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.

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