Weather is Cold~January 1864~the 6th to 9th

Weather Is Cold~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes

It is a hard winter. Soldiers of both armies note the hard winter in Virginia. Women of both sides make food and clothing for their soldiers. Great scarcity flourishes in many parts of the Confederacy and the Richmond government worries about its finances and ponders having to deal with Lincoln. The Confederacy attempts to reach out to the French in Mexico. President Lincoln reaches out to the new Danish king. Gideon Welles ponders political history. A major Northen newspaper calls for equal pay for black soldiers in the Union army.

January 6– Wednesday– camp of the Army of Northern Virginia– “My general health is good but I suffered almost beyond endurance last night with a tooth ache and Neuralgia. This morning by time, I put out to Camp went to the Doctor and had it pulled out. . . . . I have a good pair of shoes, a good blanket and a good overcoat and I hope will not suffer much. It is cold now. There is a little snow on the ground now. We had a pretty heavy snow a few days ago. I saw some men skating on the pond with skates today, the first I ever saw.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.


January 6– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “We understand that the ladies of the Union Station Methodist (Reverend George H. Ray’s) Church, visited the Howard Grove Hospital, with about $1,00 worth of provisions, when several hundred sick and wounded soldiers sat down to a sumptuous dinner on New Year’s day.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

January 6– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– Dealing with the Confederacy’s increasingly difficult financial situation, “Mr. Wright, of Texas, moved that the House go into secret session, with a view to renew the consideration of the special order– the bill reported from the special Committee on Currency. On this motion Mr. Lyons, of Virginia, called the ayes and noes, which were ordered, and resulted [in] ayes 50, noes 23. . . . The House then went into secret session on the Currency bill, and the doors were closed.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

January 7– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Assuring you of my deep sympathy at the death of your august Cousin, who like his predecessors was the constant & steady friend of the United States, I beg leave to offer to Your Majesty my sincere and hearty congratulations upon your accession to the throne, with my best wishes, that your reign may be happy and glorious to yourself, and prosperous to your realm. Permit me also to assure Your Majesty of my constant and earnest desire to maintain the amity and good correspondence which has always subsisted and still prevails between the two nations and that nothing shall ever be omitted on my part to cultivate and promote towards your Majesty the friendly relations always, entertained & cherished by this Government in its relations with his late Majesty and so I recommend your Majesty to the protection of the Almighty.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to the new Danish King Christian IX.

January 7– Thursday– Indianapolis, Indiana– Caleb B Smith, lawyer and Congressman who served as Secretary of the Interior from March 5, 1861 to December 31, 1862, dies at age 55 of a stroke.

January 7– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– The Confederate government sends General William Preston as an envoy to Emperor Maximilian of Mexico with secret orders to ignite an incident between U S and French troops along the Rio Grande and to negotiate a treaty of friendship and commerce between the Emperor and the Confederacy. [Preston (1816– 1887), Harvard educated lawyer, soldier and former Congressman from Kentucky, will make it to Europe but will not succeed in meeting with Maximilian or any of the European rulers who support the French intervention in Mexico.]

William Preston

William Preston

January 7– Thursday– Brandy Station, Virginia– “The weather is cold, and the ground is covered with snow. The thermometer this morning was only 8 above zero.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

January 7– Thursday– Camden County, Georgia– “Sybil made arrangements with Mr. Lynn for moving the machinery out the new mill to save it from the enemy. It is proposed to move it back into the woods, and cover it. There has been great destruction of property here by the pickets as well as the enemy. Instead of a protection they are a great injury; and nuisance– not one raised a finger to save any property from the fire, and no person has been near us. We are in a desolated region. Should the enemy burn us out we know not where to go. ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’ We can see the kind hand of Providence extended over us. Gussie has joined Captain Beaddick’s Company, and appears pleased at the idea of standing guard. He and Fred will be at home some days. We eagerly watch for the mail to see if there are any indications of peace– but all is black as midnight. They are bound to fight to the bitter end and bitter enough it will be. Sybil has sent about the country to get some syrup but none is to be had. It brings from five to ten dollars a gallon and sugar $3.00 per lb. It is hard to sweeten at that rate. Confederate money is very lightly esteemed. Fred thinks it hard to live on pork and hominy but we shall be quite thankful if we can have enough of that.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher. [According to the census of 1860, 68.6% of the population of the county are black slaves. By this time somewhere between 700 and 1,000 have escaped.]

