A Word to Readers

Clio the Muse of History

Clio the Muse of History

Dear readers, just a note to say that Clio will be dealing with a family medical situation for a few days. But don’t go away too far. Posts will resume before the end of the month.

And remember, “A page of history is worth a volume of logic.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Be well & be blessed.

Clio

Clio

 

 

Fort McAllister Taken ~ December 1864 ~ 11th to 14th

Fort McAllister Taken ~ William Tecumseh Sherman.

Signal station at Fort McAllister

Signal station at Fort McAllister

Federal forces take Fort Mc Allister outside Savannah, Georgia and the city lies open for siege or assault. The siege of Petersburg drags on and on. Nashville is ready for a major confrontation. Canada wins no friends in the North as a Canadian court releases the Confederate raiders who attacked St Albans, strengthening anti-British sentiment in some quarters.

December 11– Sunday– Montgomery, Alabama– “It is impossible to describe the delight and apparent rapture with which our presence caused the fair Florentines. Ladies lined the streets [of Florence, Alabama] in every direction, beautiful in the excitement of agreeable surprise, cheering the army with tender words and gentle looks, clasping husbands, brothers, sons, in a gush of joy and love. Never was there a time of more real enjoyment. The tired army grew sprightly and buoyant under the patriotic impression, and there was not a soldier there who did not inwardly feel a pride in lifting such a people from the humiliation of Yankee presence. After passing through the city we come to a halt near the outskirts, threw up breastworks and here, pleasantly encamped, we have remained for the past week. All is life, gaiety and festivity in our little city now. A few nights ago the officers of Lee corps gave an entertainment in the college. It was singular to notice the friendship that existed between Mars and Cupid, as, side by side, they swept the floor of the building with fantastic feet.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to the editor of the Montgomery Advertiser.

victorian-C-20

December 12– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “James S. Scott was on Saturday morning brought before the Mayor on the charge of feloniously shooting and killing D. H. Bevans, conductor on the Fredericksburg railroad. The shooting took place at Millford, on the 5th of November. Bevans was brought to this city, and on or about the 20th of November, died at the officers’ hospital (City Alms House).” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

December 12– Monday– Confederate lines outside Petersburg, Virginia– “This morning finds me alive and tolerable well . . . . I Suppose you know not what has become of me – well we are in what is called Dinwiddie County about 10 miles to the right of Petersburg, about thirty miles from Richmond – the railroad runs [as] a crows [flies] from Richmond to Petersburg – we are 8 or ten miles from the railroad– we have been on picket [duty] nearly all the time since we came here– was relieved yesterday evening – are today in quarters– there is plenty of cabins here– we occupy cabins that other troops built and were then ordered away father to the right of the lines – there was some fighting on the right of the line Day before yesterday– it is said the Yankees were drove back. This is a very cold day here– there is some snow on the ground . . . . I am now in a part of the world I never was before – it does not look like home. . . . well I must stop for this time – hoping this may find you alive and well – have not had any mail since wee came here – some will soon– I will write soon again. Remember me at [the] throne of grace.” – Letter from Confederate soldier John P. Dull to his wife Ginny.

typical entrenchments at Petersburg

typical entrenchments at Petersburg

December 12– Monday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Two nights without sleep has a tendency to make me sleepy. Winter campaigning is cold work, but it is all for the Union, and I will not complain. I thank God that I have such good health and can stand it.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 12– Monday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Having a little leisure this evening I will improve it in writing You a few lines. Since my return to the regiment we have been very busy, and we still have a great deal to do in the way of Picket duty. The next day after my return we received orders to be ready to move at a moment’s notice which we did about noon the Same day took our backward track to the front of Petersburg, near to the place where Captain Sims was killed, We can stand in our bombproofs and See the very place where he fell. At the present time there is a heavy fight going on our left but for once the 51st have been left behind in Company with the 48th Tennessee, 36th Massachusetts and 58th Massachusetts – all small regiments, to hold the lines in our front while the rest of our Division have gone to participate in the present engagement. It is rumored that we have the South Side Rail Road now in Earnest. I hope it may be So, but as yet we have no Official report and only have the news from men that Say they have been to the front they Say it is correct. Yet I don’t write it for Sure as we have been fooled So many times with the Same news. I have found Your Brother’s large Trunk– it was Stored at City Point. I had it fetched up and the Same is now in Charge of our Regimental Quarter Master and I will Send it home with the first Officer of my regiment that has the good luck to get a leave of absence. And if there don’t a chance occur, Lieutenant Schoonmaker will muster out of the Service on the 15th of January and I will Send it by him. There is no news of importance with us that would inerest you So I will close by Sending my best respects to Your Mother and Yourself, likewise to all inquiring friends hoping to hear from You Soon.” ~ Letter from Union officer William E. Babcock to Walt Whitman.

December 12– Monday– St Louis, Missouri– Birth of Paul Elmer More, educator, journalist, essayist and religious writer. [Dies March 9, 1937.]

Paul Elmer More

Paul Elmer More

December 12– Monday– outside Savannah, Georgia– “I instructed General Howard to send a division with all his engineers to King’s Bridge, fourteen and a half miles southwest from Savannah, to rebuild it. On the evening . . . I rode over myself, and spent the night at Mr. King’s house, where I found General Howard, with General Hazen’s division of the Fifteenth Corps. His engineers were hard at work on the bridge, which they finished that night, and at sunrise Hazen’s division passed over. I gave General Hazen, in person, his orders to march rapidly down the right bank of the Ogeechee and without hesitation to assault and carry Fort McAllister by storm. I knew it to be strong in heavy artillery, as against an approach from the sea, but believed it open and weak to the rear. I explained to General Hazen fully that on his action depended the safety of the whole army and the success of the campaign.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

part of Fort McAllister

part of Fort McAllister

December 13– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A few of us belonging to the Pocahontas State Guard, held an election in the county, the first since the reign of terror in 1861. We cast 21 votes at the State election and 23 at the Presidential election. – We were united for ‘Father Abraham.’ The county is almost depopulated of men, many of whom have come out and joined our army. It would do the soldiers of any State good to see the patriotism of those mountaineers and especially the women and children, who still reside there, a large majority of whom are true to the Union. Those devoted women and old men begged us to remain in the county and protect them from rebel rule, and they would feed and support us out of their hard earnings. Although my old homestead – my native county – the Indian Queen of the evergreen mountains – Pocahontas has been overrun with Southern vandals for almost four years, still the love and attachment for the old Union in the hearts of the people has not abated. Mountain people will be free.” ~ letter from Mr S Young of Beverly, West Virginia, to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 13– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation with Honduras and a separate treaty of friendship, commerce, navigation, and for the extradition of fugitive criminals with Haiti.

December 13– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Hood still lies in front of us with his army, and still Destruction is our ruler!The officers say that the suburbs of the city have been so changed in every direction during this fortnight that we have been kept at our own post, that we of Springside would not know them. Trees all gone, beautiful houses pulled down, as the would interfere with the cannons range, hills turned into threatening fortifications, and lines of soldiers drilling everywhere! Hood himself is at Mr. Rains’s, the next place to Uncle John Trimble’s– think of it, as near as that! No wonder the poor blacks are terrified out of their wits.” ~ Journal of Maggie Lindsley.

December 13– Tuesday– outside Savannah, Georgia– “About 2 p.m. we observed signs of commotion in the fort and noticed one or two guns fired inland and some musket-skirmishing in the woods close by. This betokened the approach of Hazen’s division, which had been anxiously expected, and soon thereafter the signal-officer discovered about three miles above the fort a signal-flag, with which he conversed, and found it belonged to General Hazen, who was preparing to assault the fort and wanted to know if I were there. On being assured of this fact and that I expected the fort to be carried before night, I received by signal the assurance of General Hazen that he was making his preparations and would soon attempt the assault. The sun was rapidly declining, and [I] Was dreadfully impatient. At that very moment someone discovered a faint cloud of smoke and an object gliding, as it were, along the horizon above the tops of the sedge toward the sea, which little by little grew till it was pronounced to be the smoke-stack of a steamer coming up the river. Soon the flag of the United States was plainly visible, and our attention was divided between this approaching steamer and the expected assault. When the sun was about an hour high, another signal-message came from General Hazen that he was all ready, and I replied to go ahead, as a friendly steamer was approaching from below. Soon we made out a group of officers on the deck of this vessel, signaling with a flag, ‘Who are you?’ The answer went back promptly, ‘General Sherman.’ Then followed the question ‘Is Fort McAllister taken?’ ‘Not yet, but it will be in a minute!’ Almost at that instant of time, we saw Hazen’s troops come out of the dark fringe of woods that encompassed the fort, the lines dressed as on parade, with colors flying, and moving forward with quick, steady pace. Fort McAllister was then all alive, its big guns belching forth dense clouds of smoke, which soon enveloped our approaching lines. One color [color bearer] went down, but [the flag] was up in a moment. As the lines advance, faintly seen in the white sulphurous smoke, there was a pause, a cessation of fire; the smoke cleared away, and the parapets were blue with our men, who fired their muskets in the air and shouted so that we actually heard them, or felt we did. Fort McAllister was taken, and the good news was instantly sent by the signal-officer to our navy friends on the approaching gunboat.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

one of the Fort McAllister guns captured by Federal troops

one of the Fort McAllister guns captured by Federal troops

December 14– Wednesday– New York City– “The Richmond papers of yesterday report General Sherman at Bloomingdale, fifteen miles from Savannah, on Saturday, December 10. . . . The severity of the weather has prevented any important movements by either side at Nashville. Nothing of importance is reported to day from the Armies of the Potomac or of the Shenandoah.” ~ New York Herald.

December 14– Wednesday– New York City– “The St Albans raiders and bank robbers discharged by the Canadian court for want of jurisdiction; whereupon General Dix issues a stringent order to military authorities along the Canadian frontier, bidding them to be watchful and militant, and requiring them in case of another raid to pursue the raiders across the line. This is right and sustained by British precedent in the case of the Caroline, when American sympathizers were aiding provincial rebellion. It may lead to complication and war with England but we must take that disaster, if it comes, as in our day’s work. It’s a great inducement to southern refugees and agents in Canada to repeat the St Albans experiment but I think the Canadian government is honestly trying to prevent its repetition.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [For a detailed study of the Caroline affair, see, Border Diplomacy- The Caroline and Mc Leod Affairs in Anglo-American-Canadian Relations, 1837-1842 by Kenneth R. Stevens (1989).

