Monthly Archives: November 2012

December’s Bareness Everywhere~December,1862~the 1st to the 5th

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!

What old December’s bareness everywhere!

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

And, thou away, the very birds are mute:

Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

– William Shakespeare, the 97th Sonnet

The first year in the which the country has known war from beginning to end, draws to a close. The bloodshed and financial costs of the war have shocked the nation. Both the Confederacy and the Union are beset by problems of various sorts. Before the year ends, one more catastrophe awaits the Federal forces. Yet unbeknownst to both sides, the bloodiest year of the war lies just ahead.

As the month begins, Greece holds an election to determine its future, some in the North still worry about European intervention in one form or another and the President seeks an appropriation for damages to a French ship. Feelings in Minnesota, in Washington, D.C. and in eastern newspapers run strongly against all Native Americans. Southerners hope for a decisive victory to end the war. Some Northerners expect great things when the Emancipation Proclamation takes effect on New Year’s Day.

The Secretary of the Navy blames some Republican politicians for the reversals in November’s elections. Following the tradition established by Thomas Jefferson, one which will not change until Woodrow Wilson will become president, Abraham Lincoln submits in writing his annual state of the union message to the Congress. His eloquent close will serve “to light him down in honor to the latest generation.” Yet the radical abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison has only sarcastic criticism of the President’s message.

December 1– Monday– New York City– The New York Times addresses the issues of European offers of mediation and potential recognition of the Confederacy. “Non-interference with foreign Powers has from the first been one of the deepest principles and one of the most cherished traditions of our foreign policy. It has not only governed our belligerent action, but has affected our exercise of purely belligerent rights. The South American Republics were irretrievably lost to Spain, and the contest itself had actually ceased, before we, with all our sympathy for them, formally recognized their independence. The Republic of Rome, in 1848, lived for months unrecognized by us, though we had a minister on the spot, and it was plain that nothing but foreign intervention could crush it. All this has been not because our people have been indifferent to the struggles in other lands. Their hereditary principles and interests have always inclined them strongly toward every people struggling for freedom. But such sympathies have never been allowed to divert the Government from its established rule of practical neutrality. All that we now ask from the European Powers is that the same non-interfering policy we have in time past exercised toward them, shall now be faithfully practiced toward ourselves.”

December 1– Monday– Washington, D.C.–President Lincoln sends to Congress his annual message on the state of the Union. He addresses foreign affairs, the war effort, the status of the territories, the federal budget, the Sioux war in Minnesota and spends approximately 40% of the message discussing slavery and emancipation. In his famous conclusion, he writes: “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We – even we here – hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just –a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”

December 1– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles reports to President Lincoln that the U S Navy has 427 vessels with 3,268 guns presently on active duty.

December 1– Monday– Athens, Greece– A plebiscite is held throughout Greece to determine the type of government and who shall rule in place of the deposed King Otto.

December 2– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times evaluates France’s offer of mediation and relations with Europe in general. “The effect of this is to make us the more impatient to be free of this load of the rebellion – to make us long for the time when, with treason crushed at home, we may be freed from this half patronizing, half impudent tone of European Powers toward us, and may again, as of old, go on in our own course of development without troubling ourselves about any ‘joint action’ of the three Powers, or of all the Powers together. We beg Heaven only that when that time shall come, our disgust at the irksomeness of this meddling may not make the recoil too violent.”

Napoleon III of France

December 2– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– Government clerk John Jones evaluates the situation. “Few have faith in foreign intervention, to terminate the war; and there is a growing party both in the North and the South opposed to its indefinite prolongation. If we beat Burnside, I think it will be the last battle of magnitude. If he beats us, no one can see the end of the struggle. But from every State complaints are made against the military agents of the Confederate Government, for their high-handed oppressions.We may split up into separate States, and then continue the war– but it will be a sad day for us! The President ought to change his cabinet immediately, and then change his policy. He should cultivate the friendship and support of the people, and be strong in their affections, if he would rule with a strong hand.”

December 3– Wednesday– New York City– The New York Times summarizes recent reports from William P Dole, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and says that he “is in favor of aggregating the tribes as much as possible in one region. He would mass the middle tribes in what we call the ‘Indian Territory’– the region west of Arkansas; and the northern tribes he would mass in the farNorthwest. He recommends that a line of forts be erected along the Red River of the North, and that they be sent to that region. This plan we approve of. It seems the best solution of a difficult question.Mr. Dole is opposed to the hanging of the three hundred warriors in Minnesota who surrendered themselves and have been condemned to death. He favors only the execution of the chiefs who instigated the slaughter. These chiefs and head-men, he says, wield an influence over their subordinate savages which it is difficult for us to understand or appreciate; and we shall never be justified in judging the latter by our Christian standard of morals. For the ordinary mutineers, he urges a milder punishment than death– which punishment, we think, should take the shape of banishing the entire Sioux tribe from Minnesota.”

December 3– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln reports to Congress about an incident involving a French ship. “On the 3d of November, 1861, a collision took place off the coast of Cuba between the United States war steamer San Jacinto and the French brig Jules et Marie , resulting in serious damage to the latter. The obligation of this Government to make amends therefor could not be questioned if the injury resulted from any fault on the part of the San Jacinto. With a view to ascertain this, the subject was referred to a commission of the United States and French naval officers at New York, with a naval officer of Italy as an arbiter. . . . and they have determined that the sum of $9,500 is an equitable allowance under the circumstances. I recommend an appropriation of this sum for the benefit of the owners of the Jules et Marie.”

December 3– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, confides to his diary his opinion of last month’s mid-term elections. “The November elections have not been favorable to the Administration. To a great extent its friends are responsible. Some active and leading Republican minds have ability and talent to abuse, berate, traduce, often in secret, and assail, and these gifts are directed against the Administration.”

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

December 4– Thursday– New York City– The New York Times opines about the future of the war in light of the Emancipation Proclamation and Southern threats of violence against Union prisoners. “If any United States soldiers are captured and hung by order of the Governor of South Carolina, retaliation must be made on any South Carolinians that may fall into the hands of the Union army. And for the lives of prisoners thus taken, Mr. Jefferson Davis will have to demand reparation. In this way, whether willing or not, the rebel President will be compelled to indorse the brutal and sanguinary program of the States of South Carolina and Virginia, or suffer a breach between the Confederate Government and those States, that will be fatal to all hopes of unity and independence. There can hardly be a doubt that the position of our armies will be such on the 1st of January next, that any attempt of the Confederate Government to inaugurate a bloody and revengeful code on the subject of military emancipation, will bring infinite disaster on the rebels. So that in either event, whether Mr. Davis yields to South Carolina and Virginia, and goes with them together to destruction, or refuses, and they all go by different roads to ruin– the end will be the same. They will perish, and the black flag they themselves raised will fitly mark their resting-place.

