Real Nature of the Contest~October 16 to 24, 1862

The military draft both North and South appears problematic. In Pennsylvania while thousands of me do report there is also strong draft resistance while in Virginia a government clerk doubts the efficacy of the draft. President Lincoln takes another step to reestablish Federal authority in Louisiana while some white men encourage him to send free black people to Africa.. Soldiers, even generals, write home. In New York George Templeton Strong worries about adverse political effects of General McClellan’s lack of success and activity. Union raiders escape from jail in Georgia. There appears to be a difference of opinion between General Lee and the government in Richmond. The fame and fortunes of Confederate generals involved in the failed invasion of Kentucky seem to be changing.

Internationally, the raiding by the Confederate ship Alabama, built and armed by British companies, increases anti-British feeling in the Northen press and the Lincoln Administration. Legal issues about the ship will simmer for years after the war ends. Secretary of State Seward advises Charles Francis Adams about some of the dimensions of emancipation while Adams makes a formal protest about Gladstone’s recent pro-Southern speech. In England, Italian and Irish workers riot in Hyde Park. In France a creative genius who will make a name for himself in the new art of film is born. A coup in Greece topples the monarch.

October 16– Thursday– Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania–Miners demonstrate in opposition to the draft by stopping a train full of conscripts. They inform the men on board, “Those who want to go, can, but we will protect those who don’t.”

October 16– Thursday– Jackson, Tennessee– Union General Ulysses Grant writes to his sister, Mary. “I believe you have now got it all quiet on the Ohio. I hope it will soon be so every place else. It does look to me that we now have such an advantage over the rebels that there should be but little more hard fighting. Give my love to all at home. Write often and without expecting either very prompt or very long replies.”


General Ulysses S Grant

October 16– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– Six northern men who were part of Andrew’s Raiders in the “great locomotive chase” back in April, escape from the Fulton County jail.


Andrews Raiders~survivors~ c.1906

October 17– Friday– Pennsylvania–Demonstrations against the draft occur in three counties in the eastern half of the state.

October 18– Saturday– New York City– The New York Times describes the activities of the Confederate raider Alabama, asserting that it has attacked and burned eleven merchant and whaling ships in the last eight weeks, acting like a pirate by flying flags of various nations until it begins its attack, “She was built expressly for the business. She is engaged to destroy, fight or run, as the character of her opponent may be. She took her armament and crew, and most of her officers on board, near Terciera, Western Islands, from an English vessel. Her crew are principally English; the officers chivalry of the South.”

October 18– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary of State Seward writes to Charles Francis Adams, U S Minister in London, regarding the Emancipation Proclamation. “You are well aware how long political controversy has been wearing a gulf to divide opinion in our country on the subject of interference with slavery in the slaveholding States. You know how deep that gulf has become, and how confessedly impassable it is except under the pressure of absolute, immediate, and irretrievable danger to the Union itself. Notwithstanding many respected counselors at home, and all our representatives abroad, have long and earnestly urged an earlier adoption of such a measure as the President has at last accepted, it was nevertheless wisely delayed until the necessity for it should become so manifest as to make it certain that, instead of dividing the loyal people of the Union into two parties, one for and the other against the prosecution of the war for the maintenance of the Union, it would be universally accepted and sustained. It is now apparent that the measure will be thus sustained.”

Charles Francis Adams, Lincoln’s Minister to the Court of St James, London~the same post once held by his father & grandfather


October 18– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary of the Navy Welles writes in his diary, expressing anti-British sentiment. “The ravages by the roving steamer 290, alias Alabama, are enormous. England should be held accountable for these outrages. The vessel was built in England and has never been in the ports of any other nation. British authorities were warned of her true character repeatedly before she left.”


the CSS Alabama

October 19– Sunday– Besancon, France– Birth of Auguste Marie Louis Lumiere, who, with his brother, will become one of the earliest and most creative cinematographers in Europe.

first known film poster~1895

 October 20– Monday– Pleasant Valley, Maryland– Union soldier George Whitman writes to his mother. “Where in thunder does all the troops go, that the papers say are leaving New York, and the other Cities every day. Why don’t they send em, out to the front, and let us old veterans come home, and see our Mammies. We ought to have force enough now, to go right ahead and balsmather the seceshers. I don’t like the idea of fighting the same ground over three or four times but I suppose its all right.”