Finish This Imperative Work of War ~ December, 1864 ~ 9th to 11th

Finish This Imperative Work of War ~ New York Herald

General Sherman

General Sherman

Determined to finish the work, Sherman and his troops come within sight of Savannah, Georgia. On the way he finds an officer seriously injured by the Civil War equivalent of an IED and sees a man decapitated by a canon ball. Politics simmer in Washington, D. C. And President Lincoln appoints a special commission to investigate goings-on in the West. A conservative Northern paper blames the “satanical abolitionists” for the war and comes on Lincoln to push to a quick finish. A young woman in Nashville wonders and worries about impending battle. In Georgia a women writes to let her sweetheart know that she and her family are safe and to express hope that Sherman will be killed or captured.

December 9– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “At the Cabinet little as usual was done. Fessenden and Stanton were not present. Seward came late. No measure of any importance was introduced. Seward, Usher, and myself came out together, the other two a little in advance of me. Seward took Usher aside in the large hall just as they were coming out, and he spoke and beckoned to me also after the others had turned off to come with them. He said, as I came up, that he was remarking to Usher that Congress and the country were full of speculations about [Cabinet] appointments; that he did not care a damn about himself– if the President wanted him he would remain, and would go if he did not. He was going to take no part against any other member of the Cabinet, but should stand by them. Usher said it was important that he should know, for he had to depend on his salary for income for his support, and probably Mr. Seward could let him know what were the President’s intentions. The subject seemed to be one on which the two had been previously conversing, and Usher was evidently in some suspense or anxiety. I did not see nor apprehend the pertinency or occasion for the conversation, except that Usher may have heard, or learned, something which has disturbed him, and sought information from Seward, who chose to have me hear him utter nonsense to Usher. I remarked that I gave no thought to the rumors, manufactured by correspondents and quidnuncs; that if Members of Congress or committees attempted to dictate to the President, he would know how to appreciate them. The conversation did not exceed five minutes, perhaps not more than three. We then came out, but Usher seemed disturbed and clung to and walked off with Seward, although his carriage was waiting in the opposite direction.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

John Usher, Secretary of the Interior

John Usher, Secretary of the Interior

December 9– Friday– Augusta County, Virginia– “It is now nearly the middle of the day and I have had my paper, pen, & ink all morning to write to you, but we had company last night, and they have not all got away yet, and several more come in so you see I have just to slip off from them and write. I am up stairs in our room with little fire & so cold that I can’t write with a pen so you must excuse pencil. It is one of the coldest days we have had this winter. I received your kind letter several weeks ago (or rather it came here for me) as I was at Moore’s at the time I spent two weeks (wanting two days) there. . . . We know not what a day nor an hour may bring forth. We will try & send you a barrel [of food and gifts] as soon as we possibly can. I was truly glad to hear that you were so fortunate as to get in with Lieutenant H. and did not have to go the field of a action – hope you will remain there. Write soon and let us hear from you, and if you know any thing about Davis. Sarah Margaret and all send their love to you. Please excuse this horridly written letter as I am in a great hurry, and am cold. May the blessings of our Heavenly Father ever be with you.” ~ Letter from Phebe Ann McCormick to her brother-in-law Enos Ott.

December 9– Friday– approaching Savannah, Georgia– “As I rode along, I found the column turned out of the main road, marching through the fields. Close by, in the corner of a fence, was a group of men standing around a handsome young officer, whose foot had been blown to pieces by a torpedo [early type of land mine] planted in the road. He was waiting for a surgeon to amputate his leg and told me that he was riding along with the rest of his brigade-staff of the Seventeenth Corps, when a torpedo trodden on by his horse had exploded, killing the horse and literally blowing off all the flesh from one of his legs. I saw the terrible wound, and made full inquiry into the facts. There had been no resistance at that point, nothing to give warning of danger, and the rebels had planted eight-inch shells in the road, with friction-matches to explode them by being trod on. This was not war, but murder, and it made me very angry. I immediately ordered a lot of rebel prisoners to be brought from the provost-guard, armed with picks and spades, and made them march in close order along the road, so as to explode their own torpedoes, or to discover and dig them up. They begged hard, but I reiterated the order, and could hardly help laughing at their stepping so gingerly along the road, where it was supposed sunken torpedoes might explode at each step, but they found no other torpedoes till near Fort McAllister. That night we reached Pooler’s Station, eight miles from Savannah.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

December 9– Friday– Monasterevin, Kildare, Ireland– Birth of Willoughby Hamilton, tennis player, who will become the Wimbledon Champion in 1890. [Dies September 27, 1943].

Willoughby Hamilton

Willoughby Hamilton

December 10– Saturday– New York City– “The authorities in Detroit have received positive information, that the rebels in Canada had completed all their plans for a raid on that city on Thursday night, but were deterred by the complete preparations which had been made to receive them. Another meeting of citizens of Detroit was held yesterday for the purpose of giving additional strength to their defensive arrangements. One of our correspondents in the Shenandoah valley inform us that the rebel Generals Early and Breckinridge have both received instructions from Richmond to make demonstrations on the lines of General Sheridan’s army. By the rebel newspaper extracts which we publish this morning it will be seen that on the 6th instant the rebel Senate defeated a resolution introduced in pursuance of Jeff Davis’ recommendation that various officers exempted by State laws should be forced into the rebel army. Another set of resolutions fiercely condemning the proposition to make soldiers of slaves, and give them their freedom as a reward for service, has been introduced in the South Carolina Legislature. A bill has passed the House of Representatives of that body for the conscription of all males between sixteen and sixty. The Richmond papers continue to assail Governor Brown, of Georgia. They say the reason that he refused to allow the seizure for service in the rebel armies of various persons in his State was that he desired to reserve a sufficient force to fight Jeff Davis.” ~ New York Herald .

General William F Smith

General William F Smith

December 10– Saturday– “Ordered, . . . That Major-General William F. Smith and the Honorable Henry Stanbery be, and they are hereby, appointed special commissioners to investigate and report, for the information of the President, upon the civil and military administration in the military division bordering upon and west of the Mississippi, under such instructions as shall be issued by authority of the President and the War Department. . . . Said commissioners shall have power to examine witnesses upon oath, and to take such proofs, orally or in writing, upon the subject-matters of investigation as they may deem expedient, and return the same together with their report. . . . All officers and persons in the military, naval, and revenue services, or in any branch of the public service under the authority of the United States Government, are required, upon subpoena issued by direction of the said commissioners, to appear before them at such time and place as may be designated in said subpoena and to give testimony on oath . . . . The Secretary of War shall assign to the said commissioners such aid and assistance as may be required for the performance of their duties, and make such just and reasonable allowances and compensation for the said commissioners and for the persons employed by them as he may deem proper.” ~ Executive order by President Lincoln.

December 11– Sunday– New York City– “The satanical abolitionists of the North, who fomented this war, and the ferocious and bloody-minded fire-eaters of the South, who commenced it, will be held to their terrible responsibility by the conservative masses of the country, North and South. The abolitionists, pleading the cause of humanity for the Negro, have brought upon him a state of things which threatens to end only with the destruction of his race. The fire-eaters, intent upon a Southern confederacy, resting on the corner stone of Negro slavery, have brought upon their section the horrors of a hostile invasion by numerous armies and a state of siege, which threaten not only the overthrow of slavery and their confederacy, but the extirpation of slaves and slaveholders. Thus fools, rushing in where angels fear to tread, have brought all the horrors of this dreadful war upon the land. They will not escape their day of reckoning. Meantime, in order to put an end to the scenes of lawless violence and crime attendant we again admonish the administration of its solemn and paramount duty of pushing on the war earnestly and vigorously to a speedy conclusion. Put down the rebel armies, Mr. President, and give us again the blessings of peace, before we forget, North and South, what they are. The men and the means Mr. Lincoln, are at your command. Stir yourself, put down the rebellion; stop these groans of dying men, these painful cries of women and children which come to us on every breeze. Push on and finish this imperative work of war, and give us peace.” ~ New York Herald.

radical abolitionist Frederick Douglass

radical abolitionist Frederick Douglass

December 11– Sunday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Things grow monotonous– are they to remain thus all winter I wonder! Two large armies lying here at Nashville looking at each other, and doing nothing more valorous than destroying what is left of the once beautiful regions about them! Yesterday’s paper states that the damage done in the last few days to property on the opposite side of the city amounts to between half a million to a million dollars– all those lovely homes on the Franklin pike, Mr. Putnam’s (what merry times we girls have had in that dear old house!)– Mr. Berry’s, Mr. Duncan’s, etc. are utterly ruined I am told. Mrs. A. V. Brown’s is Chatham’s headquarters. The rebels are conscripting every man and boy in their lines. It is whispered that the Nichols have Harry and Mr. More secreted in their house although the rebels are constantly there, but as the older boys are officers, there is not much trouble in hiding these two I imagine!” ~Journal of Maggie Lindsley.

December 11– Sunday– Dooly County, Georgia– “I have many times in my life wished Pa would sell out and move to middle Georgia, as we would have the benefit of better schools and better society. Now I think about how thankful we should be that we are situated just where we are. It is the most safety place of refuge I can think of in this state. A great many refugees and exiles are flocking continually to this county. I do hope Sherman’s army will not be permitted to make their escape in safety; but will all be captured or killed. I suppose they move very slowly in the direction of Savannah. I hope our force ahead is sufficient to meet them. In my last [letter] I told you Pa had to go in service as Governor Brown’s last call embraced his age. He reported at Macon, had two exemptions, his county office and mill consequently he was discharged. You haven’t the least idea how rejoiced we were when he came. We had just sat down to supper table, when he drove in the yard and everyone jumped up and ran to meet him, Negroes, too. John and Joe started to their command during Sherman’s stay near Macon and were not permitted to go through, but in a few days were sent in company with a great many more Virginia troops to Savannah by the lower rout, also the Militia went too.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé Alva Benjamin Spencer.

marching toward Savannah

marching toward Savannah

December 11– Sunday– approaching Savannah, Georgia– “I rode forward by the Louisville road, into a dense wood of oak, pine, and cypress, left the horses, and walked down to the railroad-track, at a place where there was a side-track, and a cut about four feet deep. From that point the railroad was straight, leading into Savannah, and about eight hundred yards off were a rebel parapet and a battery. I could see the cannoneers preparing to fire and cautioned the officers near me to scatter, as we would likely attract a shot. Very soon I saw the white puff of smoke and, watching close, caught sight of the ball as it rose in its flight, and, finding it coming pretty straight, I stepped a short distance to one side, but noticed a Negro very near me in the act of crossing the track at right angles. Someone called to him to look out; but, before the poor fellow understood his danger, the ball (a thirty-two pound round shot) struck the ground, and rose in its first ricochet, caught the Negro under the right jaw, and literally carried away his head, scattering blood and brains about. A soldier close by spread an overcoat over the body, and we all concluded to get out of that railroad-cut.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

Concern Felt About Sherman ~ December 1864~ 8th and 9th

Concern Felt about Sherman ~ George Templeton Strong.

