Uncle Abe is the Most Popular Man in America~December 1863~the 8th to 11th

Uncle Abe Is the Most Popular Man in America ~ George Templeton Strong

President Lincoln offers amnesty to all in rebellion who freely take an oath of allegiance to the United States. He extends congratulations to General Grant for the recent success in Tennessee. Concern about the French intervention in Mexico reaches man different quarters. Russian naval officers are wined and dined in Washington. Women in Memphis try to provide for the poor. Nashville has no more coal. People in Wheeling are concerned about the families of soldiers. Soldiers wonder about winter quarters. A terrible fire destroys a church in Chile. And the world goes– babies born, old folks die.


December 8– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction which offers a full pardon to any and all Southerners who participated in the rebellion provided such persons take a “prescribed oath” of loyalty. He adds, “And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that any provision which may be adopted by such State government in relation to the freed people of such State which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education, and which may yet be consistent as a temporary arrangement with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class, will not be objected to by the National Executive. . . . . And, still further, that this proclamation is intended to present the people of the States wherein the national authority has been suspended and loyal State governments have been subverted a mode in and by which the national authority and loyal State governments may be reestablished within said States or in any of them; and while the mode presented is the best the Executive can suggest, with his present impressions, it must not be understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable.”

December 8– Tuesday– “Understanding that your lodgment at Chattanooga and Knoxville is now secure, I wish to tender you and all under your command my more than thanks, my profoundest gratitude for the skill, courage, and perseverance with which you and they, over so great difficulties, have effected that important object. God bless you all.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to General Grant.

General Grant

General Grant

December 8– Tuesday– Guatemala City, Guatemala– U S Minister to the country, Elisha Crosby, reports to Secretary of State Seward that the Guatemalan government will not recognize the monarchy in Mexico unless the United States does.

December 8– Tuesday– Santiago, Chile– The Church of the Company of Jesus, located in the downtown, is crowded with worshipers, mostly women and children, observing a feast day of the Virgin Mary when shortly before 7 o’clock in the evening a gas lamp at the top of the main altar ignites some of the fabrics adorning the walls. The fire spreads quickly from there onto the wooden roof. The attendees panic while trying to leave the burning building. Between 2,000 and 3,000 people perish in the fire, many burned beyond recognition, in a city that has about 100,000 inhabitants. Entire families are wiped out. The building is a total loss.

December 9– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Dissatisfied with several design proposals from the mint director, Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase recommends the words “In God We Trust” be added to the design of the new one, two and three-penny coins.

December 9– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Received and entertained fifty Russian officers, the Cabinet, foreign ministers, and the officers of our own Navy who were in Washington, and all professed to be, and I think were, gratified. It was a question whether some of the legations would attend, but I believe all were present at our party.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Russian naval officers

Russian naval officers

December 9– Wednesday– Camp Pittman near London, Kentucky– “I have just received a letter from Jeff, of Dec 3rd bringing the sorrowful news of the death of Brother Andrew. I was somewhat prepared for the worst, by Walt’s letter of Dec 1st but I still had strong hopes, that he would recover, and until I received Walt’s letter, I had no idea that Andrew was in any immediate danger. . . . Mother I do hope that you will bear up with your troubles, and not make yourself sick by worrying. . . . Mother you see by this that we have moved from Crab Orchard, we came on here last week, this place is 38 miles from Crab Orchard, in the direction of Cumberland Gap. How long we will remain here, of course we don’t know, but there is strong talk of our being ordered home to re organize and as nearly all of our men are anxious to re-enlist in the veteran Corps, I think that the chances are that we will be ordered home before many weeks. I sent you $150.00 by Addam’s Express a few days ago.” ~ Letter of George Whitman to Louisa, his mother.

December 9– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Ladies Union Benevolent Association. This excellent and very popular society gives a free reception this evening, to which all friends are cordially invited. We are happy to state that this charitable institution has procured the hall of the No. 3 [fire] engine house,on the corner of Adams and Second streets, which are fitted up in a style both useful and conformable to the members andothers desiring to visit them. The object of this association is, first, the promotion of the social circle, and, to give the proper value to society, as it should and ought to be; to aid the poor and indigent, who have been thrown on the world through their love of country, and otherwise aid all those who are worthy of help from this association. The officers, under whose management the ‘Ladies’ Union’ is conducted, are well and favorably known; being ornaments to our first society. The following ladies are the presiding officers for the presentterm: Mrs. Cooper, President; Mrs. Tagg, Vice-President; Mrs. C. C. Smith, Secretary Mrs. Cobb, Treasurer; Mesdames Beeman, Walcot and Boyle, Directresses. We understand that it is the intention of the ladies to have the affair during the Christmas holidays, the proceeds of which will be handed to the poor of our city. They propose also to give several concerts for the same charitable purposes.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

December 9– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “Notice. The Athens Manufacturing Co. having taken twenty-five thousand pair of pants to dye for the Government, they will not be able to dye any more yarns or garments for our customers. R. L. A. Bloomfield, Agent.” ~ The Southern Banner

December 10– Thursday– New York City– Irish-born Charles C. Ingham, portrait painter and one of the founders of the New York National Academy of Design in 1826, dies at age 67. He was 20 years old when he and his family came to the United States. Among his best known works are his portraits of the Marquis de Lafayette and of New York Governor DeWitt Clinton.

