No Good Resolutions~January 1864~the 9th to 13th

No Good Resolutions~Lucy Virginia French

January 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Information having been received that Caleb B. Smith, late Secretary of the Interior, has departed this life at his residence in Indiana, it is ordered that the executive buildings at the seat of the Government be draped in mourning for the period of fourteen days in honor of his memory as a prudent and loyal counselor and a faithful and effective coadjutor of the Administration in a time of public difficulty and peril.” ~ Executive Order from President Lincoln.

Caleb B Smith

Caleb B Smith

January 9– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Beef was held at $2.50 per pound in market to-day– and I got none; but I bought 25 pounds of rice at 40 cents, which, with the meal and potatoes, will keep us alive a month at least. The rich rogues and rascals, however, in the city, are living sumptuously, and spending Confederate States notes as if they supposed they would soon be valueless.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

Proud Confederate women

January 9– Saturday– Knoxville, Tennessee– “It is a well known fact, that there are, in this city a class of most hateful and disgusting rebel women-traitors to the Government, and as mean as the men of the same faith. There are two classes of them, however-one class is prudent, quiet and lady like-and these, like angel visits, are few and far between. The other class, more numerous, are as brazen as the Devil, full of impudence, with but little sense, and less prudence, flirting about, meddling in everybody’s affairs, and seeking notoriety by acting and talking as a well raised lady would be ashamed to act or talk. These women, without any regard to their positions, or associations, should be sent South and made to stay there during the war. . . . . We hope to see the authorities here, deal out even handed justice to these female rebel women,, and that can only be done by sending out of the country.” ~ Brownlow’s Whig and Independent Journal and Rebel Ventilator.

January 9– Saturday– Nizhny Novgorod, Russia– Birth of Vladimir Steklov, mathematician, physicist, educator and author [dies May 30, 1926].

Vladimir Steklov

Vladimir Steklov

January 10– Sunday– near Stephensville, Virginia.– “It snowed nearly all day on the 4th of this month as we are South as they call it. It still snows here and the snow is cold here too. Tuesday we were sent out on three day picket. On Wednesday night it snowed nearly all night. You may guess how it goes to be out in the snow, 2 hours at a time without fire and when you are off of post and want to lay down to sleep you can lay down and let it snow on you. I tried it but the snow tickled my face too much to sleep.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

January 10– Sunday– Warren County, Tennessee–”This is my first date for the New Year; because ever since the day before New Year I have been sick—have had two of my raging headaches, lasting for days, and leaving me utterly prostrated. I am only now partially recovered from the last attack—yet today I am up—heard the children’s lessons, and got through my duties with much satisfaction. This is the first New Year since I can remember in which I have made no ‘good resolutions.’ I shall not make any either, I shall try to do ‘the duty nearest me’ hoping fervently that ‘all the rest will follow’ . . . . As yet in the New Year I have done nothing. The weather has been—and is, intensely cold, reminding me of winters spent in old Pennsylvania and Virginia. I have seen nothing like it since I came to Tennessee. On New Year’s morning the thermometer stood at Zero . . . here it was 6 degrees. Since that time we have had snow and the trees, etc. covered thickly with frost, the mountains were beautiful . . . . For three days the whole mount-top was like a fairyland to look at, but so dead cold that no fairy could live in it; I did not even see a snow-bird. Today it is somewhat more moderate, the mercury went up to 28 degrees. Yesterday morning it was at zero. The cold weather is not good for me,—yesterday I suffered intensely with headache. How ardently I long to be in ‘some bright isle that gem the oriental seas.’ A few days ago Dr. Paine examined me critically and he asserts positively that I am ‘perfectly sounds,’ that I have no local disease, only debility and those prostrating headaches which (he says) must be stopped. ‘Mountain Rumors’ are all that we hear in the way, of news, and very meager and absurd they are indeed. One that there is shortly to be an armistice—another that both armies are falling back, Grant to Murfreesboro and Bragg to Atlanta! So we go-we hear but very little here, and we believe nothing. I am so anxious, so very anxious.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

January 10– Sunday– Mossy Creek, Tennessee; Loudoun Heights, Virginia; Petersburg, West Virginia; King’s River, Arkansas– The Sabbath Day does not make much difference to the skirmishers.

January 10– Sunday– Maynooth, Kildare, Ireland– Nicholas Callan, a Catholic priest and a scientist who worked in electricity and magnetism, dies at 64 years of age.

January 10– Sunday– St Petersburg, Russia– Birth of Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich [dies in exile, January 17, 1931], son of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, grandson of the reactionary Tsar Nicholas I, and a nephew of Tsar Alexander II, the current ruler.

January 11– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Senator John Brooks Henderson of Missouri introduces a resolution for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. This will become the Thirteenth Amendment. [Henderson (1826 – 1913), a lawyer and career politician, at this time is 37 and the second youngest member of the Senate. He believes that a constitutional amendment is necessary to abolish slavery permanently and throughout the country and that the proposal from a border state senator will insure passage, even at the risk of his own career. As he foresaw, he will lose his bid for re-election after the war but will remain active in Republican politics and encourage his friend General William Tecumseh Sherman to run for president. In 1868 he will marry Mary Newton Foote, 16 years his junior, daughter of a prominent judge and herself a business executive, cookbook author and supporter of suffrage and temperance. She will outlive her husband by 18 years.]

