The Spot is Too Lovely for War~August 1863~the 23rd to 27th

The Spot Is Too Lovely for War ~ Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

The extreme bloodshed of earlier in the summer continues to effect changes and human costs. Soldiers continue to miss their loved ones. Presidents continue to deal with problems. And the wide world continues turning.

August 23– Sunday– Mamaroneck, New York– Emily Bradley Neal Haven, author and magazine editor, dies of tuberculosis at age 35, a month after birthing her fifth child. [She submitted her first published story under the pen name “Alice G Lee” and in 1846 took Alice as her first name. She published 14 books and numerous articles and stories during her life. Two volumes will be published posthumously.]

Amelie Rives

Amelie Rives

August 23– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– Birth of Amelie Louise Rives, the oldest of three daughters born to Sarah MacMurdo Rives and Alfred Rives. [As a novelist she will write 25 novels, one of the first American authors to be influenced by the developments in psychiatry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She will cause a stir in 1895 by divorcing her husband John Armstrong Chanler and the next year will marry the renowned painter Prince Pierre Troubetzkoy.]

August 23– Sunday– Charleston, South Carolina– After firing more than 5000 shells at Fort Sumter and Fort Wagner, the Union artillery concludes the bombardment today. Sumter has one canon capable of returning fire. Both forts are now masses of rubble.

August 24– Monday– New York City– The wealthy abolitionist Francis George Shaw writes to Union General Quincy Adams Gillmore, who is in command of operations in South Carolina. “I take the liberty to address you because I am informed that efforts are to be made to recover the body of my son, Colonel Shaw of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, which was buried at Fort Wagner. My object in writing is to say that such efforts are not authorized by me or any of my family, and that they are not approved by us. We hold that a soldier’s most appropriate burial-place is on the field where he has fallen. I shall therefore be much obliged, General, if in case the matter is brought to your cognizance, you will forbid the desecration of my son’s grave, and prevent the disturbance of his remains or those buried with him.”

August 24– Monday– New Orleans, Louisiana– Sarah Morgan takes note of a friend’s wounds. “A letter from Captain Bradford to Miriam. My poor Adonis, that I used to ridicule so unmercifully, what misfortunes have befallen him! He writes that during the siege at Port Hudson he had the top of his ear shot off (wonder if he lost any of that beautiful golden fleece~his hair?), and had the cap of his knee removed by a shell, besides a third wound he does not specify. Fortunately he is with kind friends.”

August 24– Monday– Pozega, Slovenia– Birth of Dragutin Lerman, an explorer who will make four trips to Africa between 1882 and 1896. On his first he will accompany the American Henry Stanley; his others will be under the auspices of King Leopold II of Belgium.

August 25– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues an executive order reopening the port of New Orleans to incoming and outgoing vessels subject to supervision by the military governor.

August 25– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa. “I have seen now so much horrors that befall men, (so bad & such suffering & mutilations, &c that the poor men can defy their fate to do any thing more or any harder misfortune or worse agony) that I sometimes think I have grown callous– but, no, I don’t think it is that, but nothing of ordinary misfortune seems as it used to, & death itself has lost all its terrors. I have seen so many cases in which it was so welcome & such a relief. Mother, you must just resign yourself to things that occur– but I hardly think it is necessary to give you any charge about it, for I think you have done so for many years, & stood it all with good courage.”

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

August 25– Beverly Ford, Virginia– Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin writes to his wife Fanny, whom he misses. “How lonely it is! Here I am in a new place– a new tent– new surroundings– new duties– I feel like one making his debut. I have left the noble 20th [Maine Regiment] having been assigned by General Griffin to the command of this Brigade which he says is a ‘permanency’ for a long time, that is. This makes me virtually a Brigadier General but I feel badly to leave the 20th and shall be glad when I can return to it. I have a pleasant staff and shall get routed in a few days. . . . How the rain falls on the tent roof! Like the glorious nights before. Only now you can hear the roar at the falls close by and in full night by day. The spot is too lovely for war and for me alone.” [Chamberlin will not be officially made a brigadier general until June, 1864 when he is recovering from a nearly fatal wound.]

