Monthly Archives: June 2014

She Died on this Day

She Died on this Day

Duchess Sophie

Duchess Sophie

I think more of her than of her husband. She was 46 years of age and days away from her fourteenth wedding anniversary on July 1st. She came from the lesser nobility and at the time of her marriage had to swear that she would not become empress when her husband ascended the throne as emperor as well as giving up any claims to the throne by her children. Her dying husband held her bleeding body in that automobile in the streets of Sarajevo and begged, “Don’t die! Stay alive for our children.” But Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg did die on June 28, 1914. Her daughter Sophie (1901– 1990), her son Maximillian (1902– 1962) and her son Ernest (1904– 1954) outlived her.

Sophie with her husband and two older children

Sophie with her husband and two older children


Great Mischief to the Rebels~ June 1864~ 25th to 28th

Great Mischief to the Rebels ~ Gideon Welles

In northern Virginia Union General Hunter is putting hurt on the Confederacy. Sherman slowly, and with some setbacks, tightens the hold on the Atlanta region. Grant settles in the lay siege to Petersburg. Lincoln accepts his party’s nomination.


June 25– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Mary C. Jenkins, a well grown white girl of thirteen or fourteen, was brought into court on the charge of having ‘no where to stay.’ Watchman Webb said he had found her on 17th Street, at a late hour on the previous night, when she told him she had been sent away from Howard’s Grove Hospital, and had no house. The girl, who was not very intelligent, told the mayor that her father and mother had been dead a great while, she did not know how long; she had been staying at Howard’s Grove Hospital, attending to the sick, she did know how long, and that she had been turned out. The Mayor directed her to be carried to the overseers of the poor. We must say that an army hospital, with all its hangers-on, and rats, and medical students, and free Negroes, was [not] a sweet home for an unprotected of this age. The greatest act of kindness she received there was when they turned her out.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

June 25– Saturday– near Kolb’s Farm, Georgia– “We are still in the same position we occupied day before yesterday. It is like so many we have had during this campaign, very close to the enemy’s pickets, and as the pickets keep firing constantly a great many bullets are thrown into the line, although in the second line I have had my men put up breastworks for their protection and a barricade of two lengths of rails, about four feet high, and covered with earth on the outside, sheltering our regimental headquarters from the intrusion of stray bullets; in the front line quite a number have been hurt, but not severely. It is a disagreeable mode of fighting. During these days when there is no engagement and you ought to be at rest, there is constant firing all around, and you are never out of danger and an hardly move about without indiscreet exposure. I know how much we lose in these many successive small battles, but we have as yet had no fighting at all compared to that of Virginia, and this mode of fighting may yet continue a long time. I hope, oh, so earnestly, for some decisive event that may put a speedy end to the whole contest, but I do not exactly see how it is to come. . . . I was interrupted by heavy firing on the skirmish line, which brought us to our feet and on the alert. It is now past six o’clock, and the sun is very near down. We have had no rain since the 21st , and it is very, very hot. We are in an open field and the only means we have of sheltering ourselves from the hot rays of the sun is to get young trees from the neighboring woods and build arbors.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

Union trenches in Georgia

Union trenches in Georgia

June 25– Saturday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the prison camp, the chief surgeon establishes a separate Confederate hospital to treat sick Southern troops on the post, many of whom are dying from the same diseases as the Union prisoners – gangrene, scurvy, smallpox, and dysentery, which is the biggest killer due in part to coarsely ground cornmeal being used as food.

June 25– Saturday– Briesen, West Prussia [now Poland]– Birth of Walther Nernst, chemist who will win the 1920 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. [Dies November 18, 1941.]

Walter Nernst

Walter Nernst

June 26– Sunday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “Hurrah! My commission as Captain in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers has arrived.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 26– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Yesterday evening after I was almost exhausted attending the wounded, your last most interesting letter of the 1st inst. was received and I assure you it exerted a most revivifying influence. Since we came to the South side of the James River, our communication has been so often disturbed, that I had almost despaired of receiving your dear letters or of writing myself. Communication is now cut off, so I’m afraid you will not receive this in some time if ever. I will write, tho, as it will somewhat ease my anxiety. In other words I will feel better. I am considerable better than I was before, but still very weak and hardly able to keep up. I hope we will have a little rest soon. Our brigade has been in two fights recently, losing a good many men. About fifty killed, and nearly two hundred wounded. How long this kind of war will continue no one knows, but I hope it will stop soon, a great many of our men are becoming sick and broken down. One side or the other will have to stop pretty soon or each army will be very much reduced. The people here are very kind indeed. They visit our hospitals with refreshments every evening. They are doing all they can for the soldiers.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee, Maggie Cone.

June 27– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Your letter of the 14th instant, formally notifying me that I have been nominated by the convention you represent for the Presidency of the United States for four years from the 4th of March next, has been received. The nomination is gratefully accepted, as the resolutions of the convention, called the platform, are heartily approved. While the resolution in regard to the supplanting of republican government upon the Western Continent is fully concurred in, there might be misunderstanding were I not to say that the position of the Government in relation to the action of France in Mexico, as assumed through the State Department and indorsed by the convention among the measures and acts of the Executive, will be faithfully maintained so long as the state of facts shall leave that position pertinent and applicable. I am especially gratified that the soldier and seaman were not forgotten by the convention, as they forever must and will be remembered by the grateful country for whose salvation they devote their lives.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln formally accepting his nomination.

campaign poster

campaign poster

June 27– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “We understand that the Confederate exchange authorities have notified the similar authorities at Fortress Monroe that no more flag of truce steamers will be allowed to ascend the James River until Grant and Butler shall have been defeated and driven from before Richmond and Petersburg, and this hurly-burly’s done. This is perfectly right and proper. We want no Yankee, under a flag of truce, ‘nosing’ around our defenses of the James in these times, when even the very walls have ears and eyes. A mail of about forty thousand letters has already accumulated, awaiting a flag of truce steamer to be forwarded North. It will have to wait. In the meantime we would advise persons who design writing by this channel to put off doing so until it is ascertained that communication by flag of truce has been resumed regularly.” ~ Richmond Examiner

June 27– Monday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “We are now having an easy time on our line, nothing to do but watch the Rebels. Fighting is going on every hour on some part of the line, and our turn will come again soon enough. Yesterday some of my men discovered an ice house full of ice and we have been having a luxury in the way of iced water. Yesterday being Sunday I attended service at the camp of the 37th Massachusetts Volunteers.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 27– Monday– Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia– In a bloody battle the Confederates under General Johnston halt Sherman’s advance through Georgia. Total Federal casualties– dead, wounded and missing–total 2,051. Confederate total is somewhere over 500.

Confederate positions

Confederate positions

June 27– Monday– Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia– “I find that newspaper reporters give the most extravagant and exaggerated accounts of small engagements, and even where there are no engagements. To us, who know the truth, these accounts are often absolutely sickening. A Nashville paper, for instance, has a long, glowing and minute account of Hooker’s magnificent assault upon Lost Mountain, capturing over one thousand Prisoners and twelve pieces of artillery, and of Schofield’s contemporaneous assault on Pine Knob. Neither Lost Mountain nor Pine Knob have ever been assaulted by any of our forces; the former, I believe the enemy never occupied. He had a strong line extending across the latter and towards Lost Mountain, and we took up a strong line in front of it on the 6th instant. Our whole army took position there and fortified and there it remained until the 15th instant, from time to time throwing shell into the rebel lines, one of which proved fatal to Lieutenant General Polk. On the 15th, it was found that the enemy had evacuated, and then we occupied and advanced beyond his line.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his family.

June 27– Monday– International waters off the Bahamas–A U S warship captures a British merchant ship attempting to run the blockade.

June 28– Tuesday– Brooklyn, New York– “I have been improving for the last two days, & think I shall be up & around soon, as well as ever. I have had the services of a good physician, who has allowed me to get well quite naturally– he decided that the only thing needing serious watching was the throat, & had prepared if the disease there went beyond a certain point to call in a skillful New York doctor, for consultation, but fortunately we were saved the trouble. I felt a good deal like myself the most of yesterday, & the same to-day so I don’t think I am hurrahing before I am out of the woods. We have a letter from my brother George, down to 18th instant he was all safe. My mother & folks are all well.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend Charles W. Eldridge.

June 28– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 24th instant requesting information in regard to the alleged enlistment in foreign countries of recruits for the military and naval service of the United States, I transmit reports from the Secretaries of State, of War, and of the Navy, respectively.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.

June 28– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.–Congress passes a bill which repeals the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

Union General David Hunter

Union General David Hunter

June 28– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “We have bad news from Sherman to-day. Neither Seward, Chase, nor Stanton was at the Cabinet-meeting. The President, like myself, slightly indisposed. Mrs. General Hunter was at our house this evening and has tidings of a favorable character from her husband, who is in the western part of Virginia. Has done great mischief to the Rebels, and got off safely and well. This small bit of good news is a relief, as we are getting nothing good from the great armies.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

I Regard Captured Negroes as I Do Other Property~June 1864~22nd to 25th

I Regard Captured Negroes as I Do Other Captured Property ~ Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Forrest refuses to confirm or deny accusations about the Fort Pillow massacre. The situation at Andersonville prison continues to deteriorate. A hospital in Richmond gets in a fuss with women trying to comfort the wounded. Lincoln is in a good mood. Whitman is home in Brooklyn. Hard fighting occurs in many places.