General Sherman

General Sherman

North and South, people wonder what has become of General Sherman and his troops. A desultory stalemate continues in the siege of Petersburg. A Union general authorizes Maryland citizens to take action against guerrillas and outlaws. A Boston preacher calls upon people to aid former slaves build new lives in freedom. The Pope condemns the “inventions of innovators.”

December 8– Thursday– New York City– “A windy night and growing colder after a cold day. Much concern felt about Sherman. His failure would be a fearful calamity. Even Richmond papers seem not certainly to know what has become of him. Perhaps he will never be heard of again, like King Arthur . . . . He should be very near the coast by this time, unless he has come utterly to grief.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Union siege artillery outside Petersburg

Union siege artillery outside Petersburg

December 8– Thursday– New York City– “In the armies of the Potomac and the James [at Petersburg, Virginia] the picket firing, which is still kept up, and the occasional exchanges between the opposing batteries, are all that disturb the quiet. On Monday there was some artillery firing by the Ninth corps guns and the rebels opposite and between the Monitors and the Howlett House battery, but without causing any casualties on the Union side. The Tenth and Eighteenth corps have been consolidated, and are known as the Twenty-fourth corps, of which General Ord has assumed command. The corps of colored troops, under General Weitzel, is numerically designated the Twenty-fifth. General Meade presented medals of honor to a number of non-commissioned officers and privates of the Second corps on Tuesday. No intercourse whatever with the enemy or exchange of newspapers is now allowed in either army, under severe penalties. . . . The city of Detroit [Michigan] is again greatly excited by anticipations of a raid on it from Canada by rebels who are said to be now perfecting their organization. The civil and military authorities of the city are making every preparation to receive the raiders. Extra police have been placed on duty, and arrangements are making for the enrolment and arming of the militia.” ~ New York Herald.

Dictator_at_Petersburg

December 8– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “McMullen and Baker, the two members of the 2nd West Virginia Cavalry, who were committed to the Atheneum several days ago for assaulting a Mustering officer at the Custom House, were yesterday released from confinement at the request of the officer, who withdrew the charges.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 8– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “We received no news from Sherman on yesterday. At our last advices, he was believed to be moving towards the coast, and our troops were concentrating to obstruct his route. We are glad to see from the Augusta papers that the railroad companies in Georgia are going to work vigorously to reconstruct and repair their railroads. The Central railroad is already running from Macon nearly to Gordon. The Atlanta and West Point road will be in running order in a month, and the Georgia road, from Augusta to Atlanta in forty days. Latest accounts, received last night, state that Sherman is moving in two columns down the Ogechee river, one column on either side.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

December 8– Thursday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Your letter is the latest I have heard of that did come through. I suppose it got to Augusta before Sherman cut the railroad. I feel in great hopes now that no Yankees will invade our county. I have eagerly gathered all the news from Georgia I could to find out Sherman’s course. We get nothing scarcely but rumors but from all I can learn he is making his course east of Macon, and I hope, as I said before, that he pass our section unmolested. But I will fear great concern till I hear direct from you again. We had a change of the monotony of camp life last Sunday. An old gentleman named R. O. Davidson delivered an address on the invention of a bird of Art. He says he made an artificial bird to go by steam through the air that can carry a man to guide it and a number of shells which the man can drop on the Yankees as he passed over them which will soon kill and scare them all away. He first applied to the Government for aid but was refused and he now appeals to private contributions. At the close of his address the boys contributed $116.00 to assist him in forwarding his designs. He proposes to make five hundred of these birds to follow one behind the other, he is taking the lead and to drop bomb shells on yanks wherever found. Quite an idea if he can only succeed and who knows but what he will. Of course it is ridiculed to a great extent, also the idea of steam cars [railroad trains], telegraphic wires and all other great inventions, laughed at at first.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to Amanda, his wife.

December 8– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– In another effort to create problems in the rear of General Sherman’s march toward Savannah, all white men in Fulton County between the ages of 16 and 55 are ordered to report to the city hall for military duty.

marching toward Savannah

marching toward Savannah

December 8– Thursday– on the march in Georgia– “Twenty-third day out. Roads today heavy sand and both yesterday and today very bad at swampy places and creek crossings – same thing in fact, for all the creeks seem to spread into swamps. Stopped at house of Reverend Mr. Heidt– fifty-four years old, Methodist, very well off, barns, etc, full of all sorts of forage when we came. Fluent talker, pretty shrewd, but foolish enough to argue with General [Sherman] about importance of cotton; General down on cotton.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock,

December 8– Thursday– Ebenezer Creek, Georgia; near Bryan Court House, Georgia; Hatcher’s Run, Virginia; Tuscumbia, Missouri– Engagements and encounters.

December 8– Thursday– Ballintemple, County Cork, Ireland– George Boole, mathematician, inventor of Boolean algebra, philosopher and logician, dies at 49 years of age.

George Boole

George Boole

December 8– Thursday– London, England– James Clerk Maxwell presents his paper “A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field” to the Royal Society, treating light as an electromagnetic wave and presenting Maxwell’s equations.

December 8– Thursday– Fere-en-Tardenois, Aisne, France– Birth of Camille Claudel, sculptor and graphic artist. [Dies October 19, 1943.]

Camille Claudel

Camille Claudel

December 8– Thursday– Rome, Italy– Pope Pius IX condemns theological liberalism as an error, asserts the supremacy of Roman Catholic Church over civil society and condemns rationalism and socialism. “For, teaching and professing the most fatal error of ‘Communism and Socialism,’ they assert that ‘domestic society or the family derives the whole principle of its existence from the civil law alone; and, consequently, that on civil law alone depend all rights of parents over their children, and especially that of providing for education.’ By which impious opinions and machinations these most deceitful men chiefly aim at this result, viz., that the salutary teaching and influence of the Catholic Church may be entirely banished from the instruction and education of youth, and that the tender and flexible minds of young men may be infected and depraved by every most pernicious error and vice. For all who have endeavored to throw into confusion things both sacred and secular, and to subvert the right order of society, and to abolish all rights, human and divine, have always (as we above hinted) devoted all their nefarious schemes, devices and efforts, to deceiving and depraving incautious youth and have placed all their hope in its corruption. For which reason they never cease by every wicked method to assail the clergy, both secular and regular, from whom (as the surest monuments of history conspicuously attest), so many great advantages have abundantly flowed to Christianity, civilization and literature, and to proclaim that ‘the clergy, as being hostile to the true and beneficial advance of science and civilization, should be removed from the whole charge and duty of instructing and educating youth.’ Others meanwhile, reviving the wicked and so often condemned inventions of innovators, dare with signal impudence to subject to the will of the civil authority the supreme authority of the Church and of this Apostolic See given to her by Christ Himself, and to deny all those rights of the same Church and See which concern matters of the external order.” ~ the encyclical Quanta Cura [Condemning Current Errors]

Pope Pius IX

Pope Pius IX

December 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Rev. Mr. Banvard, in his sermon on Thanksgiving day, which was on topics for the times said: The present condition of the colored race in this country, as well as of those in their father-land, is impressively described in that simple yet sublime conception of Anne Whitney in her statute of Africa, now on exhibition in Boston. It is the form, in colossal proportions, of a female with subdued African features, in the act of rising from her couch. She has risen sufficiently to lean upon one elbow, whilst with her other hand she shades her eyes as she endeavors to look in the distance before her, and catch the first rays of the coming dawn. She is awakening to a new, day and looking forward with mingled feelings of curiosity, and hope, endeavoring to penetrate the future. It is a grand embodiment of majesty, strength, anticipation, hopefulness, and a readiness to meet the events which the future may reveal. It is an appropriate and majestic symbol of Africa awaking to a new career, and is equally truthful and fitting as an emblem of Africa in our country as in her. She is arising from a long and terrible night. The day dawns. The morning star of hope shines serenely upon the brow of heaven. Africa has caught its cheering rays. She begins to stir. She rouses herself from her long night of, ignorance, suffering and bondage. She looks before and around her to see what the unusual portents of the times reveal, and she is preparing herself for the future which awaits her. For a long time has her hand been stretched out in supplication to her God; and now there is put into it the alphabet and the Bible, the musket and the banner of freedom, and she is learning to use them all. The question is asked, and will be repeated with increasing emphasis for years to come, what is our duty toward the colored race in this country? I answer, that during the painful period of their transition from slavery to freedom, which to them is necessarily a period of nakedness and hunger, want and wretchedness, the government and the people should unite to provide them with shelter, clothing and food, until they can make arrangements to provide for themselves. Furnish them also with labor and the elements of education. Send them teachers and books; and when they shall have reached a settled, normal condition, then don’t interfere with them. Let them alone; give them a fair chance, and let them carve out their own fortune, and we may be assured that as a general thing they will be amply able to support themselves.” ~ The Liberator.

"Our Countrymen in Chains"

“Our Countrymen in Chains”

December 9– Friday– New York City– “No positive intelligence from Sherman. Rebel newspapers report that he has been badly defeated at this point– repulsed with heavy loss at that point. His march is a failure. . . . There must be Southerners capable of believing such stuff, or it would not have been written.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 9– Friday– Cumberland, Maryland– “As the borders of this department are infested with small disreputable bands of men, who in civil times, would be called horse thieves and murderers, but who dignify themselves with the title of guerrillas, claiming to belong to the service of the so-called Confederate States, and are following their unlawful calling under the cover and guise of either army, seeking protection within the mountains when pursued – it becomes necessary that some measures be taken by citizens living within this department, and whose property is so threatened, for their own protection. Citizens are called upon to organize for the destruction of all bands of these villains, who have no just claim to the protection of any government, and all possible assistance for their destruction will be given them. Such men, banded together for purposes of plunder and dishonorable personal advantages, are unworthy of, and should receive, no quarter, and when taken, any disposition that may be deemed necessary by the captors themselves toward their persons will be fully upheld and justified. It is impossible to hunt down and destroy these parties by large military organizations, while citizen residents – able at all times to know of their whereabouts – may speedily organize for their destruction. Citizens living within this department must protect themselves in the same manner as in civil times, when over-run by these plundering, marauding and thieving bands, and rise with a determination to rid themselves of them at once, and for all, resting upon the assurance that all the assistance possible will be given them by the department commander.” ~ Orders from Union General Crook.

The State of The Union~ December, 1864

The State of the Union in December, 1864

Signing the Constitution, Philadelphia, September, 1787

Signing the Constitution, Philadelphia, September, 1787

The president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient” ~ Constitution of the United States, Article Two, Section Three.

