The World Has Never Seen Their Like ~ February 1865 ~ 27th to 28th

The World Has Never Seen Their Like

battle-newbern

Soldiers are seen everywhere, are topics of constant conversation and provide newspaper coverage. As the month closes, it is clear that Confederate forces are desperate to fill up the ranks and that Federal forces are closing in on most fronts. The remaining question: how soon will the end arrive?

bayou-teche

February 27– Monday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Last night we only got five deserters on our front, a smaller number than usual. We sent out a large number of circulars [encouraging Confederate soldiers to desert] last night. We use them as bait and some times catch our fish.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 27– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Robert Tyler told me that it was feared Governor Brown, and probably Stephens and Toombs, were sowing disaffection among the Georgia troops, hoping to get them out of the army; but that if faction can be kept down thirty days, our cause would assume a new phase. . . . The President and General Lee were out at Camp Lee to-day, urging the returned soldiers (from captivity) to forego the usual furlough and enter upon the spring campaign now about to begin. The other day, when the President made a speech to them, he was often interrupted by cries of ‘furlough!’” ~ Diary of John Jones.

General Robert E. Lee

General Robert E. Lee

February 27– Monday– Macon, Georgia– “Mr. Gaulden moved to take up the resolutions, in relation to the enlistment of Slaves in the army– which was agreed to. Mr. Guerry moved to refer the same to the Committee on Confederate relations– which prevailed.” ~ Journal of the Senate of the Georgia General Assembly.

February 28– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Yesterday a soldier named Good, or Gooch, who had just received his bounty, was the victim of a most rascally transaction. As he was counting his money at a tavern on Water street, a pious looking individual approached him and offered him a hundred dollar Treasury note for some small bills, stating that it would be much more convenient to carry than such a large bulk, and that the soldier would not be so likely to spend it. The soldier at once counted out one hundred dollars in small notes, and passing the same to the harmless looking person, received in return a hundred dollar note. Sometime afterwards the soldier discovered that the note was a base counterfeit, but his friend had disappeared and was nowhere to be found.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

wounded

February 28– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “We are all packing up & fixing for a move, as the enemy is reported advancing up the Valley – their advance having reached Mt. Jackson – their intentions are not fully developed yet, but the impression is that they will go across the Ridge from New Market. I should have sent William [a slave] out today but for that – if we have to go away, get Snyder to kill your pig. Mr Christian Bear told me yesterday he could spare me $200, so if you need any money call on him & tell him I want you to have it – do not get it unless you want it. He wants Webster’s Dictionary & said he would give you a barrel of flour for it – that is now ten dollars in specie. I told him I thought you would like the bargain – it is a good one & you can hide the flour & keep it – I think. I hope this will blow by & I get home & get you fixed better. Sandy will finish cutting your wood & I will pay him. I think you will find Christian Bear a good man to call on if you need any aid. I had a long talk with him. I have clothes enough to get along so do not be troubled about me. If I need any I will send for them but if any ones come tomorrow send my flannels & shirts – only by some safe way & I do not think you had better look much for a way for I can send after them. Be of good cheer & hope for the best & the Lord protect & defend you all.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

February 28– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The resolutions which have been passed by the various regiments of the Confederate army, and which they have published to the world, ring like inspiring trumpet tones on the air. Wherever else the paralyzing suggestions of despondency and doubt are heard, they cannot affect the iron nerves of those heroes who have borne the brunt of this war; who have endured the winter’s frosts and the summer’s heat; who have slept on the bare ground, have lived on the coarsest food, marched weary miles in bare feet, poured out their blood like summer rain, and stood like a living wall between their country and its enemies. These are the men who send forth words of hope and cheer and high resolve, and whose heroic souls, like the Aeolian harp, give forth stronger strains as the tempest increases. Whatever others may dream, subjugation is a word which is not found in their vocabulary, and which it would not be safe for friend or foe to utter in their presence. They proclaim their fixed and unchangeable determination to conquer or die; and it is the army which is the country. They have no thought of permitting all their labors, privations, perils, to go for naught, nor of suffering the blood of their fallen comrades to cry in vain from the ground. Whatever others may do, the heroes of the Confederacy neither intend nor desire to survive their country. They love her, and they believe in her also; their faith and hope are equal to their valor and devotion, and their trust in God is firm and unwavering. Noble men! The world has never seen their like.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

kilpatrick-cavalry

February 28– Tuesday– Carthage, Tennessee– “A band of guerrillas pass quite often from a point on Obey River, some eight miles above Celina, going west. Their track is near the State line. How far they go west I am unable to say, but they generally pass beyond the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The band numbers from fifteen to sixty men, or that has been the report for the last few months. They have different commanders. Sometimes Captain Benett, at others Major Jones or Magruder. For a long time they have not gone east of the point mentioned on Obey River. Generally on their return to Obey River they bring goods of various kinds and hide them away among the hills. Yesterday I had a long conversation with H. D. Johnson, of Overton. I know he is in communication with Hughes, Gatewood, and others. He has a son with the rebel Colonel Dibrell, formerly of Sparta. Johnson says the rebels will be in this section of country in considerable force late in the spring, or so soon as it shall seem the rivers will not rise suddenly and remain full any length of time. There is the same old evil disposition among the rebels, the same hate, but they fear more and hide. If any one doubts, let him become for a time a rebel and go among them, where he is not known to be other than what he seems.” ~ Report from J. D. Hale to Union General Whipple.

February 28– Tuesday– in the mountains, North Carolina– “The Yankees are in Lancaster District [South Carolina] & making their way toward Wilmington [North Carolina]. My precious one I have been thinking much of you & our precious little ones lately & have become very anxious to hear from you to know how you are getting along in Roswell [Georgia]. My mind is troubled to think that you may not be comfortable, or, actually suffering from want of necessaries of life. I wish so much I could hear from you. Nearly 4 weeks have gone by now since I left you in Roswell & it may be a long time yet before I can hear anything from you. Oh! that peace could be ours.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington King to his wife Bessie.

February 28– Tuesday– Macon, Georgia– “Whereas, in the present crisis, more able bodied men are required in the field to arrest the progress of the foe who assails us, and whereas, it is necessary to arouse the indomitable spirit of our people by a return to the true spirit of the constitution; and whereas, the Conscript Law has accomplished all the good that can be expected therefrom, and in the judgment of the General Assembly of Georgia has for some time past tended to oppress and distract our people, therefore be it, 1st Resolved, That in the opinion of the General Assembly of Georgia, the further enforcement of the Conscript Law should be abandoned. 2nd, That the Government should resort to requisition on the States for such troops as may be needed for the further prosecution of the war. 3rd, That the adoption of the above course will add largely to our effective force in the field; will revive the spirit of 61 and 62 amongst our people and by so doing will enable us to conquer an early and honorable peace. 4th, That the Governor is hereby requested to furnish the President, members of Congress, and the Governors of the States constituting the Confederacy, a copy of these resolutions.”

Sir Wilfred Grenfell

Sir Wilfred Grenfell

February 28– Tuesday– Parkgate, England– Birth of Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador. He will receive knighthood in recognition of his great service. [Dies October 9, 1940.]

February 28– Tuesday– Milford Haven, Wales, Great Britain– Birth of Arthur Symons, poet, literary critic and magazine editor. [Dies January 22, 1945.]

The War Is Certainly Drawing to a Close ~ February 1865 ~ 25th to 26th

The War Is Certainly Drawing to a Close ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

burning south carolina town

North and South, people such as Rhodes believe that the end of the conflict is soon at hand. A reporter describes the sorry condition of Yankee soldiers returning from rebel prison camps. A citizen writes to the governor of Georgia, calling for an immediate end to fighting. A Southern belle loves the singing of slaves but fails to see their humanity, reflecting the racist nature of the slave system.

fourteenth-massachusetts-volunteers

February 25– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Out of all the recruits that have been enlisted at the office of the Provost Marshal of this district, under the late call, only two or three bounty jumpers have been found, and it is thought that even these may not be purposely keeping out of the way. Heretofore there have been a great many bounty jumpers, and the fact which we have just mentioned speaks louder than anything else for the character of the men lately mustered to the credit of the State.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

February 25– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Two days after the storming of Fort Fisher, I went over the scene of that desperate struggle where Southern will yielded, after a seven hours hand-to-hand conflict, to Northern valor. I thought it was one of the saddest sights of war. The storm of Porter’s shell had left scarcely a foot of good untouched. Dead bodies, as they fell, in all the horrid mockery of life, headless trunks, scattered limb, shattered guns, here a Union soldier side by side with his rebel foe in the equality of death, there an artillery officer crushed in a heap beside his gun, a relic-hunter cutting off his confederate buttons, over and about all, riot and desolation, and a sense as if nature’s economies had been insanely wronged, and her thought outraged. But that picture, framed with death and ruin, was not to me so sad or pitiful as the sights I chanced upon yesterday near Aiken’s Landing. At the rude river wharf lay two trim steamers, flying at the foretop Colonel Mulford’s white flag. Across the rebel flag-of-truce boat. A thousand rebels, just down from your sharp Northern air, marched ashore. A motley crew, but all warmly clad, and a hale, supple, robust set of men. They booted, joked and jostled about as they pushed across the fenceless fields towards Cox’s Landing. I knew we might expect every man of them on our front, musket in hand, within a fortnight. I saw but two or three with canes, not a dozen who seemed ill or weak. Why was the long train of ambulances sent down the line waiting? My query was soon answered. Our prisoners turned over, back came a thousand of our boys, among friends again after their terrible captivity. I tell the sober truth– you cannot imagine the sight. It was a better lot than previous ones, the best that had been received lately, I believe. But the appearance was pitiful. Every ambulance was needed now, and hundreds hobbled or dragged themselves along through the drizzly rain treacherous mud, of foot. A thousand hungry, ragged men or wrecks of men. Their faces had a sallow, pinched look that told of a slow starvation, and cumulation of mental and physical suffering. Their clothes were in tatters, in many cases only held together by coarse strings. The pictures you have seen of bony, half-clad, famished men are no exaggeration. There was little cheering as they came under the old flag, but to every passer or spectator the pleadings of hunger. Crackers trampled in the mud, the old shoes and the cast-off clothing of contrabands even, were scrambled for as if they were gold. The wild, passionate greed of those men for food told a fearful story. It was the same story from all of months of shelterless exposure to winter storms, and of systematic starvation. May had been stripped of their own clothing, and had received in exchange the cast off garments of their captors, or nothing. I saw their daily ration, a piece of corn bread which one had hoarded as a relic of those miserable days. It was a cake less than two and a half inches across– a child would eat it at a single lunch, were it palatable. Yet this, with a morsel of meat, not one fourth at large, was all the daily allowance, week in and oat, to grown up, hungry men. It was deliberate, needless starvation; the system, only half supplied with fuel, feeding the life-fires on itself, till so weak that, if disease set in, there was no recuperation. I say needless, for there was no excuse for this cruelty by the rebels. They have always had a plentiful supply of the staples which form the prisoner’s ration– corn meal and bacon. And so, feeble and shivering, these poor men turned their faces home ward. Home! Even that word had little power to kindle dull eyes, and strengthen nerveless limbs. The wrongs of the months past could not be made right so easily. If ever I felt to like hating, cursing a fellow-being before as the authors of such a crime, I thought, as I often had, that any loss less than life were better than to fall into a rebel prison pen.” ~ a reporter for the Cleveland Leader.

Federal troops around Petersburg

Federal troops around Petersburg

February 25– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “The war is certainly drawing to a close and I am thankful to God for it, for although I love a soldier’s life, yet I love my home better and want peace.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 25– Saturday– Macon, Georgia– “I have never been a politician. You do not know me. I have been introduced to you and we have conversed together as Baptists. I live in the country, and I think I know the minds of the country people better than you do yourself. Many of your friends who live in cities and towns and have daily intercourse with military officers still retain a considerable war spirit, but that spirit is out in the county! I live in a district where there are now about sixty voters. There were than number present at our election lasts month for justices, and there were only four war men in the crowd, all the balance were Union men, ready and anxious to throw down arms on any terms that reconstruction could be obtained. One of the justices elected said that if the country people would all turn out, they could go and drive every government officer and newspaper editor out of Macon, and he pledged himself to raise 300 men in twenty-four hours for that purpose if required. I have suffered more from the war than many others. All of my property has been destroyed. I have had one son killed, and one maimed for life in battle, and I have three more sons now in the Confederate service, and never one of them away from their post without liberty. Yet all of them and myself think if we as a state would throw down our arms now, we would make a far better arrangement with the old government than if we try to hold out longer. Leave the sinking ship! The statement of the President’s hirelings, writing for the papers, all state falsehoods when they say that the armies are anxious still to fight. It is not true. The offices with high [station] and easy situations make these opinions and get up meetings and pass resolutions to that effect, without the knowledge and consent of nine-tenths of the privates in the army. And it is not the feeling of the people generally through the country. You cannot get the people to fight any more. They are going home as fast as they can get there. The country is full of deserters and almost every man in the community will feed them and keep them from being arrested. Stop it, my friend, stop it. All the enlightened world is against us, and God himself is against us!” ~ Letter from a local man to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown.