June 22– Wednesday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “The 2nd Rhode Island has not been engaged today as we are at work building rifle pits and guarding the Jerusalem Plank Road on the left flank of the Army. Yesterday President Lincoln paid us a visit. I did not see him, as I was at the front.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 22– Wednesday– Kolb’s Farm, Cobb County, Georgia– Federal forces turn back a Confederate attack. Union casualties– dead, wounded, missing– total 350; Confederate casualties amount to more than 1,000.

June 22– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– Matters continue to worsen at the prison camp as an official from the prison sends an urgent message to Georgia Reserves Commander Howell Cobb, requesting that the guards be reinforced and that no further prisoners should be sent to the already badly overcrowded stockade.

Andersonville prison

Andersonville prison

June 22– Wednesday– Aleitsota, Lithuania– Birth of Hermann Minkowski, mathematician and theorist of relativity who will be a teacher of Albert Einstein. [Dies January 12, 1909.]

Hermann Minkowski

Hermann Minkowski

June 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “I will drop you a few lines this morning, to inform you that I am about well again and shall start to my Regiment in the morning. My health has improved rapidly since I came here. I reported for duty yesterday morning. I do not know where our Regiment is or how long it will take me to get to it, but I suppose it is somewhere around Petersburg. I have had a shirt and pair of drawers, and my Coat and Pants washed by the Government, since I came here. I went to the James River a short distance from here, yesterday and the day before and took a delightful, swimming frolic, which was quite a treat to me. There are about 1800 patients in the wards and 300 in tents near the hospital. There are about 500 nurses, cooks, ward matrons, Doctors, Clerks, &c. Jeff Davis is feeding may people at this time.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

June 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “We are informed that a number of ladies who have devoted themselves to the relief of the soldier from the inception of the war, attempted to reach the interior of the Stuart hospital on Tuesday with food and delicacies, but were refused admittance by the guard or porter in attendance, and turned away with their very acceptable burden. Who commands at Fort Stuart, that ladies cannot be admitted whenever they are the bearers of such welcome stores to our wounded soldiers, as we know the above ladies to have been? An explanation is needed.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

June 23– Thursday– near Allatoona, Georgia– “It is with a heavy heart that I contemplate the loss of five men killed and thirty three wounded in what was little more than a skirmish. We were very much exposed all day after we advanced into this position, and the enemy with the protection of his works was enabled to fire deliberately. The bullets flew around and over us thick and fast. As soon as I can get another, I will send you my hat, to show the narrowness of my escape from a fatal bullet; it tore out a large piece of the brim and passed within half an inch of my head. Another ball which had glanced from something else, probably a tree, and was without force, struck my left knee, but did not hurt me at all. I picked it up, and it was so hot that I could not hold it in my hand.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

June 23– Thursday– Andersonville, Georgia– An official writes to Confederate President Jeff Davis that the young, inexperienced guards in the guard towers at the prison camp are shooting prisoners in the stockade even though these prisoners had not crossed the lines of the prison yard and were not attempting to escape.

June 23– Thursday– Tupelo, Mississippi– “I regard your letter [of June 17] as discourteous to the commanding officer of this department, and grossly insulting to myself. You seek by implied threats to intimidate him, and assume the privilege of denouncing me as a murderer and as guilty of the wholesale slaughter of the garrison at Fort Pillow, and found your assertions upon the ex parte testimony of your friends, the enemies of myself and country. I shall not enter into the discussion, therefore, of any of the questions involved nor undertake any refutation of the charges made by you against myself; nevertheless, as a matter of personal privilege alone, I unhesitatingly say that they are unfounded and unwarranted by the facts. But whether these charges are true or false, they, with the question you ask as to whether Negro troops when captured will be recognized and treated as prisoners of war, subject to exchange, &c., are matters which the Government of the United States and Confederate States are to decide and adjust, not their subordinate officers. I regard captured Negroes as I do other captured property and not as captured soldiers, but as to how regarded by my Government and the disposition which has been and will hereafter be made of them, I respectfully refer you through the proper channel to the authorities at Richmond. It is not the policy nor the interest of the South to destroy the Negro– on the contrary, to preserve and protect him– and all who have surrendered to us have received kind and humane treatment.” ~ Letter from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to Union General Cadwaller Colden Washburn.


June 23– Thursday– New Castle, Virginia; Sweet Sulphur Springs, West Virginia; Cove Gap, West Virginia; Jones’ Bridge, Virginia; Allatoona, Georgia; Okolona, Mississippi; Collierville, Tennessee– Skirmishes, raids and fire-fights.

June 24– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The President was in very good spirits at the Cabinet. His journey has done him good, physically, and strengthened him mentally and inspired confidence in the General and army. Chase was not at the Cabinet-meeting. I know not if he is at home, but he latterly makes it a point not to attend. No one was more prompt and punctual than himself until about a year since. As the Presidential contest approached he has ceased in a great measure to come to the meetings. Stanton is but little better. If he comes, it is to whisper to the President, or take the dispatches or the papers from his pocket and go into a corner with the President. When he has no specialty of his own, he withdraws after some five or ten minutes.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 24– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “To the Editor of the Examiner: I am sure, when the good ladies understand this matter, they will sustain me in the position I have taken. No sane physician, in private practice, would permit the room of his patient to be crowded with visitors all day, annoying him with questions, preventing sleep and rest to patients, and administering all kinds of food, both wholesome and deleterious, to the patient, and each visitor a different kind. When I took charge of the Stuart hospital, I found my patients were being killed with kindness. The surgeons in the wards complained to me that the wards were so filled with visitors all day that they could not get to their patients to dress their wounds, and many cases were such as were manifestly improper to dress in the presence of ladies. . . . My duty to these sick and wounded soldiers placed under my charge is certainly as great as to any private patient. There are many kind and benevolent ladies who visit this hospital for the good of the patients, who bring delicacies for them. These ladies I will always be glad to see, and will give them permission to bring in their contributions to the chief matron at all times; but for one of these there are many who come from mere curiosity, and who do no good, but much harm. The food at this hospital is prescribed on a diet roll each day for each patient . . . . All contributions to this hospital from the ladies will be thankfully received, but will be turned over to the chief matron for distribution, in accordance with the prescriptions on the diet rolls. . . . During the morning and evening, when the surgeons are prescribing for and dressing the wounds of the patients, the hospital is closed, except to those having sick or wounded relatives in the hospital; in the interim the gates are thrown open to the whole community. R. A. Lewis, Surgeon in Charge.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

fashionable ladies of the period

fashionable ladies of the period

June 24– Friday– near Kolb’s Farm, Georgia– “We have got into a new position somewhat in advance of the one we held before. The rebels tried an attack in this place yesterday, but were repulsed with great loss. It is a very important position, as it holds one of the principal roads leading back to Marietta. The loss of so many of my good boys yesterday affected me very much more than at any other time; it was, I believe, because I saw everything so plainly and talked to many of the wounded myself. The engagement was slow and lasted so long; one had an opportunity to see all so plainly, and then, while both at Resaca and near Dalton the great majority of the wounds were light, most of them yesterday were severe, many of them fearful. Now the intelligence that the result of the fighting yesterday has been largely in our favor, has reconciled us somewhat to our individual loss.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his family. [The battle took place on the 22nd not the 23rd and was a victory for the Federals. Total Union losses– killed, wounded and missing– were about 250; Confederate total losses were approximately 1500.]

Kolbs Farm

Kolbs Farm

June 24– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– Confederate officials in Richmond are advised that the prison camp is taxed to the utmost extent, the mortality rate is considerable, and more guards, surgeons, and engineers are desperately needed.

June 25– Saturday– Brooklyn, New York– “I write just a line to let you know I got home all safe. I do not feel very well yet, but expect to, or begin to, pretty soon. I send my love to you & Nelly & to Charles Eldridge.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D. O’Connor in Washington, D.C.

Our Canteens, Blankets, etc Were Shot to Pieces~ June 1864~20th to 22nd

Our Canteens, Blankets, &C Were Shot to Pieces ~ A Confederate soldier

Virginia and Georgia are awash in blood as bitter fighting grows worse. Many more slaves follow the columns of Union soldiers. Whitman, unable to take any more hospital work, heads for home to recuperate.


June 20– Monday– near White House Landing, Virginia– “We have seen but one newspaper for the last fifteen days & don’t know very much about what is going on in the outside world. A great many Negroes joined us in our last march willing to endure privations for the sake of liberty. All kinds came along old men & boys, Old women & children of all sizes from the infant at the breast to grown up boys & girls. . . . I am thankful to be able to say that my health continues good, though we have seen a good deal hard service. We hope to get a few days rest as our horses are nearly worn out. While I think of it please send me a sheet of paper & envelope in your next letter until we get in camp, as this one came in very good play. . . . am sitting in a field my horse saddled up not knowing what minute the bugle will sound ‘to horse.’ Ask them [the children] to excuse Pa this time as he does not forget them but still has the same love & care that he always had for them. Still praying that God will bless & take care of mother & them. Ask them to continue to pray that God will bless Pa & Mother & make them good children, receiving them into his kingdom. The order is to move so I must close. Assuring you my dear wife of the continuance of my love for you & asking your prayers at the throne of grace.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Samuel M. Potter to his wife Cynthia.

