The Horrors of War~November, 1864~22nd & 23rd

The Horrors of War ~ Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

One after another, Georgia plantations in the path of Sherman’s advancing troops experience the horrors of war. At Griswoldville, Georgia, a group of inexperienced militia and new recruits tangle with Sherman’s veterans and suffer a costly defeat. Sherman takes personal delight in ordering the plundering of the estate of Confederate General Cobb. There is a report that slaves are escaping to the North to avoid conscription in the Confederate army. Some in Nashville complain of an increase of crime. Andersonville, Georgia, and Johnson’s Island, Ohio, present a contrast in the condition of prisoners.

Federal troops marching through Georgia

Federal troops marching through Georgia

November 22– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The agitation down in Dixie, of ‘drafting’ the Negroes into the army is beginning to have its effect. The first installment of five able bodied men arrived here from Augusta County, Virginia, this afternoon. They have been employed on Governmental works of various kinds; but upon learning that there was a proposition to put them into the army, they determined to make tracks for the dominions of ‘Massa Lincoln.’ This is a fact which needs no comment and goes far towards answering the question—Will the Negroes fight for the South? Deserters from the rebel army are also pouring in along our entire front. The arrivals at this place average five per day. Early’s army has lost for the last two months, by desertions along at least a company per day. Many of them are in bad condition to begin the winter. The Chivalry must shiver these cold nights. They say that [Confederate General] Early’s army is also very poorly fed – nothing being issued but flour and meat, and short rations of that. The deserters state the they are never followed, with a view to recapture; as the authorities are afraid to send guards for them – the guards themselves usually deserting in a body when so sent.” ~ Letter from a man in New Creek, West Virginia, to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

runaway slaves

runaway slaves

November 22– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois– Elizabeth Todd Grimsley, a cousin of the First Lady, sends a note to President Lincoln seeking appointment for herself as postmaster in the President’s hometown.

Elizabeth Todd Grimsley

Elizabeth Todd Grimsley

November 22– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I seat my self to answer yours of the 16th which is just [arrived]. I was very sorry to hear you was suffering with your old disease. I was in hopes it had got well. I hope this will reach you in due time [and] find you well [and] hearty. This leaves me well– only my bowels is not right yet. I am as hearty as a pig, I have no news of interest to write. I wrote to you the other day and give you all the news– it is very cold weather here– we have Snow at this time though I don’t feel the affects [sic] of it. I suppose the boys is seeing a very bad time– they are about 40 miles below here near New Market. I understand they are furloughing all that is not able for service – you wanted me to come home– I wold be glader than you if possible there is no one would be glader to see their family than I would at this time though my heavenly father will send me when he sees proper for I put my hole trust in him not in man. I feel but little hopes of coming home before I go to my command unless I take relapse which I think there is no danger with care.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John Jarrett to Mary, his wife.

November 22– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “We believe the fact that our city is infested with gangs of desperate men, robbers and murderers, is generally conceded. The question now is, what ought to be done by the civil and military authorities under the circumstances? One ofour contemporaries suggests an increase in the police and the arrest of all personfound upon the streets without passes after nine o’clock at night. The pass system has been tried and proved to be one of the best arrangements for burglars ever invented. . . . Experience has proved that burglars and robbers can not only obtain passes in abundance, but the countersign also. We made a suggestion about two years ago, which was adopted, and worked admirably, making the city as quiet and safe as any city could be; it was this: That the military detail fifty or sixty men, and place them under the control of the Mayor. Detail one policeman to accompany two soldiers in patrolling the city during the night. Make the districts small, so that patrols will be within call of each other by a given signal. Arrest all suspicious characters, and all found without viable passes of existence let the strong arm of the military or civil law be laid upon him, also as to give him to understand that it might benefit his health to find honest employment or another city to ply his avocations. Hundreds of soldiers and government employees are pounced upon and robbed before they have their hard earned pay six hours in their possession. These are matters of daily occurrence and well known to our police authorities. A special guard ought to be detailed to patrol certain dangerous places, where robberies are of frequent occurrence. We respectfully submit the above for considerations of those in authority, believing their adoption would be productive of much good to the community.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

destruction of Atanta

destruction of Atanta

November 22– Tuesday– ten miles northeast of Milledgeville, Georgia– Recognizing that the plantation here belongs to Confederate General Howell Cobb, Union General Sherman issues orders. “Of course, we confiscated his property. I sent word back to General Davis to explain whose plantation it was and instructed him to spare nothing. That night huge bonfires consumed the fence-rails, kept our soldiers warm, and the teamsters and men, as well as the slaves, carried off an immense quantity of corn and provisions of all sorts.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

November 22– Tuesday– following one of Sherman’s columns in Georgia– “To-day we followed on and whipped about 1,000 Negroes, who were on their way to the enemy. We camped at dark.” ~ Diary of Texas Ranger Enoch John, part of a small contingent of Texas Rangers shadowing and reporting on General Sherman’s movements.

November 22– Tuesday– near Clinton, Georgia– “Ordered to march at 7.AM. but it was 10 before we left camp. Our Brigade had the rear of the Division, A very, very cold morning and continues cold and windy throughout the day. We enjoyed a snow storm in Central Georgia this morning. Roads still very heavy. Pontoon train delayed us very much. Had to halt an hour three or four different times to allow them to get out of our way. & as it was very Cold, the fences along the road had to suffer. We passed the place where General Stoneman was captured last summer. It was the intention to reach Clinton today, but the Pontoons got stuck & froze in the mud and it was impossible to go any farther. So we had to halt and go in camp 3 mile from Clinton. It was nine o’clock when we went in camp – very dark, ground frozen and very rough.” ~ Diary of Cornelius C. Platter.

November 22– Tuesday– Covington, Georgia– “After breakfast this morning I went over to my grave-yard to see what had befallen that. To my joy, I found it had not been disturbed. As I stood by my dead, I felt rejoiced that they were at rest. Never have I felt so perfectly reconciled to the death of my husband as I do to-day, while looking upon the ruin of his lifelong labor. How it would have grieved him to see such destruction! Yes, theirs is the lot to be envied. At rest, rest from care, rest from heartaches, from trouble. Found one of my large hogs killed just outside the grave-yard. Walked down to the swamp, looking for the wagon and gear that Henry [one of her slaves] hid before he was taken off. Found some of my sheep; came home very much wearied, having walked over four miles. Mr. and Mrs. Rockmore called. Major Lee came down again after some cattle, and while he was here the alarm was given that more Yankees were coming. I was terribly alarmed and packed my trunks with clothing, feeling assured that we should be burned out now. Major Lee swore that he would shoot, which frightened me, for he was intoxicated enough to make him ambitious. He rode off in the direction whence it was said they were coming. Soon after, however, he returned, saying it was a false alarm, that it was some of our own men. Oh, dear! Are we to be always living in fear and dread! Oh, the horrors, the horrors of war!” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

November 22– Tuesday– Griswoldville, Georgia– A division of the Georgia Militia, a force of about 3,000 irregulars, mostly young boys and old men, by chance encounter a brigade of waiting Union troops. Though instructed to avoid a direct battle, the militia leaders decide to attack. The Union force is initially outnumbered; however, the battle is not an even match. The Federals are veterans, entrenched, and equipped with repeating rifles. Near the close of combat, the Union position is reenforced by one additional regiment of infantry and two regiments of cavalry. The militia retreat. Total Confederate casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are 650 while the Federal total reaches 62. A Union officer notes afterward, “Old, gray-haired men and weakly looking men and little boys not over 15 years old lay dead or writhing in pain. I did pity those boys.”

ravine where many Confederate dead and wounded fell on top of one another

ravine where many Confederate dead and wounded fell on top of one another

November 22– Tuesday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the Andersonville prison camp the inmate population is now down to around 1500, with escapes by prisoners and desertions by guards occurring regularly. However, conditions remain quite bad, as noted by a Confederate official who visits the prison and reports that he saw the inmates scavenging and digging for roots inside the stockade in an attempt to find things to eat.

November 23– Wednesday– Johnson’s Island, Ohio– “Indeed since Hood’s evacuation of Atlanta I have had no direct intelligence from Monroe. I fear my recent letters may not have reached you. Cousin Carrie Cleveland wrote me recently that early in the Fall she and others of my friends expected me home through special exchange. I have heard nothing of the matter save in her letter. In fact exchange is a subject on which we rarely suffer our minds to dwell, we have been disappointed so often. Not that we are without hope; we merely consider speculations upon that contingency as unprofitable. In this way we strive to cheat our life of its despondent monotony. I am fortunate in being associated (in a small room) with educated men who are fond of reading. We employ our time as far as possible in study. It is not very enlivening, to be sure, but it is our best. Tonight (as usual once a week) a prayer-meeting was held in our room. The singing of familiar hymns recalled vividly to mind home scenes, the happiest of my life. It is a never failing source of pleasure and interest to think of home, of the dear one that await our coming. It is particularly pleasing to me to recall memories of you. That these are tender and true, you may rest assured.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his sweetheart Hester Felker.

November 23– Wednesday– Detroit, Michigan– Birth of Henry Bourne Joy, automotive executive, social activist and early advocate for the Lincoln Highway system. [Dies November 6, 1936.]

Henry Bourne Joy

Henry Bourne Joy

November 23– Wednesday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I seat myself this evening to drop you a few lines to let you know that we are preparing a box to send you. We expect to send it to Staunton tomorrow to go down [to Richmond on] Friday. We send your overcoat, socks, flannel shirt, gloves, one chicken, some pies and ginger cakes, biscuit butter and some apple butter rolled in paper & a bottle of molasses. We could not send you a blanket this time but if you still want it let us know and we will send it to you the first opportunity. We did not know we could send a box this week or I would have send over to Pa’s and got some apples but we did not know it until this morning. Mr Spencer said he would take it down on one of his wagons for us.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to Enos, her husband.

Cherished Memory of the Loved & Lost~November, 1864~20th & 21st

Cherished Memory of the Loved and Lost ~ Abraham Lincoln.

As the war grinds on the number of women who have lost husbands and sons increases and will affect an entire post-war generation. President Lincoln attempts to console a grieving mother. Other women worry about their men in prison camps. A woman in West Virginia thanks her husband’s artillery company for their thoughtfulness. The people of Georgia suffer.