 October 20– Monday– Washington, D.C.–President Lincoln becomes the first U S president to issue numbered “Executive Orders” and keeping a file of them in the State Department. One of these is an Executive Order establishing a Provisional Court in Louisiana. “The insurrection which has for some time prevailed in several of the States of this Union, including Louisiana. having temporarily subverted and swept away the civil institutions of that State, including the judiciary and the judicial authorities of the Union, so that it has become necessary to hold the State in military occupation, and it being indispensably necessary that there shall be some judicial tribunal existing there capable of administering justice, I have therefore thought it proper to appoint, and I do hereby constitute, a provisional court, which shall be a court of record, for the State of Louisiana; and I do hereby appoint Charles A. Peabody, of New York, to be a provisional judge to hold said court, with authority to hear, try, and determine all causes, civil and criminal, including causes in law, equity, revenue, and admiralty, and particularly all such powers and jurisdiction as belong to the district and circuit courts of the United States.”

October 20– Monday– Harpers Ferry, [West] Virginia– Union soldier Alexander Adams writes to his mother in Pennsylvania. “You speak of me coming home this winter. I would like to very much. I would give anything in the world to see you all once more . . . . I think the war will soon be over and then I can come home to stay awhile. I would like very much to be at home to help you pick apples and keep you company while pap is in the country. We have never been paid since we came from Newport News. We have nearly 4 months pay coming to us but I expect we will be paid before long but I must bring my scribbling to a close.”

 October 20– Monday– London, England– Charles Thomas Longley becomes Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeding John Bird Sumner who died early in September.

Charles Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury

October 21– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– Government clerk John Jones writes in his diary that “The government is uneasy about Richmond. They want a portion of Lee’s army sent hither. But Lee responds, that although he is not advised of the condition of things on the south side of James River, yet, if he detaches a portion of his army, he may be too weak to encounter McClellan, if he should advance.”

 October 21– Tuesday– London, England– In Hyde Park another violent confrontation occurs between pro-Garibaldi Italians and pro-papacy Irish. Police and soldiers end the violence and disperse the crowds. “A large number of persons were severely injured during the afternoon, and the various surgeries in the neighborhood were crowded with parties waiting to have their wounds dressed. It is to be hoped the authorities will take measures to prevent any repetition of these disgraceful doings,” says the New York Times.

map of Hyde Park, 1833

October 22– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln asks Secretary of War Stanton to investigate and stop persons who may be profiteering from the sale of cotton which is in short supply.

 October 22– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones notes more problems in his diary. “We have Bragg’s report of the battle of Perryville. He beat the enemy from his positions, driving him back two miles, when night set in. But finding overwhelming masses accumulating around him, he withdrew in good order to Bryattsville. Thus Kentucky is given up for the present! . . . . The President will call out, under the Conscription Act, all between the ages of eighteen and forty. This will furnish, according to the Secretary’s estimate, 500,000, after deducting the exempts. A great mistake.”


Confederate General Braxton Bragg

October 23–Thursday– London, England–Charles Francis Adams, the American Minister, makes an official protest to Her Majesty’s Government about Gladstone’s speech of October 7th. The Foreign Office reassures him of Britain’s continued neutrality at present but no promises for the future.

October 23– Thursday– New York City–Attorney George Templeton Strong complains to his diary. “Our war on rebellion languishes. We make no onward movements and gain no victories. McClellan’s repose is doubtless majestic, but if a couchant lion postpone his spring too long, people will begin wondering whether he is not a stuffed specimen after all. . . . One thing is clear: that unless we gain decisive success before the November election, this state will range itself against the Administration. If it does, a dishonorable peace and permanent disunion are not unlikely.”

 October 23– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln receives a hand-delivered letter from the New York State Colonization Society, urging colonization of black people in Liberia.

October 23– Thursday– Athens, Greece– While King Otto I, age 47, is out of the city making a tour, a coup deposes him. He has ruled since 1833.

King Otto of Greece being expelled

October 24– New York City– The New York Times reports that in Pennsylvania drafted men are arriving “by thousands . . . by every train” at Harrisburg (the state capital) as well as at camps in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chambersburg, York, and Gettysburg. However the Philadelphia City Council has passed a resolution asking the mayor to delay implementing that city’s draft quota in order to allow more volunteers to enlist and receive a $200 bonus.

October 24– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– Government clerk John Jones writes of the fortunes of two Confederate generals. “Bragg is in full retreat, leaving Kentucky, and racing for Chattanooga– the point of interest now. But Beauregard, from whom was taken the command of the Western army, day before yesterday repulsed with slaughter a large detachment of the Yankees that had penetrated to the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. Thus, in spite of the fantastic tricks of small men here, the popular general is destined to rise again.”

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