A Higher Courage, A Purer Patriotism~August 1863~the 12th to the 16th

A Higher Courage, a Purer Patriotism ~ Robert E Lee

Any number of crises and problems flourish on the international stage: tension over British sale of ships to the Confederacy, revolution in Poland, French intervention in Mexico, trouble in the Dominican Republic, a Confederate agent heads to Europe to seek help for her government. General Grant reports atrocities committed by the rebels against black soldiers and their white officers. George Whitman fumes about the riots in New York City. Frederick Douglass ceases his publication and redirects his efforts. General Lee calls on his army to observe a day of prayer and fasting. Many people long for peace.

August 12– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles is pleased by the fiery stand of the State Department in dealing with Great Britain. “[Secretary of State] Seward informs me in confidence that he has, through Mr. Adams, made an energetic protest to Great Britain against permitting the ironclads to leave England, distinctly informing the Ministry that it would be considered by us as a declaration of war. The result is, he says, the ironclads will not leave England. I have uniformly insisted that such would be the case if we took decided ground and the Ministry were satisfied we were in earnest.”

August 12– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– The Richmond Sentinel updates prices in the slave market. “A month ago we published the price of slaves then prevailing, viz: Young men ranging from $2,000 to $2,700, and young women from $2,000 to $2,500. There is now, we learn, an advance on these prices; all kinds of slaves commanding higher prices than ever before. Boys and girls and small Negroes are proportionably higher than grown ones.” [The $2700 for a human being would equal about $50,900 today.]

Southern slave auction

Southern slave auction

August 12– Wednesday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– General Grant submits to the War Department a report on the Confederate treatment of black soldiers and their white officers. “The day after the battle of Millikens Bend, in June last, the Marine Brigade landed some 10 miles below the Bend, and attacked and routed the guerrillas which had been repulsed by our troops and the gunboats the day previous. Major Hubbards cavalry battalion, of the Marine Brigade, followed the retreating rebels to Tensas Bayou, and were horrified in the finding of skeletons of white officers commanding Negro regiments, who had been captured by the rebels at Millikens Bend. In many cases these officers had been nailed to the trees and crucified; in this situation a fire was built around the tree, and they suffered a slow death from broiling. The charred and partially burned limbs were still fastened to the stakes. Other instances were noticed of charred skeletons of officers, which had been nailed to slabs, and the slab placed against a house which was set on fire by the inhuman demons, the poor sufferers having been roasted alive until nothing was left but charred bones. Negro prisoners recaptured from the guerrillas confirmed these facts, which were amply corroborated by the bodies found, as above described. The Negroes taken were to be resold into slavery, while the white officers were consumed by fire. Lieutenant Cole holds himself responsible for the truth of the statement.”

August 12– Wednesday– dateline: Paris, France– The New York Times carries an update from its Paris correspondent. “The secession press at Paris accept at last, but with a bad grace, the successes of the National arms. They try to obscure them as much as possible with the New-York riot, and all urge, with the London Times, that the successes in the Mississippi Valley are fully counterbalanced by the blow struck at the national power in the streets of New-York! . . . . Thus far we have no indications as to what effect the opening of the Mississippi will exert upon the Emperor’s Mexican policy. . . . . The Government papers are filled with accounts of the friendly reception given everywhere in Mexico to the French and their policy, and of the efficient cooperation of the Mexican allied troops, thus looking as if the Government was still clinging to the doctrine that, they have gone to Mexico as friends and civilizers. . . . . The alarm about a war with Russia is not so general as a week ago. This change of opinion is due to various causes. In the first place, it is evident to every one that the reply of Russia was based upon the supposition that an alliance between the three Powers was impossible, and that she would have made a much acceptable reply if she had known what, she now knows of the sentiments especially of Austria. Thus, while it is believed that Napoleon dare not go to war alone, for fear of a European coalition, it is also believed that Russia will not think of fighting the three Powers and that she will finally recede from the position she now occupies [regarding Poland].”

August 12– Wednesday– Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada– The first commercial cargo of lumber from this area is shipped.

August 12– Wednesday– Limmerick, Ireland– Birth of Margaretta Eagar , who will become the nurse for the four daughters of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra and will write a 1906 memoir entitled Six Years at the Russian Court about her time with the Romanov family.

Ms Eager with another nanny & 3 of the Tsar's children

Ms Eager with another nanny & 3 of the Tsar’s children

August 12– Wednesday– Gastein, Germany– King William writes to the Russian Tsar declining the Tsar’s request for diplomatic help with the Austrians because William is certain the Austrian Empire is conspiring against Germany.

