Well Worn Out~January 1864~13th to 19th

Well Worn Out~a Confederate soldier

Cold weather, snow and rain bother soldiers and civilians. The Confederacy suffers from shortages and inflation. Skirmishing continues and new reports tell of women in uniform, fighting beside their menfolk. Another threat of war looms in Europe. And the world continues to turn.


January 13– Wednesday– camp in the southern Shenandoah Valley, Virginia– “I am well worn out. . . . . We started through the snow, wagons and all, and took it by foot across the mountains. . . . . We had a good place to camp the first night, built a big fire, raked away the snow, and fared pretty well. . . . . we crossed the mountains. The road was covered with snow and ice, and it was hard work getting the wagons over. . . . . Early the next morning we come up with the Brigade, coming from Winchester on their way to this place. That was yesterday. We camped two miles from here last night. We got to a place where there was no snow hardly, built a large fire, lay down around it and slept soundly.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

January 13– Wednesday– Camden County, Georgia– “Rain– rain. There has been almost constant rain since the month came in. All have colds. We curl over the fire, eat heartily of hog and hominy three times a day. We have become so disgusted with the black muddy corn juice that is called coffee that we have resumed tea again. It is rather a bitter dose but has proved such a tonic for me that my allowance of food scarcely satisfies me. Fred is still dissatisfied with the lack of variety, but I think the lack of quantity is most to be feared. . . . . Mr. Linn has got a part of the machinery out of the new mill, it looks melancholy to see it taken down, before it has had time to run. It was raised at a great expense and just ready for operation when the war put a stop to all business here. We are now beginning to plant the garden hoping to have something in the way of vegetables. We had very little last year, but fruit was unusually abundant. Every tree and bush being full–peaches and plums in the garden. Berries in profusion for miles around us. They afforded us good living for several weeks.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher 

January 13– Wednesday– Graffken, Province of Prussia [now Primorsk, Russia]– Birth of Wilhelm Wien, educator and physicist who will win the Nobel Prize for physics in 1911.

January 14– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Captain Warner says it is believed there will be a riot, perhaps, when Colonel Northrop, the Commissary-General, may be immolated by the mob. Flour sold to-day at $200 per barrel; butter, $8 per pound; and meat from $2 to $4. This cannot continue long without a remedy.” ~ Diary of John Jones. [Using the Consumer Price Index, that barrel of flour would equal $3,020 in today’s dollars and the pound of butter would sell for $121 in current money. And as Confederate money was declining in value by the start of 1864, the difference would be greater still.]

January 14– Thursday– Cosby Creek, Tennessee– Federal forces capture 52 Confederate cavalry soldiers, including Confederate General Robert Vance, the older brother of Governor Zebulon Vance, governor of North Carolina.

Confederate General Robert Vance

Confederate General Robert Vance

January 14– Thursday– Dandridge, Tennessee; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Bollinger, Mississippi; Middleton, Tennessee; Baldwin’s Ferry, Mississippi– Skirmishing, scouting, probing, brawling.

January 15– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The New Year came into Norfolk in a high gale. ‘Did you hear the wind turning over the new leaf, at one o’clock this morning?’ said the daughter of John Brown, of Ossawatomie, as she sat at my elbow. And as we looked on, whole the day wrote on the new leaf its strange history. With music, and banners, and triumphal marching, the colored citizens . . . proclaimed anew through the streets of Norfolk the triumph of the President’s Proclamation of Emancipation. . . . . General Wild joined them, with his brigade of Negro soldiers. . . . The banners thanked God for Freedom; called Abraham Lincoln ‘Our Moses;’ made a pictured red coffin bear the ‘Remains of Slavery’ . . . . If [anyone] had taken a peep at the new order of things on New Year’s day, he would have seen sable skins– a mighty host– standing erect as God commanded them to do, and thanking him for having made them men and brothers. Thanking Abraham Lincoln, too, for letting them be what God made them to be . . . . Norfolk is now the humble servant of the vitalized principle of liberty and fraternity. . . . wives [of white men] gave the side-walk to the soldiers, and frowned upon Northerners as only ladies with Southern manners can frown; while their children, of larger as well as of smaller growth, thrust their vain little obstacles between the eager, knowledge-craving Negro and every one who sought to meet his wants.” ~ The Commonwealth carries a letter from Lucy Chase, a white Quaker who is teaching and assisting black people in Norfolk, Virginia.

January 15– Friday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– At its first meeting of the new year, the secretary reports that as of December 31, 1863, the American Philosophical Society had 267 members in the United States and 148 foreign members.

