ended our visit to Richmond. I have endeavored to sketch it faithfully. The conversation with Mr. Davis I took down shortly after entering the Union lines, and I have tried to report his exact language, extenuating nothing, and coloring nothing that he said. Some of his sentences, as I read them over, appear stilted and high-flown, but they did not sound so when uttered. As listened to, they seemed the simple, natural language of his thought. He spoke deliberately, apparently weighing every word, and knowing well that all he said would be given to the public.

He is a man of peculiar ability. Our interview with him explained to me why, with no money and no commerce, with nearly every one of their important cities in our hands, and with an army greatly inferior in numbers and equipment to ours, the Rebels have held out so long. It is because of the sagacity, energy, and indomitable will of Jefferson Davis. Without him the Rebellion would crumble to pieces in a day; with him it may continue to be, even in disaster, a power that will tax the whole energy and resources of the nation.

The Southern masses want peace. Many of the Southern leaders want it, both my companion and I, by correspondence and intercourse with them, know this; but there can be no peace so long as Mr. Davis controls the South. Ignoring slavery, he himself states the issue, the only issue with him, Union, or Disunion. That is it. We must conquer, or be conquered. We can negotiate only with the bayonet. We can have peace and union only by putting forth all our strength, crushing the Southern armies, and overthrowing the Southern government.

Just Heard of Your Great Victory~September 1864~18th to 20th

Just Heard of Your Great Victory~ President Lincoln.

For the third time in the war, Confederate and Union soldiers fight at Winchester, Virginia, with the Federal troops proving victorious. President Lincoln expresses his please to General Sheridan. This victory along with those of Admiral Farragut and General Sherman and the withdrawal of Fremont from the race for president have vastly improved Lincoln’s chances of winning reelection. Politics draws much attention in many places, from West Virginia to Georgia and Indiana. George Templeton Strong enjoys the new Central Park in New York City. Black soldiers with good marksmanship make Confederate guerrillas flee. A desperate Southern woman sells one of her best dresses and laments that she is paid in Confederate money. A Confederate soldier has an erotic dream of his wife. A discharged soldier writes to Walt Whitman.

campaign poster showing Lincoln concerned for widows

campaign poster showing Lincoln concerned for widows

September 18– Sunday– Detroit, Michigan– “I once more take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you. And if I don’t get an answer to this I shall never write again. I have never rec’d a line from you since I left Washington. I am at present attending the Commercial College here in Detroit. It is a good institution if I can judge by the Book Keepers here in the City that have been through the course. I have been here about five weeks now and think it will take about four or five weeks longer. I think I can keep Books in any business that may be brought on the carpet. Now Mr Whitman if you could get me a situation as Book Keeper or Clerk in the Paymaster department or some other good place if you will I will pay you any price you’ve a mind to ask. Detroit is a very pleasant City. They have two or three Theaters going now. I was to one of them last evening they Played The Country Cousin. Miss Laura Keen’s Company from N.Y. City have been here for the last week last night was the last night. I presume you have seen her lots of times. No more until I receive a letter from you.” ~ Letter from Justus F. Boyd to Walt Whitman.

September 18– Sunday– Shenandoah Valley, Virginia– Union General Phil Sheridan, with more than 40,000 troops, learns that Confederate General Jubal Early, with 12,000 soldiers, is dangerously spread out. Sheridan decides to mount a major offensive against Winchester, Virginia, in the hope of beating Early’s force piecemeal.

General Phil Sheridan

General Phil Sheridan

September 18– Sunday– in camp with General Hood, somewhere in Georgia– “It is with a good deal of pleasure that I begin to write you these few lines after doing so much cooking today. You don’t know half of what I think of you all the time. I keeps dreaming of you a good deal. Now, my dear Dot, I am a-going to tell my awful dream last night. I ain’t been myself since. I dreamed I was with you, Dot, and we was on the bed. I had covered you two or three times, and we joyed ourselves tarnal [a lot]. Well, now, my dear Dot, I believe I’d got you in a baby way, for I’d puke every morning before breakfast.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife.

September 18– Sunday– Bath, England– A scheduled debate between Richard Burton, soldier and explorer, age 43, and John Speke on the topic of the source of the Nile River is canceled because of Speke’s recent death.

Sir Richard Burton, 1864

Sir Richard Burton, 1864

September 18– Sunday– Sanmu, Chiba, Japan– Birth of Ito Sachio, poet and novelist. [Dies July 30, 1913.]

