Monthly Archives: May 2014

Interesting Though Not Sensational~May 1864~29th to 31st

Interesting Though Not Sensational~Gideon Welles

The month finishes with much hard fighting, particularly in Virginia and Georgia. Some Republicans seek an alternative Lincoln.

General Grant

General Grant

May 29– Sunday– approaching Cold Harbor, Virginia– “You will see that our army is now near Richmond and no doubt here is where the great battle of the war will be fought, and whatever the country or people think, I know not but I can speak for the army. We feel perfectly confident of success. We have whipped them every time we have fought for the last month and with the blessing of God we can do it again. I am somewhat uneasy about our army under General Johnston at Atlanta, still hope he will give a good account of himself. Oh, how I long for rest and for the presence of my dearest Molly. I trust in God that if I never get to see my own dear wife that we will meet in heaven where parting and wars are no more.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W A Stilwell to his wife Molly.

May 29– Sunday– Salem, Arkansas; Winchester, Tennessee; along the Yazoo River, Mississippi; Moulton, Alabama; Newtown, Virginia; Hamlin, West Virginia; Bayou Fordoche Road, Louisiana; Middleburg, Virginia– Raids, skirmishes, ambushes and firefights.

May 29– Sunday– Amsterdam, Netherlands– Birth of A H Borgesius, educator and amateur astronomer. [Dies May 27, 1941.]

May 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have no news at all to write this time. . . . Grant is gradually getting nearer & nearer to Richmond. Many [here] anticipate that should Grant go into Richmond, Lee will make a side movement & march up west, into the north, either to attempt to strike Washington, or to go again into Pennsylvania. I only say if that should happen, I for one shall not be dissatisfied so very much. . . . I have been in one of the worst hospitals all the forenoon, it contains about 1600 [patients]. I have given the men pipes & tobacco, (I am the only one that gives them tobacco). O how much good it does some of them– the chaplains & most of the doctors are down upon it but I give them & let them smoke– to others I have given oranges, fed them.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother, Louisa.

Louisa Whitman

Louisa Whitman

May 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The army movements have been interesting for the last few days, though not sensational. Grant has not obtained a victory but performed another remarkably successful flank movement. Sherman is progressing in Georgia.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 30– Monday– approaching Cold Harbor, Virginia– “The slaughter of the enemy in the Wilderness was immense. The battle was fought in a wilderness indeed no artillery being used except on the left of our line. Grant finding he could do nothing in the Wilderness, commenced moving his army towards our right in the direction of Fredericksburg, hoping I’ve no doubt to flank General Lee; but he was handsomely foiled by General R.H. Anderson, our former division commander, at that time commanding Longstreet’s Corps, whom, I forgot to mention, as being among the wounded at the Wilderness. As Grant is considerably nearer Richmond now . . . I’m afraid some of the people at home will think that General Lee is outflanked, out-generaled, whipped. Let me tell you that is all entirely a mistake. Our troops were never in better spirits or more confident of success. There only awaits the advancement of the enemy. . . . I do hope . . . the whole Confederate army may be successful in the approaching struggles, and that God will crown our efforts with a speedy, happy lasting peace.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee.

May 30– Monday– near Dallas, Georgia– “My health is good but we are all about tired out. The Cavalry has never had such hard work or so much fighting. Our horses have not had a feed of grain in four days. They cannot go much further. The whole rebel army is in front of us. They are determined to drive us back or die. Night before last they made an assault upon our lines but were repulsed with a loss of 800. Last night there was the most terrific fighting I ever heard. The whole rebel army I should judge was charging upon our lines. I have had no report of the result yet. Only that we held our line firmly. Their loss must be terrible. Such firing and crashing and moaning was never heard. Our Cavalry fell back to the left and we were four miles in the rear when the assault was made. The whole sky was lit up as if the world was on fire. A sullen and continuous roar was heard. The sound would rise and fall like the waves of ocean. The earth fairly trembled and shrunk from the shock of hundreds of cannon. I am confident of success. We cannot fail. Our Army is large, larger than you imagine and our cause is just.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Henry Albert Potter to his father.

May 31–Tuesday– Cleveland, Ohio–A convention of 350 Radical Republicans nominates John C Fremont for president and John Cochran of New York for vice-president. Their platform calls for a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, no compromise with the Confederacy, a one term limit for the office of president, direct election of president and vice-president, a policy of reconstruction for the defeated South to be set by Congress and not the president, the plantations of Southern rebels to be given to Union veterans and no toleration of “the establishment of any anti-republican government on this continent by any foreign power.”

John C. Fremont

John C. Fremont

May 31–Tuesday– Washington, D.C.–“Mr. Seward sent me on Saturday a correspondence between himself and Lord Lyons and the Treasury Department relative to a large amount of cotton which was purchased a few months since in Georgia by one John Mulholland, an Englishman, who desires to bring it out, or, if he could not do that, to have it protected. . . . I decline giving any such instructions, and so have written Mr. Seward, considering it illegal as well as inexpedient, telling him it would be a precedent for transferring all the products of the South into foreign hands to pay for munitions of war which we should be bound to protect. None but Englishmen would have the presumption to make such a request. It is entitled to no respect or consideration. Not unlikely it is cotton of the Rebel government covered up.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 31–Tuesday– Washington, D.C.–The House of Representatives defeats a resolution for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery [which will eventually become the Thirteenth Amendment] by a vote of 55 in favor but 75 opposed.

May 31– Tuesday– approaching Mechanicsville, Virginia– In his diary Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes notes that since leaving winter quarters his regiment has lost 2 officers killed, 8 officers wounded and “nearly one hundred enlisted men killed and wounded. Surely war is a cruel business, and what sorrow will be felt in Rhode Island when the sad news reaches our friends.”

Andersonville_Prison

May 31– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “About eleven hundred Yankee prisoners of war, officers and privates, held at the Libby, and elsewhere in Richmond, will be started southward to day, via Danville, for Andersonville, Georgia. The lot will probably be divided, part going to day, and the balance tomorrow.” ~ Richmond Examiner

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I Know You Are Full of Anxiety~May 1864~26th to 29th

I Know You Are Full of Anxiety ~ Confederate soldier to his wife.

Soldiers of both sides write home about battles, prisons, fears and hopes. Plenty of fighting takes place in Virginia and in Georgia. Confederate officials continue to deny misconduct at Fort Pillow. The great Congressman and radical abolitionist Joshua Giddings dies. President Lincoln updates the Senate about the situation in Mexico while the European couple claiming to be the rulers of Mexico arrive to take the throne.

artillery-civil-war-001

May 26– Thursday– Hanover Junction, Virginia– “I know you are full of anxiety and are waiting to hear from me – I have not written for several days, because I have been to busy, and then we are cut off from direct communication – but I think the road is still open by Lynchburg & I will write, hoping you may get it – I wish I were at home to cheer you up , but when I tell you that all is going well I know you will believe it & take heart accordingly . . . . I do not know but the fortune of war may expose the [Shenandoah] Valley to invasion, but I trust that the same kind Providence that has so far shielded it will continue His favor & keep it from pollution – the many bloody lessons the enemy has learned there ought to teach him to keep away . . . . I hope you are getting along tolerably – though I am full of anxiety knowing you are ill able physically to endure this fiery trial, but your great heart I trust, & an unfailing Providence will sustain you & enable you to go through these trying times – I have money but do not think it safe to send it . . . but if you need any money call on either of the Mr. Bears to advance some to you until such time as I can send it – which I hope will not be long – for this great battle cannot be delayed much longer.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

May 26– Thursday– North Anna, Virginia– “I have slept undisturbed for two nights, and also have slept a good portion of the day time and feel considerable revived. I shaved yesterday and took off all my whiskers which helped my feelings. If I had the chance to wash the shirt and drawers I have on I would feel much better. I have a clean shirt and pair of drawers along but do not want to put them on unless I could wash these I have on, for they would be too heavy to carry with so much mud on them.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

May 26– Thursday– Knoxville, Tennessee– “The forces of the Government, as you know, have for sometime, been withdrawn from the upper part of Eastern Tennessee. We now, have no troops above Strawberry Plains, leaving all the country from that point to Bristol in the hands of about Two Hundred and fifty Rebels, who are ravaging the country at pleasure, committing daily robberies, and occasional murders. I learn to day, that they are pasturing our wheat fields. This is to be the ruin of the people, as our people in a great measure, depend on their harvest for the means of living– I mention these things to you, as I trust you will do something to relieve our part of the country. There are two squads of Rebels, who stay about Greeneville, and Rogersville. They do not exceed 150 men. If you will have one good Regiment of East Tennesseans, sent to the upper country, you will relieve us, and get the lasting gratitude of the people of that section. Unless you do something I feel that there is no hope, and therefore, in the name of your old neighbors, and in my own, I earnestly call on you, for prompt action. We want our own men, who know the roads & the fords, & who feel an interest in the country and its inhabitants.”~ Letter from Mr J Netherland to the military governor Andrew Johnson.

May 26– Thursday– Andersonville, Georgia– Reports from Camp Sumter prison-camp to Confederate officials in Richmond indicate that while Commander Henry Wirz is an efficient officer, the polluted stockade creek at the camp is unfit for drinking and bathing, with the water current of insufficient force to remove wastes from the feces laden creek bed, further exacerbating the already overwhelming problem of controlling disease among the prisoners.

May 26– Thursday– Solothurn, Switzerland– Karl Anton Postl, who for 42 years has lived, traveled and written as Charles Sealsfield, dies at age 71, revealing in his will his real name and that he had been a monk.

Charles Sealsfield

Charles Sealsfield

May 27– Friday– New York City– “Grant still goes Vorwarts [“forward”] as obstinately as old Blucher, and has crossed the North Anna after a sharp conflict, in which field-works seem to have been stormed in a style creditable to any soldier.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [Gebhard von Blucher was the field marshal who led the Prussian charge against the French at the last stage of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, urging his soldiers to give no quarter.]

May 27– Friday– Pickett’s Mill, Georgia– “The fight had scarcely ceased when it commenced to rain, and there we had to sit and be rained upon without shelter and without a fire. After midnight we were relieved and taken a piece to the rear, but our boys did not come until morning, and hungry, wet, without a blanket, we did not have a very pleasant night of it. At daylight the boys came with coffee, meat, crackers and blankets. We are still in the same place. Yesterday there was only skirmishing, etc., and the army got into position. It seems that the whole rebel army is in our front. Today, it is said at nine A. M. a general advance is to be made; our right, left and center are to make a simultaneous attack. We will probably be under fire before night. May God crown our arms with success. Two of Company G were killed on Wednesday. Robert Templeton and Emerson Smith. They were both excellent men, cool and brave. Truer and braver hearts have never fallen in battle. If you know their parents, tell them how sincerely we condole with them in the loss of those brave boys. We are getting ready to move.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

Picketts Mill, Georgia

Picketts Mill, Georgia

May 27– Friday– Pickett’s Mill, Georgia– In hard fighting, Confederates repulse a Federal attack with heavy losses. Total casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are estimated at 1,600 for the Union and about 500 for the Confederates.

May 27– Friday– Meridian, Mississippi– “It would be superfluous for me here to advert to the skill and gallantry displayed by . . . [General] Forrest and the officers and men under his command in the engagements above referred to, in which such a handsome addition has been made to the trophies we have wrested from the enemy. Few cavalry raids have been productive of such brilliant results to our arms or of such disastrous discomfiture to the enemy as that which has rendered famous the expedition whence General Forrest’s command has just returned. I will direct that Union City and Fort Pillow be inscribed on the colors of those organizations which distinguished themselves in these engagements.” ~ Report from Confederate General Stephen Dill Lee.

May 27– Friday– Hanover Junction, Virginia; Mout Zion Church, Georgia; Sexton’s Station, Virginia; Pond Springs, Alabama; Pole Cat Creek, Virginia; Greenville, Mississippi; Salem Church, Virginia; Cassville, Georgia; Dabney’s Ferry, Virginia; Shanghai, Missouri; Mount Carmel Church, Virginia; Haovertown, Virginia– Skirmishes and bloody encounters.