January 15– Friday– near Stephensville, Virginia– “Hoping that when these few lines reach home they may find you all enjoying good health and happiness and a strong faith that this wicked rebellion must soon close. It can not last long if the men of the North only pull together as they ought and show the South that they will tramp slavery down and are determined to have a free county and a free government. . . . . I would simply say that such persons . . . that are trying to slip the draft, I say they are worse then the Southern rebs . . . . The Army is no place to be. Therefore it should be every honest man’s duty to do what he could if men would view this the way I do they would better have no home as to have no county. Let all turn out that could come. This rebellion would soon be terminated. My opinion is this that we will have a tremendous battle in the Spring or when the weather settles. So that the artillery can move. If the men of the North would come out as they should. No doubt this rebellious would end without a battle.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

January 16– Saturday– New York City– “At Gettysburg, Lee used the cupola of the seminary, while his hospital flag was flying from it, to reconnoiter the field . . . . Such is chivalry. Lee would not have done this five years ago. Bad company has degraded him. No gentleman can fight two years to sustain the right of men to flog women, without damage to his moral sense.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

George Templeton Strong

George Templeton Strong

January 16– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A few days ago eight or ten Confederate prisoners were captured by General Sullivan’s men and brought to Harper’s Ferry. They were placed in the guard house, and nothing more was thought about them until Wednesday last, when a guard gave it as his opinion that one of the inmates of the guard house [was] a female. The story proved to be correct, and the gay young Miss was removed from the prison. She was given a complete outfit of ladies’ clothing and released, when she appeared in the streets as the belle of the town. She is about sixteen or eighteen years of age, and of rather prepossessing appearance. Upon inquiry it was ascertained that her parents lived but, two or three miles from Harper’s Ferry and were quite wealthy. Soon after the war began her lover joined the Confederates and left for Dixie. This was too much for her to endure, and she resolved to follow him. She stole through the lines, singled the regiment, and joined the same company in which her dearest friend had enlisted. So well had she disguised herself that he did not recognize her, and they drilled together several days before she made herself known. She was persuaded to leave the army and return home, but soon went back to the regiment again. For the past year the love sick girl has been going to and fro, until she was finally captured, as above stated. She refused to take the oath [of allegiance to the United States] as she is determined to return again.” ~ Wheeling Daily Register.

January 16– Saturday– Washington, D.C.–The Austrian Minister reports to his government that his recent conversation with Senator Sumner makes him believe that the United States will not grant diplomatic recognition to Maximilian in Mexico.

January 16– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– Between 12 o’clock Thursday night and yesterday morning, eighteen Yankee deserters, confined in the prison on Cary street, opposite Castle Thunder, effected their escape by cutting through the wall into the commissary storehouse adjoining, from which egress into the street was easy. This jail delivery is attributable to want of vigilance on the part of the prison guards.” ~ Richmond Whig.

January 16– Saturday– Copenhagen, Denmark– Denmark rejects a Prussian and Austrian ultimatum calling for the repeal of the Danish Constitution.

January 16– Saturday– Frankfurt am Main, Germany– Anton Felix Schindler, biographer of Beethoven, dies at 68 years of age.

Anton Schindler

Anton Schindler

January 17– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “There is nothing new to-day. The weather is pleasant for the season, the snow being all gone. Custis has succeeded in getting ten pupils for his night-school, and this will add $100 per month to our income– if they pay him. . . . Captain Warner (I suppose in return for some writing which Custis did for him) sent us yesterday two bushels of potatoes, and, afterwards, a turkey! This is the first turkey we have had during our housekeeping in Richmond.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

January 17– Sunday– Dandridge, Tennessee– From 4 o’clock in the afternoon until nightfall, Confederate troops attack an entrenched Federal position. The Union soldiers fall back but the Confederates are unable to pursue them. Total Federal losses are 150; Confederate casualties are unknown.

January 17– Sunday– Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Alabama– “I am anxious to know if your monitors, at least two of them, are not completed and ready for service; and, if so, can you spare them to assist us? If I had them, I should not hesitate to become the assailant instead of awaiting the attack. I must have ironclads enough to lie in the bay to hold the gunboats and rams in check in the shoal water.” ~ Letter from Union Admiral David Farragut to Admiral David D Porter


Union Admiral Farragut

Union Admiral Farragut

January 18– Monday– about 25 miles from Harrisonburg, Virginia– “We have marching orders and expect to start in a few minutes. It is reported that we are going about 25 miles from here near Harrisonburg and go into winter quarters. I hope it is true. . . . Yesterday was Sunday. I went to church at the Baptist Church at 11 o’clock and at night. . . . I must quit and be ready to start. I will write again soon. Write soon and write me a long letter. May God bless you and my noble boy. Pray for me.” ~ Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick’s letter to his wife Amanda.

January 19– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The first weekly reception at the Executive Mansion will take place to-night. If the weather proves favorable there will be a large attendance of visitors.” ~ Richmond Whig.

January 19– Tuesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Sally Park, a young woman currently reported to be no better than she should be, was escorted by a gentlemanly policeman to the presence of the recorder yesterday morning, and there required to answer to the charge of keeping a disorderly house. We leave you to imagine what the term ‘disorderly house’ signifies, and proceed with the story. She failed to convince his honor that the charge was abase and groundless slander so he accepted a loan on behalf of the city of $10 and costs and permitted her to go her way in peace.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

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