I Took to My Prayer With a Delerium of Fervor~June 1863~the 14th to 16th

I Took to My Prayers with a Delirium of Fervor.~ Sarah Morgan prays for Confederate victories at Vicksburg & Port Hudson

Confederate forces recapture Winchester, Virginia, and enter Pennsylvania. They take free black people as prisoners and send them south. Some local citizens worry and hide their valuables. President Lincoln calls for more troops from the threatened states and reassures his wife that it is safe to stay in Philadelphia.. Draft resistence increases in some places. The Times argues that the invasion hurts the Peace Democrats and will unite Northerners against the South.

Port Hudson and Vicksburg remain under siege. General Grant expresses confidence that Vicksburg will fall. A black soldier in the 54th Massachusetts writes an account of the burning of Darien. His white colonel complains to headquarters about that expedition.

An Irish immigrant soldier and a southern belle take to prayer while a Quaker poet calls for peace. In London, Parliament again debates relations with the United States. A Confederate agitatorwants to make more trouble.

June 14– Sunday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Rachel Cormany, a Canadian-born woman whose husband is away serving in the Union atmy, writes in her diary. “Read the Telescope & wrote letters this A.M.–P.M. went to Sunday School, took Cora along– she did pretty well– was in Brother Hoke’s Bible class. How much better I feel to get out to religious gathering. Intend to go more. Mrs. Dulany was there with her little one too. I got such a good book to read. Some excitement about the rebels come. Evening the excitement pretty high.”

Rachel Cormany

Rachel Cormany

June 14– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles worries. “Scary rumors abroad of army operations and a threatened movement of Lee upon Pennsylvania. No doubt there has been a change. I fear our friends are in difficulties.”

June 14– Sunday– St Simon’s Island, Georgia– James H Gooding, one of the black soldiers serving in the 54th Massachusetts, writes to the New Bedford, Massachusetts, Mercury. “The town of Darien is now no more; the flames could be distinctly seen from the camp on the Island from three o’clock in the afternoon till daylight the next morning. We are to go on another expedition next week, into the interior. It is rumored we are to try to take possession of a railroad between Savannah and some point south, probably Mobile. We all hope the rebels will make a stand, so that we may have a good chance to empty our cartridge boxes. Talking about Southern scenery! Well, all I have seen of it yet is not calculated to make me eulogize its beauties. If a person were to ask me what I saw South, I should tell him stink weed, sand, rattlesnakes, and alligators. To tell the honest truth, our boys out on picket look sharper for snakes than they do for rebels.” This same day, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw writes to a Colonel Halfine at 10th Army Corps headquarters about the burning of Darien. “I am perfectly ready to burn any place which resists, and gives some reason for such a proceeding; but it seems to me barbarous to turn women and children adrift in that way; and if I am only assisting Colonel Montgomery in a private enterprise of his own, it is very distasteful to me.”


Colonel Shaw & his soldiers depicted on the 54th Massachusetts memorial

Colonel Shaw & his soldiers depicted on the 54th Massachusetts memorial

June 14– Sunday– Eunice, Arkansas– In retaliation for Confederate sniping, Federal forces burn the town.

June 14– Port Hudson, Louisiana– When the Confederate garrison refuses a call to surrender, Union forces attempt a frontal assault which is repelled. Union casualties total 1792 dead, wounded and missing. Confederate losses amount to 47 in total.

June 14– Sunday– New Orleans, Louisiana– Sarah Morgan updates her diary. “The excitement about Port Hudson and Vicksburg is intense. When I heard on Friday that the last attack was being made on the former place, I took to my prayers with a delirium of fervor. If I was a man, if I had the blessed privilege of fighting, I would be on the breastworks, or perchance on the water batteries under Colonel Steadman’s command. But as I was unfortunately born a woman, I stay home and pray with heart and soul. That is all I can do; but I do it with a will. In my excitement, I was wishing that I was a Catholic, that I might make a vow for the preservation of Port Hudson.”

Sarah Morgan Dawson

Sarah Morgan Dawson

June 15– Monday– Newport, Rhode, Island–At the Quaker Yearly Meeting, John Greenleaf Whittier reads one of his poems supporting the traditional Quaker peace witness.

June 15– Monday– Guilford Township, Franklin County- Pennsylvania– Amos Stouffer describes the day’s excitement in his diary. “A warm day. The excitement is very great about the rebs. No one is at work about here except to hide their valuables. It is reported that they are in Greencastle. Self & Andy in town this evening. The Provost guard came in while we were there. They had a skirmish with them at Green Castle. They are coming for sure. Andy and James took the horses to the mountains.”

June 15– Monday– near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Confederate soldier Thomas Boatwright writes to his wife. “The people thought that we came to murder and rob but no so for the orders from General Lee is not to touch a thing that belongs to private individuals that what is needed for comfort must be taken by proper authorities which I think is all right. . . . I do not know where we are going only say that we are marching northward where bound know not. I have purchased two dresses for you and a pair of shoes that I will send you as soon as a way is offered.”

Chambersburg City Hall

Chambersburg City Hall

June 15– Monday– Cincinnati, Ohio– Two hundred and seventy-three bales of confiscated Southern cotton are sold at auction with prices ranging from 30 ½ cents to 45 ½ cents per pound. The quality is considered generally inferior. [The prices would range from about $5.64 to $8.41 per pound in current dollars. In March, 2013, raw cotton was selling at a bit over 87 cents US per pound which would equal about 5 cents US in 1863.]

June 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Responding to the threat of invasion, President Lincoln issues a proclamation. “Whereas the armed insurrectionary combinations now existing in several of the States are threatening to make inroads into the States of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, requiring immediately an additional military force for the service of the United States: Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy thereof and of the militia of the several States when called into actual service, do hereby call into the service of the United States 100,000 militia from the States following, namely: From the State of Maryland, 10,000; from the State of Pennsylvania, 50,000; from the State of Ohio, 30,000; from the State of West Virginia, 10,000–to be mustered into the service of the United States forthwith and to serve for the period of six months from the date of such muster into said service, unless sooner discharged; to be mustered in as infantry, artillery, and cavalry, in proportions which will be made known through the War Department, which Department will also designate the several places of rendezvous.”

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

June 15– Monday– Manassas Junction, Virginia– On the march with much of the Army of the Potomac, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin of the 20th Maine comments to one of his officers that perhaps a third battle of Bull Run is shaping up and all of the movement portends “a little sport by morning.”

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

June 15– Monday– Winchester, Virginia– On this third day of fighting, Confederate forces win an important victory. More than 2,400 Federal soldiers surrender This cleared the Shenandoah Valley of Union troops and opens the way for General Lee to move ahead with his planned invasion of the North. In addition to those taken prisoner, the Union soldiers lost 2,043 killed, wounded or missing while Confederate casualties amounted to 266 in total.

June 15– Monday– a Union camp in Middle Tennessee– Irish immigrant Charles Alley, serving with the 5th Iowa Cavalry, prays upon receiving orders. “Ordered out this morning with three days rations and 110 rounds of ammunition to the man. This looks as though it was meant we should pay our respect to the enemy while we are out. Lord make us to be successful and enable us to go forth trusting in Thee, and giving Thee the Glory of every success, and forme—be my shield and buckler in the day of battle, and if I too should lie on the bloody field—may my spirit be caught up to thy throne in heaven and then all with me shall forever be well. May thy love and blessing go with my adopted country still—with my dear old mother countryand with all that I have ever been kind or even unkind in both.”

June 15– Monday– Gaines’ Landing, Arkansas– Union troops lay waste most of the town.

June 15–Monday– Vicksburg, Mississippi–Union forces besieging the city have the Confederates boxed in. Southern forces have plenty of munitions but little food. An increasing number of Confederate fighters are out sick or hospitalized with scurvy, malaria, or dysentery. Union General Grant writes to his father. “I have the enemy closely hemmed in all round. My position is naturally strong and fortified against an attack from outside. I have been so strongly reinforced that Johnston [Confederate General Joseph E Johnston who has been bickering with Confederate President Jeff Davis] will have to come with a mighty host to drive me away.–I do not look upon the fall of Vicksburg as in the least doubtful. . . . The fall of Vicksburg now will only result in the opening of the Mississippi River and demoralization of the enemy. I intended more from it.”

shelling Vicksburg

shelling Vicksburg

June 15– Monday– London, England– In Parliament the House of Lords debates taking action against the United States for U S seizure of British ships attempting to run the blockade of the Confederacy. The Marquis of Clanricarde declares that “it is a farce to call this a blockade” because four British merchant ships have successfully entered southern ports at least seventeen times and “every man of common sense in the United States is now convinced that it is impossible to compel the Southern States to reenter the Union.” He closes his speech by declaring that “it is the duty of the British Government not to allow these infractions of the maritime law to continue.” The Duke of Somerset, who serves as First Lord of the Admiralty, speaks in opposition to the Marquis and convinces the House to vote down the Marquis’ motion.

Parliament buildings, London

Parliament buildings, London

June 16– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times evaluates the consequences of the Confederate push northward. “If the rebel cavalry, now supposed to be on a grand raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania, should be so successful as to penetrate either State, we venture a prediction or two as to the result. 1. They will utterly fail to be impressed by the services in their behalf of men claiming to be ‘Peace Democrats’ but will snatch the horses, kill the cattle, and burn down the houses of all alike who come within their destructive sweep. 2. After they have come and gone (for their visit will be as brief as a thunder-storm in Summer,) the once “Peace Democrats’of the States invaded will be found picking their flints, whetting their knives, rallying to common centres and asking to be led on an avenging campaign against the traitors to their country and the ravagers of their homes. 3. The political atmosphere will be purified by the rebel fire, blasting its way through the green and beautiful North– ‘peace meetings’ will cease to be held; party names will be discontinued and forgotten; the conscription will no longer be opposed; the name and sorrows of Vallandigham will not be strongly pressed for sympathy.”

June 16– Tuesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Local wife and mother Rachel Cormany awakens early in the morning to see Confederate soldiers in her town. Later she sees them rounding up black people. “We almost came to the conclusion that the rebs had left again leaving only a small guard who took things quite leisurely. Soon however they became more active. Were hunting up the contrabands & driving them off by droves. O! How it grated on our hearts to have to sit quietly & look at such brutal deeds– I saw no men among the contrabands– all women & children. Some of the colored people who were raised here were taken along– I sat on the front step as they were driven by just like we would drive cattle.”

June 16– Tuesday– Holmes County, Ohio–A series of demonstrations throughout the county demands an end to the draft and to the war.

June 16– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends a telegram to his wife Mary who is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “It is a matter of choice with yourself whether you come home. There isno reason why you should not, that did not exist when you went away. As bearing on the question of your coming home, I do not think the raid into Pennsylvania amounts to anything at all.”

June 16– Tuesday– London, England–A Confederate agent sends a request to Richmond for additional money to recruit street toughs to harass abolitionists and persons expressing sympathy for the North.

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