June 20– Monday– near Kennesaw, Georgia– “To give you some idea of how steady and close was the fire, our flag that floated from our parapet had thirty-one holes through it. The flagstaff, no much larger than my thumb, was hit seven times. The trees behind us were riddled with balls. On one little sapling, I counted about eight balls on the body. The face of the [artillery] pieces, upper part of axles and wheels have hundreds of marks made by balls shot through the embrasures of the works, while our canteens, blankets, &c just in rear of the portholes were shot to pieces . . . . The artillery fire was bad, as the Yankee batteries could not seem me or the smoke of my guns, as the rain poured down all day. Our loss along the line was light, about fifty captured and one hundred killed and wounded. About night I received orders to get away as quickly and quietly as possible, and I am certain I never obeyed any thing with more cheerfulness and alacrity.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.


June 20– Monday– near Marietta, Georgia– “Yesterday the rain was perfectly furious, and we marched and skirmished all day. We are now in position west of Marietta facing east. I lost one man and had five wounded yesterday; one of my captains got a bullet through his haversack. We did not get into camp until eleven o’clock last night, and it seemed as if we might remain quiet to-day.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

June 20– Monday– near Marietta, Georgia– “The Yanks are a-shelling us. The bombs have been whistling over my head all this morning, but no one hurt as I know of. General Johnston has withdrawn his line a few miles, but he was obliged to do so. I think they will drive us clear through the Confederacy in a few more months, and I don’t care how soon if they intend to now. My dear Frances, I am going to give you a few sketches of my ideas about our present condition. I have here of late been studying about our affairs. We were wrong at the beginning of the war. We are wrong to rebel against a civil government as we did. It is wrong and before I received your letter yesterday I had come to the conclusion to go North. The army is leaving every day and night more or less going over and giving up. My honest opinion is that we will be subjugated and that before long and those that gets out of it the sooner the better for them. But now I am going [to] hang on, for I will never forsake you, no, never. My humble prayer is that I may live to get through this struggle safe and return to my home.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his sweetheart.

June 20– Monday– Cassville, Georgia; Noonday Church, Georgia; Noyes’ Creek, Georgia; Powder Springs, Georgia; Lattimer’s Mills, Georgia; White House, Virginia; Buford’s Gap, Virginia; Lewisburg, Arkansas; Cassville, Missouri; White’s Station, Tennessee– Skirmishes, fire-fights, operations, and armed encounters.

June 21– Tuesday– Randolph, New York– Birth of Martha Van Rensselaer, the second daughter of Henry and Arvilla Owen Rensselaer. She will become an educator, home economist, editor, director of the Home Conservation Division of the U S Food Administration (1917– 1919) and serve with the American Relief Commission in Belgium (1923). [Dies May 26, 1932.]

Martha Van Rensselaer

Martha Van Rensselaer

June 21– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon, the articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at the city of Washington on the 15th instant between the United States and the Delaware Indians of Kansas, referred to in the accompanying communication of the present date from the Secretary of the Interior.” ~ Message from President Lincoln

June 21– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I wrote you a few days ago fully, which I hope you have received, in this I explained all of our matters fully. I have been hoping for some time that you would be able to get up & at least see me if not to stay entirely. I want so much to see & remain with you all and hope soon to be able to do so (I do think that this war must soon end, & we then can live in peace). I am not doing so much now in business the Rail Road being destroyed for several miles distant but soon expect to have it in running order. I have not any thing of importance now to write the war news seems to be going alright As to our business you have become so accustomed to managing that you can do it better than I can advise you. . . . I have chanced to get a few green backs which I send you. Use them as you desire. You had better not hold it long. If [you] have not use for the money now, try & turn it around into coin or good Maryland money and hold it until you need it.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

June 21– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “I do not know where our Brigade is now. I left in near Malvern Hill, and have not heard from it since. I am anxious to get back to the boys, but must wait till I get stronger. I take no medicine now. I am on the diet list yet, and fare much better than if I had to go to the table. I walk about and read and pass off the time the best I can. I went to the City Cemetery yesterday evening. It is worth a visit. It is right on the banks of the James River, and is a beautiful scene. Among the notable characters that are buried there are the remains of President James Monroe. I am anxious to hear from you all especially my boy.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

June 21– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “We were started under arms about five P.M. yesterday, to go out in support of our 1st Division on a reconnaissance to our right. It rained hard. We formed right outside of our breastworks and there halted and waited until after dark and then went back to camp. It is still raining to-day. Since the first of June, we have had just three days that it did not rain; every brook is a river and the roads are terrible– if we did not have the railroad, we would have to go back or starve.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.


June 21– Tuesday– Dooly County, Georgia– “My motto is to fight on, fight ever rather than submit to Yankee rule and oppression. A great many refugees are coming in here from the upper portion of the state. I don’t think the Yankees will ever want to come down this far, if so, we are fortunately situated, are we not? We have been having a great deal of rain for the past two weeks which has almost destroyed the whole wheat crop through this section. Pa says not one in fifty will be able to save seed. We have been more fortunate than a good many as our best wheat was saved before the rain set in. The corn crop will not be near so good. The water courses are very high. Pa says there is much uneasiness among the people in reference to the prospect of provisions for the next year.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé Alva Benjamin Spencer, who is fighting in Virginia.

June 22– Wednesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I am still improving in health & hope soon to be well. I am still running the hotel but there is little or nothing doing here so dull that I have almost concluded to shut up. We have a few boarders which business of course won’t pay. . . . I want so much to see you. This is a hard way of living but we are not alone in this as there is plenty here in the same fix– E J Lee & Chas Lee just left here this morning trying to get to Clark to see or hear from their families. Been refugeeing & not in service. . . . I hope this state of affairs will not last much longer & that we can all live in peace & happiness.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

June 22– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman, feeling tired and sick, leaves the city to return to Brooklyn, New York, for some rest and recovery.

June 22– Wednesday– Bottetourt Springs, Virginia– “I avail myself of the opportunity, tho’ very tired & wanting rest. I have not yet heard directly from you, but generally from the neighborhood & suppose you got along like the rest of the community & may thank God that it is no worse. I cannot come to lament the loss of my excellent friend & neighbor Harvey Bear, one of the most unobtrusively good men I have ever known. I do most sincerely condole with his afflicted family – I saw poor James & he could only speak of it with the tears welling to his eyes. . . . we are all in camp today in the vicinity of Botetourt Springs resting & getting up on our rations & washing. My shirt is if anything a shade darker than the ground – have not had any clean clothes in 10 days, but William is washing now & I hope to be clean once more – our wagons are up with us this morning for the first time since we left Charlottesville – we have been getting along the best we could & the people have been very kind to us although they have suffered so terribly from the Yankees.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

Bad Nights & Bad Days Too ~ June 1864~17th to 20th

Bad Nights & Bad Days Too ~ Walt Whitman

Whitman feels such anguish that he is close to going home for rest and recuperation. On the battlefields soldiers have bad nights and days: new atrocities against black Union soldiers, seeing friends wounded or killed, suffering sickness, hard marching, bitter fighting, bad weather. Good news comes to the Union with the sinking of the C. S. S. Alabama off the coast of France.

battle between the Alabama and the Kersage

battle between the Alabama and the Kersage

June 17– Friday– Washington, D. C.– “This place & the hospitals seem to have got the better of me. I do not feel so badly this forenoon but I have bad nights & bad days too, some of the spells are pretty bad– still I am up some & around every day– the doctors have told me for a fortnight I must leave, that I need an entire change of air, &c. I think I shall come home for a short time, & pretty soon. I will try it two or three days yet, though, & if I find my illness goes over, I will stay here yet awhile.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

June 17– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “From statements that have been made to me by colored soldiers who were eye-witnesses, it would seem that the massacre of Fort Pillow had been reproduced at the late affair at Brice’s Cross-Roads. . . . If true and not disavowed they must lead to consequences hereafter fearful to contemplate. . . . If it is contemplated by the Confederate Government to murder all colored troops that may by the chance of war fall into their hands, as was the case at Fort Pillow, it is but fair that it should be freely and frankly avowed. Within the last six weeks I have on two occasions sent colored troops into the field from this point. In the expectation that the Confederate Government would disavow the action of the commanding general at the Fort Pillow massacre I have forborne to issue any instructions to the colored troops as to the course they should pursue toward Confederate soldiers that might fall into their hands; but seeing no disavowal on the part of the Confederate Government, but on the contrary laudations from the entire Southern press of the perpetrators of the massacre, I may safely presume that indiscriminate slaughter is to be the fate of colored troops that fall into your hands; but I am not willing to leave a matter of such grave import and involving consequences so fearful to inference, and I have therefore thought it proper to address you this, believing that you will be able to indicate the policy that the Confederate Government intends to pursue hereafter on this question. . . . Up to this time no troops have fought more gallantly and none have conducted themselves with greater propriety. They have fully vindicated their right (so long denied) to be treated as men. . . . For the government of the colored troops under my command I would thank you to inform me, with as little delay as possible, if it is your intention or the intention of the Confederate Government to murder colored soldiers that may fall into your hands, or treat them as prisoners of war and subject to be exchanged as other prisoners.” ~ Letter from Union General Cadwaller Colden Washburn to Confederate General Stephen Dill Lee.


