A Crisis in Our Affairs~January,1863~the 9th to the 15th

Technological changes take place in Europe and America. An important Hindu religious leader is born in India. An important Protestant religious leader dies in the United States. In Mexico, French forces increase their operations. Robert Gould Shaw, offspring of Massachusetts abolitionists, see no hope of permanent peace with the Confederacy. Fighting in Arkansas gives the Union forces a victory. Soldiers and civilians, North and South, complain of war-time inflation. Radical abolitionists want the Emancipation Proclamation expended. Southern planters complain about unruly slaves. Ralph Waldo Emerson recommends Walt Whitman for a government job in Washington.

January 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Liberator carries a notice for the next regularly scheduled annual meeting, the 30th such, of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. “However effectual may be the President’s Emancipation Proclamation in breaking the chains of the bondmen in such rebellious sections of the country as he has just designated, and Heaven grant that it may be as potent in operation as it is comprehensive in its scope; nevertheless, nothing at this hour is settled so surely as the continued enslavement of four millions of the inhabitants of the land; and while any of these remain to wear the yoke, the primary object and specific work of this Society will not have been accomplished. Slavery, in the so-called loyal Border States is as inexcusable, as criminal, as revolting, as unendurable, as pregnant with evil and ruin, as in the rebellious Confederate States, and must be as vigorously and uncompromisingly assailed, until liberty is proclaimed throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof.”

January 9– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln informs Congress that the United States has been invited to participate in an international agricultural exhibition to be held next summer in the city of Hamburg, Germany.

January 10– Saturday– Concord, Massachusetts– Ralph Waldo Emerson sends a letter to Secretary of State William Seward regarding a job application from Walt Whitman of Brooklyn, New York. “Permit me to say that he is known to me as a man of strong original genius, combining, with marked eccentricities, great powers & valuable traits of character: a self-relying, large-hearted man, much beloved by his friends; entirely patriotic & benevolent in his theory, tastes, & practice. If his writings are in certain points open to criticism, they yet show extraordinary power, & are more deeply American, democratic, & in the interest of political liberty, than those of any other poet. He is indeed a child of the people, & their champion. A man of his talents & dispositions will quickly make himself useful, and, if the Government has work that he can do, I think it may easily find, that it has called to its side more valuable aid than it bargained for.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, c late 1850s

Ralph Waldo Emerson, c late 1850s

January 10– Saturday– Brooklyn, New York– Reverend Lyman Beecher, clergyman, educator, author, temperance advocate and one of the leaders of the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening, dies at age 87. He married three times and had nine children by his first wife and four more by his second wife. Of the thirteen offspring, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Catharine Beecher, Isabella Beecher Hooker and Henry Ward Beecher have become well-known in their own right. His third wife, Lydia Beals Jackson Beecher, will outlive Lyman by 6 years.

Rev Lyman Beecher

Rev Lyman Beecher

January 10– Saturday– Fairfax Station, Virginia– Robert Gould Shaw writes to his sweetheart, Annie. “If a peace is patched up with the South, I don’t believe it can be a permanent one, and if the war goes on for another eighteen months, other nations are likely to be drawn into it. I hope I may be mistaken, for, though I don’t think the soldiers are so much to be pitied as the fathers, mothers, wives, and sisters, who have to stay at home, there are few who are not heartily sick of the war.”

January 10– Saturday– London, England–The first section of the London Underground Railway (one of the first subways) opens for business.

January 11– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– Feeling confident about an ultimate Southern victory, the Southern Confederacy insists that the Yankees be made to pay for “stolen” slaves in whatever peace terms will be drawn up to end the war.

January 11– Sunday– Fort Hindman, Arkansas–The two day battle concludes as 5,000 Confederates, surrounded by a force of 50,000 Union troops, and a U. S. Navy squadron under the command of Admiral David Porter, see the Confederate artillery silenced by the naval attack and Union infantry breach the outer walls of the fort. The Confederates then surrender.

Union gunboats attack Fort Hindman

Union gunboats attack Fort Hindman

January 12– Monday– in the countryside near Richmond, Virginia– On or about this date, Adah B Samuels Thoms is born to slaves. She will become a formative leader among African-American women in the nursing profession. She will write an important volume of the history of black nurses.

January 12– Monday– Calcutta, India– Birth of Narendra Nath Datta, who will become known as the holy man Swami Vivekananda, a leader in Hinduism and who is generally recognized, by a famous speech in Chicago in 1893, as introducing Hinduism to Americans.

Swami Vivekananda, c 1890s

Swami Vivekananda, c 1890s

January 13– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– A Mr William Canter from New York City receives a patent for a chenille manufacturing machine.

January 13– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones notes the housing problems in the city. “How shall we live? Boarding ranges from $60 to $100 per month. Our landlord says he will try to get boarding in the country, and if he succeeds, probably we may keep the house we now occupy, furnished, at a rent of $1200, for a mere robin’s nest of four rooms! But I hope to getthe house at the corner of First and Casey, in conjunction with General Rains, for $1800. It has a dozen rooms.”

January 14– Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana– A group of planters complain to the Union authorities in New Orleans about the conduct of their slaves. “Many of the Negroes led astray by designing persons, believe that the plantations & everything on them belong to them, the Negroes. They quit work, go & come when they see fit. Ride off at night the mules that have been at work all day. Fences are pulled down, gates & bars are left open. Cattle, & sheep hogs & poultry are killed or carried off & sold. Negroes in numbers from one plantation to an other at all hours night & day. They travel on the rail road. They congregate in large numbers on deserted plantations. All these things are done against the will & in defiance of the orders of their masters. In Some instances Negro Soldiers partially armed have been allowed to visit the plantations from which they enlisted. In a word we are in a State of anarchy.”

January 14– Wednesday– Off the Texas coast–The Confederate warship Alabama sinks the USS Hatteras.

January 15– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Boston Morning Journal becomes the first newspaper in the United States to be printed on wood-pulp paper

January 15– Thursday– Falmouth, Virginia– Union soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes writes in his diary of the dreariness and costs of camp life. “No news and all is quiet. But for our drills we should be unhappy in our laziness. We pay big prices for things to eat. Butter is 60c per lb. Cheese the same. Bread 25c per loaf. Soft crackers 30c per lb. Cookies (which children and soldiers love) 3 cents apiece. Today I found a small cod fish at 16c per lb. It tasted good.”

January 15– Thursday– Beaufort, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke, an African American educator, writes in her diary. “Had a letter mailed to my good friend [John Greenleaf] Whittier. . . . Miss Towne sent me the December Atlantic. Enjoyed it this evening, especially Dr [Oliver Wendell] Holmes’s excellent article . . . . That article is “My Hunt after the Captain.” [Holmes describes his search for his injured son, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, who was wounded at the battle of Antietam in September, 1862.]

Charlotte Forten Grimke

Charlotte Forten Grimke

January 15– Thursday– Veracruz, Mexico– French forces bombard the city.

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