December 4– Thursday– Mankato, Minnesota– Several hundred civilians, armed with hatchets, clubs, and knives, attempt to attack the camp where the condemned Sioux are being held. However soldiers surround and disarm the mob.

December 4– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles comments about the coming execution of the Sioux. “The Members of Congress from Minnesota are urging the President vehemently to give his assent to the execution of three hundred Indian captives, but they will not succeed. . . . . it would seem the sentiments of the Representatives were but slightly removed from the barbarians whom they would execute. The Minnesottians are greatly exasperated and threaten the Administration if it shows clemency.”

December 5– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–In The Liberator William Lloyd Garrison presents a scathing criticism of President Lincoln’s state of the union message to Congress. Focusing on the slavery question, Garrison writes bitterly that Lincoln is “a veritable Rip Van Winkle, who, for the last thirty years, has been oblivious to everything going on in the country!”

William Lloyd Garrison

December 5– Friday– Germantown, Virginia– Joseph Burrage, a Massachusetts man serving in the Union army, writes home to his mother. “The snow has kept coming till the ground is white and decidedly sticky. Take it altogether, it is about as disagreeable a day as we have had. I wish I could have been at home Thanksgiving day, for your account of it brings to mind all the good things thereof with new vividness. I should have been very glad to see Miss Farr and her father, but I must class that among my lost pleasures.”

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Somber and Surly~November, 1862~ the 25th to the 30th

The somber mood continues as November moves to its conclusion. In Southern cities such as Richmond and Nashville wartime shortages increase and the poor suffer greatly. Deserters and thieves add to the crime problems in metropolitan areas. Well-to-do Southern women give generously to the Confederate cause. But not all Southern women fare well. Occupents of a red light district are made homeless. A Confederate widow is encouraged by her cousin to sell her late husband’s property to avoid feuding among family members. One wonders who really benefits from such a sale.

Northern soldiers and citizens observe Thanksgiving in spite of the war. Robert Gould Shaw revisits the battlefield at Antietam and mnourns the loss of dear comrades.

November 25– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– Clerk John Jones writes of conditions in the city. “No beggars can be found in the streets of this city. No cry of distress is heard, although it prevails extensively. High officers of the government have no fuel in their houses, and give nearly $20 per cord for wood for cooking purposes. And yet there are millions of tons of coal almost under the very city!”

November 25– Tuesday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– The Daily Rebel reports on the generosity of Southern women. “We publish with something more than pleasure the following note from Dr. Taylor, (chief of Ford Hospital) to one of the fairest, and as her donation indicates, one of the noblest daughters of this highland region. Such acts of munificence, with the ceaseless attentions of our women, day time and night time, to the soldiers, have turned down a golden leaf in the history of this war. May this vision of faith, hope and charity, be but the first of many following angels of mercy!” The note the doctor writes, “Permit me through your journal to acknowledge a liberal contribution of two hundred dollars. To Miss Louisa Massengale, the fair donor, Ireturn the sincerest thanks of the sick under my care. The kindness and sympathy of such patrons greatly alleviates the sickness and suffering of our soldier, and their attention measurably supplies the absence of loved ones at home.”

Women of a chapter of the Soldiers Aid Society

November 26– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– A reporter for the Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] Press describes the misery seen in the city. “The melancholy appearances presented on all sides in the thoroughly rebellious City of Nashville, are enough to convince any one of the terrible consequences which a people can bring upon themselves by plunging into treason against their lawful Government. Palatial residences, once the abodes of those whose voices were most blatant in the general howl of “Southern rights” are converted into hospitals for our sick and wounded, or occupied as headquarters by our officers, . . . . But the most sickening effects of the war are visible among the poorer classes of the people. Their sufferings, particularly since Winter has set in, is extreme and acute. The commonest comforts of life cannot be procured at the enormous prices demanded. In fact, the necessary restraints which General Rosecrans has placed upon trade, to prevent contraband article from getting to the rebels, virtually stops traffic altogether. So wedded those of the city who have controlled the business of the place to the rebel cause, that the shipment of provisions has to be prohibited. Lest they be conveyed to the rebels. Among the poor, utter destitution prevails.”

November 26– Wednesday– Budapest, Hungary– Birth of Marc Aurel Stein who will become a British citizen and a well known archaeologist, famous for his work in Central Asia.

Marc Aurel Stein on expedition in the 1920.s

November 27– Thursday– Stafford Court House, Virginia– Elisha Hunt Rhodes observes the holiday, making a notation in his diary. “Thanksgiving Day in Rhode Island. Well, I too have much to thank my Heavenly Father for. He has preserved my life and given me health and strength to do my duty. For all which I am devoutly grateful.”

November 27– Thursday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser notes in his diary church observance of the holiday. “Moderate weather. Decorated the church for Thanksgiving. The gallery and pillars ornamented with spruce. The pulpit lamps and walk behind the pulpit beautifully ornamented. Two flags handsomely draped in the background. The whole effect enhanced when the gas lights turned on. Our efforts were a huge success in that all were surprised as well as delighted with our arrangements.”

November 28– Friday– Sharpsburg, Maryland– Robert Gould Shaw writes to his sweetheart, Annie Haggerty. “Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and we managed to have a very pleasant day. There would have been no drawback, if we hadn’t missed from the table so many faces which were there last year at this time. . . . . It is very strange and unfortunate that the officers that have been killed were the very best we had . . . . Our camp is close by the great battle-field, and our principal recreation has been to ride over it and see the places where we fought and where our men were killed. There is hardly a tree near without several bullets and cannon-balls in it, and so9me of the neighboring buildings are perforated in every direction. The place is full of graves.”

November 28– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– The Nashville Dispatch writes about the demolition of the city’s red light district. “Smoky Row is being razed, and its dimensions are growing small by degrees and wonderfully less; not, as far as we can learn, from any military necessity, but wanton destruction of property. Under ordinary circumstances, the tearing down of this place might be beneficial to the city, but considering the cold weather, and the fact that very few of the unfortunate inhabitants of this locality have either money or friends, it does seem to us cruel in the extreme to turn them out of their homes to seek shelter where they may. They are hunted about like beasts, as if they had no claims upon the charitable feelings of humanity.True, many of them have by their own acts rendered themselves outcasts and almost outlaw, but who of us are perfect? If we could read the hearts of many of those unfortunate women, we might learn how much they suffer, and how little pleasure they experience. But remember that they are human beings, and that as such they are deserving of our sympathy.”

typical womens’ outfits of the period

November 29– Saturday– Rosebank, Virginia– Alexander Holmes writes to his cousin Ellen Stuart McCue encouraging her to sell some land and slaves to settle the estate of her late husband and please the family. “Moreover, if you retain the old homestead . . . you will necessarily become so much entangled with the affairs of other members of the family, as to render collisions of interest, & alienation of feeling almost inevitable. By selling the property, you would probably have $15,000 at least, in your own absolute right, & each of your children, $8000 or more, – probably $10,000 – With this large amount, you could buy a comfortable home, & give your children complete education. By holding on to the homestead, you cannot do this, & you would be harassed by a thousand cares & anxieties, & have little left at the end of the year.”

oufit such as a well-to-do woman might wear

November 29– Saturday– Karlsruhe, Germany– Birth of Friederich Klose, music educator and composer.