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia

February 26– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “There is much alarm on the streets. Orders have been given to prepare all the tobacco and cotton, which cannot be removed immediately, for destruction by fire. And it is generally believed that General A. P.Hill’s corps has marched away to North Carolina. This would leave some 25,000 men to defend Richmond and Petersburg, against, probably, 60,000. If Richmond be evacuated, most of the population will remain, not knowing whither to go.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 26– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the Andersonville prison camp Commander Henry Wirz writes to a Confederate official in Richmond that many of the prisoners are performing valuable duties on the post, but have no shoes. He requests permission to purchase either shoes or the leather to make them, as some of the inmates are cobblers by trade.

hands of an elderly slave

hands of an elderly slave

February 26– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “Flora and the captain have returned to Gopher Hill, whither Metta, Mecca, and I are invited to follow on Friday, when sister goes up to Macon. Jimmy Callaway and his father have just come from Washington with such glowing accounts of the excitement and gaiety there that I am distracted to go back home. If father don’t write for us to come soon, I think we will go to Chunnenuggee by way of Eufaula and the Chattahoochee, and if Thomas’s raiders catch us over in Alabama, father will wish he had let us come home. After dinner I took Mecca over to the Praise House to hear the Negroes sing. I wish I was an artist so that I could draw a picture of the scene. Alfred, one of the chief singers, is a gigantic creature, more like an ape than a man. I have seen pictures of African savages in books of travel that were just like him. His hands and feet are so huge that it looks as if their weight would crush the heads of the little p***********when he pats them; yet, with all this strength, they say he is a great coward, and one of the most docile Negroes on the plantation. The women, when they get excited with the singing, shut their eyes and rock themselves back and forth, clapping their hands . . . . Old Bob and Jim are the preachers, and very good old darkies they are, in spite of their religion. But the chief personages on the plantation are old Granny Mimey, old Uncle Wally, and Uncle Setley, who are all superannuated and privileged characters. I tell sister that Uncle Wally has nothing to do, and Uncle Setley to help him. The latter is very deaf, and half crazy, but harmless. I am a special favorite of Uncle Wally’s. We have a chat every morning when he passes through the back yard on his way to the cowpen. The other day he said to me: ‘You is de putties lady ever I seed; you looks jes like one er dese here alablaster dolls.’ We walked to the bluff on the river bank, after leaving the quarter, and sat there a long time talking. Spring is here in earnest. The yellow jessamine are bursting into bloom, and the air is fragrant with the wild crab apples.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

interior of a slave cabin

interior of a slave cabin

Fighting Can Never End This War ~ February 1865 ~ 23rd to 24th

Fighting Can Never End this War ~ the Georgia state legislature

federal ambulances

Continuing with a veiled degree of animosity toward the government in Richmond, the Georgia legislature calls for a negotiated settlement to end the war and reaffirms the doctrine of states’ rights. The Confederate Congress defeats the bill to enlist slaves in the Confederate army. In Missouri the new governor outlines a peaceful and prosperous future and calls for an end to party politics. George Whitman is free and arrives in Union territory.

13th_Amendment_Pg1of1_AC

February 23– Thursday– St Paul, Minnesota– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 23– Thursday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Yesterday was [George] Washington’s birthday and we celebrated in fine style.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “It is rather mortifying to the people of Virginia to find that Mr. Joseph Segar, their representative to the United States Senate, has been denied a seat in that august body by a very decisive vote taken upon his ‘credentials.’ The rejection appears to be based upon the fact that Virginia is ‘a State in armed rebellion’– a little circumstance that probably Mr. Segar, in his hurry to take the boat for [ Washington ] had overlooked. Mr. Charles Sumner, a citizen of Massachusetts, who is more fortunate than Mr. Segar in occupying a seat in the Federal Senate, took a very sensible view of the matter. He could not see– what nobody else can see– the propriety of a Virginia representative in a Yankee Senate. He said: ‘It will be the duty of the committee to consider, in the first place, whether a State in armed rebellion, like Virginia, can have Senators on this floor. That is a great question — constitutional, political and practical. It will be their duty, then, in the second place, to inquire whether the gentleman whose credentials have been presented has been chosen legally, under the Constitution of the United States, by any State. I do not intend to prejudge either of these questions. I simply offer them for the consideration of the Senate; but I do insist that a measure of this importance shall not be acted on without due consideration or in absolute indifference to those facts which now stare us in the face, glaring upon us every day in every newspaper that we read. You cannot be insensible to facts. It is in vain that Senators say that Virginia, now at war against the Union, is entitled to representation on this floor, when you have before you the inexorable fact that the greater part of the State is at this moment in the possession of an armed rebellion– when you have before you the other fact, filling almost all the newspapers in the land, that the body of men who have undertaken to send a Senator to Congress are a little more than the Common Council of Alexandria. And you have that question distinctly presented to you whether a representative of the Common Council of Alexandria is to enter this chamber and share the same powers and privileges with my honorable friends, the Senators from New York and Pennsylvania. I merely open these points without now undertaking to decide, and simply as an unanswerable argument in favor of the reference to the committee.’” ~ Richmond Daily Dispatch. [Segar, 1804 to 1880, a lawyer and state politician from Hampton, Virginia, had remained loyal to the Union but the investigating committee will deny him permission to be seated in the U S Senate.]

Joseph Segar

Joseph Segar

February 23– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “Whereas, It is believed that a majority of the people of Georgia desire that a Convention be called to consider the condition of the country and to devise ways and to initiate measures which will result in opening negotiations, by which an honorable peace may be obtained between the Confederate States and the United States, Resolved 1st, That in the opinion of this General Assembly that, with the resources of the Confederate States, it is in their power to prolong this war for an indefinite number of years, and that the State of Georgia ought to, and will, reject the late ultimatum of President Lincoln to the Commissioners of the Confederate States. That whilst this is our stern determination, yet we believe that if the subject is approached in the proper spirit by negotiations, peace may be obtained. If, however, we shall fail, we will have the proud satisfaction of knowing that we have exhausted the argument, and the people of the State of Georgia will stand united as one man prepared to win by our arms the just measures of our rights, or fill patriots’ graves. Resolved 2nd, That this General Assembly pledges the entire resources of the State for the prosecution of the war until an honorable peace can be obtained; but in our opinion fighting can never end this war, and we desire to withdraw as far as practicable the questions at issue from the arbitrament of the sword, and refer the same to the umpire of reason. With a view to this end, Resolved 3rd, That an election for delegates to a Convention be held on the 20th day of March next, which Convention shall assemble at Macon on the 15th day of April next. That each county shall be entitled to send two delegates. That each voter shall endorse on his ticket Convention or No Convention If a majority of the voters shall say No Convention, then said Convention shall not be held, but if a majority shall endorse Convention, then said Convention shall assemble at the time and place hereinbefore stated. That in those counties having no mail or railroad facilities, it shall be the duty of the Justices of the Inferior Courts to forward the returns by special couriers, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to make the result known by proclamation so soon as the result is ascertained.” ~ Resolutions passed by the Georgia state legislature.

infantry charge

February 24– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The new Governor of Missouri, Thomas C. Fletcher, is the man for the times. We have read with intense interest and complete satisfaction his inaugural Message, delivered on the 2nd of January. It as of the true radical grit, and thoroughly loyal, of course. A radical hater of slavery is, from the very nature of things, loyal, and a radical hater of slavery-engendered rebellion. With the incoming of the new State Administration at the head of which stands Governor Fletcher, a near era of prosperity, happiness, and honor for Missouri has commenced. We like the Governor’s Inaugural so well, that we cannot forbear letting our readers have the privilege of sharing in our satisfaction by perusing the following passage, which is all aglow with the holy enthusiasm of Liberty: ‘In the name of Truth, of Justice, of Freedom, and of Progress, God has permitted us a political triumph, bringing with it toe solemn responsibility of promoting those great principles by an enforcement of the fundamental law for securing the peace, happiness and prosperity of the people of the State. Through the blood and fire of a civil war, we have attained to a new era, effulgent with the glory of the decree of the people, In their sovereign capacity, emancipating themselves from servitude to principles and policies which have weighed down their energies, opposed barriers to their progress, and armed the hand of treason for shedding of patriot blood. . . . Let it be announced that, in the new era which has come, ours is to be the first of States, with the largest freedom and the widest charities. Let ours be a State where, with the administration of inflexible justice, the abandonment of mere partyisms, and the domination of industrial politics, all the advancements of statute law progress towards combining labor and capital, rather than placing them in the cruel antagonisms of the past; where the light of hope is shut out by the fundamental law from no human being, of whatever race, creed or color, but where a free people heeding the stroke of inevitable destiny on the horology of time in the great crisis of changeful progress guards the right of permitting the position and privileges of every man to be such as his virtues, talents, education, patriotism, enterprise, industry, courage or achievements may confer upon him. The victorious armies of the Republic are with deadly thrusts piercing the enemy on every side. The giant rebellion, bleeding at every pore, begins to reel and faint. Our Sherman, with his veteran braves, stands on the ocean’s beach, gazes back at the last deep mortal wound inflicted, and awaits only to see if another is necessary. The legions of Grant, Butler, Sheridan, Thomas and Canby are rushing on to complete the work; the coming spring time will bring the final blow, and amid the battle cry of freedom, the death of rebellion will be consummated, and blessed peace once more breathe its benisons over the land.’” ~ The Liberator. [Fletcher, age 38, Missouri-born, is a lawyer and Union officer. Because of his distinguished military service, the Republicans nominated him for governor, which he won by a large majority. He serves as governor from January, 1865 to January, 1869. Eventually, he will move to Washington, D.C. to practice law and dies there March 15, 1899.]

Thomas C. Fletcher, Governor of Missouri

Thomas C. Fletcher, Governor of Missouri

February 24– Friday– Anapolis, Maryland– “I arrived here yesterday from the Hotel De Libby [Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia] and if ever a poor devil was glad to get in a Christian Country it was me. I am perfectly well Mother although I am in the Hospital Buildings, and am not under Medical treatment. The reason that I am quartered here is that the Hotels and Boarding Houses in town are crammed full, I stay here for one dollar and a half a day while the Hotels charge three or four dollars and we are just as comfortable as I want to be. I drew 2 months pay to day and bought a new suit of clothes and now I feel something like a white man. I made an application this morning for a leave of absence for 30 days and I expect to be home in the course of 3 or 4 days. We left Danville on the 19th of this Month and stopped in Richmond until the morning of the 22nd. On our arrival at Richmond I found 2 boxes filled with Clothing and grub for me and the way we went into the eatables while we were in Libby was a caution. Mother I am very anxious indeed to hear from you all and wish you get to write or Telegraph to me (as soon (as you get this) as possibly I may get it if you write before I leave here. I have lots of yarns to tell you Mother but will wait until I get home as I can’t do justice to the darn Rebs, in a letter. You cant imagine how I want to see you and Mattie and the children and all the rest.” ~ Letter from George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Louisa Whitman

Louisa Whitman

February 24– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained all day yesterday; cloudy and cool this morning. We have no news– only rumors that Wilmington has been abandoned . . . . Yesterday the Senate voted down the bill to put 200,000 Negroes in the army. The papers to-day contain a letter from General Lee, advocating the measure as a necessity. Mr. Hunter’s vote defeated it. He has many Negroes, and will probably lose them; but the loss of popularity, and fear of forfeiting all chance of the succession, may have operated on him as a politician. What madness!” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 24– Friday– Charlotte, North Carolina– “The fact is my darling we are retreating without fighting & Sherman is, in fact now marching through South Carolina as easily as he did through Georgia. I rejoined the command on Monday as I told you I would. & the next day threw up breastworks for the protection of Columbia. Kept in the ditches that night raining & freezing as it fell. All next day Wednesday was occupied in strengthening our works, we were on the right. Some skirmishing all day on the left. Sherman to save ammunition would not press on but moved up across the Saluda river, thereby causing us to fall back across the Congarce which was done Wednesday night & the long bridge burned. Thursday the Yankees kept moving up the river all day in plain view from Columbia. Slight skirmishing was kept up all day across the river. The Yankees very sparing of ammunition could not resist the temptation of firing a few shells at the new capitol 3 of which struck the end towards the river defacing it very little. All knew the place was to be evacuated the next morning & the stores were rapidly being plundered by soldiers & citizens. Words cannot describe my feelings at seeing Ladies and children running about wild with excitement & fear, ringing their hands & crying. There was not a man but gripped his sabre tighter & felt more than ever determined never to give up this struggle till liberty or death be our lot. Friday night the Yankees destroyed by fire 3/4 of the city. Prisoners say it was accidental but we can believe as much of that as we please.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington King to his wife Bessie.

