I Think About You Every Day of My Life Out Here~September 1863~the 1st to the 5th

I Think About You Every Day of My Life out Here ~ Walt Whitman

As the month begins those who wish for a slow down or an end to fighting are disappointed. Battles large and small take place in Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee, even as women in Alabama call for “peace and bread.” Whitman describes his hospital work. Europe continues to simmer on the verge of boiling over about the situation in Poland. France attempts to build a monarchy in Mexico.

September– Boston, Massachusetts– As part of an article in this month’s issue of The Atlantic Monthly the writer describes Charlotte Forten Grimke. “One of the teachers of this school is . . . a young woman of African descent, of olive complexion, finely cultured, and attuned to all beautiful sympathies, of gentle address . . . . She had read the best books, and naturally and graceful1y enriched her conversation with them. She had enjoyed the friendship of Whittier; had been a pupil in the Grammar-School of Salem, then in the State Normal School in that city, then a teacher in one of the schools for white children, where she had received only the kindest treatment both from the pupils and their parents, — and let this be spoken to the honor of that ancient town. She had refused a residence in Europe, where a better social life and less unpleasant discrimination awaited her, for she would not dissever herself from the fortunes of her people; and now . . . with a profound purpose, she devotes herself to their elevation.” ~ “The Freedmen at Port Royal” by Edward L Pierce. [At age 34, Massachusetts-born Pierce, a Harvard-trained lawyer, has been active in anti-slavery activities and Republican politics. His 25 page article is part of a longer report about the status of the escaped slaves at Port Royal, South Carolina. Between 1877 and 1893 he will publish a 4 volume biography of Senator Charles Sumner.]

Charlotte Forten Grimke

Charlotte Forten Grimke

September 1– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times updates its readers on the situation in Europe with regard to Russian military operations in Poland. “It is represented via Berlin that the purport of the French note to Russia is thoroughly pacific, and that the English note, although couched in terms of the most perfect courtesy, is rather more reserved, although maintaining the same sense. Both notes persevere in the proposals formerly made by the Powers to Russia. They regret that Russia has not consented to accept the six points, the project of a conference, and an armistice, but hope that after mature consideration, the Government of the Emperor will arrive at a different conclusion. While both Powers make Russia responsible for future consequences, they declare that after having fulfilled the duties imposed upon them by humanity and the right interpretation of treaties, they must for the present confine themselves to repeating their former observations with increased emphasis. M. Drouyn De Lhuys and Earl Russell further declare themselves willing to await the measures which the Russian Government may adopt, in the hope that they will lead to peace.”

September 1– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I think about you every day of my life out here– sometimes I see women in the hospitals, mothers come to see their sons, & occasionally one that makes me think of my dear mother [as] one did very much, a lady about 60, from Pennsylvania, come to see her son, a Captain, very badly wounded, & his wound gangrened, & they after a while removed him to a tent by himself; another son of hers, a young man, came with her to see his brother; she was pretty full-sized lady, with spectacles, she dressed in black . . . . I got very well acquainted with her, she had a real Long-Island old fashioned way but I had to avoid the poor Captain as it was that time that my hand was cut in the artery, & I was liable to gangrene myself but she and the two sons have gone home now, but I doubt whether the wounded one is alive as he was very low.” ~ Walt Whitman in a letter to his mother, Louisa.

September 1– Tuesday– Barbee’s Crossroads, Virginia– A detachment of the 6th Ohio Cavalry is ambushed. Of the 50 Union soldiers, 31 are killed, wounded or missing. Confederate casualties are unknown.

September 1– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– Federal artillery begins a new round of bombardment against Fort Sumter and Fort Wagner.

September 1– Tuesday– Devil’s Backbone, Arkansas– Confederate troops ambush two Federal cavalry regiments. However the Federals regroup, are reenforced by a battery of artillery and rout the rebels. Total Union casualties are 16. Confederate casualties amount to 65.

September 1– Tuesday– Fort Smith, Arkansas– Union troops capture the town.

September 1– Tuesday– Oakland, California– Ferry service opens between here and San Francisco.

Oakland, California c1900

Oakland, California c1900

September 1– Tuesday– dateline: Paris, France– The New York Times quotes the French government. “We are happy to be able to announce that His Imperial highness the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian accepts, with the consent of his august brother, the Emperor of Austria, the crown of the new Mexican Empire. . . . A few months ago the venerable Archbishop of Mexico went in person to the Palace of Misamor to urge the Prince, in the name of religion and of the whole Mexican episcopate, to accept the holy and glorious mission to which Divine Providence had predestined him. The worthy prelate had the consolation on leaving Misamor of knowing that the Archduke would no longer hesitate in the event of the Mexican throne being reestablished under the conditions specified by his Imperial Highness at the opening of the negotiation. The Archduke had therefore already entered into more than a moral engagement toward the Mexican episcopate and the notables of the country, who, before proclaiming his election, were anxious to have a certainty of his acceptance. At the taking of Puebla the Archduke addressed his congratulations to His Majesty the Emperor of the French.”

