Election Returns Come in Triumphantly~October 1863~the 12th to the 16th

Election Returns Come in Triumphantly ~ Gideon Welles

In elections in key northern states candidates who favor peace with the South are defeated. Fighting continues in states throughout the Confederacy. The Confederate experimental submarine is lost. Walt Whitman keeps busy nursing the wounded but considers going home for a rest. As more of the Imperial Russian fleet arrives in the United States the Times of London criticizes the American President and the Russian Tsar.

October 12– Monday– Buckhorn Tavern, Alabama; Jonesborough, Missouri; Jackson’s Mill, Mississippi; West Liberty, Kentucky; Tulip, Arkansas– Raids and skirmishes.

fighting~October, 1863

fighting~October, 1863

October 12– Monday– San Francisco, California–Six warships from Russia’s Pacific fleet arrive on a friendly visit.

October 13– Tuesday– South Norwalk, Connecticut– “I received your kind and ever welcome letter from you and glad to hear that my brother is so comfortable and many thanks to you for your kindness to him and to me in writing to let me know how he is and I hope that the lord will reward you for your kindness to us who are entire strangers to you and I am sure that I will and all of us will ever be grateful to you and never will forget you or your kindness to us in our days of trouble.” ~ Letter from Julia Stilwell to Walt Whitman.

October 13– Tuesday– Franklin County, Pennsylvania– “A fine pleasant day. To day will decide the great question wether Copperheadism [Democrats who favor peace with the Confederacy] can compete successfully with Unionism. It will be a greater triumph for the country than the bloodiest victory.” ~ Diary of Amos Stouffer.

October 13– Tuesday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– Incumbent Republican governor Andrew Curtin, a strong ally of President Lincoln, wins re-election, receiving 51.46% of the popular vote as compared to the 48.54% won by George Woodward, the Democratic challenger.

Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania

Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania

October 13– Tuesday– Columbus, Ohio–In the race for governor, the Peace Democrat Clement Vallandigham, running in absentia from exile in Canada, suffers a severe defeat by Unionist John Brough, a war Democrat running on the Republican ticket. Brough receives 60.59% of the votes to Vallandigham’s 39.41%.


John Brough, governor-elect of Ohio

John Brough, governor-elect of Ohio

October 13– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “The elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania absorb attention. The President says he feels nervous. No doubts have troubled me. An electioneering letter of McClellan in favor of Woodward for Governor of Pennsylvania, written yesterday, is published. It surprises me that one so cautious and intelligent as McC. should have been so indiscreet and unwise. The letter can do him no good, nor can it aid Woodward, who is a party secessionist. It is a great mistake, and must have been extorted from McClellan by injudicious partisan friends, under the mistaken idea that his personal influence might control the election. What errors prevail in regard to personal influence among party men! A good and wise man can do but little on the day of election, particularly in a bad cause. He can often aid in a good one by confirming the right-minded who are timid and may hesitate and doubt. McClellan lost balance when he wrote this letter. Preston King spent the evening with me. Young Ulric Dahlgren called. The gallant fellow lost a leg at Gettysburg and is just recovering, so that he gets around on crutches. It is the first of his calls, and King was wonderfully interested in him– affected to tears– and listened to his modest accounts with the earnestness of a child.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [At this time Preston King, age 56, a former U S senator from New York, has returned to his law practice but retains an active role in Republican politics by serving as chairman of the National Republican Committee. He is vehemently opposed to secession and strongly supportive of President Lincoln. Ulric Dahlgren, age 21, is the second son of Admiral Dahlgren. A captain in a cavalry unit he was injured on July 6th in a skirmish with Confederate cavalry as he and his men pursued Lee’s retreating column. His mangled lower right leg was amputated on July 9th.]