May 27–Friday– Montreal, Canada–While serving as U S Consul-General, Joshua R Giddings dies at age 68. [Giddings, Pennsylvania-born, whose family moved to Ohio when he was 10, was an adamant and uncompromising abolitionist who served 20 years in Congress, much to the distress of Southerners. He was a friend of John Quincy Adams, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and Charles Sumner. See, Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress by William Lee Miller (1995); The Life of Joshua R Giddings by George Washington Julian (1892); Joshua Reed Giddings, a Champion of Political Freedom by Byron R Long (1919); Joshua R Giddings and the Tactics of Radical Politics by James Brewer Stewart (1970).]

Joshua Giddings

Joshua Giddings

May 28– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “In reply to a resolution of the Senate of the 25th instant, relating to Mexican affairs, I transmit a partial report from the Secretary of State of this date, with the papers therein mentioned.” ~ Message from President Lincoln updating the Senate about the situation in Mexico.

May 28– Saturday– Staunton, Virginia– “As an other opportunity offers, I write hoping that it may reach you. I am now improving in health. Dr Murphy stopped with us a few days. I got him to prescribe for me. I have since been taking his medicine and with quite good effect I feel more relief than from anything taken before . . . . I’m still running the Hotel but there is not much doing now being but little travel since the commencement of the fighting . . . . I have been waiting anxiously for a chance to get home but I see none as yet. I am so anxious to be with you. I do wish you were here or me there. I am sorely tired of this way living & am anxious for a change for the better. Mrs Thomas & family & Miss Fanny Snodgrass are here & some two other families which makes some company and the little children running about makes it feel more like home than formerly but I hope this state of things won’t exist long & that we may soon be together to remain so for all time. Mrs Hersch who visited you sometime ago, gave me word that you were well &c &c– why did you not write by her? You are too cruel keeping me in such suspense for a little writing when you have so many chances to write & don t but I hope you will make amends for this cruelty.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

May 28– Saturday– Macon, Georgia– “Since I last wrote you we have been removed from Libby [Prison in Richmond, Virginia] to this place here we are encamped in a fair ground with open air exercise & good water. The change is I think a healthy one. . . . I have not heard from Brother Frank since I last wrote. He is some 70 miles from here at Andersonville Georgia. Farther we are all anxiously hoping for an exchange. I cannot see why it does not take place. Some of us have now been prisoners over a year. Perhaps when we least think of it the happy moment will come. . . . Farther I like the climate down here very much, it is just the weather for me. Warm.” ~ Letter from Union soldier James A Carman to his father in Pennsylvania.

May 28–Saturday– Lamar, Missouri–Confederate forces pillage the town.

May 28–Saturday– Veracruz, Mexico– The nobles Maximilian, age 32, and his wife Charlotte, age 24, arrive from Europe. Maximilian has claimed the throne of Mexico at urging of and with the military support of French Emperor Napoleon III. [Maximilian will be captured by the Mexicans and executed June 19, 1867. Charlotte will flee to Europe before her husband’s capture and will eventually die in seclusion in Belgium on January 19, 1927.]

Emperor Maxillian

Emperor Maxillian

May 29– Sunday– New York City– “News from Grant. He retired across the North Anna, but moved quickly down its left bank and down that the Pamunkey, crossed it, turning Lee’s position, and held Hanover (not Hanover C.H.) Some twelve miles from Richmond on Friday. If this series of bold movements succeed, Grant will be held a great general. Should Lee be forced to cross the James River, rebeldom will totter to its base. God grant it!” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

May 29– Sunday– Peakes Station, Virginia– “We left our works about noon and marched . . . we found part of our 6th Corp tearing up the railroad. We formed in line to defend them from the Rebels should they appear. Tearing up railroads is an old trick of ours. The Rebel lines are in sight of us but we hope to make them move on again soon.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Poor Suffering Young Men, Great Swarms of Them~May 1864~22nd to 26th

Poor Suffering Young Men, Great Swarms of Them ~ Walt Whitman.

Whitman ponders death and describes the number of casualties coming into the Washington hospitals. Secretary of the Navy Welles evaluates the after-effects of the fake proclamation. Congress and the Lincoln Cabinet consider the French intervention in Mexico. In a small but significant fight black Union soldiers face the troops of Lee’s Army of Northen Virginia and win. Drunken soldiers are a problem on northern railroads. In Georgia, conditions worsen at the Andersonville prison camp and the mayor of Atlanta summons all the men of the city to prepare to defend it against Sherman’s advance.

General Sherman's troops destroying a southern railroad

General Sherman’s troops destroying a southern railroad

May 22– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– At Camp Sumter, the inmate hospital, previously located inside of the disease ridden and filthy stockade, is relocated southeast of the prison in an oak grove. While this provides a healthier environment for the patients, it does little to lessen the high death rate caused by a lack of food and medicine.

May 23– Monday– New York City– “The martyred newspapers, the World and Journal of Commerce, have been ungagged, and the former vomits acid bile most copiously.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

May 23– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Sometimes I think that should it come, when it must be, to fall in battle, one’s anguish over a son or brother killed, would be tempered with much to take the edge off. I can honestly say it has no terrors for me, if I had to be hit in battle, as far as I myself am concerned– it would be a noble & manly death, & in the best cause– then one finds, as I have the past year, that our feelings & imaginations make a thousand times too much of the whole matter. Of the many I have seen die, or known of, the past year, I have not seen or heard of one who met death with any terror.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his brother Jeff.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

May 23– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The author of the forged proclamation has been detected. His name is Howard, and he has been long connected with the New York press, but especially with the Times. If I am not mistaken, he has been one of my assailants and a defamer of the [Navy] Department. He is of a pestiferous class of reckless sensation-writers for an unscrupulous set of journalists who misinform the public mind. Scarcely one of them has regard for truth, and nearly all make use of their positions to subserve selfish, mercenary ends. This forger and falsifier Howard is a specimen of the miserable tribe. The seizure of the office of the World and Journal of Commerce for publishing this forgery was hasty, rash, inconsiderate, and wrong, and cannot be defended. They are mischievous and pernicious, working assiduously against the Union and the Government and giving countenance and encouragement to the Rebellion, but were in this instance the dupes, perhaps the willing dupes, of a knave and wretch. The act of suspending these journals, and the whole arbitrary and oppressive proceedings, had its origin with the Secretary of State. Stanton, I have no doubt, was willing to act on Seward’s promptings, and the President, in deference to Seward, yielded to it. These things are to be regretted. They weaken the Administration and strengthen its enemies. Yet the Administration ought not to be condemned for the misdeeds of one, or at most two, of its members. They would not be if the President was less influenced by them.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

May 23– Monday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I am once more permitted by my kind redeemer to write you a short Epistle, in Compliance With yours which finds me in good health. And truly hope when those few lines Come to hand they will find you enjoying a happier Condition of life than I am at present; Cousin, I will have to relate the sad event To you as it is more than I can bury within my own heart, although it is what we are all Destined to some day sooner or later, Cousin John Houser received a wound in the recent Battle which has Called him home to rest, & I truly hope although he gave no satisfactory evidence of his rest or assurance in Christ that he may Be numbered with the blest. His only request was to see his Pa but he died & was buried Before his Pa arrived at the hospital he died in the hospital at Charlottesville & was buried there.” ~ Letter from Mollie Houser to her cousin James Houser.

May 23– Monday– near Spotsylvania, Virginia– “We advanced to find out if the Yankees were gone. We soon came in contact with their skirmishers and a brisk engagement ensued. We drove them a good long ways till we came up with too strong a force for us, who were well fortified. We then retreated and that night commenced our march down to this place. My feet stood the march pretty well but I am poor and thin and am tired down. I wish old Grant had fought us up there but he knew we would whip him there, and he wants to try another place.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

May 23– Monday– Atlanta, Georgia– “In view of the dangers which threaten us, and in pursuance of a call made by General Wright and General Wayne, I require all the male citizens of Atlanta, capable of bearing arms, without regard to occupation, who are not in the Confederate or State service, to report by 12 M. [noon], on Thursday, the 26th instant to O. H. Jones, marshal of the city, to be organized into companies and armed, and to report to General Wright when organized. And all male citizens who are not willing to defend their homes and families are requested to leave the city at their earliest convenience, as their presence only embarrasses the authorities and tends to the demoralization of others.” ~ Proclamation by Mayor James M Calhoun.

James Calhoun, Mayor of Atlanta

James Calhoun, Mayor of Atlanta

May 23– Monday– Copenhagen, Denmark– Birth of Louis Christian Glass, composer. [Dies January 22, 1936.]

May 24– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of yesterday on the subject of the joint resolution of the 4th of last month relative to Mexico, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution was referred.” ~ Message from President Lincoln updating the House of Representatives on the situation in Mexico.

May 24– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Nothing especial at the Cabinet. The condition and position of the armies canvassed. Chase was not present. He seldom attends of late. . . . Seward sent to my house on Saturday evening a bundle of dispatches from Mr. Dayton [U. S. Minister to France], and also from Mr. Bigelow, our consul at Paris, relative to the conduct and feelings of the French Government. That breaking through the blockade for tobacco looks mischievous, and one or more vessels ought doubtless to appear in European waters. Bigelow, in his confidential dispatch, tells Seward that it was not judicious to have explained to the French Government in regard to the resolution of our House of Representatives that they would maintain the Monroe Doctrine.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 24– Tuesday– Wilson’s Wharf, Virginia–Black units of Federal forces repulse a Confederate attack. Casualties are relatively light on both sides– 46 total for the Federals, 200 total for the Confederates– and the action has little long term military effect, but the North scores a propaganda victory. It is the first significant combat encounter between the Army of Northern Virginia and black soldiers, who fight well in a defensive battle against a larger attacking force. Southerners, unwilling to acknowledge their defeat against a predominantly African-American force, claim that six gunboats and substantial numbers of white Union soldiers were involved in the action. In actuality, only one Union gunboat gave artillery support to the black soldiers.

BlKKIDIII

May 24– Tuesday– somewhere along the North Anna River, Virginia– “We went back a short distance on the same road we came and we sharpshooters deployed and forwarded ahead of the Brigade through a thick woods. We soon ran up with the Yankee skirmish line, and fought them hot and heavy, drove them in and fought the line of battle for awhile. But they got too strong for us and we fell back, expecting to find the Brigade in our rear ready to go on and whip them out. But we had inclined to the right and the Brigade to the left, so where I was I found no support at all in my rear. Several of us fell back to the railroad where started from. The fight then opened in earnest. They drove the Yanks a good ways but fell back about a mile last night. I am now on the skirmish line and our forces building breastworks. We are looking for another fight at any time. I slept but little last night. It is useless to talk about how tired and sore I am. I have not changed clothes or shaved since the fighting commenced. Pray for me. May God bless you and my noble boy.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

May 24– Tuesday– Cass Station, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; Huntsville, Georgia; Holly Springs, Mississippi; Dallas, Georgia; Little Rock, Arkansas; Cassville, Georgia; Morganza, Louisiana; Charles Town, West Virginia; Wilson’s Wharf, Virginia; Lewisburg, West Virginia– Skirmishes, fire fights, contests and tussles.