federal canon

February 24– Friday– Macon, Georgia– “The General Assembly of the State of Georgia do Resolve, 1. That the independence of the Confederate States of America, as based upon the constitutional compact between the sovereign States composing the Confederacy, and maintained through nearly four years of gigantic war, justly claims from their former associates and from the world, its recognition as a rightful fact. 2. That all the States which composed the late American Union, as well those embraced within the present United States as those embraced within the Southern Confederacy, are what the original thirteen States were declared to be by their common ancestors of 1776 and acknowledged to be by George the Third, of England independent and sovereign States: not as one political community, but as States, each one of them constituting such a people as have the inalienable right to terminate any government of their former choice by withdrawing from it their consent; just as the original thirteen States through their common agent acting for, and in the name of each of one them, by the withdrawal of their consent, put a rightful termination to the British government which had been established over them with their perfect consent and free choice. 3. Resolved, That in the judgment of this General Assembly the sovereignty of the individual and several States is the only basis upon which permanent peace between the States now at war with each other can be established consistently with the preservation of constitutional liberty; and that the recognition of this principle, if the voice of passion and war can once be hushed, and reason be allowed to resume her sway, will lead to an easy and lasting solution of all matters of controversy involved in the present unnatural war, by simply leaving all the States free to form their political associations with one another, not by force of arms which excludes the idea of consent, but by a rational consideration of their respective interests, growing out of their condition, resources and situation. 4. Resolved, That we do spurn with indignation the terms on which the President of the United States has proposed peace to the people of the Confederate States; and that Georgia pledges herself to her sister States to use constitutionally all the resources which Providence has placed in her power for the maintenance of the principles herein announced, the security of our rights and in maintaining the independence and sovereignty of these States. 5. Resolved, That whilst we spurn with indignation the terms on which the President of the United States has offered peace to the people of the Confederate States; and whilst Georgia renews her pledges to use constitutionally her resources for the attainment of an honorable peace upon the principles herein laid down; we appeal from the terms offered by President Lincoln to the reason and justice of all friends of constitutional liberty wherever found. And that we echo a hearty response to the proposition for an armistice and the withdrawal of the decision of this question from the arbitrament of the sword to the forum of reason and justice. 6. Resolved, That the freedom with which President Davis has received even unofficial Commissioners from the United States, his ready response to unofficial invitations to send Commissioners, the wise and discreet choice of persons made by him commands our highest admiration and is proof conclusive of an honest and sincere desire to withdraw the decision of the questions involved, from the arbitrament of the sword to the forum of reason and justice. 7. Resolved, That our profoundest gratitude is due to our soldiers who on many a bloody battle-field have illustrated their State by deeds of heroic valor, and that while we look to them with pride and confidence we will see that their efforts are generously sustained and that the amplest resources of the State are applied for the support and comfort of their families at home. 8. Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded by His Excellency the Governor to the President of the Confederate States, to our Senators and Representatives in the Confederate Congress, and to the Governors of the several independent States.”

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia

February 24– Friday– Dooly County, Georgia– “Last evening I was most agreeable surprised by the reception of your most interesting letter of the 4th instant. Having heard that communications were cut off, I greatly feared a long time would elapse before I would again have the happy pleasure of hearing from you. I was almost afraid to expect a letter, lest I should be disappointed; but I’m truly glad my supposition was wrong, that Sherman had not accomplished that which he so much desires, and I so hope he may never be permitted to destroy effectually the communication. Well something else now. I’m truly glad you arrived safely in camps with your boxes. You certainly had a most disagreeable trip. Soldiers going from here won’t carry anything back for their friends, owing to the conditions of the roads. I know it must be very troublesome to carry boxes through, but of course one hates to refuse knowing how much they appreciate such a favor from others. The people seem to very uneasy about the condition of General Lee’s army, lest it should suffer for provisions. We cannot hear any news from South Carolina whatever. The movements of the two armies are kept secret for some purpose. I hope Sherman will get a good whipping whenever he makes an attack.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer, her fiancé.

Sherman Is Proving Himself a Great General ~ February 1865 ~ 21st to 22nd

Sherman Is Proving Himself a Great General ~ Gideon Welles

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

Lincoln’s government is pleased with General Sherman as his troops march through South Carolina, more hindered by rainy weather than by strong defense from Confederate soldiers. The Georgia legislature shows signs of contention with the government in Richmond, particularly disagreeing with the idea of drafting slaves into the army. Food supplies are so short in some Southern places that soldiers steal flour for local women to use.

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February 21– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We learn from citizens of Wayne county who arrived yesterday, that a few days ago a guerrilla murder was committed at Ceredo, on the Ohio river in that county. It appears that a gang of men, under command of the notorious Bill Smith, came down to Ceredo and entered the house of Jack Meadows, a citizen, shot him through the heart, drove his wife and children out of doors, and set fire to the premises. Mrs. Meadows who was fortunately armed with a revolver, shot one of the guerrillas dead and seriously wounded another, but not until one of her legs had been broken by a blow with a gun in the hands of one of the rebels. The rebels having completely destroyed the house of Mr. Meadows, with all its contents, fled to their hiding places, leading their dead companion unburied. Mrs. Meadows and her children were taken to Catlettsburg, Kentucky where she still remains.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

February 21– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “We have made great progress in the Rebel War within a brief period. Charleston and Columbia have come into our possession without any hard fighting. The brag and bluster, the threats and defiance which have been for thirty years the mental aliment of South Carolina prove impotent and ridiculous. They have displayed a talking courage, a manufactured bravery, but no more, and I think not so much inherent heroism as others. Their fulminations that their cities would be Saragossas were mere gasconade, their Pinckneys and McGrawths and others were blatant political partisans. General Sherman is proving himself a great general, and his movements from Chattanooga to the present demonstrate his ability as an officer. He has, undoubtedly, greater resources, a more prolific mind, than Grant, and perhaps as much tenacity if less cunning and selfishness. In Congress there is a wild, radical element in regard to the rebellious States and people. They are to be treated by a radical Congress as no longer States, but Territories without rights, and must have a new birth or creation by permission of Congress. These are the mistaken theories and schemes of Chase, perhaps in conjunction with others.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

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February 21– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “We are having delightful weather and quite warm . . . . We have today glorious news– the fall of Charleston. Salutes have been fired along the entire line and the troops have cheered themselves hoarse. Thank God for the victory, for I hope it will help to end the war. The enemy still continues to desert to our lines. Last night ten came. They all tell the same story– that the Southern cause is hopeless. I begin to feel that the war is really drawing to a close, but we shall have some severe fighting yet.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 21– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Another bright and glorious morning. Charleston fell on Thursday night last. A large number of heavy guns fell into the hands of the enemy. The confidential telegraph operators remained with the enemy. They were Northern men; but it is the policy of those in possession of this government to trust their enemies and neglect their friends. . . . The Negro bill also passed one House [of Congress], and will pass the other to-day. . . . These measures may come too late. The enemy is inclosing us on all sides with great vigor and rapidity. A victory by Beauregard would lift up the hearts of the people, now prone in the dust.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 21– Tuesday– Winnsborough, South Carolina– “A rebel woman set fire to her store filled with cotton and destroyed two or three blocks before the troops entered. The Fourteenth Corps entering first put out the fire and appropriated the large amount of supplies found there.” ~ Diary of an officer serving with Union General Oliver O. Howard.

civilians fleeing before Sherman's advance

civilians fleeing before Sherman’s advance

February 21– Tuesday– Macon, Georgia– “1st. Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, That the struggle in which we have been engaged for the last four years involves not only the domestic institutions of the South, but the rights of self government and State Sovereignty, in which every State of this Confederacy as well as each State of the North, is most deeply interested; to maintain political equality and the sovereignty of the States should be an object demanding the greatest public sacrifice. 2nd, Resolved, That we do spurn with indignation due to so gross an insult, the terms on which the President of the United States has proffered peace to the people of the Confederate States. 3rd, Resolved, That the freedom with which the President [Jeff Davis] has received even unofficial commissioners from the United States, his ready response to unofficial invitations to send commissioners, and the wise and discreet choice of persons made by him, commands our highest admiration, and is proof conclusive to the world of an honest and sincere desire to adjust the differences between the two nations, and put an end to this bloody strife. 4th, Resolved, That burying all past differences of opinion as to the origin and conduct of the war, we intend to take nothing but our absolute independence, and to accomplish this Georgia pledges herself to use all the resources which Providence has placed in her power, humbly relying upon divine assistance in the defense of all that is dear to freemen. 5th, Resolved, Though having lately passed through an ordeal of blood and trial, Georgia renews her pledges to her sister States to stand by them with her army and treasury until independence is achieved and liberty won. 6th, Resolved, That our  profoundest gratitude is due to her soldiers, who on many a bloody battle field have illustrated their State by deeds of heroic valor, and that while we look to them with pride and confidence, we will see to it that their efforts are generously sustained, and that the amplest resources of the State are applied for the support and comfort of their families at home. 7th Resolved, That His Excellency the Governor, be requested to transmit a copy of the resolutions to the President of the Confederate States, the Governors of the several independent States, and to our Senators and Representatives in Congress.”

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February 21– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “A letter from Mecca Joyner, saying she is coming to make me a visit, and I must meet her in Albany on Wednesday. Just as I had finished reading it a buggy drove up with Flora Maxwell and Captain Rust, from Gopher Hill. Flora has a great reputation for beauty, but I think her even more fascinating and elegant than beautiful. Captain Rust is an exile from Delaware, and a very nice old gentleman, whom the Maxwells think a great deal of. He was banished for helping Southern prisoners to escape across the lines. He tells me that he sometimes had as many as fourteen rebels concealed in his house at one time.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

February 21– Tuesday– Paris, France– The painter Constant Troyon dies at 54 years of age.

Cattle Drinking by Troyon

Cattle Drinking by Troyon

February 21– Tuesday– Melbourne, Victoria, Australia– A Royal Commission into the origin and nature of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (a cattle disease) presents its final report to the Parliament of Victoria.

February 22– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “As your life has been faithfully devoted to the cause of humanity, the abolition of slavery and the welfare of the freedman, I am sure you will be interested in all facts and questions relating to the condition of those in any part of the country whom the rebellion has made free. I went from Ohio to New Orleans in the summer of 1863, and since, then, most of the time, have resided there, participating in and observing the effect of the new order of things which the slaveholders’ war has inaugurated. From what I have seen in Northern papers, I think the true condition and relation of those who were formerly slaves, in the State of Louisiana, have not been fully understood. . . . Slavery, I trust, is forever abolished in Louisiana; and if, in the future, her lawgivers secure equal rights to all her citizens; her fertile lands and genial climate, producing figs, rice, corn, tobacco, sugar and cotton; her orange groves, bending and yellow with ripening fruit; and her thousands of miles of navigable rivers and bayous, furnishing ample, cheap, convenient and expeditions means of conveying the products of her soil to market, will invite capital and labor from every civilized country and clime. She will then learn to her advantage that ‘righteousness exalteth’ a State. But if, in the future as in the past, a majority of her laborers are oppressed and disfranchised, she will learn, at her cost that injustice ‘is a reproach to any people.’” ~ Letter from John Hutchins to William Lloyd Garrison.

February 22– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– General Robert E. Lee, now commander of all Confederate armies, issues Special Order No. 3, naming General Joseph E. Johnston commander the Army of Tennessee and of all troops in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Privately, Lee telegraphs Johnston with instructions: “Concentrate all available forces and drive back Sherman.” Quickly, Johnston telegraphs back: “It is too late to expect me to concentrate troops capable of driving back Sherman. The remnant of the Army of Tennessee is much divided. So are other troops. Is any discretion allowed me? I have no staff.”

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

February 22– Wednesday– Frankfort, Kentucky– The legislature rejects the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 22– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– The state adopts a new state constitution which includes a prohibition of slavery.