June 17– Friday– near Marietta, Georgia– “We advanced two miles day before yesterday, fighting our way; our brigade was in reserve and, towards evening, for about half an hour, was subjected to the sharpest artillery fire that I have experienced since Gettysburg. The noise of whizzing and exploding of shells, especially in the woods, is terrific, but compared to infantry its destructiveness is slight. I had two men wounded. The regiment having taken position near the enemy’s works, our troops put up breastworks; yesterday as the lines were pretty close together, there was a good deal of firing between the pickets and our artillery threw shells, but the dense woods in front prevented an accurate aim. . . . At daylight this morning, our pickets reported the rebels gone. I have just been over to the position they occupied; it is very strongly fortified. I conjecture that some movement upon the enemy’s right flank caused the evacuation. A portion of our army seems to be following up and we will doubtless move soon.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

June 18– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “We arrived here day before yesterday and found the fight going on and it has been kept up ever since (sometimes very sharp and then again it dies away) ever since we arrived here. So far the fighting along the front of our Corps has been altogether in our favor and we have been steadily driving the rebs ever since we came here, and now as I write there is a very savage fight going on in our front, and I think by the firing that our boys are pushing the enemy back and unless the rebs can make a firmer stand than they have made here yet it will not be long before the long coveted City of Petersburg will be in our possession. I notice by the papers that our Corps is very little spoken of, but for all that they have done some splendid fighting, although we seem to be, rather outsiders here in the Army of the Potomac.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.


June 18– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “No blessing from heaven ever came more opportunely than the abundant crop of pure, delicious ice, which was gathered last winter by the Government, and stored in the Government ice-houses for the use of the hospitals the present sultry summer. As we urged the gathering of a large supply then, events have proved that the bulk of it will be needed in the alleviating of the sufferings of the many thousand wounded in the hospitals in Richmond and elsewhere. Hundreds of valuable lives have been saved to the cause and country, that otherwise would have been lost. . . . The hospitals are now abundantly supplied, and the surgeons inform us that the absence of gangrene and other malignant forms of disease accompanying wounds, is attributable to the plentiful application of ice. The average number of deaths among the same number of wounded is something over fifty per cent less this season than it was in the summer of 1862.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

June 18– Saturday– Henrico County, Virginia– “I am sorry to say to you that I am sick at this time, and have been for several days. On 9th I was taken with diarrhea, and it soon ran into bloody flux which made me very weak and almost past traveling. I staid on duty till 13th when we had orders to move. I reported to the Doctor, and he put me in an ambulance and carried me till we stopped that evening, which was not far from the old battle field of Frazier’s Farm and Malvern Hill. I staid there at the Brigade Hospital in the woods till 16th when I was sent in our ambulance to this place, with many others that were sick. I am better now. My operations are not bloody now, and by getting some good sleep and rest I hope to recover soon and return to the field, though I am quite weak. This is a very good Hospital. I get plenty to eat for a sick man at least.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

 June 19– Sunday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “I heard a thud and saw Lieutenant Smith falling. I caught him in my arms and called for a stretcher. He was shot through the back, the bullet, penetrating his lung. I sent him to the hospital and we fear he will die. He is a fine fellow and a brave man and is to me like my own brother. I pray God that his life may be spared. . . . A division of colored soldiers charged . . . but were driven back. They fought well and left many dead on the field. . . . yesterday’s work convinced me that they will fight. So Hurrah for the colored troops.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.


June 19– Sunday– near Berryville, Virginia– “I wrote you a few days ago from near Leesburg – after we had crossed back to Virginia– Sunday we came on across the Blue Ridge – there was not flour enough in Loudoun County to supply our wants, but Clarke & Jefferson have an abundance in them – our commissary having 100000 bushels of wheat at his command. The Yankee cavalry found a portion of our train exposed to attack as we came across the Blue Ridge & they fell on it & captured & destroyed some 30 or 40 wagons but our infantry got up & punished them, capturing in turn a piece of artillery from the Yankees – the wagons captured all belonged to the cavalry . . . . I am riding over this county mapping it – am very busy & tired at night – so do excuse this. Love & kisses & blessings for you all. Write often.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

June 19– Sunday– near Marietta, Georgia– “I have been in the rain day and night and been exposed and treated worse than any dumb brute ought to be, but I most consider it is in war time. Frances, I have no good news to write. The fight is still going on. It gets worse every day. They fought very hard on our left yesterday, killed and wounded [a] great many of our men. The enemy loss is unknown. This war is a terrible one. It seems to me that [it] is carried on to slaughter up the poor class of people and get them out of the way. I don’t call it fights. I call it a perfect slaughter.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his sweetheart.

June 19– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “After so long a time they send to us from Charleston that we cannot leave here unless we run the blockade. So we have permission to remain here until the war closes. We are getting very destitute of clothing, but it is useless to fear for the future. We may suffer, but many are already suffering. It is doubtless better for us to remain here at present under trying circumstances. We will hope for the best. Bailey returned last week on furlough to Kate’s great happiness. A seven days rain has kept us from going over.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

June 19– Sunday– Off the coast of Cherbourg, France–During a battle in international waters, the U S. S. Kearsage sinks the C. S. S. Alabama. However, an English yacht, Deerhound, rescues the captain of the Alabama, causing the U S Minister Charles Francis Adams to file a protest with Her Majesty’s Government. A large crowd on the shore watches the hour long battle.

the Alabama sinking

the Alabama sinking

June 20– Monday– New York City– Outside Petersburg, Virginia, “we did . . . storm a difficult line of fieldworks, capturing prisoners, and sixteen guns [canon]. Ethiopia [black soldiers] . . . took six of the sixteen and came up to the scratch in the best style.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 20– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “We get no good army news from Petersburg. Our troops have suffered much and accomplished but little, so far as I can learn. But there is disinclination to communicate army intelligence, as usual. Were the news favorable, it would be otherwise. The President in his intense anxiety has made up his mind to visit General Grant at his headquarters, and left this p.m. at five. Mr. Fox has gone with him, and not un-likely favored and encouraged the President in this step, which I do not approve. It has been my policy to discourage these Presidential excursions. Some of the Cabinet favored them. Stanton and Chase, I think, have given them countenance heretofore. He can do no good. It can hardly be otherwise than harmful, even if no accident befalls him. Better for him and the country that he should remain at his post here. It would be advantageous if he remained away from the War Department and required his Cabinet to come to him.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

We Are Going Through With Our Task~June 1864~14th to 16th

We Are Going Through with Our Task~ President Lincoln

Speaking at Philadelphia, Lincoln restates his purpose and commitment. The Confederacy losses a beloved general. Black soldiers take a measure of revenge for the atrocity of Fort Pillow. Soldiers and civilians struggle onward.

June 14– Tuesday– Charles City Court House, Virginia– “The men are used by the intense heat of the past week. As soon as my tent was pitched I lay down and slept for four hours. It is said that we are to cross the James River and attack Richmond from the south side. Either side suits me if we can only win.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 14– Tuesday– Pine Mountain, Georgia– The popular Confederate General Leonidas Polk, also an Episcopal bishop, is on the top of the mountain with a number of other officers, to scout the positions of Federal troops. Suddenly he is killed instantly when a Union artillery projectile strikes him directly.

General Leonidas Polk, the Fighting Bishop

General Leonidas Polk, the Fighting Bishop

June 14– Tuesday– Off the coast of Cherbourg, France– The U.S.S. Kearsarge arrives and prepares to engage C. S. S. Alabama as soon as the rebels leave the port and enter international waters.

June 14– Tuesday– Marktbreiti, Bavaria, Germany– Birth of Aloysius Alzheimer, neuroscientist whose extensive study of a 51 year old woman led to the identification of the disease which now bears his name. [Dies December 19, 1915.]

Dr Alzheimer

Dr Alzheimer

June 15– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “An extensive revival of religion is in progress in Colonel Elliott’s battalion. Forty-five have professed conversion. Reverend Mr Couling received eight into the Methodist Church. Reverend A. E. Dickinson baptized five on Sunday, making fourteen who have joined the Baptist Church, while a number have united with the Presbyterians. Reverends Messrs Broaddus and Dickinson have been carrying on the meeting. Reverend Dr. Moore will preach a portion of this week.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

June 15–Wednesday– Petersburg, Virginia–Black Union soldiers, attacking under heavy fire, overwhelm a Confederate position called Fort Walker, a Confederate artillery position of nine canon with infantry support. During the attack, the Confederates yell taunts at the black soldiers. When the Union force takes the position, they shoot all the Confederates, even those attempting to surrender. The Union men yell “Remember Fort Pillow!” Over 200 Confederate soldiers die.

trenches at Petersburg

trenches at Petersburg

June 15– Wednesday– Morris Island, South Carolina– “Will be home as soon as I get my money and I Can’t tell the [exact] time but When We leave the island I Will write to you again but you Can write When you please– the letters Will follow the regiment but I hope and trust that it Won’t be long till We Can see each other again face to face and We need not to set down and write so much.” ~ Letter from Union soldier David Demus to his wife Mary Jane.

June 15– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– The body of Confederate General Leonidas Polk, who had been killed the previous day on Pine Mountain near Marietta, arrives in the early morning at the railroad depot. The body is taken to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where dressed in his Confederate uniform, he lays in state at the front of the altar. A funeral service takes place at noon, after which his personal staff and a delegation of Confederate officers and Atlanta citizens escort the coffin back to the railroad depot for transport to Augusta, Georgia, for final services and burial in the chancel of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

June 15– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the prison camp the chief surgeon appoints a Union prisoner of war named Dorance Atwater, of the 2nd New York Cavalry, to keep a register of the name, regiment, burial place, date and cause of death of each inmate who dies at the camp, a document later known as the “Atwater Death List.” [Before the camp will be liberated in May, 1865, 13,000 Federal prisoners will die here. The Atwater document will be used at trial to help condemn the camp commandant, Henry Wirz, to death by hanging.]


crowded conditions at Andersonville

crowded conditions at Andersonville

June 15– Wednesday– Clay County, Mississippi– “All up and ready for breakfast– Jim started for Oxford early. I wrote to Lieutenant McConnell by him– John left for Tupelo, came back this evening. Forrest’s troops which have just achieved such a victory are at Guntown, will be in Tupelo in a day or two. Forrest himself was there. Such sad news– our brave and Christian General Leonidas Polk, was killed yesterday morning at 10 o’clock by a cannon ball, a stray shot, in a skirmish. Oh! God have mercy on our Southern land, drive the wicked foe from our soil, and we humbly pray for thy mercy and peace. So many of our bravest and best have fallen– bless and protect my dear Brothers and return them safe to my poor old Father.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson, now exiled from Tennessee.

