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

Retribution Shall as Surely Come~President Lincoln

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

Harper's Weekly cartoon depicts Confederate atrocities

Harper’s Weekly cartoon depicts Confederate atrocities

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

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

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

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

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

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

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

General Grant

General Grant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colored_Troops_eman_1_sm

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

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

soldiers of the 33rd U S Colored Troops

soldiers of the 33rd U S Colored Troops

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

The Cowardly and Inhuman Massacre

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

Colored_Troops_eman_1_sm 

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

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

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

 

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

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

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

 

Fort Pillow

Fort Pillow

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

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

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

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

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Anxiety on the Subject of Provisions ~ General Robert E Lee

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

illustration of Fort Pillow massacre two decades later

illustration of Fort Pillow massacre two decades later

 

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

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

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

 

Lillie Plummer Bliss

Lillie Plummer Bliss

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

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

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

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

 

Tsar Alexander II

Tsar Alexander II

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

 

General Grant

General Grant

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

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

 

General Lee

General Lee

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

 

Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

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

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

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

civil_war_nurse 

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Summer Campaign Will Soon Commence~Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery

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

womens fashions, spring, 1864

womens fashions, spring, 1864

 

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

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

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

 

Federal troops begin to move out

Federal troops begin to move out

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

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

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

 

Sebastian de Ferranti

Sebastian de Ferranti

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

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

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

 

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Oh, This Cruel War~Confederate soldier W R Stilwell

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

Benito Juarez, Mexican leader of resistance to the French

Benito Juarez, Mexican leader of resistance to the French

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

map of the Danish-German conflict

map of the Danish-German conflict

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

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

 

General James Longstreet

General James Longstreet

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

 

Lucretia Hart Clay beside her husband

Lucretia Hart Clay beside her husband

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

soldiers on the move

soldiers on the move

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

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

Human Bondage Has No Place~April 1864~4th to 6th

Human Bondage Has No Place ~ Senator Reverdy Johnson

A moderate senator from a border state gives a dramatic speech in support of the constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. President Lincoln responds to supporters, young and old, and carries out diplomacy with the Indian nations. President Davis calls for a national day of prayer and fasting. Soldiers and civilians such as Walt Whitman write home about those things which concern them. Hints of the industrial growth and the labor movement which will dominate much of the next fifty years can be seen by keen observers. Preliminary signs suggest that the New York City Metropolitan Fair for the Sanitary Commission will prosper.

patriotic cartoon depicting Lincoln as saving the Union

patriotic cartoon depicting Lincoln as saving the Union

 April 4– Monday– New York City– The Theatrical Workingmen’s Protective Association gives its first annual fancy dress ball at Irving Hall. The New York Times comments, “Numerous ladies and gentlemen connected with the various Theatres, were present during the evening, and by their presence, not only added to the brilliancy of the occasion, but also gave encouragement to the excellent objects of the Association. The arrangements were perfect, and nothing occurred to mar the pleasure of the evening. The Association is now in a very prosperous condition, its objects are good, and they have by this ball, added a handsome sum to their fund. They are a hard working class of men, never prominently brought to notice, and deserve the good will and support of the public.”

April 4– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I herewith lay before the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon, a treaty concluded June 9, 1863, between C. H. Hale, superintendent of Indian affairs, Charles Hutchins and S. D. Howe, Indian agents, on the part of the United States, and the chiefs, headmen, and delegates of the Nez Perce tribe of Indians in Washington Territory. A report of the Secretary of the Interior of the 1st instant, with a letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs of the 2nd ultimo, proposing amendments to the treaty, together with a report of Superintendent Hale on the subject and a synopsis of the proceedings of the council held with the Nez Perce Indians, are herewith transmitted for the consideration of the Senate.” ~ President Lincoln’s message to the Senate.

April 4– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “And now let any Union man who complains of the measure, test himself by writing down in one line that he is for subduing the rebellion by force of arms; and in the next, that he is for taking these hundred and thirty thousand men from the Union side, and placing them where they would be but for the measure he condemns. If he can not face his case so stated, it is only because he can not face the truth. . . . In telling this tale I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years struggle the nation’s condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Albert G Hodges.

April 4– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Heard an excellent discourse yesterday from Bishop Whipple. . . . Had a call from J. P. Hale respecting appointments. This man, so long a Senator, has no comprehensive or statesmanlike views. Would set aside legislative action and law because he thinks it operates hard on a lieutenant whom he knows.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

 

General Phil Sheridan

General Phil Sheridan

April 4– Monday– Washington, D.C.– General Philip Sheridan assumes command of the cavalry in the Union Army of the Potomac. [Sheridan, age 33, only 5' 5" tall, is an 1853 graduate of West Point.]

April 4– Monday– Orange County, Virginia– “The weather for the past week has been extremely bad and disagreeable, causing us to remain in our houses the greater part of the time; consequently there remained nothing for us to do, but to think, think of the loved ones far away. Day before yesterday morning, I arose from my feather bed all bustin with straw– to again see everything covered with, to us, the beautiful white of snow. But soon the rains came and it all melted away like beautiful frost work before a summer’s sun. It continued to rain throughout the entire day. Yesterday the sun shone out occasionally; but the broken clouds were flying across the heavens in almost every direction, and the wind blowing a perfect gale. As I anticipated, it is again raining, and I do feel so thankful; for the old proverb ‘more rain more rest’ is certainly true in our situation. So long as it continues bad weather we are sure to remain in our present quarters. I know it will not be long before we have to commence anew our marches; but I want to postpone the evil day as long as possible. We all look forward to the approaching campaign with great interest; for we are confident that if successful, twelve months from today, we can see a termination of hostilities between the North and South. All are confident of success, and await only the approach of Grant to show their renewed determination to be free. Don’t despond; but have a brave heart, and encourage the soldiers all you can, and I believe you will soon see a free and happy people.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee.

April 4– Monday– Jacksonville, Florida– “Joe was wounded a little in the head but he is well again and he is so big and fat you would hardly know him if you would see him. Jake is well and William was killed in the last battle we had . . . on the 20th of February. John Chambers and John Henry Carl was killed in the same battle.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Samuel Christy to his sister Mary Jane Demus.