May 25– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Mr. W. P. Smith, Master of Transportation on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, has sent a circular letter to all officers in command of troops stationed along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, stating that frequent depredations have occurred of late by unruliness on the part of the troops, while being carried over the road in detachments or larger commands. . . . In other instances, a number of soldiers, under the influence of liquor, have risked the lives of their fellow passengers on the train and others, by disorderly conduct. . . . This is a most serious and a growing evil, involving great losses to a company, and to many individuals. Mr. Smith says, that, independent of the general propriety and duty, which calls for efforts at preventing these irregularities and abuses, the fact that the passenger trains contain many officers and soldiers and their families, moving over the road . . . he hopes it is not amiss for him to invoke vigilant attention to the subject, so that a careful supervision on the part of the officers, and a prompt alacrity to prevent danger and possibly loss of life or personal injury to passengers, in arresting the offenders and interposing their authority these grave difficulties may be remedied.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

MilitaryRailroad Engine

May 25– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, it is just the same old story, poor suffering young men, great swarms of them come up here, now, every day, all battered & bloody– there have 4000 arrived here this morning, & 1500 yesterday– they appear to be bringing them all up here from Fredericksburg– the journey from the field till they get aboard the boats at Bell Plain is horrible . . . . But, Mother, I shall make you gloomy enough if I go on with these kind of particulars. Only I know you like to hear about the poor young men, after I have once begun to mention them. Mother, I have changed my quarters– am at 502 Pennsylvania avenue near 3rd street, only a little way from the Capitol– where I was, the house was sold & the old lady I hired the room from had to move out & give the owner possession. I like my new quarters pretty well. I have a room to myself, 3rd story hall bedroom, I have my meals in the house.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

May 25– Wednesday– New Hope Church, Georgia– A pitched battle to stop General Sherman’s advance toward Atlanta begins today and will last for the next eleven days.

May 25– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the Andersonville prison-camp, Commander Henry Wirz, having heard that a group of inmates plan a mass escape, posts a sign inside the stockade that if prisoners attempted to escape, he will order the artillery to open fire into the compound.

May 26– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– President Lincoln meets with Attorney General Bates and Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts to discuss the pay of African American clergy who serve as chaplains.

That Serious Prosaic Way That Characterizes Americans~May 1864~20th to 22nd

That Serious Prosaic Way That Characterizes Americans~letter from a Union officer In Virginia and in Georgia soldiers write of battles, food or the lack of it and thoughts of loved ones at home.

soldiers rest when & where they can

soldiers rest when & where they can

May 20– Friday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “A mail arrived today, the first in several days. I received eighteen letters as my share. We have finished our earthworks and now feel secure. . . . Let the Rebels try to take them if they want to.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

May 20– Friday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “To-day has been entirely quiet, our pickets deliberately exchanging papers, despite orders to the contrary. These men are incomprehensible now standing from daylight to dark killing and wounding each other by thousands, and now making jokes and exchanging newspapers! You see them lying side by side in the hospitals, talking together in that serious prosaic way that characterizes Americans. The great staples of conversation are the size and quality of rations, the marches they have made, and the regiments they have fought against. All sense of personal spite is sunk in the immensity of the contest.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his wife

Elizabeth. May 20– Friday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “I wrote you a few lines from this place a few days ago, and since then we have been steadily gaining ground but there has been no very decisive battle fought yet, although I think so far, the fighting has decidedly been in our favor. . . . About One O’clock yesterday morning we were relieved in the rifle pits and withdrawn to the rear, where we are now, resting ourselves and having good times. Mother I suppose you know how we are getting along, better than we do ourselves, for I expect the newspaper correspondents keep you pretty well posted as to our movements, and here there are so many rumors flying around, that a fellow only knows, what he sees himself.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Louisa Whitman

Louisa Whitman

May 20– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “About 8 o’clock this morning a terrible collision took place in the curve of the deep cut immediately south of Elk River Bridge, between a train from the south, loaded with prisoners and wounded from Resaca, and a train from the north, loaded with forage, and a portion of the 2nd Ohio. Three soldiers of Company I, Captain T. A. Stevenson, were killed outright, and nine or ten wounded. It is alleged that the accident was caused by the train from the south running out of time, and at the reckless speed of thirty or forty miles per hour, on this very dangerous part of the road. There is no doubt of the fact that the conductor and engineer both jumped from the train and skedaddled as soon as they discovered that a collision was inevitable and have not been heard of since. No blame is attached to the managers of the train from the north, who succeeded in bringing it to a stand before the blow was received. The two locomotives and tenders were badly smashed, the standing train, being knocked back fully fifty yards, and running one platform car completely on top of another, on which the soldiers were sleeping on sacks of corn. Between these cars were the killed and wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Ewing, Captain Stevenson, and Lieutenant Johnson, of the Heavy Artillery, were conspicuous in their exertions to extricate the sufferers from the wreck. By two o’clock, P. M., the road was clear, and the trains commenced running as usual.” ~ Memphis Bulletin

May 20– Friday– Kingston, Georgia– “I have daily telegraphed . . . our progress, and have no doubt you have kept pace with our movement. . . . I now have full possession of all the rich country of the Etowah. We occupy Home, Kingston, and Cassville. I have repaired the railroad to these points and now have ordered the essential supplies forward to replenish our wagons, when I will make for Atlanta, fifty-nine miles from here and about fifty from the advance. [Confederate General] Johnston has halted across the Etowah at a place called Allatoona, where the railroad and common road passes through a spur of the mountain, making one of those formidable passes which gives an army on the defensive so much advantage, but I propose to cross the Etowah here and to go for Marietta via Dallas. Look at your map and you will see the move. We expect to cross the Etowah on the 23rd, when we will move straight on fighting when opposed. Of course our laboring and difficulties increase as we progress, whereas our enemy gains strength by picking up his rear guard and detachments. Put forth the whole strength of the nation now, and if we can’t whip the South we must bow our necks in patient submission. A division of our territory by the old lines is impossible. Grant surely is fighting hard enough, and I think this army will make its mark.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his brother Senator John Sherman. battle-wilderness May 20– Friday– Kingston, Georgia– “We are to have one more opportunity to write, two days of rest, and then another campaign, apparently of extraordinary rigor. . . . We also have plenty of fresh meat now, and were so lucky as to get some dried apples and some corn meal. . . . The rations are reduced and the deficiency is to be supplied by foraging. As we are to go through a country where there is no lack of beef cattle, this doubtless means a move on a large scale and another march, probably a battle, and I hope a decisive victory. It is doubtful whether I will be able to send you a letter during these twenty days. The bugle is blowing for dress parade, and the mail is to be taken off.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

May 20– Friday– Dooly County, Georgia– “We are awaiting with much anxiety and fear to hear the full results of the late engagement in Virginia. Not that we fear our army will be unable to cope with the enemy in his strategic movements, for we have already learned that in every effort so far he has been foiled and beaten back but the catalogue of our killed and wounded we fear will make us very sad to read over. We are grieved to hear that General Longstreet was wounded but hope he will recover, that his wound may not prove fatal as did General Jackson’s.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiance Alva Benjamin Spencer.

May 20– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– Local citizens express concern about the increasing number of Yankee prisoners in the prison camp so near their town and call for more Confederate soldiers to stand guard.

May 20– Friday– Etowah, Georgia; Ware Bottom Church, Virginia; Lamar, Missouri; Greenbrier River, West Virginia; Allatoona, Georgia; Mayfield, Kentucky; Greenville, Mississippi; Stony Point, Arkansas; Cartersville, Georgia– Skirmishes, raids, scraps and brawls.

May 20– Friday– Toronto, Ontario, Canada– John George Bowes, Irish-born businessman and political figure who served as mayor of Toronto from 1851 to 1853 and again from 1861 to 1863, dies at approximately 52 years of age. [His exact birth date is unknown.]

May 20– Friday– Northampton, England– The peasant poet John Clare dies at age 70 in the lunatic asylum where he has resided since 1841.

John Clare

John Clare

May 20– Friday– Koorawatha, New South Wales. Australia– Ben Hall, a notorious outlaw, age 27, and his gang escape from a shootout with police after attempting to rob the Bang Bang Hotel. [He will be killed in early May next year in a gun battle with police, 4 days before his 28th birthday.]

May 21– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln decides to lift publication ban on New York newspapers World and Journal of Commerce.

May 21– Saturday– Camden County, Georgia– “How rejoiced I am. Had a letter from Mary. I have held on to it nearly all day and read it I know not how many times– how can I stay here any longer? It is too irksome. If I could I would go today.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

May 21– Saturday– Brussels, Belgium– Birth of Princess Stephanie. [Dies August 23, 1945.] Her first husband, Archduke Rudolph of Austria and heir to the throne, will commit suicide with his young mistress in 1889.

Princess Stephanie of Belgium

Princess Stephanie of Belgium

May 22– Sunday– White House Landing, Virginia– “One week ago yesterday I wrote you. . . . Our mail is still back. . . . But I still hope you are all well. We have not had any fighting the past week Today we came for rations & forage. It is Sabbath but all are in a hurry & bluster– marching, & hallooing making it quite different from the Sabbath at home. My health continues good as usual, except headaches these hot days. I have been living on corn cakes for nearly a week. . . . As I have no particular news I send you my love, remember me to the children & at the throne of grace.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Samuel M. Potter to his wife Cynthia.

May 22– Sunday– somewhere south of Guiney’s Station, Virginia– “I don’t know when I have felt so peaceful everything goes by contrast. We are camped, this lovely evening, in a great clover field, close to a large, old-fashioned house, built of bricks brought from England in ante-revolutionary times. The band is playing ‘Ever of Thee I’m Fondly Dreaming’– so true and appropriate and I have just returned from a long talk with two ultra-Secessionist ladies who live in the house. Don’t be horrified ! You would pity them to see them. One, an old lady, lost her only son at Antietam; the other, a comparatively young person, is plainly soon to augment the race of Rebels. Poor creature! Our cavalry raced through here yesterday and scared her almost to death. Her eyes were red with crying, and it was long before she fully appreciated the fact that General Meade would not order her to instant death. To-night she has two sentries over her property and is lost in surprise. Have I not thence obtained the following supplies: five eggs, a pitcher of milk, two loaves of corn bread, and a basket of lettuce all of which I duly paid for.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his wife Elizabeth.

Paris fashions, May, 1864

Paris fashions, May, 1864

May 22– Sunday– near Cassville, Georgia– “This is a much pleasanter Sunday morning than it was a week ago, not in point of weather alone, but it is more Sunday like. No booming of cannon, no rattling of musketry, no ordering voices harsh with excitement, no shrieks of wounded, no groans of dying, no confusion of battle disturbs the holy quiet of the Sabbath Day. A week ago the riot of human weakness, folly and passion seemed to contend with the goodness of God and for a time almost to gain mastery over it; Nature was calm and placid, the happy birds sung merrily in green boughs, the air was balmy and soft, all betokened the beneficence of the Ruler above, but man converted this scene of peaceful calm to a Pandemonium of terror and destruction until Night kindly threw its mantle over the scene and screened the combatants from each other’s view. Brave men may, but I believe there are very few, if any, who take delight in battle, and very few who in the heat of an engagement will not welcome the coming night as that of a friend who will stop the fierce wrangle and bring relief to the struggling men. There is something so providentially kind in it to those who have survived the dangers of the day, in the fall of night upon the battle field. It brings relief to the anxious heart and inspires it with gratitude to God for the favors shown during those hours of danger. . . . . It seems to me that Sherman has displayed the qualities of a very able and energetic general. We had a circular from him this morning, in which he said that all reports about his suppressing mail communications between soldiers and their friends at home were false; that, on the contrary, he encouraged such correspondence and wished all subordinate commanders to take measures to make the mall service in the field as efficient as possible; the only thing he discouraged was the idlers who traffic in news injurious to the army.” ~ Letter of Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

I Shall Have Awful Thoughts & Dreams~May 1864~18th to 20th

I Shall Have Awful Thoughts & Dreams ~ Walt Whitman In the midst of much suffering and death Whitman tells his mother that in the future “I shall have awful thoughts & dreams.” Many soldiers who survive will likewise suffer. Lincoln takes quick action against the newspapers that printed the false proclamation and the culprit is soon arrested by military authorities. A significant group of editors speak up for the press and its freedom. Lincoln seeks help for the widow of a black soldier. Nathaniel Hawthorne dies.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas there has been wickedly and traitorously printed and published this morning in the New York World and New York Journal of Commerce, newspapers printed and published in the city of New York, a false and spurious proclamation purporting to be signed by the President and to be countersigned by the Secretary of State, which publication is of a treasonable nature, designed to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and to the rebels now at war against the Government and their aiders and abettors, you are therefore hereby commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison in any fort or military prison in your command the editors, proprietors, and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers, and all such persons as, after public notice has been given of the falsehood of said publication, print and publish the same with intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy; and you will hold the persons so arrested in close custody until they can be brought to trial before a military commission for their offense. You will also take possession by military force of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce, and hold the same until further orders, and prohibit any further publication therefrom.” ~ Executive order from President Lincoln to General John Adams Dix.