Ito Sachio

Ito Sachio

September 19– Monday– New York City– “General Sherman has surpassed all the newspaper correspondents as a military writer. He is not as picturesque, nor as effective, in a popular point of view, as some of the gentlemen connected with journalism; but for conciseness, perspicacity and comprehensiveness, with brevity, he is a perfect model. The congratulatory order which he issued to his army at Atlanta, on the 8th instant, is a superb example of this. In less than a page of an ordinary duodecimo book, he surveys the grand four months’ campaign which opened by the march from Chattanooga and was consummated by the fall of Atalanta.” ~ New York Times.

September 19– Monday– New York City– “Walked through Central Park yesterday afternoon with George C Anthon. The lower park is finished now, all but the trees, which have twenty years of work before them yet, and it is certainly most attractive and creditable. The structures– bridges, and so on– are all god, some of them very good. Strange of all these various, elaborate structures not one should be an absolute monstrosity.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 19– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A meeting was held on Saturday evening at the Union Campaign Club Rooms, corner of Market and Quincy streets. A. W. Campbell, president called the Club to order, and in doing so took occasion to remark that the apparent indifference of the Union people was in some degree accounted for by the fact that we had no enemy to fight. Our enemies are embarrassed; they have no electoral organization in this State, and it appears as if they intended to allow the election to go by default. But we should be on our guard. We may be surprised at the polls as we have been before. We should act as if we had a well recognized foe to fight and poll just as large a vote as possible. We have already lost ground by our neglect to turn out and poll our full vote. When we pull a small vote our enemies conclude that we are demoralized. The political status of a county or congressional district is no idle matter at a time like this. We have a party in the country that is building its hopes upon a probable disaster to the Union arms, and it is just as important that men should go into political organizations for the preservation of the Union as it is that men should go to the front. We must not allow the moral supplies of the army to be cut off.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer.

September 19– Monday– Winchester, Virginia–For the third time in the war, Confederate and Union forces engage in battle here. Confederates under General Jubal Early are beaten back in a savage fight with General Phil Sheridan’s Federals. Total Federal casualties– dead, wounded, missing– number 4,018; total Confederate casualties are 3,921. The casualties are barely 10% of Sheridan’s force but Early’s losses are 25% of his army.

third battle of Winchester

third battle of Winchester

September 19– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The State election of Indiana occurs on the 11th of October, and the loss of it to the friends of the Government would go far towards losing the whole Union cause. The bad effect upon the November election, and especially the giving the State government to those who will oppose the war in every possible way, are too much to risk if it can be avoided. The draft proceeds, notwithstanding its strong tendency to lose us the State. Indiana is the only important State voting in October whose soldiers cannot vote in the field. Anything you can safely do to let her soldiers or any part of them go home and vote at the State election will be greatly in point. They need not remain for the Presidential election, but may return to you at once. This is in no sense an order, but is merely intended to impress you with the importance to the Army itself of your doing all you safely can, yourself being the judge of what you can safely do.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

September 19– Monday– Columbia, South Carolina– “My pink silk dress I have sold for $600, to be paid for in instalments, two hundred a month for three months. And I sell my eggs and butter from home for two hundred dollars a month. Does it not sound well four hundred dollars a month regularly. But in what? In Confederate money. Helas!” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

September 19– Monday– Cabin Creek, Indian Territory [now Oklahoma]– Confederate troops capture 202 supply wagons, 5 ambulances, 40 horses and 1253 mules, supplies desperately needed by the South.

September 19– Monday– near Windsor, Ontario, Canada– A desperate plot by a handful of Confederate operatives to raid the prison camp on Johnson’s Island, Ohio, on Lake Erie and free the Confederate prisoners, falls apart. The men flee in different directions; however, John Yates Beall, the leader, determines to try other espionage against the North.

September 20– Tuesday– New York City– “”Fall weather cannot be finer than this. . . . Hurrah for Sheridan and Sherman! If Grant can but do as well as his lieutenants have done, the rebellion will be played out before November. The military value of this victory is great but it is worth still more as influencing the political campaign and contributing to the determination of the fearful issue that campaign is to decide: nationality or anarchy.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 20– Tuesday– “Intelligence reaches us this morning that Sheridan has achieved a great victory over Early in the valley of the Shenandoah, after much hard fighting. This will do much to encourage and stimulate all Union-loving men, and will be ominous to [Confederate General Robert E.] Lee.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Have just heard of your great victory. God bless you all, officers and men. Strongly inclined to come up and See you.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Union General Phil Sheridan.