June 15– Wednesday– Malvern Hill, Virginia; near Smith’s Store, Virginia; Allatoona, Georgia; Noonday Creek, Georgia; Brush Mountain, Georgia; Golgotha Church, Georgia; Ratliff’s Landing, Louisiana; Magnolia Landing, Louisiana; Newport Crossroads, Louisiana; Moscow, Tennessee; White Hare, Missouri; Beulah Landing, Mississippi; San Bois Creek, Indian Territory [Oklahoma]– Brawls, raids, encounters, scuffles and fire fights.

June 15– Wednesday– Le Havre, France– The French Line S S Washington leaves on its maiden voyage to New York City. [This service will last 110 years.]

June 16– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “War at the best is terrible, and this of ours in its magnitude and duration is one of the most terrible the world has ever known. . . . It has caused mourning among us until the heavens may almost be said to be hung in black. And yet it continues. It has had accompaniments not before known in the history of the world. I mean the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, with their labors for the relief of the soldiers . . . . The motive and object that lie at the bottom of them are worthy of the most that we can do for the soldier who goes to fight the battles of his country. From the fair and tender hand of women is much, very much, done for the soldier, continually reminding him of the care and thought for him at home. The knowledge that he is not forgotten is grateful to his heart. Another view of these institutions is worthy of thought. They are voluntary contributions, giving proof that the national resources are not at all exhausted, and that the national patriotism will sustain us through all. It is a pertinent question, When is this war to end? I do not wish to name the day when it will end, lest the end should not come at the given time. We accepted this war, and did not begin it. We accepted it for an object, and when that object is accomplished the war will end, and I hope to God that it will never end until that object is accomplished. We are going through with our task, so far as I am concerned, if it takes us three years longer.” ~ Speech by President Lincoln at the Philadelphia Sanitary Fair.

patriotic cartoon~Lincoln-flag

June 16– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I arrived in Town this forenoon and I have been trying to find your residence. But unsuccessful I came to Armory Square Hospital to learn whither you had gone. The Boys do not know your whereabouts. So I concluded to find out by dropping a few lines to you. I hope my Dear Uncle that nothing has befallen you– Either sickness or discontentment. I would like to see you before I return to The Front which will be on the 18th of this month. To morrow night I will remain here. If you have any desire or wish to see me Call or write me your address. I just come from the front & Expect to return soon– receive this from one who remembers you still.” ~ Letter from Reuben Farwell, a Union soldier from Michigan, to Walt Whitman.

June 16– Thursday– Charlottesville, Virginia– “How I have longed to hear from you in this time of peril & suffering with which you have been surrounded – I have hoped, for the best & still hope, tho’ no tidings came from our side of the county. Mrs. McGuffy just got a letter from her sister – Miss Howard, mailed today telling of the work of destruction by Staunton & they say the country for 10 miles around has been devastated – I feel that your discretion which rises with the emergency was equal to it & you escaped – but I am fearful the shock was too much for you – yet I shall patiently await the arrival of authentic news. Grant is still sliding down towards the James, but sliding away from Richmond at the same time. We have had plenty of skirmishing but very little fighting since the 6th which we threshed Grant badly – I have had an attack of dysentery but am getting over it now – be sure to write soon . . . . I hope to see you all soon & to see you well delivered from Yankee visitations.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.


June 16– Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Nashville Refugee Aid Society. This Society met yesterday . . . Vice President Root in the Chair. Mr. Carey, chairman of the Committee on Constitution, reported one, which, after a few amendments were made thereto, was adopted. As the Constitution provides for an Executive Committee of nine, Madames Scovel and Maginess were added to that committee to make up the number. Reverend Mr. Ingraham, chairman of the committee appointed to draw up a report of the business of the Society from its formation, made a partial report, which will be complete by the next meeting. The Society then adjourned to Wednesday next.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.


June 16– Thursday– Clay County, Mississippi– “Late risers this morning, but all ready for breakfast. John and Andrew went over to town after breakfast to get the Ambulances, we all spent the day with Aunt Mary Gordon, and a delightful time we had, her home is as beautiful as ever. Cousin Ginnie is so lovely, has a sweet little girl, Annie. I don’t know which enjoyed the visit most, the Children or grown ones. I carried a Soldier’s shirt to make, but did not get much done. Music and conversation the order of the day. Cousin Ginnie has a splendid piano. We had a hard rain and wind storm this evening, which delayed our return home rather late, arrived all safe and sound. After tea we all retired to our rooms, rather fatigued. No news from the Army today– and no news from home since we left. God grant that poor old Father’s life may be quiet, and spare him to meet his children once more. God bless my Brothers, and Oh! my savior bless our Armies and crown them with victory.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

I Find It Worse Than I Calculated~June 1864~11th to 14th

I Find it Worse than I Calculated~ Walt Whitman

Whitman feels so ill that he stops his hospital visitations for a period of time. Black soldiers garrison key posts but the army finds it difficult to recruit doctors for black units. Fighting and hard times go on and on. Some Southerners hope that Lincoln will be defeated and peace will come. The abolition of slavery by constitutional amendment becomes an increasingly political issue.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

June 11– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “There is very little from the army that is decisive or satisfactory. Constant fighting is going on, killing without any battle. The bodies of our brave men, slain or mutilated, are brought daily to Washington by hundreds. Some repulse we have had beyond what is spoken of, I have no doubt. But our army holds on with firmness, and persistency, and courage– being constantly reinforced.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “We have heard to-day that Lincoln was nominated for re-election at Baltimore on the 7th instant, and gold rose to $1 96. Fremont is now pledged to run also, thus dividing the Republican party, and giving an opportunity for the Democrats to elect a President. If we can only subsist till then, we may have peace, and must have independence at all events. But there is discontent, in the Army of the West, with General Johnston, and in the East with Bragg, and among the croakers with the President.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

June 11– Saturday– Lexington, Virginia–Federal troops vandalize and burn much of the Virginia Military Institute.

Virginia Military Institute, 1863

Virginia Military Institute, 1863

June 11– Saturday– somewhere north of Marietta, Georgia– “Although we have had orders to be ready to march every morning for the last three days, and we are ready, always ready, we have not yet moved. Part of our army has moved forward, but not far. . . . It is . . . raining, raining, one continual pour. It commenced on the 2nd of June, and every day since we have had showers. The roads have become so heavy, our supply train can hardly move. We have to be very economical of our supplies of rations; the railroad however has been fully repaired; we heard the whistle of the locomotive yesterday, and suppose Alley will run trains of provisions through to Acworth at once. The enemy is in position not far from us, but while this weather continues, it will be impossible to do much.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

June 11– Saturday– Cherbourg, France–The Confederate warship Alabama arrives for refitting. The U S vice-counsel protests to the French government for allowing the ship to enter the harbor and sends notice to the U S warship Kearsage in an English port.

CSS Alabama

CSS Alabama

June 11– Saturday– Munich, Germany– Birth of Richard Strauss, composer and conductor. [Dies September 8, 1949].

Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss

June 12– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “Have been suffering the past week from a strain in my side. No letter yet from the North and no passport. The prospect is that we must stay another year.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

June 13– Monday– Arcade, New York– Birth of Dwight B. Waldo, educator, historian and first president of Western Michigan University. [Dies October 29, 1939.]

Dwight B Waldo

Dwight B Waldo

June 13– Monday– Poughkeepsie, New York– A young wife and mother kills her little girls, ages 7 and 2, then takes her own life.

 June 13– Monday– New York City– “Among the most gratifying developments of the Baltimore Convention was the unanimity exhibited in favor of a Constitutional amendment making a universal and perpetual end of Slavery. There was a time when such a proposition could not have been pressed without a great risk of making serious, if not fatal, discord in the Union party. We ourselves deprecated its premature agitation. Always recognizing that the unity of the Union party is the prime necessity, we have always been disposed to keep in the background all questions of minor concern calculated to breed strife. The progress of events was far more potent to settle them than any controversy could be. Experience has long since demonstrated that public opinion is shaped mainly by the inaudible and invisible teachings of the war, rather than by any appeals, however urgent, or by any arguments, however forcible. So far as regards this subject of Slavery, it has been plain enough from the outset that the public mind was detaching itself from its old moorings, and yielding more and more to the Anti-slavery current. This, in fact, was a moral necessity. The rebellion sprang so directly from Slavery, and was so closely connected with Slavery in all of its objects and policies, that it was not possible to make war against the rebellion with a whole heart, and yet remain well affected toward Slavery.” ~ New York Times.