President Kennedy delivering the State of the Union message

President Kennedy delivering the State of the Union message

As was the custom from Thomas Jefferson until Woodrow Wilson, President Lincoln, on December 6th,  sends his written State of the Union message to Congress to be read aloud to both houses as well as published in newspapers throughout the country. It is a lengthy message. The key issues Lincoln addresses include immigration [modern Republicans take note– he called for a “liberal” policy], government spending to improve transportation and communication, federally-funded benefits for veterans, preparation for post-war reconstruction and the adoption of a constitutional amendment to forever prohibit slavery. This call will lead to vigorous debate in the House of Representatives through the end of January, 1865 when the proposed Thirteenth Amendment will be sent to the states for ratification.

Woodrow Wilson who broke with more than a century of tradition and returned to personal delivery of the State of the Union message

Woodrow Wilson who broke with more than a century of tradition and returned to personal delivery of the State of the Union message

December 6– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– As is the custom at the time, President Lincoln submits his State of the Union address to Congress in writing. His key points:

Immigration– “The act passed at the last session for the encouragement of immigration has so far as was possible been put into operation. It seems to need amendment which will enable the officers of the Government to prevent the practice of frauds against the immigrants while on their way and on their arrival in the ports, so as to secure them here a free choice of avocations and places of settlement. A liberal disposition toward this great national policy is manifested by most of the European States, and ought to be reciprocated on our part by giving the immigrants effective national protection. I regard our immigrants as one of the principal replenishing streams which are appointed by Providence to repair the ravages of internal war and its wastes of national strength and health. All that is necessary is to secure the flow of that stream in its present fullness, and to that end the Government must in every way make it manifest that it neither needs nor designs to impose involuntary military service upon those who come from other lands to cast their lot in our country.”

alexander_gardner_-_abraham_lincoln-1

Transportation and Communication– “The great enterprise of connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific States by railways and telegraph lines has been entered upon with a vigor that gives assurance of success, notwithstanding the embarrassments arising from the prevailing high prices of materials and labor. The route of the main line of the road has been definitely located for 100 miles westward from the initial point at Omaha City, Nebraska, and a preliminary location of the Pacific Railroad of California has been made from Sacramento eastward to the great bend of the Truckee River in Nevada. Numerous discoveries of gold, silver, and cinnabar mines have been added to the many heretofore known, and the country occupied by the Sierra Nevada and Rocky mountains and the subordinate ranges now teems with enterprising labor, which is richly remunerative. It is believed that the product of the mines of precious metals in that region has during the year reached, if not exceeded, one hundred millions in value.”

Veterans’ Benefits– “The liberal provisions made by Congress for paying pensions to invalid soldiers and sailors of the Republic and to the widows, orphans, and dependent mothers of those who have fallen in battle or died of disease contracted or of wounds received in the service of their country have been diligently administered. There have been added to the pension rolls during the year ending the 30th day of June last the names of 16,770 invalid soldiers and of 271 disabled seamen, making the present number of army invalid pensioners 22,767 and of navy invalid pensioners 712. Of widows, orphans, and mothers 22,198 have been placed on the army pension rolls and 248 on the navy rolls. The present number of army pensioners of this class is 25,433 and of navy pensioners 793. At the beginning of the year the number of Revolutionary pensioners was 1,430. Only 12 of them were soldiers, of whom 7 have since died. The remainder are those who under the law receive pensions because of relationship to Revolutionary soldiers. During the year ending the 30th of June, 1864, $4,504,616.92 have been paid to pensioners of all classes.”

cartoon of Lincoln cheered by soldiers

cartoon of Lincoln cheered by soldiers

Military Operations and Reconstruction– “The most remarkable feature in the military operations of the year is General Sherman’s attempted march of 300 miles directly through the insurgent region. It tends to show a great increase of our relative strength that our General in Chief should feel able to confront and hold in check every active force of the enemy, and yet to detach a well-appointed large army to move on such an expedition. The result not yet being known, conjecture in regard to it is not here indulged. Important movements have also occurred during the year to the effect of molding society for durability in the Union. Although short of complete success, it is much in the fight direction that 12,000 citizens in each of the States of Arkansas and Louisiana have organized loyal State governments, with free constitutions, and are earnestly struggling to maintain and administer them. The movements in the same direction, more extensive though less definite, in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee should not be overlooked. But Maryland presents the example of complete success. Maryland is secure to liberty and union for all the future. The genius of rebellion will no more claim Maryland. Like another foul spirit being driven out, it may seek to tear her, but it will woo her no-more.”

James Mitchell Ashley who first submitted a proposal for what would become the 13th Amendment

James Mitchell Ashley who first submitted a proposal for what would become the 13th Amendment

Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Abolish Slavery– “At the last session of Congress a proposed amendment of the Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United States passed the Senate, but failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives. Although the present is the same Congress and nearly the same members, and without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session. Of course the abstract question is not changed; but in intervening election shows almost certainly that the next Congress will pass the measure if this does not. Hence there is only a question of time as to when the proposed amendment will go to the States for their action. And as it is to so go at all events, may we not agree that the sooner the better? It is not claimed that the election has imposed a duty on member to change their views or their votes any further than, as an additional element to be considered, their judgment may be affected by it. It is the voice of the people now for the first time heard upon the question. In a great national crisis like ours unanimity of action among those seeking a common end is very desirable–almost indispensable. And yet no approach to such unanimity is attainable unless some deference shall be paid to the will of the majority simply because it is the will of the majority. In this case the common end is the maintenance of the Union, and among the means to secure that end such will, through the election, is most dearly declared in favor of such constitutional amendment.”

Evaluation of Election Results– The most reliable indication of public purpose in this country is derived through our popular elections. Judging by the recent canvass and its result, the purpose of the people within the loyal States to maintain the integrity of the Union was never more firm nor more nearly unanimous than now. The extraordinary calmness and good order with which the millions of voters met and mingled at the polls give strong assurance of this. Not only all those who supported the Union ticket, so called, but a great majority of the opposing party also may be fairly claimed to entertain and to be actuated by the same purpose. It is an unanswerable argument to this effect that no candidate for any office whatever, high or low, has ventured to seek votes on the avowal that he was for giving up the Union. There have been much impugning of motives and much heated controversy as to the proper means and best mode of advancing the Union cause, but on the distinct issue of Union or no Union the politicians have shown their instinctive knowledge that there is no diversity among the people. In affording the people the fair opportunity of showing one to another and to the world this firmness and unanimity of purpose, the election has been of vast value to the national cause. The election has exhibited another tact not less valuable to be known– the fact that we do not approach exhaustion in the most important branch of national resources, that of living men. While it is melancholy to reflect that the war has filled so many graves and carried mourning to so many hearts, it is some relief to know that, compared with the surviving, the fallen have been so few. While corps and divisions and brigades and regiments have formed and fought and dwindled and gone out of existence, a great majority of the men who composed them are still living. The same is true of the naval service. The election returns prove this. So many voters could not else be found.”

CW graves-3

The Horrors of Sherman’s March ~ December, 1864 ~ 6th to 7th

The Horrors of Sherman’s March ~ Richmond Times Dispatch

Newspapers South and North are covering Sherman’s campaign in Georgia. A report to the governor of Georgia provides a detailed description of the damage in Atlanta. There is fighting in Virginia and in Tennessee and artillery fire in Charleston harbor. Lincoln nominates a former cabinet member as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Secretary of the Navy expresses hope that the President will not regret his choice.

damage in Atlanta

damage in Atlanta

December 6– Tuesday– Newburgh, New York– Birth of William S. Hart, who will become a famous American silent film actor, making more than 75 films in his career. [Dies June 23, 1946.]

William S Hart

William S Hart

December 6– Tuesday– New York City– “We have again the report, this time apparently reliable, of the near approach of General Sherman to the city of Savannah. The transport steamship General Lyon, which arrived at Fortress Monroe with exchanged Union soldiers on Sunday evening, having left the Savannah river on last Friday, brings the announcement that at the time of her departure the advance Union cavalry were within six miles of Savannah. Great efforts were being made by the rebels for the purpose of holding the city; but, as their force was small, and portions of the defenses very weak, it was not thought that any serious opposition to Sherman could be maintained. His occupation of Millen, about seventy miles from Savannah, and the scouting of his cavalry several miles out from that town, were among the current exciting items in the latter place regarding his progress when the General Lyon sailed from the Savannah river; and Richmond papers admit his occupation of Millen. Young boys of thirteen and even women, are said to have been pressed into service for labor in the trenches by the rebel officers in Georgia.” ~ New York Herald .

December 6– Tuesday– New York City– “The President’s [State of the Union] message seems characteristically sensible and straight-forward. Chase said to have been nominated and confirmed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Not a bad appointment. We hear nothing about Sherman or Thomas.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 6– Tuesday– Moffett’s Creek Virginia–”We are all well and doing very well considering every thing. Jinnie and I received your letter Saturday. I was at the office when the stage come. I saw John W. Henry and Frank McNutt come home last Saturday evening on detail for 20 days and I think very likely he can get his detail extended. He got it to come home and bail his hay and get up his corn and gather up all he can. Elec went home last week [and] he brought a man down with him to help put up corn or to do any thing we have for him to do he is not very smart he never says any thing with out we ask him questions. They are putting up corn every day the weather will admit. Old Peet and Barkley won’t work half the time. We expect to butcher tomorrow. Frank McNutt was here yesterday– he says Miss Ann R. Mc. is not well she has sore throat. Doctor Bill has moved in Mr Robert McNutt’s house Mr Black and James Cooper went to town to day with your account book. We had been talking a bout getting up a petition and sending down to Richmond to get you off [of active duty].I was very glad to hear that you got your box – we were very fearful that some one might brake [sic] it open, but it was a very common looking box they thought there wasn’t much in it. . . . they are drafting the Negroes – they notified me to report Alf [the family slave] last Friday. I got Mr Black attend to it for me. I told him I could not spare him. Doctor McChesney went to town Saturday to hire a hand– we understood he did not get any. I do not know what there going to make of it. Henry says positively Alf is not to go. Jinnie and Charlotte sends there love to you.” ~ Letter from Margaret Ott to Enos, her brother.

December 6– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln nominates the abolitionist Salmon P Chase as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to replace the pro-slavery Roger Taney who died two months previously.

