The War Was Never More Popular~November 1863~13th to 18th

The War Was Never More Popular ~ Senator John Sherman

Plans are made for the dedication of a cemetery at Gettysburg. President Lincoln and others are well aware that next year is an election year. Walt Whitman comes home for a visit and a much needed rest. Soldiers write about food, the weather, God and dead comrades. The world continues to change.

November 13– Friday– Washington, D.C.– At the White House, President Lincoln meets with the new senator John Conness, age 42, Republican of California. Senator Conness presents Mr Lincoln with a cane once owned by one of Conness’s predecessors, the late David Broderick. Broderick, age 39, an outspoken anti-slavery Democrat was mortally wounded in a duel with a fellow politician in September, 1859. A newspaper account says, “The President . . . accepted the cane, and, with much emotion, replied that he never personally knew . . . Mr. Broderick, but he had always heard him spoken of as one sincerely devoted to the cause of human rights.” Mr Lincoln confides that his “proudest ambition . . . [is] to do something for the elevation of the condition of his fellow-man.”

Senator John Conness

Senator John Conness

November 13– Friday– Chicago, Illinois– “From Gettysburg. Consecration of the Soldiers’ Cemetery. The loyal citizens generally of all the States, and the charitable and benevolent associations, are most cordially invited to be present at the consecration of the Soldiers’ Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa, on Thursday, the 19th instant, and participate in the solemn exercises of the occasion. By order of the Governors of the several States interested. David Wills, Agent for A. G. Curtin, Governor of Pennsylvania, and acting specially for the other States.” ~ Chicago Tribune.

November 13– Friday– Iago Ferry, Tennessee– “As our Cook was washing today it fell on me to get dinners and I stayed in camp on account of having no shirt to change while the other was in the wash as a good cook would do. I had dinner ready for they boys when they returned about 2 o’clock P. M. I then put on a kettle with some water peeled and sliced about half a bushel of pumpkins and boiled for some time and seasoned with salt while this cooking operation was going on James was out and luckily for the times [found] part of a box of crackers which Co. B had thrown away for bad one out of which we gathered over a pack of good pieces which was still more welcome then the pumpkins supper being ready at the usual time consisting of stewed pumpkins and beef stake sliced of the shoulders of an ox and a little coffee. Such a feed we have not had for a month it is certainly worth noting down to be remembered our Appetites being keen and sharp forced us to eat until we were scarcely to role over and still we have! a supply on hand for tomorrow who would not rejoice in our circumstances. Our Wagons that left yesterday morning for Anderson cross roads has returned this evening without rations why they were turned and sent back I have not a learned. I can also understand that gen Morgan commanding our brigade has left the cross roads if that is so we will move soon.” ~ Diary of Union soldier John Hill Fergusson.

November 13– Friday– the Isle of Man– “On Saturday last, Messrs. Gibson, McDonald, and Arnold launched from their ship-building yard at North Ramsey, Isle of Man, an iron ship of the following dimensions: Length 202 feet, beam 35 feet, depth of hold 23 feet 6 inches. A large company assembled to witness the launch. At half-past twelve o’clock the ship glided off the stocks, and was named the Euterpe by Mrs. R. H. Brown, wife of one of the owners. After the launch the company adjourned to the spacious sail-loft of the establishment, where a luncheon was provided, to which about 60 persons sat down. . . . . The Euterpe is a full-rigged ship of 1246 tons register . . . . She is the property of Messrs. Wakefield, Nash, and Co., of Liverpool, and is fitted up in the most expensive style, no pains have been spared to make her a splendid specimen of naval architecture. Her spacious poop cabin is fitted with panels of polished walnut, with moldings of maple, and is exceedingly handsome. She is built entirely of iron, and her lofty tweendecks (seven feet high) render her specially adapted for troops or passengers.” ~ A report for the Liverpool Mercury.

November 13– Friday– Auckland, New Zealand– William C Wilson begins publication of the New Zealand Herald.

November 14– Saturday– Mansfield, Ohio– “On Tuesday next I start for Gettysburg to take part in the pageant of a dedication of the battle-field as a national cemetery. From thence I shall probably go to Washington, two weeks in advance of the session. The very first thing I mean to do is to press the enforcement of the draft. . . . I notice in some of the Southern papers that a hope is entertained that the draft cannot be enforced. This is idle. The war was never more popular than at this moment. The new call will fall lightly. Ohio must send thirty-five thousand . . . . There is no lack of men or of a determination to send them. The wonderful prosperity of all classes, especially of laborers, has a tendency to secure acquiescence in all measures demanded to carry on the war. We are only another example of a people growing rich in a great war. And this is not shown simply by inflated prices, but by increased production, new manufacturing establishments, new railroads, houses, etc. . . . Indeed, every branch of business is active and hopeful. This is not a mere temporary inflation caused by paper money, but is a steady progress, and almost entirely upon actual capital. The people are prospering and show their readiness to push on the war. Taxes are paid cheerfully, and the voluntary donations for our soldiers and their families are counted by thousands.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Gettysburg National Cemetery

Gettysburg National Cemetery

 November 14– Saturday– near the mouth of the Rio Grande River– The Confederate blockade runner Terista, carrying 298 bales of cotton and headed for European markets, is captured by the USS Granite.