April 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The petition of persons under eighteen, praying that I would free all slave children, and the heading of which petition it appears you wrote, was handed me a few days since by Senator Sumner. Please tell these little people I am very glad their young hearts are so full of just and generous sympathy, and that, while I have not the power to grant all they ask, I trust they will remember that God has, and that, as it seems, he wills to do it.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Mary Peabody Mann, widow of the educator and reformer Horace Mann.

 

Mary Peabody Mann

Mary Peabody Mann

April 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “That mighty horde which from time to time have gone from the Atlantic imbued with all the principles of human freedom which animated their fathers in running the perils of the mighty deep and seeking Liberty here are now there, and as they have said they will continue to say until time shall be no more. We mean that the Government in future shall be as it has been in the past, an example of human freedom for the light and example of the world, and illustrating in the blessings and the happiness it confers the truth of the principles incorporated into the Declaration of Independence, that life and liberty are man’s inalienable right. . . . it would be a disgrace to the nation if we could suffer those Africans whom we are now calling around our standard, and asking to aid us in restoring the Constitution and the power of the Government to its rightful authority, to be reduced to bondage again. Upon a question like that the heart gives the answer in advance of the intellect. . . . Why are the Holy Scriptures kept from [slave] hovels? Why? Can there be but one answer; that if they knew what knowledge imparts, if they knew what the gospel of our Savior inculcates, they would be freemen, or sooner or later die in the effort to obtain it? . . . I conclude with saying, not a truth which every Senator here does not feel as strongly as I feel, but with saying what is indelibly engraved upon my soul, that we owe it not only to ourselves and to those who are to follow us, but to humanity, to bring, this war to a successful result. All other considerations should, for a time, be forgotten. One single object should ever be before us– the restoration of the Union; and when it shall, be restored, as I trust in Providence it will be, and unquestionably as it can be, if the power of the Government is exerted as it may be, we shall be restored, I trust, with a Government, National and State, in which human bondage has no place, and when we shall be able to say to the world. ‘However late we were in carrying out the principles of our institutions, we have at last accomplished it. The Union is restored, and slavery is terminated.’” ~ Speech in the Senate by Senator Reverdy Johnson of Maryland, speaking in favor of a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. [Johnson, age 67, a lawyer who has served in the Maryland legislature and in Congress and opposed secession as treason, is seen as a moderate and has clashed with the radical Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts on numerous issues. His support of the amendment surprises conservatives and other moderates.]

Senator Reverdy Johnson

Senator Reverdy Johnson

 

April 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “We are having awful rainy weather here– it is raining to-day, steady & spiteful enough– the soldiers in camp are having the benefit of it, & the sick, many of them– there is a great deal of rheumatism & also throat diseases, & they are affected by the weather. I have writ to George again . . . . there are many very bad now in hospitals– so many of the soldiers are getting broke down after two years, or two & a half, exposure, & bad diet, pork, hard biscuit, bad water or none at all, &c &c so we have them brought up here. O it is terrible, & getting worse, worse, worse. I thought it was bad to see the wounded, but to see these I sometimes think is more pitiful still. Well, mother, I went to see the great spirit medium Foster, there were some little things some might call curious perhaps, but it is a shallow thing & a humbug– a gentleman who was with me was somewhat impressed, but I could not see any thing in it worth calling supernatural. I wouldn’t turn on my heel to go again & see such things, or twice as much– we had table rapping & lots of nonsense. I will give you particulars when I come home one of these days.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

April 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– George Pullman, age 33, an engineer and industrialist, patents a folding upper berth for a railroad sleeper car.

 

George Pullman

George Pullman

April 5– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Grant is as good a leader as we can find. He has honesty, simplicity of character, singleness of purpose, and no hope or claim to usurp civil power. His character, more than his genius, will reconcile armies and attach the people. Let him alone. Don’t disgust him by flattery or importunity. Let him alone. . . . As our enemy fills his ranks by conscription, ours dwindle by sickness and furloughs. I am laboring hard to put all on the rolls into position, and still harder to put forward the stores on which they must feed as we advance. The country through which we have marched is cleared of all subsistence and forage, and everything must be sent forward by [railroad] cars and wagons. It is estimated that there are now the carcasses of thirty thousand animals in the valley of the Tennessee. Not one cavalry soldier in ten has a horse, and on a recent visit to Schofield, out of forty-one thousand men who should have, I find but seven thousand in line of battle, but the furloughed men are returning and I will see that by May 1st I have on the Tennessee one of the best armies in the world. You may look to the causes of these apparent incongruities not in the army, but among our people. I shall be here about two weeks, and then to the front. Let me hear from you. I care no more for the squabbles about the Presidency than I do for the causes of the Schleswig-Holstein difficulty, and Grant cares still less.” ~ Letter from General William Tecumseh Sherman to his brother Senator John Sherman.

April 5– Tuesday– Elk River, Tennessee– “I must write short letters now as our summer’s work has begun. We are under marching orders and are getting ready as fast as possible, and yet we may not move for a month.” ~ Letter from Union officer Robert Cruikshank to his wife Mary.

 April 5– Tuesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– The Southern Recorder encourages everyone to participate in the “National Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer” on April 8th as requested by President Davis.

April 5– Tuesday– Natchitoches, Louisiana; Marks’ Mills, Arkansas; Quicksand Creek, Kentucky; near New Madrid, Missouri; Blount’s Creek, North Carolina; Whiteley’s Mills, Arkansas– Skirmishes and fire fights.

April 6– Wednesday– New York City– Caroline Matilda Stansbury Kirkland, age 63, dies in her sleep. She was an author, educator, advocate for female convicts and active in the Sanitary Commission. She published 11 books and a number of essays and short stories in her lifetime.

Caroline Kirkland

Caroline Kirkland

 

April 6– Wednesday– New York City– “Had to wait a long while in Fourteenth Street this morning while Ellie, the treasuress, was endorsing the pocketful of checks I carried down to the Bank of America. It was a pretty sight: the throng of well-dressed people, the showy decorations, the stalls or counters loaded with all sorts of things, and especially the shoals of nice women with their graceful, diagonal, broad blue ribbons . . . all working in such deadly earnest. . . . I have estimated the proceeds of the Metropolitan Fair as probably not far from $700,000. But there are bets on a million and a half, and all the indications of the last three days point toward something larger than I anticipated.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

 seal of Sanitary commission

Leave Military Matters to Us~April 1864~1st to 4th

Leave Military Matters to Us~General William Tecumseh Sherman.