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, I see such awful things– I expect one of these days, if I live, I shall have awful thoughts & dreams– but it is such a great thing to be able to do some real good, assuage these horrible pains & wounds, & save life even– that’s the only thing that keeps a fellow up,” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

May 18– Wednesday– Cassville, Georgia– “I am happy to inform you that I am yet in the land of the living and am well as common with the exception of being worn out marching, hope these few lines may soon find you in the best of health. Frances, I am sorry to inform you that we have fallen back. We have retreated about 60 miles and are yet retreating. But, my dear Frances, we have seen hard times for the last two weeks. We went into line of battle the 7th of this month, and we have had some powerful hard fighting, and the tyrannical foe has outdone us. They come on us with such overwhelming forces that we could not hold our hand with them. But they did not attack us in front. They flanked us out of our breastworks, got in our rear. I expect this has been the bloodiest battle that has ever been fought during this war. . . . So I am out of all hopes of us ever gaining our independence. We are a ruined people. Our little government is gone up. Where we have already come, we have ruined Georgia, and the enemy is still behind us finishing it.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his girl friend

May 18– Wednesday– Cassville, Georgia; Foster’s Plantation, Virginia; Fletcher’s Ferry, Alabama; Kingston, Georgia; near City Point, Virginia; Pike County, Kentucky; Yellow Bayou, Louisiana; Clarksville, Arkansas; Pine Log Creek, Georgia; Old Oaks, Louisiana; Searcy, Arkansas– Raids, skirmishes, firefights, clashes and armed affairs.

May 19– Thursday– Plymouth, New Hampshire– Friends discover that the well-known author Nathaniel Hawthorne, age 59, has died in his sleep. At this time he is famous for five novels and six collections of short stories. [Other, mostly unfinished materials, will be published posthumously.]

May 19– Thursday– Clarendon, New York– Birth of Carl Ethan Akeley, a taxidermist, biologist, conservationist, inventor, sculptor and photographer, who will be considered the founder of modern taxidermy. [Dies November 18, 1926.]

May 19– Thursday– New York City– “The undersigned, editors and publishers of a portion of the daily press of the city of New York, respectfully represent that the leading journals of this city sustain very extended telegraphic news arrangements, under an organization established in 1848 and known as the New York Associated Press, which is controlled by its members, acting through an executive committee, a general agent in this city, and assistant agents immediately responsible to the association at every important news center throughout this country and Europe. Under the above-named organization the rule has always been to transmit by telegraph all intelligence to the office of the general agent in this city, and by him the same is properly prepared for publication, and then written out by manifold process on tissue paper, and a copy of the same is sent simultaneously in sealed envelopes to each of the editors who are entitled to receive the same. From foregoing statement of facts Your Excellency will readily perceive that an ingenious rogue, knowing the manner in which the editors were supplied with much of their telegraphic news, could, by selecting his time and opportunity, easily impose upon editors or compositors the most wicked and fraudulent reports. . . . The very late hour at which the fraud was perpetrated left no time for consideration as to the authenticity or genuineness of the document . . . . The undersigned beg to state to Your Excellency that the fraud, which succeeded with The World and the Journal of Commerce, was one which, from the circumstances attending it and the practices of the Associated Press, was extremely natural and very liable to have succeeded in any daily newspaper establishment in this city, and inasmuch as, in the judgment of the undersigned, the editors and proprietors of the Journal of Commerce and The World were innocent of any knowledge of wrong in the publication of the fraudulent document, and also in view of the fact that the suspension by Your Excellency’s orders of the two papers last evening has had the effect to awaken editors and publishers and news agents, telegraph companies, &c., to the propriety of increased vigilance in their several duties, the undersigned respectfully request that Your Excellency will be pleased to rescind the order under which The World and the Journal of Commerce were suppressed.” ~ Message from Sidney Howard Gay of the New York Tribune, Erastus Brooks, of the New York Express, Frederick Hudson for James G. Bennett, of the New York Herald and Moses Sperry Beech, of the New York Sun to President Lincoln. [Sydney Howard Gay, age 50, a graduate of Harvard, is an ardent abolitionist and a friend of William Lloyd Garrison, has worked at the Tribune since 1857 and as managing editor since 1862. Erastus Brooks, age 49, and his brother James manage the New York Express. Frederick Hudson, age 45, began working for Bennett at age 18 and manages the paper when Bennett often travels. Hudson will write the first comprehensive history of American journalism in 1873. Moses Beech, age 41, took over the New York Sun when his father retired in 1848 and is a friend of Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. The four of them together represent a spectrum of both journalistic approaches and political views.]

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

May 19– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The bogus proclamation has been the principal topic to-day. The knowledge that it is a forgery has not quieted the public mind.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 19– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The bearer of this is the widow of Major Booth, who fell at Fort Pillow. She makes a point which I think very worthy of consideration which is, widows and children in fact, of Colored soldiers who fell in our service, be placed in law, the same as if their marriages were legal, so that they can have the benefit of the provisions [for] the widows and orphans of white soldiers. Please see and hear Mrs. Booth.”~ Letter from President Lincoln to Senator Charles Sumner. [The law in many states did not recognize slave marriages.]

May 19– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “About a year ago, at the solicitation of the military authorities here, the City Council passed an ordinance, prohibiting the sale of liquor to soldiers. The ordinance has been very rigorously executed in many instances and nearly all of the saloon keepers have been made to pay the penalties of its violation, but as yet no liquor seller has been fined for selling liquor to officers. Although language of the ordinance is plain it has heretofore been construed to apply only to enlisted men. Yesterday two officers took a drink at the house of George Dusch. They were observed by a policeman, who at once summoned them to appear before Alderman Robertson to testify against Dusch, but the officers declined to be sworn, and so the matter rests for the present. Under this construction of the ordinance, which is doubtless the proper one, General Grant himself, could not get, in one of our bar rooms, a drink of the whisky of which he was once reputed to be so fond.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

May 19– Thursday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– The heavy fighting which has raged in this area since May 8th concludes with today’s battle. Total losses for the Union– dead, wounded, missing– amount to 18,399 while the total for Lee’s Confederates reaches 12,687. [The correct numbers continue to be a matter of on-going debate.] Lee has kept Grant from a direct advance against Richmond but with fearful losses for both sides. Grant can expect reenforcements and a continued steam of supplies. Lee can not.

General Grant

General Grant

May 19– Thursday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “We sharpshooters took our positions again after the fight. They left a great many guns but carried off their dead and wounded except one dead man and one of our boys got a watch from him. We can see where they drug off their dead, and blood in profusion through the woods. Old Grant is a tough customer but Lee is an overmatch for him. There is no telling when the fight will end. The prisoners say that Grant says he is going to Richmond or Hell one [or the other], before he quits, and had no idea of recrossing the river as long as he has a man left.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

May 19– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– “We are stopped daily on the street, almost at every step, by people who anxiously inquire the news. A large number of these quidnuncs [“what now”] wear the longest faces they can put on, and their pallid looks would lead one unacquainted with them to suppose they had lost their dearest and best friend, or perhaps a whole family of friends. They cry in our ears a most dismal cry. Some of them say to us: ‘Why do you publish such flattering opinions about the situation? You know as well as I do that Johnston is falling back, and that Atlanta is threatened. You are misleading the people by holding out to them hopes which will be dashed to the ground. Johnston is being outflanked up there and we are losing ground that will never be regained.’” ~ Daily Intelligencer

May 20– Friday– New York City– “I have arrested and am sending to Fort Lafayette Joseph Howard, the author of the forged proclamation. He is a newspaper reporter, and is known as ‘Howard,’ of the Times. He has been very frank in his confession– says it was a stock-jobbing operation, and that no person connected with the press had any agency in the transaction except another reporter, who took manifolds and distributed the proclamation to the newspapers, and whose arrest I have ordered. He exonerates the Independent Telegraph Line . . . . His statement in all essential particulars is corroborated by other testimony.” ~ Report from General John A Dix to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

Union General John A Dix

Union General John A Dix

May 20– Friday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “I was absent today, but Mr. Stoner opened your dispatch & saw Mr. Hutton. He will give particular attention to inquiries about your son. . . . [General] Sigel lost about 1200 men, he informs me, but brought most of his wounded off & is more in a safe position.” ~ Letter from newspaperman Alexander McClure to Eli Slifer.

May 20– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Your welcome gift of money for wounded here, ($5) came safe to-day & is most acceptable. Most of wounded brought up here now are without a cent. Many of the cases appeal very strongly– (I sometimes think [I am the] only one going among the men as I do, with personal feeling & my own way of investigation understands how deep & what sort the appeal is)– the hospitals are very full. Armory Square has more inmates than many a well known New England village. I go as usual to one or another hospital & to Alexandria, day & night. Dear friend, I shall always be glad to hear from you. Should you find any you know who are able & who feel to aid the wounded, through me, it would come very acceptable now.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to John Townsend Trowbridge.

I Am Still Spared~May 1864~15th to 18th

I Am Still Spared ~ a Confederate soldier

Hard fighting. Many losses of various types. Someone uses President Lincoln’s name to perpetrate a false alarm in the North.

fighting at Rescaca, Georgia

fighting at Rescaca, Georgia

May 15– Sunday– Resaca, Georgia– “Ever since we have been lying close in trenches, but in our front the fighting has not been general. The enemy has out a strong skirmish line and sharpshooters behind every tree and shelter. They shell us continually and to expose your head one second is to draw a dozen bullets. . . . Yesterday evening [the] enemy threw out a strong line, drew in our skirmishers and attempted under cover of night to assault our works. We fired a large building and lit up the field and opened [fire] on them with a dozen pieces of artillery, repulsing the attack. We are certainly having a desperate struggle.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.

May 15– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– “There seems to be an extraordinary interest exhibited in religious works at the present time. The First Baptist Church continues to be crowded night after night, and many persons are seeking the way to become Christians. At Wesley Chapel, the revival progresses with unabated zeal and interest, and accounts from various parts of the army state that our soldiers are enlisting in great numbers under the banner of the Most High.” ~ Daily Intelligencer.

May 15– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “Another Sabbath. We almost dread them. They are such days of idleness and wickedness. Read letters from Ophelia and Julia. We are so anxious to hear from the North and wonder they do not write oftener. Everybody there seems flourishing. Here we are on the last squeeze– plenty of confederate money, but nothing to buy. . . . Have been nearly sick the past week with my cold– when the weather is settled and warm, hope to be better of it. It is said that so cold a spring had never been known here. We still find fires and thick clothing comfortable. Had I a home how eager I would be to fly. I want to go North and have some enjoyment of life once more. I am there almost every night in my dreams, but the home is always lacking. If we go North, where shall we go? The future is very dark. Today I am trying to console myself that day must soon dawn.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

May 15– Sunday– Rome, Georgia; Dardanelle, Arkansas; Mount Pleasant Landing, Louisiana; Centre Star, Alabama; Avoyelles, Louisiana; Armuchee Creek, Georgia; Piney Branch Church, Virginia– Raids, engagements and bloody bouts.

May 15– Sunday– Copenhagen, Denmark– Birth of Vilhelm Hammershoi, painter. [Dies February 13, 1916.]