 June 13– Monday– New York City– “It’s a blessed sign that Richmond papers seem in a special fit or orgasm of rage, fury, spite, brag and insolent indecency just now. The extracts we get from Southern newspapers seldom fail to be significant. They illustrate or indicate the mental and moral tone that slave-holding has given to our Southern aristocracy, falsely so-called.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

 June 13– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit herewith, for consideration with a view to ratification, a convention between the United States of America and the United Colombian States, signed by the plenipotentiaries of the contracting powers on the 10th February last, providing for a revival of the joint commission on claims under the convention of 10th September, 1857, with New Granada.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.

June 13– Monday– Richmond, Virginia— “Parties having letters, or small packages of clothing or refreshments for the Tredegar or Departmental battalions, can have them sent out to camp by leaving them at the residence of Major William E. Tanner, on 3rd street, between Canal and Byrd streets, this morning by twelve o’clock.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

black soldiers on garrison duty in the South

black soldiers on garrison duty in the South

June 14– Tuesday– New York City– “The forts erected at the important points on the river are nearly all garrisoned by blacks – artillery regiments raised for the purpose, say at Paducah and Columbus, Kentucky, Memphis, Tennessee, Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi, and most of the works around New-Orleans. Experience proves that they manage heavy guns very well. Their fighting qualities have also been fully tested a number of times, and I am yet to hear of the first case where they did not fully stand up to their work. I passed over the ground where the First Louisiana made the gallant charge at Port Hudson, by far the stronger part of the rebel works. The wonder is that so many made their escape at Milliken’s Bend, where I had three incomplete regiments, one without arms until the day previous to the attack, greatly superior numbers of rebels charged furiously up to the very breast-works. The Negroes met the enemy on the ramparts, and both sides freely used the bayonet – a most rare occurrence in warfare, as one or the other party gives way before coming in contact with steel. The rebels were defeated with heavy loss. The bridge at Moscow, on the line of railroad from Memphis to Corinth, was defended by one small regiment of blacks. A cavalry attack of three times their number was made, the blacks defeating them in the three charges made by the rebels. They fought them three hours, till our cavalry came up, when the defeat was made complete, many of the rebel dead being left on the field. A cavalry force of three hundred and fifty attacked three hundred rebel cavalry near the Big Black, with signal success, a number of prisoners being taken and marched to Vicksburg.” ~ Letter from Union General Lorenzo Thomas to the War Department, published in the New York Times.

June14– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “I am not feeling very well these days– the doctors have told me not to come inside the hospitals for the present. I send there by a friend every day, I send things & aid to some cases I know, & hear from there also, but I do not go myself at present– it is probable that the hospital poison has affected my system, & I find it worse than I calculated. I have spells of faintness & very bad feeling in my head, fullness & pain & besides sore throat; my boarding place, 502 Pennsylvania avenue, is a miserable place, very bad air. But I shall feel better soon, I know– the doctors say it will pass over– they have long told me I was going in too strong– some days I think it has all gone & I feel well again, but in a few hours I have a spell again.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

June14– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– The Surgeon General’s Office advises Secretary of War Stanton that they cannot find enough doctors and orderlies to serve black regiments.

June 14– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I am as you will see at Staunton receiving a slight wound on last Saturday in our big cavalry fight at Trevillian an account of which you have probably seen in the papers. I rec’d the wound during a charge from some of the blue rascals who had dismounted in the woods on the left of the road down which we were pursuing the running cowards as fast as our horses could go. As we passed, these fellows dismounted on the left of the road, they fired a volley into us and a ball grazed my right shoulder making a sore little wound a half inch wide & two inches long. I can’t write any more now my darling Mother as it is my right shoulder & I feel badly having had headache all day.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington King to his mother.

June 14– Tuesday– Henrico County, Virginia– “We are near the memorable spot of Malvern Hill, the first spot where I ever seen an enemy in battle array. Here lies the remains of departed heroes with nothing to cover their bones from the heavens above. Many a loving and affectionate husband, father, or brother’s bones lie exposed and trodden under foot, here too lies the skeletons of our enemies, thousands upon thousands, all over the fields and woods side by side enemy lie. When we behold these things we are constrained to say, Oh, God is man that thou are mindful of him or the son of men that there visited him, man in his animal estate is worst than the best of the field. I have been quite unwell with dysentery for more than a week but have not quit the field. I feel much better this morning. We have had fighting every day more or less since I last wrote you though we have no heavy engagement. The enemy is moving and several days may pass ere we meet again. It is thought they are going to the south side of James River. That will be southeast of Richmond. I think the war must have an end this year, one way or another. God grant that it may come and our independence with it.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W.A. Stilwell to his wife.

To Save and Advance the Nation~June 1864~9th to 11th

To Save and Advance the Nation~ President Lincoln

Lincoln accepts the nomination, expressing hope and thankfulness. Hard fighting in many places, particularly in Virginia and Georgia. Whitman maintains his compassionate work but feels increasingly sick.


June 9– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “There seems to be general satisfaction with the nominations made at Baltimore, and with the resolutions adopted. Except the nomination for Vice-President, the whole proceedings were a matter of course. It was the wish of Seward that Hamlin should again be the Vice, and the President himself was inclined to the same policy, though personally his choice is Johnson. . . . Concluded to retire the marine officers who are past the legal age, and to bring in Zeilin as Commandant of the Corps. There seems no alternative.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 9– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– “I will neither conceal my gratification nor restrain the expression of my gratitude that the Union people, through their convention, in their continued effort to save and advance the nation, have deemed me not unworthy to remain in my present position. I know no reason to doubt that I shall accept the nomination tendered; and yet perhaps I should not declare definitely before reading and considering what is called the platform. I will say now, however, I approve the declaration in favor of so amending the Constitution as to prohibit slavery throughout the nation. . . . such amendment of the Constitution as now proposed . . . [has become] a fitting and necessary conclusion to the final success of the Union cause. Such alone can meet and cover all cavils. Now the unconditional Union men, North and South, perceive its importance and embrace it. In the joint names of Liberty and Union, let us labor to give it legal form and practical effect.” ~ President Lincoln’s reply to the committee recommending nomination.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

June 9– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Sunshine and clouds– warm. No fighting yesterday. . . . There is a pause also in Georgia. Yesterday the President vetoed a bill exempting the publishers of periodicals, etc. He said the time had arrived when ‘every man capable of bearing arms should be found in the ranks.’ But this does not affect the young and stalwart Chefs du Bureaux, or acting assistant generals, quartermasters, commissaries, etc. etc., who have safe and soft places.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

June 9– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Yesterday morning eleven hundred of the Yankee Prisoners of war held in Richmond, and which have mainly accumulated since General Lee commenced active operations on the Richmond lines, was sent Southward, en route for Americus, Georgia. Today, one thousand more of the same sort will follow. Between forty and fifty officers are included among the prisoners forwarded.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

June 9– Thursday– north of Atlanta, Georgia– “We have moved our camps three miles north of Atlanta and about six miles from our old camp. This leaves me tolerable well. I feel very sore from the march yesterday. I had my blanket, canteen, cartridge box, knapsack with one day’s cooked rations in it, and my gun. I tell I could not have marched much farther. We are camped near the railroad going to Marietta. I saw the trains all pass to and fro from Atlanta to Marietta. The train coming down from Marietta full of sick, wounded and broken down soldiers, and the train going full of soldiers going up to the front. That is the way it is every day on this road. I saw twenty-one government wagons yesterday evening going up to the front with ammunition. That looks like the big day is coming. We have not heard any guns in several days. From what I can hear the armies must be massing their strength for the bloody day.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife.


June 9– Thursday– Mt Sterling, Kentucky; Pleasureville, Kentucky; Big Shanty, Georgia; Stilesborough, Georgia; Breckinridge, Missouri; La Fayette, Tennessee– Skirmishes and bloody affairs.

June 10– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The caucus of the New Hampshire members of the legislature friendly to the Administration has resulted in the substitution of Cragin for John P. Hale. This will be a sore and sad disappointment to Hale, who had until recently thought himself invincible in New Hampshire. Although I have no doubt he would make terms with the Copperheads if he could, they would not with him, and it therefore seems scarcely possible that it can be otherwise than he will be fully and finally defeated. I rejoice at it, for he is worthless, a profligate politician, a poor Senator, an indifferent statesman, not without talents, though destitute of industry, and I question his integrity. He has some humor, is fond of scandal, delights in defaming, loves to oppose, and is reckless of truth in his assaults. The country will sustain no loss from his retirement.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 10– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “I have not felt well again the last two days as I was Tuesday, but I feel a good deal better this morning, I go around, but most of the time feel very little like it; the doctor tells me I have continued too long in the hospitals, especially in a bad place, armory building, where the worst wounds were, & have absorbed too much of the virus in my system– but I know it is nothing but what a little relief & sustenance of right sort, will set right. I am writing this in Major Hapgood’s office; he is very busy paying off some men whose time is out, they are going home to New York.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

June 10– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Desertions from infantry commands to the cavalry had become a crime of a serious nature. My instructions directed me to ascertain and return all such. An inspection of the muster-rolls, camped with a list of deserters from the Army of Tennessee, showed that 654 deserters were borne on the rolls of General Forrest’s command. About 200 of this number were reported as deserters, also, from Forrest’s command. An order was at once given to General Forrest for their arrest, who issued orders immediately to this end, and over 300 were arrested and sent back under proper guard to their command. All officers who had received them knowingly were arrested and charges preferred against them. General Forrest gave every facility in his power to accomplish the object of my mission. The liberal manner in which authority has been conferred to raise cavalry commands has contributed very largely to increase desertions from the infantry, and to impede the efficient execution of the conscript law.” ~ Report by Confederate Colonel George William Brent.