February 22– Wednesday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “Some Yanks came– wanting milk– they said. I met them at the backdoor, spoke pleasantly but held the door knob in my hand. I saw they were preparing to come in but I did not invite them and bolting the door, directed them to [a slave] Mammy’s house to get the milk. They went-dreadfully dissatisfied and grumbled to the servants [slaves] that I had not asked them to come in the house. They were gentlemen, had been raised, never had been in any place before but what they were asked in the house, if they had been officers she would have asked them in, if they had been secesh etc. etc. etc., until Mammy and Puss [both slaves] said they thought both were born fools. The servants [slaves] told them I never asked soldiers in the house soldiers did not expect it and have no right to expect it—they usually come to get something and if I had it I gave it and they went away—if they expected to be invited in they mostly come with some friend to introduce them etc. etc. Finally they commenced about killing chickens, the Negroes got them out to if—then they wanted milk which was brought—then walnuts—these also were furnished—some wanted bread and this was handed over also—then they went off after examining all the outhouses, etc. carefully—for what I do not know. Just as dinner was on the table and we sitting down to it here they came again—whiz! Bang! Went the rocks everywhere. They were after the chickens, and they carried them off in triumph. Not all satisfied however, for they came back 3 times after more but failed to catch them. Mammy was so mad she was fit to fly and Puss was quite as much exasperated.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

February 22– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– “Whereas, We are informed that the Confederate Government contemplates and are making efforts, to enlist in the military service of the Confederate States, the male slaves of the State, within certain ages, first paying the owners their value, and then setting them free at the end of the war. 1st. Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of Georgia, That it is our opinion, that this measure if carried out, will be a violation of the Constitution of the Confederate States. 2nd. Resolved, That independent of the constitutional difficulty, in the opinion of this General Assembly, the policy of employing this class of persons in the army, will be pre-judicial in the extreme and will result in the destruction of the slave interest of the South, as well as the ruin of our army. 3rd. Resolved, That the Governor of Georgia, be requested to transmit a copy of these resolutions to the President of the Confederate States, and to the Governors of each of the Confederate States.”

February 22– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “We understand that some soldiers belonging to [Confederate General] Hood’s army, at home on furlough, made a ‘raid’ on the Commissary store in Hartwell last Thursday, and helped themselves to what they wanted. They afterwards went to McMullen’s mill, where the Government grain was ground, and distributed to about fifty females a sack of flour each.” ~ The Southern Banner.

February 22– Wednesday– Albany, Georgia– “I . . . brought Mecca Joyner and Jim Chiles home with me. I took dinner with Mrs. Sims and met several friends, whom I invited to our picnic. Sister had a large company to spend the evening, and they stayed so late that I grew very sleepy. I am all upset, anyway, for letters from home have come advising us to stay here for the present, where there is plenty to eat, and less danger from Yankees now, than almost anywhere else. It must be perversity, for when I thought I had to go home I wanted to stay here, and now that father wants me to stay, I am wild to go. I have written him that he had better order me back home, for then I would not care so much about going. Now that the Yanks have passed by Augusta and are making their way to Columbia and Charleston, I hope they will give Georgia a rest.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

Invoking the Favor & Guidance of Almighty God ~ February 1865~ 18th to 20th

Invoking the Favor and Guidance of Almighty God ~ Jeff Davis

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Seeking relief from numerous setbacks, President Davis issues a call for a day of prayer and fasting throughout the Confederacy. General Lee asks Congress to authorize the use of slaves as soldiers in the Confederate army. Even government employees in Richmond worry that it may be too late for survival of the rebellion. In South Carolina, Charleston is occupied and additional damage inflicted upon Columbia. Union General Howard issues orders for his troops to guard and guide the increasing number of escaped slaves who are following the Federal forces and he instructs officers to stop soldiers from looting and vandalism. Canada moves toward the creation of the modern nation we know.

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February 18– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Proclamation by the President, appointing a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, with thanksgiving. ‘The Congress of the Confederate States have, by a joint resolution, invited me to appoint a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer, with thanksgiving to Almighty God. It is our solemn duty, at all times, and more especially in a season of public trial and adversity, to acknowledge our dependence on His mercy, and to bow in humble submission before His footstool confessing our manifold sins, supplicating His gracious pardon imploring His Divine help, and devoutly rendering thanks for the many and great blessings which He has vouchsafed to us. Let the hearts of our people turn contritely and trustfully unto God; let us recognize in His chartering hand the correction of a Father, and submissively pray that the trials and sufferings which have so long borne heavily upon us may be turned away by His merciful love; that His sustaining grace be given to our people, and His divine wisdom imparted to our rulers; that the Lord of Hosts will be with our armies, and fight for us against our enemies; and that He will gratuitously take our cause into His own hand and mercifully establish for us a lasting, just and honorable peace and independence. And let us not forget to render unto His holy name the thanks and praise which are so justly due for His great goodness, and for the many mercies which He has extended to us amid the trials and sufferings of protracted and bloody war. Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this my proclamation, appointing Friday, the fifth day of March next, as a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer, (with thanksgiving,) for invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, and I do earnestly invite all soldiers and citizens to observe the same in a spirit of reverence, penitence and prayer.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

President Jeff Davis

President Jeff Davis

February 18– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “With reference to the employment of Negroes as soldiers, I think the measure not only expedient, but necessary. The enemy will certainly use them against us if he gets possession of them. As his present numerical superiority will enable him to penetrate many parts of the country, I can’t see the wisdom of the policy of holding them to await his arrival, when we may, by timely action and judicious management, use them to arrest his progress. I do not think that our white population can supply the necessities of a long war without overtaxing its capacity, and imposing great suffering on our people; and I believe we should provide for a protracted struggle, not merely for a battle or a campaign. . . . I can only say that, in my opinion, the Negroes, under proper circumstances, will make efficient soldiers. I think we could do at least as well with them as the enemy, who attaches great importance to their assistance. Under good officers and good instructions, I do not see why they should not become soldiers. They possess all the physical qualities, and their habits of obedience constitute good foundation for discipline. They furnish more promising material than many armies of which we read in history, which owe their efficiency to discipline alone. I think those who are employed should be freed. It would be neither just nor wise, in my opinion, to require them to remain as slaves. The course to pursue, it seems to me, would be to call for such as are willing to come, with the consent of their owners. An impressment or draft would not be likely to bring out that class, and this course would make the war more distasteful to them and their owners. I have no doubt that if Congress would authorize their reception into the service, and empower the President to call upon individuals or States for such as are willing to contribute, with the condition of emancipation to all enrolled, a sufficient number would be forthcoming to enable us to try the experiment. If it should prove successful, most of the objections to the measure would disappear; and if individuals still remained unwilling to send their Negroes to the army, the force of public opinion in the States would soon bring about such legislation as would remove all obstructions. I think the matter should be left, as far as possible, to the people and to the States, which alone can legislate as the necessities of this particular service may require. As to the mode of organizing them, it should be left as free from restraint as possible. Experience will suggest the best course. It would be inexpedient to trammel the subject with provisions that might, in the end, prevent the adoption of reforms suggested by actual trial.” ~ Message from Confederate General Robert E Lee to the Confederate Congress.

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

February 18 – Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained last night; but this is as lovely a morning as ever dawned on earth. A gentle southern breeze, a cloudless sky, and a glorious morning sun, whose genial warmth dispels the moisture of the late showers in smoky vapors. But how dark and dismal the aspect of our military affairs! Columbia fallen and Charleston (of course) evacuated. My wife wept, my daughter prayed, upon hearing the news. South Carolina was superior to all the States in the estimation of my wife, and she regarded it as the last stronghold. Now she despairs, and seems reckless of whatever else may happen in Sherman’s career of conquest.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 18– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The city of Charleston and its defenses came into our possession this morning, with over 200 pieces of good artillery and a supply of fine ammunition. The enemy commenced evacuating all the works last night, and Mayor Macbeth surrendered the city to the troops of General Schimmelfennig at 9 o’clock this morning, at which time it was occupied by our forces.” ~ Message from Union General Quincy Gillmore to the War Department in Washington, D.C.

United States Colored Troops marching through Charleston

United States Colored Troops marching through Charleston

February 19– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– ” Another bright and glorious morning. I hear of no news whatever from the South– although I know that important events are transpiring– and the reticence of the government is construed very unfavorably. Hence if Beauregard has fought a battle, it is to be apprehended that he did not gain the day; and if this be so, South Carolina lies at the conqueror’s feet.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 19– Sunday– Columbia, South Carolina– Before moving on, Sherman’s Federal troops destroy any and all remaining industrial buildings and railroads.

February 19– Sunday– Columbia, South Carolina– “Major [William H.] Reynolds, Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, is hereby assigned to the command of all escaped Union officers and soldiers [who had just been freed from Confederate prison camps in the area], and will also take charge of all refugees [escaping slaves] and their conveyances accompanying the army. These officers and soldiers will move with the refugee train as an escort, and from them will be organized a foraging party. One officer will be selected to act as quartermaster and commissary. The train will be assigned its position in the column from day to day. Major Reynolds will report to these headquarters for instructions.” ~ Order from Union General Oliver O Howard.

Union General Oliver O Howard

Union General Oliver O Howard

February 19– Sunday– Cahaba, Alabama– “It seems a long time since I heard from you or any of my connection. I am very anxious to hear from you all. I am still at Cahaba the same place when you heard from me last. I have not heard from you since last spring. I want to know what has become of you all. I have not heard from home since I was at your house. I have rote and rote and could get any anser. If you have ever heard any thing from my family, please don’t delay to let me know. It seems that I am way here cut off from my family and all my near relatives and can’t hear from them. I think hard and here I expect to have to remain, I can’t tell how long. God only knows. Duty is heavy. I am on guard every other day and night guarding Yankee prisoners. You all must wright [sic] to me. My health has been good ever since I saw you, with the exception of two weeks. I had chills. I will have to close as I have no more room.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to a family member.

February 20 – Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Another morning of blue skies and glorious sunshine. Sherman is reported to be marching northward, and to have progressed one-third of the way between Columbia and Charlotte, North Carolina . . . . Grant’s campaign seems developed at last. Sherman and Thomas will concentrate on his left, massing 200,000 men between Lee and his supplies, effectually cutting his communications by flanking with superior numbers. It is probable Charleston, Wilmington, and Richmond will fall without a battle; for how can they be held when the enemy stops supplies? and how could the garrisons escape when once cut off from the interior? And yet Congress has done nothing, and does nothing, but waste the precious time. I fear it is too late now!” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 20– Monday– moving north by north east from Columbia, South Carolina– “I desire to call your attention to the fact that some of our soldiers have been committing the most outrageous robberies of watches, jewelry, &c. A case has come to my notice where a watch and several articles of jewelry were stolen by a foraging party under the eye of the commissioned officer in charge. Another, where a brute had violently assaulted a lady by striking her, and had then robbed her of a valuable gold watch. In one instance money was stolen to the amount of $150, and another, where an officer with a foraging party had allowed his men to take rings off the fingers of ladies in his presence. To-day a soldier was found plundering, arrested, placed under the guard of one of General Corse’s orderlies, and was liberated by some of his comrades who had arms in their hands, and who threatened the life of the guard. These outrages must be stopped at all hazards, and the thieves and robbers who commit them be dealt with severely and summarily. I am inclined to think that there is a regularly organized banditti who commit these outrages and who share the spoils. I call upon you and upon all the officers and soldiers under you, who have one spark of honor or respect for the profession which they follow, to help me put down these infamous proceedings and to arrest the perpetrators. Please furnish to every inspector, provost-marshal, and officer in charge of a foraging party a copy of this letter, and enjoin them to be on the watch to stop these infamous proceedings, and to bring to justice the individuals who commit them.” ~ Orders from Union General Oliver O Howard.

February 20– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– Colonel R. D. Mussey of the United States Colored Troops reports to Andrew Johnson that there are 2600 children of former slaves enrolled in 11 schools in Tennessee.

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February 20– Monday– Quebec City, Quebec, Canada– The Legislature of the Province of Canada passes a motion in favor of Confederation.