April will be a hard and bitter month for some, a successful month for others. General Sherman snarls at a newspaper editor. The women in New York City handling the Sanitary Fair have to deal with incompetent and bossy men. Gideon Welles complains about party politics. Boston suffers a major destructive fire. The New York Times encourages immigration by skilled workers. Food shortages afflict soldiers and civilians in the Confederacy. Rebel soldiers are accused of using women as shields.

General William Tecumseh Sherman

General William Tecumseh Sherman

April– Boston, Massachusetts– This month’s issue of the Atlantic contains poems by John Greenleaf Whittier and James Russell Lowell, stories by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mary Abigail Dodge [under her nom deplume Gail Hamilton] and essays by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr and J T Trowbridge, among other items.

April 1– Friday– New York City– “During the fight at Paducah [Kentucky, on March 25th], the rebels took Mrs Hammond from the hospital and murdered her. Mrs Hamilton, Mrs Howard, Mrs Eagan and Mrs McChorg were also taken to the front, placed between the two fires, and kept there an hour. Their dresses were perforated with bullets. While the rebel flag of truce was moving forward, the rebels disposed their forces for action. Our men had ceased firing for fear that the women would be killed. A man has been arrested on the steamer Anderson, having in his possession the freshly-taken scalp of a white man, supposed to have belonged to one of our soldiers. Several persons have been arrested as spies. Among them are two women.” ~ New York Times.

April 1– Friday– New York City– “Dreary weather. . . . We are in collision with the ‘Gentlemen’s Committee of the Metropolitan Fair.’ They were appointed as auxiliaries to the ladies . . . . But they have seen fit to thwart, snub, insult, and override the ladies’ committee in the most disgusting, offensive, and low-bred way. Their general course has been snobbish and stupid. They have shown want of manners and of appreciation of the magnitude of the undertaking.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

New York Metropolitan Fair for the Sanitary Commission

New York Metropolitan Fair for the Sanitary Commission

April 1– Friday– New York City– “It is greatly to be regretted that there is not some organization, either governmental or private, on a scale sufficiently large, and composed of persons sufficiently prominent in character and standing to give it credit and influence abroad, to aid in promoting the immigration from Europe of skilled workers. We are receiving immense numbers of unskilled laborers, invaluable, no doubt, for agricultural and other purposes, but all branches of industry are suffering severely, and likely to suffer still more, from the want of mechanics and artisans. There are thousands of such, both in England and on the Continent, in a half-starving condition, who would be only too glad to get over here if they got a chance. The most desperate efforts are being made by the Secessionist Press, and persons working in the Secessionist interest, to prevent emigration to America, by the circulation of the grossest misrepresentations as to the condition of the country, and the effect of the war on the laboring classes.” ~ New York Times.

April 1– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “There was nothing of special interest to-day in the Cabinet. Stanton was not present, nor was Blair. Chase calls for largely additional taxes, which I have no doubt are necessary. There should have been heavier taxes the last two years,– at least double what have been collected. Undoubtedly demagogues will try to prevent this necessary measure for party ends, but I believe the good sense and intelligence of the people will prevail over the debasing abuse of party.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

April 1– Friday– 60 miles from Greenville, Tennessee– “It has been snowing all the time an the weather very cold an the roads was in the worst fix you ever saw. It has been mud and water to our knees nearly all the way. We are now in about one mile of the line of Virginia. My Dear we are getting almost nothing to eat now we draw what they call three days rations out at a time an then eat at one time an we then have to do without the remainder of those three days unless we steal it from a citizen which we do to keep from starving. Bread is the worst to get.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Richard Henry Brooks to his wife.

April 1– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– By this time Union military prisoners confined at Camp Sumter include residents of every state north and south, immigrants from many European countries, African Americans and Native Americans, all who served in the Union army.

Andersonville_Prison

April 1– Friday– Arkadelphia, Arkansas; Plymouth, North Carolina; Bloomfield, Missouri; St John’s River, Florida; Fitzhugh’s Woods, Arkansas– Skirmishes, raids and mayhem. Federal troops are on the move along the Pearl River in Louisiana and around Palatka, Florida.

April 1– Friday– Heiloo, Netherlands– Birth of Marie Jungius, advocate for women and children, who will become the first director of the National Bureau of Women’s Work and co-founder of the National Exhibition of Women’s Work in The Hague in 1898. [Dies December 22, 1908.]

Marie Jungius

Marie Jungius

April 2– Saturday– New York City– “If this fair be wound up without any memorable calamity and catastrophe, I shall be thankful. . . . . The war languishes. People naturally turn their thoughts therefore to questions of finance, taxation, and prices . . . . I believe General Grant is working in his new place . . . purging the Army of the Potomac of disaffected McClellanists in high command and bringing its morale into training for hard work in its next campaign against ‘Lee’s Miserables.’” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

April 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Ordered, That the Executive order of September 4, 1863, in relation to the exportation of live stock from the United States, be so extended as to prohibit the exportation of all classes of salted provisions from any part of the United States to any foreign port, except that meats cured, salted, or packed in any State or Territory bordering on the Pacific Ocean may be exported from any port of such State or Territory.” ~ Executive order signed by President Lincoln, in an effort to prevent blockade runners from acquiring such meat for the Confederacy in European markets.

 April 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln, and Mrs. Grant attend a performance of Faust at Grover’s Theatre.

April 2– Saturday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The papers also contain a message from Knoxville giving my movements, and gives a message from Parson Brownlow to the effect that the rebels will certainly invade Kentucky by Pound Gap. Tell Parson Brownlow that he must leave military matters to us, and that he must not chronicle my movements or those of any military body. If he confines his efforts to his own sphere of action he will do himself more credit and his country more good.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to Union General Schofield. [Brownlow publishes a newspaper in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sherman intensely dislikes him and all newspaper reporters.]

General Sherman on the front page of Harpers Weekly

General Sherman on the front page of Harpers Weekly

April 2– Saturday– Cleveland, Tennessee; Grossetete Bayou, Louisiana; Okolona, Arkansas; Cedar Creek, Florida; Crump’s Hill, Louisiana; Wolf Creek, Arkansas; Cape Lookout, North Carolina– Raids, fire fights, ambushes and melees.

April 3– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “I seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines may find you all in good health. We still picket along the Rapidan we has some very rough weather last month on the 22nd the snow fell about 11 inches deep here. We had a good deal of rain to boot on the 30th the Rapidan was very high it was level with the dam. . . . Furloughs have been out down one out of a hundred goes now. . . . All quiet along the Rapidan today . . . . write soon.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Adam W Kersh to his brother George P Kersh.