Lincoln and a widow

Lincoln and a widow

November 20– Sunday– Covington, Georgia– “This is the blessed Sabbath, the day upon which He who came to bring peace and good will upon earth rose from His tomb and ascended to intercede for us poor fallen creatures. But how unlike this day to any that have preceded it in my once quiet home. I had watched all night, and the dawn found me watching for the moving of the soldiery that was encamped about us. Oh, how I dreaded those that were to pass, as I supposed they would straggle and complete the ruin that the others had commenced, for I had been repeatedly told that they would burn everything as they passed. Some of my [slave] women had gathered up a chicken that the soldiers shot yesterday, and they cooked it with some yams for our breakfast, the guard complaining that we gave them no supper. They gave us some coffee, which I had to make in a tea-kettle, as every coffeepot is taken off. The rear-guard was commanded by Colonel Carlow, who changed our guard, leaving us one soldier while they were passing. They marched directly on, scarcely breaking ranks. Once a bucket of water was called for, but they drank without coming in. About ten o’clock they had all passed save one, who came in and wanted coffee made, which was done, and he, too, went on. A few minutes elapsed, and two couriers riding rapidly passed back. Then, presently, more soldiers came by, and this ended the passing of Sherman’s army by my place, leaving me poorer by thirty thousand dollars than I was yesterday morning. And a much stronger Rebel! After the excitement was a little over, I went up to Mrs. Laura’s to sympathize with her, for I had no doubt but that her husband was hanged. She thought so, and we could see no way for his escape. We all took a good cry together. While there, I saw smoke looming up in the direction of my home, and thought surely the fiends had done their work ere they left. I ran as fast as I could, but soon saw that the fire was below my home. It proved to be the gin house [cotton gin] belonging to Colonel Pitts. My boys have not come home. I fear they cannot get away from the soldiers. Two of my cows came up this morning, but were driven off again by the Yankees. I feel so thankful that I have not been burned out that I have tried to spend the remainder of the day as the Sabbath ought to be spent. Ate dinner out of the oven in Julia’s [the cook’s] house, some stew, no bread. She is boiling some corn. My poor servants feel so badly at losing what they have worked for; meat, the hog meat that they love better than anything else, is all gone.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

damaged buildings in Georgia

damaged buildings in Georgia

November 20– Sunday– Madison, Georgia– Joshua Hill, who knows General Sherman’s brother Senator John Sherman and was the last Confederate senator to leave Washington D. C., rides out to meet the Union forces under General Henry Slocum. He requests that the town be spared destruction. General Slocum grants the request and orders his troops not to burn any buildings or homes or destroy any property. Despite the order, Federal soldiers loot and plunder a great deal of personal property while not setting any fires.

November 20– Sunday– Eatonton, Georgia– “About 1 or 2 o’clock, 4 or 5 Yankees came, professing they would behave as gentlemen. These gentlemen, however stole my gold watch, and silver spoons,besides whiskey, tobacco, and a hat or two, besides. About the middle of the afternoon, 4 more came, and got a few hats and one fiddle, and some whiskey.” ~ Journal of Joseph Addison Turner.

November 20– Sunday– Clinton, Georgia; Walnut Creek, Georgia; East Macon, Georgia; Griswoldville, Georgia– In skirmishes, raids and firefights, Confederate cavalry and infantry as well as Georgia militia try unsuccessfully to halt Sherman’s advance.

November 20–Sunday– St Petersburg, Russia–Czar Alexander II begins reforms of the judicial system.

November 21– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “To the Soldiers of Company D, 1st West Virginia Light Artillery: Gentlemen: I. H. Williams, Esq., of this city, has handed us the sum of forty-five dollars, and stated that said amount had been given to him, by you, as a contribution to myself and children. I cannot but regard such a favor as a testimonial of respect for my husband, now a prisoner in the hands of our enemies, and trust that all such favors may soon be unnecessary, through his return to his comrades and duty. May his present lot never be the fate of either of you, and may the God of battles soon, either through the repentance or destruction of our foes, bring both you and him to your homes and firesides, never more to mingle in deadly strife, but to enjoy the liberty maintained, the blessings purchased, and the rights secured through the perpetuity of our National Government. I am, very respectfully, Mary Jenkins.” ~ Letter in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

November 21– Monday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia– “Sister wants to know what black calico is selling at down there [at Richmond] she wants to get a dress and there was but one piece in Staunton and it was very coarse she says if it is not too dear she would life for you to get her a dress & she will pay you in silver if you wish it. There was three men here gathering the tithe corn [for the Confederate army] out of the field last week, and four men here yesterday trying to get wheat, and there are two wagons here now for the hay. I have not heard from Mr Newton yet whether he can let you have a hat or not Pa will see about it and I will let you know we will send you the things you wrote for as soon as we can. . . . I think if you have to stay in service you are as safe there as any place else the men in the Valley have had some very hard marching to do lately. I believe I have no news to write we are all well. Nothing more at present.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to her husband Enos.

November 21– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Mrs Lydia Bixby of Boston. [Most likely, only two actually died in battle, two of her sons had deserted and one was honorably discharged.]

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

November 21– Monday– Petersburg, Virginia– “We have been for twelve or fourteen days down on the bay gathering corn, fodder, wheat, &c. There was between 3000 and 4000 of us at the business. I suppose we have gathered about 75,000 or 100,000 bushels of as fine corn as I [have] ever seen. It will average from 25 to 75 bushels per acre. There are some of the prettiest farms on this peninsula I have seen. The land is almost level, and is of a rich red brown color. The object of having so many to gather was to guard the wagons. For we went below our line of pickets. Therefore, it being so close to Newport News, the wagons would have been liable to be taken by the Yankee scouts.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.

November 21– Monday– Plymouth, Michigan–” Last week I was sick so that the house was obliged to hold me very tight It is kind of a curious thing for me. I can not go out in to the open air with out taking cold. Perhaps you will call at Armory Square when in Washington. I have been thinking about going there this winter to wile away some of these lonesome days. My Folks have some objections to my going where I have been so often for the last three years. But there is nothing like getting used to a thing or two. The least stormy weather here drives us in to the house. But the rainiest night on Picket in Virginia we had to stand any how. Even a snow storm or two we have had here then I thought about being by the side of a snug fire all cuddled up in a little heap half froze to death.A good warm bed a fellow gets at home besides other fixins throwed in. I hardly ever thought of these when I Enlisted & perhaps I may try the self same operations again. This is a curious world to live & sport in. There will be no Young ladies after this war closes. Because they are afraid some of the loved ones will come home crippled & they will Marry while they think about it. Mostly of the Softer Sex will be old Maids waiting so long. I presume some of them are tired.” ~ Letter from Reuben Farwell to Walt Whitman.

November 21– Monday– along the tracks of the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad headed toward Nashville, Tennessee– Confederate guerrillas attack and destroy a train.

CW train wreck-O197CC1L

November 21– Monday– Florence, Alabama– A force of about 38,000 Confederate troops begins to move toward Tennessee.

November 21– Monday– Covington, Georgia– “We had the table laid this morning, but no bread or butter or milk. What a prospect for delicacies! My house is a perfect fright. I had brought in Saturday night some thirty bushels of potatoes and ten or fifteen bushels of wheat poured down on the carpet in the ell. Then the few gallons of syrup saved was daubed all about. The backbone of a hog that I had killed on Friday, and which the Yankees did not take when they cleaned out my smokehouse, I found and hid under my bed, and this is all the meat I have. About ten o’clock this morning Mr. Joe Perry called. I was so glad to see him that I could scarcely forbear embracing him. I could not keep from crying, for I was sure the Yankees had executed him, and I felt so much for his poor wife. The soldiers told me repeatedly Saturday that they had hung him and his brother James and George Guise. They had a narrow escape, however, and only got away by knowing the country so much better than the soldiers did. They lay out until this morning. How rejoiced I am for his family! All of his Negroes are gone, save one man that had a wife here at my plantation. They are very strong Secesh. When the army first came along they offered a guard for the house, but Mrs. Laura told them she was guarded by a Higher Power, and did not thank them to do it. She says that she could think of nothing else all day when the army was passing but of the devil and his hosts. She had, however, to call for a guard before night or the soldiers would have taken everything she had.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

November 21– Monday– Griswoldville, Georgia– Union forces enter the small community and burn Samuel Griswold’s pistol factory, which had supplied thousands of Confederate sidearms. They also burn a mill, a soap and candle factory, a train of railroad cars with locomotive driving wheels, and approximately one third of the town.

destruction by Sherman's troops

destruction by Sherman’s troops

November 21– Monday– near Hillsboro, Georgia– “Up at 4 o’clock and found it raining very hard. It rained nearly all last night. Had orders to move at 4 ½ a m but did not move until 6.A.M. Brigade Head Quarters Were ‘behind time’ this morning and had to start without breakfast. Passed through Montcello a very pretty village. Saw some beautiful gardens – full of roses and flowers in full bloom. ‘Red white & blue’ – it was indeed strange to see such colors in ‘Dixie land.’ Pontoon train in our front which delayed us very much – roads very heavy – rained most of the day. This has been about the most disagreeable day we have seen lately. Passed through Hillsboro. Which was an insignificant town. But it is in ashes now. Went in camp half a mile south of Hillsboro in an open field. No wood nor rails near and a cold piercing wind blowing. We had rails hauled and made ourselves comfortable for the night – We came 11 miles.” ~ Diary of Cornelius C. Platter.

Leaving A Track of Desolation Behing Him~ November 1864~19th and 20th

Leaving a Track of Desolation Behind Him ~ George Templeton Strong.

Northerners gloat and the people of Georgia moan as Sherman and his troops forage, burn, plunder and fight their way through the state. Sherman issues orders to control the vandalism but soldiers will continue to harass and rob civilians. Rebel prisoners write home from Federal prison camps. Northen papers comment on the Southern discussion about arming slaves for the Confederate cause. As evidence of increased Federal control President Lincoln lifts the blockade of several Southern ports.

Sherman's troops marching through Georgia

Sherman’s troops marching through Georgia

November 19– Saturday– New York City– “It has been semi-officially announced from Richmond that Jeff Davis and his Confederate rulers have determined upon the desperate expedient of arming and drilling, for the spring campaign, the formidable auxiliary force of 300,000 able-bodied slaves. They are to be bought over to this extraordinary service of fighting for slavery by the offer to each man of the boon of his personal freedom, with the promise of 50 acres of land at the close of the war. The masters concerned, for the loss of their valuable slave property, are to be indemnified in ‘Confederate Scrip.’ This is the scheme. To the dispassionate and intelligent reader, it may seem incredible and preposterous, beyond all bounds of belief; but it is seriously discussed and advocated by the Richmond journals and many of the leading Southern politicians, from Virginia to Louisiana. They contend that the thing is feasible and advisable; that Southern independence is worth even the sacrifice demanded, and that the gift of his individual freedom and 50 acres of land will secure their black soldier against all the temptations of the Yankees. Absurd, ludicrous, insane and suicidal, therefore, as this project may appear, under the lights of experience and the reasoning of common sense, we are constrained to treat it as a movement seriously contemplated by that remarkable philanthropist and champion of liberty, Jeff Davis. We are the more disposed to this treatment with his confession before us that, with Richmond invested by General Grant, and the imminent danger, and with Georgia and all the States below threatened with subjugation by General Sherman, two-thirds of the white soldiers of ‘the Confederacy’ are deserters or ‘absent without leave,’ while none of the remaining whites at home are capable of bearing arms. . . . It will fail at both ends. The slaves cannot be spared from the hoe, and cannot be trusted with the bayonet. The masters having sacrificed everything else to protect their institution of slavery, will not sacrifice their slaves to protract the vain struggle of Davis to save himself ‘in this last ditch.’ We are rather inclined to consider the agitation of this scheme at Richmond as an ingenious method of announcing to the slaveholders concerned that their cause is gone, and that Davis would like to have their influence in favor of giving up ‘the Confederacy’ in disgust.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly.