Fight Rather Than Submit to Yankee Rule ~ February 1865 ~ 16th to 17th

Fight Ever Rather than Submit to Yankee Rule ~ Maggie Cone

Federal troops raise the U S flag after occupying Columbia South Carolina

Federal troops raise the U S flag after occupying Columbia South Carolina

A young Georgia woman and her soldier husband-to-be exchange letters on the same day, wondering if the other will receive it. She, much like other Southern women, is filled with worry but wants to fight on. In the Shenandoah Valley, another young women informs a mother about the death of her son. South Carolina trembles as Columbia surrenders and much of the city is devastated by fire while Confederate troops evacuate Charleston, the city where the opening shots of the war were fired in April of 1861. Three more states ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, raising the total to 16 of the 27 necessary for ratification and the constitutional abolition of slavery.

hospital wagon

hospital wagon

February 16– Thursday– Lincolnton, North Carolina– “A change has come o’er the spirit of my dream. Dear old quire of yellow, coarse, Confederate home-made paper, here you are again. An age of anxiety and suffering has passed over my head since last I wrote and wept over your forlorn pages. My ideas of those last days are confused. The Martins left Columbia the Friday before I did, and Mammy, the Negro woman, who had nursed them, refused to go with them. That daunted me. Then Mrs. Mc Cord, who was to send her girls with me, changed her mind. She sent them up-stairs in her house and actually took away the staircase ; that was her plan. . . . We thought that if the Negroes were ever so loyal to us, they could not protect me from an army bent upon sweeping us from the face of the earth, and if they tried to do so, so much the worse would it be for the poor things with their Yankee friends. I then left them to shift for themselves, as they are accustomed to do, and I took the same liberty. My husband does not care a fig for the property question, and never did. Perhaps, if he had ever known poverty, it would be different. He talked beautifully about it, as he always does about everything. . . . I took French leave of Columbia slipped away with out a word to anybody. Isaac Hayne and Mr. Chesnut came down to the Charlotte depot with me. Ellen, my [slave] maid, left her husband and only child, but she was willing to come, and, indeed, was very cheerful in her way of looking at it. . . . A woman, fifty years old at least, and uglier than she was old, sharply rebuked my husband for standing at the [railroad] car window for a last few words with me. She said rudely: ‘Stand aside, sir ! I want air !’ With his hat off, and his grand air, my husband bowed politely, and said: ‘In one moment, madam ; I have something important to say to my wife.’ She talked aloud and introduced herself to every man, claiming his protection. She had never traveled alone before in all her life. Old age and ugliness are protective in some cases. She was ardently patriotic for a while. Then she was joined by her friend, a man as crazy as herself to get out of this. From their talk I gleaned she had been for years in the Treasury Department. They were about to cross the lines. The whole idea was to get away from the trouble to come down here. They were Yankees, but were they not spies? Here I am broken-hearted and an exile. And in such a place! We have bare floors, and for a feather-bed, pine table, and two chairs I pay $30 a day. Such sheets ! But fortunately I have some of my own. . . . The Martins had seen my, to them, well-known traveling case as the hack trotted up Main Street, and they arrived at this juncture out of breath. We embraced and wept. I kept my room. The Fants are refugees here, too; they are Virginians, and have been in exile since the second battle of Manassas. Poor things ; they seem to have been everywhere, and seen and suffered everything. They even tried to go back to their own house, but found one chimney only standing alone ; even that had been taken possession of by a Yankee, who had written his name upon it. The day I left home I had packed a box of flour, sugar, rice, and coffee, but my husband would not let me bring it. He said I was coming to a land of plenty, unexplored North Carolina, where the foot of the Yankee marauder was unknown, and in Columbia they would need food. Now I have written for that box and many other things to be sent me by Lawrence [one of her household slaves], or I shall starve.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

February 16– Thursday– Columbia, South Carolina– Federal troops almost completely encircle the city as Confederate soldiers under General Beauregard retreat after Beauregard notifies General Lee that his outnumbered force is unable to defend the place.

February 16– Thursday– Albany, Georgia– “We started for . . . Mrs. Welsh’s party, soon after breakfast, but were a good deal delayed on the way by having to wait for a train of forty government wagons to pass. We found Mrs. Julia Butler at Mrs. Sims’s, straight from Washington [Georgia], with letters for us, and plenty of news. I feel anxious to get back now, since Washington is going to be such a center of interest. If the Yanks take Augusta, it will become the headquarters of the department. Mrs. Butler says a train of 300 wagons runs between there and Abbeville, and they are surveying a railroad route. Several regiments are stationed there and the town is alive with army officers and government officials. How strange all this seems for dear, quiet little Washington! It must be delightful there, with all those nice army officers. I am going back home as soon as I can decently change my mind. I have been at the rear all during the war, and now that I have a chance, I want to go to the front. I wish I could be here and there, too, at the same time.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

February 16– Thursday– Indianapolis, Indiana– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 16– Thursday–Baton Rouge, Louisiana– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 16– Thursday– Carson City, Nevada– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

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February 17– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Yesterday a man . . . having had some difficulty with the wife of his bosom, (who appears to have gently protested against his making a whisky keg of himself,) determined in an act of desperation, to go for a soldier, and started in the direction of the Provost Marshal’s office. The wife, suspecting his design, started in pursuit, accompanied by young persuaders in the shape of as many flaxen haired little pledges of affection. The husband was overtaken on Fourth street. At first he declined to listen to the appeals of his wife, but at last the little ones climbed up his legs and tugged at his coat tails, when he melted and was led off captive as meek as was ever Captain Cuttle, mariner, in the custody of Mrs. Mc Stinger. A committeeman from one of the sub districts of the county said the woman ought to be arrested for discouraging enlistments.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

February 17– Friday– near Winchester, Virginia– “Yours of October 18th and December 10th only a few days ago were received – how they were smuggled through the lines I am not aware, but sincerely hope I may be able to get this through to you – yours were truly, truly welcome. . . . think not I should not have been so negligent as not to send you some message had I had but one moment of freedom that I could have written & sent the letter through, but you know we are in the thumb of tyrants that the penalty for receiving or sending letter through the lines if known to them is so severe, that no one is willing to risk carrying a letter & I have never had one safe opportunity that I could send you a long letter. . . . as soon as in my power I shall send you full particulars as far as I can of your dear son’s death. In this I will only answer your inquiries. Our Angel – our beloved dead – he died, I am told, in sight of my home, alone in an ambulance, insensible – he must have spoken after wounded, as the driver said he requested to be brought here. Oh! What comfort what consolation to us all had we only heard him speak, seen him breathe. He was I know prepared for the change, four nights before he fell, he was here, left the next day . . . right back into this battle. . . . he seemed in good spirits, cheerful, warning me to trust in God, to be cheerful & happy . . . . I received a few articles, taken from your son’s body, his own testament . . . also have some of his hair, his tobacco bags, pipe, a handkerchief , his money . . . . our great regret is that we were unable to purchase him a good coffin but it was impossible, hundreds of our dear soldiers – Colonels, Captains, officers of all rank – were wrapped in their blankets & placed low. Ma begged our undertaker to make as nice a one as possible, he says . . . were you able to pay me one thousand dollars, I could not make you one I have no material. Ma offered boards he made him a plain pine coffin not such as he deserved, but that was better than none at all, and many others had to sleep calmly in our private lot in the once beautiful home of our dead but oh it pains me so deeply to tell you, even it has been desecrated, almost ruined by our merciless foes that sacred spot was so beautiful. Perhaps someday we can again replace it & it rest undisturbed. . . . God may heal, but memory lives, the grave only can bury this my first deepest the one great sorrow of my life. I never can be perfectly happy again. I may smile, be seemingly happy, as far as the happiness of this world is concerned, for all is dark to be now there is no happiness here . . . . On the 19th I received a letter from Mac, written two hours before he fell, telling me he was near & hoped soon to be with me, at one o’clock his dead body was brought to my home . Had an only brother, an only son been brought in a corpse, the screams, the sorrow of my mother, sisters & all could not have been more terrible that day & night can never be forgotten. . . . your son . . . was buried as decently as was in our power to have him, you cannot regret more than me, that it could not have been otherwise . . . . May God bless, protect, heal your sorrows. Guide you all safely through Life.” ~ Letter from Maggie Heist to Martha Roadcap.

period graveyard

period graveyard

February 17– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas objects of interest to the United States require that the Senate should be convened at twelve o’clock on the Fourth of March next, to receive and act upon such communications as may be made to it on the part of the Executive: Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, have considered it to be my duty to issue this my Proclamation, declaring that an extraordinary occasion requires the Senate of the United States to convene for the transaction of business at the Capitol, in the city of Washington, on the Fourth day of March next, at twelve o’clock at noon on that day, of which all who shall at that time be entitled to act as members of that body, are hereby required to take notice.” ~ Proclamation issued by President Lincoln.

February 17– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia–”The sadness I feel now is inexpressible, and can be equaled only by the heart-rending pangs I suffered when I so recently parted with you in person. Never, except for a very short time, since the commencement of our correspondence, have we been deprived the inestimable privilege of regularly hearing from each other. Others have been debarred this priceless boon, almost during the whole of the present struggle. Now tis probable that we, too, are to be subject to a like fate, it does indeed render me sad and gloomy. Not that I think the separation will be for a great while or that absence and silence will conquer the love of either for the other; but because twill be so painful to be separated for however short a time. I have no hope whatever of receiving letters by soldiers at home on furlough. To surmount this difficulty, will you write me one more long, long letter, and enclose it in a letter to Sister Fannie, requesting her to forward it by some one coming on to the Army of Virginia? I will surely get it. This may be the last opportunity and you know not how anxious I am to hear from you once more. Sherman, contrary to my expectation, seems to be marching to Columbia [South Carolina]. If he is successful, all communication, by any means, will be effectively destroyed, for awhile at least. That he will be successful, I haven’t the least idea.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

February 17– Friday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Today I have been at work in charge of a detail of six hundred men at work on a fort called Fort Fisher which is built across the Weldon Rail Road. It rained all day and we worked in the mud water. This fort will be a strong one and, as it is in sight of the Rebels, we shall have music before it is finished.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 17– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– Anticipating the arrival of the large Federal force, Confederate troops evacuate the city.

February 17– Friday– Columbia, South Carolina– The city surrenders to Federal troops. In the night much of the city burns, whether deliberately set by Yankees or retreating rebels or freed slaves and prisoners or accidentally set on fire remains unclear. Two-thirds of the city is heavily damaged.

fire damage in Columbia

fire damage in Columbia

February 17– Friday– Dooly County, Georgia– “As I anticipated the detestable Yankees have cut the road at or near Branchville, but however slight may be the probability of your receiving a letter, I will write you. One week has elapsed since the road was interrupted, but I don’t know whether they still hold possession or not, as I haven’t seen a paper in several days, neither have I heard any late news from that point; though I hope the road has been repaired and communication is again open to Virginia. Since our Commissioners have returned and informed the people of the result of their interview with the Federal Commissioners, I hope now the urgent request ‘Send Commissioners to negotiate with the Federal Government’ will cease, and that such a dishonorable proposition for peace, will not have a discouraging effect upon our soldiers and the people at home, but to the contrary, will unite and inspire them with redoubled energy to fight on, fight ever, rather than submit to Yankee rule and oppression. I confess, I did hope some honorable proposition would be made that we could accept of though I didn’t hardly think there would be consequently I was not much disappointed.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé Alva Benjamin Spencer.

No uch Consent Can Ever Be Given ~ February 1865~ 15th to 16th

No Such Consent Can Ever Be Given

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The angry governor of Georgia calls on the state legislature for action as he verbally attacks the administration in Richmond and denies that the Confederacy can legally take slaves into the army. A Tennessee newspaper observes the reticence of white people to see black soldiers in the Union army. Heavy fighting continues in South Carolina. A Richmond newspaper sarcastically criticizes civilians who claim to know better than generals. A friend of Walt Whitman prepares a box to send to Whitman’s brother George in a Southern prison camp. Neither Whitman nor his friend yet know that George has been released and is arriving at Anapolis Maryland.

Federal cavalry

Federal cavalry

February 15– Wednesday– Congree Creek, South Carolina; Savannah Creek, South Carolina; Bate’s Ferry, South Carolina; Red Bank Creek, South Carolina; near Lexington, South Carolina– Heavy skirmishing fails to stop the Federal advance.

Macon, Georgia~ circa 1900

Macon, Georgia~ circa 1900

February 15– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– “Since your adjournment in November, the army of invasion, led by a bold and skillful General, have passed through our State, laid waste our fields, burned many dwelling houses, destroyed county records, applied the torch to [cotton] gin-houses, cotton, and other property, occupied and desecrated the capitol, and now hold the city of Savannah, which gives them a water base from which they may in future operate upon the interior of the State. The army of Tennessee, which contained a large number of Georgia troops, and was relied on as the only barrier to Sherman’s advance, the removal of which left Georgia at the mercy of the enemy, was ordered off beyond the Tennessee river upon a campaign which has terminated in disaster. In the midst of these misfortunes Georgia has been taunted by some of the public journals of other States because her people did not drive back and destroy the army of the enemy. Those who do us this injustice fail to state the well known fact that of all the tens of thousands of veteran infantry, including most of the vigor and manhood of the State, which she had furnished for Confederate service, but a single regiment (the Georgia Regulars,) of about three hundred effective men, was permitted to be upon her soil during the march of General Sherman from her North-western border to the city of Savannah; and even that gallant regiment was kept upon one of our islands most of the time; and not permitted to unite with those who met the enemy. Nor were the places of our absent sons filled by troops from other States. . . . The administration, by its unfortunate policy having wasted our strength and reduced our armies, and being unable to get freemen into the field as conscripts, and unwilling to accept them in organizations with officers of their own choice, will, it is believed, soon resort to the policy of filling them up by the conscription of slaves. I am satisfied that we may profitably use slave labor, so far as it can be spared from agriculture, to do menial service in connection with the army, and thereby enable more free white men to take up arms; but I am quite sure any attempt to arm the slaves will be a great error. If we expect to continue the war successfully, we are obliged to have the labor of most of them in the production of provisions. But if this difficulty were surmounted, we can not rely upon them as soldiers. They are now quietly serving us at home, because they do not wish to go into the army, and they fear, if they leave us, the enemy will put them there. If we compel them to take up arms, their whole feeling and conduct will change, and they will leave us by thousands. A single proclamation by President Lincoln that all who will desert us after they are forced into service, and go over to him, shall have their freedom, be taken out of the army, and permitted to go into the country in his possession, and receive wages for their labor would disband them by brigades. Whatever may be our opinion of their normal condition or their true interest, we can not expect them, if they remain with us, to perform deeds of heroic valor, when they are fighting to continue the enslavement of their wives and children. It is not reasonable for us to demand it of them, and we have little cause to expect the blessings of Heaven upon our efforts if we compel them to perform such a task. If we are right, and Providence designed them for slavery, He did not intend that they should be a military people. Whenever we establish the fact that they are a military race, we destroy our whole theory that they are unfit to be free. But it is said we should give them their freedom in case of their fidelity to our cause in the field; in other words, that we should give up slavery, as well as our personal liberty and State sovereignty, for independence, and should set all our slaves free if they will aid us to achieve it. . . . When we arm the slaves, we abandon slavery. We can never again govern them as slaves, and make the institution profitable to ourselves or to them, after tens of thousands of them have been taught the use of arms . . . . It can never be admitted by the State that the Confederate Government has any power directly or indirectly to abolish slavery. The provision in the Constitution which by implication authorizes the Confederate Government to take private property for public use only, authorizes the use of the property during the existence of the emergency which justifies the taking. . . . So the Government may impress slaves to do the labor of servants, as to fortify a city, if it cannot obtain them by contract, and it is bound to pay the owner just hire for the time it uses them. But the impressment can vest no title to the slave in the Government for a longer period than the emergency requires the labor. It has not the shadow of right to impress and pay for a slave to set him free. The moment it ceases to need his labor the use reverts to the owner who has the title. If we admit the right of the Government to impress and pay for slaves to free them we concede its power to abolish slavery, and change our domestic institutions at its pleasure, and to tax us to raise the money for that purpose. I am not aware of the advocacy of such a monstrous doctrine in the old Congress by any one of the more rational class of abolitionists. It certainly never found an advocate in any Southern statesman. No slave can ever be liberated by the Confederate Government without the consent of the States. No such consent can ever be given by this State without a previous alteration of her Constitution. And no such alteration can be made without a convention of her people.” ~ Message from Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown to a special session of the Georgia legislature.