January 8– Friday– New York City– “Thackeray is dead! It is an historical event. His Snob Papers and Vanity Fair and (probably) Esmond will live long. Only Tennyson, Dickens and Carlyle are left in England to produce anything likely to be remembered fifty years hence, and I think carlyle has survived his faculty for production.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 8– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Confined At Wheeling: Mary Jane Green, Braxton county, Virginia, May, 1862; destroying telegraph wire. Mary Jane Prater, Cincinnati, Ohio, December 27, 1862; wearing soldier’s clothes.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

January 8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “At Seward’s last night, who gave a party to the scientific men of the Academy now here. The Cabinet, heads of the foreign missions, the learned gentlemen and the committees on foreign relations of the two houses were present, with a goodly number of ladies. Agassiz, Silliman, Professors Story and Caswell, etc., etc., were present. . . . . Both the President and Seward consider Clay and Webster to have been hard and selfish leaders, whose private personal ambition had contributed to the ruin of their party. The people of New England were proud of the great mind of Webster, his great intellect, but he had no magnetism, there was not intense personal devotion for him such as manifested itself for Clay. For years the Whig cause consisted in adulation of these two men, rather than in support of any well-established principles.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles

January8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Madam: Learning that you who have passed the eighty-fourth year of life, have given to the soldiers, some three hundred pairs of stockings, knitted by yourself, I wish to offer you my thanks. Will you also convey my thanks to those young ladies who have done so much in feeding our soldiers while passing through your city?” ~ Thank you note from President Lincoln to Mrs Esther Stockton, the widow of a minister, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [Note: in the usage of the period “stockings” meant hosiery in general, whether for women or men or children.]

January 8– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “It is with Lincoln alone that we would confer, and his own partisans at the North avow unequivocally that his purpose, in his message and proclamation, was to shut out all hope that he could ever treat with us on any terms. If we break up our Government, dissolve the Confederacy, disband our armies, emancipate our slaves, take an oath of allegiance binding ourselves to obedience to him and disloyalty to our own States, he pro poses to pardon us, and not to plunder us of anything more than the property already stolen from us, and such slaves as still remain. In order to render his proposals so insulting as to secure their objection, he joins to them a promise to support with his army one-tenth of the people of any State who will attempt to set up a Government over the other nine-tenths, thus seeking to sow discord and suspicion among the people of the several States, and to excite them to civil war in furtherance of his ends. I know well it would be impossible to get your people, if they possessed full knowledge of these facts, to consent that proposals should now be made by us to those who control the Government at Washington. Your own well-known devotion to the great cause of liberty and independence, to which we have all committed whatever we have of earthly possessions, would induce you to take the lead in repelling the bare thought of submission to the enemy. Yet peace on other terms is impossible. To obtain the sole terms to which you or I could listen, this struggle must continue until the enemy is beaten out of his vain confidence in our subjugation. Then, and not till then, will it be possible to treat of peace. Till then, all tender of terms to the enemy will be received as proof that we are ready for submission, and will encourage him in the atrocious warfare which he is now waging.” ~ Letter from President Jeff Davis to Governor Zebulon Vance of North Carolina, regarding efforts to negotiate a peace settlement.

January 8– Friday– Hannibal, Missouri– Birth of Mary Kenney O’Sullivan [dies January 18, 1943], the third of the four children of Michael and Mary Kelly Kenney. She will become a labor organizer, suffragist, activist in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, co-founder of the National Women’s Trade Union League and from 1914 to 1934 a factory inspector for the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industries.

Mary Kenney O'Sullivan

Mary Kenney O’Sullivan

January 8– Friday– Frogmore Estate, near Windsor Castle, England– Birth of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale [dies January 14, 1892]. He is the eldest of the six children of Edward, the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra, the fifth grandchild of Queen Victoria and from birth to death next in line to the throne after his father.

January 9– Saturday– New York City– “Now that, in obedience to the demands of national common-sense, colored men are enrolled as soldiers, every citizen ought to insist that they shall have exactly the same treatment, chance, and pay as other soldiers. Hitherto they have been paid, under a general law regulating the labor of contrabands, ten dollars a month. This sum was offered to the freemen of the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, the first colored regiment raised in the Free States, and they declined it. The State of Massachusetts then resolved to pay the soldiers the difference, and Major Sturgis was sent with the money to Morris Island. But they declined that. Was this unreasonable upon their part? Let us see. These men, free citizens of the United States, were enlisted in Massachusetts under the express written guarantee of the Secretary of War to the Governor of Massachusetts that they were to stand exactly upon the same footing with all other soldiers. Every body who knows the feelings of the Secretary of War in this matter knows that such was his wish. With that solemn assurance the men were mustered in, and have proved themselves as heroic and docile and patient as soldiers can be. And they simply decline any thing less than bare justice. They do not mutiny. They make no trouble whatever. They say simply that the United States Government pledged its honor, and they will wait the fulfillment of the pledge. Is this unreasonable? Would any white regiment do otherwise? And have we a right to require of men, whom we are so ready to call less than men, more than our own average manhood? The remedy is immediate and thorough. Instead of wasting time in abusing men who merely claim what we all confess that we owe, let us urge upon Congress the passage of a law to pay these soldiers of the Union army exactly what other soldiers are paid. For if we reproach those who ask the same wages that others get for the same service, what shall we say of ourselves who hesitate for a moment in agreeing to the demand? The Secretary of War has recommended the passage of the necessary law. Is it unreasonable in the soldiers concerned quietly to await its passage?” ~ Harpers Weekly.



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