December 10– Thursday– Montpelier, Virginia– “The old fellow here says he wants us to stay as long as the Army stays here and we may spend the winter here. . . . . This has once been a grand and noble place and many traits of its grandeur can be seen yet, but since the war it has been taken but little care of and the beauty of the place, such as the fancy garden, yards &c is almost entirely neglected. The dwelling is situated on a beautiful eminence and commands a grand view of the mountains and the country scenery around. It has been erected more than a hundred years and is built of pure granite. It is a very large house and has about 20 rooms in all. The grave yard is quite interesting to look at. Madison, with many of the family, is buried there. It is enclosed and belongs to the State of Virginia. The monument over the grave of Madison is about 20 feet high and is of plain granite, nothing showy about it.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

December 10– Thursday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– “The general commanding takes this opportunity of returning his sincere thanks and congratulations to the brave armies of the Cumberland, the Ohio, the Tennessee, and their comrades from the Potomac, for the recent splendid and decisive successes achieved over the enemy. . . . . By your noble heroism and determined courage you have most effectually defeated the plans of the enemy for regaining possession of the States of Kentucky and Tennessee. You have secured positions from which no rebellious power can drive or dislodge you. For all this the general commanding thanks you collectively and individually. The loyal people of the United States thank and bless you. Their hopes and prayers for your success against this unholy rebellion are with you daily. Their faith in you will not be in vain. Their hopes will not be blasted. Their prayers to Almighty God will be answered.” ~ General Orders, #9 from Union General Ulysses S Grant.

December 10– Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The gas-works, having exhausted the supply of coal in the city, Nashville last night was without a solitary gas jet. The gas-works have suspended operations and our city will be in a state of darkness until a supply of coal reaches us. In the meantime our denizens will have to go back to first principles and use candles and lamp-oil.” ~ Nashville Daily Press.

December 10– Thursday– Sacramento, California– Wealthy businessman Leland Stanford, age 39, Republican, the 8th Governor of California, finishes his two year term and is succeeded by former Congressman Frederick Low, age 35, also a Republican. [Stanford as governor had kept California safely within the Union. He will invest his talents in making a great deal of money in railroads and will serve in the United States Senate from 1885 to 1893. Low will serve as United States Minister to China from 1869 to 1874.]

Leland Stanford

Leland Stanford

December 10– Thursday– London, England– “I suppose from your unbroken silence that you cannot have received any of my letters. . . . . How anxiously I look for letters from home it would be impossible for me to tell you. All the accounts come through the Yankee press– Just now we have the news of Bragg’s disastrous defeat and falling back from Lookout Mountain– with loss of 60 pieces of artillery small arms &c and 8000 prisoners – I give a wide margin to this for the usual exaggeration. But the effect is most depressing. . . . . My friend you know not the importance of sending correct information, which can be used so as to counteract the Yankee accounts. I believe that all classes here except the Abolitionists sympathize with us and are only held back from recognizing us for fear of war with the United States. The invasion of Canada is the great bugbear. Remove this and all will flow smoothly. I am myself sanguine of the events of the next few months. The Mexican question is so intimately connected with our own that the one is a sequence of the other.” ~ Report from Confederate agent Rose Greenhow to Colonel Alexander Boteler, former Virginia Congressman and now serving as an aide to Confederate General Jeb Stuart in Virginia.

December 11– Friday– New York City– Anne Hall, a painter of miniatures, dies of heart disease at her sister’s home at age 71. In 1833 she had become the first woman to be a full member of the National Academy of Design.

December 11– Friday– New York City– “Uncle Abe is the most popular man in America today. The firmness, honesty, and sagacity of the ‘gorilla despot’ may be recognized by the rebels themselves sooner than we expect, and the weight of his personal character may do a great deal toward restoration of our national unity.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 11– Friday– Dover, Delaware– Birth of Annie Jump Cannon, only daughter and oldest of three children born to Wilson Lee and Mary Elizabeth Jump Canon. She will study physics and astronomy at Wellesley College and will work in the observatory at Harvard for forty-five years, gathering an unsurpassed collection of astronomical data and publish a significant number of articles and papers. She will actively campaign for woman suffrage, be an active member of Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party and receive an honorary doctoral degree from Oxford.

Annie Jump Cannon c.1922

Annie Jump Cannon c.1922

December 11– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Soldiers’ Relief Meeting. Only a few persons assembled at the Court House last evening. . . . . Several persons stated that comparatively large sums had been subscribed which had not as yet been paid in. Mr. Holliday from the first ward stated a citizen of that ward had just given him a check for $250. It was stated that an estimate had been made that it would require about six hundred dollars per week to supply the needy families with the necessaries of life, to say nothing of clothing, of which many children stood badly in need. It was understood that there would be a meeting on Monday evening next.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer.


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