General Grant Is All the Rage~March 1864~26th to 28th

General Grant Is All the Rage ~ Senator John Sherman

Expectations are high around General Grant. President Lincoln clarifies his amnesty proposal. Furloughs before spring campaigns concern soldiers and civilians on both sides. In Richmond authorities display Ulric Dahlgren’s artificial leg. Andersonville prison receives its commandant. Food shortages are felt throughout the Confederacy.

a soldiers' ball

a soldiers’ ball

March 26– Saturday– Moundsville, West Virginia– “Notwithstanding the inclement weather, this may truly be denominated one of Moundsville’s ‘gay and festive’ days, and as such will doubtless long be remembered by many of the citizens. Without the usual publicity attending such proceedings, the good people of the town and neighboring townships . . . in a quiet and well attended meeting, determined to prepare a dinner for the soldiers, and fearful that expiring furloughs would deprive many of the braves from participating at a later date, they fixed upon to-day for the entertainment. From early dawn until late in the afternoon furloughed soldiers and citizens poured into town. At half past twelve the steamer Express with a large representation of the 7th and 4th W. Va. Infantry under immediate charge of Captain Fisher, of the 7th touched the wharf.” ~ Letter to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

March 26– Saturday– Washington, D. C.– “Persons who [are] . . . prisoners of war, or persons detained for offenses of any kind, either before or after conviction . . . [are] excluded from the amnesty offered in the said proclamation [and] may apply to the President for clemency, like all other offenders, and their applications will receive due consideration. I do further declare and proclaim that the oath prescribed in the aforesaid proclamation of the 8th of December, 1863, may be taken and subscribed before any commissioned officer, civil, military, or naval, in the service of the United States or any civil or military officer of a State or Territory not in insurrection who by the laws thereof may be qualified for administering oaths. All officers who receive such oaths are hereby authorized to give certificates thereon to the persons respectively by whom they are made, and such officers are hereby required to transmit the original records of such oaths at as early a day as may be convenient to the Department of State, where they will be deposited and remain in the archives of the Government. The Secretary of State will keep a register thereof, and will on application, in proper cases, issue certificates of such records in the customary form of official certificates.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln to clarify his amnesty offer of last December.

March 26– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I have recently met with several officers who have been with you, among others General Grant and General Butterfield. General Grant is all the rage; he is subjected to the disgusting but dangerous process of being lionized. He is followed by crowds and is cheered everywhere. While he must despise the fickle fools who run after him, he, like most others, may be spoiled by this excess of flattery. He may be so elated as to forget the uncertain tenure upon which he holds and stakes his really well-earned laurels. I conversed with him but little, as I did not wish either to occupy his time or to be considered his flatterer. The opinion I form of him from his appearance is this, his will and common-sense are the strongest features of his character. He is plain and modest, and so far bears himself well. . . . You are now in a position where any act of yours will command public attention. You will be unduly lauded and sharply abused. I hope you have seen enough of the base motives that dictate praise and blame to disregard both, but preserve the best of your judgment in utter disregard of flattery or clamor.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman.

March 26– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “The crutch of the piratical Yankee, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, was left at the counting room of this paper yesterday, where it may be seen by the curious. It is pronounced by judges of such work a model of its kind, uniting as it does great simplicity of construction with great ease and comfort to the wearer. Our crutch makers should call and see it.” ~ Richmond Whig. [The “crutch” referred to is Dahlgren’s artificial right leg.]

Ulric Dahlgren

Ulric Dahlgren

March 27– Sunday– Army of Northern Virginia headquarters, Virginia– “I and Lieutenant Amason went over the river and had a few rounds with Some very nice ladies, and while we were over there we heard of a wedding, which came off that morning and they were going to have a frolic that night so we came back and got Sargent Parker and here we went through the Snow about a mile and a half and we arrived at the place (Mr Daughtry’s) and the house was crowded with young ladies, but I never Saw as ugly a Set in my life, they were so ugly the flies will not light on them, and I never heard Such Singing in my life. I have head Something Similar, though better, in our Negro kitchens down South, though we passed off the time very well, we made them believe that we had never Seen anything like it, and Sure enough we never. If nothing happens I will go to a party tomorrow night where there is Some pretty girls and a little more like they are in Georgia, but none of them Suit me near so well as the Georgia girls. Some of the boys Say if they get to go back to Georgia, they are going to carry a wife with them from Virginia, but if the war was to last 20 years, and I had to Stay in Virginia all the time, I would never marry a Virginia lady, unless I could find one that Suited me much better than any I have ever come across yet, and I think I have Seen about as good as the State affords.~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his family in Georgia.