November 30– Sunday– Knoxville, Tennessee– The Knoxville Daily Register complains about the city’s failure to assist the military police in the control of crime. “There is another little fact to which we would ask the attention of our Military authorities. Captain Heartsell’s guard consists of only twenty one men, while thieves and ‘stragglers’ and conscripts crowd the city. There is not a day nor night without its robbery or theft or burglary. We are reaching the deplorable condition of Richmond, where the very air is reeking with villainies and crimes. Captain Heartsell is discharging his whole duty but he demands the co-operationof our municipal authorities.”

November 30– Sunday– Torquay, England– The once-prominent actor John Sheridan Knowles dies at age 78. For most of the last 18 years, he has abandoned the stage and served as a Baptist preacher, making a name for himself with his anti-Catholic sermons and writings.

An Instrument of Peace

On November 8, 1897, just a bit over a century ago, Dorothy Day was born in New York City. She became an activist for peace and social justice, a maverick whose left-wing views bothered Roman Catholic church authorities and whose religious faith puzzled many old-time Communists. Like other American activists such as Mother Jones, Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King, she went to jail for civil disobedience.

I owe a personal debt to Dorothy Day. When I was an undergraduate in the late 1960s and trying to figure out my own faith and my stand on the Vietnam War, I found comfort, faith and direction in Ms Day’s autobiography, The Long Loneliness, and her monthly columns in The Catholic Worker. As a Lutheran I don’t need church bishops to tell me she is a saint, a title which always made her uncomfortable. Most likely she has now found reassurance of her own sainthood among those she admired from Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus and Benedict of Nursia whom historians credit as the father of peace movements in Western Christianity to Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest non-violent activist of the 20th century.

an icon of Dorothy Day

She gave a wonderful, concise statement of her faith and politics in a speech at Union Square on November 6, 1965, two days before her 68th birthday. Here is what she said:

Dorothy Day

“When Jesus walked this earth; True God and True man, and was talking to the multitudes, a woman in the crowd cried out, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breast that bore you and the breast that nourished you. And he answered her, Yes, but rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’ And the word of God is the new commandment he gave us to love our enemies,to overcome evil with good, to love others as he loved us that is, to lay down our lives for our brothers throughout the world, not to take the lives of men, women, and children, young and old, by bombs and napalm and all the other instruments of war.

Instead he spoke of the instruments of peace, to be practiced by all nations to feed the hungry of the world, not to destroy their crops, not to spend billions on defense, which means instruments of destruction. He commanded us to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, to save lives, not to destroy them, these precious lives for whom he willingly sacrificed his own. I speak today as one who is old, and who must uphold and endorse the courage of the young who themselves are willing to give up their freedom. I speak as one who is old, and whose whole lifetime has seen the cruelty and hysteria of war in this last half century. But who has also seen, praise God, the emerging nations of Africa and Asia, and Latin America, achieving in many instances their own freedom through non-violent struggles, side by side with violence. Our own country has through tens of thousand of the Negro people, shown an example to the world of what a non-violent struggle can achieve. This very struggle, begun by students, by the young, by the seemingly helpless, have led the way in vision, in courage, even in a martyrdom, which has been shared by the little children, in the struggle for full freedom and for human dignity which means the right to health, education, and work which is a full development of man’s god-given talents. We have seen the works of man’s genius and vision in the world today, in the conquering of space, in his struggle with plague and famine, and in each andevery demonstration such as this one there is evidence of his struggle against war.

I wish to place myself beside A. J. Muste speaking, if I am permitted, to show my solidarity of purpose with these young men, and to point out that we too are breaking the law, committing civil disobedience, in advocating and trying to encourage all those who are conscripted, to inform their conscience, to heed the still small voice, and to refuse to participate in the immorality of war. It isthe most potent way to end war. We too, by law, myself and all who signed the statement of conscience, should be arrested and we would esteem it an honor to share prison penalties with these others. I would like to conclude these few words with a prayer in the words of St. Francis, saint of poverty and peace, ‘O Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love.’”

A J Muste with Dorothy Day right before their arrest for supporting young men who burned draft cards

Historical note: A. J. Muste was a Dutch-born labor organizer and pacifist, also present at this demonstration. At the time was 80 years of age.

Mr Jefferson’s Wisdom After the Election

On a raw day in early March of 1801, Thomas Jefferson stood to swear the oath of office as the newly elected President of the United States. The oath was administered by the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall. Although they were distant cousins, the two men possessed a strong personal antipathy. The new capital city consisted mostly of mud-filled streets and buildings under construction. In the campaign of 1800, the exchanges between President John Adams and former Governor Jefferson were heated and sometimes hateful. The two former friends would not again exchange peaceful words for many years until the resourceful Abigail Adams re-opened communication between her husband and their former great friend. In his inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson gave us words to consider in the aftermath of our just-concluded election.

 

Thomas Jefferson in 1805 painting

“During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes wornan aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

Jefferson on a postage stamp in use during 1850s

Historical note: The “Republican” Party to which Jefferson made reference was the Democratic-Republican Party which he and James Madison co-founded in the early 1790’s. In 1825 it split into the Democratic Party which we know today and the Whig Party which faded away in the mid-1850s and many former members in the North became part of the Republican Party which we know today by that name. Andrew Jackson was the first Democratic president and Abraham Lincoln the first Republican president which we identify with those terms in modern usage. Both modern parties can claim descent from Jefferson in some fashion. For more reading on the history of American political parties, check the following:

Adams, Henry Brooks. History of the United States during the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson. (1889).

Banning, Lance, ed. After the Constitution : Party Conflict in the New Republic. (1989).

Beard, Charles A. Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy. (1915).

Bernhard, Winfred E. A., ed. Political Parties in American History. (!974).

Cunningham, Noble E., Jr. Jeffersonian Republicans: the Formation of Party Organization: 1789-1801 (1957)

Cunningham, Noble E., Jr. The Jeffersonian Republicans in Power: Party Operations 1801-1809 (1963).