June 10– Friday– Cold Harbor, Virginia– “What a strange scene meets the eye on every side. Forts on the plains and in the woods. Constant roar of Artillery and bursting of shells. . . . May God forgive the men who brought about this war. I fear I shall yet hate them.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 10– Friday– some miles above Marietta, Georgia– “Frances, I haven’t any good news to write to you. But, oh, the dreadful news. War and fighting forever! The fight is still raging, but thank God I am yet alive and unhurt. I written [sic] you a letter the other day. We were some eight miles from Marietta. We have moved further up on our right. The enemy are moving their forces to our right all the time. They haven’t been able to press us on very much, only skirmishing but trying to flank around us and get in our rear. They are bent for Atlanta. I can walk home from here in two days and nights. It is only 75 miles from here. We are drawing nearer and nearer every day to our homes and are [passing] a heap of Georgian homes and the most of them stops as they get home and goes the other way. That is what will end this struggle if nothing else, the men quitting. I have come to the conclusion to not be driven much further. I had rather go North the remainder of my days than to be treated any such a way and never know what minute I may be shot down and after all [I] can’t see as it will be any benefit to us, only ruining our country and killing our good men. If I had you in Kentucky I would be glad. A great many of our brother soldiers has left us on this retreat, and a heap more says if they fall back from here they will not go any further a-past their homes. I can’t blame them. We will have no army after while, alas! Frances, you must keep this letter concealed. Don’t let anyone see it. But remember me forever is my wish.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife.

June 10– Friday– Atlanta, Georgia– “Fast day again! Stores are closed and all business suspended. The mayor has appointed this as a day of fasting and prayer, the especial cause being the rather too rapid marching this way of the ‘ruthless foe.’ We are to pray that they may be defeated, driven back and our righteous cause prevail. the voices of prayer are heard in every church in the city. From over the hills, the cannons boom, boom, and in the skies above there are mighty thunderings, the rumblings of God’s chariot wheels.”~ Diary of Cyrena Stone, who is a Union sympathizer.

June 10–Friday– Brice’s Crossroads, Mississippi– Confederate forces beat back a Union attack, inflicting heavy losses. Confederate causalities total 492, Union causalities amount to 2,240.


June 10– Friday– Lexington, Kentucky; Acworth, Georgia; Pine Mountain, Georgia; Roswell, Georgia; Lost Mountain, Georgia; Calhoun, Georgia; Middlebrook, Virginia; Brownsburg, Virginia; Waynesborough, Virginia; Old Church, Virginia; Newport, Virginia; Kabletown, West Virginia; St James, Missouri; Lewisburg, Arkansas– Raids, skirmishes, brawls and general ruckus.

June 11– Saturday– Delaware, Ohio–” It is with an aching heart that I address you this morning. I received yours of the 2nd telling us of Oscar’s condition last Wednesday. I was going to start right off to see him. I would have come long ago but he thought not, so did you. This time I intended to go whether anyone thought best or not but the same evening Lieutenant Perry came bringing us the sad news of his death but did not tell us any of the particulars. Mr Whitman will you be so kind as to tell us all the particulars concerning Oscar– was he expecting death to come so soon or did he leave any messages for us? The least thing from him will be interesting to me. We were not expecting to hear of his death as all the news we got were favorable of late nor can we realize it yet we will try and submit to God’s will and feel that he does all things well– we hope our loss is for his gain. I feel that you was Oscar’s friend and will be ours and again we thank you and will ever feel grateful to you for the kindness you have shown. I hope to hear from you soon.” ~ Letter from Helen S. Cunningham to Walt Whitman.

Nominated Uncle Abe Lincoln by Acclamation~June 1864~7th to 9th

Nominated Uncle Abe Lincoln by Acclamation~ George Templeton Strong

The Baltimore convention nominates Lincoln for re-election. Around the world, life goes on. Authorities round up dogs in Richmond. The American Medical Association has its meeting in New York. Denmark holds an election. A steamboat disaster occurs on the Hudson River. Wheeling raises money for the Sanitary Commission. Elisha Hunt Rhodes is given command of his regiment. Southerners praise General Lee. Northerners pay attention to the enrollment of cadets at West Point.

Lincoln campaign literature

Lincoln campaign literature

June 7– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The city hands found employment, yesterday, under the direction of sundry police officers, in a foray on the canine race. No premonitory symptom having ‘let the cat out of the bag’ in reference to the intended raid, hundreds of unsuspecting dogs were pounced upon and made, yesterday evening, to pay with their lives a forfeited existence. They were not allowed to vegetate and ‘sleep the last sleep’ as of yore at ‘Horse Heaven,’near Howard’s Grove, but after death were carried out to the C. S. nitre beds. The Mayor’s big black dog, formerly in charge of Captain Alexander, is said to have been apprehended while away from the ‘Castle.’ We presume he was rescued from his unpleasant predicament.” ~ Richmond Enquirer.

June 7– Tuesday– Cold Harbor, Virginia– “General Wright commanding the 6th Corps says I shall have command of the Regiment and has directed me to reorganize it for future service.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 7– Tuesday– Copenhagen, Denmark– Country wide elections are held for the Folketing [literally, “the people’s thing”– the parliament]. The National Liberal Party emerges as the largest faction, winning 40 of the 101 seats. The Society of the Friends of Peasants captures 39 seats. The remaining seats are evenly divided between two smaller political parties.

Danish parliament building

Danish parliament building

June 8– Wednesday– on the Hudson River, above Poughkeepsie, New York– The new river steamer the Berkshire catches fire and sinks. Of the 140 passengers on board, about 40 are killed. Of those, 19 bodies are recovered; other bodies are in the wreckage and will require salvage efforts to locate.

June 8– Wednesday– New York City– “The annual session of the American Medical Association was commenced yesterday, in Irving Hall. There were present a large number of prominent physicians from this and other States. The convention was called to order by Dr. Allen Marsh. Prayer was offered by Reverend Dr. De Witt, after which the report of the committee of arrangements was read by the chairman, Dr. Anderson. The report explained the objects of the Association, and referred to the recent establishment of St. Luke’s Hospital, on Fifth-avenue, and other similar institutions. On the conclusion of the reading the report was unanimously adopted. A very able address was delivered by Dr. Marsh, the out-going President. An election of officers took place in the afternoon. A report on the practical working of the United States Drug Law was read by Dr. E. R. Squibb, and a report on American Medical Necrology, by Dr. C. C. Cox.” ~ New York Times.

June 8– Wednesday– New York City– “The Baltimore Convention . . . nominated Uncle Abe Lincoln by Acclamation. Well and wisely done– me judice.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 8– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The patriotic citizens of Wheeling, determined not to be behind other cities in the great work of furnishing means for the benefit of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, are making extensive preparations for holding a Fair to be opened on the 28th instant. Agents have been appointed in all the surrounding towns and villages, to whom all contributions should be made. . . . We can all do something. Who would not do everything in his power to alleviate the suffering of a wounded soldier on the field or in the hospital! Everything bestowed on this Fair goes directly to aid the sick and wounded. Let Marion county, some of whose wounded soldiers have been benefitted by the contribution of other States and counties, reciprocate the favor by swelling the common fund for the relief of all. We scarcely need appeal to our Union Ladies. Their fair hands are always ready and their patriotic hearts ever willing to labor for the relief of our suffering heroes. Anything in the way of useful and ornamental needlework, old relics, or anything curious or attractive will be thankfully received.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

June 8– Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland–In its convention, the Republican Party, on the fourth ballot, nominates President Lincoln for president and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee for vice-president. The party’s platform calls for no compromise with the southern rebels, a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery, benefits for veterans, the “protection of the laws of war” for black pow’s, the encouragement of immigration, the building of a trans-continental railroad and opposition to “new footholds for monarchical governments, sustained by foreign military force in near proximity to the United States.”

campaign poster for Lincoln & Johnson

campaign poster for Lincoln & Johnson

June 8– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “The President was renominated to-day at Baltimore. . . . On the question of Vice-President there was greater diversity of opinion at the beginning, but ultimately and soon all united on Andrew Johnson. Personally I did not regret this result, although I took no part in its accomplishment. The delegates and papers of my State generally have disapproved of Hamlin’s course towards me, and I have no doubt it contributed to their casting a united vote at the start for Johnson. Hamlin and his friends will give me credit for influence which I do not possess, and ascribe to me revenge for malevolence I have never felt. Without cause and because I would not extend undue favor to one of his friends by official abuse, he has treated me coldly, discourteously, and with bad temper– so much so as to attract attention and inquiry, and lead to opposition to his renomination.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 8– Wednesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “Devoutly thankful should the whole Confederate States be to that Providence which has watched over us in this great crisis, and under Him to that brave army, and that great General, who have turned our day of trial into one of joy. Especially ought we to hold the latter dear, for the skill which has continued to accomplish such a mighty enterprise with so little loss.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

June 8– Wednesday– Marietta, Georgia– “I have very little to write of military movements today as our brigade has been quietly at rest for two days and three nights in the position from which I last wrote you. . . . I do not think that the enemy will attack us here. In fact, the opinion is gaining ground among our troops that Sherman does not mean to fight at all, but that he will at once begin a retrograde movement. This is based on the belief that his communications will soon be interfered with by General Forrest. It is thought, too, that he will soon be called upon to furnish reinforcements to General Grant, who is being so handsomely used up by General Lee.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife.

