The Sable Arm in Double Battle~February, 1863~the 27th & 28th

The last two days of February are busy. Some “fair belles” of the Confederascy are prettily dressed while raising money to help care for sick soldiers. Several others are captured by Yankees and arrested for smuggling. Some ladies in Pennsylvania go walking and raise their skirts enough to reveal glimpses of their shoes and stockings while Charlotte Forten Grimke interviews former slaves.

Radical abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison calls for faster Northern action on emancipation. Tired soldier George Whitman requests leave. In Washington President Lincoln calls the Senate into special session and a prominent local theater begins repairs after a fire.

Mexican forces and irregulars are busy fighting the French invaders.

William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison


February 27– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– In an article entitled “Inexcusable Silence” in The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison criticizes the sate government. “The Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln was issued only a few days prior to the opening of the present session of the Legislature of Massachusetts. Obviously it should have promptly received the strongest endorsement of that body, not only in view of its magnitude and importance, but also to strengthen the hands of the President– nearly two months have been suffered to pass without any proposition being made, or action taken upon that Proclamation! The Legislature is seriously culpable for its inaction, and an indignant constituency should take some measures to compel it to Speak Out.”

February 27– Friday– Newport News Virginia– George Whitman writes to the commander of his regiment, requesting leave. “Having been always with the Regiment since the Organization of it at New York which is now over 18 months, and in all the time never have been excuse from any duty whatever and having urgent business at home which demands my immediate attention, I beg leave of asking you hereby the favor of granting me, leave of absence for ten Days.”

February 27– Friday– Columbia, Tennessee– A local correspondent files a report for the Mobile Register and Advertizer about the preceding evening’s social event. “A concert was given last night at the Atheneum for the benefit of sick soldiers, under the direction of the Rev. Mr. Smith, principal of the Young Ladies’ Seminary of this place . . . . The ladies who participated in the concert role were all dressed in most admirable taste and indeed with no little extravagance, and made the finest display of feminine apparel and attire we have seen in the South since the commencement of hostilities. Perhaps it is due to ladies further South to say that these fair belles of Columbus, have been enabled to dress better and more tastily than their Confederate sisters further southward, from the fact that they have been able during the Yankee occupation of their country, to select such articles of dress and virtue, as others were unable to procure on account of the blockade.”

nice dresses of the period

nice dresses of the period

February 28– Saturday– New York City– Harpers Weekly reports on events in Mexico. “The Mexican nation are putting forth the most vigorous efforts for the defense of their country, while the movements of the French invaders are characterized by any thing but the dash and rapidity of movement which General Forey promised in his proclamation. The Emperor’s direction to act promptly and decisively is apparently being carried out by the rule of inverse proportion. There have been several skirmishes between the Mexicans and French, in which the former have come if victorious. The attack on Puebla, so often deferred, has again been put off, and in the mean time the Mexican Commander Ortega is making it a sort of Sebastopol. The French trains and outposts continually suffer from the depredations of guerrillas and the fearful lasso of the wild Mexican. More than 1200 French mules have been taken by these men.”

February 28– Saturday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Local businessman William Heyser writes in his diary about activities in town. “Cloudy and damp. Mild evening. The ladies all out for a promenade despite the muddy foot paths. They take their pleasure at the cost of muddy skirts andheels. Some of the more careful lift the outer garment and expose to public gaze every shade and stripe of ‘Balmoral.’ [The term usually refers to a man’s shoe, a heavy laced walking shoe.] They walk until darkness drives them indoors. This is Saturday evening, and they seem to have enjoyed it.”

February 28– Saturday– Camp Chase, Ohio– Captain Edwin Webber writes to Washington, D. C., requesting orders on how to deal with three prisoners.”There are three female prisoners here, sent from Nashville by order of General Rosecrans. They are charged with aiding the rebels and carrying contraband articles across our line. The evidence against them is here. We have poor facilities for female prisoners. What shall be done with them? Shall their cases be turned over to Special Commissioner Galloway for investigation?”

February 28– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– By executive order, President Lincoln calls the United States Senate into special session, beginning on March 4th, 1863.

February 28– Saturday– Washington, D.C.–Work begins on rebuilding Ford’s Theater after it suffered damage from a fire.

Ford's Theater as it appears today in Washington, D.C.

Ford’s Theater as it appears today in Washington, D.C.

February 28– Saturday– St Helena Island, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke describes her conversation with former slaves. “Had a nice long talk with some of the people this afternoon. The more one knows of them the more interested one becomes in them. I asked if there used to be people sold at auction in the market-place at Beaufort. They said, ‘yes, often.’”

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