Maximilian, nominated to be emperor of Mexico

Maximilian, nominated to be emperor of Mexico

September 2– Wednesday– Amesbury, Massachusetts– “It was delightful to be with the Whittiers again. I showed them a beautiful and touching letter from Mrs Sarah Shaw, with two excellent photographs of her noble son. I can never thank her enough for sending me these pictures. . . . had much pleasant quiet talk with Mr Whittier and his sister in the little vine-clad porch. She is as lovely as ever, but so very, very frail. Every time I part with her I have the fear that I may not see her again.” ~ Charlotte Forten Grimke in her diary. [At this time John Greenleaf Whittier, age 55, is living in the family home with his younger sister Elizabeth. The two are close friends. Elizabeth is in frail health and her death in 1864 will strike the poet very hard.]

the Whittier home in Amesbury

the Whittier home in Amesbury

September 2– Wednesday– Confederate Headquarters near Petersburg, Virginia– General James Longstreet sends a memo to General Lee. “If we advance to meet the enemy on this side [of the Potomac] he will in all probability go into one of his many fortified positions. These we cannot afford to attack. I know but little of the condition of our affairs in the West, but am inclined to the opinion that our best opportunity for great results is in Tennessee. If we could hold the defensive here with two corps and send the other to operate in Tennessee with that army, I think that we could accomplish more than by an advance from here.”

September 2– Wednesday– Knoxville, Tennessee– Union troops enter the city, cutting the railroad link between Chattanooga, Tennessee and Virginia.

September 2– Wednesday– Montgomery, Alabama– Concerned of the need for more soldiers, a joint committee of the state legislature passes a resolution approving the use of slaves in the Confederate army.

September 2– Wednesday– Victoria, Vancouver, Canada– The fifteen newly-elected members of the Third House of Assembly of Vancouver Island convene in their first session. [This body will hold session until August 31, 1866, as the last parliament for an independent Colony of Vancouver Island before unification with the colony of British Columbia.]

September 3– Thursday– Cleveland, Tennessee– “The house is in such a confusion I cannot sleep, we are looking for the Yanks. The Cavalry is passing through continuously en route for Chattanooga.” ~ Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.

September 3– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “General Lee is still here (I thought he had departed), no doubt arranging the program of the fall campaign, if, indeed, there be one. He rode out with the President [Jeff Davis] yesterday evening, but neither were greeted with cheers. I suppose General Lee has lost some popularity among idle streetwalkers by his retreat from Pennsylvania. The President seeks seclusion. A gentleman who breakfasted with him this morning, tells me the President complained of fatigue from his long ride with General Lee.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

General Robert E Lee, 1863

General Robert E Lee, 1863

September 3– Thursday– Hoopa Valley, California– Federal troops skirmish with Native Americans.

September 4– Friday– Bentonville, Arkansas; Quincy, Missouri; Flint Creek, Arkansas; Moorefield, West Virginia; Hog Eye, Arkansas; Petersburg Gap, West Virginia– Fire fights, ambushes and skirmishes add to the casualty lists.

September 4– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Every day proves the wisdom of the order relaxing the restrictions upon country trade. A better feeling pervades the country people who bring in their stuff to exchange for the necessaries of which they have been so long deprived. Every cup of coffee will neutralize, by its delicious aroma, some of the malignant spirit that has pervaded their society so long. Every yard of ‘domestic’ will help to form the new and stronger tie that is to restore their former allegiance, and make them again American citizens. We hope the authorities will soon become convinced that the more liberty can be given to these honest people, who, though once deluded, are now willing to lay aside opposition and prejudice, and receive again the birthright of which their own imprudence deprived them.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

September 4– Friday– Mobile, Alabama– A group of angry women carrying signs which declare “Peace and Bread” march through the streets, break into stores and seize food and clothing.

September 5– Saturday– Brooklyn, New York– “Ain’t the Administration got wit enough to see that now is the hour to end the war by whipping the rebels. Don’t they know enough to know that unless it is ended in 6 months they will have a hard time to get men to fill the places of what they have now. I fear not.” ~ Jeff Whitman in a letter to his brother Walt.

September 5– Saturday– dateline: Paris, France– The New York Times updates readers on international affairs. “It is perfectly evident . . . that the Empire program . . . carried out in Mexico, was conceived at a time when the dissolution of the Union was believed to be a certainty, and that this program was based upon that belief. This program once adopted, it became the interest and the constant desire of the French Government to aid and render certain in every way possible the dissolution of the Union, and thus . . . the different attempts at mediation, and the shameless and unprincipled manner in which the Government Press has labored to convert public opinion against the North and the Government at Washington. But . . . since the late National successes, even the most prejudiced can see that there is a reasonable hope of a speedy military occupation of the region in rebellion; but it is too late to change the Mexican program . . . . The Government papers in their joy at having destroyed the Monroe doctrine in America, now leave that fact behind as acquired to history, and complain of ‘these arrogant Americans who now pretend to turn us out of our rights in Mexico.’ . . . . La France declares that the United States have denied their republicanism by not joining England and France in favor of Poland, and that the reason of this defection to their own political creed is found in their hatred of England and France. . . . that the United States are obliged to take sides with Russia, because they as well as Russia are trying to bring into bondage a struggling nation. La France thinks that the United States are preparing to make war on France in Mexico the moment the latter becomes engaged in a war with Russia, but this journal informs the Invalide Russe that its Government will be brought by diplomacy to do justice to Poland; that therefore there will be no war between France and Russia, and that France is not afraid of the United States under any circumstances.” Regarding the situation in Poland, the paper says that are more than 83,000 Russian troops in Poland with 5,000 cavalry and 163 pieces of artillery, that these troops have massacred Poles in various provinces and pillaged the homes of wealthy Poles.


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