Governor Joseph E Brown

Governor Joseph E Brown

February 15– Wednesday– Knoxville, Tennessee– “Some of our most refined citizens have so great a horror for white officers who stoop to command Negro regiments or brigades, that they say they can’t treat them with respect. Let us look into this matter, and reason a little about the case. These officers are officers of the United States army, and are only doing their duty by obeying their superiors. Our Government has resolved on arming and fighting the Negroes, and in our judgment Negroes are good enough to fight rebels with. And as the fight is about the Negro, it is proper that he should take a hand. But, for years past– forty years of the time we can recollect– monied men of the South have bought up droves of Negroes, put them in irons and driven them through here to the States of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, with the lordly owners on the horses, with large stock, driving whips in hand, occasionally used upon such Negroes as would lag behind. In many instances they have traveled on with the drove in carriages, and on springs, with select mulatto girls, to take care of them during their absence from home! In many instances, when the have sold these girls for the money they have sold their own offsprings and relatives! When these traders have been successful and made fortunes, man and families have taken them into their houses, treated with great deference, and recognized them as fit associates, who now turn up their noses in derision at an officer who will consent to command Negroes ! What inconsistent creatures we are!” ~ Brownlow’s Whig and Independent Journal and Rebel Ventilator.

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February 16– Thursday– New York City– “The operations against the City of Charleston itself are of a very complex character; but perfect success has crowned each of the separate movements. The rebels give us news to-day of two new operations, both of which were successes. We effected a landing on Friday last upon James Island, and the rebels say we are here within two miles of the City of Charleston, the cradle of secession, where the war was begun, and which we had given up expecting to capture till its final close. Our transports and troops have also ascended the North Edisto [River], have crossed to the main land, established themselves near by on the railroad, and can thus move upon the city’s flank, maintaining all the time communications with the seaboard, and finally cooperating with the forces on James Island. Every one knows, also, that for operations against Charleston, we have, beside the army, a very powerful fleet under Admiral Dahlgren, from whom naval officers and General Sherman himself expects much. The people of the North are not extravagant in expecting every hour to hear of the capture of the city; but it would be a victory doubly worthy of Sherman if he should capture with it the forces of the dodging [Confederate General] Hardee.” ~ New York Times.

February 16– Thursday– New York City– “On the receipt of your favor of the 26th ult., I arranged with Captain Walton for the sending of a box to our dear and brave boys at the Danville Military Prison. And to-day I am having a box put up which will start tomorrow. Captain Wright does not think the boxes will ever reach our boys– but this shall not prevent my trying to get them things to keep the breath of life in them, and to cheer them up. Of the articles you enumerate, I omitted tobacco, fearing it could perfume and render the food impalatable [sic]. I added desiccated vegetables in its stead. It is about time you heard from the first box you sent. Have you? If the accounts in the papers are correct, we ought to have the boys back again before long. I hope their turn for [prisoner] exchange will come first.” ~ Letter from Elliot F. Shepard to Walt Whitman.

George Whitman

George Whitman

February 16– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Confederacy is blessed with a great number of ‘Street-Corner Generals.’ They plan a campaign with sagacity, elaborate the various combinations with care and patience, and conduct it invariably to a successful, and even brilliant, conclusion. Their extensive military information, strong reasoning faculties, and decision and energy of tone and manner, never fail to cheer us with the hope that our country has yet in reserve an amount of military genius which, in the last extremity, will prove her salvation. We never fail to derive information and advantage from the criticisms of these Generals in Reserve on the other Generals now in the field. We always like to hear men talking on any subject which their previous education has not prepared them to comprehend. It shows original genius and vigor of understanding to grasp and master in an instant sciences which other men have only been able to subjugate by long years of study. . . . We long for the time when the merits of the Street-Corner Generals will be properly appreciated by their Government, and our armies be placed under their direct supervision and control. We have had too much of West Point in this war. It is high time that the volunteer genius of the country should burst the cords that hold it to the earth, and, with three armies and a hopeful nation on its back, soar aloft.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch

February 16– Thursday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “We have had a lively time today, both sides doing their best to shell out the other. On the 9th Corp front, to the right of our line, the air has been full of shot and shell and the roar of canon has been heard all day. All quiet on our front however. Our Rebel neighbors are good natured.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Your Opinion About Our Present Situation ~ February 1865~ 13th and 14th

Your Opinion about Our Present Situation

Federal cavalry moving through South Carolina swamp

Federal cavalry moving through South Carolina swamp

Many southerners worry and wonder about the future yet cling to hope for independence. Those separated by the war miss each other and hope for a time of being together. Debate about the use of slaves in the army continues. Mere months after the event Sherman’s march to the sea is becoming the stuff of legend in the North and increasing bitterness in the South. While keeping his eyes and ears upon the progress of the war, President Lincoln considers international relations and the care of the increasing number of war orphans.

awaiting the letter carrier

awaiting the letter carrier

February 13– Monday– Staunton, Virginia– “I have no directions to give about our matters. You have been managing so long & so well that it is not necessary for me to direct at least whilst absent– do the best you can & as you may desire. I hope it will not be long until we will be together. I am sorely tired of this life & hope soon for a change. Can’t you pay me a visit? so soon as the weather gets warmer try it. Many ladies are paying visits to their friends here & why can’t you? it would be worth about a Million to me for to see you land here some evening by stage [coach]. If you can’t come all the way can’t you come part way & I will meet you. Try & let me hear from you on this subject. . . . The people seem to be fired up with new zeal & determination in their cause & seem willing to exhaust all means now. Some public meeting proclaim & pledge their property, their honor & their lives for the maintenance & defense of their liberties. Doubtless the spring campaign will be [a] desperate & bloody one– the people seem to be all fired with determination to conquer or die.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

February 13– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a copy of a despatch of the 12th ultimo addressed to the Secretary of State by the Minister Resident of the United States at Stockholm, relating to an International Exhibition to be held at Bergen, in Norway, during the coming summer. The expediency of any legislation upon the subject is submitted for your consideration.” and “I transmit to Congress a copy of a note of the 2nd instant addressed to the Secretary of State by the Commander J. C. de Figaniere e Morai, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Most Faithful Majesty the King of Portugal, calling attention to a proposed International Exhibition at the City of Oporto, to be opened in August next, and inviting contributions thereto of the products of American manufactures and industry. The expediency of any legislation upon the subject is submitted for your consideration.” ~ Messages from President Lincoln to Congress regarding upcoming exhibitions in Europe.

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February 13– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Coldest morning of the winter. My exposure to the cold wind yesterday, when returning from the department, caused an attack of indigestion, and I have suffered much this morning from disordered stomach and bowels. From Northern papers we learn that General Grant’s demonstration last week was a very formidable effort to reach the South Side Railroad, and was, as yet, a decided failure. . . . There will be more fighting yet before Richmond is abandoned, probably such a carnival of blood as will make the world start in horror.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 13– Monday– northeastern Georgia– “From all I can learn, there is a bad chance to get through to my Command and if I get through I will have to walk over a hundred miles. It is useless for me to try to carry all them socks and I have left then here with Gus, who will send them out to you and you can distribute them. Cheer up and may God bless you and my darling boy.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda as struggles to return to Petersburg, Virginia after being home on leave.

Washington, Georgia, historic home

Washington, Georgia, historic home

February 13– Monday– Albany, Georgia– “Letters from home. Our house is full of company, as it always is, only more so. All the Morgans are there, and Mary Day, and the Gairdners from Augusta, besides a host of what one might call transients, if father was keeping a hotel – friends, acquaintances, and strangers whom the tide of war has stranded in little Washington [Georgia]. Mrs. Gairdner’s husband was an officer in the English army at Waterloo, and a schoolmate of Lord Byron, and her sons are brave Confederates – which is better than anything else. Mary Day had typhoid fever in Augusta. She is too weak to make the journey from Mayfield to Macon, and all non-combatants have been ordered to leave Augusta, so mother invited her to Haywood. Oh, that dear old home! I know it is sweeter than ever now, with all those delightful people gathered there. One good thing the war has done among many evils; it has brought us into contact with so many pleasant people we should never have known otherwise. I know it must be charming to have all those nice army officers around, and I do want to go back, but it is so nice here, too, that we have decided to stay a little longer. Father says that this is the best place for us now that Kilpatrick’s [Federal cavalry] raiders are out of the way. I wish I could be in both places at once. They write us that little Washington has gotten to be the great thoroughfare of the Confederacy now, since Sherman has cut the South Carolina R.R. and the only line of communication between Virginia and this part of the country, from which the army draws its supplies, is through there and Abbeville. This was the old stage route before there were any railroads, and our first ‘rebel’ president [George Washington] traveled over it in returning from his Southern tour nearly three-quarters of a century ago, when he spent a night with Colonel Alison in Washington [Georgia]. It was a different thing being a rebel in those days and now. I wonder the Yankees don’t remember they were rebels once, themselves.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews. [Washington, Georgia, home town of Ms Andrews, was incorporated in 1780 and named after George Washington. It serves as the county seat of Wilkes County. Its population today is 4,134.]

group of Civil War orphans

group of Civil War orphans

February 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with Elizabeth E. Hutter. Mrs Hutter is the wife of Edwin Hutter, a former newspaper owner and editor and, since 1850, pastor of St Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Philadelphia. Elizabeth has spearheaded efforts to build the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Institute to provide care for the orphaned children of Union fighters killed during the war. The building is about to open and she meets with the President to discuss the establishment of a network of similar orphanages in other states.

