Not Half Through Our Troubles~March 1863~the 22nd to 27th

As winter recedes and spring advances, fighting increases. President Lincoln wishes for 50,000 black soldiers while Charlotte Forten Grimke laments the lack of support for Colonel Higginson and his black soldiers. Rebels murder black men whom they capture. Northern businessmen still believe in General McClellan and lament the cost of the war and the success of war profiteers. A Southern woman complains about doctors. England seems to moderate its attitude about the American war. Central Europe remains in turmoil. Around the world life goes on.

Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck

Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck

March 22– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times reports on Germany’s attitude toward the revolt in Poland. Prussian troop movements are defensive; Prime Minister Bismarck will not provide military support to Russia’s forces nor join Britain and France in asking the Russian Tsar to end operations in Poland. The military measures taken on such a large scale by the Prussian authorities, are perfectly justified by the character of the insurrection, as well as by the great interest which Prussia has in restraining the Polish movement. Prussia only wishes to defend her frontier. At the same time she will do all she can to prevent the insurgents from drawing succors of men, arms, and ammunition from the Prussian provinces. As to the diplomatic intervention with the Russian cabinet, Prussia does not believe she can participate in it, as such an act, would be equivalent to lending a moral support to the insurrection.”

March 22– Sunday– St Helena Island, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke writes of the Sunday service.. “Chilly, disagreeable day. Unusually small attendance at church. Some of the people sang ‘Glory be to my King Emmanuel.’ It is one of their grandest hymns. Must have the words.”

March 23– Monday– Chamsbersburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser, like some other Northerners, still believes in General McClelland. “Cloudy. At the bank. Spent rest of day at home in partial enjoyment. Perplexed why Lincoln keeps McClelland checked when he could shorten the war with his fine talents for military tactics.”

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania-main square-c1921

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania-main square-c1921

March 23– Monday– Warrenton,, Mississippi– In support of General Grant’s operations, Union gunboats bombard the Confederate batteries at this town below Vicksburg.

March 23– Monday– Jacksonville, Florida– Federal and Confederate troops skirmish.

March 23– Monday– London, England– In a speech in Parliament, Lord Russell argues that supplying or refitting Confederate ships may violate England’s declared policy of neutrality in the American civil war. The U S Minister Charles Francis Adams expresses his delighted concurrence to Her Majesty’s Government.

Lord Russell, Britain's Prime Minister

Lord Russell, Britain’s Prime Minister

March 24– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– The Daily Union reports on a Confederate atrocity. “It is reported that the Negroes employed as cooks, etc on the steamboats recently captured near the shoals by the guerrillas, were butchered in the most brutal manner by their captors, who dragged them aside and cut their throats. . . . And yet these rebels talk of the horrors of Negro insurrections, while they perpetrate atrocities . . . . Why if anything could inflame the slaves to insurrection, it would be the cowardly and barbarous murder of these fellows on the Murfreesboro road, and at Harpeth Shoals.”

March 25– Wednesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser writes of conditions. “As the fortunes of this war ebb and flow, so do the manipulators of our finances make and lose fortunes each day. No thought as to the good of our country, but all for personal greed and advancement. Our poor soldiers are but dispensable pawns in the hands of the fiends in Washington.”

March 25– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Union soldiers William Bensinger, Robert Buffum, Elihu H. Mason, Jacob Parrott, William Pittenger and William H. Reddick are awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their part in the Great Locomotive Chase of April, 1862.

March 25– Wednesday– Louisville, Kentucky– Birth of Simon Flexner, physician, pathologist and medical educator will become the first head of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (1901 to 1935).

Simon Flexner- c1910

Simon Flexner- c1910

March 25– Wednesday– Black Bayou, Mississippi; Franklin, Tennessee; Jacksonville, Virginia; Louisa, Kentucky– Skirmishes, raids and fire fights between Union and Confederate troops occur throughout the day.

March 26– Thursday– New York City– George Templeton Strong evaluates conditions. “Price of gold down again. . . . Rebellion is not yet squelched by any means and we are not half through our troubles. . . . great battles are imminent, and there are abundant chances of disaster at each point.”

George Templeton Strong

George Templeton Strong

March 26– Thursday– Charleston, West Virginia–Voters overwhelmingly approve the proposed new state constitution in a state-wide referendum.

March 26– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to Andrew Johnson, military governor of Tennessee about raising regiments of black soldiers. “The colored population is the great available and yet unavailed of force for restoring the Union. The bare sight of fifty thousand armed and drilled black soldiers upon the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once; and who doubts that we can present that sight if we but take hold in earnest?”

Charlotte Forten Grimke

Charlotte Forten Grimke

March 26– Thursday– St Helena Island, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke writes about Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson and his soldiers being withdrawn from operations in Florida. “I think our noble Colonel will be bitterly disappointed; it is too bad, too bad. Surely with all the troops that have been raised at the North enough might be sent here to take Charleston and hold Florida too, but it is always so. Always something lacking somewhere. One can’t help feeling a little discouraged sometimes.”

March 27– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Liberator carries a report of the recent meeting of the Cherokee National Council which repealed its previous ordinance of secession, done unanimously, believing that the old legislature had been coerced into that action by the rebel army. The action of the Council also sustains President Lincoln in his proclamation for unconditional emancipation.

Fashionable dresses~1862

Fashionable dresses~1862

March 27– Friday– Mill Creek, Tennessee– Mary Louise Pearre complains of sickness, doctors and medicines. “Three weeks has passed since I have penned a line. Ruth, May & myself have all been ill, are now convalescent. I have been confined to my room for two weeks & have been well physicked with quinine, opium & with various powders & pills. Have no faith in M. D. ‘s & their stuff. Yet by dent of much persuasive eloquence aided by acute pain they prevailed upon me to be drugged to any amount. I am far from being well yet. Have forsworn any more dosing. Not another pill will I swallow except opium. I rather like its effect.”

Sir Henry Royce c1939

Sir Henry Royce c1939

March 27- Friday– Alwalton, Peterborough, England– Birth of Henry Royce, English automobile pioneer.

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