May 16– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A soldier by the name of Bridges, was robbed on Saturday night of fifty-six dollars in greenbacks, under the following circumstances. He says he was walking up Main street, with a woman whose acquaintance he had lately formed and when near the corner of Union and Main streets, he was approached by two men who appeared to be acquainted with the woman, and who under pretense of being offended at finding the woman in presence of a stranger, fell up on Bridges and beat him violently. Bridges being intoxicated was incapable of making much resistance, and upon feeling for his money a few minutes afterwards he discovered that he had been robbed. Bridges thinks he can identify the thieves.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

Spotsylvania

Spotsylvania

May 16– Monday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “Still in entrenchments keeping watch and ward. Artillery firing is kept up by both sides but little real fighting has been done today.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

May 16– Monday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “We have had the best of the fighting so far and its my opinion that General Grant has got Lee in a pretty tight spot. We had a severe fight here on the 12th and the loss was heavy on both sides . . . . The Army is in first rate spirits and everyone seems confident and hopeful. I have not time to say much at present Mother but when I do get time I will write you a good long letter. You must not feel at all worried about me but take things Cool and comfortable as I do and above all don’t worry.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

May 16– Monday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “Thanks be unto a merciful God that after twelve or fourteen days marching and fighting, I am still spared to say ‘My dear Molly.’ I have made many narrow escapes and passed through many dangers. I had one of my friends, a Mr Curry killed by my side. The other night while asleep, he and I were sleeping together, the ball struck him in the breast, he awoke me struggling, but before I could get a light he was dead, poor fellow, he never knew what hit him. . . . All the honor that I ask [for], is to get home after our independence is gained to enjoy the love and affection of my dearest wife and sweet little children. Molly, my mind is not composed and you must excuse this badly written letter but the most important [thing] is to know that I was still safe on the 16th of May. As for the morn, let us trust in God and leave the routine in his hands.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W A Stilwell to his wife Molly.

canon at Spotsylvania

canon at Spotsylvania

May 16– Monday– Beersheba Springs, Tennessee– “Yesterday I could not write. On Saturday evening commenced a headache, at 1o’clock it was raving—I had hot cloths applied from that hour until 12 next day– together with vinegar, camphor, laudanum, sweet oil, steaming etc. I drank assafoetida —salts of tartar; and swallowed odious pills, all to no purpose, one pain bored thru my eyes—another at right angles bored thru the ear—my neck, teeth, nose, all ached—my temples burned and throbbed—at 12 o’clock in a fit of desperation I ordered a cup of tea and a cracker, swallowed them and in two minutes was entirely relived of pain!” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

May 16– Monday– along the Smokey River, Kansas– Lean Bear, age 51, a chief of the Southern Cheyenne, peaceful and unarmed, is murdered by Federal militia from Colorado.

Cheyenne dance

Cheyenne dance

May 16– Monday– Ratliff’s Landing, Mississippi; Big Bushes, Kansas; Dry wood Creek, Missouri; Smith’s Plantation, Louisiana; Pike County, Kentucky; along the Ashepoo River, South Carolina– Artillery duels, raids, affrays and struggles.

May 17– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “A painful suspense in military operations. It is a necessary suspense, but the intense anxiety is oppressive, and almost unfits the mind for mental activity. We know it cannot be long before one or more bloody battles will take place in which not only many dear friends will be slaughtered but probably the Civil War will be decided as to its continuance, or termination. My faith is firm in Union success, but I shall be glad when faith is past.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 17– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “I herewith lay before the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon a treaty concluded on the 7th instant in this city between William P. Dole, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and Clark W. Thompson, superintendent of Indian affairs, nowhere superintendency, on the part of the United States, and the chief Hole-in-the-day and Mis-qua-dace for and on behalf of the Chippewas of the Mississippi, and the Pillager and Lake Winnibigoshish bands of Chippewa Indians in Minnesota. A communication from the Secretary of the Interior of the 17th instant, with a statement and copies of reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs of the 12th and 17th instant, accompany the treaty.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.

May 17– Tuesday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “We have had no fighting for four days and both Armies are building earthworks. . . . I am well and happy and feel that at last the Army of the Potomac is doing good work. Grant is a fighter and is bound to win. May God help him to end the war. We hope to see Richmond soon and humble the pride of the men who brought on this wicked war.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

May 17– Tuesday– near Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia– “I would have written you sooner but have not had an opportunity of doing so from the fact that we have been fighting constantly ever day for the last ten days and I am very sorry to say that Company D, has suffered very much. We have seen fourteen of our company since the fight commenced killed, wounded & missing. . . . I feel very thankful that I have come off safe so far. Dear sis I would write more but have not time to do so & this is all the paper I have.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier A. H. Byars to his sister.

 civil_war_nurse

May 17– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Attention to the Wounded. While the detailed men are absent on the defenses other assistance has become indispensable to the wounded. Such ladies as are experienced nurses are requested to visit or send their servants [slaves] to Howard’s Grove, (Mechanicsville turnpike,) Winder and Jackson, (near Hollywood Cemetery,) and Receiving (17th Street) Hospitals. Those who cannot render this aid are requested to contribute such delicacies as are usually furnished for the sick. We are desired to make this request by a prominent officer of the Medical Department, and the humane may rest assured that their efforts in behalf of our wounded are really needed.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

May 17– Tuesday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “Oh! most miserable day– Mrs Perkins [who supports the Union] almost made me mad at her deep distress– Poor, poor Nannie, my heart aches for her, would to God I might be the medium through which all could be made happy– Miss Em is so widely different in her political feeling, there will never be any happiness, I fear, with poor Nannie. May God guide the dear child, keep her firm to the cause she has espoused, may she never have her pure, noble Southern feelings polluted with Yankee treachery or tyranny – keep her firm and true to her noble Brother Dashiell and his Country rights– she dreams not, but oh! my heart trembles and bleeds for her in this great trial and affliction.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson

May 17– Tuesday– Adairsville, Georgia– Confederate forces fight a delaying action against General Sherman’s advancing army. Federal casualties total 200. Confederate losses are unknown.

site of Adairsville battle as it looks today

site of Adairsville battle as it looks today

May 17– Tuesday– Camden County, Georgia– “Had a letter from Julia with $2.00 enclosed, saying she had one hundred more for me. The amount looks well but where is the value. Am not able to buy a single article and cannot take it North. No one wishes for the money. All have more than they want. No one has anything to sell. All want to buy. We could sell the last article from our backs. Mr. Fisher had a pair of shoes made by one of the pickets. The soles were from the mill belting, the vamps from coon skin tanned at home, and the quarters of cowhide. They are too hard for his sore feet, but they will probably sell for about ten dollars. His feet are nearly ruined by bad shoes. . . . The South are full of hope for their cause, the accounts we get are certainly not cheering for them.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mr. Seward informed me that a forged proclamation had been published by sundry papers in New York, among others by the World and Journal of Commerce, imposing a fast on account of the failures of Grant and calling for a draft of 300,000 men. Seward said he at once sent on contradicting it . . . . He then had called on Stanton to know whether such a document had passed over the regular telegraph. Stanton said there had not. . . . Seward then asked if the World and Journal of Commerce had been shut up. Stanton said he knew of their course only a minute before. Seward said the papers had been published a minute too long; and Stanton said if he and the President directed, they should be suspended. Seward thought there should be no delay. Gold, under the excitement, has gone up ten per cent . . . . It seems to have been a cunningly devised scheme– probably by the Rebels and the gold speculators, as they are called, who are in sympathy with them.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Patriotism Enough~May 1864~13th to 15th

Patriotism Enough ~Nashville Press

Yet another patriotic woman is discovered serving and fighting while dressed as a man. Hard fighting takes place in Virginia and in Georgia. Conditions at Asndersonville prison worsen. Lincoln praises the service of the Methodists. A Richmond resident wonders about the loyalty of black people to the Confederate cause. Soldiers write home about griefs, fighting and their concerns for loved ones.

General Grant's supply base

General Grant’s supply base

May 13– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Mary Ellen Wise, the bold soldier boy that turned out to be a woman, will leave this city to-day for her home in Huntington county, Indiana. She has been in the army nearly two years, has been in six battles and many skirmishes, has carried her musket and punished hard tack like a veteran. She gave us a little outline of her history, saying she would be eighteen next February. She enlisted in April, 1861, in consequence of a home made unpleasant by a step-mother and joined Co. I, 34th Indiana, in which company she had a brother. With the regiment she went to Pittsburg Landing, took part in the battle of Shiloh, was on Corinth’s bloody field, but escaped unhurt there, to be severely wounded at Stone’s river by a musket ball in the side. From there by hospital boat to Louisville, when she had her sex discovered the first time the wound was dressed. After weary months of pain, she was once more well and was sent home; but she, feeling it was no home, staid only a week in the neighborhood, and went to Indianapolis, where she re-enlisted Co. A, 65th Indiana. On her way here with the regiment she was recognized [by] one of the train guard, who saw her in the hospital at Louisville, and she was arrested by the military conductor and sent to Colonel Horne, provost marshal. She says she likes to be a soldier first-rate, and went in because she loved the Union and was anxious to fight for it. This girl, erratic as her course may have been, has patriotism enough to put to shame the deeds of some of the so-called Union men. Browned with sun and wind, with hair worn boy’s fashion, and in uniform, there is nothing much to betray her sex except the head.” ~ Nashville Press.

May 13– Friday– Resaca, Georgia– A major battle begins between General Sherman’s Federal troops and General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates.

Battle of Resaca

Battle of Resaca

May 13– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– The number of Federal prisoners has increased to18,000, guarded by only 1,200 soldiers. Yet today Secretary of War James Seddon transfers several Confederate regiments from Camp Sumter to combat duty in the Atlanta area, to prepare for its defense against the advancing forces of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman but weakening the security of Andersonville.

May 14– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Gentlemen, In response to your address, allow me to attest the accuracy of its historical statements, indorse the sentiments it expresses, and thank you in the nation’s name for the sure promise it gives. Nobly sustained, as the Government has been, by all the churches, I would utter nothing which might in the least appear invidious against any. Yet without this, it may fairly be said, that the Methodist Episcopal Church, not less devoted than the best, is by its greatest numbers the most important of all. It is no fault in others that the Methodist Church sends more soldiers to the field, more nurses to the hospitals, and more prayers to Heaven than– any other. God bless the Methodist Church Bless all the churches; and blessed be God, who in this our great trial giveth us the churches.” ~ Response by President Lincoln to a visit by a Methodist delegation.

May 14– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “General J. E. B. Stuart, who died on Thursday night from a wound received in the battle Yellow Tavern on Wednesday night, was buried from St. James’ (Episcopal) Church, last evening at five o’clock. The funeral services were performed by the Rev. Joshua Peterkin, Pastor of St. James’ Church. . . . The President, the members of both Houses of Congress, and a large number of the civil and military officers of the Government were in attendance, and followed the body to the grave, in Hollywood Cemetery.” ~ Richmond Whig.

May 14– Saturday– near Haxford’s Landing, Virginia– “After two weeks marching & fighting I find an opportunity of sending you a letter. I am and have been well & hope you are still enjoying good health. Our cavalry has had a fight nearly every day since my last. . . . The rebs sent in a large force of infantry & had us surrounded, but the boys whipped the rebs badly and we passed on arriving at the James River where we will get rations & forage & be under the protection of the gunboats. What next I don’t know.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Samuel M. Potter to his wife Cynthia.