 October 13– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “There is a new lot of wounded now again. They have been arriving, sick & wounded, for three days. First long strings of ambulances with the sick. But yesterday many with bad & bloody wounds, poor fellows. I thought I was cooler & more used to it, but the sight of some of them brought tears into my eyes. Mother, I had the good luck yesterday to do quite a great deal of good. I had provided a lot of nourishing things for the men . . . I had them where I could use them immediately for these new wounded as they came in faint & hungry, & fagged out with a long rough journey, all dirty & torn, & many pale as ashes, & all bloody. I distributed all my stores, gave partly to the nurses I knew that were just taking charge of them & as many as I could I fed myself. Then besides I found a lot of oyster soup handy, & I procured it all at once. Mother, it is the most pitiful sight I think when first the men are brought in. I have to bustle round, to keep from crying– they are such rugged young men all these just arrived are cavalry men. Our troops got the worst of it, but fought like devils. . . . . Mother, I will try to come home before long, if only for six or eight days.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.


Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

October 13– Tuesday– Warrenton, Virginia; Auburn, Virginia; Arrow Rock, Missouri; Maysville, Alabama; Fayetteville, Tennessee; Wyatt, Mississippi; Burlington, West Virginia– Skirmishes, raids and fire fights.

October 13– Tuesday– Vincennes, France– Philippe Antoine d’Ornano, a Marshal of France, dies at age 79. A second cousin to Napoleon Bonaparte, he served as a general. After Bonaparte’s defeat and exile, d’Ornano spent time in exile as well but by 1829 had returned to France and had a career in the military and later in politics.

Phillippe d'Ornano-c.1860

Phillippe d’Ornano-c.1860

October 14– Wednesday– New York City– “We are all jubilant over the good news from Ohio and Pennsylvania. The tail of the national Copperhead is out of joint. Ohio pronounces against the pinchbeck martyr to free speech, Vallandigham, by a majority estimated at near one hundred thousand. Curtin’s majority in Pennsylvania is less multitudinous, but t’will serve. McClellan has lowered himself sadly by an ill–advised letter, supporting Judge Woodward. Curtin’s Copperhead, anti-Administration, peace-on-any-terms opponent. I guess that the McClellan pipe is nearly smoked out . . . . He may be a good general, but he is a bad citizen, doing all he can– ignorantly, I hope and believe– to weaken and embarrass the government and to help the public enemy.” ~ Diary entry of George Templeton Strong. [In Ohio, Brough received over 288,000 votes while Vallandigham a bit over 187,000.]

October14– Wednesday– Franklin County, Pennsylvania– “A fine day. The election returns are not near all in yet. But enough is known to make Curtin’s majority 20,000 at least. Franklin gave him about 350 majority. This election has been a glorious victory for the Great Republic.” ~ Diary of Amos Stouffer.

October 14– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “The election returns from Pennsylvania and Ohio are cheering in their results. The loyal and patriotic sentiment is strongly in the ascendant in both States, and the defeat of Vallandigham is emphatic. I stopped in to see and congratulate the President, who is in good spirits and greatly relieved from the depression of yesterday. He told me he had more anxiety in regard to the election results of yesterday than he had in 1860 when he was chosen.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

October 14– Wednesday– Catlett’s Station, Virginia; Shannon County, Missouri; Gainesville, Virginia; Carrion Crow Bayou, Louisiana; McLean’s Ford, Virginia; Blountsville, Tennessee; St Stephen’s Church, Virginia; Loudoun, Tennessee; Grove Church, Virginia; Salt Lick Bridge, West Virginia; Brentsville, Virginia– Melees, encounters, showdowns, small scale engagements and plenty of armed run-ins keep the doctors and burial details busy.

October 14– Wednesday– Chilton, Wisconsin– Birth of Winifred Sweet Black, journalist. The fourth of the five children and youngest of three daughters of Benjamin Sweet and Lovisa Denslow Sweet, she will have an extremely successful career from 1890 until her death in 1936 writing for the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst, often under the pen name of “Annie Laurie.” In September, 1900, she will disguise herself as a young man and maneuver through police lines to become the first outside journalist and the only woman reporter to describe the damage from the storm which devastated Galveston, Texas.