Elizabeth Hutter

Elizabeth Hutter

February 14– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “As if it were not enough humiliation that Sherman had made a triumphful procession through the State of Georgia, the New York Times expresses its contemptuous opinion of the people thereof for permitting him to do it. That paper says that the most remarkable and significant revelation made by Sherman’s march through Georgia was not, perhaps, the internal weakness of the Confederacy; but the entire absence of desperation on the part of that portion of the population which remains at home. ‘If,’ says the Times, ‘the war were felt by them to be a National war, in the sense in which this phrase is ordinarily understood, a war in which everything that men hold dear was at stake, and in which death was preferable to submission, it is impossible to believe that their resistance to Sherman’s progress would have been so feeble. . . . Almost in our own day, both the Russians and Tyrolese have opposed just such obstacles to the progress of French armies of invasion, as the Georgians were asked to oppose to that of Sherman. They either rose en masse in their front, “bushwhacked” them along every mile of the road, from behind every rock and tree and fence, or else converted their line of march into a howling waste, and left them no better fruits of victory than desolated fields and charred ruins. In Georgia, on the contrary, it appears well ascertained that the great majority of the inhabitants staid quietly at home, and awaited the invader’s approach in respectable quiet. So far from destroying their property in order to deprive him of the means of subsistence, they did not even drive off their mules, horses or cattle, though this would have been one of the easiest and most obvious modes of damaging him. In fact, it is hard to see that any Georgian farmers, except those who joined the militia, made the smallest personal sacrifice in aid of the Confederacy, at the most important juncture in its history, and when they were most earnestly and solemnly entreated to make every sacrifice, by the men who are supposed to have, and who ought to have, if the concern were a sound one, their fullest confidence. There is only one interpretation that can be put on this extraordinary apathy, and that is, that confidence in the success of the rebellion no longer exists anywhere outside of the official class and the army, if it exist there. The Governors of States who write the flaming appeals whenever our raiders make their appearance, are, of course, as members of the oligarchy, closely allied in sentiment, as well as in interest, with the Confederate leaders; but it appears, of late, plain that the farmers who have so far escaped the net of the conscription, either have grown tired of the contest or despair of success, and that their great aim now is not to serve the rebellion, but to avoid sharing its fortunes.’ If all that were true,– and we leave it to the fellow-citizens of those heroic Georgia troops who have illustrated so many battle-fields to hurl back the accusation,– Lincoln has stepped in to supply to all the people of this country a motive of ‘desperation’ which cannot fail to arouse the most sluggish and exasperate the most pacific. If they have not believed their own orators, their own newspapers, and their own governors, perhaps they will believe him when he tells them that slavery is abolished, and that they can only be allowed to approach his footstool as suppliants suing for mercy. If, after all this, they fall behind Russians, Tyrolese, and every other invaded nation of ancient and modern times, and look passively on the progress through their country of a conquering army, we shall concede that the Times knows them better than we do, and that provincial vassalage to a Yankee despotism would be no degradation.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

Atlanta, Georgia, in flames

Atlanta, Georgia, in flames

February 14– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “What is your opinion about our present situation? It appears gloomy enough, but I hope and think we will yet be independent. Our only hope is to fight until we conquer a peace. There is none in negotiations, state conventions or interventions. It is on the fortitude, courage and patriotism of our soldiers we must depend, and as we have few of them in comparison to the enemy, we should foster and protect them as much as possible. This is only to be done by putting men of heart and feeling in command, like Johnston who can feel for the suffering of the private soldiery and appreciate the life of a man. I regard the Negro as the prime cause of our separation from the old Union, and it is humiliating to have to surrender one of our greatest institutions, both for the prosperity of our country and protection and civilization of the black race, to popular opinion of other nations. Yet, I think this will have to be done, sooner or later, and I believe Congress is of the same opinion. If so, why not make the Negro useful to us in achieving our independence? We can put 100,000 in service and discipline them so they will do good fighting.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.

February 14– Tuesday– northeastern Georgia– “My heart is heavy. I think of you and Henry all the time, and often want to get off to myself and take a big cry, to relieve the burden from my heart. Poor little Henry, he followed me up to his Grandma’s that morning and I told him good-by again, and he halloed ‘goodby Pa’ after I had got in the buggy and started. It nearly broke my heart. May God protect him and you is my humble prayer. From what I can gather I think I can flank Augusta by going by Washington [Georgia] and walking 60 miles across South Carolina. I earnestly hope that we may yet meet again and spend many happy days together.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

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Say to the People That They Go Forward ~ February 1865 ~ 11th and 12th

Say to the People That They Go Forward ~ Henry Highland Garnet

Reverend Henry Highland Garnet

Reverend Henry Highland Garnet

For the first time a black man, a former slave, preaches a sermon in the U S Congress. In the South, President Davis encourages his generals to defeat Sherman who is making rapid advances through South Carolina. Others worry about the possibility of the fall of Richmond. Debate rages about using slaves in the Confederate armed forces. Concerned about supplies and safety, the Charleston Mercury suspends publication. In places, genteel social life continues and a Southern belle admires African American spirituals, noting that the slaves like them much more than traditional church hymns.

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February 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Your telegrams of the 9th and 10th received. The indications suggest Charleston as the objective point and if you have supplies inside the works and General Beauregard has the hoped-for success in concentrating the army and in raising auxiliary forces in Georgia and South Carolina, the attempt of the enemy will, I hope, be reduced to operations on the sea front and be finally defeated.” ~ Message from President Davis to General Hardee in Charleston, South Carolina.

February 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and cold; froze hard last night. Yesterday a bill was introduced into both houses of Congress authorizing the enlistment of 200,000 slaves, with consent of their owners, which will probably be amended. Mr. Miles, as a test vote, moved the rejection of the bill; and the vote not to reject it was more than two to one, an indication that it will pass. The failure of the peace conference seems to have been made the occasion of inspiring renewed zeal and enthusiasm for the war in the United States, as well as here. So the carnival of blood will be a ‘success.’The enemy claim an advantage in the late battle on the south side of the James River. Sherman’s movements are still shrouded in mystery, and our generals seem to be waiting for a development of his intentions. Meantime he is getting nearer to Charleston, and cutting railroad communications between that city and the interior. The city is doomed, unless Hardee or Beauregard, or both, successfully take the initiative.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

mill destroyed by Sherman's troops

mill destroyed by Sherman’s troops

February 11– Saturday– Beaufort, South Carolina– “I am perhaps less able to give a general summary, than those who have seen the whole field at a distance, and have not had their attention absorbed by particular details and occurrences; but, as nearly as I can remember, about the 2nd of January four hundred refugees arrived in Beaufort, and were distributed among the plantations on Port Royal Island– about the 5th two hundred and fifty more came, very decrepit and feeble, and were sent immediately to Saint Helena Island. During the next week, perhaps five hundred more arrived; and by that time the movement of Sherman’s army to Beaufort had begun, and transportation could not be given to the Negroes. Nevertheless a few hundred got to Hilton Head Island, and were mostly distributed among the plantations there. Since Sherman’s army moved from Beaufort, five or six hundred more have come into Hilton Head Island from Savannah and from the main land north of Savannah, and about as many more from Sherman’s rear into Beaufort. There are at present, on those of the Sea Islands occupied by our forces, about four or five thousand refugees. The rest who lingered at Savannah, being about two or three thousand more: and probably in all, at least one thousand have died of disease and exposure.” ~ Report from James P. Blake to the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society.

February 11– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The progress of military events, which has occasioned so much public and private inconvenience and suffering, has not spared the newspaper interest. The interruption of railroad communication between Charleston and the interior produces a state of affairs which compels us, temporarily, to transfer the publication office of the Mercury elsewhere; and today’s paper will be our last issue, for the present, in the city of Charleston. It is due to our readers that they should be informed of the reasons which necessitate so important a step in the management of our journal. The interruption of the mails on the South Carolina Railroad practically cuts us off from the mass of our country readers, not only in this but all the adjoining States. We consider it highly desirable that the paper should reach this large class; and by the contemplated change we trust to accomplish that end. But a far more important consideration, and one which cannot be overlooked, is the question of our paper supply. Few of our readers have any idea of the enormous quantity of paper required for the daily consumption of our establishment. The paper mill upon which we depend for our supply is situated in Western North Carolina, and as things stand, for want of transportation, there is no chance of a continuance of that supply. So that we have the alternatives presented to us, of being obliged to discontinue the Mercury, for want of the material upon which to print it, or of removing, for a time, our publication office to another more convenient point. Justice to our subscribers, no less than our own preference, impels us to the latter course. For a few days, therefore, the issue of the Mercury will be suspended; but soon, we trust, it will revisit all our readers.” ~ Charleston Mercury

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February 11– Saturday– Aiken, South Carolina; near Sugar Loaf, South Carolina; near Orangeburg, South Carolina– Hard skirmishing fails to stop Federal advances.

February 11– Saturday– Albany, Georgia– “Making visits all day. It takes a long time to return calls when people live so far apart and every mile or two we have to go out of our way to avoid high waters. Stokes Walton’s creek runs underground for several miles, so that when the waters are high we leave the main road and cross where it disappears underground. There is so much water now that the subterranean channel can’t hold it all, so it flows below and overflows above ground, making a two-storied stream. It is very broad and shallow at that place, and beautifully clear. It would be a charming place for a boating excursion because the water is not deep enough to drown anybody if they should fall overboard – but if the bottom should drop out of the road, as sometimes happens in this limestone country, where in the name of heaven would we go to? Sister and I spent the evening at Mrs. Robert Bacon’s [house]. The Camps, the Edwin Bacons, Captain Wynne, and Mrs. Westmoreland were there. . . . Mrs. Westmoreland says she gave Captain Sailes a letter of introduction to me, thinking I had gone back to Washington [Georgia– her home town]. He and John Garnett, one of our far-off Virginia cousins, have been transferred there.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

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February 12– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– The Electoral College meets and officials re-elects President Lincoln as President of the United States in accord with the popular vote of last November. It is Lincoln’s 56th birthday.

February 12– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “The nation has begun its exodus from worse than Egyptian bondage; and I beseech you that you say to the people that they go forward. With the assurance of God’s favor in all things done in obedience to his righteous will, and guided by day and by night by the pillars of cloud and fire, let us not pause until we have reached the other and safe side of the stormy and crimson sea. Let freemen and patriots mete out complete and equal justice to all men and thus prove to mankind the superiority of our democratic, republican government. Favored men, and honored of God as his instruments, speedily finish the work which he has given you to do. Emancipate, enfranchise, educate, and give the blessings of the gospel to every American citizen. . . . Then before us a path of prosperity will open, and upon us will descend the mercies and favors of God. Then shall the people of other countries, who are standing tiptoe on the shores of every ocean, earnestly looking to see the end of this amazing conflict, behold a Republic that is sufficiently strong to outlive the ruin and desolations of civil war, having the magnanimity to do justice to the poorest and weakest of her citizens. Thus shall we give to the world the form of a model Republic, founded on the principles of justice and humanity and Christianity, in which the burdens of war and the blessings of peace are equally borne and enjoyed by all.” ~ Sermon preached in the House of Representatives by Reverend Henry Highland Garnet, a former slave and now pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., making him the first African American to speak in the Capitol Building.

15th Street Presbyterian Church, circa 1899

15th Street Presbyterian Church, circa 1899

February 12– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright, windy, cold, and disagreeable. There was nothing new at the department this morning. Nothing from below; nothing from South Carolina. Perhaps communications are cut between this and Charleston. All are anxious to hear the result of the anticipated battle with Sherman, for somehow all know that the order to fight him was sent from Richmond more than a week ago. People’s thoughts very naturally now dwell upon the proximate future, and the alternatives likely to be presented in the event of the abandonment of Richmond, and consequently Virginia, by Lee’s army. Most of the male population would probably (if permitted) elect to remain at their homes, braving the fate that might await them. But the women are more patriotic, and would brave all in following the fortunes of the Confederate States Government. Is this because they do not participate in the hardships and dangers of the field? But many of our men are weary and worn, and languish for repose. These would probably remain quiescent on parole, submitting to the rule of the conqueror; but hoping still for foreign intervention or Confederate victories, and ultimate independence. Doubtless Lee could protract the war, and, by concentrating farther South, embarrass the enemy by compelling him to maintain a longer line of communication by land and by sea, and at the same time be enabled to fall upon him, as occasion might offer, in heavier force. No doubt many would fall out of the ranks, if Virginia were abandoned; but Lee could have an army of 100,000 effective men for years.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 12– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “No church service today near enough for me to attend so I remained in camp. Attended inspection, dress parade, etc. Last night a glee club from one of the Regiments near gave me a fine serenade. I am much favored by the musical talent of the Army. Well, it makes this life pleasant and even enjoyable and we are better men and soldiers for cultivating a taste for fine things.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 12– Sunday– near the North Edisto River, South Carolina– “A severe fight took place, which ended in the rout of the foe; two pontoon bridges were thrown across and about 6 o’clock the crossing commenced . . . . I remained at the bridge until near midnight, then rode out to camp. The concentration of the army at the bridge gave me an opportunity of seeing the captured horses and mules ridden by foragers, and it was with surprise I noted the great number already captured.” ~ Diary of a staff officer serving under Union General Oliver O. Howard.

slave religious service

slave religious service

February 12– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “Spring is already breaking in this heavenly climate, and the weather has been lovely to-day. The yellow jessamine buds begin to show their golden tips, forget-me-nots are peeping from under the wire grass, and the old cherry tree by the dairy is full of green leaves. Spring is so beautiful; I don’t wonder the spring poet breaks loose then. Our ‘piney woods’ don’t enjoy a very poetical reputation, but at this season they are the most beautiful place in the world to me. I went over to the quarter after dinner, to the ‘Praise House,’ to hear the Negroes sing, but most of them had gone to walk on the river bank, so I did not get a full choir. At their ‘praise meetings’ they go through with all sorts of motions in connection with their songs, but they won’t give way to their wildest gesticulations or engage in their sacred dances before white people, for fear of being laughed at. They didn’t get out of their seats while I was there, but whenever the ‘sperrit’ of the song moved them very much, would pat their feet and flap their arms and go through with a number of motions that reminded me of the game of ‘Old Dame Wiggins’ that we used to play when we were children. They call these native airs ‘little speritual songs,’ in contradistinction to the hymns that the preachers read to them in church, out of a book, and seem to enjoy them a great deal more. I mean to make a collection of these songs some day and keep them as a curiosity. The words are mostly endless repetitions, with a wild jumble of misfit Scriptural allusions, but the tunes are inspiring. They are mostly a sort of weird chant that makes me feel all out of myself when I hear it way in the night, too far off to catch the words. I wish I was musician enough to write down the melodies; they are worth preserving.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

So Many of My Friends Falling ~ February 1865 ~ the 9th and 10th

So Many of My Friends Falling ~ Alva Benjamin Spencer

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Hard times in the Confederacy. Sherman is cutting his way through South Carolina. Supplies running short. The size of the army so reduced that General Lee goes on record supporting the enlistment of black slaves in large numbers. Southern newspapers call out for resistance. There is discussion– North and South– about the failed peace initiative.