November 19– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of George Barbier, stage and film actor who will make more than 35 films. [Dies July 19, 1945.]

George Barbier

George Barbier

November 19– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas by my proclamation of the 19th of April, 1861, it was declared that the ports of certain States, including those of Norfolk, in the State of Virginia, Fernandina and Pensacola, in the State of Florida, were, for reasons therein set forth, intended to be placed under blockade; and Whereas the said ports were subsequently blockaded accordingly, but having for some time past been in the military possession of the United States, it is deemed advisable that they should be opened to domestic and foreign commerce. Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, pursuant to the authority in me vested by the fifth section of the act of Congress approved on the 13th of July, 1861, entitled ‘An act further to provide for the collection of duties on imports, and for other purposes,’do hereby declare that the blockade of the said ports of Norfolk, Fernandina, and Pensacola shall so far cease and determine, from and after the 1st day of December next, that commercial intercourse with those ports, except as to persons, things, and information contraband of war, may from that time be carried on, subject to the laws of the United States, to the limitations and in pursuance of the regulations which may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, and to such military and naval regulations as are now in force or may hereafter be found necessary.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

November 19– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Let every man fly to arms! Remove your Negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”~ Telegram from Georgia’s delegation to the Confederate Congress to the people of Georgia.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 19– Saturday– Covington, Georgia– “I walked to the gate. There they came filing up. I hastened back to my frightened servants [slaves] and told them that they had better hide, and then went back to the gate to claim protection and a guard. But like demons they rush in! My yards are full. To my smoke-house, my dairy, pantry, kitchen, and cellar, like famished wolves they come, breaking locks and whatever is in their way. The thousand pounds of meat in my smoke-house is gone in a twinkling, my flour, my meat, my lard, butter, eggs, pickles of various kinds– both in vinegar and brine– wine, jars, and jugs are all gone. My eighteen fat turkeys, my hens, chickens, and fowls, my young pigs, are shot down in my yard and hunted as if they were rebels themselves. Utterly powerless I ran out and appealed to the guard. ‘I cannot help you, Madam; it is orders.’ As I stood there, from my lot I saw driven, first, old Dutch, my dear old buggy horse, who has carried my beloved husband so many miles, and who would so quietly wait at the block for him to mount and dismount, and who at last drew him to his grave; then came old Mary, my brood mare, who for years had been too old and stiff for work, with her three-year-old colt, my two-year-old mule, and her last little baby colt. There they go! There go my mules, my sheep, and, worse than all, my boys [slaves]! Alas! little did I think while trying to save my house from plunder and fire that they were forcing my boys from home at the point of the bayonet. . . . Thanks to my God, the cotton [bales] only burned over, and then went out. Shall I ever forget the deliverance? To-night, when the greater part of the army had passed, it came up very windy and cold. My room was full, nearly, with the Negroes and their bedding. They were afraid to go out, for my women could not step out of the door without an insult from the Yankee soldiers. They lay down on the floor; Sadai got down and under the same cover with Sally, while I sat up all night, watching every moment for the flames to burst out from some of my buildings. . . . I could not close my eyes, but kept walking to and fro, watching the fires in the distance and dreading the approaching day, which, I feared, as they had not all passed, would be but a continuation of horrors.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

Union troops destroying a stretch of railroad track

Union troops destroying a stretch of railroad track

November 19– Saturday– past Covington, Georgia– “Last night I read to him [General Sherman] Alexander H. Stephen’s [native Georgian and vice-president of the Confederacy] most remarkable letter to Senator Sumner of Louisiana sent by A. H.S. to the Augusta Constitutionalist, in which wereceived it. The General was greatly interested, but made few or no comments. I remarked on A. H.S.’s idea that separation would secure permanent peace, and his talk about the ultimate, absolute sovereignty of the States. Said the General, ‘Stephens is crazy on the States Rights question. This war is on our part a war against anarchy. I wish they were separated from us and a foreign Government would whale on ‘em all the time.’ By 11 or 12 o’clock we reached Newborn. The men are foraging and straggling, I an sorry to say, a good deal. At and near every farmhouse we hear constant shooting of pigs and chickens. I remarked to the General something about the straggling. He answered, ‘I have been three years fighting stragglers, and they are harder to conquer than the enemy.’” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

November 20– Sunday– New York City– “Reports from Sherman, more or less authentic (probably less), place him seventy miles south of Atlanta on the 14th, and ‘advancing toward the Savannah River,’ eating his way, living on the country, and leaving a track of desolation behind him. May God prosper his march and help and comfort the homes which right and justice, whose minister he is, oblige him to lay waste! It is sad to think of the misery rebellion has brought upon Rebeldom . . . . But the nation should execute justice on the guilty all the more sternly because their crime has inflicted so much suffering on the innocent.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 20– Sunday– Point Lookout, Maryland– “I take my pen this Sabbath morning to drop a few lines to inform you that I am in good health and Praying that this may find you and all the family enjoying the same blessing. My health has been good since [becoming] a prisoner but am deprived of many comforts that we once enjoyed but I trust this cruel war will soon come to a close so we could enjoy our selves as the past. The health of the camp is good at present. The Officers in charge here spare no pains in promoting the health and comfort of the prisoners. Our rations are of a good quality. Some complain that they don’t get enough but I think it is a enough. . . . As we are limited to a half sheet [of] note paper I must close.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Jesse Rolston to his wife Mary.

November 20– Sunday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “I hope the agreement between the two governments in reference to supplies of clothing, food, etc., may be put into successful operation. As it may not reach us soon, I wish my friends in Georgia to take advantage of any opportunity to send me per flag of truce from Savannah or Charleston some flour, bacon, dried fruit, peas, or any other staple food that can be conveniently shipped. I leave the details of quantity, quality, and shipment to you. Dennis S. has written to his mother to the same effect. We are permitted to receive express packages containing provisions from the South.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his father.

prison camp at Johnson Island

prison camp at Johnson Island

November 20– Sunday– near Kernstown, Virginia– “Still raining and I fear the grand review by General Sheridan which is down for tomorrow will have to be postponed. I have an invitation to dine at at Brigade Headquarters on Thanksgiving Day.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 20– Sunday– near New Market, Virginia– “It is with pleasure that I take this opportunity to drop you a few lines to let you now how I am at this time– thank the Lord I enjoy good health have been well ever since left home except a cold– I have had right bad cold for some time other ways I have been hearty– hoping this may find you all well. I hoped to have gotten a letter from you before now but have not I wrote you the ninth of this month. Suppose you did not get it. Since that time we have had a hard march down the valley– we were near Winchester– expected to have a fight but it turned out other wise – we are now in Camp where we was when I last wrote – my feet became very sore on the march but are now well again, this is rainy wet weather here this is the Sabbath day – things are quite still here today. . . . I invited Several of my Company to eat with me they said that the woman that made that Butter and Bread knowed how to do it. You have no idea how such things are appreciated in camp – the men found that I had butter they would have take all I had in a short time if I would have let them. You sent more butter than I thought I could use so I Spared one of the roll. Sold two pound of it and loaned the rest out – thought it would come good some time. I let the men have it at 7 Dollars per pound – it was selling at ten Dollars in camp but I thought it was to much for Soldiers to pay . . . . hoping to hear from you soon – I will close – my Prayer is that the Lord will bless you and take care of you all and save us all in heaven at last.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John P. Dull to his wife Ginny.

November 20– Sunday– in the field, General Sherman’s Headquarters, Georgia– “1). The discharge of fire-arms by foragers and others has become an evil which must be stopped. Many men have already been wounded and a waste of ammunition incurred which we cannot afford. However no firing will be permitted under any circumstances. Animals and fowls must be caught, not shot. . . . 3). One pack-animal may be allowed to each company and so many to brigade and division headquarters as division commanders may think proper. All animals taken from the country are the property of the Government, and must be turned over to the quartermasters. All surplus draft animals must be used to strengthen the wagon trains. Indiscriminate mounting of unauthorized men cannot be allowed. Every commanding officer is responsible that no unauthorized man under him is mounted.” ~ Orders from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Sherman's field headquarters

Sherman’s field headquarters

Citizens Are In Great Confusion~November 1864~the 17th & 18th

Citizens Are in Great Confusion ~ a Confederate soldier.

Military activity continues in Tennessee as well as in the Shenandoah Valley and around Petersburg, Virginia, but the heaviest action is in Georgia as Federal troops burn buildings, destroy railroads and, despite General Sherman’s orders, raid private dwellings and scare civilians.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 17– Thursday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I have been a prisoner of war since October 28th. I was captured at Morristown, Tennessee. I am in very good health and expect to be sent North in a very short time– would like very much to receive a letter from you but do not expect to be so heavenly favored soon. When I am permanently located in a Northern Federal Prison, I will let you know where I am and you must write me there. I saw your father at Knoxville, he was looking well. I have written a note to Lizzie. I hope you succeed in sending it through.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his sweetheart.

November 17– Thursday– south of Atlanta, Georgia– “Second day out– we did not start until 7 A.M. Marched three miles to town of Lithonia, on the railroad, halted say an hour: troops busy destroying track. Captain Poe’s hooks enable a few men to do pretty much upsetting. Poe reports railroad depot was burned at Lithonia and sparks set fire to and destroyed some two or three dwellings. Merely bending rails in ordinary way, by piling ties, laying rails across, and allowing their own weight at ends to bend them, thus, is not effectual. If thus merely bent, they can be restored by reverse process. But if twisted, even a little, they are ruined and must be rerolled. Poe has provided wrenches with which his pioneers very quickly and effectually do this– one man at each end of a rail pulling in opposite directions, and thus twisting the heated middle.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

Sherman's troops destroying railroad tracks

Sherman’s troops destroying railroad tracks

November 17– Thursday– General Sherman’s field headquarters, south of Atlanta, Georgia– “In order to secure to the soldier an equal share of stores gathered from the country, each brigade commander will send out daily, until further orders, foraging parties composed of fifty privates and an adequate number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers, whose duty it will be to gather forage and meat rations. These parties will in no case go beyond supporting distance from the main column. The supplies collected must be brought to the roadside and there loaded in their respective brigade wagons and turned over to the brigade quartermasters. Cattle and sheep are to be driven on the hoof whenever practicable. The officers in charge of these parties should enforce the strictest discipline and order. Foraging parties will on no pretense be permitted to enter houses except by written authority from the division commander. The assistant provost-marshal will see this last clause strictly enforced, and will arrest all soldiers found in houses without competent authority.” ~ Order by General Sherman

November 17– Thursday– near Millen, Georgia– Anticipating the arrival of Sherman’s Federal forces, Confederate authorities abandon the large stockade for Union prisoners known as Camp Lawton just north of town. The stockade had been built to relieve overcrowding at Andersonville. Encompassing 42 acres, it was considered the largest prison stockade in the world at the time. Camp Lawton operated only briefly, from opening in early October until its abandonment today.

