Feeling Lonely and Discouraged~March 1864~12th to 15th

Feeling Lonely and Discouraged ~Julia Johnson Fischer

March 12– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “In obedience to the resolution of the Senate of the 28th of January last, I communicate herewith a report, with accompanying papers, from the Secretary of the Interior, showing what portion of the appropriations for the colonization of persons of African descent has been expended and the several steps which have been taken for the execution of the acts of Congress on that subject.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.


 March 12– Saturday– Orange County, Virginia– “I take the present opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. I arrived in camp about Seven o’clock in the evening much sooner than I had expected [as] the [railroad] cars made good time. I found the boys in our new camp cabins all complete and comfortable. They moved in them five or six days before I arrived. I found the boys in F [Company] all well and in fine spirits. And about the first question asked after how do you do, how did you enjoy yourself at home, was have you got your old fiddle along. I told them I had I had to get it right out and commence playing right off. We have a stag dance in one of our cabins every night most. It was some fighting going on the day I arrived here [because] the Yankees made a raid for Richmond. I will not attempt to give you a description of the fight as you have got the news in the papers long before this reaches you. Our Brigade had orders to be ready to march at any time but we were not called out. The picket was reinforced.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Adam Kersh to his brother George.

March 12– Saturday– Army of Northern Virginia winter quarters, Virginia– “But when we consider the great duty we owe our country in the struggle for independence, I cannot be but content with my fate, although it be, indeed, a cruel one. I am determined to do anything and everything I can for my country. Should we be so fortunate as to gain our independence, and I am sure we will, and a kind Providence permits me to see it, I shall, of course, expect to enjoy it. And should I fail to do my duty I shall feel that I am not entitled to be a free man. If it should be my misfortune to fall in the glorious struggle, I hope that I shall go believing that I have contributed my mite and that you and my little boy will be entitled to the great boon of freedom.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife in Georgia.

March 12– Saturday– Greeneville, Tennessee– “Dear, I am in the best of health and spirits. I still retain my cheerful manner and look for light out of darkness. I have enjoyed more of the power and joy of religion for several days past than usual. We have very good meetings night and day. We have made considerable improvement in the brigade since Brother Haygood, the missionary to our brigade, has been here. He is a good preacher and a good man. Last Sabbath we had sacrament, we have a good time but when I thought of my dear wife so far away from the sacrament board while I was knelt down by a log away here in East Tennessee. I busted forth in anguish of tears, perhaps some one thought I was a fool but God knows thy grounds and counts thy tears. You cannot imagine with what joy thrilled my heart when you wrote me in your letter that Tommy could almost say his prayers himself. That is right my dear, teach him the good and the right way and all will be well.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W R Stilwell to his wife.

March 12– Saturday– Chatham, England– Birth of William H R Rivers. [He will become an anthropologist , ethnologist, neurologist and psychiatrist who will gain fame treating the veterans of the First World War who suffer from what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder. He will die on June 4, 1922.]

Dr William H R Rivers

Dr William H R Rivers

March 13– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “I rec’d this morning your additional contribution of $5 for the wounded & sick. The same amt from you was also duly & thankfully received last month. It is some time since I have written you. I have lately been down to front a second time through the field hospitals– they are breaking them up & sending the bad cases up here. I suppose preparatory to some movement of course. . . . . I suppose you hear of Grant’s plan to improve enormously the communication between here & the southwest by rail &c. so that he can transport the army by immense trains hither & yon at short notice. They say he has staked all on taking Richmond within three months. God prosper him. Our Virginia Army is in prime condition. This I know from personal observation. All its defeats & slaughters have only hardened it, & made it an army of fighters. I believe Grant realizes in his secret heart that it is the clear superior in fibre & soul of his Western Army, but of course he would not say so.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to a friend, most likely, Moses Lane.

March 13– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “The children came from Brookfield and we had our little Sabbath School. They were attentive and learn well. We have had another letter from Augustus which has given us much satisfaction. It is so cheering to get tidings from home. And, one from Fred, who is now in the Florida war. He is seeing hard times. They are fighting with great desperation. Since his letter came they have had another battle. We are all feeling lonely and discouraged again. Mrs Linn is mostly confined to the house and feels that she can hardly bear her secluded life much longer– her husband is in Savannah. Sybil is in great doubts as regards the future. We would all, if we could, spread our wings and fly away to liberty and friends.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fischer.

March 13– Sunday– Spring Hill, Tennessee; Carrollton, Arkansas; Cheek’s Cross Roads, Tennessee; Los Patricios, Texas– Skirmishes and fire fights. Also, Federal troops are on the move around Morristown, Tennessee and Yellville, Arkansas.

March 14– Monday– New York City– “The ladies of the Metropolitan Fair have taken the providing of additional space into their own hands. I saw Mayor Gunther on their behalf Friday morning and he approved a ‘joint resolution’ authorizing a large structure on the north side of Union Square. It was begun this morning.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.