Salmon P Chase

Salmon P Chase

December 6– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “Nothing of moment at the Cabinet. Neither Seward nor Fessenden was present. The new Attorney-General declines to be sworn in until confirmed. Shortly after leaving the Cabinet I heard that Chase had been nominated to, and confirmed by, the Senate as Chief Justice. Not a word was interchanged in the Cabinet respecting it. . . . Dennison informs me that he went to the theatre with the President last evening and parted with him after 11 o’clock, and not a word was said to him on the subject. I hope the selection may prove a good one. I would not have advised it, because I have apprehensions on that subject. Chase has mental power and resources, but he is politically ambitious and restless, prone to, but not very skillful in, intrigue and subtle management. If he applies himself strictly and faithfully to his duties, he may succeed on the bench, although his mind, I fear, is not so much judicial as ministerial. He will be likely to use the place for political advancement and thereby endanger confidence in the court. He, though selfishly stubborn sometimes, wants moral courage and frankness, is fond of adulation, and with official superiors is a sycophant. I hope the President may have no occasion to regret his selection.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

December 6– Charleston, South Carolina– “During the progress of the exchange of prisoners, now going on in this harbor, and which will probably last for two weeks or thereabouts, the bombardment of the city by the enemy is to be suspended. Under this arrangement there was no shelling of the city yesterday. We understand that the truce was also to apply to the various hostile batteries in the harbor; but by some mistake, the cause of which we have not learned, the terms of the truce were not fully known at Fort Sumter, and one of our sharpshooters at that post shot and killed or wounded a Yankee who showed himself at Battery Gregg. Thereupon several of the enemy batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter. Finally, however, by the activity of Captain Hatch, the enemy was apprised by flag of truce of the nature of the mistake, and an apology tendered for the unintentional violation of the truce. The harbor then resumed its former quiet aspect.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

December 6– Tuesday– approaching Savannah, Georgia– “By dispatches of today we learn that XX’s [Corp’s] advance is now a little ahead of ours, on the Springfield road..Davis XIV advance was at Buck’s Post Office last night and will be tonight at Sisters’ Ferry on Savannah River. XVII [Corp] is at Ogeechee Church and Howard’s XV [Corp] west of Ogeechee River, is at Branham’s Store. Howard has all facilities for crossing the river if necessary, and there is nothing between him and us to interfere, nor can be. Tomorrow we move again on Savannah. I begin now to understand as never before what a science war is in the hands of a master, and what ‘strategy’ means. We have had an easy march, practically without opposition, because our movements have been directed as to utterly confound the enemy, and to circumvent him– literally. They have done exactly right five times in abandoning their purpose to stand and fight, because each time our position gave us great advantage.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

December 7– Wednesday– New York City– “Dr McDonald (from City Point) tells me that Grant is quietly establishing heavy guns in a position four miles from Richmond and will soon be pitching shell into that nest of treason. Nothing from Sherman, about whom there is deep anxiety. The President’s [State of the Union] message is well received.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Federal soldiers occupying Atlanta

Federal soldiers occupying Atlanta

December 7– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the Senate’’s resolution of yesterday, requesting information in regard to aid furnished to the rebellion by British subjects, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.” ~ Message to the Senate from President Lincoln

December 7– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “We find in the Georgia papers some history of the horrors of Sherman’s march through that State. In a long letter, written from Milledgeville after the Yankees had left, and written in a calm, dispassionate style, without any attempt at exaggeration, we find the following terrible paragraph: ‘The most dreadful thing was their violence towards the ladies. At least six or seven suffered the last extremity [i.e., rape]. One young girl became crazed in consequence, and has been sent to the asylum. Other ladies were stripped of their garments, and, in such a plight, compelled to play the piano; and, in the event of a refusal, switched [beaten] unmercifully. Let Georgians remember these things in the day of battle!’ The same writer, speaking of the condition of Sherman’s army, says:’The soldiers were admirably clothed and appointed. Each man had eighty rounds of ammunition, while their wagons contained fixed material without prepared, and they suffered for nothing.’ A gentleman who left Atlanta after its evacuation by Sherman reports that ‘The rear guard of Sherman’s army left there on Wednesday week, leaving some one hundred of their sick and wounded in the place. Before leaving, they burned all the railroad and other public buildings, including the hotels, banking and business houses. The Masonic Hall, churches, dwellings and college buildings were left undisturbed. The State road is reported destroyed as far north as Chickamauga.’” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

December 7– Wednesday– in the vicinity around Murfreesboro, Tennessee– On this the third day of heavy skirmishing, raids and counter-raids, Federal forces finally drive away Confederate cavalry. Total Union casualties– killed, wounded, missing– amount to 225; Confederate total reaches 197.

Atlanta burning

Atlanta burning

December 7– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “The property of the State was destroyed by fire, yet a vast deal of valuable material remains in the ruins. Three-fourths of the bricks are good and will be suitable for rebuilding if placed under shelter before freezing weather. There is a quantity of brass in the journals of burned cars and in the ruins of the various machinery of the extensive railroad shops; also, a valuable amount of copper from the guttering of the State depot, the flue pipes of destroyed engines, stop cocks of machinery, etc. The car wheels that were uninjured by fire were rendered useless by breaking the flanges. In short, every species of machinery that was not destroyed by fire was most ingeniously broken and made worthless in its original form– the large steam boilers, the switches, the frogs, etc. Nothing has escaped. . . . The [railroad] car shed, the depots, machine shops, foundries, rolling mills, merchant mills, arsenals, laboratory, armory, etc., were all burned. In the angle between hunter Street, commencing at the City hall, running east, and McDonough Street, running southern, all houses were destroyed. The jail and calaboose were burned. All business houses, except those on Alabama Street, commencing with the Gate City Hotel, running east to Lloyd Street, were burned. All the hotels, except the Gate City were burned. . . . by this estimate, the enemy have destroyed 3200 houses. . . . Two-thirds of the shade trees in the Park and city, and of the timber in the suburbs have been destroyed. The suburbs present to the eye one vast, naked, ruined, deserted camp. The Masonic Hall is not burned, though the corner-stone is badly scarred by some thief, who would have robbed it of its treasure, but for the timely interference of some mystic brother. The City Hall is damaged but not burned. The Second Baptist, Second Presbyterian, Trinity and Catholic churches and all the residences adjacent between Mitchell and Peters streets, running south of east, and Lloyd and Washington streets running south of west, are safe, all attributable to Father O’Reilly, who refused to give up his parsonage to Yankee officers, who were looking out for fine houses for quarters, and there being a large number of Catholics in the Yankee army, who volunteered to protect their Church and Parsonage, and would not allow any homes adjacent to be fired that would endanger them. . . . Dr. Quintard’s, Protestant Methodist, the Christian, and African churches were destroyed. All other churches were saved. The Medical College was saved . . . . The Female College was torn down for the purpose of obtaining the brick with which to construct winter quarters. All institutions of learning were destroyed. . . . Very few Negroes remained in the city. Thirteen 32-pound rifle cannon, with cascabels and trunnions broken off and jammed in the muzzles, remain near the Georgia R.R. shop. . . . There are about 250 wagons in the city on my arrival, loading with pilfered plunder: pianos, mirrors, furniture of all kinds, iron, hides without number, and an incalculable amount of other things, very valuable at the present time. This exportation of stolen property have been going on ever since the place had been abandoned by the enemy. Bushwhackers, robbers and deserters, and citizens from the surrounding country for a distance of fifty miles have been engaged in this dirty work. Many of the finest houses, mysteriously left unburned, are filled with the finest furniture, carpets, pianos, mirrors, etc., and occupied by parties who six months ago lived in humble style. About fifty families remained during the occupancy of the city by the enemy, and about the same number have returned since its abandonment. From two to three thousand dead carcasses of animals remain in the city limits. Horses were turned loose in the cemetery to graze upon the grass and shrubbery. The ornaments of graves, such as marble lambs, miniature statuary, souvenirs of departed little ones are broke and scattered abroad. The crowning act of all their wickedness and villainy was committed by their ungodly for in removing the dead from the vaults in the cemetery, and robbing the coffins of the silver name plates and tipping, and depositing their own dead in the vaults.” ~ Report from W. P. Howard to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown.

December 7– Wednesday– in the field, south Georgia– “Camp opposite and two miles west of Station No. 3, Georgia Central Railroad. Marched about fourteen miles– camp in pine grove on right of road. T. R. Davis (our own artist on the spot) is finishing his sketches of Madison, Georgia, for Harper’s Weekly– we hear the General’s [Sherman’s] voice in his tent reading to Frank Blair his letter to Grant from Kingston [Georgia]. This letter, dated November 2, ended ‘I am clearly of opinion that the best results will follow my contemplated movement through Georgia.’” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

Sherman's headquarters on the march

Sherman’s headquarters on the march

December 7– Wednesday– Jenks’ Bridge, Georgia; Buck Creek, Georgia; Cypress Swamp, Georgia; near Franklin, Missouri; near Paintr Rock Bridge, Alabama; near Devall’s Bluff, Arkansas– Skirmishes and firefights.

His Own Portion Much Improved ~ December 1864~ 3rd to 5th

His Own Portion Much Improved ~ Gideon Welles.

Lincoln with his secretaries

Lincoln with his secretaries

President Lincoln has several busy, finishing his State of the Union message (which the Secretary of Navy finds much improved over the initial draft), dealing with the sale of a warship to Japan, meeting with women begging for the release of their husbands and recommending commendations for several heroic officers. A major battle looms in Tennessee. Sherman’s troops continue creating chaos in Georgia. Whitman writes to friends in Washington. As throughout much of the nineteenth century, reformers call for restraints on the consumption of alcohol. A West Virginia man calls for the development of the petroleum industry.

December 3– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “It is often said that intemperance destroys more than the sword, and even pestilence and famine with it. The army of the United States, (which is now the largest known in active service,) has within less than four years, destroyed more than 500,000 brave men, a fact which causes the ears to tingle and the heart of every individual who hears it to throb, yet intemperance, a lurking foe, a guest perhaps at some of our firesides, is annually sinking more than 300,000 victims into a drunkard’s grave, leaving out the various disasters, such as shipwreck, loss of military power, and a thousand other blunders occasioned in every department by the use of strong drink. If we calculate the vast amount of loss and suffering communities sustain, occasioned by the work of the fell destroyer, the facts surpass that of the most extravagant conception. Yes, intemperance has caused more widows’ tears to flow, more orphans to cry for bread, has sent more criminals to the public prisons, and drawn more funds from the revenue of the county than all the wars, and pestilence, and famine, that ever cursed the earth.” ~ The Christian Recorder.

signing a temperance pledge

signing a temperance pledge

December 3– Saturday– Staunton, Virginia– “Freddy & I are both quite well. Whilst I sit here this Saturday night alone writing Freddie is laying in bed near me sleeping sweetly. The more I think of the life I am now living the more I hate it to think of me having a sweet & interesting family & be forced to be separated from them for more than 3 years– it is too hard. But I hope for a speedy change for the better. I am still conducting the hotel, but think strong of changing quite soon. I have been trying long to get out of it but have not yet succeeded – it don’t pay me well for my labor as the money is of so little value, but I don’t intend to sell the property as it is a good investment. I heard that little Jinnie was sick I am so much concerned about her. Do try & let me know soon how she is getting. I have some money I want to send you whenever I can get a good chance. Mr Herring & Cliff are here & well. Robert Hunter is here tonight & well. Able is also well– little David was killed I have not much that I can write you now but take good care of yourselves.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to Hester, his wife.