April 3– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “You are a witch to guess at my wants sure, for the ham of meat and $10.00 was the very thing I was needing and I am glad to get them. Also the gloves, suspenders, patches and thread and tobacco, all of which I received safely and now return my thanks to you for them. . . . The things you sent are much the best and I treasure them because they came from you. My health is excellent at this time and I am getting on finely. . . . Write soon and write me a long letter all about my boy and everything of the kind.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

April 3– Sunday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “I spent the morning in Father’s big chair, reading. I read the book of Romans, Father returned but had no news. We have not heard from Forrest since he crossed the Cumberland at Eddyville. God grant us success throughout the State, and return my Brother safe to us once again. I spent the morning alone . . . why do I thus complain. A hard storm of rain and wind is raging. Laura learning her lesson. Bettie did not come tonight. Father of mercy give me hope, brighten my life, oh! give me a companion, or my mind is lost. Thy will, not mine oh! Lord be done.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

April 3– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “By economizing the pig lasted us eight days. Now we are again without meat and on short allowance. Last night Mr. Fisher caught in a trap rice birds enough for supper. They are very small and without butter or pork to season are not very rich eating, but everything eatable is worth saving. The pigs are all poor and slab sided, look half starved. They cannot fatten on rough rice, it is miserable food, the horses refuse it. . . . [Home] fills my waking thoughts, a snug comfortable kitchen (a thing unknown here) freedom from fleas and thousands of poisonous insects, good inviting food, such as we had been accustomed to having until this war broke out– and freedom– sweet freedom.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 3– Sunday– Grand Ecore, Louisiana; Raleigh, Tennessee; Clinton, Mississippi; Ducktown Road, Georgia; Elkin’s Ferry, Missouri; Clarksville, Arkansas; Cypress Swamp, Tennessee– Affairs, brawls, wrangling and clash of arms.

April 4– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Last night, about 12 o’clock, fire was discovered in a closet under the second flight of stairs in the Masonic Fraternity’s Building on the corner of Tremont and Boylston streets. The building was a mammoth brick structure, composed of six stories, three of which were occupied as the Winthrop House, and the upper three as Freemason Halls. Shortly after the first alarm was given, the Fire Department was on hand and began operations, but the great height of the building prevented the efficient work which otherwise would have stopped the conflagration at the outset. Owing to these obstacles the fire soon attained great headway, and raged with exceeding fierceness. The upper part of the building was soon one lurid mass of flame, and a second alarm was sounded a little before 1 o’clock. . . . It is estimated that $100,000 will not cover the losses to the masonic order in furniture and paintings alone. The building, for which they originally paid $106,000, had been so improved as to make its value $156,000, a large portion of which is insured. The fire raged with unabated fierceness from 12 o’clock till 3 o’clock this morning. The roof fell in shortly after 1 o’clock, and the floors of the three upper stories fell within two hours. During this period about half of the highest wall on Boylston-street fell into the street with a tremendous crash, filling up the avenue and projecting bricks through the windows on the opposite side.” ~ Boston Transcript. [The $156,000 value would equal $2.35 million today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

April 4– Monday– New York City– “Went at ten A.M. to the fair buildings in Fourteenth Street and spent a couple of hours there. The spectacle was interesting but fatiguing to the spectator. A vast crowd of well–dressed men and women– our ‘best people’– were working their fingers to the bone, arranging and sorting material, directing decorative operations, receiving, acknowledging, unpacking, and distributing to their appropriate departments contributions from the four quarters of the earth. It was the busiest human ant-hill I ever saw. . . . The ceremony of ‘inaugurating’ the fair went off well. . . . The he-committee is made up of louts and cubs and of a powerless minority of decent, well-bred men. . . . [No] place was assigned to the ladies of the executive committee, to their intense mortification. Mrs Astor, Mrs Belmont, Ellie [his wife], Mrs Lane, and others were almost tearful about it; while that indomitable Mrs John Sherwood and that iron-clad little Miss Catherine Nash . . . were not in the least tearful but rather tended toward grimness.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Most Terrible of All Wars, a Civil One~March 1864~28th to 31st

Most Terrible of All Wars, a Civil One ~ Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles reflects upon the challenges faced by the Lincoln Administration. Whitman mourns the death of a young, unidentified soldier. The South brags of its capabilities while enduring all manner of shortages. Soldiers think about God while plenty of skirmishing foretells worse fighting to come. Election year politics are underway. Mexicans defeat a French force. The world continues to turn.

March 28– Monday– Copenhagen, Denmark– Princess Louise Charlotte of the Danish royal family dies at age 74.

March 29– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mr. Charles B Stuart, consulting engineer, appointed such by me upon invitation of the governor of New York, according to a law of that State, has made a report upon the proposed improvements to pass gunboats from tide water to the northern and northwestern lakes, which report is herewith respectfully submitted for your consideration.” ~ Message to Congress from President Lincoln.

March 29– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The poor boy was dead– they took him into the ward, & the doctor came immediately, but it was all of no use– the worst of it is too that he is entirely unknown– there was nothing on his clothes, or any one with him, to identify him& he is altogether unknown. Mother, it is enough to rack one’s heart, such things– very likely his folks will never know in the world what has become of him– poor, poor child, for he appeared as though he could be but 18. I feel lately as though I must have some intermission, I feel well & hearty enough, & was never better, but my feelings are kept in a painful condition a great part of the time– things get worse & worse, as to the amount & sufferings of the sick, & as I have said before, those who have to do with them are getting more & more callous & indifferent. Mother, when I see the common soldiers, whatthey go through, & how every body seems to try to pick upon them, & what humbug there is over them every how, even the dying soldier’s money stolen from his body by some scoundrel attendant, or from some sick ones, even from under his head, which is a common thing & then the agony I see every day, I get almost frightened at the world. Mother, I will try to write more cheerfully next time– but I see so much– well, good bye for present, dear Mother.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

March 29– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Augustus Syncoe, the detective who was sent to the penitentiary for shooting Emma Thompson, has been pardoned by Governor Smith. Sending the worst criminals to the penitentiary now-a-days is little more than a farce. The shooting of this woman, by this man, was one of the most outrageous crimes ever perpetrated in any Christian community.” ~ Richmond Whig.