March 27– Sunday– Greeneville, Tennessee– “The troops in this department are living on half ration of meat and bread, without any good reason to hope for better prospects. Our animals are in the same condition, with the hope of getting grass in a month more. Supplies seem to be about as scarce all over the Confederacy. It seems a necessity, therefore, that we should advance, and this route seems to offer more ready and complete relief than any other. If we had an abundance of supplies it seems to me that we should go into Kentucky as a political move. . . . The enemy will be more or less demoralized and dishearten by the great loss of territory which he will sustain, and he will find great difficulty in getting men enough to operate with before the elections in the fall, when in all probability Lincoln will be defeated and peace will follow in the spring. The political opponents of Mr. Lincoln can furnish no reason at this late day against the war so long as it is successful with him, and thus far it has certainly been as successful as any one could reasonably expect. If however, his opponents were to find at the end of three years that we held Kentucky and were as well to do as at the beginning of the war, it would be a powerful argument against Lincoln and against the war. Lincoln’s re-election seems to depend upon the result of your efforts during the present year. If he is reelected, the war must continue, and I see no way of defeating his re-enlisted except by military success.” ~ Report from Confederate General James Longstreet.

General James Longstreet

General James Longstreet

March 27– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– Captain Henry Wirz, age 40, originally from Switzerland and a Confederate combat veteran from Louisiana, takes charge as prison commandant, the officer directly in charge of the inmates. Wirz had been severely wounded in the right shoulder at the Battle of Seven Pines, Virginia, in the spring of 1862. [Wirz will be hanged by Federal authorities in Washington, D.C. on November 10, 1865 for numerous alleged atrocities against Union prisoners.]

Henry Wirz

Henry Wirz

March 28– Monday– Charleston, Illinois– A mob of about 100 Southern sympathizers attack Union soldiers relaxing on furlough. Other soldiers come the aid of their comrades and restore order. By day’s end, 5 people are dead and more than 20 wounded.

March 28– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The Governor of Kentucky is here, and desires to have the following points definitely fixed: First. That the quotas of troops furnished, and to be furnished, by Kentucky may be adjusted upon the basis as actually reduced by able-bodied men of hers having gone into the rebel service; and that she be required to furnish no more than her just quotas upon fair adjustment upon such basis. Second. To whatever extent the enlistment and drafting, one or both, of colored troops may be found necessary within the State, it may be conducted within the law of Congress; and, so far as practicable, free from collateral embarrassments, disorders, and provocations. I think these requests of the Governor are reasonable; and I shall be obliged if you will give him a full hearing, and do the best you can to effect these objects.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

March 28– Monday– Mitchel’s Station, Virginia– “Our Regiment– the 108th Pennsylvania Volunteers – expects to be home in a few days. . . . . It is now a little over two years since we left Harrisburg for Washington about nine hundred strong. We can return with something over two hundred, all told. With few expectations, nearly all have reenlisted as Veteran Volunteers. . . . . Where are all those buoyant souls that left Harrisburg March 8th ,1862? I can only say– let the battles from Cedar Mountain to the Three Days’ fight at Gettysburg furnish the reply. Our Regiment has indeed seen active service. . . . . We have established a bright record in the service of our country, and I hope the historians will do us justice. I could write a volume, but I must be brief. . . . . I will close by adding, the boys are all well, and as we expect soon to be home, I will give you a greater detail of our doings.” ~ E. D. R., a Union soldier from Pennsylvania.

March 28– Monday– near Stephensburg, Virginia– “This morning I seat myself to inform you that I am well at this time. Hoping that these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessings of health. It is middling pleasant here this morning. The snow that had fell on the 22nd is all gone. It was about 1 foot in depth. . . . . Now, I will say that I can’t promise about writing very regular as we will soon begin to move about some but I write as often as I can conveniently. I have not particulars to write at this time more than I am still trying by The Grace of God to follow the meek and lowly Lamb. Let come what will, trusting that if I never meet any of you on earth, I will meet you at the right hand of God in Heaven. Write soon. Take good care of your health. . . . . We expect to be paid soon. Then I will send you all the money that I will have to spare. . . . . I am still living in hope of seeing you all again e’re long.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

slaves continue to escape to Union lines

slaves continue to escape to Union lines

March 28– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “On Saturday . . . about one o’clock, while some empty cars on the Fredericksburg railroad were being backed down the track on Broad street, between 6th and 7th street, a youth named Joseph Rowe, fifteen years of age, attempted to jump on the foremost car by catching hold of the coupling iron. . . . . he was thrown across the track . . . . Death was, of course, instantaneous. . . . . This is not by many the first accident we have had to record as happening on the railroad on Broad street, nor will it be the last, unless some action is taken in the matter by the City Council. The railroad company do all they can, but are unable to prevent crowds of boys from riding and playing about their trains. The council should make it a penal offence, and direct the police to arrest every boy caught in or upon, or in the act of getting upon any railroad car without permission from the proper authorities.” ~ Richmond Whig.

March 28– Monday– Camden County, Georgia– “Today I am fifty years old. Half a century! I feel mute with amazement. Time, how short! and what a life?” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

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