August 13– Thursday– Orange Courthouse, Virginia– Confederate General Lee issues a proclamation to the Army of Northern Virginia. “The President of the Confederate States has, in the name of the people, appointed August 21st as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. A strict observance of the day is enjoined upon the officers and soldiers of this army. All military duties, except such as are absolutely necessary, will be suspended. The commanding officers of brigades and regiments are requested to cause divine services, suitable to the occasion, to be performed in their respective commands. Soldiers! we have sinned against Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies, and have cultivated a revengeful, haughty, and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes; that ‘our times are in His hands,’ and we have relied too much on our own arms for the achievement of our independence. God is our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him. Let us confess our many sins, and beseech Him to give us a higher courage, a purer patriotism, and more determined will; that He will hasten the time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and that He will give us a name and place among the nations of the earth.”

August 13– Thursday– St George Bermuda– Confederate agent Rose Greenhow, on her way to Europe, writes to her friend Colonel A A Boteler in Richmond. “I have as you will see arrived here in despite of Yankee cruisers who gave us a close chase all the way. I was seasick of course but I am now entirely recovered and enjoying the dolce faneanti of this seducing climate with its beautiful tropical trees and fruits. I shall leave here the middle of the coming week en route for Southampton. And when I reach this point I will tell you your impressions of matters and things. I have met with River friends Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Walker with whom I spend all my time are very charming and cultured people. He is certainly a most indefatigable and valuable officer to the Confederacy and by his prudence and high trust conduct him the consideration of all here, and is there by enabled to render service to the country of a magnitude that would be startling if it were prudent to speak yet.”

August 13– Thursday– Paris France– Eugene Delacroix, painter, dies at age 65.

Eugene Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix

August 14– Friday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Birth of Ernest Thayer, writer.

August 14– Friday– New Orleans, Louisiana– Sarah Morgan writes in her diary, opening a fresh new volume. “Doomed to be bored! To-night Miriam drags me to a soiree musicale; and in the midst of my toilet, I sit down with bare shoulders to scratch a dozen lines in my new treasure which has been by me for three days, untouched. I don’t know what tempts me to do it except perversity; for I have nothing to say. . . . . Here comes Miriam after me! What a bore! What a bore! And she looks as though it was a pleasure to go out! How I hate it! Glancing up the page, the date strikes my eye. What tempted me to begin it Friday? My dear Ada would shiver and declare the blank pages were reserved for some very painful, awful, uncomfortable record, or that ‘something’ would happen before the end of it. Nothing very exciting can happen, except the restoration of peace; and to bring that about, I would make a vow to write only on Fridays.”

August 15– Saturday– Bethany, West Virginia– “The Union men of Bethany raised a tall pole, from the top of which a beautiful American flag, made by the loyal ladies of the place, was flung to the breeze. After the pole raising there was a public dinner, at which all the good things of the earth were provided, which were indulged in by all present. Several addresses were delivered and a good time generally was had.”~The Wheeling Intelligencer

August 15– Saturday– Orange County Courthouse, Virginia– Confederate soldier Jedediah Hotchkiss to Sara, his wife. “The glorious sun is sinking behind the distant Blue Ridge, looking at me away here in the tented field and at you, away yonder in our quiet home, but lonely; my thoughts follow his setting & I fain would, like Milton’s Angel, ride up to the Ridge top one sunbeam & down to you on another, but I will do the next best thing, write you a long letter, especially as I have so long neglected you my Love, so long that you wrote to me first, a kind sweet letter, thus gently chiding me for my long silence since that sweet dream of home, one day in its blissful retreat – but I have been so busy, but that is always the case & I will not bring that as an excuse, though your kind heart will pardon, for you know I have daily thought of writing & as often something has interfered.”

August 15– Saturday– Savannah, Georgia– Authorities have caught a local man selling dog meat as mutton.

August 16– Sunday– Rochester, New York– In an open letter to his readers Frederick Douglass announces that he is ceasing the publication of his newspaper in order to work in the recruitment of black soldiers. “Let it also be understood that I do not abandon my paper because I shall cease to think and write upon vital social questions concerning colored men and women. I shall think, write and speak as I have opportunity, while the slave needs a pen to plead his cause, or a voice to expose his wrongs before the people.”

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

August 16– Sunday– near Covington, Kentucky– Union soldier George Whitman, in a letter to his mother, Louisa, evaluates the recent riots. “We have had full accounts of the proceedings of the mob in New York, and its almost enough to make a fellow ashamed of being a Yorker, the first accounts we saw were in the western papers, and I could hardly believe, that a thing of that kind would be allowed to get such headway in the City of New York, it strikes me that it would have been a good idea to have taken Fernando and Ben Woods, Governor Seymour [all three are Democratic politicians opposed to the Lincoln Administration] and a few more of the wire pullers and strung them up to one of the trees in the city Hall park. what a pity it is that 4 or 5 of the old regiments, had not of been there to of straightened things up a bit, as for myself I would have went into that fight with just as good a heart, as if they had belonged to the rebel army. I am only sorry there wasn’t 10 times as many killed of the rioters as there was.”

August 16– Sunday– Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic–A group of insurgents make a daring raid on the city and raise the Dominican flag on the capitol. This action, known as “El grito de Capotillo” is the beginning of a war against Spanish attempts to retake the country and will last until 1865 when the last Spanish troops will be withdrawn.

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