September 20– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “‘Old Robertson’ is famous for good whisky and bad guerrillas. On last Tuesday a party of five bushwhackers caught a young man near Springfield, and robbed him of all his valuables. Colonel Downey, of the United States Colored Troops, stationed at Springfield, heard of the robbery and immediately sent out a squad of his men, who came upon the guerrillas about ten miles from Springfield, towards the Kentucky line. The colored chivalry immediately opened fire on the rebels, and stiffened three of them as cold as a lump of ice. The other two, squealing with fright, looked over their shoulders, and with hair standing on end, eyes as wide as saucers, cheeks as pale as their dirty shirts, and chattering teeth, fled as if the everlasting devil was after them. The guerrillas made as good time as ever a Tennessee race-horse did. Of course the soldiers had to give up the chase, as there was no use trying to compete with Jeff Davis’s chivalry in a foot-race.” ~ Nashville Daily Times and True Union.

black cavalry troopers

black cavalry troopers

September 20– Tuesday– Middletown, Virginia; Strasburg, Virginia; Cedarville, Virginia; Cartersville, Georgia; Ponder’s Mill, Missouri; Keytesville, Missouri– Clashes, encounters and pitched battles.

I Therefore Withdraw My Name~September 1864~the 17th

I, Therefore, Withdraw My Name ~ John C Fremont.

A day of politics. In response to the candidacy of McClellan, Fremont withdraws from the race for president. George Whitman writes that McClellan is not popular with the army. George Templeton Strong regrets that Secretary of War Stanton is part of Lincoln’s Cabinet. Frederick Douglass clarifies his political views. Sherman writes to his wife and to President Lincoln. Southern women confide in their diaries.

John C Fremont

John C Fremont

September 17–Saturday–Nahant, Massachusetts– “I would certainly prefer that the American people could be brought to a vote on the several propositions peculiar to the Cleveland platform. The right of asylum– the one-term policy – the direct vote of the people for their national chief magistrate – the Monroe doctrine – the confining exclusive to the representatives of the people in Congress the reconstruction of States – and the amendment of the Federal Constitution to prohibit Slavery, – are principles of primary magnitude and importance. But before all these is our country. It is menaced by rebellion. Loyal armies alone protect it. Should those armies retreat, and our protection be withdrawn; or should they advance, and our safety be established? Shall there be peace through the concessions of politicians, or peace through the action of war? Peace and division, or war and the Union. Other alternative there is none. And, as I still am of the mind that once led me to the field with the soldiers of the Republic, I cannot now hold a position, which, by dividing, hazards the success of all those who, whatever their differences at other points, agree, as upon the question of first consequence, that the restoration of the Union cannot be effected without the uninterrupted continuation of the war. I, therefore, withdraw my name from the Cleveland ticket.” ~ Letter of John Fremont withdrawing as a candidate for president. [While remaining critical of President Lincoln, Fremont, age 50, fears that McClellan will yield too much to the South for peace at almost any cost and worries that McClellan will allow slavery to be restored to its antebellum position. Fremont dies July 13, 1890.]

September 17– Saturday– New York City– “It’s certainly hard to vote for sustaining an Administration of which Stanton is a member. He is a ruffian and will always abuse the power of his great place to purposes of arbitrary, vindictive tyranny. . . . the part he would play if he dared is that of Doctor Francia, dictator of Paraguay, or of the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror. Still it is a plain duty to uphold Lincoln, even with this millstone round his neck, as against the Chicago platform, McClellan and Pendleton.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Edwin M Stanton, Secretary of War

Edwin M Stanton, Secretary of War

September 17– Saturday– Waterboro, New York– “I take the liberty of addressing you at the request of my cousin Milton S. Roberts, at whose home I am making a brief visit. He would not have delayed writing until this late hour, but he has not been well & did not feel in the mood of writing, & and under such circumstances did not think his letters would be very interesting. He has spoken a great many times to his friends how very very kind you were to him, & I assure you Mr. Whitman those kind attentions will never be forgotten. I hope that you may long be spared to do good among our sick & wounded soldiers, who indeed must feel very grateful to meet with such a friend as my cousin represents yourself to be. Kind words which cost nothing will often cheer their drooping spirits & as it sure give them new life and courage. My cousin seems to be gaining slowly, & his friends does not think him strong enough to return for two or three weeks. . . . Mr. Whitman we all thank you more than words can express for your kindness to Milton.” ~ Letter from Lizzie H. Smith to Walt Whitman.

