Treating Me Worse & Worse Every Day~January 1864~19th to 23rd

Treating Me Worse and Worse Every Day~Ann Valentine

A slave woman sends a letter to her husband who is serving in the Union army. Problems abound in the Confederacy. Soldiers write about the weather, their love life and life in camp. Many wish for an end to the war.


January 19– Tuesday– Paris, Missouri– “I received your letter dated Jan 9th also one dated Jan 1st but have got no one till now to write for me. You do not know how bad I am treated. They are treating me worse and worse every day. Our child cries for you. Send me some money as soon as you can for me and my child are almost naked. . . . . Do not send any of your letters to Hogsett especially those having money in them as Hogsett will keep the money. . . . Do the best you can and do not fret too much for me for it wont be long before I will be free and then all we make will be ours.” Postscript: “Andy if you send me any more letters for your wife do not send them in the care of any one. Just direct them plainly to [me] James A Carney, Paris Monroe County Missouri. Do not write too often Once a month will be plenty and when you write do not write as though you had recd any letters for if you do your wife will not be so apt to get them. Hogsett has forbid her coming to my house so we cannot read them to her privately. If you send any money I will give that to her myself.” ~ Letter from an illiterate slave woman, Ann Valentine, to her husband, Andrew Valentine, a Union soldier serving in the 2nd Missouri Colored Infantry, written for her and with a cautionary postscript by Mr Carney.

January 20– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “In accordance with a letter addressed by the Secretary of State, with my approval, to the Hon. Joseph A. Wright, of Indiana, that patriotic and distinguished gentleman repaired to Europe and attended the International Agricultural Exhibition, held at Hamburg last year, and has since his return made a report to me, which, it is believed, can not fail to be of general interest, and especially so to the agricultural community. I transmit for your consideration copies of the letters and report. While it appears by the letter that no reimbursement of expenses or compensation was promised him, I submit whether reasonable allowance should not be made him for them.” ~ Message to Congress from President Lincoln.

January 20– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “General Gilmer, Chief of the Engineer Bureau, writes that the time has arrived when no more iron should be used by the Navy Department; that no iron-clads have effected any good, or are likely to effect any; and that all the iron should be used to repair the roads, else we shall soon be fatally deficient in the means of transportation. And Colonel Northrop, Commissary-General, says he has been trying to concentrate a reserve supply of grain in Richmond, for eight months; and such has been the deficiency in means of transportation, that the effort has failed.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

Confederate warship

Confederate warship

January 20– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “We have been astonished at the unblushing manner in which young boys acknowledge to their own complicity in burglaries, robberies, and other rascalities. Yesterday morning four boys appeared as witnesses, whose confession alone would entitle them to an apprenticeship in a house of correction until arriving at years of maturity. And there are dozens like these children of honest and industrious parents who are on the broad road to ruin, with the penitentiary or the gallows before them. Unfortunately, we have no house of correction for such boys, and therefore the greater necessity for parents to keep a vigilant watch over their boys, many of whom are absent from their homes the greater part of the time, night and day. Perhaps the closing of the Public Schools has much to do with the demoralization of our youth, but this will not excuse parents for their neglect of their children’s morals, and especially in allowing them to roam about the city at all hours of the night. We trust the Police will continue their endeavors to break up these juvenile bands, until the evil complained of is removed.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

January 21– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The loyal people of West Virginia are being injured by the annoying and oppressive restrictions placed upon trade and commerce, under the regulations of the Treasury Department, now in force in said State . . . it is the deliberate opinion and conviction of the people of the State, as well as the military authorities . . . that such regulations are not calculated to obtain their only legitimate object, namely the prevention of supplies to districts within the control of the enemy: Therefore be it Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives be requested to represent these facts to the proper authorities at Washington ; and to use their most earnest efforts to secure such modification of the trade regulation referred to, as will relieve the loyal people of the state from the grievances set forth in these resolutions.” ~ Resolutions from the West Virginia legislature.

January 21– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– Regarding a number of canon in a fortification near the James River, about four miles from the city, a newspaper notes: “At the time of the Stoneman raid [in the spring of 1863], it was related that an old gentleman living near the city, finding one of the batteries deserted, and fearing the guns would be spiked, got another man to aid him, and stood guard over the guns all night. Reporting the fact the next morning to the proper officer, he was requested to repeat the favor the next night. There was some excuse for this request, as our troops were called off in pursuit of the Yankee raiders. But the guns ought now to be guarded and inspected daily. We hope they are.” ~ Richmond Whig


raiders riding in bad weather

raiders riding in bad weather

January 21– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Last night an attempt was made (by his servants, it is supposed) to burn the President’s mansion. It was discovered that fire had been kindled in the wood-pile in the basement. The smoke led to the discovery, else the family might have been consumed with the house. One or two of the servants have absconded.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