November 17– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “Things are very bad here. Sherman in person is leading, say, 30,000 men against us. We are retreating as rapidly as possible, consistent with good order and efficiency. The militia are retreating in admirable order and good discipline, as General Cobb reports. I will meet them between this and Forsyth this evening. I believe the legislature will grant you large and liberal powers. Tell them the country is in danger. Let all of her sons come to her rescue. We have called for the troops in Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah. If we do defend here they will be on us by Monday. Cavalry force said to be below 6,000. Send all the troops you can. If we do not get help we must abandon this place.” ~ Letter from Robert Toombs to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown.

Governor Joseph E Brown

Governor Joseph E Brown

November 17– Thursday– Clay County, Mississippi– “My 24th birth day – I wonder if any one thought of me at home” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

November 18– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Ladies’ Sanitary Commission for Colored Soldiers report that they have cleared nearly $3000 by the late fair for the aid of colored soldiers, and that they have yet to be raffled for one of Chickering’s fine pianos, a Hamlin cabinet organ, and a lace cape valued at $60.The Charlestown table returned $865, the Chelsea table$268.18, the Worcester table $105.59, and the West Newbury table $79.” ~ The Liberator. [The $3000 raised would equal $45,900 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

November 18– Friday– near Kernstown, Virginia– “Received a new Division flag, a present from the ladies of Providence [Rhode Island]. The flag is a fine one . . . . It is raining, but I am quite comfortable.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 18–Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “In addition to the troops of all kinds you should endeavor to get out every man who can render any service, even for a short period, and employ Negroes in obstructing roads by every practicable means. Colonel Rains, at Augusta, can furnish you with shells prepared to explode by pressure, and these will be effective to check an advance. General Hardee has, I hope, brought some reenforcements, and General Taylor will probably join you with some further aid. You have a difficult task, but will realize the necessity for the greatest exertion.” ~ Telegram from President Jeff Davis to Confederate General Howell Cobb.

Howell Cobb

Howell Cobb

November 18– Friday– past Covington, Georgia– “We passed through the handsome town of Covington, the soldiers closing up their ranks, the color-bearers unfurling their flags, and the bands striking up patriotic airs. The white people came out of their houses to behold the sight, in spite of their deep hatred of the invaders, and the Negroes were simply frantic with joy. From Covington the Fourteenth Corps, with which I was traveling, turned to the right for Milledgeville, via Shady Dale. General Slocum was ahead at Madison, with the Twentieth Corps, having torn up the railroad as far as that place, and thence had sent Geary’s division on to the Oconee, to burn the bridges across that stream.” ~ Memoirs of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

November 18– Friday– Covington, Georgia– “Slept very little last night. Went out doors several times and could see large fires like burning buildings. Am I not in the hands of a merciful God who has promised to take care of the widow and orphan? Sent off two of my mules in the night. Mr. Ward and Frank [a slave] took them away and hid them. In the morning took a barrel of salt, which had cost me two hundred dollars, into one of the black women’s gardens, put a paper over it, and then on the top of that leached ashes. Fixed it on a board as a leach tub, daubing it with ashes [the old-fashioned way of making lye for soap]. Had some few pieces of meat taken from my smoke-house carried to the Old Place [a distant part of her plantation] and hidden under some fodder. Bid them hide the wagon and gear and then go on plowing. Went to packing up mine and Sadai’s clothes. I fear that we shall be homeless. The boys came back and wished to hide their mules. They say that the Yankees camped at Mr. Gibson’s last night and are taking all the stock in the county. Seeing them so eager, I told them to do as they pleased. They took them off, and Elbert [a slave] took his forty fattening hogs to the Old Place Swamp and turned them in. We have done nothing all day – that is, my people have not. I made a pair of pants for Jack [a slave]. Sent Nute [a slave] up to Mrs. Perry’s on an errand. On his way back, he said, two Yankees met him and begged him to go with them. They asked if we had livestock, and came up the road as far as Mrs. Laura Perry’s. I sat for an hour expecting them, but they must have gone back. Oh, how I trust I am safe! Mr. Ward is very much alarmed.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 18– Friday– Macon, Georgia– “We marched all night until about one hour today we stopped. After day we started again and marched all day until 10 o’clock last night, when we were halted and to camp. We were used completely up and thought we would rest all night. We ate what little we had and could get, not having any rations given us since the day before, and then did not get it in time to cook it and had to throw it away. From Griffin [to] Forsyth [is] about 40 miles, which we made [in] one day and night. The times look gloomy about here now, I assure you. The citizens of Macon are in great confusion and are moving out pretty fast. It is not worthwhile for me to write you anything about the Yankees, as you will know as much as I can tell you and sooner than I can tell you. Suffice it to say they are making demonstrations this way. The hopes that we had of being let loose soon has faded from our minds at this time. I can’t say what will be the next move on foot or whether we will stay here long or not. I will not be surprised at any move now.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife. [About 10,000 Confederate soldiers, including some cavalry, are gathered in the city to defend it but Federal troops just made a feint in this direction and have now turned away.]

Music of the March

 

The original full lyrics:

Bring the good old bugle, boys, we’ll sing another song
Sing it with a spirit that will start the world along
Sing it as we used to sing it, 50,000 strong

While we were marching through Georgia.

Chorus
Hurrah! Hurrah! we bring the jubilee!

Hurrah! Hurrah! the flag that makes you free!
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea
While we were marching through Georgia.

Verse 2
How the darkeys shouted when they heard the joyful sound
How the turkeys gobbled which our commissary found
How the sweet potatoes even started from the ground
While we were marching through Georgia.

Verse 3
Yes and there were Union men who wept with joyful tears,
When they saw the honored flag they had not seen for years;
Hardly could they be restrained from breaking forth in cheers,
While we were marching through Georgia.

Verse 4
“Sherman’s dashing Yankee boys will never reach the coast!”
So the saucy rebels said and ’twas a handsome boast
Had they not forgot, alas! to reckon with the Host
While we were marching through Georgia.

Destruction Fairly Commenced~November 1864~14th to 16th

Destruction Fairly Commenced ~ Henry Hitchcock

So it begins, the campaign which will attach infamy in the South and glory in the North to the name of William Tecumseh Sherman. Splitting his force into multiple columns and leaving Atlanta ablaze, Sherman begins to carve a bitter swath through Georgia as he heads toward Savannah. Ordinary Georgia folks fret. The Confederacy is so short of soldiers that the government gives serious consideration to arming slaves to fight the Yankees. Reverend Finney gives thanks for the abolition of slavery and the reelection of Lincoln. A Radical Republican [yes, gentle reader, there was a time in American history when those two words were not mutually exclusive!] advocates the vote for former slaves.

damage in Atlanta

damage in Atlanta

November 14– Monday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I reached Atlanta during the afternoon of the 14th , and found that all preparations had been made. Colonel Poe, United States Engineer, of my staff, had been busy in his special task of destruction. He had a large force at work, had leveled the great depot, round-house, and the machine-shops of the Georgia railroad, and had applied fire to the wreck. One of these machine shops had been used by the rebels as an arsenal, and in it were stored piles of shot and shell, some of which proved to be loaded, and that night was made hideous by the bursting of shells, whose fragments came uncomfortably near Judge Lyon’s house, in which I was quartered. The fire also reached the block of stores near the depot, and the heart of the city was in flames all night, but the fire did not reach the parts of Atlanta where the court-house was or the great mass of dwelling-houses.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

November 15– Tuesday– New York City– “Rebel editors and Congressmen are in a great heat over the question whether they shall arm a few thousand slaves, offering them freedom as a reward for a certain term of military service. The chief objection to doing so seems to be that they would thereby admit that freedom is a boon to the field hand, whereas slavery is its highest blessing, and emancipation a penalty and a curse instead of a reward. The policy proposed, therefore violates first Southern principles. They don’t want to stultify themselves, but necessity will probably outweigh logic in the end and their most sacred and inviolable theories will have to be violated. The most pious pirate would consent to raise the Devil to help him in extremity, but the Devil is not to be depended upon as an ally.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 15– Tuesday– Oberlin, Ohio— “Many thanks for your dear letters of the 3rd & 10th instant. I did not know where you were & in my loneliness it seemed a great while since I had heard from you. I thank the Lord that Mary is better. . . . Now [my] wife has gone I am more than ever thankful for this kindness. From your letter Mary, I infer that you have relinquished the thought of paying us a visit. So, Delia Woods is with you. Dear Precious Child, she is. Give abundant love to her. I do wish she would come & spend next summer with us. . . . We are enjoying a blessed revival of religion. It commenced about 2 months ago on Sabbath & last Sabbath we received 50 converts to the Church as first fruits. . . . I preach twice on Sabbath & once during the week. We have had but few extra prayer meetings. Meetings of enquiry have been held more frequently than usual. . . I have kept up the fire upon the unconverted so far as I deemed it wise. The work has gone on powerfully. We soon close our fall term. The students generally are greatly blessed & I hope will spread this revival spirit in many places. Until this fall I have not dared to make any revival efforts for some years. And now I have changed the direction rather than increase the number of services. I am sorry that Boston ministers will make no revival efforts the coming winter. I guess they will before spring. I am glad to hear Mary speak so well of Brother Kirk’s political efforts. God bless him. I have the spirit of thanksgiving for the special blessings connected with the recent election. When this college was first established, our faculty & students were held in great abomination almost all over this state. Hissed, pelted with eggs & stones, & hooted, & hunted, as the enemies of the country. But we quietly & firmly bore our testimony. Our students have scattered all through this state, & through the west until the tables are completely turned. Thank God for this. Our Eastern friends are not aware of the part Oberlin has taken in making Ohio & the north west a unity for freedom. You know only a little of it. I mention it only as cause of thanksgiving. I do thank the Lord that I have lived to see this marvelous change. My health is better than ever you saw it. I do not know how long I can hold out but at present I enjoy my labors quite as well as ever in my life.” ~ Letter from Reverend Charles Grandison Finney to Edwin and Mary Lamson.