December 3– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “A war steamer, called the Funayma Solace, having been built in this country for the Japanese Government and at the instance of that Government, it is deemed to comport with the public interest, in view of the unsettled condition of the relations of the United States with that Empire, that the steamer should not be allowed to proceed to Japan. If, however, the Secretary of the Navy should ascertain that the steamer is adapted to our service, he is authorized to purchase her, but the purchase money will be held in trust toward satisfying any valid claims which may be presented by the Japanese on account of the construction of the steamer and the failure to deliver the same, as above set forth.” ~ Executive order by President Lincoln.

December 3– Saturday– Washington, D. C.– For the third day in a row President Lincoln meets with two women from Tennessee who come seeking the release of their husbands, Confederate soldiers held at the prison camp at Johnson’s Island, Ohio. Today Lincoln grants their request, telling one of the women, “You say your husband is a religious man; tell him when you meet him, that I say I am not much of a judge of religion, but that, in my opinion, the religion that sets men to rebel and fight against their own government, because, as they think, that government does not sufficiently help some men to eat their bread in the sweat of other men’s faces, is not the sort of religion upon which people can get to heaven.”

Lincoln with his family

Lincoln with his family

December 3– Saturday– Washington, D. C.– “The President read his message [State of the Union] at a special Cabinet-meeting to-day and general criticism took place. His own portion has been much improved. The briefs submitted by the several members were incorporated pretty much in their own words. One paragraph proposing an Amendment to the Constitution recognizing the Deity in that instrument met with no favorable response from any one member of the Cabinet. The President, before reading it, expressed his own doubts in regard to it, but it had been urged by certain religionists. I should have been glad, and so stated, had there been a more earnest appeal to the Southern people and to the States respectively to return to duty.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

December 3– Saturday– Millen, Georgia– “I entered Millen with the Seventeenth Corps and therepaused one day, to communicate with all parts of the army. General Howard was south of the Ogechee River, with the Fifteenth Corps, opposite Scarboro. General Slocum was at Buckhead Church, four miles north of Millen, with the Twentieth Corps. The Fourteenth was at Lumpkin’s Station, on the Augusta Road, about ten miles north of Millen, and the cavalry division was within easy support of this wing. Thus the whole army was in good position and in good condition. We had largely subsisted on the country; our wagons were full of forage and provisions; but, as we approached the sea-coast, the country became more sandy and barren, and food became more scarce; still, with little or no loss, we had traveled two-thirds of our distance, and I concluded to push on for Savannah.” ~ Memoirs of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

living off the land of Georgia

living off the land of Georgia

December 3– Saturday– Thomas’ Station, Georgia; Perry County, Arkansas; near New Madrid, Missouri; near Tampa Bay, Florida– Raids and firefights.

December 3– Saturday– Rotterdam, The Netherlands– Birth of Herman Heijermans, writer. [Dies November 22, 1924.]

Herman Heijermans

Herman Heijermans

December 4– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “Your letter of November 30 came safe, & was truly welcome– if you have seen Mrs Howells she has told you that I intend returning to Washington this winter. I do not know how soon, but I shall come, almost certainly. . . . We are all well as usual. Mother remains well, & in pretty good spirits, better than I would have expected. My brother George still remains a prisoner– as near as we can judge he is at Columbia, South Carolina– we have had no word from him. About my book nothing particular to tell. I shall print it myself– also my new edition of Leaves of Grass. Most likely shall do it in the way we have talked of, namely by subscription. I feel that it is best for me to print my books myself, (notwithstanding some very good objections to that course, but the reasons in favor are far stronger). Dear Nelly, you & William have neither of you any idea how I daily & nightly bear you in mind & in love too. I did not know myself that you both had taken such deep root in my heart– few attachments wear & last through life, but ours must.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to Ellen M. O’Connor.

December 4– Sunday– before Petersburg, Virginia– “I was sorry to leave the Shenandoah for we have had a fine campaign, but duty is duty, and I do not complain. If it will end the war I am satisfied to go to any point they choose to send me. Here we are again in the trenches before Petersburg after our five month’s absence in Maryland and the Valley of the Shenandoah. . . . The change from the Valley is great, and it will take some time to get accustomed to siege work, which we dropped so suddenly in July last. Little progress has been made since we left here but we know the war will end in our favor sometime. ” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 4– Sunday– Waynesborough, Georgia– Federal cavalry inflicts a severe loss on Confederate troops. Total Union casualties– killed, wounded, missing– reaches 190; Confederate losses total 250.

December 4– Sunday– in the field, near Millen, Georgia– “Abundance of forage– chiefly fodder– hardly ever twenty minutes together out of sight of cornfields, though land is sandy and unpromising. No cotton today, as usual. That monarch [referring to King Cotton] is evidently an exile from the present from where he once reigned. We stopped for lunch today in a rice-field by the road . . . the first [such field] we have seen.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

December 5– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “If this be the correct theory, (and I believe it to be so,) beneath this substance there must still exist an enormous deposit of petroleum yet in a liquid state, and such being granted, it would not be unreasonable to conjecture that the petroleum found in the neighborhood of the Burning Springs, on the Little Kanawha river, which lies south, together with those on Bull and Cow creeks, so near the Ohio river, lying north of this lode, vast and extensive as they are, will be found to sink into insignificance with those of this county . . . . There is now almost ready for opening a branch railroad from the Ohio station to the mine, and as the mineral has been found to contain one hundred and sixty gallons of oil to the ton, even should the lode be no longer or deeper than at present proved (which is highly improbable,) there is still enough of the bitumen to yield a million barrels of petroleum. . . . I could mention in detail the magnificent timber and valuable deposits of iron ore that exists in this region, as also a famous saltpeter cave, from which in days gone by, large quantities of that material was collected, and which I should think in these gunpowder times could now be worked to advantage, but enough I think has been said to prove that in no portion of this favored continent, can capital or industry be brought to bear better than in this hitherto neglected part of what was once a portion of the ‘Old Dominion.’” ~ Letter from a Mr C E of Cairo, Ritchie County, West Virginia to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

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December 5– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends three special messages to Congress requesting that “Captain John A. Winslow, United States Navy, receive a vote of thanks from Congress for the skill and gallantry exhibited by him in the brilliant action, while in command of the United States steamer Kearsarge“; that “Lieutenant-Commander James S. Thornton, United States Navy, the executive officer of the United States steamer Kearsarge” receive advancement in his rank, both of these men for their good conduct and faithful discharge of duties “in the brilliant action with the rebel steamer Alabama which led to the destruction of that vessel” on the 19th of June, 1864; and “that Lieutenant William B. Cushing, United States Navy, receive a vote of thanks from Congress for his important, gallant, and perilous achievement in destroying the rebel ironclad steamer Albemarle on the night of the 27th of October, 1864, at Plymouth, North Carolina.”

December 5– Monday– Overall Creek, Tennessee; Hillsborough, Tennessee; near Murfreesborough, Tennessee; near Nashville, Tennessee– Forays and skirmishes as Confederate forces prepare for a major assault against the Federal forces at Nashville.

December 5– Monday– Ogeechee Church, Georgia– “I reached Ogeechee Church, about fifty miles from Savannah, and found there fresh earthworks, which had been thrown up by Mc Law’s division; but he must have seen that both his flanks were being turned and prudently retreated to Savannah without a fight. All the columns then pursued leisurely their march toward Savannah, corn and forage becoming more and more scarce, but rice-fields beginning to occur along the Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers, which provided a good substitute, both as food and forage. The weather was fine, the roads good, and every thing seemed to favor us.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

December 5– Monday– Ogeechee Church, Georgia– “We rode on to Ogeechee Church but presently learning of good house nearby we went there. Found that the house was a Mr. Loughborough, a former New Jersey man. Evidently, L. was man of wealth. Inside house everything in dire confusion– bureau drawers pulled out, furniture upset, books piled and tossed about, house evidently ‘ransacked’ as Aleck calls it. Glad to learn from L.’s servants [slaves]– all I asked telling the same story– that the rebels did this. L., it seems, left here yesterday (Sunday) after dinner; the main body of rebs staid, camped in his fields, till daylight this morning– they left, but their pickets remained, some few at work near creek, others at the house, and these did the mischief at the house.” Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

A Most Momentous Enterprise ~ December, 1864~ 1st to 2nd

A Most Momentous Enterprise ~ Times of London

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

The year of 1864 concludes with a hectic month. The Confederacy suffers two significant defeats, one in Georgia, the other in Tennessee. By the end of the month, many are talking about the end of the Confederacy. At the beginning of the month newspapers from Charleston and Richmond to London, England, are commenting about and watching for General Sherman’s march through Georgia. Sherman orders limits on foraging, orders which many of his soldiers will ignore. A Democratic paper in the North continues to criticize President Lincoln. An abolitionist paper in Boston praises Federal war aims.

December 1– Thursday– New York City– “Is Old Abe napping? Has the drowsiness which has so long brooded over the Navy Department extended to the White House? Does Mr. Lincoln construe his re-election as a popular grant to him of four years more in which to put down the rebellion, and that accordingly he can take his time, the late necessity for an energetic and irresistible pressure upon the rebel armies having passed away? Is he dozing in his easy chair under this consoling narcotic? One would think so from the present appearance of inactivity at Washington. . . . It is thus apparent that Mr. Lincoln owes his triumphant re-election not so much to his own merits as to the Chicago copperheads and their treasonable affiliations in the Northwest. . . . in view of the staggering condition of the rebel confederacy, he may, and we think he should, call at once for three hundred thousand twelve months volunteers, so that against every possible contingency we may celebrate, with the next Fourth of July, the absolute extinction of the rebellion. We dare say, considering the present divided, weakened and demoralized condition of the rebellious States, that this call itself would be apt to decide the contest. In any event, now is the time for the reinforcement of our armies, in order to demolish the crippled and divided forces of Jeff Davis before he can concentrate them in any movement east or west.” ~ New York Herald.

New York Herald building, c.1895

New York Herald building, c.1895

December 1– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– President Lincoln sends a telegram to James Speed of Kentucky informing Speed that the President wants Speed to become Attorney General.