March 14– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a copy of a treaty between the United States and Great Britain for the final settlement of the claims of the Hudson’s Bay and Puget’s Sound Agricultural Companies, concluded on the 1st of July last, the ratifications of which were exchanged in this city on the 5th instant, and recommend an appropriation to carry into effect the first, second, and third articles thereof.” ~ Message to Congress from President Lincoln.

March 14– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “In order to supply the force required to be drafted for the Navy and to provide an adequate reserve force for all contingencies, in addition to the 500,000 men called for February 1, 1864, a call is hereby made and a draft ordered for 200,000 men for the military service (Army, Navy, and Marine Corps) of the United States.” ~ Executive Order issued by President Lincoln.

March 14– Monday– Army of Northern Virginia headquarters, Virginia– “Yesterday evening an order came to our Brigade, stopping all furloughs, until further orders. What gave rise to this order; I’m unable to say positively; but ‘Madam Rumor’ says it is to clear the railroads in order to transport General Longstreet’s Corps to General Johnston. General Longstreet and staff were at Orange Court House a day or two since. I should like very much, for General Longstreet’s command to join General Lee again. I have many friends there. I should like very much to see. If General Longstreet does come here, I shall at once begin to mend my harness, for a trip into Pennsylvania or Ohio. There is only one thought that makes the approaching campaign, appear gloomy, and that is the thought that I will almost entirely be debarred the privilege of hearing from you. Perhaps we may go into Pennsylvania or some other foreign land, and then I know I will not only fail to receive your letters; but be unable to send my own. I will make up for lost time, tho, when I get back into civilization.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee.

March 14– Monday– Simsport; Louisiana; Bent Creek, Tennessee; Claysville, Alabama; Jones County, Mississippi; Hopefield, Arkansas– Fire fights, raids and skirmishes.

March14– Monday– Paris, Francis– Gioachino Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle premieres in the private chapel of Countess Louise de Pillet-Will. The composer is now in his 72nd year.



March 14– Monday– Nanking, China–The Imperial Army begins a siege of the rebel-held city.

March 15– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The U.S. should not appoint trustees for or in any way take charge of any church as such. If the building is needed for military purposes, take it; if it is not so needed, let its church people have it, dealing with any disloyal people among them, as you deal with other disloyal people.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to Federal authorities in New Orleans, Louisiana, responding to complaints from representatives of St Paul’s Church.

March 15– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Well, dear mother, I will not write any more on the sick & yet I know you wish to hear about them– every one is so unfeeling, it has got to be an old story– ‘there is no good nursing.’ O I wish you were– or rather women of such qualities as you & Mat were here, in plenty, to be stationed as matrons among the poor sick & wounded men– just to be present would be enough. O what good it would do them. Mother, I feel so sick when I see what kind of people there are among them, with charge over them, so cold & ceremonious, afraid to touch them.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother, Louisa.

Louisa Whitman

Louisa Whitman

March 15– Tuesday– near Cleveland, Tennessee– “We arrived at home this morning before day-light and found our mother and two little brothers well, but they are having a hard time on account of all the robbers plundering them. We learned from our mother [that] Brother Jim called at home a few nights ago while passing with his little band of secret scouts, and he came near being captured at our own house, He was standing in [the] rear of the house talking with our mother in low tone when suddenly the enemy made a rush on the house from different directions, as if they had been lying in wait, and they filled the house, searching every room and closet . . . and at the same time plundering the house of whatever struck their fancy. On their approach Brother Jim dropped back a few steps in the dark and then concealed himself at the corner of the garden fence where he could watch their movements. After they left our mother again came out and found Jim and had some further talk, and he said he could have easily [killed] one or two of the robbers with his revolver and them made his escape, but he feared to do so lest they take revenge by murdering the family and burning the house. He then returned to his comrades who were waiting for him some distance from the house.” ~ Diary of Confederate soldier William Sloan.


March 15– Tuesday– Camden County, Georgia– “Mr. Fisher is 76 years old today. Kate Lang and all the children walked over to see us this morning and settle an affair with the Negroes. Willie Bailey dined with us on rice and hominy. Our pork is gone and there’s no prospect for any meat at present. The pigs fatten too slowly to supply the demand. Mr. Fisher caught a squirrel in a trap which was served for his breakfast. Kate says they are obliged to economize closely at their table. Famine threatens to follow in the wake of the war. Fred writes that he has but one meal a day which he cooks himself and his house suffers for want of food. The Confederates fight like tigers with a yell and a whoop.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fischer.

March 15– Tuesday– Bull’s Gap, Tennessee; Marksville Prairie, Louisiana; Clarendon, Arkansas; Flat Creek Valley, Tennessee– Skirmishes and assorted violence. Federal forces are operating around Alexandria, Louisiana and on the move from Batesville, Arkansas.

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