May 14– Saturday– Memphis, Tennessee– “There has never, perhaps, within the history of our city, been such an immense amount of business transacted as within the past week. The advent of General Order No. 3, was the signal for a general rush through the lines to take advantage of the few days prior to the closing of commercial intercourse between Memphis and the Confederacy. Throughout the day immense caravans, consisting of teams, and every conceivable description of vehicles, wended their way into the city, the crowds on the streets and in the stores, were immense. Our merchants have reaped a rich harvest, many of the most extensive houses having daily sold from $7,000 to $10,000 worth of goods. The office of the Local Special Agent has been besieged by people eager to secure permits to carry out their supplies, and for several days past it has been necessary to station guards at the door to keep them from taking the office by storm. To-day, being the last day of grace, the city will no doubt present, if possible, a more exciting spectacle than any during the week. Tomorrow, those whose lots are cast with the Confederacy, will bid adieu to Memphis for, in all probability– ‘three years or during the war.’ Then will be murmured sad and affectionate farewells, and that ‘good old word good-bye,’ will be whispered in many quarters. Those who know on which side their bread is buttered, will remain on the ‘fat’ side of the lines. During the past year our merchants have amassed fortunes from the trade through the lines, and every day ushered into being new establishments to compete for the immense amount of money thrown into the lap of our thriving young city. But this princely era has vanished like a beautiful dream, and with it the fond hopes of those so lately in pursuit of the ‘mighty dollar.’ A fishing excursion has been proposed by some wag, to continue through the summer.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

 May 14–Saturday– Wilson’s Landing, Louisiana–Black Union soldiers under General Butler’s command capture the river crossing here.

banner of 22nd U S Colored Troops

banner of 22nd U S Colored Troops

May 15– Sunday– New York City– “A day of public thanksgiving for national victory . . . . Not much news. Sheridan (who is he?) Is reported to have made a most brilliant raid in Lee’s rear, tearing up miles of railroad, burning bridges, retaking prisoners, and destroying . . . stores that Lee cannot well afford to lose. . . . Also, that very valiant rebel, J. E. B. Stuart, is said to be killed.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

May 15– Sunday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of Eleanor Everest Freer, composer and philanthropist. Her compositions will include 11 operas and over 150 songs. She will found the American Opera Society of Chicago. [Dies December 13, 1942.]

Eleanor E Freer

Eleanor E Freer

May 15– Sunday– Columbus, Ohio– “I am inexpressibly grieved and shocked at the intelligence of my mother’s death. . . . It cannot be other than a source of poignant regret and pain to me that I was not permitted to minister to her in her last illness. Hard fate that separated all the children from their mother’s deathbed, especially to the boys and myself who have nursed her through the years she has been an invalid! I am glad to feel that you ‘mourn as one not without hope.’ It is easy to render many dispensations of Providence bearable when one’s reason can calmly contemplate them in all their aspects. Perhaps I ought to have acquired such a state of mind, perhaps I have in some respects. This affliction is more trying than any I have yet experienced.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry McDaniel to his wife Hester. Captured at Gettysburg he is in a Federal prison-camp here.

 May 15– Sunday– New Market, Virginia– Confederate troops stop a Federal advance up the Shenandoah Valley in a fierce fight. Confederate losses– dead, wounded, missing– total 577; the Union losses amount to 831.

Battle of New Market

Battle of New Market

May 15– Sunday– Belle Plains, Virginia– “I take the pleasure to drop a few lines to let you know that I am well yet hoping that you are the same– further I let you know that we left our Camp . . . on the 2nd of May and the next day we crossed the [Rapidan] river and that day the Battle commenced and was kept up until the 13th when we left the front with . . . eight thousand Prisoners and took them Back to this place. This is the greatest lot of rebs I ever saw. There was eight days hard fighting while I was in the front but I had good luck this time I was not in the fight– this time I am in the dismounted Battalion– we have no horses and were kept as rear guard– this was the hardest fighting I ever heard and the loss is great on both sides but I heard that their loss is greater than ours– we are now encamped near Bell Plain landing where our boats are landing with our provisions.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Peter Boyer to his father, Peter Boyer Sr.

May 15– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Most of the able-bodied Negro men, both free and slave, have been taken away– in the field as teamsters, or digging on the fortifications. Yet those that remain may sometimes be seen at the street corners looking, some wistfully, some in dread, in the direction of the enemy. There is but little fear of an insurrection, though no doubt the enemy would be welcomed by many of the Negroes, both free and slave.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

May 15– Sunday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “No doubt you have heard much about the battle which has been raging here for twelve days with more or less ferocity. I will not attempt to give you anything like a detail of the fight now. We left Camps on the 4th instant and have been at it ever since and still see no end. We have whipped the yankees badly, but our loss is heavy. Never has such fighting been known before. They have locked bayonets time and again and fought with the butts of their guns. The fighting first commenced some distance from here, but Grant fell back down the river and we have been at it here for several days. We are behind good breastworks awaiting the attack, or rather the Brigade is, but we Sharpshooters are holding the front all the time. Night before last, I never lay down all night, or slept a wink except nodding a little. Last night I slept all night. Tonight is my time to be on again all night. We have a skirmish often sometimes while it is as dark as pitch.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

May 15– Sunday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “We are cheered today by the news from the Valley but saddened, deeply saddened by the death of General J. E. Stuart – one of the noblest spirits in the Confederacy – peace to his ashes, his memory is embalmed in the hearts of his countrymen – for he has done noble service for us – he has gone to join our noble army of sainted heroes above, Jackson, Ashby & hundred upon hundreds more. Heaven console his wife & defend her & his babes– how little I thought I witnessed their last farewell when I saw them part at Orange Court House the day I first came back to camp. General Daniels has died too, a noble North Carolinian. Heaven has been merciful to us in enabling us to keep back the past that came like an army of locusts, but what a sacrifice have we made to propitiate the favor. I suppose we shall have to fight Grant again & perhaps not far from here, but I have an abiding confidence in our ability to cope with him, by Divine assistance.” ~ .” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

Battle of Rescaca

Battle of Rescaca

May 15– Sunday– Resaca, Georgia– The battle which began on Friday concludes as General Johnston withdraws. Total Federal casualties– dead, wounded, missing– amount to 2,747 and a total of approximately 2,800 for the Confederacy.

Hard Times Since Leaving Our Winter Quarters~May 1864~9th to 13th

Hard Time since Leaving Our Winter Quarters ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes

The fighting rages on numerous fronts as Grant with 125,000 troops aims for Richmond and Sherman with 110,000 soldiers aims for Atlanta. Elisha Hunt Rhodes, Walt Whitman and Gideon Welles take sorrowful note of the increasing number of casualties. The South mourns the loss of the dashing General Stuart. Other wars rage– one in northern Europe, another in China.

May 9– Monday– Buzzard Roost, Georgia; Davenport, Virginia; Pound Gap, Kentucky; Eudora Church, Arkansas; Beaver Dam Station, Virginia; Varnell’s Station, Georgia; along the St John’s River, Florida; Davenport Ford, Virginia; Rocky Face Gap, Georgia; North Anna, Virginia; Sugar Valley, Georgia; Cloyd’s Mountain, Virginia; Boyd’s Trail, Georgia– Raids, firefights, serious clashes and intense skirmishes.

Battle of Heligoland

Battle of Heligoland

May 9–Monday– near the island of Heligoland– The navy of Denmark engages the allied navies of Austria and Prussia, resulting in a tactical victory for Denmark. It is the last recorded significant naval battle fought by squadrons of wooden ships.

May 10– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “At the Cabinet, the President read dispatches from General Grant, General Butler, General Sherman, and some others. I had previously seen some of these dispatches. They were all in good and encouraging tone. There have been some conflicting doubts in regard to General Wadsworth, who is undoubtedly slain, and his body is, I think, in the hands of the Rebels. Few nobler spirits have fallen in this war. He should, by good right and fair-dealing, have been at this moment Governor of New York, but the perfidy of Thurlow Weed and others defeated him. I have always believed that Seward was, if not implicated, a sympathizer in that business. No purer or more single-minded patriot than Wadsworth has shown himself in this war. He left home and comforts and wealth to fight the battles of the Union. A scout came in this p.m. with dispatches from General Grant. He brings information that General Sedgwick was killed yesterday by a sharpshooter. He was among the good and brave generals, though not of the class of dashing officers, and was ever reliable and persistent. The death of no general officer during the war could be more depressing, I apprehend, than this, and his loss at this juncture will be felt by the army and country.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

May 10– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have seen 300 wounded, they came in last night, I asked for men of 9th corps, but could not find any at all– these 300 men were not badly wounded, mostly in arms, hands, trunk of body, &c. They could all walk, though some had an awful time of it– they had to fight their way, with the worst in the middle, out of the region of Fredericksburg, & so on where they could get across the Rappahannock & get where they found transportation to Washington– the government has decided (or rather General Meade has) to occupy Fredericksburg for depot & hospitals (I think that a first rate decision) so the wounded men will receive quick attention & surgery, instead of being racked through the long journey up here.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother

Louisa. May 10– Tuesday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “Thank God I am still living. Our poor old Regiment has had a hard time since leaving our winter quarters and we have lost seven officers and nearly one hundred men killed and wounded. We are still in our entrenchments facing the enemy.”~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

May 10– Tuesday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “I would just say to you your Brother is pretty badly wounded, and I think life with him is quite uncertain, although we can’t tell. We are all in the hands of God. I am a Northerner but I always sympathize with affliction. I am sitting by him, have been trying to do what little I can for him. He seems quite resigned and composed. He takes it very patient, and we do all we can for him under the circumstances. Now he don’t tell me anything more to write, so I must close by saying farewell for him to you.” ~ Letter written by Union soldier James E. Smith on behalf of a dying Confederate soldier to the man’s sisters in Georgia.

May 10– Tuesday– Andersonville, Georgia– At Andersonville prison camp Confederate Sergeant Edward C Turner takes charge of the bloodhounds, one of the most controversial duties on post. [Accusations will later made by some of the prisoners that the dogs not only tracked down, but also attacked and injured escapees, under the orders of Commander Henry Wirz.]

May 10– Tuesday– Semblancay, France– Birth of Leon Gaumont, inventor, engineer, industrialist and pioneer of the motion picture industry. [Dies August 9, 1946.]

Leon Gaumont

Leon Gaumont

May 11– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “When the war first broke out, a young married man of Steubenville [Ohio] volunteered in the service of his country, left his young wife and child, and went forth to fight his country’s battles. . . . . he was reported among the killed. Indeed there seemed to be no doubt as to the fact of his death, several of his comrades declaring that they had seen him fall, and knew where he was buried. The sad news of his death was brought home to his wife, and after the first waves of bitter sorrow had subsided she determined to have his remains brought home. She was assisted in her undertaking by kind friends, and two months or more after, a metallic coffin, containing what purported to be the remains of the supposed deceased, was brought to Steubenville, and with the accustomed burial rites, was deposited in the cemetery. . . . . the young wife, after mourning his demise for over a year, received and accepted a second offer of marriage. Her present husband is a worthy man . . . they have been living in undisturbed happiness. But at last a shadow has eclipsed their sunshine. A few days since an exchanged prisoner, just from the South, passed through Steubenville, and left a message from the supposed deceased husband for his wife, stating that he was a prisoner in the hands of the rebels, alive and well, and as he was in daily expectation of being exchanged, she might expect him home in a very short time. The situation of the lady and husband can better be imagined than described, under the circumstances. Though this is rather a remarkable case, it is one which, during the present state of the country, might be of more frequent occurrence.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

May 11– Wednesday– Yellow Tavern, Virginia– In an effort to prevent a Federal cavalry attack upon Richmond, General Jeb Stuart’s troopers tangle with better armed cavalry under Union General Phil Sheridan. Total Union loss–dead, wounded and missing– amounts to 625; Confederate losses are unknown. However, the Federal troopers free almost 400 of their captured friends and Jeb Stuart is mortally wounded.

Battle of Yellow Tavern

Battle of Yellow Tavern

May 11– Wednesday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “Constant skirmishing going on in our front and both Armies are evidently preparing for another death grapple. Shot and shell are constantly passing over us and we are fast adding to the roll of dead and wounded. Will it never end? I hope for the best.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

May 11– Wednesday– Cleveland, Tennessee– “A sad, gloomy and cloudy day. It is disagreeably cold this eve. They have been fighting ever since Saturday. It is still undecided. Oh! Our poor soldiers, how many are suffering. Give us the victory, our Father, if it is Thy will. Captain Hending and his clerk dined here. Captain took breakfast and remained all night last night. We head this eve that yesterday the Federals drove our forces back a great deal from them and General Johnston drove their left wing back four miles. But with our suffering soldiers . . . . If I could only be there to wait on them. I feel unusually sad this eve, and you, old journal, are the friend that I will confide in.” ~ Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.