December 1– Thursday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia–”Yours of the 22nd came to hand Tuesday and I had just set down to answer it when Estaline came from the [post] office with the one that was written the 26th. I was glad to hear from you and know that you were well and I hope when this comes to hand you may still be enjoying the same great blessing. I am glad you have such a good situation, as you cannot be at home for I think it is a better place than down the Valley. . . . Your cat has deserted the mill he did not like staying about there alone [so] he went up to Mr. Black’s and Alex brought him down and took him to the mill again but he would not stay there; he is a great pet he gets up on my lap any time, and you know it is something new for me to nurse a cat, but they all say if was any other cat than yours I would [not] nurse it. . . . Charlotte said to tell [you] that her and Cal are getting along finely and you need not surprised to hear of a wedding some day. Colonel Yates’ oldest daughter was married the 10th day [last] month to Charlie Cameron they had quite a jolly time. . . . There has been a good many marriages in the neighborhood of Fairfield. I do not remember any but Mr James Shirey & Miss Eliza McCormick – he said he had waited long enough on the war to close and would not wait any longer. . . . David Black & Thomas Christ & Jacob Hanger got home last week. Mr Black and some of the rest of the family did not know Davie when he came home – he has long whiskers & mustache and is very much sunburnt. James Smith has been home for several weeks. There was [no] sacrament at New Providence last Sabbath [as] Mr Junkin had no one to assist him. I believe there was no one joined except two black women and one of them old Dr Hamilton’s [slave].” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to Enos, her husband.

December 1– Thursday– in the field, General Sherman’s headquarters, Georgia– “The attention of division commanders and commanding officers of detachments is called to the irregularities existing in foraging and the manner in which this privilege is often abused. It is noticed that many men not belonging to proper foraging parties are allowed to straggle from the ranks and forage for themselves, without any authority whatever. It is by such men that the greater part of the pillaging is done and depredations committed, of which there is so much complaint. Officers in charge of foraging parties must be continually instructed to keep their men well in hand, never allowing them to precede the advance guard of the column; and to use more discretion in taking from the poor, being careful to leave them sufficient for their immediate subsistence. It is also noticed that the number of mounted men is very large increasing, and that the ranks [of walking soldiers] are correspondingly diminished. Measures will be at once taken to check this growing evil. The number of mounted foragers to each brigade should be limited and regulated in orders, which, if not done, mounted foragers will be no longer allowed.” ~ Orders from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

destroying Georgia's railroads

destroying Georgia’s railroads

December 1– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The telegraph being still silent, and there having been complete failure of the Western and Savannah mails last evening, we have absolutely not a word of later intelligence of Sherman’s whereabouts.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

December 1– Thursday– London, England– “That it is a most momentous enterprise cannot be denied; but it is exactly one of those enterprises which are judged by the event. It may either make Sherman the most famous general of the North, or it may prove the ruin of his reputation, his army, and even his cause together.” ~ The Times.

John Walter III, editor of the Times of London, 1847 to 1894

John Walter III, editor of the Times of London, 1847 to 1894

December 2– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “It is no self-flattery to say that in all other respects the North has evinced the greatest magnanimity throughout the war. When the Richmond journals cry out, as they now do, commenting on the recent election, that we are bent on purposes of ruthless strife and desolation, that we ‘have vowed to destroy them, to ravage their fields, to burn their houses, to beggar their children, and brand their names with infamy forever,’ they do it in order to ‘fire the Southern heart,’ not because they believe it. Our purpose is to assert the supremacy of the constitution and the laws against armed violence, and to maintain the national integrity at all hazards; and in order to reach these ends we shall use the strongest and sternest of military measures; but there is in this no animosity towards the South, no bitterness of dislike growing out of our ancient intercourse, and least of all a feeling of revenge for any wrongs, real or imaginary, it may have inflicted upon us. We are impelled solely by the determination to vindicate the majesty of the government, and to put down the fatal and wretched experiment of rising in arms against a popular vote. On that line we mean to fight it out if it takes, not only all the summer, but all the years. Further than that, however, we have no designs.” ~ The Liberator.

William Lloyd Garrison, founding editor of The Liberator

William Lloyd Garrison, founding editor of The Liberator

December 2– Friday– New York City– “Our latest despatches from in front of Richmond show that the artillery firing on last Tuesday, alluded to yesterday did not result in anything serious. The enemy opened both in front of the second corps and on the north side of James river, in the vicinity of Dutch Gap. Their shots, however, did no damage, but they were responded to by the Union guns, our Monitors taking part. There have been slight changes of positions at the front of the Army of the Potomac, by some troops relieving others who have had severe service; but no movement of importance has taken place. A new intrenching tool, to be used for digging rifle and skirmish pits, has been introduced into the army. It is a very simple affair, but will be very useful to the soldiers. The troops are again enjoying warm, sunny days, after the recent cold weather. In the Shenandoah valley affairs remain undisturbed. The rebels were so closely followed up after their raids on New Creek and Piedmont that they have not deemed it prudent to attempt any similar operations at other points.” ~ New York Herald.

December 2– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Georgia papers of the 27th contain some facts about the raid through that State. Seven hundred prisoners have been received at Augusta, who were captured while foraging for Sherman’s army. The following extract from a letter in the Augusta Chronicle, from a writer who fled with the Legislature from Milledgeville, shows how the country is being devastated along the route of the invading army: ‘Leaving our baggage, we took a hasty dinner, determined to keep the road to Madison until our pickets should notify us of the approach of the Yankees. About 3 o’clock, a south came dashing down the road at a Gilpin speed, crying “to the woods, to the woods” and we wooded. Waiting several hours in the rain, under a rail pen improvised for the occasion, we determined to go out on the road and see what was going on. We had not traveled a hundred yards before a party of cerulean-clad equestrian came dashing up, and in a very polite and insinuating manner briefly requested us to halt. The request was accompanied with most significant cocking of . . . pistols, which, brought, to a horizontal altitude in one’s front, are very persuasive, especially to an unarmed civilian; and we halted. After a brief and hurried talk, in which we were questioned very closely about the country, troops in the vicinity, etc., they drove on. We gathered from their actions that they were the advance guard of the force from Madison, and were expecting to meet another force from Monticello at the fort near by. Apprehending that our overcoats and small residue of cash and other personal effects would not be safe in the motley crew composing the Yankee army, we resolved to keep the woods until they should pass. We therefore returned to our pen and staid until morning. We then proceeded through the woods, within hearing distance of the road. Late on Sunday, their main column commenced passing, and we found it very difficult to avoid them. They swarmed through the field, shooting cattle and plundering indiscriminately, until late in the night. We were in more dread of being shot as bushwhackers than we had of being plundered, and probably should have kept the road. But we now had no choice but to avoid them if possible. Their wagons were rumbling along the Monticello road on our left, and on the Madison road on the right, while they swarmed in the country between. We could hear them talk and hear their [gunshots] explode as they passed within a few feet of us. The night was intensely cold, wet and dark, save when the distant gleam of a burning house lighted up the horizon. Their main columns were passing from about two o’clock on Sunday afternoon until about nine o’clock at night. The next day they were passing during the morning, and we continued in the woods. This was our third day out, during which time it had rained continually, and we had subsisted on parched corn. On Tuesday morning we determined to take the road and push on. Going to Mr. Credel’s place we found his fine house in ashes and his gin-house burned, and every horse and mule gone. In his lot were about one hundred horses lying dead. They looked like good stock, and were evidently killed to deprive planters of them. A number of Mr. Credel’s Negroes were gone. Proceeding we found every plantation on the devastated, except that no other dwelling houses were burned until we reached the fine farm of Honorable Joshua Hill. This is a perfect wreck. A large gin-house full of cotton corn-cribs, dwelling – all a smouldering ruin. His loss was greater than that of any-planter in this section. Besides the cotton, several thousand bushels of corn, potatoes, several hundred of wheat, and much other valuable property, with every horse and mule and many Negroes, are gone. No farm on the road to this place, and, as far as we can hear, towards Atlanta, escaped their brutal ravages. They ravaged the country below here to the Oconee river. The roads were strewn with the debris of their progress. Dead horses, cows, sheep, hog, chickens, corn, wheat, cotton, books, paper, broken vehicles, coffee mills, and fragments of nearly every species of property that adorned the beautiful farms of this county, strew the wayside, monuments of the meanness rapacity and hypocrisy of the people who boast that they are not robbers and do not interfere with private property. . . . Many families have not a pound of meat or a peck of meal or flour. Many Negroes were enticed away from homes of comfort to share the uncertain fortunes of a winter march to the coast, and then – freedom to starve. Families of wealth have not a house servant left, and those who were the most trusted were often the first to leave.’” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

December 2– Friday– Waynesboro, Georgia– Union General Judson Kilpatrick “remained a couple of days to rest his horses, and, receiving orders from me to engage [Confederate General Joseph] Wheeler and give him all the fighting he wanted, he procured from General Slocum the assistance of the infantry division of General Baird, and moved back to Waynesboro . . . the remainder of the left wing continuing its march on toward Millen. Near Waynesboro Wheeler was again encountered and driven through the town and beyond Brier Creek, toward Augusta, thus keeping up the delusion that the main army was moving toward Augusta. Having thus covered that flank, he [Kilpatrick] turned south and followed the movement of the Fourteenth Corps to Buckhead Church, north of Millen and near it.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

Having Their Own Say ~ December, 1864

In two different and important publications, women have their own say. In a significant way they foreshadow what the rest of the 19th century will see women do. A pioneering artists defends her work.  A magazine editor offers a shopping service by mail.