March 29– Tuesday– Columbus, Georgia– Factories here are “capable of turning out one thousand pairs of socks per week. . . . The character of their work is very superior, and reflects upon their skill and pains the utmost credit. Three of their machines are keep constantly running on soldiers’ work. One machine is engaged in knitting for children, or rather youths. One is engaged exclusively on ladies stockings, and turns off as good and handsome work as the most fastidious could wish, especially when the yarn in fine and well prepared. The yarn mostly used for soldiers’ wear is prepared by the Eagle factory, though they work up a considerable amount prepared by private hands.” ~ Article sent to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

March 29– Tuesday– Monett’s Ferry, Louisiana; Roseville, Arkansas; Caperton’s Ferry, Alabama; Long View, Arkansas; Cloutierville, Louisiana; Arkadelphia, Arkansas– Fire fights, raids, small battles. Also, Federal troops are on the move from Lookout Valley, Tennessee to Deer Head Cove, Georgia and in the area of Bellefonte, Arkansas.

March 29– Tuesday– London, England– Great Britain restores control of the Ionian Islands to Greece.

painting by Paul Ranson

painting by Paul Ranson

March 29– Tuesday– Limoges, France– Birth of Paul Ranson, painter and writer. [Dies February 20, 1909].

March 30– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “A severe storm last night and to-day. Mrs. Welles had arranged for a party this evening. The rain ceased about sundown. The evening passed off pleasantly. A large and choice company and many celebrities. Secretary Seward fell in with Mr. Carpenter, the artist in the parlor. Carpenter is getting out a large painting of the President and the Cabinet at the time the Emancipation Proclamation was under consideration. The President and Cabinet have given him several sittings, and the picture is well under weigh. . . . . Nearly sixty years of peace had unfitted us for any war, but the most terrible of all wars, a civil one, was upon us, and it had to be met. Congress had adjourned without making any provision for the storm, though aware it was at hand and soon to burst upon the country. A new Administration, scarcely acquainted with each other, and differing essentially in the past, was compelled to act, promptly and decisively.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [Mrs Welles is Mary Jane Hale Welles of Lewistown, Pennsylvania, who at this time has been married to Gideon for almost 29 years and bore him nine children.]

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

March 30– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The only arrivals of prisoners now are from Mosby and McNeal’s ever active commands. Preparations are making in Richmond, Andersonville, South Carolina, and elsewhere, for the reception and holding of an increased number of prisoners during the ensuing summer. All the sick in the hospitals here, about eight hundred, will probably be sent Northward by the next flag-of-truce.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

March 30– Wednesday– Milwaukee, Wisconsin– The Union State Convention endorses Lincoln for reelection.

alexander_gardner_-_abraham_lincoln-1

March 30– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “Mr John H. Colt has presented us with a bottle of blackberry wine, in which he used sorghum syrup instead of sugar. The syrup should be used according to taste; but care should be taken that the wine is not made too sweet. Probably a safe rule would be to use the same quantity by weight as of sugar. The sample before us is fully equal, if not superior, to any we have ever tasted. This is a valuable discovery; as nothing is more useful in certain cases of sickness, than blackberry wine, and its manufacture has almost entirely ceased, on account of the scarcity of sugar. Mr Colt deserves the thanks of the public for the prompt manner in which he has made the discovery known.” ~ The Southern Banner.

March 30– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– General Howell Cobb takes command of the Reserve Corps of Georgia, which, among other duties, provides the guards at Camp Sumter near Andersonville. This force is composed mainly of boys under the age of seventeen and men over fifty; some of the boys are so small they can barely see over the prison walls from the guard towers.

Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison

March 30– Wednesday– Camden County, Georgia– “Mr Fisher went over to Major Bailey’s today to consult about getting a passport. This seems the most difficult part of all. I have but little faith in getting one and it will make a heavy expense to go to Savannah– probably cost a $100.00. Sybil seems to be getting in a bad way. Her whole body swells badly and has a good deal of pain. If she is no better we shall be unwilling to leave her. We have been obliged to kill a pig. Poor and tough, hardly fat enough to fry itself.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

March 30– Wednesday– Greenton, Missouri; Mount Elba, Arkansas; Cherry Grove, Virginia; Snyder’s Bluff, Mississippi; Big Creek, Arkansas– Skirmishes, little affairs, raids and surprise attacks. Federals troops are reconnoitering around Woodville, Alabama and Columbus, Kentucky.

March 31– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, I have been in the midst of suffering & death for two months worse than ever– the only comfort is that I have been the cause of some beams of sunshine upon their suffering & gloomy souls & bodies too– many of the dying I have been with too. Well, mother, you must not worry about the grocery bill &c, though I suppose you will say that is easier said than followed. (As to me I believe I worry about worldly things less than ever, if that is possible). Tell Jeff & Mat I send them my love. General Grant has just come in town from front– the country here is all mud again. I am going to a spiritualist medium this evening, I expect it will be a humbug of course, I will tell you next letter. Dear mother, keep a good heart.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

March 31– Thursday– near Stephensburg, Virginia– “My desire is to do my duty and live in such a way as to make Heaven my home when I come to cross the cold Jordan of Death. My prayer and sincere desire is that-if we never meet on Earth, that God will help us to meet in Heaven where there will be no War or no parting then. Take care of your health and if it is God’s will– we will soon be permitted to meet each other.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

March 31– Thursday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I have the honor herewith to inclose you a list of the families fed by the U. S. Commissary at this post, whose natural supporters are now serving in the armies of the Confederate States, and fighting against the Government which is saving them from starvation. My object in so doing is to propose that you receive these families and provide for them, as they have no claims upon the United States but those prompted by considerations of humanity. Their friends and their sympathies are all with you and your cause, and I cannot but think that your own sense of justice will agree with me that it is your duty to receive these people within your lines and provide for their necessities.” ~ Message from Union General George Thomas to Confederate General Joseph Johnston.

Union General George Thomas

Union General George Thomas

March 31– Thursday– Natchitoches, Louisiana; Arkadelphia, Arkansas; Palatka, Florida; Forks of Beaver, Kentucky; Spring Island, South Carolina– Skirmishing, gun battles and assorted mayhem.

 March 31– Thursday– Mazatlan, Mexico– In the climax of four days of fighting, Mexican forces defeat the French.