Edwards, Rebecca. Angels in the Machinery : Gender in American Party Politics from the Civil War to the Progressive Era. (1997).

Kelley, Robert L. The Cultural Pattern in American Politics : the First Century. (1979).

Klein, Philip S. Pennsylvania Politics, 1817-1832: A Game without Rules (1940).

Macy, Jesse, Political Parties in the United States, 1846-1861. (1900).

Rutland, Robert A., ed. James Madison and the American Nation, 1751-1836: An Encyclopedia. (1994)

Somber and Surly~November, 1862~the 18th to the 24th

As November enters its last half, bloodshed continues. General William Sherman answers his brother John’s letter, asserting his own indifference to the elections and the inevitability of the war. Robert Gould Shaw, like other handsome officers in other armies in other wars, turns his heart and mind to romance and marriage. Native Americans and African Americans demonstrate loyalty to the Union cause. In Minnesota, a minister expresses his belief that the convicted Sioux have been railroaded.

President Lincoln bans the export of arms for the duration and answers a significant immigrant critic. [Carl Schurz had been a student leader in the 1848 revolution in Germany. When the revolution was suppressed he fled to the United States. He campaigned for Lincoln in the 1860 election, urging German-born people to vote for Lincoln. After the war he will become an important political leader and reformer.]

Southern women in Virginia worry about Yankee soldiers. Richmond suffers severely from war-time shortages and inflation.

An opera by Verdi premieres in Russia. In Britain a newspaper carries a letter from the abolitionist Frederick Douglass in which he urges Her Majesty’s government neither to intervene nor to recognize the Confederacy.

 

November 18– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– Miss Lizzie Fackler writes to her friend Mary. “We have been several times alarmed, for fear the Yankees would get us, but they have not succeeded yet, and I trust Jackson will never give us up to them. They have been as near at eighteen miles in several directions. At one time we had a regular panic, and almost everybody left Staunton, but after playing ‘refugee’ about a week, they returned and were laughed at a great deal about it.”

November 19– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones, government clerk, notes some problems. “The [railroad] cars this afternoon from the vicinity of Fredericksburg were crowded with Negroes, having bundles of clothing, etc., their owners sending them hither to escape the enemy. A frightened [merchant], who came in the train, said there was an army of 100,000 near Fredericksburg, and we should hear more in a few days. I doubt it not. Salt sold yesterday at auction for $1.10 per pound. Boots are now bringing $50 per pair; candles (tallow) 75 cts. per pound; butter $2.00per pound. Clothing is almost unattainable. We are all looking shabby enough.”

November 19– Wednesday– Leavenworth, Kansas– Colonel William Coffin, Indian Superintendent of the Southern Superintendency, arrives with a report that about four weeks ago a troop of Wichita fighters and other Indians loyal to the United States defeated a force of about 600 Confederate soldiers and their Indian allies in a fight at Fort Cobb in Indian Territory.

November 19– Wednesday– Ames, Iowa– Birth of William Ashley Sunday who after a career in baseball will gain fame as the evangelist Billy Sunday.

Billy Sunday in 1921

November 19– Wednesday– Philomont, Virginia– Tomkinsville, Kentucky– Pineville, Missouri– Grand Junction, Tennessee– Skirmishes, minor encounters and small free-for-alls occur between Confederate and Federal forces.

November 20– Thursday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser, a local businessman and farmer, evaluates the state of things. “Cold and rough. Feel unwell, very depressed. I need something of a change. . . . The war news is bad, mostly from the indecision at Washington. They must play politics first, and then decide the course of their plottings. Much controversy over McClelland being relieved of his command. We feel Lincoln but a tool in his party’s hand.

November 20– Thursday– England–A British newspaper, The Independent, carries an open letter from Frederick Douglass entitled “The Slaves’ Appeal to Great Britain.” Douglass praises Britain’s ant-slavery history and recognizes the economic hardships caused by the lost imports of American cotton. He writes passionately against British recognition of the Confederacy. He concludes by saying, “The lesson of our civil war to you is the cultivation of cotton by free labor. It tells you that you should base your industry and prosperity on the natural foundations of justice and liberty. . . . You have the islands to the west of you, India to the east of you, and Africa with her perennial cotton-plant to the south of you. Intervene there, not withy swords and guns and other warlike implements, but by means of peaceful industry. . . . I fully believe in the general rectitude of the British heart.”

November 21– Friday– Sharpsburg, Maryland– Romantically interested in Miss Annie Haggerty and desirous of marrying her, Robert Gould Shaw writes to ask his mother to gage the young lady’s willingness. “So if you should see her this winter and should talk with her about it, won’t you write me what you think? It would be the best thing you could do for me just now, dear Mother.” Annie is 27, Robert is 25. Both come from wealthy families. Robert’s sister Susie introduced them more than a year ago while attending an opera in New York City with friends.

Annie Haggerty

November 21– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues an executive order banning the export of arms and ammunition until further notice.

November 21– Friday– Richmond, Virginia–James Seddon becomes Confederate Secretary of War in place of George Randolph.

November 21– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Liberator carries a report from Richard J. Hinton, Adjutant, 1st Regiment Kansas Colored Volunteers. “Our nine days’ campaign proved that Negroes are splendid soldiers, will march further, fight as well, and live on as hard fare without grumbling, as any soldiers now in the services of the government. . . . The men have done their duty faithfully. Find me the six hundred white men, who, with such patient patriotism and perseverance, would have adhered to their organization through all the discouragements and disadvantages we have had to encounter. I have yet to see them.”

November 22– Saturday– St Petersburg, Russia– The opera La Forza Del Destino (The Force of Destiny) by Giuseppe Verdi premiers at the Bolshoi Kamenny Theater.

Giuseppe Verdi

November 23– Sunday– Sharpsburg, Maryland– Robert Gould Shaw opens his heart in a letter to his love, Annie Haggerty. “I felt wicked when I told you I wanted to see you even more than Mother; for I have always loved her more than any one else in the world, and I think she has me, from the sacrifices she has made for me, and for which I can never repay her. But it was true, nevertheless, like every thing I have written to you, and a great deal more besides, for my feelings to you have been almost the same since the first evening I saw you in New York; the evening I went with you and Susie to the opera.”

November 24– Monday– Mankato, Minnesota– Reverend Thomas Williamson writes to a colleague, Reverend Stephen Riggs about the Sioux prisoners. “[I] am satisfied in my own mind from the slight evidence on which these are condemned that there are many others in that prison house who ought not to be there, and that the honor of our Government and the welfare of the people of Minnesota as well as that of the Indians requires a new trial before unprejudiced judges. I doubt whether the whole state of Minnesota can furnish 12 men competent to sit as jurors in their trial. . . . From our Governor down to the lowest rabble there is a general belief that all the prisoners are guilty, and demand that whether guilty or not they be put to death as a sacrifice to the souls of our murdered fellow citizens.”