Sherman marching through South Carolina

Sherman marching through South Carolina

February 9– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Sherman has not neglected, in his military march, to ‘garrison the press.’ The Savannah Republican, an old and long established journal of that city, has been manned and officered by an Abolition detachment. . . . We are glad to learn that the new organ of Sherman is compelled to rely wholly on the Yankee soldiers and sailors for patronage, the sales to citizens being, at present, very small. This shows that, in spite of representations to the contrary, the great mass of the people of Savannah . . . have no sympathy with the invaders. The Republican indeed, admits as much, but it is by no means despondent. It will ‘require time to teach the rabid rebels of Savannah their fatal error.’ The manner of conveying this instruction is not clearly indicated, but, from the example of New Orleans and other Confederate cities in Yankee possession, we can readily imagine the process of enlightening darkened understandings. Insult, degradation, stoning and plunder, will open their eyes to the beauties of abolition philanthropy; or, if they still continue incredulous, banish them by wholesale and seize their houses and effects. The ‘fatal error’ of the Confederate people is to imagine that they have any right to exist on the planet. When they are converted from that mortal heresy, and renounce it with their dying breath, they may expect to escape from Yankee persecution.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

February 9– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “We have nothing from Charleston for several days. No doubt preparations are being made for its evacuation. The stores will be brought here for Lee’s army. What will be the price of gold then?” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 9– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– “When the Yankee nation elected Abraham Lincoln on the avowed basis of abolition, they proclaimed their future intentions with regard to us and our institutions. They made up the issue between the sections and severed the Union. When they seized Fort Sumter and returned to give it up to us, to whom it rightly belonged, they closed the issue for war and shut the book of peace. The contest engaged in was on either sides for Union or for disunion – for one General Government, or two separate General Governments, over the two separate sections. For four years this war was waged with fierce endeavor on both sides. But now, just at this point, and just at this time, the 1st chapter of the war has closed its red pages. . . . For the second time the issues have all been made up – and for the second time the books have been closed. The United States Government have just abolished slavery, by an act of Congress, throughout the entire length and breadth of the land now under their authority, or hereafter to come under their authority. . . . Everybody knows now where we stand – utter and complete subjugation and abolition; or fight on to the death, or to glorious independence, with the preservation of our rights and individual liberties.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

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February 9– Thursday– Walker’s Plantation, South Carolina– “Marched to Walker’s plantation; distance, ten miles. Here we remained . . . while the troops were completing the destruction of the railroad.” ~ Diary of a staff officer under Union General Oliver O. Howard.

February 9– Thursday– Albany Georgia– “We are in Albany – Mett, Mrs. Meals, and I – on our way to Americus, where I am going to consult Cousin Bolling Pope about my eyes. They have been troubling me ever since I had measles. We had hardly got our hats off when Jim Chiles came panting up the steps. He had seen the carriage pass through town and must run round at once to see if a sudden notion had struck us to go home. After tea came Captain Hobbs, the Welshes, and a Mr. Green, of Columbus, to spend the evening. Mrs. Welsh gives a large party next Thursday night, to which we are invited, and she also wants me to stay over and take part in some theatricals for the benefit of the hospitals, but I have had enough of worrying with amateur theatricals for the present.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

February 9– Thursday– London, England– Birth of Beatrice Stella Tanner who will become a famous actress known as Mrs Patrick Campbell. [Dies April 9, 1940.]

Beatrice Tanner a/k/a Mrs Patrick Campbell

Beatrice Tanner a/k/a Mrs Patrick Campbell

February 10– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– Today’s issue of The Liberator reprints the text of the Thirteenth Amendment and lists every member of the House of Representatives by name, state and political party, indicating whether he voted for or against the amendment. The issue also reports the following: “Another Marked Event in American History! The admission of John S. Rock, Esq., a talented and much respected lawyer of Boston, to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States.” [Rock, 1825 – 1866, a free-born black man was an educator, physician and abolitionist activist as well as a lawyer. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts moved for Rock’s admission to practice before the Supreme Court on February 1st thus making Rock the first African American lawyer to be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court. For a biography, see The Supreme Court Bar’s First Black Member by Clarence G. Contee (1975), in the electronic archives of the Supreme Court Historical Society.]

John S Rock

John S Rock

February 10– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “On Wednesday evening Mrs. Welles held a levee, which always disarranges. The season has thus far been one of gaiety. Parties have been numerous. Late hours I do not like, but I have a greater dislike to late dinners. The dinner parties of Washington are to be deprecated always by those who regard health. The President has communicated his movements tending to peace. Jeff Davis has published the letter of Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell. They do not materially differ. The prospect of peace does not seem nearer than before the interview took place, yet I trust we are approximating the much desired result. There are ultras among us who do not favor the cessation of hostilities except on terms and conditions which make that event remote. A few leading radicals are inimical to the Administration, and oppose all measures of the Administration which are likely to effect an immediate peace. They are determined that the States in rebellion shall not resume their position in the Union except on new terms and conditions independent of those in the proposed Constitutional Amendment. Wade in the Senate and Winter Davis in the House are leading spirits in this disturbing movement. It is the positive element, violent without much regard to Constitutional or State rights, or any other rights indeed, except such as they may themselves define or dictate. Not much was done to-day at the Cabinet. Some discussion of general matters.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

February 10– Friday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “The weather is fine today and as warm as spring. We are enjoying it after the snow and ice of a few days ago. I am very well and happy as a man ought to be.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 10– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “It does indeed make me feel sad to see so many of my friends falling around me. Oh for something to stop this destructive conflict. The ‘Peace Commissioners’ have returned, telling us ‘the argument is exhausted, let us stand by our arms.’ They were permitted to go no nearer Washington than Fortress Monroe, at which place they were met by inhuman Lincoln, and the subtle intriguer Seward. Nothing was accomplished, save our Commissioners being told they were rebel traitors. Thus endeth the Peace question, ‘peace to its ashes.’I hope no sensationist will again revive it. I think we all can now see what is the character of our enemies. We can do nothing but await the time when we shall be more powerful than they. To insure such an event, we have to put forth every energy, in the field and at home. The people must encourage the army and all will be well. We have virtually commenced a new war. It does look gloomy; but contrast independence with submission or subjugation. Let every man’s motto be ‘Liberty or death,’ and independence is ours. None are more desirous to obtain peace than I. I have an object to attain to, which would make me forget all the many, many hardships I’ve undergone and render me the happiest among men. If we could gain anything by reconstruction, I would willingly give my consent; but we all know that instead of gaining, we would lose everything.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

Alva Benjamin Spencer

Alva Benjamin Spencer

February 10– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and cold. . . . Sherman has got to the railroad near Branchville, and cut communications with Augusta. At the meeting [of Congress], yesterday, Mr. Hunter presided, sure enough; and made a carefully prepared patriotic speech. There was no other alternative. And Mr. Benjamin, being a member of the cabinet, made a significant and most extraordinary speech. He said the white fighting men were exhausted, and that black men must recruit the army– and it must be done at once; that General Lee had informed him he must abandon Richmond, if not soon reinforced, and that Negroes would answer. The States must send them, Congress having no authority. Virginia must lead, and send 20,000 to the trenches in twenty days. Let the Negroes volunteer, and be emancipated. It was the only way to save the slaves– the women and children. He also said all [planters and farmers] who had cotton, tobacco, corn, meat, etc. must give them to the government, not sell them.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 10– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We desire to call the attention of our readers in all parts of the State to the important mission of Captain Julian Mitchel, under the authority of the Governor of the State. His mission is to save food from the hands of the enemy, for the use of the State. It is a matter of the greatest importance in two aspects. First, it is essential, in order to delay, or to check altogether, Sherman’s march into the interior, that all food should be moved from in front of him. He must march across a waste. Not a pound of corn, rice or peas, or a bushel of potatoes must be left on his line of march, or anywhere, that he can get it, beyond the absolute necessities of those who cannot move. This fact all property owners in the State should understand at once. And this order every military man should be required strictly to enforce to the letter. Secondly, it is important that whilst cutting off all supplies from Sherman, so far as the produce of this State is concerned, we should not starve ourselves. This is Captain Mitchel’s mission. In all regions of the country threatened by the enemy, he is to gather up for the use of the State all the provisions except those absolutely requisite for the sustenance of those who are compelled by necessity to remain at home – old men, and cripples, women and children. It is a mission of incalculable importance, if properly enforced and thoroughly carried out.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

February 10– Friday– Albany Georgia– “We had to get up very early to catch the seven o’clock train to Americus. Jim met us at the depot, though there were so many of our acquaintances on board that we had no special need of an escort. Mr. George Lawton sat by me all the way from Smithville to Americus, and insisted on our paying his family a visit before leaving South-West Georgia. I wish I could go, for he lives near father’s old Tallassee plantation where I had such happy times in my childhood; but if we were to accept all the invitations that come to us, we would never get back home again. We reached Americus at ten and went straight to Cousin Bolling’s hospital. He was not there, but Dr. Howard, his assistant, told us he was in the village and would be at the office in a few minutes. All along the streets, as we were making our way from the depot to the hospital, we could recognize his patients going about with patches and shades and blue spectacles over their eyes, and some of them had blue or green veils on. We didn’t care to wait at the hospital in all that crowd of men, so we started out to visit the shops, intending to return later and meet Cousin Bolling. We had gone only a few steps when we saw him coming toward us. His first words were the announcement that he was married! I couldn’t believe him at first, and thought he was joking. Then he insisted that we should go home with him and see our new cousin. We felt doubtful about displaying our patched up Confederate traveling suits before a brand new bride from beyond the blockade, with trunk loads of new things, but curiosity got the better of us, and so we agreed to go home with him. He is occupying Colonel Maxwell’s house while the family are on the plantation in Lee county. When we reached the house with Cousin Bolling, Mrs. Pope – or ‘Cousin Bessie,’ as she says we must call her now– made us feel easy by sending for us to come to her bedroom, as there was no fire in the parlor, and she would not make company of us. She was a Mrs. Ayres, before her marriage to Cousin Bolling, a young widow from Memphis, Tennessee, and very prominent in society there. She is quite handsome, and, having just come from beyond the lines, her beautiful dresses were a revelation to us dowdy Confederates, and made me feel like a plucked peacock. Her hair was arranged in three rolls over the top of the head, on each side of the part, in the style called ‘cats, rats, and mice,’ on account of the different size of the rolls, the top one being the largest. It was very stylish. I wish my hair was long enough to dress that way, for I am getting very tired of frizzes; they are so much trouble, and always will come out in wet weather. We were so much interested that we stayed at Cousin Bolling’s too long and had to run nearly all the way back to the depot in order to catch our train. On the cars I met the very last man I would have expected to see in this part of the world – my Boston friend, Mr. Adams. He said he was on his way to take charge of a Presbyterian church in Eufaula, Alabama. He had on a broadcloth coat and a stovepipe hat, which are so unlike anything worn by our Confederate men that I felt uncomfortably conspicuous while he was with me. I am almost ashamed, nowadays, to be seen with any man not in uniform, though Mr. Adams, being a Northern man and a minister, could not, of course, be expected to go into the army. I believe he is sincere in his Southern sympathies, but his Yankee manners and lingo ‘sorter riles’ me, as the darkies say, in spite of reason and common sense. He talked religion all the way to Smithville, and parted with some pretty sentiment about the ‘sunbeam I had thrown across his path.’ I don’t enjoy that sort of talk from men; I like dash and flash and fire in talk, as in action. We reached Albany at four o’clock, and after a little visit to Mrs. Sims, started home, where we arrived soon after dark, without any adventure except being nearly drowned in the ford at Wright’s Creek.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

coatee dress, 1865

coatee dress, 1865

February 10–Friday– Columbus, Ohio– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 10– Friday– Jefferson City, Missouri– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 10– Friday– Lombardy, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Richard Gardiner Willis, politician and leader of the Conservative Party. [Dies February 24, 1929.]

Richard Gardiner Willis

Richard Gardiner Willis

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