Reverend Charles G Finney

Reverend Charles G Finney

November 15– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “About 5 o’clock yesterday morning, the car shed of the Danville railroad company, in Manchester, was set on fire by an incendiary, and destroyed, with ten railroad cars, which were burned in it at the time. The loss is estimated at twenty thousand dollars in old currency.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

November 15– Tuesday– St Louis, Missouri– “Without doubt, assuming the abolition of slavery as settled, the concomitant question of franchise will claim all the faith and tax all the firmness of the friends of radical freedom for its right settlement. That violent prejudices will have to be encountered, and all the weary round of two-facedness and demagoguery and subterfuge confronted, is rendered certain by the attitudes of the conflict of the past three years in Missouri. But that any people forming anew constitution of their liberties, after such experience as ours, should willingly leave to breed other conflicts unjust discriminations against large portions of their population, in the shape of a refusal of any participation in government, is scarcely to be credited. To those who are emancipated, access to the franchise must be opened up, otherwise the boasted freedom conceded to them is a cheat, and their status for the future becomes one of abjectness or else active hostility. Temporary and transitory stages of qualification may be prescribed, if needful– service in the armies is already qualifying thousands for the duties of citizenship; but the primary condition of aright of suffrage must be incorporated into their estate, if the honor and safety and prosperity of this commonwealth for all time are to be consulted. The same logic that obtains in the absorption of any other large element of population into the body political so controls with respect to those manumitted as a class. The argument of slavery is inferiority of race. Shall we abolish the name, but retain the argument? The most patent evils of slavery flow from caste distinctions reacting upon society. Shall we make a merit of destroying the institution, yet insist on perpetuating the distinctions that breed social disease and death? There surely are considerations of State, that should weigh decisively with a community just emerging from the fierce fires of an unparalleled strife engendered by like prejudices and errors, and should cause it to cling to the path of safety. But before all such, and higher than any question of profit or peace, is the knowledge that it is right and conforms to God’s appointment, whereby all men are created free and equal.” ~ Public letter from Benjamin Gratz Brown. [Brown, age 38, lawyer, politician, Union veteran, is a Radical Republican serving as U S Senator from Missouri, which office he will hold until 1867. He will serve as governor of Missouri from 1871 to 1873. He will support woman suffrage, the 8 hour day, the merit system in civil service and government construction and ownership of telegraph lines. He dies December 13, 1885.]

Benjamin Gratz Brown

Benjamin Gratz Brown

November 15– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “I got into camp about 11 o’clock and then it was raining a little and before morning it rained considerable. Nashville must be very near as large as Cleveland and it is a real pretty place and kept pretty clean. Dry goods stores plenty of them and well filled up [with] groceries any amount of them. I can’t tell you how odd it did seem to us to be transferred from Chattanooga and everlasting mend, almost a scarcity of everything unless at exorbitant prices. In this place if a man has money, here he can get most anything he could yearn for and at reasonable prices too. . . . I suppose by this time Sherman has struck out from Atlanta with 60,000 men and gone south. The railroad between Chattanooga and that place having been torn up by our troops. General Thomas is left here to take care of Hood with the 4th and 23rd Corps while Sherman goes right through the confederacy. He will take some of them up and with a rush. Some think he will go to Savannah or Charleston. But time will tell where.” ~ Letter from Union soldier John Watkins to his wife Sarah.

November 15–Tuesday– Atlanta, Georgia–”Today the destruction fairly commenced. This P.M. the torch applied. Clouds of heavy smoke rise and hang like pall over doomed city. At night, the grandest and most awful scene. From our rear windows [the] horizon shows immense and raging fires, lighting up whole heavens. First bursts of smoke, dense, black volumes, then tongues of flame, then huge waves of fire roll up into the sky: presently the skeletons of great warehouses stand out in relief against and amidst sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames, then the angry waves roll less high, and are of deeper color, then sink and cease, and only the fierce glow from the bare and blackened walls as one fire sinks another rises, further along the horizon, it is a line of fire and smoke, lurid, angry, dreadful to look upon.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

leaving Atlanta

leaving Atlanta

November 15– Tuesday– Stockbridge, Georgia– In a heavy skirmish Confederate troops fail in an attempt to stop one of Sherman’s advancing columns.

November 15– Tuesday– Covington, Georgia– “Went up to Covington to-day to pay the Confederate tax. Did not find the commissioners. Mid [a slave] drove me with Beck and the buggy. Got home about three o’clock. How very different is Covington from what it used to be! And how little did they who tore down the old flag and raised the new realize the results that have ensued!” ~Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

November 16– Wednesday– near Pulaski, Tennessee– “I was very glad to hear from home and that you were all well. I have not much time to write as I have to go out on detail duty of some kind this afternoon and I have dinner toget before I go. We have been assigned to our companies. There was six of us put in Company C, so you can direct my letters and papers to that company now. I would like to get a paper some times as we do not get anything to read here. We see enough but hear little that is reliable. We are getting along finely. . . . I would like if you would send me a pr of good socks. The socks we get from [the] government is no account. They will not last over two weeks. Write as often as you can. Tell Eddie that he must learn to write and write me a letter. Kiss them all for me andtake good care of yourselves. Tell Mag she must write me a letter and let meknow how she likes married life.” ~ Letter from Union soldier John Seibert to his family.

November 16– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “About 7 a.m. of November 16th we rode out of Atlanta by the Decatur road, filled by the marching troops and wagons of the Fourteenth Corps; and reaching the hill, just outside of the old rebel works, we naturally paused to look back upon the scenes of our past battles. We stood upon the very ground whereon was fought the bloody battle of July 22nd and could see the copse of wood where McPherson fell. Behind us lay Atlanta, smoldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in air and hanging like a pall over the ruined city. Then we turned our horses’ heads to the east; Atlanta was soon lost behind the screen of trees, and became a thing of the past. Around it clings many a thought of desperate battle, of hope and fear, that now seem like the memory of a dream. The day was extremely beautiful, clear sunlight, with bracing air, and an unusual feeling of exhilaration seemed to pervade all minds – a feeling of something to come, vague and undefined, still full of venture and intense interest.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

Atlanta burns

Atlanta burns

November 16– Wednesday– south of Atlanta, Georgia– “Up last night nearly all night. News that Yankees were coming this way after burning Atlanta, Decatur and some houses at Stone Mountain. Hid out box, tools, horse, buggy and other things. Mr. Anderson left after breakfast. We are now waiting for the worst to come, still hoping they will not come this way. If they are coming there will be here by nine o’clock. It is now 7. I went to see Mr. Anderson and while I was gone the Yankees came sure enough. I did not like to go back home so I stayed with David. A little after ten the Yankees were here and coming. Slocum’s corps came and camped all around the house. At every side hogs and sheep are being shot down and skinned to regale the Yankee palates. Mr. Anderson and I slept in the woods all night, not very pleasant for either body or mind not knowing what was going on at home.” ~ Journal of a farmer.

November 16– Wednesday– Covington, Georgia– “As I could not obtain in Covington what I went for in the way of dye stuffs, etc., I concluded this morning, in accordance with Mrs. Ward’s wish, to go to the Circle. We took Old Dutch and had a pleasant ride as it was a delightful day, but how dreary looks the town! Where formerly all was bustle and business, now naked chimneys and bare walls, for the depot and surroundings were all burned by last summer’s raiders. Engaged to sell some bacon and potatoes. Obtained my dye stuffs. Paid seven dollars [most likely in Confederate money] a pound for coffee, six dollars an ounce for indigo, twenty dollars for a quire of paper, five dollars for ten cents worth of flax thread, six dollars for pins, and forty dollars for a bunch of factory thread. On our way home we met Brother Evans accompanied by John Hinton, who inquired if we had heard that the Yankees were coming. He said that a large force was at Stockbridge, that the Home Guard was called out, and that it was reported that the Yankees were on their way to Savannah. We rode home chatting about it and finally settled it in our minds that it could not be so. Probably a foraging party. Just before night I walked up to Joe Perry’s to know if they had heard anything of the report. He was just starting off to join the company [of the Home Guard], being one of them.” ~Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

November 16– Wednesday– Lyon, France– Birth of Stephane Javelle, astronomer. [Dies August 3, 1917.]

Stephane Javelle

Stephane Javelle

Brilliant Victory Achieved~November 1864~the 12th to 14th

Brilliant Victory Achieved ~ President Lincoln

Lincoln receives the resignation of George McClellan and promotes Phil Sheridan. Nervous officials in Richmond arrest the suspected disloyal, both female and male. According to sources in Wheeling, refugees from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia include men seeking to avoid conscription in the Confederate army. In Georgia, Sherman’s troops begin to move in the next campaign. People are still talking about the Confederate raid upon St Alban’s.

Union soldiers in Atlanta

Union soldiers in Atlanta

November 12– Saturday– New York City– “We devote a large space, this week, to illustrations of the recent rebel raid upon St. Alban’s, Vermont. . . . The raid was made upon it on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 19th [of] October. . . . Their leader, one Bennet H. Young, pretends to be an officer in the rebel army. We shall publish a portrait of him, together with additional sketches, illustrative of the raid, in our next paper. The raiders were promptly pursued by a party of armed citizens of St. Albans, under Captain Conger. The pursuit lay in the direction of Sheldon Creek, at which point the flying robbers set fire to the bridge, in order to protect their retreat. They were, however, followed into Canada, where a number of them– 14 at latest accounts– have been captured. They are claimed by the United States, under the extradition treaty, as murderers and burglars. Their examination was commenced at St. Johns, but will probably be completed at Montreal. The Canadian Government has behaved in the most prompt and just manner in this business, and there is no doubt that the miscreants who perpetrated a series of foul murders and robberies at St. Albans will be brought to justice and punished according to their deserts. They are defended at present before the Canadian court by George N. Sanders. If they prove indeed to be Confederate soldiers their case will not be improved, seeing that Canada will exact reparation for violation of a neutral soil. The greater part of the stolen money has been recovered. The frontier is under arms, and no apprehension need be entertained of any more rebel raids from Canada.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly.

November 12– Saturday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I received yours of the ninth yesterday – was glad to hear that you were getting along so well. I just returned from Aunt Sallie’s yesterday evening – we had quite a nice visit – they all wished you could have been along; none of the girls were at home but Harriet Mattie is down at Moscow with her sister – her husband is dead, died at Lynchburg took gangrene in his wound . . . . Ma said to tell you she did not send you any thing, as you requested not – she would like to send you some apples if she knew where to send them Pa has not got all of his apples gathered yet he is busy working with his potatoes & corn – he thinks he will have about 75 bushels potatoes. There are some men here now gathering the corn out field for the Artillery horses. I heard last Thursday that Jim Hanger was killed. I do now know whether it is true or not – he went to see Miss Paxton in Rockbridge several times when he was at home last summer, when she heard he was killed she said to his sister ‘I told you he would keep a bullet from killing some good man.’ I believe I have no interesting news to write this time. Aunt Sallie’s said to give their best respects to you. The family all send their love to you. Sister is going to Greenville and I will have to close as I have to send the letter over there. I hope you will get home soon – nothing more, but remain your affectionate Wife until death.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to her husband Enos.

CW graves-3

November 12– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Miss Mary Jane Bayne, a young woman of fascinating appearance, was committee to Castle Thunder this morning as a suspicious character. She claims to be a native of North Carolina, but says that for a year or so back she has possessed as her paramour a certain Yankee lieutenant, who sojourned in Knoxville, Tennessee.” ~ Richmond Whig.

