Bright Visions of Happiness Have Departed~February 1864~14th to 19th

Bright Visions of Happiness Have Departed ~Julia Johnson Fisher

Worry and sickness in many places during a bitter winter. Fighting in Georgia and Florida. The new prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville, Georgia, is not yet ready to open. None yet know that it will become a place of infamy. Political activity goes on in Washington. One of the sons of William Lloyd Garrison is engaged to marry. A veteran in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, kills a man on the street for having an affair with the soldier’s wife.

February 14– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “Julia is with us. We are enjoying much. She and Sybil have gone to visit the graves of their husbands. Mr. Fisher is writing to Augustus. Yesterday Kate Lang came over in their double carriage to call on Julia. She brought me a letter from Mary– What joy to get a letter! . . . . How I long to see them all. So many changes sadden me. . . . . I long to go to my family, but where can I go? Now we begin to feel separations and fearful changes. My heart is heavy and lonely. We are continually wondering what is best for us to do. Every gleam of sunshine is beclouded. Our bright visions of happiness have departed. Julia makes many plans for us but we are too short sighted to know which way to turn.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

February 15– Monday– New York City– “Cold weather. Dyspeptic and atrabilious. Busy day, nonetheless. Columbia College Committee on School of Mines at Bett’s office. Prospects good. [Thomas] Egleston may prove a great acquisition. He seems full of energy, enterprise, fire, and snap. . . . . Rebellion can hardly survive another Gettysburg or Lookout Mountain. Guerrillas and rapparees would continue to steal cows and hang Negroes for a season but it would not be long.” ~Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Salmon P Chase, potential rival to President Lincoln

Salmon P Chase, potential rival to President Lincoln

February 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The movements of parties and partisans are becoming distinct. I think there are indications that Chase intends to press his pretensions as a candidate, and much of the Treasury machinery and the special agencies have that end in view. This is to be regretted. The whole effort is a forced one and can result in no good to himself, but may embarrass the Administration. The extreme radicals are turning their attention to him and also to Fremont. As between the two. Chase is incomparably the most capable and best, and yet I think less of his financial ability and the soundness of his political principles than I did.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

February 15– Monday– Baldwin, Florida– A local white woman cautions John W Appleton, a white Federal officer, “Do you know you are in a terrible position, young man? . . . Because you expect to fight here and if you are taken prisoner, you will surely be hung because you command n***** troops.”

black Union soldiers in Florida

black Union soldiers in Florida

February 15– Monday– Arran, Bruce County, Ontario, Canada– Birth of William Howard Hearst, politician who will become the 7th Premier of Ontario, serving from 1914 to 1919. [He will die September 29, 1941.]

February 15– Monday– Rotterdam, Netherlands– Fire severely damages the Museum Boymans and destroys valuable pieces of Dutch art.

February 17– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Went this a.m. to [Matthew] Brady’s rooms with Mr [Francis Bicknell] Carpenter, an artist, to have a photograph taken. Mr. C is to paint an historical picture of the President and Cabinet at the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles, portrait

Gideon Welles, portrait

February 17– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A Bill converting the Ohio county jail into a State Penitentiary was passed by the House of Delegates yesterday. The act authorizes the Governor to convey to the jail all persons convicted of felonies, and there confine them until otherwise provided by law.” ~ Wheeling Daily Register.

February 17– Wednesday– near Orange, New South Wales, Australia– Birth of Andrew Barton Paterson, poet, composer and journalist who will write under the nom de plume of “Banjo.” [His most famous composition is Waltzing Matilda. He will die February 5, 1941.]

February 18– Thursday– New York City– “John L Burns, of Gettysburg, the old hero, who alone of all the inhabitants there and thereabouts, shouldered his gun and went forth to fight the enemy, is in town. He paid a visit to the Times Office yesterday. Mr Burns is a hale-looking old gentleman, and bears on his face the indications of courage. He has recovered from his wounds. The Government have taken steps to properly provide for him by giving him a pension.” ~ New York Times. [Last July, Burns, 69 years old and a veteran of the War of 1812, took his musket and joined the Federal forces to fight.]

February 18– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln partially lifts the Federal blockade of the port of Brownsville, Texas, but declares foreign ships entering the port must prove to the satisfaction of the U S Navy that they are not carrying arms, ammunition or in “conveyance of persons in or intending to enter the service of the insurgents, or of things or information intended for their use or for their aid or comfort . . . . Any violations of said conditions will involve the forfeiture and condemnation of the vessel and cargo and the exclusion of all parties concerned from any further privilege of entering the United States during the war for any purpose whatever.”

February 18– Thursday– headquarters of the Army of Northern Virginia, Virginia– “I have been quite sick for four or five days, and am quite feeble yet. I rested well last night, and eat some breakfast this morning, the first that I have ate for three days that would stay on my stomach. My digestive organs seem to be entirely deranged. . . . [we] are now camped at an excellent place, wood and water both convenient and plentiful. The springs we get water from our medicinal and said to be very healthy and were once resorted to largely by the rich and invalid. The weather is extremely cold and disagreeable now. A good many have put chimneys to their tents and are very comfortable.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to Amanda, his wife.

February 18– Thursday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the prison, even before any prisoners have arrived, there are problems. Today civilian employees complain that they have not been paid in six weeks. Captain Richard Winder, in charge of preparations, reports that at least one hundred of the men hired as guards do not have rifles.

February 18– Thursday– Camden County, Georgia– “A day of great anxiety. Rapid firing in the region of King’s ferry, from sunrise until dark. Our boys are both probably engaged in the fray. Major Bailey sent word yesterday to Julia that she had better remain a while longer as it could be hardly safe to travel. We are in great anxiety. The weather very cold. Sleet and rain freezing as fast as it falls–a tedious night for the poor wounded soldiers. Julia and Sybil talk of going with the mule and buggy tomorrow to Dr. Mitchell’s hoping to gather intelligence. Dianah is sick in bed and everything looks gloomy. The people generally are in a state of alarm. The pickets have all been called in and we are entirely unprotected– hope to hear the result of the battle tomorrow.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

February 19– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “William has very agreeably surprised me by the announcement that an ‘engagement’ has been entered into between you and him, whereby mutual love has been plighted, and whereof a matrimonial alliance may be expected to follow in due time. Though my personal acquaintance with you is comparatively slight, yet, from what I have seen and from all I hear of you, I have no doubt he has made a very fortunate choice. May yours prove equally fortunate!” ~ Letter from William Lloyd Garrison to Ellen Wright, upon announcement of her engagement to his son William Lloyd Garrison, Jr.


William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

February 19– Friday– Johnstown, Pennsylvania– Mr Joseph Moore, a recently returned Union veteran, accosts Mr Jordan Marbourg on the street. Accusing Marbourg of having had an affair with Mrs Moore while he was away fighting, Moore draws his pistol and fires four bullets into Marbourg, killing him instantly. Moore then surrenders to the local magistrate. A newspaper report declares, “The deceased man leaves a most estimable wife and eight or nine children – the eldest, a son, about twenty years old. The murderer has a wife and one child. He was personally popular with all classes, a perfect gentleman in his dress and manners, and was not without influence in the community. The deceased was a prominent citizen, a merchant of Johnstown for thirty years, and had accumulated a large fortune. Both of them were members of a church. Mrs. Moore . . . is a woman not wanting in personal charms. Of late years her husband, although attentive to business, has not been pecuniarily a well-doer, and it may be that the desire for more money than her husband could furnish her, coupled with the charms alluded to, has been the cause of her fall, if fallen she has. Mrs. Marbourg, who is a most accomplished woman, is a native of Philadelphia.”


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