Let Slip the Dogs of War~August 22nd to 25th, 1862

The slavery issue and the status of black Americans remain paramount issues. Abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison blister President Lincoln’s endorsement of colonization. An administration spokesman calls for volunteers to initiate a colony in Central America. President Lincoln makes a public response to Horace Greeley’s Prayer of Twenty Million, saying his primary goal is to save the Union. Tentative steps are taken toward the enlistment of African Americans in the Union Army. General Sherman makes clear that he will not compel the return of fugitive slaves who have come into his lines.

The dogs of war howl in numerous places. Jeb Stuart’s horse soldiers make quite a find. Union soldiers pillage Baton Rouge. Minnesota reels with conflict between the Sioux and settlers who are being reenforced by the Army. The raider CSS Alabama is fully armed and ready to begin its operations. An alleged Confederate diplomat makes passage through Canada on his way to Europe. In the midst of it all, Quakers call for members to bear witness for peace,

The music world will eventually mark the birth of Claude Debussy

William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionist editor

 

August 22– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– In The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison attacks President Lincoln for the August 14th proposal to colonize free black people in Central America. “A spectacle, as humiliating as it was extraordinary . . . . Can anything be more puerile, absurd, illogical, impertinent, untimely? Will it not excite the derision and scorn, if not the astonishment, of all Europe?”

August 22–Friday–Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France–Birth of Claude Debussy, French composer.

Claude Debussy

August 22– Friday– Catlett’s Station, Virginia– Jeb Stuart’s cavalry captures the baggage train of Union General Pope, i8ncluding his official papers.

August 22– Friday– New Orleans, Louisiana–Union General Butler opens enlistment of black men into units under his command.

August 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles sounds an optimistic note in his diary. “The President tells me he has a list of the number of new recruits which have reached Washington under the late calk. . . . There is wonderful sand increasing enthusiasm and determination to put down this Rebellion and sustain the integrity of the Union.”

August 22–Friday– Washington, D.C.– In response to Horace Greeley’s editorial of August 19th, President Lincoln writes a public letter to Greeley. He states his position as “I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be ‘the Union as it was.’ If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. . . . and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.”

August 23– Saturday– some miles outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana– Sarah Morgan notes in her diary some of what she has heard about the Union soldiers retreating from Baton Rouge. “I could not record all the stories of wanton destruction that reached us. I would rather not believe that the Federal Government could be so disgraced by its own soldiers. Dr. Day says they left nothing at all in his house, and carried everything off from Dr. Enders. He does not believe we have a single article left in ours. I hope they spared Miriam’s piano. But they say the soldiers had so many that they offered them for sale at five dollars apiece! We heard that the town had been completely evacuated, and all had gone to New Orleans except three gunboats that were preparing to shell, before leaving.”

Steinway grand piano of the period

August 23– Saturday– various battle fronts– Extensive skirmishing erupts in Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia.

August 23– Saturday– New York City– The New York Times reports atrocities by the Sioux in Minnesota. “Escaped citizens came into the fort, during the night, giving accounts of horrors too terrible for imagination to conceive. Mothers came in rags, barefooted, whose husbands and children were slaughtered before their eyes. Children came who witnessed the murder of their parents, or the burning of their homes. The roads, in all directions, to New Ulm, are lined with murdered men,women and children.”

August 24– Sunday– The Azores– Here in the middle of the North Atlantic the CSS Alabama receives its armament, ammunition and supplies from British companies. The vessel is now a fully operational warship.

Deck of the CSS Alabama, 1863

August 24– Sunday– near Yorktown, Virginia– Elisha Hunt Rhodes writes, “I fear we are no nearer the end of the war than we were when we first landed at Fortress Monroe five months ago. But then we have learned some things, and now I hope we shall go ahead and capture Richmond.”

General William Tecumseh Sherman

August 24– Sunday– Memphis, Tennessee– Union General William Tecumseh Sherman writes to Thomas Hunton, Esquire, a man who has complained about the loss of his slaves. Sherman has known the man for years and expresses surprise the Hunton sided with the rebellion. As to the escaped slaves, You ask of me your Negroes. and I will immediately ascertain if they be under my Military Control and I will moreover see that they are one and all told what is true of all– Boys if you want to go to your master, Go– You are free to choose, You must now think for yourselves. Your Master has seceded from his Parent Government and you have seceded from him–both wrong by law–but both exercising an undoubted natural Right to rebel, If your boys want to go, I will enable them to go, but I wont advise, persuade or force them.”

 August 25– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania–The Quaker Yearly Meeting encourages male members to maintain “the faithful support of our Christian testimony against war.”

Lucretia & James Mott, Quaker leaders

August 25– Monday– Washington, D.C.–Secretary of War Edwin Stanton authorizes General Rufus Saxton, a committed abolitionist and a friend of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, to arm and use 5,000 black soldiers in the South.

General Rufus Saxton

August 25– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Acting under the authority of President Lincoln, Senator Samuel C Pomeroy, age 46, Republican from Kansas, issues a call to free black people. “I propose to examine, and if found satisfactory and promising to settle you at Chirique [in modern Panama], in New-Grenada [a fragile political confederation formed in 1858 which will fall apart in 1863], (with the approval of the Government,) only about one week’s sail from Washington, D.C. All persons of the African race, of sound health, who desire to take with me the lead in this work, will please send their names, their number, sex, and ages of the respective members of their families, and their Post-office address to me, at the City of Washington, D.C. No white person will be allowed as a member of the colony. I want mechanics and laborers, earnest, honest and sober men, for the interests of a generation, it may be of mankind, are involved in the success of this experiment, and with the approbation of the American people, and under the blessing of Almighty God, it cannot, it shall not, fail.”

August 25– Monday– New Ulm, Minnesota– In the conclusion of a two day battle soldiers and settlers drive off a large Sioux attack. However, most of the buildings in town are destroyed or severely damaged and three dozen settlers and soldiers killed.

August 25– Monday– Montreal, Quebec, Canada– The Montreal Herald reports that a man claiming to be an emissary of the Confederate States recently left Canada for England, a “Mr George N. Saunders, who, according to his own representations, is the bearer of a proffer to England of a very favorable commercial treaty with the Southern States. It that be the case, However, Jeff. Davis is not so happy in the choice of his diplomatists as in his generals, for the latter usually exhibit a great deal of reticence as to the business they are engaged in, whereas this Ambassador – if Ambassador he was – manifested a disposition rather blatant than discreet, as to the alleged propositions which he was to submit to the British Government.”

Burned buildings after a Civil War battle

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