November 12– Saturday– Atlanta, Georgia– General Sherman sends a message to General Thomas in Nashville, Tennessee as prepares to launch his “march to the Sea.” He will be out of communication with the North until December 13.

November 12– Saturday– Allatoona, Georgia– “Up at 2 A.M. had breakfast at 3 AM, were under way at the appointed time, our Brigade having the advance. Reached Cassville by daylight. The place was burned by our troops last Summer and presented nothing but a mass of ruins. Only two houses are standing and they are churches. Reached Cartersville at 10 AM where we halted several hours. Everything at Cartersville has been destroyed today. Quite a number of wagons were burned and enough medical supplies to last a Division 3 months. Some of the brave heroes who fell at Allatoona were buried here. Colonel Bedfield, Captain Agors etc. We passed through the famous Allatoona pass this afternoon. If Sherman had attempted to reach Atlanta through this pass he certainly would have been defeated. Reached Allatoona at 3 P.M. Passed over the battle ground of October 4th and 5th which still presents many evident signs of a hard fought battle.” ~ Diary of Cornelius C. Platter.

November 12– Saturday– Newton, Virginia; Cedar Creek, Virginia; Nineveh, Virginia; Centreville, Missouri– Skirmishing.

November 13– Saturday– Salisbury, Maryland– Birth of James Canon, Jr, temperance activist, minister and leader in the Methodist Episcopal Church South. [He will be tainted by political and personal scandal in his last decade of life. Dies September 6, 1944.]

James Canon Jr

James Canon Jr

November 13– Sunday– Marietta, Georgia– “In Marietta by 11 or 12 PM. Entering square, saw our men with fire engine front of Court House, pumping hard, and man inside with hose. Fires appear sundry places, and again in Court House, and at last this breaks out, and fairly burning. All our staff, and all other officers I heard, regret and condemn. Inquired– Nobody knew how set on fire: but had three times put it out and tried hard to save it – twas no use. This soon blazed furiously, and this set other buildings on fire, across the street, and opposite hotel. Elsewhere on Square large stores, etc. begun to burn, and spread. Large buildings opposite left of hotel showed smoke. This was put out by Major McCoy of our staff, and was saved. Found that up to this morning there were guards around these buildings, but they had gone on with column, and thus in unguarded interval fire was set without orders.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

November 14– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Another lot of about twenty refugees from different portions of Old Virginia arrived in the city on Saturday. During their stay they were quartered in the Union Campaign Club Room. The most of them are shrewd intelligent men, and a few were original secessionists. They inform us that in order to escape the rebel pickets, they traveled through the mountains for more than a hundred miles without striking a road. They came in through Greenland Gap, about five thousand men having preceded them on the same route. Some of the men with whom we conversed are from the southern part of the State and others from the eastern part, from neither of which sections are the means of escape so easy. Those who desire to come North have therefore to employ a little strategy, the employment of which is not necessary in the Valley. The last call of the rebel authorities, made about a month ago, was for the men who had been previously detailed to gather crops and carry on indispensable manufactories. They were ordered to report at different places and were allowed to choose a regiment in which to serve. These men selected regiments doing duty in the Valley, knowing that their chances of escape would be better. These men say that [Confederate General] Early does not hope to occupy the valley much longer. All the government stores are being removed to Lynchburg. Two of the refugees of whom we speak, assured us that they had heard hundreds of rebel soldiers say they would desert if Lincoln was elected – that it was no use fighting any longer and that they would not do it.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

refugees

refugees

November 14– Monday– New Market, Virginia– “We had our battle of the 19th of October when we had the greatest victory of the war in the morning and one of the greatest losses in the evening – and needlessly, Our men giving way from a panic; then the General sent me to Richmond with dispatches and I was gone several days, but was only home from midnight until 4 o’clock one night – that consumed some days – then I had to make maps of the battle of the 19th for a report; then we have just gotten back from another expedition down the Valley in which we went to Newtown – went down to see what Sheridan was doing – found him fortified there and fixing to spend the Winter near Charles Town. . . . I expect I shall be able to spend the winter in Staunton, not far from home and I hope to take a furlough early in the season and come over to see you. How are you off for forage? Do you have any hay or grass. I should like to put one of my horses somewhere for the winter to live on hay and be well cared for. What is the state of things with you? I shall be greatly obliged for a barrel or keg of sorghum molasses; provisions are scarce and dear and everything helps. Did your sweet potato crop do anything? I wish you had a snug place in the Valley but I fear you would find it hard to buy one now, unless you could get one of the abandoned farms in Rockingham, left by men that went off with Sheridan. . . . Sara gets along finely managing and keeps up her spirits admirably. Is full of energy and hope. The children are growing rapidly. I should enjoy a visit to you very much and if I come have you any way to come to Rockfish after me and shall I bring along the whole family and have a visitation? Hope Harriet has gotten well.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his brother Nelson.

November 14–Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Ordered by the President: I. That the resignation of George B. McClellan as major-general in the United States Army, dated November 8 and received by the Adjutant-General on the 10th instant, be accepted as of the 8th of November. II. That for the personal gallantry, military skill, and just confidence in the courage and patriotism of his troops displayed by Philip H. Sheridan on the 19th day of October at Cedar Run, whereby, under the blessing of Providence, his routed army was reorganized, a great national disaster averted, and a brilliant victory achieved over the rebels for the third time in pitched battle within thirty days. Philip H. Sheridan is appointed major-general in the United States Army, to rank as such from the 8th day of November, 1864.” ~ Executive order of President Lincoln.

Abraham_Lincoln

November 14– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Lazarus Long, Elijah Person, and J. Phillips, workmen at the Tredegar Iron Works, were arrested on Saturday, while trying to escape to the enemy’s lines. They were committed to Castle Thunder, that common receptacle of the vicious, the disloyal and the suspected.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

November 14– Monday– Jonesboro, Tennessee– Birth of Claribel Cone, the fifth of the thirteen children of Herman and Helen Cone. She will graduate first in her class from the Woman’s Medical College of Baltimore and have a distinguished career as a pathologist. The fortune she will inherit will enable her and her younger sister Etta to become art collectors of artists including Matisse, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne and Picasso. [Dies September 20, 1929]

Dr  Claribel Cone

Dr Claribel Cone

The Doom of the Rebellion and Slavery~November 1864~the 10th & 11th

The Doom of Rebellion and Slavery ~ The Liberator

Northerners, including abolitionists and soldiers, celebrate the results of the election. Serious talk about reconstruction and a constitutional amendment to ban slavery begins to circulate. Sherman’s Federal troops in Georgia begin to move, not turning around to face Confederate troops behind them but rather headed deeper into Georgia. Southerners fret or complain in various degrees.

typical Civil War era band

typical Civil War era band

November 10– Thursday– near Kernstown, Virginia– “The band at Brigade Headquarters is playing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ in honor of the re-election of President Lincoln.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 10– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The election, along with its incidental and undesirable strife, has done good, too. It has demonstrated that a people’s government can sustain a national election in the midst of a great civil war. Until now, it has not been known to the world that this was a possibility. It shows, also, how sound and strong we still are. It shows that even among the candidates of the same party, he who is most devoted to the Union and most opposed to treason can receive most of the people’s votes. It shows, also, to the extent yet known, that we have more men now than we had when the war began. Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, and patriotic men are better than gold. But the rebellion continues, and, now that the election is over, may not all have a common interest to reunite in a common effort to save our common country? For my own part, I have striven and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here, I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom. While I am duly sensible to the high compliment of a re-election, and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God, for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed by the result. May I ask those who have not differed with me to join with me in this same spirit towards those who have? And now, let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave soldiers and seamen, and their gallant and skillful commanders.” ~ Remarks by President Lincoln to citizens gathered outside of the White House.

Abraham_Lincoln

November 10– Thursday– Petersburg, Virginia– “There has been some more heavy skirmish fighting in front of Petersburg, the result of which I have not learned yet. They pitched in last night hot and heavy for about thirty minutes. Day before yesterday was the great election day. The Yanks got all drunk that day and hooped and hollered around to a great extent. Our lines are so near in some places that our boys can smell the whiskey and generally tell when a fight is going to take place by their getting whiskey. I think it time for them to quit when they have to make their men drunk to get them to fight and this has been the case during this campaign.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

November 10– Thursday– Rome, Georgia– “During the last two weeks we have been expecting ‘marching orders.’ More than a week since we received orders to prepare for a ‘long arduous & successful campaign.’ Many different opinions have been expressed as to our probable destination– Some think we will make direct for Charleston South Carolina, others that we will visit Mobile – but the most general belief is that Savannah will be the objective point. Nothing definite however is known concerning the coming movement. Received orders this evening to move at six o’clock tomorrow morning. All tents and other government property which we can not take with us to be left standing undisturbed. The 52nd Illinois is to be left behind to destroy everything and bring up the rear. The Division wagon train moved out this evening on the Kingston road accompanied by the 3rd Brigade – they will go about six mile.” ~ Diary of Union soldier Cornelius C. Platter.

November 10– Thursday– Mexico City, Mexico–General William Preston, the Confederate envoy, reports that Emperor Maximillian has declined to meet with him.

November 11– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “No Presidential Election has ever occurred at all comparable in magnitude, solemnity and far-reaching consequences to the one which came off on Tuesday last. The hosts of freedom and the powers of despotism met in a death-grapple, and the latter have been sent howling to the pit from which they emanated, while the former are singing songs of praise and thanksgiving. The doom of Rebellion and Slavery is now irrevocably pronounced. . . . [In Boston] congregated thousands united in singing, with thrilling effect, the familiar lines of the fine old hymn, ‘My native country, thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing,’ &c. The band then struck up ‘Old Hundred,’ and the vast concourse joined in signing the doxology– ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow’ – which was followed by the ‘John Brown Song,’ which was sung with immense enthusiasm. . . . A special Washington dispatch states that General McClellan has sent in his resignation to the Secretary of War. It is to his deep disgrace that he did not do this long ago. The nation has strongly put its seal of condemnation upon him. Let him shrink back into his original insignificance.” ~ The Liberator.

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the radical The Liberator

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the radical The Liberator

November 11– Friday– West Chester, Pennsylvania– At the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society the members adopt a series of resolutions which include, among others, “That we greatly rejoice over the result of the recent Presidential election, regarding it as vindication that the people of the North have decreed the death of American slavery, and will, therefore, make no compromises with it; and that we regard it as an especially cheering sign of promise for our country, that that class of her citizens who have periled and suffered most for her sake, during the course of the present war, have testified by their votes the strongest opposition to a dishonorable peace” and “That we will address ourselves, at once, to the work of moving Congress, at its approaching session, to adopt an amendment to the Federal Constitution, prohibiting forever hereafter the existence of slavery in the United States.”