August 25– Tuesday– St Louis, Missouri–Federal authorities order all persons in a four county area to leave their homes unless they can prove their loyalty to the Federal government. Union soldiers begin a systematic destruction of houses and farms belonging to suspected Confederate sympathizers.

August 26– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to James C Conkling. “You say that you will not fight to free Negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively, to save the Union. I issued the proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time then for you to declare you will not fight to free Negroes. I thought that in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the Negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistance to you. Do you think differently? I thought that whatever Negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you? But Negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do anything for us if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us they must be prompted by the strongest motive, even the promise of freedom. And the promise, being made, must be kept.” [Conkling, age 47, a lawyer and politician in Illinois, had asked the President to attend to a large pro-Union rally; believing that he could not spare the time away from his duties, Lincoln wrote this letter and asked Conkling to read it to the gathering. In a private note to his friend Conkling, Lincoln writes, “You are one of the best public readers. I have but one suggestion– read it very slowly. And now God bless you, and all good Union men.]

James C Conkling

James C Conkling

August 26– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– Clerk John Jones notes the shortage of fighters. “General Beauregard telegraphs for a detail of 50 seamen for his iron-clads, which he intends shall support Sumter, if, as he anticipates, the enemy should make a sudden attempt to seize it– or rather its debris– where he still has some guns, still under our flag. None of his vessels have full crews. This paper was referred to the Secretary of the Navy, and he returned it with an emphatic negative, saying that the War Department had failed to make details from the army to the navy, in accordance with an act of Congress, and hence none of our war steamers had full crews.”

August 27– Thursday– Reed’s Bridge, Arkansas; Mount Pleasant, Mississippi; Carter County, Kentucky; Elk River, West Virginia; Clark’s Neck, Kentucky; Glenville, West Virginia; Little Washington, Virginia; Ball’s Mill, West Virginia; Edward’s Ferry, Maryland; Weaverville, Virginia– Fire fights and skirmishes take a toll.

August 27– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to General Schofield in St. Louis, Missouri, about the savage destruction of Lawrence, Kansas. “I have just received the despatch which follows, from two very influential citizens of Kansas . . . . The severe blow they have received naturally enough makes them intemperate even without there being any just cause for blame. Please do your utmost to give them future security and to punish their invaders.”

August 27– Thursday– Warrenton, Virginia– Union General John Buford submits a detailed report about his division’s operations at Gettysburg. He concludes by writing, “The zeal, bravery, and good behavior of the officers and men on the night of June 30, and during July 1, was commendable in the extreme. A heavy task was before us; we were equal to it, and shall all remember with pride that at Gettysburg we did our country much service. July 2, the division became engaged with the enemy’s sharpshooters on our left, and held its own until relieved by Gen. Sickles’ corps, after which it moved to Taneytown, and bivouacked for the night.”

General John Buford

General John Buford

August 27– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– The Richmond Sentinel notes that “General Robert E. Lee is in the city on a short visit. He looks to be in excellent health, nor at least fatigued by his recent arduous campaign.”

August 27– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia–“The disasters in Mississippi were both great and unexpected to me. I had thought that the troops sent to the State, added to those already there, made a force large enough to accomplish the destruction of Grant’s army. That no such result followed may have been the effect of mismanagement, or it may have been that it was unattainable. An investigation of the causes of the failure is now in progress; though, as the misfortunes have already come upon us, it would afford me but little satisfaction to know that they resulted from bad Generalship and were not inevitable. Recent events near their own homes have been calculated to produce in some minds the feeling of gloom . . . . But I have not yet seen cause to waver in the conviction to which I have frequently given expression, that, if our people now show as much fortitude as we are entitled to expect from those who display such conspicuous gallantry in the field, we shall certainly beat the enemy and secure our independence. . . . The recital of your losses during the war pains me. But the firmness with which you bear them– and the zeal in the country’s behalf which characterizes you and all the members of your family, are what I had expected – as well as the loyalty & true-heartedness of the women of the land, upon which you remark.” ~ Letter from President Davis to James Howry.

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