General Carl Schurz

November 24– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln frankly answers a highly critical letter from the German immigrant General Carl Schurz. “I wish to disparage no one certainly not those who sympathize with me; but I must say I need success more than I need sympathy, and that I have not seen the so much greater evidence of getting success from my sympathizers than from those who are denounced as the contrary. It does seem to me that in the field the two classes have been very much alike in what they have done and what they have failed to do.”

General William Tecumseh Sherman

November 24– Monday– Memphis, Tennessee– General William Tecumseh Sherman responds to the recent letter from his brother John. Your letter of the 16th is before me. I could write a good deal on the points that you make, but hardly have time to do them justice. The late election doesn’t disturb me a particle. The people have so long been accustomed to think they could accomplish anything by a vote, that they still think so ; but now a vote is nothing more than a change and will produce no effect. The war might have been staved off a few years, or the issue might have been made up more clearly, or the first enthusiasm of the country might have been better taken advantage of but these are now all past, and fault-finding will do no good. We are involved in a war that will try the sincerity of all our professions, of endurance, courage and patriotism. Leaders will of course be killed off by the score. Thousands will perish by the bullet or sickness; but war must go on it can’t be stopped. The North must rule or submit to degradation and insult forevermore.”

Somber and Surly~November, 1862~the 11th to the 17th

Various parties and governments in Europe respond both to the Emancipation Proclamation and the results of the recent American elections. French military presence increases in Mexico. However, they discover the reality of “Montezuma’s revenge” as many soldiers sicken.

President Lincoln puts power into the Confiscation, authorizing the forceful seizure of Southern property which includes slaves. Also, he directs the armed forces to make careful observation of the Sabbath and receives requests not to show any clemency to the Sioux in Minnesota for the attacks of the past summer.

Northerners fuss and fume about the results of the elections. New reports appear about the outrages of the raider CSS Alabama, serving to increase anti-British sentiment in the North.

 

November 11– Tuesday– Easton, Pennsylvania– James Madison Porter who served one year as Secretary of War under President Tyler and was a professor and founder of Lafayette College, dies at age 69.

November 11– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln passes to Secretary of War Stanton a telegram which he received from Governor Alexander Ramsey of Minnesota. With hope of dissuading the President from clemency toward any of the Sioux, the Governor wrote, “I hope the execution of every Sioux condemned by the military court will be at once ordered. It would be wrong upon principle and policy to refuse this. Private revenge would on all this border take the place of official judgment on these Indians.” The President also receives a telegram from General Pope urging prompt execution of all the convicted Sioux. Pope warns the President that “if the guilty are not all executed I think it nearly impossible to prefvent the indiscriminate massacre of all the Indians– old men, women, and children.”

Governor Alexander Ramsey of Minnesota

November 11– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– Confederate President Jeff Davis writes to Governor Zebulon Vance of North Carolina. “I have been cheered by the evidence of popular sentiment which supports any measure necessary to protect our country and secure our political independence. Like yourself, I have hoped that party distinctions which existed at a former time would be buried in the graves of the gallant men who have fallen in defense of their birthright, and that we should all as a band of brothers strike for the inheritance our fathers left us.”

November 12– Wednesday– Vera Cruz, Mexico– A correspondent for a Cuban newspaper describes increasing French activity. “French troops are continually landing, and the number now exceeds 36,000 outside the walls of this city. Since the beginning of this month, more than 8,000 have been encamped. Many of them, who have been attacked with intermittent fever, are leaving continually for the hospitals. . . . . General Forey, when he left here for Orizaba, took with him 800 infantry and an escort of hussars. He left a portion of them sick at Tejena and at Cordova, and at last arrived at Orizaba with only three hundred men. Conceive what it must be here, with so many thousand men, who expose themselves to the sun, are negligent about the water, and indulge in drinking.”

November 12– Wednesday– London, England– Her Majesty’s Government declines the offer of Emperor Napoleon III to help mediate the civil war in the United States.

November 12– Wednesday– Invercargill, New Zealand– The Invercargill Times publishes its first issue. [It will change its name to The Southland Times in 1864 and become a daily in 1875. It will continue to publish into the 21st century.]

November 13– Thursday– New York City– George Templeton Strong frets and writes in his diary. “The war languishes. We are slowly invading Virginia, but there is nothing decisive or vigorous done there or elsewhere. I’ve a dim foreboding of a coming time when we shall think of the war . . . as a terrible, crushing, personal calamity to every one of us; . . . the wives and daughters of contractors shall cease to crowd Stewart’s and Tiffany’s, . . . . Much of the moral guilt of this terrible, murderous convulsion lies at our doors. South Carolina would never have dared to secede but for our toadyism, our disposition to uphold and justify the wickedness of Southern institutions.”

George Templeton Strong whose diaries provide much information about Northern life during the Civil War

November 13– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues an executive order to provide necessary force to carry out the provisions of the Confiscation Act to seize property of any sort belonging to rebels, wherever situated. “The Attorney-General is authorized and required to give to the attorneys and marshals of the United States such instructions and directions as he may find needful and convenient touching all such seizures, prosecutions, and condemnations, and, moreover, to authorize all such attorneys and marshals, whenever there may be reasonable ground to fear any forcible resistance to them in the discharge of their respective duties in this behalf, to call upon any military officer in command of the forces of the United States to give to them such aid, protection, and support as may be necessary.”

Edward Bates who served as Lincoln’s Attorney General

November 13– Thursday– Tubingen, Germany– Ludwig Uhland, poet and literary historian whose 1812 treatise marks him as one of the founders of philology, dies at the age of 75.

November 14– Friday– Sharpsburg, Maryland– Robert Gould Shaw writes to his father. “So General McClellan has been removed at last! I think every one in the army regrets it, excepting, perhaps, some envious major-generals. What Burnside has ever done to merit the position, I can’t see. All is quiet here . . . . I think Professor Cairne’s book is wonderful for its clearness and sagacity. What a comfort it is . . . to feel that there are some men in England who understand the matter.” [The book is The Slave Power: Its Character, Career, and Probable Designs: Being an Attempt to Explain the Real Issues in the American Contest by the English abolitionist John Elliot Cairnes, published a few months ago.]