November 11– Friday– Staunton, Virginia– “As to our business there, you have managed so long & done so nobly that I need not interfere, but just let you continue to manage as you think best I only regret that I cant be with you & relieve you from all these troubles which you were unaccustomed too as when I was at home I tried to relieve you of all outdoors management. I hope you have fully recovered your health. I fear you give yourself trouble about business matters which sometimes unnerves you & makes nervous & delicate– try & take all matters smooth & easy– do what you can & let the rest pass by. . . . The election is over & I suppose Lincoln is again President for four years– what result will be from the new election we know not but I hope a speedy peace will soon be brought about. Lay in full winter supplies & don’t stint yourself in anything there is to be had. I have a lot of [U. S.] money for you such as you can use there, which I hope to get to you soon. I will continue to get all I can of that kind of funds that you may have plenty under all circumstances.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester at their home and farm in West Virginia.

November 11– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and pleasant. All quiet. No doubt, from the indications, Lincoln has been re-elected. Now preparations must be made for the further ‘conflict of opposing forces.’ All our physical power must be exerted, else all is lost.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

November 11– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “The weather has faired off clear and pleasant. The boys overall are busy as bees now preparing their winter quarters. The skirmish fighting I wrote of yesterday amounted to nothing. They have a frolic occasionally just to keep up the times they say. They are protected so well with works on both sides that it is a rare thing that anybody is hurt. They have portholes to shoot through and unless a ball happens to hit in the hole where some fellow is shooting, it does no harm. Our boys and the yanks quit shooting the other day and commenced throwing rocks and clods of dirt at each other and had a regular fight of it that way for some time. By this you can give some idea how near each other they are. In some place, they probably are in ten paces of each other and but short distance from the main line at that. They have a deep ditch to go in to the picket posts and a long ditch out when it is necessary to go in and out from the main line.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

November 11– Friday– Rome, Georgia– Carrying out General Sherman’s order to “destroy . . . all public property not needed by your command, all foundries, mills, workshops, warehouses, railroad depots or other storehouses convenient to the railroad, together with all wagon shops, tanneries, or other factories useful to the enemy,” Federal forces burn factories, mills and most of the businesses in the city.

Federal troops on the march

Federal troops on the march

November 11– Friday– Baton Rouge, Louisiana– The pro-Union state government established by the Federal army and officials from Washington, passes a series of resolutions, including: “That our faith is unabated in the ultimate triumph of our arms, the liberation of our sister commonwealths of the South from anarchy and treason, and the final and permanent reconstruction of the National Government upon the basis of freedom and justice” and “That, therefore, Abraham Lincoln, as the Chief Magistrate is noticed to the new arising confidence of his countrymen. He may be assured of the unshaken adhesion of free Louisiana to his Government and policy, whether of the Cabinet or the Field.”

November 11– Friday– Vienna, Austria– Birth of Alfred Hermann Fried, journalist and pacifist who will win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911. [Dies May 5, 1921.]

Alfred Hermann Fried

Alfred Hermann Fried

The People’s Resolution to Stand by Free Government~November 1864~8th and 9th

The People’s Resolution to Stand by Free Government ~ Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln wins his reelection bid, becoming the first sitting president since Andrew Jackson in 1832 to secure a second term. Lincoln carries 55% of the total popular vote and over 70% of soldiers’ votes. Meanwhile Georgia is reeling from Sherman’s destruction to date but worse is coming as orders are issued for a new campaign, not returning northward nor going directly to Virginia to join up with Grant but for a fearsome thrust toward the Georgia coast.

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November 8–Tuesday– Election Day– Washington, D. C.– In the popular vote for president, Lincoln receives 2,213,635 votes (55% of the total cast); General McClellan receives 1,805,237 votes. McClellan carries only Delaware, Kentucky and New Jersey. Lincoln carries New York by less than 7,000 votes. Soldiers in the Union Army give Lincoln more than 70% of their votes Three new states participate for the first time: Nevada, West Virginia, and Kansas. [Based on the states he carried, Lincoln will receive 212 votes in Electoral College while McClellan will receive only 21.] In the House of Representatives, the Republican Party takes a total of 136 seats, the Democratic Party 38 seats, the National Union Party 18 seats, and Independents1seat. The various state legislatures–excluding those in the Confederacy–select Republicans for 39 Senate seats, Democrats for 11 seats, and other parties for 4 seats. Thus the Republicans will control the White House and both houses of the Congress. [Mary Todd Lincoln does not let the President know that she owes more than $27,000 for clothing she has purchased on account. She confides in Elizabeth Keckly, the African American who works as her seamstress, that “If he is re-elected, I can keep him in ignorance of my affairs; but if he is defeated, then the bills will be sent in, and he will know all” but explains that as First Lady “I must dress in costly materials. The people scrutinize every article that I wear . . . . consequently I had, and still have, no alternative but to run in debt.” See, Behind the Scenes; Or Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley, original 1868, reprint 1988, pp 148– 151. The First Lady’s debt would equal $413,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

November 8– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “On the evening of the election . . . I went to the War Department about nine o’clock by invitation of the President. Took Fox with me, who was a little reluctant to go lest he should meet Stanton, who had for some days been ill. The Department was locked, but we were guided to the south door. The President was already there, and some returns from different quarters had been received. He detailed particulars of each telegram which had been received. Hay soon joined us and, after a little time, General Eaton. Mr. Eckert, the [telegraph] operator, had a fine supper prepared, of which we partook soon after 10. It was evident shortly after that the election had gone pretty much one way. Some doubts about New Jersey and Delaware. We remained until past one in the morning and left. All was well.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

November 8– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Wet and warm; all quiet below, and much mud there. Congress assembled yesterday, and the President’s message was read. He recommends the employment of 40,000 slaves in the army, not as soldiers, unless in the last extremity; and after the war he proposes their emancipation. This is supposed to be the idea of Mr. Benjamin, for foreign effect. It is denounced by the Examiner. The message also recommends the abolition of all class exemptions, such as editors, etc.The Examiner denounces this as a blow at the freedom of the press. The message is cheerful and full of hope, showing that the operations of the year, in the field, have resulted in no disadvantage to us. . . . To-day, no doubt, the election in the United States will result in a new lease of presidential life for Mr. Lincoln. If this result should really have been his motive in the conduct of the war, perhaps there may soon be some relaxation of its rigors– and possibly peace, for it is obvious that subjugation is not possible. President Lincoln may afford to break with the Abolition party now, and, as has been often done before, kick down the ladder by which he ascended to power. This is merely speculation, however; he may resolve to wield the whole military strength and resources of the United States with more fury than ever. But there will henceforth be a dangerous party against him in the rear. The defeated Democrats will throw every obstruction in his path– and they may chock his wheels– or even give him employment for the bayonet at home.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

November 8– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “I want to tell the sad story of the countless thousands that have been made to mourn by this horrid war. Powder Springs and the neighborhoods around it have suffered until longer suffering will be death. There is nothing left, positively nothing, for the people to live on. After the Yankee army passed us, we thought we had nothing. But the people picked up a good many broken down horses and in that way could go beyond the line of country through which the armies passed and with Confederate money could buy a little corn and wheat. But soon our scouts or so-called scouts began to come and every old mule and horse was taken that could travel at all. [It was] said to be an order from the General in command. And by the time a little late corn could be gathered and a little syrup could be made, by grinding the corn at night, and here came General Hood’s army and the Yankees right after them! All the trials and insults had to be gone through with again. Winter is coming on, the supply of salt is out, clothing worn out, and the women who have husbands and sons in this army ought to have something done for them. They can’t get away, and it is enough to make men desert to pass by their homes and to pass on after seeing such want and distress, and to know no hand has been raised to help them.” ~ Letter to Georgia Governor Joseph Brown.

damaged buildings in Atlanta

damaged buildings in Atlanta

November 8– Tuesday– Kingston, Georgia– “The general commanding deems it proper at this time to inform the officers and men of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Twentieth Corps, that he has organized them into an army for a special purpose, well known to the War Department from our present base, and a long and difficult march to a new one. All the chances of war have been considered and provided for, as far as human sagacity can. All he asks of you is to maintain that discipline, patience, and courage, which have characterized you in the past; and he hopes, through you, to strike a blow at our enemy that will have a material effect in producing what we all so much desire, his complete overthrow. Of all things, the most important is, that the men, during marches and in camp, keep their places and do not scatter about as stragglers or foragers, to be picked up by a hostile people in detail. It is also of the utmost importance that our wagons should not be loaded with any thing but provisions and ammunition. All surplus servants, non-combatants, and refugees, should now go to the rear, and none should be encouraged to encumber us on the march. At some future time we will be able to provide for the poor whites and blacks who seek to escape the bondage under which they are now suffering. With these few simple cautions, he hopes to lead you to achievements equal in importance to those of the past.” ~ Orders from the staff of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

General Sherman

General Sherman

November 8– Tuesday– south of Atlanta, Georgia– “Last Friday the [Yankee] infantry came around, and I never saw meaner men before. Carrie thought she would have her hogs in a little house in the yard, so if they came for them she could beg for them. Well, Friday about 2o’clock, they commenced coming. They walked in the yard and before Carrie could say a word [they] had both of her hogs killed, the last hogs she had around. And they were neither one of them fit to eat, just shot them down at the house. Others were killing her chickens, another killed a goat, while others were ransacking the house. Some of them came in and went to the meal barrel and, finding about a half bushel of meal there, took a sack hanging near and emptied nearly all the meal out, went to her [meat] safe and took our everything she had cooked, then into the little back room and took all the salt they could find and anything else that they wanted. When they were taking the things, Carrie begged them not to take all she had. Their answer was that many a woman below was left without anything at all. ‘Why,’said Carrie, ‘What am I to do? How am I to live if you take all that I have?’ ‘Go North!’was the reply, as curtly as it could be spoken. After witnessing in what an unfeeling manner they deprive woman and children of everything they have to live upon, after hearing the taunts they cast upon us all as rebels, is it any wonder that we should wish them evil? I can not wish them any good in this world, and I have heretofore prayed that God would save their souls. But feeling as I do now, I cannot continue even that prayer. God forgive me if I sin in hating as I do.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his sister.

November 9– Wednesday– New York City– “The crisis has been past and the most momentous popular election ever held since ballots invented has decided against treason and disunion. My contempt for democracy and extended suffrage is mitigated. The American people can be trusted to take care of the national honor. Lincoln is reelected by an overwhelming vote.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 9– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Even before I had been informed by you that this compliment was paid me by loyal citizens of Pennsylvania, friendly to me, I had inferred that you were of that portion of my countrymen who think that the best interests of the nation are to be subserved by the support of the present administration. I do not pretend to say that you, who think so, embrace all the patriotism and loyalty of the country, but I do believe, and I trust without personal interest, that the welfare of the country does require that such support and indorsement should be given. I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day’s work, if it be as you assume, and as now seems probable, will be to the lasting advantage, if not to the very salvation, of the country. I cannot at this hour say what has been the result of the election. But, whatever it may be, I have no desire to modify this opinion: that all who have labored to-day in behalf of the Union have wrought for the best interests of the country and the world; not only for the present, but for all future ages. I am thankful to God for this approval of the people; but, while deeply grateful for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, my gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. I do not impugn the motives of any one opposed to me. It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one, but I give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the people’s resolution to stand by free government and the rights of humanity.” ~ Impromptu remarks by President Lincoln, early in the morning, in response to a serenade of citizens.