January 21– Thursday– Camp Randolph, Virginia– “You ask me if my Kate would prove faithless towards me could I forgive her. Dear Kate you know that I have a forgiving heart If you should learn to love another man better than me; or that you could enjoy your future happiness better with your first lover than with boor W. I would be heartless not to free you & forgive you; though I could never forget or cease to love you. To harbor such thoughts as I have alluded to above make me feel miserable: To think that my first love should be wrecked or thrown away on one fair to good for me, one that is good pure & virtuous who made vows unto me while her first love seemed to be dying away, Then after a long time she again meets him: & her old love is rekindled for him, & she to good and kind to hide it from me has opened her hold heart to me. And asks me what she ought to do under such circumstances. Dear Kate what kind of an answer can I give but pray Almighty God to help you to prove true to who ever you love best; I am resigned to the will of providence. Dear Kate if you should ever learn to forget me I pray thee to never boast of having fooled me, thereby adding pain to a true but wounded heart, if you should cease to love I would have nothing to live for in this world; I don’t see that I should desire to live out this war But would be wiling to throw my self in danger of the missiles of death that I might quit this frail world & be at rest. I will change this, to me, painful subject. . . . . You will please never show this to any one.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier William F. Brand to his sweetheart Amanda C. “Kate” Armentrout.

January 21– Thursday– Bay of Plenty, New Zealand– British forces begin a six month campaign against the Maori.

January 22– Friday– New York City– “The rebellion is not yet suppressed, by any manner of means, and we have yet much hard work to do. God prosper it!” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Very little done at the Cabinet. . . . . Last night the President gave a dinner to the members of the Cabinet, judges of the Supreme Court, and a few others, with their wives. It was pleasant. A little stiff and awkward on the part of some of the guests, but passed off very well.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

January 22– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “About ten o’clock on Tuesday night, some unknown scoundrel attempted to set fire to the President’s Mansion, the attempt being frustrated by a timely discovery by some of the family. A quantity of combustible matter had been placed in one of the basement rooms and then set on fire. The quantity of smoke which issued from the basement room caused an alarm. The fire was extinguished before much damage was done; the incendiary, however, took the occasion to help himself to a quantity of groceries.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

January 22– Friday– near Harrisonburg, Virginia– “My health is only tolerable good. I am worsted with our tramp, but I hope we will get to rest awhile now. I wrote you on the morning of the 18th. The next morning we started and arrived here on the evening of the 20th. We are four miles east of Harrisonburg, and 29 miles north of Staunton. . . . . I thought we were coming up here to put up winter quarters, but the order is to not build huts, as it is uncertain about our remaining here long. . . . . We have tents enough for all to sleep under by crowding a little and are doing pretty well. The snow is melted off but it is cold.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda

January 23– Saturday– New Hope, West Virginia– “Resolved, That to the officers and men of the 116th Ohio Regiment stationed at Sleepy Creek, we tender our sincere thanks and trust that their sojourn here at Union soldiers will be ever linked with pleasing reminiscences. /// Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with the relatives and friends of those brave sons . . . who have laid down their lives in defense of those dearest rights of freeman bequeathed us by revolutionary sires—in their bereavements, yet rejoice to know that their heroic deeds will cause grateful generations to ever reverence their memories. /// Resolved, That however trying the ordeal we may be called to pass through we will ever stand firmly to our beloved and bleeding country and cling to the Constitution and Union as the mariner when shipwrecked out in the broad ocean clings to the last plank when the night and the tempest close around him.” ~ Several of a number of resolutions passed at a meeting of loyal Union citizens.

January 23– Saturday– near Manassas Junction, Virginia– “During the past few days we have been having very mild & pleasant weather. It has been very comfortable either in the house beside a fire, or outside in shirt sleeves. The delightful weather is the only redeeming quality I have seen in all Virginia. Will forward an application for leave of absence, latter part of next week – no intervening Providence. Will, probably, hear from it about the latter part of the week following.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Bob Taggart to his brother John.

Federal forces on the move

Federal forces on the move

January 23– Saturday– Brandy Station, Virginia– “Lieutenant John Turner has a [Sunday school] class of contrabands [escaped slaves], mostly servants to the officers. We hope to do much good in the Regiments and that God will bless our labors. . . . . Several ladies are now living in camp. Mrs Henry Jencks, wife of Major Jencks, Mrs Edward Russell, wife of Captain Russell, and Mrs Amos Bowen, wife of Lieutenant Bowen. This gives an air of civilization to our Headquarters.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

January 23– Saturday– Newport, Tennessee; Woodville, Alabama; Cowskin Bottom, Indian Territory [Oklahoma]; Rolling Prairie, Arkansas– Skirmishes and fire fights.

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