William Lloyd Garrison, founding editor of the radical paper THE LIBERATOR

William Lloyd Garrison, founding editor of the radical paper THE LIBERATOR

September 17– Saturday– Rochester, New York– “You were pleased to remark in the last number of The Liberator . . . that the secessionist newspapers in Great Britain are publishing with exultation a letter recently addressed by Mr. Douglass to an English correspondent, and you further favor your readers with an extract from the same letter, which criticizes in plain terms the policy of the present administration towards the colored people of the country. I am sure you will allow me space in the columns of The Liberator (not to qualify, not to take back any charge, statement, or argument contained in that letter, not even to find fault with its publication, here or elsewhere, though it was flung off in haste, and was not written for publication, but for the eyes of the esteemed friend to whom it was addressed) to remove an inference respecting my present political course, which may possibly and will probably be drawn from the extract in question. In the first place, it is proper to state that the letter was not written recently, as you mistakenly allege, but three months ago, and was in no wise intended to be used against the present administration in the canvass and issues as now made up between the great parties and especially by the disloyal and slavery perpetuating nominations placed before the country by the Chicago convention. Since the date of those nominations, we are met by a new state of facts, and new considerations have arisen to guide and control the political action of all those who are animated by a sincere desire to see justice, liberty and peace permanently established in this rebellion and slavery cursed land. While there was, or seemed to be, the slightest possibility of securing the nomination and election of a man to the Presidency of more decided anti-slavery convictions and a firmer faith in the immediate necessity and practicability of justice and equality for all men, than have been exhibited in the policy of the present administration, I, like many other radical men, freely criticized, in private and in public, the actions and utterances of Mr. Lincoln, and withheld from him my support. That possibility is now no longer conceivable; it is now plain that this country is to be governed or misgoverned during the next four years, either by the Republican Party represented in the person of Abraham Lincoln, or by the (miscalled) Democratic Party, represented by George B. McClellan. With this alternative clearly before us, all hesitation ought to cease, and every man who wishes well to the slave and to the country should at once rally with all the warmth and earnestness of his nature to the support of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, and to the utter defeat and political annihilation of McClellan and Pendleton; for the election of the latter, with their well known antecedents, declared sentiments, and the policy avowed in the Chicago platform, would be the heaviest calamity of these years of war and blood, since it would upon the instant sacrifice and wantonly cast away everything valuable, purchased so dearly by the precious blood of our brave sons and brothers on the battlefield for the perfect liberty and permanent peace of a common country. Let me say one other word. I would never give unintentionally the slightest joy to the enemies of human liberty. My rule is to do that least that they like most, and that most that they like least. But nothing strange has happened to me in the said exultation over my words by the secessionist newspapers in Great Britain or elsewhere. The common example of those who do not go at all, playing off those who go farthest against those who go, but do not go fast and far enough, is but repeated in this exultation; and if I mistake not, in other days, there were often utterances of The Liberator itself, both on the eve and in the middle of the Presidential campaigns, which caused even greater exultation among the known enemies of liberty against timid, shortsighted and trimming anti-slavery men in the high places of the country, than anything I ever wrote concerning Mr. Lincoln and his administration could produce.” ~ Letter from Frederick Douglass to William Lloyd Garrison. [Garrison publishes this letter in The Liberator of Friday September 23.]

Frederick Douglass on the speaker's platform

Frederick Douglass on the speaker’s platform

September 17– Saturday– near the Weldon Railroad, Virginia– “Here we are yet in the same place, and everything goes on just the same as when I last wrote. We have been expecting a big fight here, but so far we have been disappointed, We have a very strong position and are having pretty good easy times. I rather think Lee has about made up his mind that this Rail Road is a gone case, but if he thinks he can drive us away I wish he would pitch in, as we are all prepared for him, and I would about as soon fight it out on this line as any other, and if they will only attack us here it will suit us first rate. Recruits have been coming to this Army pretty fast lately and I think Grant will soon have force enough for another movement. . . . I received yesterday a map and newspaper from home, the last letter I got was from Walt and dated September 8th . . . . I suppose Mother, you have considerable excitement in Brooklyn now about election, as far as I can see Little Mac [General McClellan, the Democratic candidate for president] is not very popular in the Army, and I don’t think he has the least show to be elected.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

