The Summer Campaign Will Soon Commence~April 1864~8th to 10th

The Summer Campaign Will Soon Commence~Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery

Both sides make ready for long, hard fighting. Grant issues orders to his commandeers to push hard against the Confederacy. The New York Times updates its readers on differences between British and French policies. Soldiers and their families express their love and concern for each other. In the midst of war during a wet, muddy spring, romance blossoms.

womens fashions, spring, 1864

womens fashions, spring, 1864


April 8– Friday– Paris, France– “Some weeks ago I told you that the French Government had adopted the same regulations with regard to the treatment of belligerent ships in French ports as had been adopted a short time previously by England, but with a modification in regard to coal, on which my information was not then full. These regulations, embodied in a circular . . . have just been published, and will therefore come under your notice. By this document you will be informed that a very important modification has been made on the English regulations . . . . you will comprehend without difficulty, the reason of this difference between the two countries. England, which enjoys a monopoly of coal, desires to make of that article an article contraband of war, while France, which has but little coal, has every interest in not making it contraband of war. England will, therefore, naturally try upon every occasion to force the adoption of this precedent upon the maritime nations, for, in case of war between England and any other country, her steamers might be constantly supplied by coal from her numerous and well-supplied depots, while the enemy, reduced to a smaller number of depots, and prohibited from replenishing in the ports of any one nation oftener than once in three months, would find its steam force on the sea very greatly paralyzed. The rules, therefore, which have just been adopted by the two countries do not borrow either their general provisions nor their differences from the circumstance that they are issued to cover the present case of the Federal and Confederate vessels, but from general principles, which each Power wishes to establish as a precedent in the code of nations. Thus, a question of coal forces France to show more favor to rebel privateers than England, and yet the greater sympathy for the rebel cause exists in England.” ~ Dispatch from a reporter for the New York Times.

April 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I got a letter from Mother this morning, & she sends one to you for me to direct [to you] . . . you must write to Mother oftener; before she got this last letter it was too long, & seemed ten times longer than it was– if she don’t hear from you in a long while she just gets sick about it– she is getting pretty old, & shows it at last– still I think she is pretty well. Nothing new with me. . . . We are having another rain-storm set in here this morning. Congress is splurging away, doing some good things too.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his brother George.

April 9– Saturday– Culpepper Court House, Virginia– General Grant issues campaign orders. He tells General George Meade, “Wherever Lee goes, you will go there.” Similar orders are issued to General William Tecumseh Sherman, stressing that Sherman is to press the rebels without letup. He intends to launch simultaneous and massive assaults on both the eastern and western theaters of the war in May. Grant will command in the field, not from an office in Washington, accompanying General Meade in the campaign against General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. In Georgia, General Sherman is to push hard against the Confederates under General Joseph E. Johnston.


Federal troops begin to move out

Federal troops begin to move out

April 9– Saturday– near Stephensburg, Virginia– “The Summer Campaign will soon commence. We are engaged digging up the Earth, making breast works. This looks as though we will stand the rebs a fight here if they make an attack. We has a good position . There is height here that we can plant our artillery on that we can give them an introduction to some of the Yanks shells. . . . I must say that I am very well contented here but as long as I have parents, wife and children, I would rather be at home. I am glad that I can make myself so content. Time passes very fast with me. Although soldering is no fun but I must say with all the hardships and exposures that I have endured since I am in the Service, I have never had my health better. . . . I think that the summer will end this rebellion; and it may end me for all that I know. If it should, blessed by God, I have a bright hope that reaches beyond the grave.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

April 9– Saturday– Pleasant Hill, Louisiana– Confederate forces pursue the retreating Union force they beat yesterday at Mansfield and win another hard fight. Total Federal losses– dead, wounded, missing– are 1,369. The second victory in a row costs the Southerners a total of 1,626 killed, wounded and missing.

April 9– Saturday– Liverpool, England– Birth of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti, electrical engineer and inventor. [Dies January 13, 1930.]


Sebastian de Ferranti

Sebastian de Ferranti

April 10– Sunday– New York City– “Congress is doing bravely with its constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. Think of Reverdy Johnson sustaining and advocating it! ‘John Brown’s soul’s a-marching on’– double quick.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

April 10– Sunday– New York City– “On Easter Day [two weeks ago, March 27th] the congregation of the Church of the Holy Apostles, corner Twenty-eighth-street and Ninth-avenue, Rev Dr Howland, Rector, made their Easter offerings to remove the church debt. They amounted in the morning to $9,760 which has since been increased to $10,500 thus relieving the parish from all embarrassments, and making in all nearly $20,000 contributed within a very short time for this object entirely from within themselves. When the present Rector assumed the charge of the parish, about 17 years ago, it only contained 20 communicants, now they number upward of 400. While thus providing for home they have not neglected their duties outside. For several years they have maintained a missionary for the neighborhood, and another very flourishing parish in the vicinity owes its start and first support to generous hearts in this church, the two parishes now consisting of 600 communicants. The prospects for a future prosperous career are very bright.” ~ New York Times.