General Grant Is All the Rage~March 1864~26th to 28th

General Grant Is All the Rage ~ Senator John Sherman

Expectations are high around General Grant. President Lincoln clarifies his amnesty proposal. Furloughs before spring campaigns concern soldiers and civilians on both sides. In Richmond authorities display Ulric Dahlgren’s artificial leg. Andersonville prison receives its commandant. Food shortages are felt throughout the Confederacy.

a soldiers' ball

a soldiers’ ball

March 26– Saturday– Moundsville, West Virginia– “Notwithstanding the inclement weather, this may truly be denominated one of Moundsville’s ‘gay and festive’ days, and as such will doubtless long be remembered by many of the citizens. Without the usual publicity attending such proceedings, the good people of the town and neighboring townships . . . in a quiet and well attended meeting, determined to prepare a dinner for the soldiers, and fearful that expiring furloughs would deprive many of the braves from participating at a later date, they fixed upon to-day for the entertainment. From early dawn until late in the afternoon furloughed soldiers and citizens poured into town. At half past twelve the steamer Express with a large representation of the 7th and 4th W. Va. Infantry under immediate charge of Captain Fisher, of the 7th touched the wharf.” ~ Letter to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

March 26– Saturday– Washington, D. C.– “Persons who [are] . . . prisoners of war, or persons detained for offenses of any kind, either before or after conviction . . . [are] excluded from the amnesty offered in the said proclamation [and] may apply to the President for clemency, like all other offenders, and their applications will receive due consideration. I do further declare and proclaim that the oath prescribed in the aforesaid proclamation of the 8th of December, 1863, may be taken and subscribed before any commissioned officer, civil, military, or naval, in the service of the United States or any civil or military officer of a State or Territory not in insurrection who by the laws thereof may be qualified for administering oaths. All officers who receive such oaths are hereby authorized to give certificates thereon to the persons respectively by whom they are made, and such officers are hereby required to transmit the original records of such oaths at as early a day as may be convenient to the Department of State, where they will be deposited and remain in the archives of the Government. The Secretary of State will keep a register thereof, and will on application, in proper cases, issue certificates of such records in the customary form of official certificates.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln to clarify his amnesty offer of last December.

March 26– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I have recently met with several officers who have been with you, among others General Grant and General Butterfield. General Grant is all the rage; he is subjected to the disgusting but dangerous process of being lionized. He is followed by crowds and is cheered everywhere. While he must despise the fickle fools who run after him, he, like most others, may be spoiled by this excess of flattery. He may be so elated as to forget the uncertain tenure upon which he holds and stakes his really well-earned laurels. I conversed with him but little, as I did not wish either to occupy his time or to be considered his flatterer. The opinion I form of him from his appearance is this, his will and common-sense are the strongest features of his character. He is plain and modest, and so far bears himself well. . . . You are now in a position where any act of yours will command public attention. You will be unduly lauded and sharply abused. I hope you have seen enough of the base motives that dictate praise and blame to disregard both, but preserve the best of your judgment in utter disregard of flattery or clamor.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman.

March 26– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “The crutch of the piratical Yankee, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, was left at the counting room of this paper yesterday, where it may be seen by the curious. It is pronounced by judges of such work a model of its kind, uniting as it does great simplicity of construction with great ease and comfort to the wearer. Our crutch makers should call and see it.” ~ Richmond Whig. [The "crutch" referred to is Dahlgren’s artificial right leg.]

Ulric Dahlgren

Ulric Dahlgren

March 27– Sunday– Army of Northern Virginia headquarters, Virginia– “I and Lieutenant Amason went over the river and had a few rounds with Some very nice ladies, and while we were over there we heard of a wedding, which came off that morning and they were going to have a frolic that night so we came back and got Sargent Parker and here we went through the Snow about a mile and a half and we arrived at the place (Mr Daughtry’s) and the house was crowded with young ladies, but I never Saw as ugly a Set in my life, they were so ugly the flies will not light on them, and I never heard Such Singing in my life. I have head Something Similar, though better, in our Negro kitchens down South, though we passed off the time very well, we made them believe that we had never Seen anything like it, and Sure enough we never. If nothing happens I will go to a party tomorrow night where there is Some pretty girls and a little more like they are in Georgia, but none of them Suit me near so well as the Georgia girls. Some of the boys Say if they get to go back to Georgia, they are going to carry a wife with them from Virginia, but if the war was to last 20 years, and I had to Stay in Virginia all the time, I would never marry a Virginia lady, unless I could find one that Suited me much better than any I have ever come across yet, and I think I have Seen about as good as the State affords.~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his family in Georgia.

March 27– Sunday– Greeneville, Tennessee– “The troops in this department are living on half ration of meat and bread, without any good reason to hope for better prospects. Our animals are in the same condition, with the hope of getting grass in a month more. Supplies seem to be about as scarce all over the Confederacy. It seems a necessity, therefore, that we should advance, and this route seems to offer more ready and complete relief than any other. If we had an abundance of supplies it seems to me that we should go into Kentucky as a political move. . . . The enemy will be more or less demoralized and dishearten by the great loss of territory which he will sustain, and he will find great difficulty in getting men enough to operate with before the elections in the fall, when in all probability Lincoln will be defeated and peace will follow in the spring. The political opponents of Mr. Lincoln can furnish no reason at this late day against the war so long as it is successful with him, and thus far it has certainly been as successful as any one could reasonably expect. If however, his opponents were to find at the end of three years that we held Kentucky and were as well to do as at the beginning of the war, it would be a powerful argument against Lincoln and against the war. Lincoln’s re-election seems to depend upon the result of your efforts during the present year. If he is reelected, the war must continue, and I see no way of defeating his re-enlisted except by military success.” ~ Report from Confederate General James Longstreet.

General James Longstreet

General James Longstreet

March 27– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– Captain Henry Wirz, age 40, originally from Switzerland and a Confederate combat veteran from Louisiana, takes charge as prison commandant, the officer directly in charge of the inmates. Wirz had been severely wounded in the right shoulder at the Battle of Seven Pines, Virginia, in the spring of 1862. [Wirz will be hanged by Federal authorities in Washington, D.C. on November 10, 1865 for numerous alleged atrocities against Union prisoners.]

Henry Wirz

Henry Wirz

March 28– Monday– Charleston, Illinois– A mob of about 100 Southern sympathizers attack Union soldiers relaxing on furlough. Other soldiers come the aid of their comrades and restore order. By day’s end, 5 people are dead and more than 20 wounded.