September 17– Saturday– Cleveland, Tennessee– “I have been sick all day. Took too much laudanum. Have sat up very little. Dr. Dwyer came from his home . . . this morn, dined, took tea and stayed all night here.” ~ Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman

September 17– Saturday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I have had some sharp correspondence with Hood about expelling the poor families of a brave people, which correspondence in due time will become public, and I take the ground that Atlanta is a conquered place and I propose to use it purely for our own military purposes which are inconsistent with its habitation by the families of a brave people. I am shipping them all, and by next Wednesday the town will be a real military town with no women boring me every order I give. Hood no doubt thought he would make capital out of the barbarity, etc., but I rather think he will change his mind before he is done.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

General Sherman

General Sherman

September 17– Saturday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I will keep the [War] Department fully advised of all developments as connected with the subject in which you feel so interested. A Mr Wright, former member of Congress from Rome Georgia and a Mr King of Marietta are now going between Governor Brown and myself. I have said that some of the people of Georgia are now engaged in rebellion began in error and perpetrated in pride; but that Georgia can now save herself form the devastation of War preparing for her only by withdrawing her quota out of the Confederate Army, and aiding me to repel Hood from the border of the State; in which event instead of desolating the land, as we progress I will keep our men to the high roads and commons, and pay for the corn and meat we need and take. I am fully conscious of the delicate nature of such assertions, but it would be a magnificent stroke of policy, if I could without wasting a foot of ground or of principle arouse the latent enmity to Jeff Davis, of Georgia.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to President Lincoln.

September 17– Saturday– Augusta, Georgia– “How I do wish this war was over. I wish to breathe free. I feel pent up, confined, cramped. Never have I so fully realized the feeble hold upon this world’s goods as I do now. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed that peculiarly charming season the Indian Summer more than I have during the past few weeks. I imagine this contrasted with men clad in Yankee uniform rudely violating the privacy of my home. I imagine the booming of Yankee cannon and the clash of Yankee sabers and I ask myself how soon shall this thing be? Nor does it require an imaginative mind to foretell such an event but the last page of my Journal must bear no such cowardly record. I have sometimes doubted on the subject of slavery. I have seen so many of its evils chief among which is the terribly demoralizing influence upon our men and boys but of late I have become convinced the Negro as a race is better off with us as he has been than if he were made free, but I am by no means so sure that we would not gain by his having his freedom given him.” ~ Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas.

Walter Savage Landor

Walter Savage Landor

September 17– Saturday– Florence, Italy– English poet Walter Savage Landor dies at 89 years of age.

That Old Hag and Harlot of Slavery~September 1864~14th to 16th

The Old Hag and Harlot of Slavery ~ New York Times.

New York Times attacks the Democrats for their on-going support of slavery as found in their campaign literature and an English reader encourages support for Lincoln. Sheman terminates his exchange of letters with General Hood. A Confederate soldier worries about Sherman attempting to liberate Andersonville prison. Residents of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, appeal to Masonic brothers for help to rebuild. Welles writes about a couple of Union admirals. Garrison’s paper carries news of Frederick Douglass and the Whittier family. A prominent British explorer dies.

one of Whittier's anti-slavery broadsides

one of Whittier’s anti-slavery broadsides

September 14– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I agree with you that this discussion by two soldiers is out of place and profitless, but you must admit that you began the controversy by characterizing an official act of mine in unfair and improper terms. I reiterate my former answer, and to the only new matter contained in your rejoinder I add, we have no ‘Negro allies’ in this army; not a single Negro soldier left Chattanooga with this army or is with it now. There are a few guarding Chattanooga, which General Steedman sent to drive Wheeler out of Dalton. I was not bound by the laws of war to give notice of the shelling of Atlanta, a ‘fortified town’ with magazines, arsenals, foundries, and public stores. You were bound to take notice. See the books. This is the conclusion of our correspondence, which I did not begin, and terminate with satisfaction.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to Confederate General John Bell Hood.

September 14– Wednesday– London, England– Birth of Robert Cecil, lawyer, politician and diplomat who will win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937. [Dies November 24, 1958.]

