We Consumed the Fruits of the Country~May 1863~ the 29th to 31st

A well-known evangelist calls for more people to do the work of evangelism while a small town pastor in Pennsylvania has no congregation to work with and loses his daughter. Union soldiers and generals alike are optimistic about the fall of Vicksburg. Some Northerners want even more black soldiers.

In the Confederacy some favor a compromise on the slavery issue if by doing so the South can win European support. Others fear a dangerous slave revolt instigated by Yankees. Inflation continues to grow.. Robert E Lee moves on his plan to invade the North. And a young English officer from one of Her Majesty’s most distinguished regiments has run the Union blockade to see for himself what the rebel armies look like. He will provide European eyes looking at some of the dramatic events of the next two months. Yankees and rebels alike will be shaken to their core by the violence and rancor soon coming upon the divided United States in what will be the bloodiest summer of the war.


May 29– Friday– Oberlin, Ohio– Reverend Charles G Finney writes to Edwin Lamson about the needs of the church. “The world can never be converted at this rate. But the more experience I have the more ripe is my conviction that the Church must return to God’s order & employ Evangelists on a scale equal to the work to be done, or sinners will continue to go to hell by millions. It is insanity in the churches & in the Pastors to oppose or neglect the employment of evangelists. As well, & even better for the church, might evangelists oppose the employment of Pastors. The fact is both are of God’s appointment & both must be employed.”

Rev Charles Grandison Finney

Rev Charles Grandison Finney

May 29– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends a telegram to General Burnside who has tendered his resignation. “Your despatch of to-day received. When I shall wish to supersede you I will let you know. All the Cabinet regretted the necessity of arresting, for instance, Vallandigham, some perhaps doubting there was a real necessity for it; but, being done, all were for seeing you through with it.”

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

May 29– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones records recent remarks by a member of the Confederate Congress. “Honorable E. S. Dargan, Mobile, Ala., writes that it is indispensable for our government to stipulate for aid from Europe at the earliest moment practicable, even if we must agree to the gradual emancipation of the slaves. He says the enemy will soon overrun the Southwestern States and prevent communication with the East, and then these States (Eastern) cannot long resist the superior numbers of the invaders. Better (he thinks, I suppose) yield slavery, and even be under the protection of a foreign government, than succumb to the United States.”

May 29– Friday– Heusonville, Kentucky– George Whitman updates his mother. “Of course we don’t know how long we shall stay here, or which way we will move next, We do picket duty on the roads, about the country here, and our chief business is, to look out for rebel Cavalry raids, as they have been in the habit of dashing through these small country towns, stealing horses and Cattle and everything else they wanted. . . . The news from Grant, down at Vicksburg is very encouraging, I only hope it won’t turn out like the news of the capture of Richmond. If it should turn out, that Vicksburg is certain to fall into our hands in this campaign it will be a heavy blow to the rebs.”

May 29– Friday– Union position outside of Vicksburg, Mississippi– General William Tecumseh Sherman summarizes the campaign for his brother, Senator John Sherman. “The move by way of Grand Gulf to secure a foothold on the hills wherefrom to assail Vicksburg, appeared to me too risky at the time, and General Grant is entitled to all the merit of its conception and execution. In our route we consumed the fruits of the country, broke up the important railroad communications, whipped the enemy wherever encountered . . . . We have Vicksburg closely invested, and its fate is sealed unless the enemy raises a large force . . . and assails us from without. . . . The place is very well fortified, and is defended by twenty thousand brave troops. We have assaulted at five distinct points at two distinct times, and failed to cross the parapet. Our loss was heavy and we are now approaching with pick and shovel. If we did not apprehend an attempt on our rear, we could wait patiently the slow process of besiegers ; but as this danger is great, we may try and assault again. In the mean time we are daily pouring into the city a perfect storm of shot and shells, and our sharp-shooters are close up and fire at any head that is rash enough to show itself above ground.”

May 30– Saturday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser describes his day. “Decorating the church for Sunday’s celebration of the Heidelberg Catechism [Reformed Protestant document first approved for use in 1563]. Death of Rev. Feete’s daughter. She will be interred tomorrow at six in the evening. Rev. Feete has lost his last remaining comfort. Without a charge [a call to pastor a church], means, and dependent on friends, his situation can well call forth all the sympathy of those that know him.”

May 30– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– At the request of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, President Lincoln meets with a delegation from New York who encourage the enlistment of 10,000 black soldiers. According to a newspaper reporter, “The President declared that he would gladly receive into the service not ten thousand but ten times ten thousand colored troops; expressed his determination to protect all who enlisted, and said that he looked to them for essential service in finishing the war.”

Senator Charles Sumner, 1860

Senator Charles Sumner, 1860

May 30– Saturday– Fredericksburg, Virginia– General Lee completes the restructuring of the Army of Northern Virginia, creating three corps, one under James Longstreet, one under Richard Ewell and one under A. P. Hill.

May 30– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– Government clerk John Jones writes that proof has been provided to President Davis of Union intent to foment a massive slave rebellion. “A plan of servile insurrection had been adopted . . . . All the Yankee generals in the South would co-operate: they were to send smart Negroes from the camps among the slaves, with instructions to rise simultaneously at night on the 1st August. They were to seize and destroy all railroad bridges, cut the telegraph wires, etc., and then retire into the swamps, concealing themselves until relieved by Federal troops. It is said they were to be ordered to shed no blood, except in self-defense, and they were not to destroy more private property than should be unavoidable.”

May 30– Saturday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– Sir Arthur James Fremantle, 27 years old, an officer in Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards who has come to view the Confederate military first hand and traveling in the South since April 2nd, describes his day with Confederate General Leonidas Polk. “It rained hard all last night, but General Polk’s tent proved itself a good one. We have prayers both morning and evening, by Dr. Quintard, together with singing, in which General Polk joined with much zeal. Colonel Gale, who is son-in-law and volunteer aid-de-camp to General Polk, has placed his Negro Aaron and a mare at my disposal during my stay. . . . . General Polk’s son, a young artillery lieutenant, told me this evening that ‘Stonewall Jackson’ was a professor at the military school at Lexington, in which he was a cadet.’Old Jack’ was considered a persevering but rather dull master, and was often made the butt of jokes by cheeky cadets, whose great ambition it was to irritate him, but, however insolent they were. He never took the slightest notice of their impertinence at the time, although he always had them punished for it afterwards. At the outbreak of the war, he was called upon by the cadets to make a speech, and these were his words: ‘Soldiers make short speeches: be slow to draw the sword in civil strife, but when you draw it, throw away the scabbard.’ Young Polk says that the enthusiasm created by this speech of old Jack’s was beyond description.”

Sir Arthur James Fremantle of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards

Sir Arthur James Fremantle of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards

May 31– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones to his diary: “The commissioners, appointed for the purpose, have agreed upon . . . [a] schedule of prices for the State of Virginia, under the recent impressment act of Congress; and if a large amount of supplies be furnished at these prices–which are fifty, sometimes one hundred per cent. lower than the rates private individuals arepaying–it will be good proof that all patriotism is not yet extinct.”

May 31– Sunday– Murree, British India (today Pakistan)– Birth of Francis Edward Younghusband, British army officer, journalist, explorer, author of several books on spirituality, and an advocate of free love.

Francis E Younghusband c.1905

Francis E Younghusband c.1905


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