March 28– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The Governor of Kentucky is here, and desires to have the following points definitely fixed: First. That the quotas of troops furnished, and to be furnished, by Kentucky may be adjusted upon the basis as actually reduced by able-bodied men of hers having gone into the rebel service; and that she be required to furnish no more than her just quotas upon fair adjustment upon such basis. Second. To whatever extent the enlistment and drafting, one or both, of colored troops may be found necessary within the State, it may be conducted within the law of Congress; and, so far as practicable, free from collateral embarrassments, disorders, and provocations. I think these requests of the Governor are reasonable; and I shall be obliged if you will give him a full hearing, and do the best you can to effect these objects.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

March 28– Monday– Mitchel’s Station, Virginia– “Our Regiment– the 108th Pennsylvania Volunteers – expects to be home in a few days. . . . . It is now a little over two years since we left Harrisburg for Washington about nine hundred strong. We can return with something over two hundred, all told. With few expectations, nearly all have reenlisted as Veteran Volunteers. . . . . Where are all those buoyant souls that left Harrisburg March 8th ,1862? I can only say– let the battles from Cedar Mountain to the Three Days’ fight at Gettysburg furnish the reply. Our Regiment has indeed seen active service. . . . . We have established a bright record in the service of our country, and I hope the historians will do us justice. I could write a volume, but I must be brief. . . . . I will close by adding, the boys are all well, and as we expect soon to be home, I will give you a greater detail of our doings.” ~ E. D. R., a Union soldier from Pennsylvania.

March 28– Monday– near Stephensburg, Virginia– “This morning I seat myself to inform you that I am well at this time. Hoping that these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessings of health. It is middling pleasant here this morning. The snow that had fell on the 22nd is all gone. It was about 1 foot in depth. . . . . Now, I will say that I can’t promise about writing very regular as we will soon begin to move about some but I write as often as I can conveniently. I have not particulars to write at this time more than I am still trying by The Grace of God to follow the meek and lowly Lamb. Let come what will, trusting that if I never meet any of you on earth, I will meet you at the right hand of God in Heaven. Write soon. Take good care of your health. . . . . We expect to be paid soon. Then I will send you all the money that I will have to spare. . . . . I am still living in hope of seeing you all again e’re long.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

slaves continue to escape to Union lines

slaves continue to escape to Union lines

March 28– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “On Saturday . . . about one o’clock, while some empty cars on the Fredericksburg railroad were being backed down the track on Broad street, between 6th and 7th street, a youth named Joseph Rowe, fifteen years of age, attempted to jump on the foremost car by catching hold of the coupling iron. . . . . he was thrown across the track . . . . Death was, of course, instantaneous. . . . . This is not by many the first accident we have had to record as happening on the railroad on Broad street, nor will it be the last, unless some action is taken in the matter by the City Council. The railroad company do all they can, but are unable to prevent crowds of boys from riding and playing about their trains. The council should make it a penal offence, and direct the police to arrest every boy caught in or upon, or in the act of getting upon any railroad car without permission from the proper authorities.” ~ Richmond Whig.

March 28– Monday– Camden County, Georgia– “Today I am fifty years old. Half a century! I feel mute with amazement. Time, how short! and what a life?” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

Not Doing Any Thing of Much Importance~March 1859~21st to 31st

Not Doing Any Thing of Much Importance~ James Johnston

The last part of March gives no hint of the troubles coming before the end of the year nor of the tumult of Civil War coming soon.

Abraham Lincoln, Attorney-at-law

Abraham Lincoln, Attorney-at-law

March 21– Monday– Franklin County, Pennsylvania– “Many of my old friends are dead, and I am not inclined to forget the few, who remain. I believe that there is sympathy between you and me, and I am more inclined to cultivate it than to allow it to fall into nothing. I am not doing any thing of much importance, and have not for some time. I tried through a friend to get a situation in the Cincinnati, or St. Louis press, but he tried in vain, for all situations are filled. I am not very anxious to leave Penna, but I owe some money, and I am excessively anxious to pay my debts. I will help upon the farm during the Spring & Summer, and in the fall will, perhaps, try my hand at teaching a school. This will be a new business to me, and I detest the idea of it, but necessitas non habet legem. I mention these things, because you inquire what I am doing. I am doing no harm, and am doing no good. My existence for some time past has been that of indifference and nonchalance. My vessel is high & dry in a sand-bank, & I lack the levers to put her afloat.” ~ Letter from James Johnston to Edward McPherson.

March 21– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Zoological Society of Philadelphia incorporates the Philadelphia Zoological Garden, the first zoo in the United States. [The Philadelphia Zoo will not open to the public until July 1, 1874.]

March 21– Monday– Charleston, South Carolina– “Black republicanism opposes the acquisition [of Cuba] because it may strengthen slavery, however desirable in other respects. . . . . Let the people of the South understand their position.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

March 22– Tuesday– Quito, Ecuador– The city is struck by a massive earthquake this morning. In less than 90 seconds, the majority of buildings are leveled and at least 5000 people are reported to have died.

March 22– Tuesday– London, England– Once again a bill that would overturn the ban in British law against a man marrying his dead wife’s sister is defeated 39 to 49 in the House of Lords. This time, the bill had passed the House of Commons rather easily. However, the Anglican bishops who are voting members of the House of Lords argue that such a marriage is prohibited by the law of Moses. [This marriage prohibition will not be lifted in Britain until 1907.]

March 22– Tuesday– Paris, France– A French newspaper reports that Russia has proposed a Great Power conference designed to cool the warlike preparations of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and the Austrian Empire and that France is willing to participate in such a conference. [In fact, Napoleon III has already secretly agreed to help the Italians against Austria when the anticipated war which he has helped to cause actually erupts.]

March 22– Tuesday– dateline: Berlin, Germany– Today’s New York Times reports that last month at the observance of George Washington’s birthday at the American Embassy two elderly Germans who both knew Washington– Senator Adami from Bremen and Baron von Humboldt– joined the festive dinner.

March 23– Wednesday– Savannah, Georgia– A group of Africans illegally imported as slaves and found by U S officials are set free. “The Negroes disliked very much to leave, as they had been treated very kindly by the [local] citizens.” ~ Savannah Republican.

March 23– Wednesday– Montreal, Quebec, Canada– Jacob De Witt, banker, businessman and political activist, dies at age 73.