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November 9– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Between six and seven o’clock on Monday, the frame stable, corner of Twentieth and Cary streets, opposite the Libby Prison, was set on fire and burned to the ground before the firemen could arrive upon the spot. The stable was in the occupancy of several horses belonging to the commandant of the post, Major Turner, and other officers of the prison. The loss is about one thousand dollars. But for the dampness prevailing at the time, the Libby Prison would have been in some danger. As it was the prisoners were very much concerned, and clamored to be released.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

November 9– Wednesday– Columbus, Georgia– “I have made no entry in my diary for some time. The war is still going on. The Georgia militia is above Griffin, while the Federals are still in possession of Atlanta. They are raiding all through the country, taking provisions, stock, etc. Our main army under General Hood has left and is trying to flank Sherman. At this time they are upon the Tennessee river.” ~ Diary of John Banks.

Making A Winter Campaign~ November 1864~ 5th to 8th

Making a Winter Campaign ~ John Jones.

Regardless of the coming of cold weather, fighting will not slow down nor come to a stop. Grant continues the relentless siege of Petersburg. Sheridan’s troops remain active in the Shenandoah. Folks in Georgia expect Sherman to try something, although they are not sure exactly what is about to do. Some Southerners resign themselves to Lincoln’s reelection with the hope that he will agree to peace and cease his embrace of the abolition of slavery. Election day comes, crowds turn out to vote, and plenty of soldiers vote for Lincoln.

Federal troops operating in the Shenandoah Valley

Federal troops operating in the Shenandoah Valley

November 5– Saturday– New Market, Virginia– “We have been such rovers this summer that I have been in the saddle more hours than in my office & now the Reports of the years operations are to be made out & the number of maps, plans of battles &c to be made is almost incredible, but I have gone at it with a will & intend to finish them within the year, if possible. Everything is quiet – we are drilling the army & getting it thoroughly reorganized & ready for any emergency or opportunity. The reserves & detailed men are coming in rapidly & being examined & assigned either to the army or light duty, as they are found capable or not. . . . I still think all ‘things work together for good’ to indicate a speedy conclusion of the war & if we are able to keep the enemy at bay, as heretofore, to the end of this campaign we shall not be troubled by them another year – I learn from a scout that the prevailing opinion at the ‘North’ is that the war will end this year. By the way, the Yankees down here say they are going back below Winchester as soon as the Election is over . . . . The Methodists are having ‘Big Meetings’ here & revivals – crowded houses day & night – the soldiers are near enough to come to meeting.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to Sara, his wife.

November 5– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and cold. Grant has attempted nothing this week, and it is probably too late for any demonstration to affect the election. I infer that the government is convinced President Lincoln will be re-elected, else some desperate effort would have been made in his behalf by his generals. Will he float on a sea of blood another four years? I doubt it. One side or the other must, I think, give up the contest. He can afford to break with the Abolitionists now. We cannot submit without the loss of everything. It is thought Grant will continue to ‘swing to the left,’ making a winter campaign on the coasts of North and South Carolina– mean time leaving Butler’s army here, always menacing Richmond.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

November 5– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “William, slave of Miss Sallie Tompkins, was charged with burglary. It seems that about 8 o’clock Thursday night, William went to the confectionery in rear of St. Paul’s church, belonging to Francis M. Bonavite, and staving in one of the window glasses, abstracted a jar of brandy peaches and ten pounds of chewing tobacco, and made off. An old gentleman who happened to be passing, saw the transaction and gave the alarm. Watchman Blake and another being close at hand, pursued the thief and captured him with the stolen goods in his hands. The Mayor sent the Negro on for trial.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

November 5– Saturday – Clay County, Mississippi– “Lou and I spent the day with Mrs. Hamilton, who is dangerously ill. Mrs. Willie Young came after Tea, and sat until bed time. Mrs. Tom Young, Lou and I sat up all night, sent two messages for Dr. Smith– got back until daylight. She was over the sick spell, and the Doctors pronounce her out of danger.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

November 5– Saturday– Fort Haskell, Virginia; Fort Morton, Virginia; Bloomfield, Kentucky; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Texas County, Missouri; Charleston, Missouri– Raids and firefights.Lincoln & a widow images

November 6– Sunday– near Middletown, Virginia– “The ground was covered with snow this morning and the mountains are white on their summits. Today I took a ride over to the camp of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry and saw several of my friends. It is very cold and the men hover over their fires.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 6– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Winter has come, and with it our sufferings have commenced. Every morning the ground is covered with thick white frost. For the past two or three days the wind has been blowing a perfect gale. There is no comfort at all standing round a fire built out of doors, which you know is the kind we have. Some of the soldiers have dug holes in the ground, and manage to keep themselves quite comfortable, if nothing calls them off. ‘Tis said we will soon receive large tents, I don’t believe it, tho we’ve been promised that too often. I believe we will have peace sooner by the election of Lincoln than by the election of McClellan. The former will fail to gain the support of the people & thereby cause a division, while the election of the latter will cause a uniting of the North, upon a new principle of conducting the war, and divide the South by offering peace upon a reconstruction of the Union. A great many would undoubtedly accede to such a proposition. So after all I’ve become a rabid Lincolnite, what do you think of it? I went to church in Petersburg this morning and listened to a most interesting sermon. I attended the Methodist church. There was quite a large congregation present. The church being in an exposed portion of the city and thereby subject to being struck by shells from the guns of the enemy, you would think it dangerous, at least imprudent for ladies to attend; but strange to say, it has so far been untouched. I attend almost every Sunday, when all is quiet along the lines.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

siege around Petersburg

siege around Petersburg

November 6– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– Federal authorities arrest several men accused of plotting an attack against the city and an effort to free Confederate prisoners held at Camp Douglas.

November 7– Monday– Plymouth, Michigan– “My foot is quite well so much so that one can not tell of my being hit there. Shortly after I came to the city again to be Mounted on a Horse & we layed [sic] in the Defenses of Washington the time the Rebels came to attack the City. Then I went up the Shenandoah Valley until the 24th day of August where I was Discharged. There was some very heavy fighting up there under Phil Sheridan & perhaps he has warmed the Johnnys since then. . . . Dear Uncle you gave me one of your Photographs & I shall always carry it with me in Remembrance of a Kind Friend & one who I have thought a good deal of. I hope that you will over look this neglect of mine in not writing you before this. This is rather bad writing any how & I am afraid you will bother yourself in reading what I have scribbled. My health is very good at present. Also the same I wish to you. My best wishes goes with this to you. ~ Letter from Reuben Farwell to Walt Whitman.

November 7– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Dark and raining. Cannon heard down the river. To-day our Congress assembles. Senator Johnson, of Missouri (who relinquished six years in United States Senate and $200,000 for the cause), called to see me. He is hopeful of success in the West.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

November 7– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Emmett Ruffin and Thomas S. Dodge were yesterday evening arrested, by officers Chalkley and Griffin, on 6th Street, near the Second Baptist Church, while with a good many other boys, they were engaged in a rock battle with some ‘basin cats.’ None of the ‘basin cats’ were arrested, as they fled to their fastnesses on the approach of the officers. This practice of throwing stones in the streets has become an intolerable public grievance. Every evening a crowd of boys collect on Navy Hill, and, with slings, stone every Negro that passes within two hundred yards of them. We expect to hear of some of the Negroes being killed, as even a very small boy can throw a stone from a sling with sufficient force to break the skull of a Negro.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

activity around Petersburg

activity around Petersburg

November 7– Monday– Pulaski, Tennessee– “I again write to you to let you know where we have got to by this time. We came to this place on Saturday. It has been raining ever since we left Louisville. We are camping out now in tents. We are doing very well. I have gained 9pounds since I left home. If I gain as much in proportion until my time is out I will be quite portly. We get plenty to eat here and have nothing to do. The probability is we will stay here all winter. I hope we will as it is a very good place to camp. There is quite an army here and it is still increasing. They are fortifying all around here. We are in a valley with large hills all around. There is nothing going on here, only army movements. Farming has played out in this part of the country. There is very good land here but it is of no use to anybody.” ~ Letter from Union soldier John Seibert to his wife Rachel.

November 8– Tuesday– New York City– “So this momentous day is over and the battle lost and won. We shall know more of the result tomorrow. Present signs are not unfavorable. Wet weather, which did not prevent a very heavy vote. I stood in queue nearly two hours waiting my turn.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 8– Tuesday– near Middletown, Virginia– “Today we have held an election for President under the law that allows soldiers to vote. Lincoln of course is the favorite with the soldiers. For three days it has rained and we have been under arms every morning at daylight waiting for the enemy to appear, but he does not show up.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Union soldiers vote on election day

Union soldiers vote on election day

November 8– Tuesday– New Market, Virginia– “We are off again tomorrow, I suppose, for ‘down the Valley’ again, as it is reported that the Yankees have left Cedar Creek & we must go to see where they have gone & keep watch of them that they do not slip off to Richmond & so bring an undue force against Masa Robert. We are all in a good humor at the idea, poor creatures that we are, we soon get tired of the quiet & monotony of ‘camp life’ & long for the ‘storm & bustle & hurricane of war.’ Heaven grant that we may meet with no disaster & that we may not have to fight another battle this fall & sadden many a hearthstone with the inevitable news. I was talking with Mr. Lacy today & he says he can but think as I do, that in the good Providence of God this year will end this long & cruel war. I do not see that any good can come to us from this Yankee election & yet I long to know how it has gone – to know if the majority of the people have approved the course of ‘Old Abe’ for the last four years & desire a continuance of the same. I do not think there will be a real election, so many have been sent from the army & from government employ to use the influence, patronage & means of corruption at their disposal that they will carry the election by fraud, if no other way. One of the Consuls of the ‘Hessian States’ from New York has been here for a few days – he left there three weeks ago – he says there are many Southern sympathizers there, but they are so closely watched that they do not dare to express their sentiments – he also says that the frauds practiced on foreigners to entrap them into service are almost beyond belief. I send you the paper today containing the President’s Message – he broaches some ‘new doctrines’ – the country is much divided in regard to the proper employment of the slaves – I think the soldiers are opposed to arming them – they want them used as wagoners &c but are unwilling to see arms put into their hands – the President handles the subject cautiously as though treading on uncertain ground. I wrote you that I was very busy, am really tired. I have been working so closely, & am glad to ride again & have field duty – then it has turned warmer today & the air is inviting – I suppose we shall now have ‘Indian Summer.’ . . . General Early has issued orders in regard to the keeping of the Sabbath, getting liquor &c which have had a fine effect; the men have been kept in camp & drilled most of the time, then so many have come back from hospitals &c and filled up our depleted ranks & so I might go on – ‘hopeful as usual’ you will say. ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

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