A Book That Would Please Women~October 1863~20th to 24th

A Book That Would Please Women~ Walt Whitman

Whitman tries to find a publisher for a new book, one which will please women. The days are busy ones for women. Two are arrested in Tennessee for the crime of dressing as men. One is killed in West Virginia by a train accident. Some try to raise money for their church. Others petition President Lincoln for total emancipation of all slaves. An actress enthralls George Templeton Strong.

Lee and Meade probe each other, looking for a weak place to mount an offensive. Confederate raiders create havoc in Missouri. Black troops cause a stir in Maryland. General Grant makes plans. Visiting Russian naval officers tour New York state. A representative of Venezuela seeks to buy a military vessel in the United States.


October 20– Tuesday– South Norwalk, Connecticut– “I improve the present time to write a few lines to you to thank you for the kindness you have shown towards our afflicted son I feel that we can’t thank you half enough for the interest you have Manifested toward him our Dear boy but you have out heart felt thanks for what you have Done for him and us as parents to James and we humble hope the lord will reward you for it and May you in the hour of need find the Same friend you have been to James and I have no Doubt but what you will. our blessed Savior Says whosoever shall give a cup of cold water to any one Shall not lose his reward therefore I know the lord will reward you for all the kindness you have Showed our Son and to others I Dare Say for those that are kind to one is kind to More.” ~ Letter from John and Margaret Stilwell to Walt Whitman.

October 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with Dr Thomas C Durant, age 43, a financier and railroad promoter, to discuss surveying the Great Plains and expansion of railroads in the west.

Thomas C Durant

Thomas C Durant

October 20– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Quantrell and other bold raiders in Missouri have collected some thousands of desperate men, and killed several regiments of the enemy. They have burned a number oftowns (Union), and taken the large town of Boonville. These are the men against whom Kansas Abolitionists have sworn vengeance– no quarter is to be granted them. I suspect they are granting no quarter!” ~ Diary of government clerk John Jones.

October 21– Wednesday– New York City– “The officers of the Russian fleet will start on their excursion to Niagara Falls to-morrow morning. The excursion has been gotten up under the joint auspices of the Hudson River Steamboat Company and the New-York Central and Erie Railroad Companies. All the officers of the fleet, numbering 100 and over, will join in the excursion, and they will be accompanied only by the Committee representing the Railroads and a few invited guests.” ~ New York Times.

October 21– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “A delegation is here saying that our armed colored troops are at many, if not all, the landings on the Patuxent River, and by their presence with arms in their hands are frightening quiet people and producing great confusion. Have they been sent there by any order, and if so, for what reason?” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Schenck, in Baltimore, Maryland.

October 21– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “My idea is a book of the time, worthy the time– something considerably beyond mere hospital sketches– a book for sale perhaps in a larger American market– the premises or skeleton memoranda of incidents, persons, places, sights, the past year (mostly jotted down either on the spot or in the spirit of seeing or hearing what is narrated) (I left New York early last December, & have been around in the front or here ever since)– full of interest I surely think– in some respects somewhat a combination in handling of the Old French Memoires, & my own personality (things seen through my eyes, & what my vision brings)– a book full enough of mosaic, but all fused to one comprehensive thing . . . . I have much to say of the hospitals, the immense national hospitals– in them too most radical changes of premises are demanded (the air, the spirit of a thing is every thing, the details follow & adjust themselves). I have many hospital incidents, [that] will take with the general reader– I ventilate my general democracy with details very largely & with reference to the future– bringing in persons, the President, Seward, Congress, the Capitol, Washington City, many of the actors of the drama . . . . I think it a book that would please women. I should expect it to be popular with the trade. Of course I propose the affair to you publisherially [sic] as something to invest in, to make out of (for both of us)– I take it [that] it would be a very handsome speculation. Only it is to be done while the thing is warm, namely at once. I have been & am in the midst of these things, I feel myself full of them, & I know the people generally now are too (far more than they know,) & would readily absorb & understand my memoranda. Wherefore let us make & publish the book, & out with it so as to have it for sale by middle or 20th of November.” ~ Letter of Walt Whitman to James Redpath.

James Redpath

James Redpath

October 21– Wednesday– near Warrenton, Virginia– “The people here seemed somewhat surprised to see us return. The game between Meade and Lee seems to me like a game of checkers, and Meade has had the last move. We do not know where the Rebel Army is, but I suppose General Meade does, and that is sufficient.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

October 21– Wednesday– Tennessee– “Jane Ann Rhodes and Josephine Barry were charged with appearing on the streets in male attire, and two men, a wagon master and another, were charged with complicity in their misconduct. It appeared from the evidence that the girls had accompanied the two men from Washington, and that they traveled with the army as assistants or Government employees. The girls were fined $5 each, and ordered to the workhouse, while the men were fined $50 each. Their names are R. L. Fowler and Frank Ward.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

October 22– Thursday– New York City– “Tonight at the Academy of Music with Ellie, General Dix’s handsome, buxom, bouncing daughter Miss Kitty, Jem Ruggles, George Anthon, and Johnny. We had Mrs Little’s box. Macbeth for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission, with Charlotte Cushman and [Edwin] Booth; a strong cast. Immensely crowded house. . . . The performance excellent. The sleep-walking particularly intense; indeed Charlotte Cushman is the best Lady Macbeth I ever saw– beyond all comparison. Macbeth died very game.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [Charlotte Cushman (1816 to 1876) had a stellar career performing Shakespeare, even playing Romeo to her sister Susan performing as Juliet, and had two romantic relationships with other prominent women.]

