Do a Little Something for Their County~October 1863~27th to 31st

Do a Little Something for Their Country ~ Union soldier Thomas Donohue

Soldiers write home about food, or the lack of it, death, romance and home-sickness. Women continue their efforts to feed soldiers. The International Red Cross has its beginnings in Switzerland. The situation in Tennessee continues to boil toward more hard fighting before the year’s end. Walt Whitman tries to find a publisher. George Templeton Strong entertains. Effie Shaw, one of the sisters of the late Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, marries her sweetheart. And the world continues to change.

October 27– Tuesday– near Camp Iogu, Hamilton County, Tennessee– “Today pleasant our wagons came up about noon to the gratification of officers and men as all were suffering less or more for something to eat. . . . J Anderson, Fancher Brothers and myself went out in the country to buy some corn bread off the citizens we traveled all fore noon and visited some 25 or 30 houses, we found them all suffering worse then we were. everything had been taken from them by the secesh and their husbands and Brother and Fathers had left home some 2 years ago and some a year and some18 months and joined our army there is not secesh here there all for the union and treat us with all the respect they can, but none of them was able to sell us a loaf of corn bread they were all out of meat them that had any and said that baked it up for the soldiers yesterday and had divided with them until they had nothing left for themselves and there children on our way back to camp We were passing by a house where 2 women were chopping down a tree close to the road side we walked up to them and inquired if there was no men about to chop wood for them one of them said her husband had joined the first east Tennessee cavalry and took sick and died last winter at Murfreesboro the others was a young girl unmarried we told them it looked like [it was] too hard to see women into chopping wood so we turned in and chopped down and carried up to the house a nice pile of wood. They were remarkably well pleased and invited us to [come] in and rest ourselves but we thanked them kindly as it was then half past 12 o’clock and we had to be in camp at one for roll call.” ~ Diary of Union soldier John Hill Ferguson.

Chattonooga from the north

Chattonooga from the north

October 27– Tuesday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– The new supply route ordered by General Grant is operating. Food and ammunition are arriving for the Federal troops and the Confederate siege begins to weaken.

October 27– Tuesday– near Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I just returned last night from a trip of three days up in Walker County, Georgia after corn. I could not find any corn to buy and had to press some. I pressed it from a lady whose husband is gone to the Yankees, It was very hard to do so and she was crying and begging but I could not help it, my orders was to get corn and I was obliged to get it. I don’t want to go anymore. I had much rather fight Yankees than take corn from women and children. I had a good time otherwise, eating butter and milk and potatoes and other vegetables but it did not last long, but like the hog I had to return to my wallering [sic] in the clay and vomit again.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier William Stilwell to his wife Molly in Georgia.

October 27– Tuesday– Harlingen, the Netherlands– Railway service from Leeuwarden reaches this ancient city, chartered in 1234.

Harlingen railway station as it looks today

Harlingen railway station as it looks today

October 28– Wednesday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I have taken your proposition into consideration. There is a lion in the way– $– I could easily publish a small Book, but the one you propose– to stereotype, advertise and push it– implies an expenditure that may be beyond my means. But if I can get credit, I may try. Whether I will or no depends somewhat on the printer’s notions as to whether the book would sell. Suppose you finish it and send it on: if I can’t publish it, I will see if some other person won’t. This is the best I can safely promise you. If I can get one or two jobbers to read and like it, and they will make an advance order, or give a favorable trade opinion, the way is clear. What say?” ~ Letter from James Redpath to Walt Whitman in response to Whitman’s letter of October 21st. [The book will become Memoranda During the War and be published in 1875.]

October 28– Wednesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “Believing that united and systematic effort only could accomplish the work of relieving the suffering in the Army, the ‘Ladies’ Aid’ became last April an auxilery [sic] of the ‘Women’s Branch Sanitary Commission,’ and subsequent visits to the wounded at Gettysburg confirmed the good opinions formed of the Christian and Sanitary Commissions. A lady who spent weeks in the work at Gettysburg remarked to us, that no one could form any conception of the work they accomplished, unless they had witnessed their unwearied labors of love. . . . After the battle of Gettysburg we received and forwarded from friends in Greenvillage, 32 loaves of bread, 23 dozen of rusk, butter, apple butter, dried fruit, &c. And from our own society, shirts, sheets, towels, drawers, 8 pillows, 18 handkerchiefs, bologna sausage, tongue, chip beef, corn starch, 4 bottles of wine, raspberry vinegar, &c. Other articles received at that time were used in Hospitals at home. To these latter we desire to call the attention of our friends. Such articles as apple butter, peach butter, pickles, &c., are needed and will be thankfully received. Persons having old cotton or linen are requested to leave it at Nixon’s Drug Store, for the use of 500 wounded still at Gettysburg.” ~ Report from Martha C Nixon, Secretary of the Chambersburg Ladies’ Aid Society printed in this day’s Franklin Repository.

women of the US Sanitary Commission

women of the US Sanitary Commission

October 28– Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland– “We landed here this morning. This afternoon at 3:00 o’clock we leave for Washington and I expect we go on to Warrenton, Virginia. We will join Captain Patterson’s Company– 148th Regiment. Well, Father, I feel satisfied that I am doing the will of God. I feel glad that I could so willingly yield to the will of God. I know that God is able to deliver me safe and if I should fall in the field of Battle. I am glad to know that God will save me forever in Heaven. I know that he that promised is faithful and cannot lie.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father, John Rosenbery.