Robert Cecil, c.1919

Robert Cecil, c.1919

September 15– Thursday– New York City– “We observe in an advertised list of ‘Democratic Campaign Documents,’ twenty-seven in number, three whose titles indicate that they are devoted to the defense of human Slavery. They are Bishop Hopkins’ Bible View of Slavery, Professor Morse on the Ethical Position of Slavery in the Social System, and Results of Emancipation in English, French and Spanish America. Three out of twenty-seven devoted specifically to Slavery – this is only one-ninth of the whole, though we think it altogether likely, that of the remaining eight-ninths the greater part are really, under various guises, on the same side of the same topic. It seems impossible for the Democratic party to get rid of the idea that the main and everlasting aim and end of its existence is the defense of Slavery. Don Quixote was not more eager to rush to the aid and risk his life in the defense of forlorn and abused damsels of high degree, than the Democratic party has been at all times, and it seems still is, to rush to the defense of the old hag and harlot of Slavery.” ~ New York Times.

September 15– Thursday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “The undersigned . . . were, by resolution, appointed a Committee to address the Grand and Subordinate Lodges of this Commonwealth, and to invoke some relief for the destitute and suffering brethren of that place. We would gladly refrain from recital of the melancholy circumstances of the recent terrible conflagration at Chambersburg, and which are now a part of the history of the times. It is perhaps enough to say, that a large number of the members of our Lodge, from circumstances of ease and comfort, have been reduced to the sad condition of a houseless and homeless poverty. We make no argument– we would indulge in no eloquence, but we would simply point you to the black and smouldering ruins of that once happy and prosperous town– to business destroyed, to labor prostrated, to the burning tears of widowhood, to the moving sorrows of orphanage, to the desolation of home, and to the ashes of the altar where devotion knelt or love fed its flame of perennial joy. The undersigned, as the representatives of their unfortunate brotherhood, make, with great confidence, this earnest and anxious appeal to the sympathy and generosity of the Masonic heart. This august and venerable Order, renowned for her mighty achievements, and cherished her for noble and princely charities, will, we indulge the fond hope, turn a listening ear to the cry that comes from the distressed and destitute-the stricken and unfortunate brethren of Chambersburg.” ~ Letter of appeal from Thomas Barnhart, George W. Brewer, and H. S. Stoner to other lodges of Freemasons throughout Pennsylvania.

September 15– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Admiral Farragut writes that his health is giving way under the great labor imposed and long-continued service in the Gulf and the Caribbean Sea. Says he must have rest and shore exercise. The Department had ordered him North to command the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and capture Wilmington. These orders he had not received when his dispatch was written, and I am exceedingly embarrassed how to proceed. . . . Farragut would take the place three times while [Union Admiral Samuel Phillips] Lee was preparing, and hesitating, and looking behind for more aid. It pains me to distress him and the Blairs by detaching him and ordering another to the work, but individual feelings, partialities, and friendships must not be in the way of public welfare. The importance of closing Wilmington and cutting off Rebel communication is paramount to all other questions– more important, practically, than the capture of Richmond. It has been impossible to get the War Department and military authorities to enter into the spirit of this work. They did not appreciate it. But they and Grant have now engaged in it, and Grant is persistent.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [Samuel Philips Lee (1812– 1897), a career naval officer, is a cousin of Confederate General Robert E Lee. Samuel rose to the rank of admiral in September, 1862, and from then until October, 1864, commands the Union ships blockading the coast of North Carolina, keeping European and American blockade runners from reaching southern ports.]

Union Admiral Samuel Philips Lee

Union Admiral Samuel Philips Lee

September 15– Thursday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I am sorry to say that I am no better and I fear I am worse. I hate to write so discouraging, but if I write at all I have to tell the truth. It seems that Ihave gotten into a low state of health and it is a hard matter for me to take a rise. I have an every other day kind of dumb chill or something and severe headache and fever but not much fever either. The Dr. says it is very near fever. I take medicine on my well days but there is not much well about any of them. My appetite is good and they feed us well but nothing I eat agrees well with me. I am getting pretty weak and poor and I get gradually weaker for the last few days. Now this is about as gloomy an account of myself as I could well put up and since I have been so frank in telling you, you must not by any means let it render you uneasy, for I am not low spirited myself, and still hope that I will have the pleasure of writing you in a short time that I am improving fast. Do write soon and do not be uneasy about me. May God bless you. Pray for me.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

September 15– Thursday– Andersonville, Georgia– Some improvements have finally been completed at Andersonville prison. A second stockade was built, enclosing the first for security. Better barracks and a better privy for the inmates were constructed.