April 10– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, we expect a commencement of the fighting below very soon, there is every indication of it– we have had about as severe rain storms here lately as I ever see– it is middling pleasant now . . . . Mother, you don’t know what a feeling a man gets after being in the active sights & influences of the camp, the Army, the wounded &c– he gets to have a deep feeling he never experienced before– the flag, the tune of Yankee Doodle, & similar things, produce an effect on a fellow never such before. I have seen some bring tears on the men’s cheeks, & others turn pale, under such circumstances. I have a little flag (it belonged to one of our cavalry regiments) presented to me by one of the wounded– it was taken by the secesh in a cavalry fight, & rescued by our men in a bloody little skirmish, it cost three men’s lives, just to get one little flag, four by three– our men rescued it, & tore it from the breast of a dead rebel– all that just for the name of getting their little banner back again– this man that got it was very badly wounded, & they let him keep it. I was with him a good deal, he wanted to give me something he said, he didn’t expect to live, so he gave me the little banner as a keepsake. I mention this, Mother, to show you a specimen of the feeling there.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.


Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

April 10– Sunday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “Rain and mud. Today I again took charge of my Sunday School and had a pleasant time with the boys. The Chaplain preached a good sermon this afternoon. Las night I received a box of good things and sent for the [other] officers. We enjoyed the cake, cigars, etc very much.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes. [Heavy rains in Virginia wash out or otherwise damage a number of bridges which will pose problems for the movement of both armies.]


April 10– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “I got so vexed at some of thy acquaintances in the neighborhood that I did not care about going to see any of the neighbors. Our Company was at home two months [and] some of the people begrudged our furlough [as] they said they knowed [sic] what we were sent home for– because they could not feed us in the army and said we had to come and eat off of [them] and that did not please my appetite but thank god I did not pester them– you may bet on that. I think you might have written to me some ago. I suppose you think I might have done the same but you know that it is against my profession to write much. I have been here ever since the 6 of March and have not got but one letter and that was from Andy. I have written home three or four times and to nearly all so I heard from Andy yesterday– he is well. I must bring my letter to a close. Write soon give my prayer & regards to uncles and cousins and be a good girl and do what you are told by cousin Becky– tell cousin John to write to me and give me the news– nothing more.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James Long to his sister Cynthia Long.


April 10– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “It will soon be two years now since I first left home, and nearly fourteen months since I was at home on furlough. It seems long indeed to be separated from you and my darling boy. I try to submit to it with as good grace as possible, knowing that I am doing my duty to my country, and by so doing I will have a clear conscience. I want this war to end and to be at home as bad as anybody can but I do not believe I could enjoy myself at homes such times as these if I was able to do duty. I would enjoy a furlough though to the greatest extent, but my chance for one is a long way off yet, I fear.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.


April 10– Sunday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “Oh! what a relief to the weary, aching brain, when there seems naught for which to live; when this beautiful earth holds no joy; when the glorious sunsets, with their rose tinted clouds have no beauty; when our life’s barks seem drifting ceaselessly on, and we are powerless for good or ill-oh! what a relief to lie down, and closing our eyes, forget it all. To feel that at least while we slumber the scorpion-sting of memory is robbed of it’s poison,-the goading, burning lash of human thought stayed,-and then comes a day, glaring again,-and so it goes on to the bitter end. We are all alike in this wicked human world. Let us strive as we will to soar above it, at last it all comes back to us-human hearts full of passion, love, and beauty-full of sin, sorrow, and suffering; the world overflowing with good and ill. Sometimes in life our value is appreciated, and we can claim true, affectionate, friends,-meet with lofty, generous souls, whose very beings thrill with instinctive love for the whole human race; but mostly we are not understood until the flowers and shadowy, green grass bloom and fade above us, and we lie mute below. Such is my life, how long it must be, no matter, God in his own good time will brighten my life.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson


April 10– Sunday– Dooly County, Georgia– “With pleasure I accept the ring with all your love. I like it very much. It is a neat piece of work; something different from anything I’ve seen. I intend sending you some token of my love and remembrance soon. We heard from [my] Brother yesterday, he is in Greeneville, Tennessee, think that Army will be sent back to Virginia this spring. I hope so at least, as they prefer it to Tennessee. The Spring campaign will no doubt soon open and I do hope our Army will never invade Yankee soil any more. It seems we never meet with so much success as when we fight on the defensive.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer.

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