May 11– Wednesday– Snake Creek Gap, Georgia– “Now Wednesday afternoon. It rains slightly; I am under a shelter tent, sitting on the ground, and will use this cigar box for my writing desk. A victory of General Grant over Lee on the very field of Chancellorsville has been finally communicated to the army and causes universal rejoicing. To the order announcing it, General Sherman adds ‘Let us do the same.’ This morning we started at daylight and marched towards the south to Snake Creek Gap, which leads to the south of Dalton. . . . We were halted in the Gap, and the whole division is hard at work making a road, or at least in improving it with double wagon tracks and a sidetrack for infantry. Something highly Important may be looked for In these parts. Concentration of forces, about which so many have theorized, has been most admirably put into practice by General Grant.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife in Wisconsin.

May 11– Wednesday– County Cork, Ireland– Birth of Ethel Lilian Bolle Voynich, novelist and musician. [Dies July 27, 1960.]

Ethel Lillian Bolle Voynich

Ethel Lillian Bolle Voynich

May 11– Wednesday– Changzhou and towns outside Jintan, China– As a result of intense fighting which began on the 25th of April, imperial forces win decisively over rebels.

May 12– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– Confederate General Jeb Stuart, age 31, dies of his wound.

General Stuart

General Stuart

May 12– Thursday– Strasburg, Virginia; Jackson’s Ferry, Alabama; Brown’s Ferry, Virginia; Smith’s Station, Nebraska; Salt Ponds, Virginia; Bayou Lamourie, Louisiana; Newport, Virginia; Gap Mountain, Virginia– Raids, skirmishes and firefights.

May 13– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “I hope you & all are well– you must keep a good heart– still the fighting is very mixed, but it seems steadily turning into real successes for Grant– the news to-day here is very good– you will see it in N Y papers. I steadily believe Grant is going to succeed, & that we shall have Richmond but O what a price to pay for it. We have had a good rain here & it is pleasanter & cooler. I shall write very soon again.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

May 13– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The army news is interesting and as well received as the great loss of life will permit. Hancock has made a successful onset and captured Edward Johnson and two other generals, with about fifty other officers and four thousand prisoners, thirty pieces of cannon, etc. General Sheridan, with his cavalry, has got in rear of Lee and destroyed about ten miles of railroad, captured two trains, and destroyed the depot of Rebel supplies at Beaver Dam. Our troops are in good heart and everything looks auspicious for the republic. Many valuable lives have been offered up for the Union, and many a Rebel has fallen. I dwell not on particulars. The public press and documents will give them. The tidings have caused joy to the patriotic everywhere, but among the intense partisans, known as Copperheads, it is obvious there is no gratification in the success of the Union arms. It is painful to witness this factious and traitorous spirit, but it plainly shows itself.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 13– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “General Stuart was reported as improving last evening. The rumor of his death at noon, which caused so deep a sensation among the resident and transient population of Richmond, was speedily dissipated by an announcement from his surgeon that he was getting on well, and that his symptoms were hopeful. We trust that he may live to meet and repel many a Yankee raid. We learned with the saddest regret, since the above was in type, that General Stuart died at 8 o’clock last night. We must defer any notice of his services, owing to the lateness of the hour at which we write, until tomorrow’s issue.” ~ Richmond Whig.

May 13– Friday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “The fight went on and continued until nearly 2 A.M. this morning. We took many prisoners during the day, men who in charges that the enemy made could not get away. I never saw even at Gettysburg so many dead rebels in front of our lines.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Battle of Spotsylvania

Battle of Spotsylvania

May 13– Friday– Morris Island, South Carolina– “We have been fighting as brave as ever there was any soldiers fought. I know if every regiment that are out and have been out would have done as well as we have the war would be over. I do really think that it’s God’s will that this war Shall not end till the Colored people get their rights. It goes very hard for the White people to think of it But by God’s will and power they will have their rights. Us that are living now may not live to see it. I shall die a trying for our rights so that other that are born hereafter may live and enjoy a happy life.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Jacob Christy to his sister Mary Jane Demus.

Violent Indignation of the Yankees~May 1864~7th to 9th

Violent Indignation of the Yankees

Fort Pillow

Fort Pillow

The Southern press accuses the North of fabricating the Fort Pillow massacre and a Confederate general praises the conduct of his men at Fort Pillow. Richmond newspapers also can deal with a woman who dresses and rides a horse like a man only by mockery. Georgia worries about the advance of General Sherman. The condition of Andersonville prison grows worse. Soldiers North & South enjoy their coffee. A woman thanks Whitman for the care of her brother. President Lincoln thanks women for their care of soldiers and calls on the people to offer thanks for Union success. Confederate General Picket thanks his wife for sending food and flowers.
May 7– Saturday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “Come to think of it, my pretty, you must have been up all night to have made up and sent out such a basket of goodies, and baked and buttered such a lot of biscuits, and made so many jugs of coffee as came this morning. My, I tell you it all tasted good, and the coffee well, no Mocha or Java ever tasted half so good as this rye-sweet-potato blend! And think of your thoughtfulness in wrapping blankets around the jugs to keep the coffee hot. Bless your thoughtful heart! You are, without doubt, the dearest, most indefatigable little piece of perfection that ever rode a horse or buttered a biscuit or plucked a flower or ever did anything else, as to that. Then those hyacinths and geranium leaves! Who else in all this nerve-racking, starving, perilous time would have thought of gathering flowers?” ~ Letter from Confederate General George Pickett to his wife Sallie.

Sallie Corbell Pickett

Sallie Corbell Pickett

May 7– Sunday– north of Dalton, Georgia; Chickamauga, Georgia; Ringgold, Georgia– Union General William Tecumseh Sherman begins his summer campaign with a three-prong drive in the direction of Atlanta.

May 7– Saturday– Verona, Mississippi– “The enemy made no attempt to surrender, no white flag was elevated, nor was the U.S. flag lowered until pulled down by our men. Many of them were killed while fighting, and many more in the attempt to escape. The strength of the enemy’s force cannot be correctly ascertained, though it was probably about 650 or 700. Of these, 69 wounded were delivered to the enemy’s gun-boats next day, after having been paroled. One hundred and sixty-four white men and 40 Negroes were taken prisoners, making an aggregate of 273 prisoners. It is probable as many as half a dozen may have escaped. The remainder of the garrison were killed. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the troops under my command. Colonels McCulloch and Bell deserve especial mention for the gallantry with which they led their respective brigades, and the troops emulated the conduct of their leaders.”~ Report from Confederate General James Chalmers about the attack upon Fort Pillow.

Fort Pillow

Fort Pillow

May 7– Saturday– Sunderland, Scotland– The clipper ship City of Adelaide is launched. [The ship has become the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship of only two that survive.]

May 8– Sunday– New York City– A Richmond newspaper “thus discourses about Miss Dr. Walker, who is well-remembered as a notoriety-loving female M.D. in this city: ‘Miss Dr. Mary E. Walker, the Yankee surgeoness, (to coin a continuation word,) at Castle Thunder, does not like her quarters at all. She wants to go home. She does not like the fare – it is not wholesome. She does not like the officers – they are too rebellious. . . . Her costume in the castle is the same in which she was received, and she will not substitute it for one more becoming her sex. No, she will not; she would die first. This costume may be ‘Bloomer,’ or it may be the latest miscegenation style – blue broadcloth short under-skirt, trimmed with brass buttons; Yankee uniform hat, with cord and tassel, and ‘M.S.’ [Military Surgeon] on it; surgeon’s green silk sash, worn over the left shoulder and across the left breast, fastening on the left side; over the short frock, a blue cloth military overcoat and cape; upon her feet, boots reaching to the bottom of her dress, and forming a junction about midway between the ankle and thigh. Some of this toggery is laid aside in the castle, and the female M.D. has hung up her cap as though the length of her stay was uncertain. An astounding circumstance in connection with her case has just been divulged by a correspondent in General Johnston’s army, writing from Tunnel Hill, in the vicinity of the scene of her capture. He says – yes, Sir – he says – he says– she was riding a man’s saddle, with one foot in each stirrup! [like a man, rather than side-saddle like a woman] Oh, my! Goodness gracious!’” ~ New York Times.

Dr Mary E Walker wearing her Medal of Honor

Dr Mary E Walker wearing her Medal of Honor

May 8– Sunday– New York City– Today’s New York Times under the headline “The Rebel Press on the Fort Pillow Massacre” quotes Southern newspapers. “The latest United States papers contain the very violent indignation of the Yankees over the alleged Fort Pillow ‘massacre.’ The world opposes the slaughter of the innocent prisoners . . . and advises Mr Lincoln to make on the Richmond authorities ‘a demand for the surrender of Forrest, or whatever officer was in immediate command of the soldiers by whom the massacre was committed.’ The New-York Times has ‘A word to the European Admirers of Southern Chivalry,’ which is intended to be particularly severe upon the effects of Slavery on the people of the Confederate States. The Times, like all other Yankee journals, labors under the difficulty of unveraciousness. A habit of falsehood, long persisted in, has made the assertions of Yankee papers valueless in the eyes of Europeans; . . . . The ‘so-called’ massacre at Fort Pillow is merely an offset to the damaging truths that have made the names of Butler, McNeill and Turchin infamous all over the world. In this light it will be understood and appreciated as merely another false-hood. If the Yankees desire to aggravate the horrors of this war, why take so indirect a way as going through the useless forms of an idle and silly demand? Why not
send off a platoon of soldiers and shoot down three or four hundred prisoners, and send us word? Then we shall execute doubly that number, and thus the difficulties of an exchange be soon removed.
. . . . We have seen no evidence of any ‘massacre’ whatever, but should it become necessary to put a garrison to the sword, under the law of war, we should expect the whites to be shot and the Negroes to be sold. A Negro at $5,000 is too valuable to be shot.”

May 8– Sunday– Staunton, Virginia– “This is regarded as being the decisive battle of the war. All think that Lee’s victory or success will be complete. The army seemed to be much cheered & confident of the result but mourn the loss of Many a gallant Comrade. I do hope that this may be the last battle of the war. To think of the dreadful carnage is distressing. God grant that the end may soon Come, that we may at an early day enjoy the blessings of peace at our quiet & devoted homes. The Federals have advanced from several directions but preparations seem to have been made for to meet them at all points & they have been successfully repulsed & driven at all points.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

May 8– Sunday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “After a short halt for coffee we moved on again and joined our Corps near Spotsylvania Court House. Here we formed in line of battle and with the 10th Massachusetts had a sharp fight with the enemy. Here we built a line of rifle pits and slept again with the dead and dying.” ~ Diary of Union soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

defensive works at Spotsylvania

defensive works at Spotsylvania

May 8– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– Henry Wirz, commander of the prison camp, reports to Confederate officials in Richmond that the cramped and filthy stockade now holds 12,213 inmates and badly needs to be enlarged; 728 prisoners have died, due partly to the prison hospital being located inside of stockade.

May 8– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “It is growing warm again, but the cold weather has made us all sick with severe colds. Yesterday morning Dianah came to my bedside in great distress, blood running down her face. In breaking a board with an axe a piece flew up and struck her in the eye. She lay in bed all day and suffered severely. It was a hard day for all. John had to cook and he moves like a snail, and then the pig that was killed the night before must be taken care of. Oh! how much we miss the Negroes . . . . Kate sent me three skeins of cotton yarn to knit. We have so little to employ us that we begged to knit for her and are now finishing off the sixth pair of stockings.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

May 9– Monday– Delaware, Ohio– “We had been apprised of Oscar’s loss by a lady by the name of Hatch which I think was very kind of her. Oh with what a throbbing heart did I open your letter. I was fearful it contained worse news. The loss of a limb is bad enough but how much worse we would have felt had not his life been spared but poor fellow he must have suffered almost everything but death in the last year. He never has told us really how bad he was yet we knew he was suffering very much all the time or he would have got along faster than he did and I have long thought it would be necessary to amputate his limb before he would get well. We are all rejoiced to hear you speak in such favorable terms of his recovery yet we feel he is not out of danger. I believe God will answer our prayers and restore him to health and friends and more is our daily prayer, may the good God
be with him and strengthen him in this his affliction. If you and Oscar both think I had better not come I suppose I will have to stay at home. I felt as though it was my duty to go to him for he is one of the dearest brothers ever was given to a sister. Father & Mother send many thanks & kind wishes to you they can never forget you for your kindness to Oscar and if ever in any way they could repay your they will do it. . . . Please write to us as often as convenient and you will greatly oblige.” ~ Letter from Helen S. Cunningham to Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

May 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Our mutual friend, Judge Lewis, tells me you do me the honor to inquire for my personal welfare. I have been very anxious for some days in regard to our armies in the field, but am considerably cheered, just now, by favorable news from them. I am sure you will join me in the hope for their further success; while yourself, and other good mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters, do all you and they can, to relieve and comfort the gallant soldiers who compose them.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Mrs Sarah B McConkey, of West Chester, Pennsylvania.