Robert Gould Shaw~”Blue-eyed Child of Fortune”

November 14– Friday– Paris, France– A correspondent for the New York Times evaluates the French Emperor’s offer to mediate an end to the Civil War. “The document avows that the present time was seized for the offer of an armistice, because of the manifestation of a desire for peace both North andSouth, and because neither army was making any progress. We do not pretend to know from what source the French Government derived this intelligence, for the only place in which we have seen anything of the kind was in the columns of the Slavery Press of Paris and London; but it is safe to say, nevertheless, that to the Democratic Party of the North is due this lame and foolish attempt at intervention in American affairs . . . there has been no spectacle more pitiable than that offered by a portion of the American people, thus inviting, by their conduct, the intervention of foreign Nations in their internal affairs.”

November 15– Saturday– New York City– The New York Times reports on European response to the Emancipation Proclamation. “We are permitted to make the following extract from a letter from our Consul-General at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, in Germany, to a high official of our City . . . ‘The Emancipation Proclamation gives very general satisfaction. It has increased the value of American securities held here, and likewise made us hosts of friends.’ When we consider that Frankfort is the chief financial center of Germany, as New-York is of our own country, the importance of the fact above stated cannot be over-estimated. It shows how that great act of the President is viewed by impartial minds in a city where aristocratic and absolutist jealousies have not the power which they exert in England and France, and at a distance from all influences of party and passion, which blind so many here, and which enable falsehood, in the interest of treason, to obtain so strong a foothold among us.”

November 15– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues an executive order regarding observance of the Sabbath by the military. “The President, Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in the military and naval service. The importance for man and beast of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people. and a due regard for the divine will demand that Sunday labor in the Army and Navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity. The discipline and character of the national forces should not suffer nor the cause they defend be imperiled by the profanation of the day or name of the Most High.” He invokes the example of a similar order issued by General George Washington in 1776.

November 15– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia–Confederate Secretary of War George Randolph resigns over President Jeff Davis’ interference with Randolf’s work in the War Department.

November 15– Saturday– Obersalzbrunn, Silesia– Birth of Gerhart Hauptmann, German dramatist and novelist who will win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1912.

November 16– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times reprints a letter from a Captain Julius of the merchant ship Tonawanda which was captured last month by the Confederate raider Alabama. He describes the enemy ship as “a splendid vessel, and the fastest under canvas that I ever had my foot on board of, and I have no doubt she is the same under steam, as she has very powerful machinery. She is 225 feet long, entirely built, they say, of teak wood. She is calculated to remain at sea as long as they like, as they condense all the water used. They have now 360 tons of coal on board, and the instance mentioned before is the only time they have raised steam since she has been out. I do not think there is a ship in our navy that can catch her. Her armament is six 32 broadside guns, one 68 amidships, and one 100-pound rifled cannon amidships, forward of mainmast. I judge there were about 100 persons on board, mostly English men-of-war’s-men. I do not think there is an American-born seaman on board.” [In fact, of the 83 sailors serving under the Confederate officers a majority but not all are British born. This serves to increase anti-British sentiment in the Northern press and among some members of President Lincoln’s cabinet.]

John Sherman, a politician later known as “the Ohio Icicle”

November 16– Sunday– Mansfield, Ohio– John Sherman, a politician, writes to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman about the results of the recent elections. He opines that one of the major reasons for “defeat is, the people were dissatisfied at the conduct and results of the war. The slow movements on the Potomac and worse still in Kentucky dissatisfied and discouraged people. It was a little singular that the Democrats, some of whom opposed the war, should reap the benefit of this feeling, but such is the fate of parties. Lincoln was a Republican. He put and kept in these slow generals and we shall be punished for it by having an organized opposition limiting appropriations. No doubt the wanton and unnecessary use of the power to arrest without trial and the ill-timed [Emancipation] proclamation contributed to the general result.”

William Wilberforce~ although he has been dead for almost three decades by the time of the American Civil War his abolitionist passion still motivates British anti-slavery activists

November 17– Monday– London, England– The Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society issues a public statement regarding the American war and President Lincoln’s proclamation. It concludes with these sentiments: “The President has lately issued a proclamation declaring absolutely and forever free all the slaves in those States which shall be in rebellion on the 1st of January next, and pointing to the measures in progress for the abolition of Slavery in the loyal States, upon the principle of indemnification. While the Committee deprecates a resort to arms, even with the avowed purpose of promoting the extinction of Slavery, they reiterate the opinion that the friends of the slave in the United States, under whatsoever designation, have established a just claim upon the sympathy of the friends of freedom throughout Europe. In this spirit, and with the object of evoking such an expression of sympathy as shall encourage the emancipation party in the United States to their most difficult position, to persevere in their endeavors to obtain justice for the slave, the Committee issue the present address, earnestly commending it to the favorable consideration of their fellow-countrymen, and to the friends of humanity in all lands.”

Somber and Surly~November, 1862~the 6th to the 10th

Irregardless of the changing season, fighting continues on many fronts. Union soldiers in Virginia describe cold weather and war-torn countryside. Tragedies such as steamboat accidents and building fires do not cease because of the war but seem yet more stark. City officials inquire about the safety of petroleum storage and sale. Reports come of a continuing buildup of British troops in Canada almost a year after the Trent affair while one English admiral sends Her Majesty’s cruisers in pursuit of the CSS Alabama.

President Lincoln decides to relieve the controversial General Ben Butler of his command while General Burnside takes McClellan’s place. After an attack on Sioux prisoners in Minnesota the President decides to review the convictions of the Indians sentenced to death. Mary Todd Lincoln is feted during a visit to Boston. Personal and public debate continues about the Emancipation Proclamation.

 

November 6– Thursday– New York City– The New York Times carries a report from Montreal, Canada, about Canadian concerns about and preparations for a possible war between Britain and the United States. The reporter in Montreal writes that “An uneasy feeling has prevailed in this city for some time; an undefined apprehension that Britain is on the eve of a contest with the United States, in which, of course, Canada would be involved. The daily steamers from Quebec have been quietly bringing up shot, and of late shell and a number of Armstrong guns, and on the 1st instant, we were startled by the announcement that the Ariadne, one of the finest frigates in the British navy, had passed Father Point on her way to Quebec, where she is now lying. The Ariadne, it seems, has brought up two troops of artillery and a quantity of stores. It is now said that a regiment from Halifax is coming into Canada, and that at least 10,000 men will be concentrated in this city during the Winter.” In the same edition, the paper reports, with great satisfaction, that because the CSS Alabama destroyed property belonging to an English merchant firm, “the British Consul in this City, we are informed, immediately took steps to represent these transactions most forcibly to Admiral Milne, commanding Her Britannic Majesty’s squadron in the American waters. The Admiral, upon receiving the representations of the Consul, forthwith ordered three British men-of-war in pursuit of the Alabama, with orders, as we understand, to overhaul that vessel of wrath, and convey her to some British port, where her violations of international law may be judicially inquired into.”

