To the Influence of Women We Look~September 1863~the 16th to the 20th

To the Influence of Women We Look ~ Memphis Bulletin


A newspaper calls upon women to urge their men to make peace. Charlotte Forten Grimke, resting and recuperating in New England, meets with Garrison and later with Colonel Higginson’s wife. Queen Victoria’s government reduces tension with the United States by refusing to let sail ships built by a British company for the Confederacy. President Lincoln grants an honorable discharge to a former client whom he represented in a famous murder case. Walt Whitman describes the death of soldier. Southerners expect great things from General Bragg. A wealthy American builds a college in Turkey. Pope Pius IX laments government actions in Latin America.

September 16– Worcester, Massachusetts– “While in Boston . . . . met Mr [William Lloyd] Garrison and had a very interesting conversation with him. It has done me good to see his face again. Read with great interest some of Miss [Louisa May] Alcott’s Hospital Sketches. She writes with great vivacity . . . . Read . . . Mrs Browning’s Last Poems which Mary Shepard has given me.” ~ Charlotte Forten Grimke’s entry in her diary. [Louisa May Alcott’s book was based on the six weeks she spent in the Washington, D.C. area nursing the sick and wounded after the battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862. It was published by James Redpath in the summer of 1863. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Last Poems, collected and edited after her death by her husband Robert Browning , was published in 1862.]

September 16– Wednesday– near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “A fine warm summer day . . . . The news from the war is favorable. . . . In Mobile there was a great bread riot. 600 women & children went with clubs, axes, &c., demanding bread or blood.” ~ Amos Stouffer diary entry.

September 16– Wednesday– London, England–Her Majesty’s Government announces officially that authorities are impounding the metal-clad “ramming” vessels being built for the Confederacy by Laird Brothers.

Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria

Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria

September 16– Wednesday– Constantinople, Turkey– Christopher R Robert, 61 years old, an American philanthropist who has made a considerable fortune in railroads and in the import business, founds Robert College, the first American educational institution outside the United States. While touring Constantinople during the Crimean War, the wealthy Mr Robert met an American Protestant missionary named Cyrus Hamlin who convinced him that young Turks needed American-style education. It is Hamlin, age 52, who insists on naming the school after the benefactor. [By the time of his death in 1878 Christopher Robert will put a total of $600,000 into the college, or about $14.2 million in current dollars.]

Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey

Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey

September 17– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “New panic is rising respecting the ironclads in England, and some of our sensation journals fan the excitement. It does not surprise me that the New York Times, Raymond’s paper, controlled by Thurlow Weed, and all papers influenced by Seward should be alarmed. The latter knows those vessels are to be detained, yet will not come out and state the fact, but is not unwilling to have apprehension excited. It will glorify him if it is said they are detained through protest from our minister. If he does not prompt the Times, he could check its loud apprehensions.”~Gideon Welles in his diary.

September 17– Thursday– Memphis, Tennessee– Federal officials ban the sale of liquor.

September 17– Thursday– Paris, France– Alfred de Vigny, poet, playwright and novelist, dies of cancer at age 66. A friend of Victor Hugo, de Vigny published 13 major works. His childless marriage seemed to be an unhappy one and for several years he had an affair with the popular actress Marie Dorval, who herself was rumored to have shared a lesbian romance with the author George Sand, a/k/a Lucile Aurore Dupin.

September 17– Thursday– Rome, Italy– Pope Pius IX publishes an encyclical condemning the Catholic Church’s treatment by the government of New Granada. “In this great Catholic calamity and this tremendous ruin of souls, mindful of Our Apostolic office and solicitous of the welfare of the whole Church, We consider the words of the prophet of old as addressed to Us: ‘Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and show My people their wicked doings and the house of Jacob their sins.’ With this apostolic letter, We raise Our voice and lament without ceasing while reproaching the government of New Granada for the great damage and injustices it has inflicted on the Church, her sacred ministers, her property, and this Holy See. And by Our Apostolic authority We condemn everything which has been decreed, accomplished, or attempted in any way by the government of New Granada or by any of its lower magistrates, either in this matter or in others concerning the Church and her rights. Furthermore, by this same authority We abrogate the laws and decrees themselves with all their consequences and declare them entirely invalid, never to have had any force nor to have any in the future.” [The short-lived New Granada, a union of Columbia, Panama and parts of Brazil, has already been effectively replaced by the new constitution of May 1863 which created the United States of Columbia. The liberal government will continue to reduce the influence of Catholic bishops and priests, limit their political activities and seize church lands for commercial uses.]


Pope Pius IX

Pope Pius IX

September 18– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The proclamation suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has been generally well received. I have never feared the popular pulse would not beat a healthful response even to a stringent measure in these times, if the public good demanded it.”~Gideon Welles in his diary.