November 14– Saturday– St Martens-Latem, Belgium– Birth of Leo Hendrik Baekeland, chemist and inventor. Born of poor and illiterate parents, he will earn a doctorate in science from the University of Ghent at age 21 and in 1889 emigrate to the United States where he will invent a good paper for photographic prints [which business he will sell in 1899 to George Eastman for a reported $750,000] and invent “Bakelite” in 1907-8. He is considered the founding father of the modern science of plastics.

Leo Hendrik Baekeland

Leo Hendrik Baekeland

 November 15– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “I had a pleasant trip that Monday from the start, & all through– clear & cool & no dust. I got home about 8 in evening, was up bright & early to the polls next morning &c. How well the election went in this state, you know. Here Brooklyn gave a stunning union vote, the biggest ever dreamed of here– Mayor, assemblymen, judges, all elected.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend Ellen M. O’Connor.

November 15– Sunday– near Hazel Run, Virginia– “Last night it rained, and as the weather is cold we are far from comfortable. . . . . I bought me a fine bay horse with a white mark on his face, and he can run like a deer. I call him Old Abe.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 15– Sunday– on the march toward Knoxville, Tennessee– “This is the Sabbath evening and I am very lonesome. I thought I could not pass off the lonely hours better than to be writing to you, as it seems like we can never talk to each other [except] only through the medium of writing. Little did I think when we were married that I must be so soon severed from my dear Molly, but it is the common lot of all to be disappointed and now, instead of being this holy Sabbath evening with my loving family where we could read the word of God together, I am away here in the east engaged in the destruction of my fellow men, but God knows my heart. I do not desire their hurt if they would part in peace. I long to see this war close but I confess that I can not see where it can ever end but I have always thought that God would provide a peace when he thinks best. I still think so, Molly. . . . . I would give the state of Georgia for a kiss [from] you and the children. Oh, God, how long shall I suffer in the flesh? I am yours without spot or blemish until death. ~ Letter from Confederate officer William Stilwell to his wife Molly.

November 15– Sunday– Copenhagen, Denmark– The death of King Frederick VII, childless at age 55, and the succession by his distant cousin Christian IX, age 45, marks the beginning of a new crisis between Denmark and Germany over Schleswig-Holstein.

Denmark's new king

Denmark’s new king

 November 16– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The burning or destroying of any property, or any of the products of the country, is a positive detriment to us and a loss to the United States Government; therefore it must be stopped. The burning of cotton-gins, cotton, and everything else, is strictly prohibited. Any of the troops detected in any of these depredations will have meted out to them the extreme penalty of the law, which, in case of burning, pillaging, or robbing, is death. This order will be read at the head of every regiment and battery of the command, and every officer is commanded to aid in carrying it out.” ~ Order of Union General Grenville Mellen Dodge.


November 16– Monday– Roswell, Georgia– “The death of your brother [Thomas Edward] . . . was a sad blow to me, but he fell on a noble cause: done with the trials of this life, & now happy forever in heaven. God above knows what will be the result of this unnatural war – we have justice on our side, but deserve sever chastisement for our sins as a nation: May we all repent of short comings on duty, and look to God for his blessings– otherwise everything dark and gloomy. Rather than submit to Yankee rule– trust the Confederacy will resist to the last: better loose everything, than our liberty. . . . There is no telling what General Bragg is after– it is said that Longstreet has gone [toward] East Tennessee to drive out Burnsides, & get supplies for the army; should Bragg fall back, this portion of our state would be overran by Vandals, & they would destroy every thing.” ~ Letter from Mr Barrington King, a prosperous businessman, to his son Confederate Colonel Barrington Simeral King.

November 16– Monday– Campbell’s Station, Tennessee– Union forces beat back a Confederate attack. Total casualties– killed, wounded, missing– are 400 for the Federals, 570 for the Confederates.


November 16– Monday– Paris, France– Louis-Rene Villerme, physician and economist who studied the health of prisoners and of child factory workers, dies at age 81


November 17– Tuesday– New York City– “Famine at Richmond seems a settled fact. . . . There is reason to believe that the famine is caused not so much by actual deficiency of hog and hominy as by the unwillingness of Virginia farmers to sell anything for which they must be paid in rebel paper. Want of lively faith in the value of rebel currency implies, of course, skepticism as to the ultimate triumph of the rebel cause.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.


November 17– Tuesday– Brooklyn, New York– “I shall return Monday or Tuesday next. The weather here the last three days is very unpleasant, sloppy & thick. I was at the opera last night, Trovatore– very, very good singing & acting. I feel to devote myself more to the work of my life, which is making poems. I must bring out Drum Taps. I must be continually bringing out poems– now is the hey day. I shall range along the high plateau of my life & capacity for a few years now, & then swiftly descend. The life here in the cities, & the objects, &c of most, seem to me very flippant & shallow somehow since I returned this time. My New York boys are good, too good– if I staid here a month longer I should be killed with kindness. The great recompense of my journey here is to see my mother so well, & so bravely sailing on amid many troubles & discouragements like a noble old ship . . . . Charley, I think sometimes to be a woman is greater than to be a man, is more eligible to greatness, not the ostensible article, but the real one.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to Charles Eldridge.November 17– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– A group of citizens meet and plan a city-wide campaign to raise financial support for the families of soldiers.


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