March 24– Thursday– New York City– In response to a Mr King of Canada who has urged that the parts of the province of Ontario formerly know as “Upper Canada” should join the United States, today’s New York Times says “we must say we think we are better as we are.”

March 24– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– New York Congressman Daniel Sickles surrendered immediately to authorities after he shot and killed U.S. District Attorney Philip Barton Key after Sickles’ wife made a confession of her protracted adultery with Key. Sickles has been held in prison awaiting indictment and trial. Today the Grand Jury in the capital indicts him for murder and sets his trial to begin April 4th, eleven days from now.

Sickles murders Key

Sickles murders Key

March 26– Saturday– Logan County, Illinois– “I would really be pleased with a publication substantially as you propose. But I would suggest a few variations from your plan. I would not include the Republican platform; because that would give the work a one-sided & party cast, unless the democratic platform was also included. I would not take all the speeches from the Press & Tribune; but I would take mine from that paper; and those of Judge Douglas from the Chicago Times. This would represent each of us, as reported by his own friends, and thus be mutual, and fair. I would take the speeches alone; rigidly excluding all comments of the newspapers. I would include the correspondence between Judge Douglas and myself which led to the joint discussions. I would call the thing Illinois political canvass of 1858 and, as falling within the title, I would select and include half a dozen of the National Democratic speeches.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to William Ross regarding a book of the speeches in the Lincoln–Douglas debates.

March 26– Saturday– Bromsgrove, England– Birth of Alfred Edward Housman, poet. [He will die April 30, 1936.]

A E Housman

A E Housman

March 26– Saturday– Orgeres-en-Beauce, France– In his amateur observatory seventy miles from Paris, Edmond Modeste Lescarbault, a French physician, age 45, observes a small dark body transit the sun. [Leading French astronomer Urbain Le Ferrier will double check Lescarbault’s calculations and on January 2, 1860 will announce the discovery of the planet Vulcan, a body between Mercury and the sun, whose existence had been hypothesized for decades. Dr Lescarbault will become a member of France’s Legion of Honor. Later, twentieth century science will prove conclusively that Vulcan does not exist but it will remain in literature as a convenient fictional planet, including its role as the home planet of the Star Trek character Mr Spock.]

March 27– Sunday– Vera Cruz, Mexico– Having met determined resistence, the military forces under General Miguel Miramon withdraw from the area.

March 28– Monday– Springfield, Illinois– “Your kind note inviting me to deliver a lecture at Galesburg is received. I regret to say I cannot do so now; I must stick to the courts awhile. I read a sort of lecture to three different audiences during the last month and this; but I did so under circumstances which made it a waste of no time whatever.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Mr W M Morris.

March 28– Monday– Hamburg, Germany– Johannes Brahms’ First Serenade for Orchestra in D Major receives its premier performance. [He will continue to work on the piece, revising it into his Serenade for Large Orchestra, which he will publish in December, 1860.]

Johannes Brahams

Johannes Brahams

March 29– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Cochituate Aqueduct, completed in 1848, brought up to eighteen million gallons of water a day from Lake Cochituate into the city, serving as the city’s first general water supply. Today the aqueduct suffers a breach at Lower Newton where it crosses the Charles River over a brick bridge. The cascade of water creates a gouge in the surrounding landscape sixty feet wide, eighty feet deep, and two hundred feet long before it can be brought under control. [The break will be repaired within a matter of days and the Aqueduct will serve Boston until 1951.]

March 29– Tuesday– Cambridge, Massachusetts– “The parting with my old church in Federal Street was a sad funeral to me. I was much overcome, as the past swept over me in a tide, and I thought of my mother as I remembered her, sitting upon the very spot in the pew I occupied, with the gentle refinement of her features, her rose-shell complexion, and eyes full of holiest thoughts, her admiration of Dr [William Ellery] Channing [1780-1842; Unitarian minister & theologian], though herself an unyielding Calvinist, and her willingness to listen to his ministry many years; then of him I had a vision as he sat at the side of the pulpit, with his earnest, penetrating eyes, and hair swept forehead, and the inspired fervor of his discourse, making the soul seem so out of proportion to the frail body-then his tender, touching eloquence to us children at the pulpit-foot, when we listened to him as to an angel all this broke me completely down.” ~ Letter from Frances Appleton Longfellow [1817-1861] to a friend. [An artist, Frances is the second wife of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whom she married in 1843 and bore him six children between 1844 and 1855.]

March 29– Tuesday– San Francisco, California– “Occasionally paragraphs are copied from the English papers, stating that such and such a person has been ‘outlawed.’ Bearing in mind the famous outlaw bold Rob Roy, who is said by the poet to have been as excellent a thief as Robin Hood, many persons believe that outlawry is the penalty of crime. Such, however, is not the case. It is merely the consequence of avoiding suit in civil matters, and many men who take refuge in . . . New York, when London has become ‘hot,’ and who refuse to answer the sweet call of the crier of the Bankruptcy Court, are at once declared ‘outlaws.’” ~ San Francisco Evening Bulletin.

March 29– Tuesday– London, England– James Stark, English landscape painter, dies at age 64.

March 29– Tuesday– Wurttemberg, Germany– Birth of Oscar Mayer. As a youngster he will emigrate to the United States and eventually found the food company which bears his name. [Dies March 11, 1955.]

Oscar Mayer

Oscar Mayer

March 30– Wednesday– Provo, Utah– Federal Judge John Cradlebaugh had opened a session of federal court on March 8th to pursue indictments against the Mormon men implicated in the Mountain Meadows Massacre sixteen months before. Since there were none of the usual court or jail facilities available, Cradlebaugh requested federal troops to secure and protect the proceedings. This brought protests from the Mormon mayor of the town and Governor Albert Cumming was prevailed upon to ask the regional commander, General Albert Sidney Johnston, to withdraw his men. When General Johnston cited the judicial request and refused, Governor Cumming stood on his position as territorial governor with the authority to order the removal. Today the judge denounces the Governor’s order in court. [Despite this the troops will be returned to their regular units a few days from now.]

March 31– Thursday– Fayetteville, North Carolina– An advertisement in the Fayetteville Observer encourages the widows of soldiers who died in the war with Mexico or the War of 1812 to contact a Mr J. M. Rose, agent for pensions, as “Congress [has] made additional provision. Give me the management of your claims and the money shall come at once or no charge.”

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