Senator John Brooks Henderson

Senator John Brooks Henderson

January 11– Monday– Washington, D. C.– President Lincoln sends money to his son Robert, a student at Harvard; holds a conference with William Dennison, former governor of Ohio and Postmaster General Montgomery Blair to sound them out about the presidential election coming up this year; and receives tickets from the First Presbyterian Church in the city to a lecture by the temperance advocate John B Gough. [Born in England, Gough (1817-1886) was sent to the United States at age 12. In 1842 he signed a temperance pledge and determined to devote his life to lecturing on behalf of the reform. Gifted with remarkable powers of oratory and persuasion, he became successful immediately, and is soon known throughout the entire country. His passionate appeals, direct and highly emotional, evoke extraordinary responses. His crusades draw audiences of many hundreds. He will continue his work until the end of his life, finally suffering a stroke while speaking. The temperance reform has many facets in the nineteenth century, ranging from careful moderation to “cold water” crusaders, to total abstinence, to prohibition of manufacture and sale of alcohol. Many women, impoverished by drunken husbands or fathers, involve themselves in the movement.]

January 11– Monday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Since I made application for the building known as the Union Hospital (now vacated), I am informed by the quartermaster (Captain Eddy) that a portion of the lower part of the building is leased to private parties. This, however, will not interfere with its use for a soldiers’ home, provided one of the large rooms on the ground floor, together with the wing on Court street and the upper part of the main building, can be obtained. If this building cannot be turned over, I am informed by the rental agent there are others soon to be vacated, which will answer the purpose, although not quite so centrally and conveniently located. The building we now occupy is situated distant from the steam-boat landing about 1 1/4 miles. Only 100 men can be comfortably quartered; we frequently have from 200 to 300, and often compelled to send men away. Owing to the distance from the river the Sanitary Commission found it necessary to build a temporary lodge near the landing to accommodate those who stop over only for a few hours. By having the home nearer the river this additional expense will be saved, and the number of soldiers detailed in this service. The home has now been in existence eleven months, during which time we have entertained over 16,000 soldiers, furnished nearly 40,000 meals, and13,000 lodgings. It gives me great pleasure to mention that during that time, with but one instance, soldiers have conducted themselves in a most respectful and gentlemanly manner. We require no guard; soldiers come and go as quietly as if they were entertained at a hotel, never remaining longer than to obtain orders, transportation, or attend to such business as brings them to the city. I have trespassed upon your time, trusting, however, that the few simple facts may be interesting to you.” ~ Request for more suitable space made to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman by Mr O E Waters.

January 11– Monday– London, England– Charing Cross railway station opens.

January 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “To Washington . . . by the usual railroad. . . . . near us sat a lady with two children, both lovely, and I established a sentimental intimacy with the elder, a perfect little gem of a roley-poley, blue-eyed, curly-wigged creature some six years old, and we got on famously. Willard’s [Hotel] absolutely worse than ever; crowded, dirty, and insufferable.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 12– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “All persons to whom money is due for servants hired at this Hospital for the year 1863, are requested to call immediately for payment.” ~ Richmond Dispatch. [Slave owners often made money by hiring out their “servants” out to others. Slaves were not only field hands or domestic help. The Southern economy also depended upon slaves who performed such jobs as bakers, barbers, carpenters, brew masters, blacksmiths, harness makers, nurses, coachmen, livery workers, coopers, leather workers, masons, millers, potters, tin smiths and wheelwrights. These skilled slaves often drew high prices in the slave markets.]

January 12– Tuesday– Elk River, Tennessee– “You speak in your letter of the Alabama and Tennessee ladies. Ha, ha, I wish you could see the Alabama and Tennessee girls! (We do not call them ladies, there is such a contrast between them and our Northern women.) They all chew snuff and tobacco and smoke the pipe and cigars when they can get them. Chewing snuff is the filthiest of all habits and many refined women form the habit here. It is disgusting to me to see fine looking young women with snuff sticks in their mouths and the snuff or tobacco juice running from each corner. Had I not been reared in a country where women are all ladies I should almost hate them.” ~ Letter from Union officer Robert Cruikshank to his wife Mary.

January 12– Tuesday– Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico– A squadron of French warships completes three days of periodic shelling of the town. Most of the people have fled and three Mexican forts are rendered inoperable.

January 12– Tuesday– Liverpool, England– Birth of Annie Russell [dies January 16, 1936], the first child of Joseph and Jane Mount Russell. She will become a star of the stage in Canada, the United States and Great Britain and finish her career by teaching theater arts at Rollins College in Florida. [In the decade before the First World War, she will be one of the highest paid women performing on the stage, earning $500 per week, equal to $12,000 in today’s dollars using the Consumer Price Index.]

Annie Russell

Annie Russell

January 12–Tuesday– Paris, France–A major newspaper compares Russian domination in Poland to the desire of American northerners to dominate the South.

January 13– Wednesday– New York City– Stephen Foster, musician and composer, dies at age 37 in the charity ward of Bellevue Hospital. Suffering from a fever, he had fallen in his room three days ago and gashed his head. His ragged wallet contains a scrap of paper that says simply, “Dear friends and gentle hearts,” and 38 cents in Civil War scrip and three pennies. [One of his most beloved songs, “Beautiful Dreamer”, will be published in two more months.]

Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster

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