October 28– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Bulletin can publish articles of editorial, or when contributed, signed by the writer, favorable or unfavorable to the general policy of the Government, if in proper spirit and designed to do good. Also questions calculated to interest the people of West Tennessee and Arkansas may be discussed pretty freely, but the paper must be held responsible for the truth of every statement of facts, and that the article is calculated to do good and not excite resentment. Try and stop this universal spirit of fault-finding and personality that has brought the press down beneath the contempt of every decent man. Encourage business advertisements, improvements in the arts, narrations of events abroad in the past or, when well authenticated, of the present. In other words, let the Government and its agents do their business in their own way.” ~ Directive issued by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to the editor of the Memphis Bulletin.

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

October 28– Wednesday– Cherbourg, France–The Confederate warship Georgia arrives in the port for refitting and to take on supplies.

the CSS Georgia

the CSS Georgia

October 29– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– In today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Horatio Storer, a doctor of obstetrics, reports positively on the use of chloroform to assist women in labor and delivery.

October 29– Thursday– Warrenton, Virginia– “I am well and enjoying myself as well as Can be expected Down here in Dixie I tell you we have had Some very hard marching lately from Culpeper to Centreville is about 60 miles and now we are going Going Back the Same road we Came on last week we Crossed the old bull run battle Field and we Could See lots of Skeletons of men that were killed there a year ago . . . . I See that old Abe has Called for three hundred thousand more men I Guess that Some of them will have to Come out here yet and do a little Something for their Country well I Guess I have written enough So I will Close Excuse all mistakes and poor writing.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Thomas Donohue to Almira Winchell

October 29– Thursday– Wauhatchie, Tennessee– Daylight sees the conclusion of one of the few night-time battles in the war. Federal troops in large numbers repel a Confederate attempt to cut off the Union supply line. Federals secure their connection from Chattanooga to the outside and can receive supplies, weapons, ammunition, and reinforcements via what soldiers are calling “the Cracker Line.” Confederate casualties total 408; Union casualties total 420 dead, wounded and missing.

fighting~October, 1863

fighting~October, 1863

October 29– Thursday– Houston, Texas– Confederate General Magruder sends a reprimand to General Henry McCullough because McCullough granted furloughs to half of his soldiers so that they could go home and plant crops of wheat. Magruder instructs him to recall these soldiers immediately “as their services in the field are absolutely necessary at this crisis.”

October 29– Thursday– Geneva, Switzerland– The international conference organized by Henry Dunant and his committee concludes the gathering which began on October 26th. The meeting, called to develop possible measures to improve medical services on the battle field, has been attended by 36 individuals: 18 official delegates from national governments, 6 delegates from other non-governmental organizations, 7 non-official foreign delegates, and the five members of the International Committee, including Dunant. The states and kingdoms represented by official delegates are Baden, Bavaria, France, Britain, Hanover, Hesse, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Spain. Today at the conference’s conclusion the delegates adopt these final resolutions: 1) Foundation of national relief societies for wounded soldiers; 2) Neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers; 3) Utilization of volunteer forces for relief assistance on the battlefield; 4) Organization of additional conferences to enact these concepts in legally binding international treaties; and 5) Introduction of a common distinctive protection symbol for medical personnel in the field, namely a white armlet bearing a red cross. This marks the official beginning of the International Red Cross. [Dunant, a 35 year old Swiss businessman, has been trying to ameliorate battlefield conditions ever since 1859 when he toured the site of the battle of Solferino, Italy, and saw over 38,000 dead, dying and wounded, mostly unattended. For this work he will receive the very first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.]


Henry Dunant

Henry Dunant

October 30– Friday– New York City– “Last Tuesday Miss Charlotte Cushman dined here . . . . The tragedienne is a cultivated woman and made herself most agreeable. She looks far better off the stage than on it. Her performances of Macbeth at Boston, New York, Washington and other cities, have brought the Sanitary Commission some eight thousand dollars.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [The $8,000 would be equivalent to $151,000 today.]

October 30– Friday– near Germantown, Virginia– “We have not orders to move from here yet, but don’t expect we will lay here long. The rebels destroyed the railroad from Bristol Station to the Rappahannock, and our men are at work repairing it as speedily as possible, and as soon as supplies can be transported on it again I think our army will advance again. We have had nice, clear weather for the last week, but it is cold at night, today it looks as if we might get rain soon. Give my kindest regards to Lydia Brand. I am glad that she thinks of me yet, but sorry to disappoint her in her request as it would be impossible to get a photograph taken here, but tell her I would be pleased to see hers, I have no doubt you young folks have changed a good deal since I saw you last, and also give my best respects to all the rest of Brands family, and all inquiring friends.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Christian Geisel to his sister Mrs Annie Geisel Montgomery.

October 30– Friday– North West Frontier Province, the border area between the Emirate of Afghanistan and the British controlled Punjab Province– Crag Piquet, a rocky position fortified by the British, is the scene of fierce fighting, sometimes hand-to-hand, between a large force of Pashtuns and British soldiers. Two British soldiers, George Fosbery and Henry Pitcher, will be awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery in this battle. Control of this position will see-saw back and forth for the next four weeks.

October 31– Saturday– Staten Island, New York– Colonel Charles Russell Lowell, age 26, marries Miss Josephine “Effie” Shaw, age 19, in the Unitarian Church here. Effie is one of the sisters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who died in the attack on Fort Wagner in July.

Josephine "Effie" Shaw and her new husband

Josephine “Effie” Shaw and her new husband

October 31– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– From Thursday through today Federal artillery and gunboats lob 2961 rounds on the badly damaged Fort Sumter, causing 33 Confederate casualties. However, at sunset the Confederate flag still flies above the rubble.

October 31– Saturday– Marietta, Georgia– Birth of William G McAdoo, the second of three sons and the fourth of seven children born to William McAdoo and his second wife, Mary Faith Floyd McAdoo. He will serve as Secretary of the Treasury under President Woodrow Wilson for six years and as a U S Senator from California from 1933 to 1939.

William G McAdoo, c1915

William G McAdoo, c1915

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