HMS Warrior, built in 1861 as Britain strengthened the navy

November 6– Thursday– Ste Genevieve, Missouri– Early in the morning, a steamboat about ten miles above the town on the Mississippi River runs aground and one of it boilers explodes, killing several people including a Union cavalry officer. An unknown number of persons are also injured.

November 7– Friday– New York City– Aldermen hold a public hearing on whether or not more stringent regulations are needed for the storage and sale of petroleum products within the city. Merchants assert that such regulations are not necessary, their products are safe and more regulation would increase the price of items like kerosene for household lighting.

November 7– Friday– General Ambrose Burnside assumes command of the Union Army of the Potomac in place of General McClellan.

General Ambrose Burnside

November 8– Saturday– Buffalo, New York– Birth of Nettie Rogers Shuler, suffragist, journalist and clubwoman.

November 8– Saturday– New York City– The New York Times quotes an opinion article from a Buffalo newspaper regarding the Emancipation Proclamation, which sees it not as executive order nor proposed legislation nor an abolitionist issue but only one of military necessity.”We fail . . . to discover any justification of opposition to the Emancipation act at the North. It is and of necessity can be nothing but a military expedient toward crushing out the rebellion. As such, we deem it in every point of view equally as justifiable as any other military act that could be devised. As a principle, it would be unjustifiable in the extreme, as an expedient, it should receive the cooperation and approval of every loyal citizen.”

November 8– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Concerned about the conduct of General Ben Butler in New Orleans, President Lincoln decides to relieve Butler of his command and replace him with General Nathaniel Banks. The orders he issues to Banks make clear that the President “regards the opening of the Mississippi River as the first and most important of our military and naval operations.”

General Nathaniel Banks

November 8– Saturday– White Plains, Virginia– Elisha Hunt Rhodes complains to his diary. “How I would like to have some of those ‘On to Richmond’ fellows out here with us in the snow. The ground is white with snow, and it is too cold to write. This morning we found ourselves covered with snow that had fallen during the night.”

November 8– Saturday– New Orleans, Louisiana– General Butler orders the closure of all distilleries and breweries in the territory under his command.

November 9– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– About 2:30 in the morning a fire breaks out in the Roman Catholic boys orphan asylum. The fire completely destroys the five story building, only erected six years ago, and kills two youngsters. All of the staff and the other 246 boys escape unharmed.

November 9– Mankato, Minnesota– The 303 Sioux condemned to death for participating in the summer uprising are moved from the Lower Agency to Camp Lincoln, near here. While passing through New Ulm, the captives are attacked by an angry mob of settlers. A few of the Sioux are killed and many are injured. Meanwhile, about 1700 Sioux, over half of them women and children and most of them uninvolved in the uprising, are moved to Fort Snelling, near St. Paul.

November 9– Sunday– Linwood, Louisiana– Sarah Morgan writes about her servants. ” To think old Abe wants to deprive us of all that fun! No more cotton, sugar-cane, or rice! No more old black aunties or uncles! No more rides in mule teams, no more songs in the cane-field, no more steaming kettles, no more black faces and shining teeth around the furnace fires! If Lincoln could spend the grinding season on a plantation, he would recall his proclamation. As it is, he has only proved himself a fool, without injuring us. . . . Poor oppressed devils! Why did you not chunk us with the burning logs instead of looking happy, and laughing like fools? Really, some good old Abolitionist is needed here, to tell them how miserable they are. Can’t Mass’ Abe spare a few to enlighten his brethren?”

Sarah Morgan

November 9– Sunday– Greenbrier County, Virginia– Dry Wood, Missouri– Boston Mountains, Arkansas– Lebanon, Tennessee– Skirmishing, ambushes and firefights occur between Union and Confederate forces in these places and at least five others.

November 10– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– In the evening Mary Todd Lincoln, in the city to visit her son who is attending Harvard, receives Governor John Andrew and his wife Eliza Jane Hersey Andrew, Senator Charles Sumner, the author and reformer Julia Ward Howe, and Jean L. Agassiz, professor of natural history at Harvard.

Julia Ward Howe, 1861

November 10– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to General Pope in Minnesota and asks him to forward to the White House “the full and complete record” of the 300 Sioux convicted by the military tribunals. He directs General Pope to make sure the records indicate “the more guilty and influential of the culprits.”

November 10– Monday– Green Bay, Wisconsin–The Chicago and North Western Railway reaches here with service.

George Whitman

November 10– Monday– Jefferson, Virginia– George Whitman writes to his mother. “The Villages we have passed through are the most God forsaken places I ever saw, the people seem to have next to nothing to eat as the men have all gone in the Secesh army, and how they are going to get through the winter I don’t know. We have not seen a paper since we came into Va and we cant find out what the rest of the army is doing, or how the New York election went, so you see we are a long way behind the age.”

Somber and Surly~November, 1862~the first 5 days

As the year of 1862 heads to a close and cold weather begins to set in, people throughout the United States are feeling somber and surly. In the Confederacy, there is disappointment that the military operations of late summer and early fall ended in failure or stalemate. In the Union, voters express their disappointment at the on-going war by granting significant gains to the Democratic Party even though it is still tainted by its decades of support for slavery. The South hurts from the continuing blockade. The North bristles with resentment about England and the raider Alabama. Resentment simmers in many places about the Emancipation Proclamation. Fighting drags on with no end in sight. Unbeknownst to all the participants, the single bloodiest year of war lies just ahead.

The month of November opens with bad news at the polls for President Lincoln; however, his party holds enough votes to control legislation in Congress. Lincoln finally tires of General McClellan’s inactivity and relieves him of command. Frederick Douglass asks whether the Democrats are playing into the hands of the rebel government. General Robert E Lee appears to have aged significantly. Black troops appear in combat wearing Union blue uniforms. Military technology advances as an inventor receives a patent for what is effectively the first rapid-fire weapon.

President Lincoln

November–Mid-term elections are held throughout the month in the loyal states. For the 185 seats in the House of Representatives, the Republican win 86 seats, the Democrats 72 seats, the Unionist Party 25 seats and Independents 2 seats. While in the popular voting for the House, Republicans lose seats, in the Senate, where senators are selected by state legislatures, the Republicans gain, taking 31 seats, the Democrats take only 10 seats and other parties a total of 7 seats. Democrats do especially well in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and New York. Elated by their advances, Democrats from the Northwest hail the elections as a repudiation of the war in general and President Lincoln’s “heresy” of emancipation in particular. However by reaching out to the Unionists, the Republicans will exercise majority control in the House. [Also, some states make no provision for their soldiers in the field to vote. Major changes in this regard will significantly affect the next presidential election in 1864.]