Winifred Sweet Black c.1913

Winifred Sweet Black c.1913

October 14– Wednesday– Bristoe Station, Virginia– Union troops maul Confederate attackers in a fierce fight. Federal casualties total 546; Confederate casualties amount to approximately 1400.

October 15– Thursday– Brooklyn, New York– “Walt do come home if only for a short time. . . . Will you write me at once if you can come. Mother, Mat and Sis are all suffering from bad colds, Mother particularly I think is failing rapidly. I do so wish that I could see you and have a good talk about family affairs I am in an awful hurry or would write more.” ~ Letter from Jeff Whitman to his brother Walt.

October 15– Thursday– Hedgesville, West Virginia– A squad of 37 Confederate soldiers are captured as they attempt to burn the bridge over Back Creek.

October 15– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “This lady, Abigail C. Berea, had a husband and three sons in the war, and has been a nurse herself, without pay” and asks to have her youngest son discharged because of poor health. “Let it be done.” ~ Order signed by President Abraham Lincoln to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

October 15– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The election returns come in triumphantly for the Union. Woodward and Vallandigham, both Rebel sympathizers, have been defeated. General McClellan, whose reticence and caution have hitherto been well maintained, unwisely exposed himself. I am informed he refused to write a letter until assured by those in whom he had full trust that there was no doubt of Woodward’s election. I doubt if his letter helped Woodward to one vote, but it has effectually killed McClellan.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

October 15– Thursday– In Virginia at McLean’s Ford, Blackburn’s Ford, Mitchell’s Ford, Manassas and Oak Hill– Raiding and skirmishing as General Lee and General Meade probe each other’s strength and attempt to determine the other’s intentions.

October 15– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– The Confederate experimental submarine Hunley sinks taking the inventor Horace L Hunley and seven others to their deaths.

common grave of the Hunley crew

common grave of the Hunley crew

 October 15– Thursday– Bristol, Tennessee– Federal troops occupy the town.

October 15– Thursday– London, England– “Whoever recommended the Russian Emperor to send a squadron of frigates to New-York, may congratulate himself on a great success. Now that it is done we see that it was exactly the thing to do, and almost wonder that it never occurred before to the astute politicians of St. Petersburg. The resemblances between the United States and the Russian Empire have not only been remarked by every one who has thought on the present and probable future state of the world, but they have created a sympathy between the two Powers which is becoming stronger under the influence of calamity, disappointed ambition, and the rebukes of the civilized world. Both in their arrogance and petulance of a few years since and in their present tone of more limited pretensions the Americans and Russians have shown an accord which indicates the gravitation of the two Powers to a permanent alliance. . . . . In the hour of common trial the Czar gives his officers an opportunity of showing his Republican allies how much they sympathize with each other, and resent the ill-will of England and France. Not that the discreet and guarded Muscovites would ever hint that their visit had a political subject, or that they had anything but respect and esteem for Englishmen, Frenchmen, and all mankind. The coarser part of the speech-making is left to the New-York orators, just as the interpretation of the squadron’s visit, as the sign of speedy alliance between the two countries for the punishment of European perfidy, is allowed to be given to the world by the American Press. But there can be little doubt that what has taken place is just what the Emperor foresaw and desired. At a time when he and his brother Potentate at Washington are carrying on a relentless war against so-called ‘rebels,’ and each is in some trepidation as to the policy of France, the Czar calls forth an exhibition of the mutual sympathy between their respective nations. The time could not have been better chosen, the success could not have been more complete. The Russian officers are the lions of the hour. They are invited everywhere; the British and French officers remain unnoticed on board their ships.” ~ The Times of London.

October 16– Friday– Chantilly Cross Roads, Virginia– “If Lee attacks us here he will meet another Gettysburg defeat. Nothing but Rebel Cavalry have as yet appeared in our front. . . . We have been short of rations and an ear of field corn roasted in the ashes tasted very good to me. Yet I am happy and feel well all the time.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.


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