September 18– Friday– Washington, D. C.– President Lincoln orders the honorable discharge of a Union soldier named William “Duff” Gordon, 30 years old and in poor health. [In a famous murder trial in Illinois in 1858 Attorney Lincoln represented Gordon and got him acquitted of a charge of murder. The chief witness to the crime which occurred on August 29, 1857, claimed that he could see the blow struck by Gordon because the moon was full and bright. However, the moon was in its first quarter on August 27th and not full until September 4th. While cross-examining the witness Lincoln took a small blue-covered book from his jacket pocket and kept referring to it as an “almanac” until the witness was discredited. However, modern scholars have not been able to find any period almanac with such a cover and Lincoln did not place it into evidence. While the skillful lawyer had his facts correct it may be he bluffed the witness. Gordon will live on until 1899, dying at age 66.]

young lawyer Lincoln

young lawyer Lincoln

September 18– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “There are two good women nurses, one on each side. The doctor comes in and give him a little chloroform. One of the nurses constantly fans him, for it is fearfully hot. He asks to be rais’d up, and they put him in a half-sitting posture. He call’d for ‘Mark’ repeatedly, half-deliriously, all day. Life ebbs, runs now with the speed of a mill race; his splendid neck, as it lays all open, works still, slightly; his eyes turn back. A religious person coming in offers a prayer, in subdued tones; around the foot of the bed, and in the space of the aisle, a crowd, including two or three doctors, several students, and many soldiers, has silently gather’d. It is very still and warm, as the struggle goes on, and dwindles, a little more, and a little more and then welcome oblivion, painlessness, death. A pause, the crowd drops away, a white bandage is bound around and under the jaw, the propping pillows are removed, the limpsy [sic] head falls down, the arms are softly placed by the side, all composed, all still, and the broad white sheet is thrown over everything.” ~ In a letter home Walt Whitman describes the recent death of a 20 year old cavalry soldier from New York whose leg had been amputated.


September 18– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Nothing new from the Rappahannock, but a battle islooked for soon. Rosecrans, who had advanced into Georgia, has fallen back on Chattanooga, which he is fortifying. If he be not driven from thence, we shall lose our mines, and the best country for commissary supplies. But Bragg had from 60,000 to 70,000 men on the 5th inst., when he had not fallen back far from Chattanooga; since then he has received more reinforcements from Mississippi, and Longstreet’s corps, arrived bythis time, will swell his army to 90,000 men, perhaps. Johnston will probably take command, for Bragg is becoming unpopular. But Bragg will fight!”~John Jones, government clerk, in his diary.

September 18– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– A court fines Mary C Van Lew $10 for permitting her slave Margaret to move freely about the city and hire herself out. [The fine would equal approximately $189 in today’s dollars.]

September 18– Friday– Chickamauga, Georgia– Skirmishing begins between Union and Confederate forces and as both sides gather reenforcements, the encounter grows into a ful scale battle.

September 19– Saturday– Worcester, Massachusetts– “Had a long and pleasant talk with Mrs Higginson [Mary Elizabeth Channing, wife of Thomas Wentworth Higginson]. I think I shall like her. She is an invalid, and has been so for years. She looks older than her husband. Her manners are kind and pleasant. She asked many questions about Port Royal, and says she has some thought of going down next month. She heard from the colonel a few days ago.” ~ Diary of Charlotte Forten Grimke. [Mary Channing Higginson, always in frail health, will die after a prolonged illness in September, 1877.]

September 19– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “The country is indignant at the surrender of Cumberland Gap by General Frazier, without firing a gun, when his force was nearly as strong as Burnside’s. It was too bad! There must be some examples of generals as well as of deserting poor men, whose families, during their absence, are preyed upon by the extortioners, who contrive to purchase exemption from military service. The country did not know there was such a general until his name became famous by this ignominious surrender. Where did General Cooper find him?”~ John Jones in his diary.

September 19– Saturday– Chickamauga, Georgia– Hans Christian Heg, a Swedish immigrant, 33 years old, serving as a colonel and brigade commander of the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment in the Union Army, dies a day after being shot during the first day of the battle. His regiment is composed mostly of Scandinavian immigrants, many of whom he recruited. He will be the most senior officer from Wisconsin to be killed in the war.

Hans Christian Heg

Hans Christian Heg

September 19– Saturday– Vienna, Austria– Joseph Nigg, a painter who has made a specialty of painting on porcelain, dies a month before his 81st birthday.

September 20– Sunday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Sisters, wives, call back you loved ones while they are within the sound of your voice. Confess your error by repairing it. Tell them that the Federal Government is strong enough to forgive and magnanimous enough to forget. Tell them of those who have already come in by scored and hundreds and made their peace with an offended Government, from which, had stern justice been dealt out without lenity, they would have received nothing by confiscation, outlawry and death. The time has come when all who fear God and love the things of peace, should throw aside the veil of passion that has darkened their minds for the last thirty months, and look calmly to the future. See into what we are drifting; on the one hand anarchy, on the other despotism! To the influence of women we look to restore a calm, healthy feeling in the community, a humiliation before God, a submission to rightful authority, and all else needed to give us the golden days of peace and prosperity.” ~Memphis Bulletin [This is the conclusion of a long article in today’s paper entitled “Female Influence in Restoring Peace to this Country.”]


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