Much Has Been Done But Not All~October 1863~the 4th to the 8th

Much Has Been Done, but Not All. ~ General James Longstreet

The year’s fighting is far from over and casualties mount. General Longstreet encourages his troops. Walt Whitman receives financial support for his hospital visitation work. New York City and the visiting Russian fleet continue to enjoy each other. The situation in Mexico continues to boil. And the world continues to change.

October 4– Sunday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I was very glad to hear of the receipt of the check I sent you & to know that it had already begun to do some good. I like very much your plan of aiding chiefly those frequent cases of suffering among the poor & unfriended young men of whom I have myself seen so many in the hospitals. I am sure you must be doing infinite good to the bodies & souls of these poor youths so far away from all other sympathies & friendships, & who now just seek a friend & comforter as few are to them. The hospitals are too cold, too regardless of human feeling, treating our brave volunteers too much like more professional fighters not more like thinking & suffering men. It is bad policy, as well as inhumanity, to treat them so. The effects of the iron will of our hospitals is discouraging to the hearts of our men, & I fear it does more to prevent volunteer enlistments than all other causes. The difficulty of getting discharges & furloughs, even in cases clearly demanding such indulgence, is very great & seems to increase rather than to diminish. I wish some more humane rules could be established. I have tried to prevail upon those in authority to ameliorate the system, but without effect. I have received twenty dollars . . . but I retain it for a few days hoping to add more to it. Meanwhile I have sent your letter to our friend Miss Hannah E. Stevenson, (whom you may remember as an ardent worker in one of the Georgetown Hospitals,) who will read it to some of her friends. She informs me that her sister Mrs Charles P Curtis has written to you & sent aid for the boys. She was much interested in your account of them. It will give me great pleasure to hear from you again.” ~ Letter from Dr Le Baron Russell to Walt Whitman.

New York City committee on board the Russian flagship

New York City committee on board the Russian flagship

October 4– Sunday– New York City– “The Joint Committee of the Common Council on the reception and entertainment of our Russian guests met yesterday to arrange the preliminaries for the grand banquet to be given to the officers of the fleet. The Committee were in session two or three hours, but adjourned without fixing the time for the banquet, or deciding upon the place in which it is to be held. . . . The place for holding the banquet will probably be the Academy of Music, which will afford an opportunity for a larger number of our citizens, including ladies, to join in the festivities. As the Russian fleet will remain in our harbor for some time to come, there is no occasion for haste, in any of the means that may be adopted for the entertainment of its officers. . . . Meanwhile, the officers, as well as the crews of the squadron, are enjoying themselves in their own way in viewing the sights of the City, and partaking individually of the hospitalities of our citizens. Last evening, Admiral Lisovsky, accompanied by a number of the officers of the fleet, visited Niblo’s Theatre.” ~ The New York Times.

October 4– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “Your letter reached me this forenoon with the $30 for my dear boys, for very dear they have become to me, wounded & sick here in the government hospitals. As it happens I find myself rapidly making acknowledgment of your welcome letter & contribution from the midst of those it was sent to aid & best by a sample of actual hospital life on the spot, & of my own goings around the last two or three hours. As I write I sit in a large pretty well-fill’d ward by the cot of a lad of 18 belonging to Company M, 2nd N Y cavalry, wounded three weeks ago to-day at Culpepper, hit by fragment of a shell in the leg below the knee, a large part of the calf of the leg is torn away, (it killed his horse) still no bones broken, but a pretty large ugly wound. I have been writing to his mother . . . . Although so young he has been in many fights & tells me shrewdly about them, but only when I ask him. He is a cheerful good-natured child [who] has to lie in bed . . . I bring him things, he says little or nothing in the way of thanks, is a country boy, always smiles & brightens much when I appear, looks straight in my face & never at what I may have in my hand for him. I mention him for a specimen as he is within reach of my hand & I can see that his eyes have been steadily fixed on me from his cot ever since I began to write this letter. There are some 25 or 30 wards, barracks, tents, &c in this hospital. This is ward C, has beds for 60 patients, they are mostly full, most of the other principal wards about the same, so you see a U S general hospital here is quite an establishment, this has a regular police, armed sentries at the gates & in the passages &c & a great staff of surgeons, cadets, women & men nurses &c &c. I come here pretty regularly because this hospital receives I think the worst cases & is one of the least visited.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to Margaret S. Curtis in response to hers of October 1st.

typical ward of a Civil War hospital

typical ward of a Civil War hospital

October 4– Sunday– Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada– Birth of Peter Veniot, businessman, newspaper owner, and politician who will serve as the Premier of New Brunswick from 1923 to 1925.

October 5– Monday– New York City– Admiral David Farragut of the U S Navy visits the Russian ships anchored in the harbor. The Russians express their pleasure with the visit.

October 5– Monday– Brooklyn, New York– The Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road begins operations. [This is now the oldest right-of-way on the New York City Subway, the largest rapid transit system in the United States and one of the largest in the world.]

