Leave Military Matters to Us~April 1864~1st to 4th

Leave Military Matters to Us~General William Tecumseh Sherman.

April will be a hard and bitter month for some, a successful month for others. General Sherman snarls at a newspaper editor. The women in New York City handling the Sanitary Fair have to deal with incompetent and bossy men. Gideon Welles complains about party politics. Boston suffers a major destructive fire. The New York Times encourages immigration by skilled workers. Food shortages afflict soldiers and civilians in the Confederacy. Rebel soldiers are accused of using women as shields.

General William Tecumseh Sherman

General William Tecumseh Sherman

April– Boston, Massachusetts– This month’s issue of the Atlantic contains poems by John Greenleaf Whittier and James Russell Lowell, stories by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mary Abigail Dodge [under her nom deplume Gail Hamilton] and essays by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr and J T Trowbridge, among other items.

April 1– Friday– New York City– “During the fight at Paducah [Kentucky, on March 25th], the rebels took Mrs Hammond from the hospital and murdered her. Mrs Hamilton, Mrs Howard, Mrs Eagan and Mrs McChorg were also taken to the front, placed between the two fires, and kept there an hour. Their dresses were perforated with bullets. While the rebel flag of truce was moving forward, the rebels disposed their forces for action. Our men had ceased firing for fear that the women would be killed. A man has been arrested on the steamer Anderson, having in his possession the freshly-taken scalp of a white man, supposed to have belonged to one of our soldiers. Several persons have been arrested as spies. Among them are two women.” ~ New York Times.

April 1– Friday– New York City– “Dreary weather. . . . We are in collision with the ‘Gentlemen’s Committee of the Metropolitan Fair.’ They were appointed as auxiliaries to the ladies . . . . But they have seen fit to thwart, snub, insult, and override the ladies’ committee in the most disgusting, offensive, and low-bred way. Their general course has been snobbish and stupid. They have shown want of manners and of appreciation of the magnitude of the undertaking.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

New York Metropolitan Fair for the Sanitary Commission

New York Metropolitan Fair for the Sanitary Commission

April 1– Friday– New York City– “It is greatly to be regretted that there is not some organization, either governmental or private, on a scale sufficiently large, and composed of persons sufficiently prominent in character and standing to give it credit and influence abroad, to aid in promoting the immigration from Europe of skilled workers. We are receiving immense numbers of unskilled laborers, invaluable, no doubt, for agricultural and other purposes, but all branches of industry are suffering severely, and likely to suffer still more, from the want of mechanics and artisans. There are thousands of such, both in England and on the Continent, in a half-starving condition, who would be only too glad to get over here if they got a chance. The most desperate efforts are being made by the Secessionist Press, and persons working in the Secessionist interest, to prevent emigration to America, by the circulation of the grossest misrepresentations as to the condition of the country, and the effect of the war on the laboring classes.” ~ New York Times.

April 1– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “There was nothing of special interest to-day in the Cabinet. Stanton was not present, nor was Blair. Chase calls for largely additional taxes, which I have no doubt are necessary. There should have been heavier taxes the last two years,– at least double what have been collected. Undoubtedly demagogues will try to prevent this necessary measure for party ends, but I believe the good sense and intelligence of the people will prevail over the debasing abuse of party.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

April 1– Friday– 60 miles from Greenville, Tennessee– “It has been snowing all the time an the weather very cold an the roads was in the worst fix you ever saw. It has been mud and water to our knees nearly all the way. We are now in about one mile of the line of Virginia. My Dear we are getting almost nothing to eat now we draw what they call three days rations out at a time an then eat at one time an we then have to do without the remainder of those three days unless we steal it from a citizen which we do to keep from starving. Bread is the worst to get.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Richard Henry Brooks to his wife.

April 1– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– By this time Union military prisoners confined at Camp Sumter include residents of every state north and south, immigrants from many European countries, African Americans and Native Americans, all who served in the Union army.


April 1– Friday– Arkadelphia, Arkansas; Plymouth, North Carolina; Bloomfield, Missouri; St John’s River, Florida; Fitzhugh’s Woods, Arkansas– Skirmishes, raids and mayhem. Federal troops are on the move along the Pearl River in Louisiana and around Palatka, Florida.

April 1– Friday– Heiloo, Netherlands– Birth of Marie Jungius, advocate for women and children, who will become the first director of the National Bureau of Women’s Work and co-founder of the National Exhibition of Women’s Work in The Hague in 1898. [Dies December 22, 1908.]

Marie Jungius

Marie Jungius

April 2– Saturday– New York City– “If this fair be wound up without any memorable calamity and catastrophe, I shall be thankful. . . . . The war languishes. People naturally turn their thoughts therefore to questions of finance, taxation, and prices . . . . I believe General Grant is working in his new place . . . purging the Army of the Potomac of disaffected McClellanists in high command and bringing its morale into training for hard work in its next campaign against ‘Lee’s Miserables.’” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

April 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Ordered, That the Executive order of September 4, 1863, in relation to the exportation of live stock from the United States, be so extended as to prohibit the exportation of all classes of salted provisions from any part of the United States to any foreign port, except that meats cured, salted, or packed in any State or Territory bordering on the Pacific Ocean may be exported from any port of such State or Territory.” ~ Executive order signed by President Lincoln, in an effort to prevent blockade runners from acquiring such meat for the Confederacy in European markets.