John Speke, explorer

John Speke, explorer

September 15– Thursday– Wiltshire, England– The soldier and explorer John Speke dies at age 37 in a hunting accident. [About Speke and his explorations, see, The Blue Nile by Alan Moorehead (1962); Explorers on the Nile by Andrew Langley (1982) and Burton and Speke by William Harrison (1982)]

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

September 16– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– Today’s issue of The Liberator focuses much attention on a letter of June, 1864, from Frederick Douglass to an English abolitionist. “I have not readily consented to the claims set up in the name of anti-slavery for our Government, but I have tried to believe all for the best. My patience and faith are not very strong now. The treatment of our poor black soldiers – the refusal to pay them anything like equal compensation, though it was promised them when they enlisted; the refusal to insist upon the exchange of colored prisoners when colored prisoners have been slaughtered in cold blood, although the President has repeatedly promised thus to protect the lives of his colored soldiers – have worn my patience threadbare. The President has virtually laid down this as the rule of his statesmen: Do evil by choice, right from necessity. . . . I see no purpose on the part of Lincoln and his friends to extend the elective franchise to the colored people of the South, but the contrary. This is extremely dishonorable. No rebuke of it can be too strong from your side of the water.” On another page the paper carries the following obituary: “Elizabeth H. Whittier, sister of John G. Whittier, died at their residence in Amesbury on the 3rd instant. Miss Whittier’s name has long been known as that of a devoted friend of the colored race. Like her brother, she was born a poet, and the few pieces of hers which she has permitted to appear in print, are marked by rare grace and felicity of thought and expression, and deep and tender feeling. She has always lived in great retirement, the delight of her friends, who saw in her not only high poetical gifts, but an elevated and almost perfect character.” [Elizabeth Whittier was, in the words of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "the rarest of women, the pet and pride of the household, her brother’s complement, possessing all the readiness of taking in his presence, the lead in conversation, which Whittier so gladly abandoned to her, while he sat rubbing his hands, and laughing at her daring sallies … no one can truly estimate the long celibate life of the poet without bearing in mind that he had for many years at his own fire-side, the concentrated wit and sympathy of all womankind in his sister."]

the Whittier home shared by the poet sister and brother

the Whittier home shared by the poet sister and brother

September 16– Friday– New York City– “There are papers in England which have strenuously, steadfastly – aye, and even enthusiastically supported the Federal cause and sought to counteract the evil designs of the London Times and its audacious copartners in guilt and falsehood. The Daily News and the Morning Star have, from the onset, been Federal to the backbone; yet what say they about this forthcoming election? Why, they say, if you study your own interest, your national honor and future peace, you will elect – General G.B. McClellan? No. But Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, the man who would not permit the ‘little Mac,’ the ‘Young Napoleon,’ the ‘hesitator,’ to trifle with a noble army, or play traitor in the face of an anxious people. The nomination of such a man as McClellan might be taken as an insult, especially when his military antecedents are analyzed. But it seems there are politicians in America, as in England, who have face enough for anything. If ‘Mac’ is elected, the London Times will express its satisfaction, but will secretly laugh at you. If Lincoln is your choice, it will howl forth its maledictions, for then it will know the Union is neither dead nor sleepeth.” ~ Letter to the editor of the New York Times from an English visitor.

pro-Lincoln cartoon which contrasts Lincoln by showing McClellan shaking hands with Confederate President Jeff Davis

pro-Lincoln cartoon which contrasts Lincoln by showing McClellan shaking hands with Confederate President Jeff Davis

September 16– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Knowing that Andersonville was the point which Sherman was so anxious to possess, and knowing too that you were not very far distant, I was every day fearful that the raiders had made their appearance. Since your last was written Atlanta has fallen. What has been the effect produced upon the people of Georgia, I can’t tell; but I’m afraid the people have become somewhat discouraged, I hope not though. Its capture, did at first, I’m sorry to say, have quite a demoralizing effect on our army; but since the true condition of affairs has been made known, the same determined resistance and hatred to the Yankees has returned stronger, if possible, than ever. As to the cause of our failures in Georgia, or course, I’m not able to judge, but from all I can learn I’m fully convinced that your opinion, of the in competency of Hood to command so large an army was correct. I judged his ability by his previous successes while in command of a division in this army. You may think from the above, that I’m proud to belong to General Lee’s army. Well, I am, and I believe tis an honor too. Ought I not to feel so?” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96 other followers