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.



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.


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.

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