November– Rochester, New York– In this month’s issue of Douglass’ Monthly, Frederick Douglass comments upon the election. “The re-animation of the Democratic party at this juncture, and its entrance upon a vigorous campaign for place and power, with elements of strength given to it by the mistakes and imperfections of the present administration, constitute our chief danger during the next two months. . . . . If the Democratic party had received direct orders from the rebel Government at Richmond, its program and the manner of executing it could not have been more satisfactory to the rebels.”

Frederick Douglass

November 1– Saturday– Quincy, Illinois– As reported in the New York Times, the Illinois Synod of the Presbyterian Church (Old School) recently passed a series of resolutions which included the following: “We believe it to be the duty of all good men to frown upon all attempts to weaken confidence in the Government, or to divide and distract the loyal people of the country. The efforts of scheming politicians, and selfish demagogues, and of an unprincipled or disloyal newspaper Press, to give aid and comfort to the rebellion by dividing our people and raising up a reactionary party that would sell justice and liberty, and barter away all that is most sacred in our institutions for the sake of the personal aggrandizement of a treacherous and short-lived peace, ought to receive the indignant condemnation of all who fear God and love justice. None but a righteous peace can be permanent.”

November 1– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones, clerk in the Confederate government, describes in his diary a visit from the commanding general. “General Lee made his appearance at the department to-day, and was hardly recognizable, for his beard, now quite white, has been suffered to grow all over his face. But he is quite robust from his exercises in the field. His appearance here, coupled with the belief that we are to have the armistice, or recognition and intervention, is interpreted by many as an end of the war. But I apprehend it is a symptom of the falling back of our army.”

November 1– Saturday– Utrecht, Holland– Birth of Johann Wagenaar, composer and organist.

Johaan Waganaar

November 2– Sunday– New York City– Dr George B Cheever, pastor of the Church of the Puritans [Presbyterian], preaches a sermon advocating full emancipation and declaring that the President’s Emancipation Proclamation does not go far enough. “We must do it as an act of moral obligation, which undone is sure to bring upon us the Divine wrath. It is not enough to emancipate the slaves of rebels alone, assuring protection to loyal slave owners and slave dealers. We must sweep the whole, iniquity away even though every man of us die fighting to clear our skirts of the pollution.”

Dr George B Cheever, Christian abolitionist

November 2– Sunday– Berlin, Maryland– Elisha Hunt Rhodes notes in his diary. “At a place called Smoketown we passed the Army hospitals where our wounded men are treated. It was a sad sight, and I thanked God that I have been spared.”

November 3– Monday– New York City– The New York Times reports that another eight ships have been captured and burned by the Confederate raider Alabama.

CSS Alabama

November 3– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary of State Seward sends instructions to Charles Francis Adams in London. “Mr. Dudley, our consul at Liverpool, informs us that two war vessels which are on the stays at Birkenhead are announced by the press as being built ostensibly for the Chinese government, but really to depredate on American commerce, as the 290 [the Alabama] is doing. The President hopes that you will make such representations concerning them and all similar enterprises to her Majesty’s government, as may induce them to consider whether it can be claimed that a nation is really neutral when vessels-of-war, without restraint and with impunity, are built, armed, manned, equipped, and sent out from its ports to make war on a peaceful and friendly nation.”

Charles Francis Adams, U S Minister to Great Britain; one of his secretaries is his son, Henry Adams

November 3– Monday– coast of Georgia– A week long expedition of Federal troops begins today. They will progress along the east coast of Florida as well. One of the regiments is the First South Carolina Volunteers, a unit of black enlisted men with white officers. The commander is Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 38 years old, a Massachusetts man, published author, Unitarian minister and ardent abolitionist. Eight months ago he sent a letter of encouragement to a young poet by the name of Emily Dickinson.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson

November 3– Monday– Sacramento, California– Birth of Henry George, Jr., the first born child of Henry George, a Protestant, and his Roman Catholic wife, Annie Corsina Fox George. At this time the young family is living in near poverty. [Later, in 1884, Henry George Jr will accompany his by then well-known economist father on a lecture tour of Great Britain and will make a career for himself in politics.]

Henry George Jr, circa 1912, while serving in Congress

November 4– Tuesday– Albany, New York– In state-wide election, Democrats win the governorship and four other key state offices. The composition of the state assembly is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, each party winning 64 seats. The loss of the governorship and the strong Democratic showing indicate growing opposition to the war and increased hostility toward the Lincoln Administration.

November 4– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Richard J Gatling, 44 years old, an inventor living in Indianapolis, Indiana, receives a patent for his revolving six-barrel, rapid fire gun. He hopes that his invention will “to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease [will] be greatly diminished.” [“Gatling guns” will not come into regular use in the Union Army until the siege of Petersburg, Virginia in late 1864.]

one of the design drawings submitted by Mr Gatling

November 4– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles takes note of this day’s Cabinet meeting. “Stanton, whose dislike of McClellan increases, says that Halleck does not consider himself responsible for army movements or deficiencies this side of the mountains, of which he has no notice from General McClellan, who neither reports to him nor to the Secretary of War. All his official correspondence is with the President direct and no one else. . . . the remarks of Stanton . . . were more sneering in manner than words.”

November 4– Tuesday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– The Daily Rebel warns about selling cotton to the North and praises patriotic women. “Various reasons are given by those who sell cotton to the Yankees, which we propose to notice; one is that we can get gold for it, and with that buy clothing,salt, and other necessary articles. In answer to this, it may be said that the cotton cannot be sold unless it is carried within the enemy’s lines, and then they will not permit clothing, salt, or any necessaries to be brought within the Confederate lines, and, consequently the sale of the cotton can do the Confederates no good. If the Yankees would permit us to exchange cotton for arms, ammunition, clothing, salt and the necessary articles, even then it would be doubtful whether we would not be doing them more good by buying such articles from them than we would be benefitted. We had better learn to rely upon ourselves even it if does cost some hardship, than to furnish the Yankees with cotton. We can make our own clothing, rough though it be. We can make our own gunswith the exception of what we can buy from foreign countries. But it is useless to argue this, because the Yankees will not permit those who sell them their cotton, to bring supplies to our army.” In another article, the paper reports that, “The ladies of the Methodist Church in this place have taken the carpet from their church and given it to the soldiers as blankets. Can a people be conquered when the ladies are so patriotic?”

November 5– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Dissatisfied with General McClellan’s lack of activity and failure to pursue General Lee’s army since the battle of Antietam, President Lincoln relieves McClellan of command of the Army of the Potomac.