 April 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln, and Mrs. Grant attend a performance of Faust at Grover’s Theatre.

April 2– Saturday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The papers also contain a message from Knoxville giving my movements, and gives a message from Parson Brownlow to the effect that the rebels will certainly invade Kentucky by Pound Gap. Tell Parson Brownlow that he must leave military matters to us, and that he must not chronicle my movements or those of any military body. If he confines his efforts to his own sphere of action he will do himself more credit and his country more good.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to Union General Schofield. [Brownlow publishes a newspaper in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sherman intensely dislikes him and all newspaper reporters.]

General Sherman on the front page of Harpers Weekly

General Sherman on the front page of Harpers Weekly

April 2– Saturday– Cleveland, Tennessee; Grossetete Bayou, Louisiana; Okolona, Arkansas; Cedar Creek, Florida; Crump’s Hill, Louisiana; Wolf Creek, Arkansas; Cape Lookout, North Carolina– Raids, fire fights, ambushes and melees.

April 3– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “I seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines may find you all in good health. We still picket along the Rapidan we has some very rough weather last month on the 22nd the snow fell about 11 inches deep here. We had a good deal of rain to boot on the 30th the Rapidan was very high it was level with the dam. . . . Furloughs have been out down one out of a hundred goes now. . . . All quiet along the Rapidan today . . . . write soon.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Adam W Kersh to his brother George P Kersh.

April 3– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “You are a witch to guess at my wants sure, for the ham of meat and $10.00 was the very thing I was needing and I am glad to get them. Also the gloves, suspenders, patches and thread and tobacco, all of which I received safely and now return my thanks to you for them. . . . The things you sent are much the best and I treasure them because they came from you. My health is excellent at this time and I am getting on finely. . . . Write soon and write me a long letter all about my boy and everything of the kind.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

April 3– Sunday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “I spent the morning in Father’s big chair, reading. I read the book of Romans, Father returned but had no news. We have not heard from Forrest since he crossed the Cumberland at Eddyville. God grant us success throughout the State, and return my Brother safe to us once again. I spent the morning alone . . . why do I thus complain. A hard storm of rain and wind is raging. Laura learning her lesson. Bettie did not come tonight. Father of mercy give me hope, brighten my life, oh! give me a companion, or my mind is lost. Thy will, not mine oh! Lord be done.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

April 3– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “By economizing the pig lasted us eight days. Now we are again without meat and on short allowance. Last night Mr. Fisher caught in a trap rice birds enough for supper. They are very small and without butter or pork to season are not very rich eating, but everything eatable is worth saving. The pigs are all poor and slab sided, look half starved. They cannot fatten on rough rice, it is miserable food, the horses refuse it. . . . [Home] fills my waking thoughts, a snug comfortable kitchen (a thing unknown here) freedom from fleas and thousands of poisonous insects, good inviting food, such as we had been accustomed to having until this war broke out– and freedom– sweet freedom.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 3– Sunday– Grand Ecore, Louisiana; Raleigh, Tennessee; Clinton, Mississippi; Ducktown Road, Georgia; Elkin’s Ferry, Missouri; Clarksville, Arkansas; Cypress Swamp, Tennessee– Affairs, brawls, wrangling and clash of arms.

April 4– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Last night, about 12 o’clock, fire was discovered in a closet under the second flight of stairs in the Masonic Fraternity’s Building on the corner of Tremont and Boylston streets. The building was a mammoth brick structure, composed of six stories, three of which were occupied as the Winthrop House, and the upper three as Freemason Halls. Shortly after the first alarm was given, the Fire Department was on hand and began operations, but the great height of the building prevented the efficient work which otherwise would have stopped the conflagration at the outset. Owing to these obstacles the fire soon attained great headway, and raged with exceeding fierceness. The upper part of the building was soon one lurid mass of flame, and a second alarm was sounded a little before 1 o’clock. . . . It is estimated that $100,000 will not cover the losses to the masonic order in furniture and paintings alone. The building, for which they originally paid $106,000, had been so improved as to make its value $156,000, a large portion of which is insured. The fire raged with unabated fierceness from 12 o’clock till 3 o’clock this morning. The roof fell in shortly after 1 o’clock, and the floors of the three upper stories fell within two hours. During this period about half of the highest wall on Boylston-street fell into the street with a tremendous crash, filling up the avenue and projecting bricks through the windows on the opposite side.” ~ Boston Transcript. [The $156,000 value would equal $2.35 million today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

April 4– Monday– New York City– “Went at ten A.M. to the fair buildings in Fourteenth Street and spent a couple of hours there. The spectacle was interesting but fatiguing to the spectator. A vast crowd of well–dressed men and women– our ‘best people’– were working their fingers to the bone, arranging and sorting material, directing decorative operations, receiving, acknowledging, unpacking, and distributing to their appropriate departments contributions from the four quarters of the earth. It was the busiest human ant-hill I ever saw. . . . The ceremony of ‘inaugurating’ the fair went off well. . . . The he-committee is made up of louts and cubs and of a powerless minority of decent, well-bred men. . . . [No] place was assigned to the ladies of the executive committee, to their intense mortification. Mrs Astor, Mrs Belmont, Ellie [his wife], Mrs Lane, and others were almost tearful about it; while that indomitable Mrs John Sherwood and that iron-clad little Miss Catherine Nash . . . were not in the least tearful but rather tended toward grimness.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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