Harriet Hosmer

Harriet Hosmer

December– Boston, Massachusetts– “We women-artists have no objection to its being known that we employ assistants; we merely object to its being supposed that it is a system peculiar to ourselves. When Thorwaldsen was called upon to execute his twelve statues of the Apostles, he designed and furnished the small models, and gave them into the hands of his pupils and assistants, by whom, almost exclusively, they were copied in their present colossal dimensions. The great master rarely put his own hand to the clay; yet we never hear them spoken of except as ‘Thorwaldsen’s statues.’ When Vogelberg accepted the commission to model his colossal equestrian statue of Gustavus Adolphus, physical infirmity prevented the artist from even mounting the scaffolding; but he made the small model, and directed the several workmen employed upon the full-size statue in clay, and we never heard it intimated that Vogelberg was not the sculptor of that great work. Even Crawford, than whom none ever possessed a more rapid or facile hand, could never have accomplished half the immense amount of work which pressed upon him in his later years, had he not had more than one pair of hands to aid him in giving outward form to the images in his fertile brain. Nay, not to refer solely to artists who are no longer among us, I could name many studios, both in Rome and England, belonging to our brothers in Art, in which the assistant-modeller forms as necessary a part of studio– ‘property’ as the living model or the marble-workers,– and many more, on a smaller scale, in which he lends a helping hand whenever required. If there are a few instances in which the sculptor himself conducts his clay model through every stage, it is usually because pecuniary considerations prevent his employing a professional modeller. . . . I am quite persuaded, however, that, had Thorwaldsen and Vogelberg been women, and employed one-half the amount of assistance they did in the cases mentioned, we should long since have heard the great merit of their works attributed to the skill of their workmen. . . . those who look upon sculpture as an intellectual art, requiring the exercise of taste, imagination, and delicate feeling, will never identify the artist who conceives, composes, and completes the design with the workman who simply relieves him from great physical labor, however delicate some portion of that labor may be. It should be a recognized fact, that the sculptor is as fairly entitled to avail himself of mechanical aid in the execution of his work as the architect to call into requisition the services of the stone-mason in the erection of his edifice, or the poet to employ the printer to give his thoughts to the world. Probably the sturdy mason never thinks much about proportion, nor the type-setter much about harmony; but the master-minds which inspire the strong arm and cunning finger with motion think about and study both. It is high time that some distinction should be made between the labor of the hand and the labor of the brain. It is high time, in short, that the public should understand in what the sculptor’s work properly consists, and thus render less pernicious the representations of those who, either from thoughtlessness or malice, dwelling upon the fact that assistance has been employed in certain cases, without defining the limits of that assistance, imply the guilt of imposture in the artists, and deprive them, and more particularly women-artists, of the credit to which, by talent or conscientious labor, they are justly entitled.” ~ An essay by the American sculptor Harriet Goodhue Hosmer in this month’s issue of Atlantic Monthly.

Zenobia by Hosmer, c.1859

Zenobia by Hosmer, c.1859

[Harriet Hosmer, 1830 – 1980, was the first successful American woman to make career for herself as a sculptor. Her father, a physician in Watertown, Massachusetts and concerned that his wife and his three other children died of disease, decided to make and keep Harriet healthy by teaching her to ride, swim, ice skate and shoot as well as encouraging her interests in mechanics, drawing and clay modeling. She studied sculpture in Rome and spent much of her life in Italy and England. She successfully sued detractors who claimed in print that her work was not hers but done by her mentor, John Gibson. This article was in response to claims that her beautiful work depended solely upon the skill of her helpers. On her life and work, see, Harriet Hosmer: A Cultural Biography by Kate Culkin (2010).]

Zenobia by Hosmer, 1857

Zenobia by Hosmer, 1857

December– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “Notice to Lady Subscribers. Having had frequent applications for the purchase of jewelry, millinery, etc., by ladies living at a distance, the Editress [sic] of the Fashion Department will hereafter execute commissions for any who may desire it, with the charge of a small percentage for the time and research required. Spring and autumn bonnets, materials for dresses, jewelry, envelops, hair-work, worsteds, children’s wardrobes, mantillas, and mantelets, will be chosen with a view to economy, as well as taste; and boxes or packages forwarded by express to any part of the country. For the last, distinct directions must be given. Orders, accompanied by checks for the proposed expenditure, to be addressed to the care of L.A. Godey, Esq. No order will be attended to unless the money is first received. Neither the Editor nor Publisher will be accountable for losses that may occur in remitting. The Publisher of the Lady’s Book has no interest in this department, and knows nothing of the transactions; and whether the person sending the order is or is not a subscriber to the Lady’s Book, the Fashion editor does not know. Instructions to be as minute as is possible, accompanied by a note of the height, complexion, and general style of the person, on which much depends in choice. Dress goods from Evans & Co.’s; mourning goods from Besson & Son; dry goods of any kind from Messrs. A. T. Stewart & Co., New York; cloaks, mantillas, or talmas, from Brodie’s, 51 Canal Street, New York; bonnets from the most celebrated establishments; jewelry from Wriggens & Warden, or Caldwell’s, Philadelphia. When goods are ordered, the fashions that prevail here govern the purchase; therefore, no articles will be taken back. When the goods are sent, the transaction must be considered final.” ~ Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book

Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book

The Guns Seemed to Redouble Their Efforts~ November 30, 1864

The Guns Seemed to Redouble Their Efforts ~ Lucy Virginia French.

At Franklin, Tennessee, Confederate General Hood’s efforts to disrupt Sherman’s rear come to a bloody stop. A young woman in the area describes the sounds of the battle. A friend of Whitman wishes to see him in Washington. An arms sale to Japan causes consternation in Lincoln’s Cabinet.

graveyard at Franklin, Tennessee

graveyard at Franklin, Tennessee

November 30– Wednesday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “We were very glad to hear from you, particularly to learn that you had got an outfit of clothing. I had felt uneasy about it, knowing how cold the weather becomes in this latitude during the Winter. You will find more need of constant exercise in the open air now than in Summer or Fall. Don’t lie up in your quarters too closely in good weather. I am also very glad to know you have books. You should improve your time to the uttermost, not only by reading miscellaneously, but by the study of text books if you can obtain them. No matter how simple the study, you can learn much that will be valuable in life. As to associates, you haven’t much choice, I suppose, but you can avoid intimacy with anyone with whom you would not associate at home. I am sure you will not carelessly or recklessly fall into habits which would grieve our father and relatives. I reserve my good news to the last. Ira has gone to Savannah for exchange and, I trust, is now at large in our dear old state. Be of good cheer. Your time and mine will come after awhile. And don’t forget to thank our Heavenly Father for the good fortune of our brother.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to one of his brothers, also in a Federal prison camp.

Henry McDaniel--circa 1883

Henry McDaniel–circa 1883

November 30– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “How I wish you were with us this beautiful day! It is so warm that I sit here with three windows wide open. I have a little fire in the stove, and the sun pours in full and strong. It is a perfect day, & seems more like May than November. How are you? & is there any hope of your coming this way this winter? I have hoped you would but I begin to despair of it, as you have not come yet, and we have not heard from you. . . . The election passed-off well, didn’t it? & I am so glad that we are to have a better Congress next time. The [Fernando] Woods out, & some others like them. This three months will soon go. We feel very hopeful about Sherman, especially as this fine weather will help him so much. Do you think Grant will do any thing this fall? . . . We wished for you on Thanksgiving day. We had a quiet day, no one with us but Charley, he dined with us, & we all wished that you were here. . . . What about your poems? Are you at work on them now? & what about publishing? Have you done any thing since we came on? Write, won’t you? I want to hear from you very much. I have spoken of writing every day since I came back, but have hardly touched a pen at all. Tell me what you hear from your brother.

I have not yet been in any hospital since I came home, but I mean to go.” ~ Letter from Ellen M. O’Connor to Walt Whitman.

November 30– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with two Quakers who seek the release of three other Quakers who are being held among the Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout, Maryland.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

November 30– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “There are some singular movements in regard to our relations with Japan and certain transactions connected with that people that cause me annoyance. Some two years ago, or more, our Minister or Commissioner to Japan notified the State Department or the Secretary of State that the Japanese government wanted two or three of our vessels, and had placed in his hands, or would place in the hands of such persons as he, the Minister, might select, $600,000 for the purpose. Mr. Pruyn, the Minister, accepted the trust and appointed his brother-in-law, Lansing, and Thurlow Weed to execute it. Mr. Seward addressed a note to me on the subject, submitting the letter. I advised that the government in no way should become involved in the affair, and gave offense to Weed, who, not friendly before, has intrigued against me ever since. My advice would have been the same, had any other person than Weed been named. Without regarding my suggestions, the work went on. One of the vessels is finished. I know not whether more than one has been commenced. A difference has grown up between Japan and the European powers, and, under the direction of Mr. Pruyn, our Minister, we have joined in the fight, become involved in an English and French war with Japan, although the Japanese have no quarrel with us. Now comes an inquiry to me from persons sent here by Weed, to know if the Navy Department will not examine, approve, and take this vessel, which has been built and been paid for. I am not pleased with the management or proposed arrangement. This whole proceeding on the American side had appeared to me a fraud and swindle to enrich Weed & Co. It is wicked to prostitute the government to such a private purpose, and to impose upon the Japanese, who have trusted us. I am opposed to having the Navy Department mixed up in any manner with this scheme, and have let the President know what I think of it and Seward also. Weed does not approach me on the subject. He has not been able to use the Navy Department as he wishes, and, like John P. Hale, is at enmity with me because I will not consent to be used in swindling operations. New York party politics are always more or less personal. Party organizations are considered convincing contrivances to be used by leading managers for their benefit.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

November 30– Wednesday– Franklin, Tennessee–In a terrible frontal assault on Union positions, Confederate forces under General Hood suffer a bloody defeat, sustaining 6,252 total causalities, including the deaths of six generals, while Federal casualties amount to 2,326 dead, injured and missing.

Battle of Franklin, Tennessee

Battle of Franklin, Tennessee

November 30– Wednesday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “A golden day. . . I was out in the yard the greater portion of the day—and set out some hyacinths and tulips. While at our pleasant work on this pleasant day—I would pause every now and then to listen to a dull shudder in the air, which we so well knew to be distant cannon. . . . There was a fresher breeze . . . and the cannonading sounded much louder. Towards evening . . . the guns seemed to redouble their efforts, but the sound was different. Instead of being a shudder in the air, the reports came like a thick, falling thud. Mollie had come home that day and we listed to the guns with hearts filled with varied emotions. Hope and fear, joy and sadness swayed us by turns. Towards nightfall all was quiet. Towards nightfall all was quiet.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

Confederate graveyard, Franklin, Tennessee

Confederate graveyard, Franklin, Tennessee

November 30– Wednesday– Burton, Georgia– “The wire-grass region proper extends east to the Ogeechee River; rode all morning through or among pine forests, whose aromatic odor is delightful tome. All through this pine country there are better farms than we expected, and large stores of corn, fodder and potatoes (sweet). Railroad here at Station is say 200 to 250 yards from river bank. Very good brick station house was– that is we shall say ‘was’ after tomorrow morning– no good houses here save one frame, of old Johnny Wells, Rail Road agent here. Old man Wells came to see General [Sherman] & sat us with us all evening by camp-fire– jolly old brick, great talker, full of jokes, some coarse ones. He claims to be utterly opposed to J.D. [Jeff Davis] & Co. damns the lying editors and warlike preachers in heartiest style, says, as all we have met, almost, that a minority not only did force, but are still forcing on the war in the South. Here as everywhere same terrible stories and lies have been spread about us ‘killing everybody’ burning all houses, including dwellings, etc.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

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