October 5– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Rev. Alexander Campbell. – This distinguished gentleman preached yesterday to a full house in the Disciple’s church, Centre Wheeling. Although quite advanced in old age, being upwards of seventy-five, he retains a great deal of those wonderful powers of mind that have made him famous as a theologian throughout the world. He seldom any more leaves his quiet home at Bethany, being too feeble to travel any great distance. We learn, however, that he still employs himself in his literary labors as editor of the Harbinger and President of the College, as ardently, and almost as laboriously, as ever. His many friends here and elsewhere will be glad to know that his health is such as to permit him to make a visit even this far from home.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer. [Born in Ireland in 1788, Campbell is one of the founders of the Disciples of Christ as well as president and founder of Bethany College which is about 25 miles from Wheeling.]


Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell

October 5– Richmond, Virginia– “Soldiers! Much has been done, but not all. The fruits of your splendid victory are to be enjoyed. Tennessee and Kentucky, with their rolling fields and smiling valleys, are to be reclaimed to freedom and independence. You are to be the agent of their deliverance, and your task requires the same heroic fortitude, patience, and courage, always shown by you in the trying past. Your General looks to you for renewed exertions.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch quotes the address given by General James Longstreet to his troops after the battle of Chickamauga.

October 5– Monday– In Tennessee at Blue Springs, Murfreesborough, Readyville and at Stones River railroad bridge– Skirmishing as both sides maneuver. Confederate raiding parties strike both at Shelbyville and at Christiana as well.

October 5– Monday– Tilburg, the Netherlands– The railway station opens with service now available to Breda, the Netherlands.

October 6– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I took from Dr. Russell your letter to Mr. Redpath, to stir some warm hearts to aid you in your blessed work among our sick and wounded boys. My sister, Mrs. Charles P. Curtis, has already written you. Her husband’s words and her own, your touching words coined into gold or greenbacks. I inclose you to-day thirty dollars, the result of an application to my friends, the Misses Wigglesworth.” ~ Letter from Hannah E Stevenson to Walt Whitman. [Anne and Mary Wigglesworth were friends of Hannah Stevenson’s and patrons of various benevolent organizations in Boston. Mary will die in 1882 and Anne in 1891. See the Boston Evening Transcript, August 29, 1882, and January 6, 1891.]

October 6– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Senator Charles Sumner writes to John Bright in England warning that British intervention the American civil war could give Russia an excuse to begin naval operations against British and French ships or operations in Mexico against the French. [Bright, a month away from his 52nd birthday, is a Quaker and Radical who at this time is serving his 20th year in the House of Commons. An eloquent orator, he has spoken against American slavery and in support of the Lincoln Administration.]

October 6– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “Mother, I am writing this in Major Hapgood’s office as usual. I am all alone to-day. Major is still absent, unwell, & the clerk is away somewhere. O how pleasant it is here, the weather I mean, & other things too for that matter. I still occupy my little room 394 L street, get my own breakfast there, had good tea this morning, & some nice biscuit, (yesterday morning & day before had peaches cut up). My friends the O’Connors that I wrote about re-commenced cooking the 1st of this month, (they have been as usual in summer taking their meals at a family hotel near by.) Saturday they sent for me to breakfast & Sunday I eat dinner with them, very good dinner, roast beef, lima beans, good potatoes &c. They are truly friends to me. I still get my dinner at a restaurant usually. I have a very good plain dinner, which is the only meal of any account I make during the day, but it is just as well, for I would be in danger of getting fat on the least encouragement, & I have no ambition that way.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

 October 6– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– In the evening, President Lincoln, Secretary of State Seward and their families attend a performance of Shakespeare’s Othello on stage at Grover’s Theater.

October 6– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “I read to-day an interesting report from one of our secret agents– Mr A Superviele– of his diplomatic operations in Mexico, which convinces me that the French authorities there favor the Confederate States cause, and anticipate closer relations before long. When he parted with Almonte, the latter assured him that his sympathies were with the South, and that if he held any position in the new government (which he does now) he might say to President Davis that his influence would be exerted for the recognition of our independence.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

October 6– Tuesday– Baxter Springs, Kansas– William C. Quantrill and his raiders massacre about 100 black Union soldiers.

October 6– Tuesday– Off the coast of Texas–U S warships capture a British blockade runner.

October 7– Wednesday– Bristow Station, Virginia– “Our new Chaplain is Rev John D Beugless, formerly pastor of the Pawtuxet Baptist Church. . . . Many of the soldiers are good Christian men but need some one to guide them. I feel greatly rejoiced over the prospect for the future.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

October 7– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– Union General Grant orders that all cotton and other crops belonging to persons in armed rebellion against the United States are to be seized.


infantry fighting

infantry fighting

October 7– Wednesday– Hazel River, Virginia; Warsaw, Missouri; Ferry’s Ford, Arkansas; Summit Point, West Virginia; Utz’s Ford, Virginia; Charles Town, West Virginia; Evening Shade, Arkansas; Mitchell’s Ford, Virginia– Skirmishes, ambushes, raids and fire fights.

 October 8– Thursday– Rochester, New York– Birth of Edythe Chapman, a star of the stage and of silent films. She will make her first film at age 51 in 1914 and her last at age 67 in 1930 and three dozen more in between.

Edythe Chapman

Edythe Chapman


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