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.

 

 

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