May 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “To the Friends of the Union and Liberty: Enough is known of the army operations within the last five days to claim our especial gratitude to God, while what remains undone demands our most sincere prayers to and reliance upon Him, without whom all human efforts are in vain. I recommend that all patriots, at their homes, in their places of public worship, and wherever they may be, unite in common thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

May 9– Monday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “Gracious me! Is it possible that I have not written in my Journal for nearly three months! And no wonder, for I have had such glorious times with Confederate soldiers that I forgot [the journal] and every thing else. The dear fellows were with us a good long while during which time I was never happier. Oh, what delightful times we did have, having company all day and accompanying the soldiers to parties at night. We made a great many acquaintances among them was William Polk, a dashing young flirt (all my suspicions are formed on reports and appearances). Sergeant Major Cleburn, Adjutant Pope, and Lieutenant Colonel, all of the 7th Tennessee, Captain Elliot and many other of the 14th. [I] am acquainted with Generals Forrest and Chalmers also. Almost all the respective staffs like the Generals better than all the staffs put together.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

Union General Sherman preparing to invade Georgia

Union General Sherman preparing to invade Georgia

May 9– Monday– Atlanta, Georgia– “Attention Militia! All persons between the ages of 16 and 60, not in the service of the Confederate States, in the second ward, are hereby notified to be and appear at the City Hall today, at 2 o’clock P.M., for the purpose of being armed and equipped for local defense. Herein fail not under penalty.” ~ Notice in the Daily Intelligencer.

 

 

A Conflict of the Two Great Armies~May 1864~4th to 7th

A Conflict of the Two Great Armies~ Gideon Welles

The bloodshed which will characterize the summer begins in earnest in Virginia as Grant and Lee face each other for the first time. Congress, President Lincoln and his Cabinet investigate and discuss the Fort Pillow atrocity. The situation in the prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia worsens.

Battle of the Wilderness

Battle of the Wilderness

May 4– Wednesday– Chancellorsville, Virginia; Croatan, North Carolina; Varnell’s Station, Georgia; David’s Ferry, Louisiana; Doubtful Canyon, New Mexico Territory; Ashwood Landing, Louisiana; Callaghan’s Station, Virginia– Raids, quarrels and collisions.

May 4– Wednesday– London, England– Birth of Marie Booth, the third daughter and seventh of the nine children of William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army. [Dies January 5, 1937.]

May 5– Thursday– New York City– The managers of the American Bible Society meet and receive reports of operations. Bibles are being distributed in Tennessee and in Virginia to both Federal and Confederate forces. Bibles in both English and French are being sent to Haiti. Efforts are also being undertaken in Italy, Russia, Chile, Egypt, Palestine, South Africa, Ceylon, and Japan.

May 5– Thursday– Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania– Birth of Elizabeth Jane Cochran, a/k/a Nellie Bly, journalist, author and inventor. [Dies January 27, 1922.]

May 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Long session. Grant is wholly detached from his base with ten days’ forage and fifteen days’ rations. Rumors abound, but there is no trustworthy intelligence. The general, absolute ignorance of Grant’s plans and movements is a good sign. The Commission adjourned this evening.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [He is in Washington for several days doing business for the Sanitary Commission.]

seal of Sanitary commission

May 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I have written a letter to the President in relation to the Fort Pillow massacre, but it is not satisfactory to me, nor can I make it so without the evidence of what was done, nor am I certain that even then I could come to a conclusion on so grave and important  a question. The idea of retaliation,– killing man for man,– which is the popular noisy demand, is barbarous, and I cannot assent to or advise it. The leading officers should be held accountable and punished, but how? The policy of killing Negro soldiers after they have surrendered must not be permitted, and the Rebel leaders should be called upon to avow or disavow it. But how is this to be done? Shall we go to Jeff Davis and his government, or apply to General Lee? If they will give us no answer, or declare they will kill the Negroes, or justify Forrest, shall we take innocent Rebel officers as hostages? The whole subject is beset with difficulties. I cannot yield to any inhuman scheme of retaliation. Must wait the publication of the testimony.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– A Joint Congressional Committee assigned to investigate what happened at Fort Pillow issues a report declaring that “the atrocities committed at Fort Pillow were not the result of passions excited by the heat of conflict but were result of a policy deliberately decided upon and unhesitatingly announced.”

May 5– Thursday– the Wilderness, Virginia– The anticipated spring campaign gets underway as General Lee moves to stop General Grant’s campaign in Virginia. The intensity of the first day’s fighting makes clear that both sides are up against the enemy’s main body.

artillery at Wilderness battle site

artillery at Wilderness battle site

May 5– Thursday– New Berne, North Carolina– Union troops beat back a Confederate attempt to retake the town.

May 5– Thursday– Pleasant Grove , Georgia–“We have made our camp pleasant enough by clearing away all rubbish and under-brush, leaving only the tall white oaks and pines. . . . It is reported that the enemy has evacuated Dalton and is retreating southward; I think the forces concentrated against him must nearly deplete the enemy’s numbers, and in that case to give us battle would be certain discomfiture, if not annihilation; by falling back, he compels us to divide our forces and gains in numerical strength by concentration. . . . Indications, however, are that we will have a long march; if the rebels keep retreating, that is inevitable. Officers’ baggage has in a large measure been stored; we are allowed but one wagon for the regiment, all others are to be used for carrying rations. This shows that we are not to rely upon and wait for the completion of railroad communications; I think that is well.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his family in Wisconsin.

May 5– Thursday– Andersonville, Georgia– After his inspection of the prison-camp yesterday, Commander Howell Cobb reports to a Confederate official that the Andersonville prison is packed to capacity with Union prisoners, that the already high death rate will grow even worse during the summer months if conditions do not improve and no more prisoners should be sent here. [His concern is justified but unfortunately no one pays attention to the matter.]

Andersonville_Prison

May 5– Thursday– Monroe, Oregon– Birth of Willis C Hawley, educator and politician. [Dies July 24, 1941.]

May 6– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Between Mr. Bates and Mr. Blair a suggestion came out that met my views better than anything that had previously been offered. It is that the President should by proclamation declare the officers who had command at the massacre outlaws, and require any of our officers who may capture them, to detain them in custody and not exchange them, but hold them to punishment. The thought was not very distinctly enunciated. In a conversation that followed the reading of our papers, I expressed myself favorable to this new suggestion, which relieved the subject of much of the difficulty. It avoids communication with the Rebel authorities. Takes the matter in our own hands. We get rid of the barbarity of retaliation. Stanton fell in with my suggestion, so far as to propose that, should Forrest, or Chalmers, or any officer conspicuous in this butchery be captured, he should be turned over for trial for the murders at Fort Pillow. I sat beside Chase and mentioned to him some of the advantages of this course, and he said it made a favorable impression. I urged him to say so, for it appeared to me that the President and Seward did not appreciate it. We get no tidings from the front. There is an impression that we are on the eve of a great battle and that it may already have commenced.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 6– Friday– the Wilderness, Virginia– “We met the enemy yesterday at Wilderness Run, the boundary between Orange and Spotsylvania & repulsed them from three desperate attacks, taking some 1300 prisoners & 3 pieces of Artillery, by our corps – our loss was quite heavy of course, having General Jones killed, General Stefford mortally wounded &c &c. the 2nd Corps fought them some 5 miles S. W. of us on the plank road – we on the same old turnpike that passes through Chancellorsville. . . . today we expect the most terrible battle we have ever had – God be praised for our success & with his help we have to do even better today – all things are ready for it. I am still unhurt but very tired.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to Sara, his wife.

Wilderness trenches as they appear today

Wilderness trenches as they appear today

May 6– Friday– the Wilderness, Virginia– The second fierce day of fighting ends in a bloody stalemate. Total Federal casualties for two days of battle– dead, wounded and missing– amounts to 17,666; the Confederate total is approximately 7500.

May 6– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina–“ General Lee is no doubt ready to try the issue if Grant and Lincoln still insist that more blood must be shed, but of the disposition of forces this is not the time nor place to speak of them, if they were all perfectly understood. It is thought that the published program of the Federal campaign will be followed: that is, to advance in North Carolina under Burnside, up the Peninsula under Smith, and across the Rapidan under Grant, simultaneously. A victory at either point will be deemed a key, possibly, to the ultimate overthrow of our capitol. The enemy’s forces are being moved very secretly, and will in all probability terminate in massing at one point (perhaps the Peninsula) and at other points, making simply heavy feints for no decided results except to deceive our Generals. Of course these moves have been anticipated. All that is necessary apparently, to success is a hearty cooperation among our General officers in executing superior orders. General Lee, great in his magnanimity, justice and natural dignity, always commands the love and willing obedience of his subordinate officers.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

May 6– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– The chief surgeon at Camp Sumter (Andersonville prison) recommends to Confederate officials that the prison hospital be moved from the interior of the stockade, since it is located near the unsanitary and polluted creek bed, where some inmates were attacking sick prisoners and stealing hospital equipment.

May 7– Saturday– New York City– “If the ladies can save the country, the country shall be saved. But, in order to accomplish this important result, we require enlightenment on one essential point, viz.: What are foreign goods, and what domestic? You are probably aware that but comparatively few of the ‘loyal women of America’ ever purchase India shawls, point lace, or any other costly fabrics; but we do purchase unlimited quantities of shoes, stockings, bonnet ribbons, low-priced silks, traveling dress goods, &c., &c.; ask your wife; she will give you the catalogue. Now only give us the means of knowing home goods from foreign, and I will guarantee that there will not be one woman in one hundred who will not take pride in arraying herself in American apparel at any sacrifice of taste or money. . . . I know that I express the feeling of the majority of American women when I say that I welcome any sacrifice that will aid to crush this infamous rebellion, and restore the power of the Government over the whole of our country. It is all my country, and I do not want to give an inch of it to any traitor.” ~ Letter to the editor of the New York Times from a reader who signs herself only “A Jersey Woman” and writes in response to the Ladies National Covenant formed in Washington five days ago.

Women_Civil_War_Link_Story

May 7– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Some fragmentary intelligence comes to us of a conflict of the two great armies. A two days’ fight is said to have taken place. The President came into my room about 1 p.m., and told me he had slept none last night. He lay down for a short time on the sofa in my room and detailed all the news he had gathered.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 7– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “In compliance with the request contained in a resolution of the Senate dated April 30, 1864, I herewith transmit to your honorable body a copy of the opinion by the Attorney-General on the rights of colored persons in the Army or volunteer service of the United States, together with the accompanying papers.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate. A Congressional committee is continuing its investigation of the massacre at Fort Pillow.

May 7– Saturday– Locust Grove, Virginia– “We have had another day of fighting . . . but we repulsed them handsomely, with tremendous loss to them & not much to us except in officers . . . we drove off all their attacks on our line every where & were masters of the position . . . . they have a large army– have soaked it up from every direction & have staked all on the issue of this battle – they burned Orange Court House a few days ago – the scoundrels – General Lee led a gallant charge yesterday – he praises the conduct of our Corps much– we have our Army closed up & can make a fine fight with God’s blessing. Many of our men have not been engaged yet. Love and Kisses for you & the children & may God bless you.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

carrying off dead & wounded

carrying off dead & wounded