Charlotte Cushman as Romeo & her sister Susan as Juliet

Charlotte Cushman as Romeo & her sister Susan as Juliet

October 22– Thursday– Albany, New York– The visiting Russian naval officers spend the evening here and have a brief meeting with Governor Seymour.

October 22– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Members of the New School Presbyterian Synod call upon President Lincoln to assure him of their loyalty. In his impromptu remarks the President declares it is his duty to maintain liberty and religion and he can only do his duty by the assistance of God and the means which God has supplied, of which the reverend gentlemen around him were noble examples. “If God be with us, we will succeed; if not, we will fail.”

October 22– Thursday– North West Frontier Province, the border area between the Emirate of Afghanistan and the British controlled Punjab Province– A British reconnaissance patrol is attacked by some Bunerwal tribesman.

October 23– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “One again, here is the petition, sponsored by the Loyal Women of The Republic, through their National Association, calling upon the Congress to enact emancipation of all persons of African descent held in involuntary servitude.” ~ The Liberator

October 23– Friday– Niagra Falls, New York– The visiting Russian naval officers arrive by train to do some sight-seeing at the Falls.

Niagara Falls, c.1862

Niagara Falls, c.1862

 October 23– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “This exhibition for some cause has been poorly attended. We cannot attribute the lack of interest in this praiseworthy movement of the Christian ladies of your community, to anything other than ignorance on the part of citizens of the existence of such a thing as Baptist Fairs. Indeed, we were told by Mrs. Grant, one of the principal leaders in this most benevolent enterprise, that many of the citizens had told her when interrogated, why they did not patronize the Fair, they knew nothing of it. Besides the weather, since the opening of it, has been most inclement and the impossibility of procuring any music may also have worked against it. Now, we wish it distinctly understood, by every reader of the Bulletin, not only that there is such an institution as the Baptist Ladies’ Fair, but that is so far as the collections and articles on exhibition are concerned, a decided success. We have visited many fairs in our life, but have yet to see one that will excel this in beauty of selection or variety. The tasteful arrangement and splendid decorations are a great credit on the heads of the tables. Wednesday evening, the commencement of the Fair, it was impossible to procure any music, the weather was unfavorable, the attendance slim, and the consequence was that but about $100 were realized– barely enough to pay expenses. Thursday evening, owing to the inclement of the weather, the attendance was but tolerable, the music promised did not come, and though the visitors were unusually liberal, the ladies realized but about $200. Tomorrow– Saturday evening– a Colonel of one of the regiments stationed in the city, proposes to have at the Hall one of our splendid brass bands, and Mr. Conway hopes to be able to present new and interesting attractions. The object is a benevolent one to support the past of the church, Mr. G. W. Lancaster, and to liquidate an outstanding debt on the church. We invite our citizens to attend to-night, and show by their presence here that they feel an interest in the cause of Christianity. This denomination have suffered severely since the war by the loss of three churches—one burned on Beal street– one demolished at Fort Pickering– and one is occupied as a hospital, leaving only this one in the city.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

October 23– Friday– North Wales, Great Britain– The Festiniog Railway introduces steam locomotives into general service.


October 24– Saturday– Ritchietown, West Virginia– “A most terrible accident occurred . . . near the house of Mr. J. B. Ford, which resulted in the instant death of Mrs. Crane, wife of the Auditor of West Virginia. The engineer of the express for the east; as the train neared the point indicated, observed a lady walking in close proximity to the track and called to her to get out of the way. There are two or three tracks . . . near the point, and it is supposed she became confused and alarmed, and instead of getting out of the way, fell . . . upon the main track. . . . For two hours after the accident the body was not identified, but it was finally recognized as that of Mrs. Crane. An inquest was held upon the body and a verdict rendered in accordance with the above statements.” ~ The Wheeling Intelligencer.

October 24– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant, enclosing a translation of a note addressed to you by Mr. Bruzual, in which he speaks of an intention of buying a steamer in this country for the government of Venezuela, of which he is the representative, and in connection with which you ask if I am aware of any objection to the arming of the steamer in the manner indicated in Mr. Bruzual’s dispatch. I am not sufficiently informed of the condition of affairs in Venezuela to express an opinion upon the subject of your inquiry. The subject is one of extreme delicacy, and should, and I doubt not will, be duly considered by the Department of State, especially in view of occurrences transpiring abroad affecting our own country. . . . The request of Mr. Bruzual appears to be, under the circumstances, one of extraordinary and unusual character, and such as, had the application been made by that gentleman to this Department, would not have been granted. He is not, it seems, accredited, by reason of the unsettled condition of affairs in Venezuela, and yet it is proposed he shall have extended to him the unusual favor of a public officer in obtaining an armed vessel. Excuse me for suggesting doubts as to the policy of this step, but they are such that I have declined the responsibility, and placed the letter exclusively on your request, so that you can present or withhold it, as in your judgment, with a full knowledge of the facts and my doubts, may seem best.” ~ Letter from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to Secretary of State William Seward.


General Grant

General Grant

October 24– Saturday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– General Ulysses Grant makes a personal inspection of the Federal defenses and orders the creation of a supply route via Brown’s Ferry on the Tennessee River, a route more defensible than the one used to this point.



Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: