The Progress of Insurrectionary Upheaval~July 1, 1863

The Progress of Insurrectionary Upheaval~Robert Dale Owen

Away from Gettysburg Pennsylvania the war and the world continue. A socialist theorist argues for compensated emancipation. A new treaty between the United States and Great Britain attempts to resolve old but still sore issues. Union soldiers anticipate the fall of Vicksburg while a New York lawyer wonders what General is up to in Pennsylvania. Colonel Shaw and the men of the 54th Massachusetts wait for what comes next. A friend asks Walt Whitman for a favor. In Canada an adventurer is born. It is not all about that battle in Pennsylvania.

July– Boston, Massachusetts– In the July issue of The Atlantic Monthly Robert Dale Own, age 61, political activist and socialist theorist, makes an impassioned plea based on the U S Constitution, history and the current political situation brought on by insurrection, for Congress to past legislation abolishing slavery with a provision for some compensation as Great Britain offered thirty years ago when slavery was ended throughout the British Empire. “Those who demur to the passage of an act which meets the great difficulty before us broadly, effectually, honestly, and in accordance with the dictates of Christianity and civilization, would do well to consider whether, in the progress of this insurrectionary upheaval, we have not reached a point at which there is no prudent alternative left.”

Robert Dale Owen

Robert Dale Owen

July 1– Wednesday– New York City– George Templeton Strong updates the war news.  Sundry telegrams confirming what the newspapers tell us, that Meade is advancing and that Lee has paused and is calling in his scattered columns either for battle or for a retreat with his wagon loads of plunder. Harrisburg breathes more freely, and the Pennsylvania militia is mustering in considerable (numerical) force. Much good they would do, to be sure, in combat with Lee’s desperadoes, cunning sharp-shooters, and stark, hard-riding moss-troopers.”

July 1– Wednesday– Poolesville, Maryland– Union Colonel Charles Russell Lowell to Effie Shaw: “Wars are bad, but there are many things far worse. I believe more in ‘keeping gunpowder dry’ than you do, but am quite convinced that we are likely to suffer a great deal before the end of this.”

July 1– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary of State Seward and Lord Lyons, British Minister, sign a treaty between the United States and Great Britain regarding the final settlement of the claims of the Hudson’s Bay and Puget’s Sound Agricultural Companies to solve problems from 17 years ago. “Whereas it is desirable that all questions between the United States authorities on the one hand, and the Hudson’s Bay and Puget’s Sound Agricultural Companies on the other, with respect to the possessory rights and claims of those companies, and of any other British subjects in Oregon and Washington Territory, should be settled by the transfer of those rights and claims to the government of the United States for an adequate money consideration: It is hereby agreed that the United States of America and her Britannic Majesty shall, within twelve months after the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, appoint each a commissioner for the purpose of examining anddeciding upon all claims arising out of the provisions of the above-quoted articles of the treaty of June 15,1846.” [The 1846 treaty to which the document refers had settled the border between the United States and Canada in the Pacific Northwest.]

Lord Lynos, Her Majesty's Minister to the United States

Lord Lynos, Her Majesty’s Minister to the United States

July 1– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles in his diary: “We have reports that the Rebels have fallen back from York, and I shall not be surprised if they escape capture, or even a second fight, though we have rumors of hard fighting to-day.”

July 1– Wednesday– St Helena Island, South Carolina– Union Colonel Robert Gould Shaw to his sister-in-law Clemence Haggarity: “There is a late-order from Washington, cutting down the pay of colored troops from $13 to $10 per month. They have not yet decided here whether we come under the order or not. If we do, I shall refuse to have the regiment paid off, until I hear from Governor Andrew. Another bit of insanity is a proposition to arm the Negroes with pikes instead of muskets. They might as well go back eighteen centuries as three, and give us bows and arrows. General Strong says the regiment shall retain their rifles; but Montgomery and Higginson are in a great stew about it; and, indeed, such an act would take all the spirit and pluck out of their men, and show them that the government didn’t consider them fit to be trusted with fire-arms; they would be ridiculed by the white soldiers, and made to feel their inferiority in every respect. The folly of some of our leaders is wonder-full! I can’t imagine who started the idea. I hope the gentleman has a book of drill for the pike all ready. There is some movement on foot in this Department. We do not know exactly what will be done yet. I don’t believe Charleston will be taken without some hard knocks.”

54th Massachusetts Regiment

54th Massachusetts Regiment

July 1– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– Will Wallace writes to his friend Walt Whitman to request a favor. “I am ambitious and write consulting you. I see many Inspectors in the Army, some as to cleanliness and discipline of Hospitals others as to the ventilation etc etc I have met a number whom I consider inqualified [sic] for the position from the fact that they are not acquainted with Hospital life. My ambition points to this branch for myself I feel qualified for an inspector of Hospitals and I think can produce testimonials and certificates to that effect from officers of high standing in this Dept and in the Ninth Army Corps. Can you bring any influence to bear on this matter in the City of Washington. You will confer quite a favor by replying in regard to this question.”

July 1– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– Union soldier Frank Guernsey to his wife Fannie: “We are getting a little impatient with affairs at Vicksburg. There is no doubt but Grant has got a sure thing on them but it takes so long to accomplish his ends.I tell you Fannie, this is a good place for a fellow to learn patience and to exercise it too, everything in this department is staked on the issue at Vicksburg if we are successful as we shall be in the end, the war will be virtually closed in the south west. We shall then probably have to go to Va. and try a little of our kind of argument with General Lee. There are some troops in this department that don’t know what the word retreat means. I don’t know how it will be with the 32nd. I am rather anxious that we should have a chance to try our hands, but that will come quick enough after we are mounted. We shall probably get more fighting then than we want.”

Vicksburg under siege

Vicksburg under siege

July 1– Wednesday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– Union soldier Lucius Barber updates the status of the siege. “We now had several of their forts undermined and about ready to be blown up, but General Grant thought proper to demand a surrender before proceeding to extremities. Accordingly it was made with the request, that in case of non-acceptance, he, Pemberton [the Confederate commander], would have the women, children and non-combatants removed, as he [Grant] should shell the city. He [Grant] received the haughty reply from the commander that he [Pemberton] was placed there to defend the women, children and helpless, not to turn them off, and the blood be on their own heads for the sacrifice of the women that were killed in the terrible bombardment which followed. They sought shelter in caves, but they were built to protect them from fire from the river side. From the rear it afforded them sorry protection. So sharp was our target shooting that a rebel could not even show his head above the works, but that a dozen bullets would speed after him. There was not a spot in the sand-banks, which formed their loop-holes, but what was pierced with bullets. The rebels lay in their trenches . . . without scarcely stirring. They dared not attempt to leave. Food and water was brought to them in the night. They showed a perseverance and valor worthy of a better cause.”

July 1– Wednesday– Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada– Birth of William Grant Stairs, explorer, soldier and adventurer, the sixth child and third son of John and Mary Morrow Stairs. He will play a key role in 1891 in the European struggle to control the Katanga region of the Congo.

William Grant Stairs

William Grant Stairs

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