June 8– Wednesday– London, England– Birth of Herbert William Garratt, mechanical engineer and inventor of the Garratt locomotive type. [Dies September 25, 1913.]

Garratt-type locomotive

Garratt-type locomotive

June 9– Thursday– New York City– “The importance of admitting cadets to the Military Academy [at West Point] only by open competitive examinations, is clearly proved by the history of the present graduating class. It entered with ninety-six members, and now numbers only twenty-seven. It is not usual for more than fifty per cent. to graduate. Favoritism and patronage have crowded many into the Academy who were utterly wanting in all aptitude for military studies or duties. With proper care in the selection of candidates, the percentage of graduates would be ninety. Competitive examination has long been the mode of admission in all the great military schools of Europe. . . . This year an unusual number of members of Congress have adopted this plan, and invited all candidates from their several districts to appear before a competent and impartial committee, and the result is the selection of young men of a higher order of talent and culture. . . . The examination of this class closed on Monday last. . . . The examination of the other classes continues through this week, with very attractive military drills every afternoon, consisting of squadron and troopers’ drills, target practice with light and heavy ordnance, flying artillery, mortar practice, use of howitzers, &c. The Board of Visitors consists of thirteen gentlemen, including one representative each from Oregon, Minnesota, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri.” ~ New York Times.

June 9– Thursday– New York City– “Baltimore Convention nominated Andy Johnson for Vice-President . . . . Unanimity of these nominations encouraging. But it disgusts the World newspaper, which condemns and denounces both Lincoln and Johnson as mere plebeians, utterly ungenteel and excessively low.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

soldiers rest when & where they can

soldiers rest when & where they can

June 9– Thursday– Staunton, Virginia– “I have an opportunity & write you by US mail. I am here at home and quite well except some of the Rheumatism still remaining in my bones. The Federal forces are here in force most of the officers are stopping at my house. I have had General Hunter & staff here most of the time all have behaved quite gentlemanly here & treated me exceedingly kind. Nothing has been interrupted here except some things of minor importance. I met with Colonel D H Strother whom I formerly knew. He has been quite kind to me. Owing to the stopping of the Rail Road trains here & the stage lines the business of the house will be quite limited, and I will close it up as soon as possible and will close up my matters and make some dispose of my property here in some way or soon as possible & return to my home to remain. I assure you that I am sorely tired of this life and am anxious for the change. My pecuniary interest here of course is too great for to pull up & leave it. I suppose what I have around here will bring some two Hundred Thousand dollars in Confederate money, one half of which is mine, being about 100,000.00 which is a fair little sum and should be looked after closely, at even the expense of privation . . . . I hope you are all well & getting along well. Keep the children at school but not too closely, allow them plenty of liberty. I hope soon to be at home and relieve you in these matters to some extent. Remember me kindly to all friends and tell them that I will soon be at home.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester. [In actuality by this time the Confederate dollar has lost almost 7/8’s of its value.]

A Terrible, Terrible Day We Have Had~June 1864~4th to 7th

A Terrible, Terrible Day We Have Had~ Belle Edmondson

Edmondson, a Confederate spy now banished from Tennessee by the Federals, heads south. Whitman feels exhausted. Heavy fighting in Virginia and Georgia. Soldiers describe hard times yet remain confident of victory. At the Baltimore convention, the Republicans adopt a platform which includes support for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. Conditions worsen at Andersonville prison. The Danes have lost the war with the Germans.

fighting in Georgia

fighting in Georgia

June 4– Saturday– Big Shanty, Georgia; Port Republic, Virginia; Panther Gap, West Virginia; Hudson’s Crossing, Indian Territory [Oklahoma], Vicksburg, Mississippi; Acworth, Georgia; Harrisonburg, Virginia– Altercations, brawls and fire fights.

June 5– Sunday– Wheeling, West Virginia– The Sunday School class of the 4th Street Methodist Episcopal Church passes resolutions to honor three members of the congregation who recently died in service to the Union cause.

June 5– Sunday– Morgantown, West Virginia– The town is scared by a false report of the approach of a Confederate raiding party.

June 5– Sunday– Piedmont, Virginia– Confederate efforts to stop Federal raids in the Shenandoah Valley fail in a long, bloody fight. Confederate losses of killed, wounded and missing total about 1600 while Union total is approximately 780. Following the fight, Federal troops occupy Staunton, Virginia.

June 5– Sunday– Cold Harbor, Virginia– “Three years have passed away since I first enlisted. It seems a long time as I look back. . . . for if God spares my life I am determined to see the end of the Rebellion. I cannot complain of my treatment since I have enlisted. I have been a Private, a Corporal, Sergeant Major, Second Lieutenant, and Adjutant, and if everything works well I shall climb higher. It is not ambition that keeps me in the Army, however, for I trust I have higher and better motives for serving my country.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 5–Sunday– Off the North Carolina coast–U S warships capture a British ship attempting to run the blockade.

General William Tecumseh Sherman

General William Tecumseh Sherman

June 5– Sunday– Rome, Georgia– “We came through here from Decatur, by way of Somerville, Warrenton, Cedar Bluff and a dozen other little towns in the Mountains since the 27th May, having marched every day but one, arriving in this town this afternoon. I cannot enter into details in describing the march, interesting as they would be to you, for we push on tomorrow for the Front, beyond Kingston, and I am writing this only to let you know that we are all right yet, well and hearty, only a little worn by the severe march. . . . When we got here we found a very large mail awaiting us . . . and I got yours and Sandy’s . . . dated the 16th , 17th , & 21st of May. They were read with a relish I can assure you, and I regret not having time to answer them as they should be answered, but I am stealing time to write this that should be devoted to sleep, and the most you can expect for some time from us will be the shortest kind of letters. ‘Duty before Pleasure,’ you know, and we have plenty of the former to keep us busy all the time. Just rest assured that we are doing well, performing everything pertaining to our share of the work here, and that is considerable. I hear tonight that . . . there is a train of 3000 wagons waiting at Kingston for us to conduct through. The Front is about 40 miles south of this, and there is where you will next hear from us.” ~ Letter from Union soldier T.D. Christie to his father.

June 6– Monday– Augusta County, Virginia– ” I don’t believe I told you that Mary was married– she went off very slyly– about the time we left home last winter– to the west and married Daniel Guthrie and it is said he was sick in bed at the time, strange things happen in the world don’t they? She is the last one any person would have thought of getting married. We are having very warm weather now and have had since 1st [of] June and a few days before but I have a most miserable prospect for corn the ground was very much baked and came up very badly– they are not done replanting, yet most of persons say their corn is doing very well. We have as fine a prospect for wheat yet I think as ever we had will have harvest. I expect about the last of the month will cut clover about week after next– harvest hands are going to be scarce.” ~ Letter from D. V. Gilkeson to his brother Hugh.

June 6– Monday– about 3 miles from Petersburg, Virginia– “The people here seem to be in tolerable good spirits in reference to the final issue. Provisions are very scarce in this country around Petersburg. . . . The soldiers live about as plentiful as the citizens in the way of meat and bread but not in vegetables. These articles we suffer for. Also milk and butter. . . . The Yanks are only about 2 or 3 miles below us on the river. They may advance on us but I do not think they are likely to do so. There have been thousands of soldiers transported through these lines since we have been here. This makes me hope we will not go to Richmond. Our duty is pretty heavy. We have to stand on duty 2 days and nights out of four days and nights.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Edmond Hardy Jones to his wife.

June 6– Monday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “After all of our agreements &c about an early start, we did not get off until 8 o’clock, a terrible, terrible day we have had. Cold Water almost out of it’s banks, and still rising– the slews swimming – Mr. Wilson picked the way or we never would have gotten through. Arrived at Cold Water in time to eat our dinner and feed. Met with a Negro man, coming to Senatobia, gave him part of our baggage, had to go twenty miles out of the way, by Luxahoma to cross Hickey Hayley. We missed the road to Mrs. Wren’s home, had to travel until 8 o’clock, through Senatobia bottom after night, oh, how terrible to think of. We never would have reached here had it not been for Mr. Wilson’s kindness– found old Mrs. Arnold ready to receive us, where we are all now ensconced, Mrs. Wren fast asleep, Hal taking Chloroform. I begged her not to, but to no avail – I am all alone. Mr. Wilson and John both retired. We have glorious news from Virginia. General Lee has repulsed Grant, with heavy loss. God grant it may be so. Traveled two days and only 30 miles from home. God bless my poor old Father, and his household.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

Belle Edmondson

Belle Edmondson

June 6– Monday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the prison camp, Commander Henry Wirz complains to Confederate officials that the cornmeal issued to the 24,000 prisoners and staff was unbolted– that is, ground with the husks and unfit for human consumption– a factor partially responsible for the high death rate, along with poor sanitary conditions, lack of good water and not enough supplies all around.

June 7– Tuesday– New York City– “It is doubtful whether the losses suffered by the Danish army since the outbreak of the war with Germany, have ever been paralleled – looking at the strength of the army when it accepted the gauge thrown down to it. The estimates are various as to the numbers of the Danish force, including the volunteers that have taken up arms in defense of the independence of the country. But the regularly disciplined force of the Kingdom – the army proper – does not appear to have exceeded 35,000 at the commencement of hostilities. The official reports, then, show that half this force has disappeared in the bloody conflicts, from Flensburg to Duppel and Viele. In short, the Danes have lost 16,473 men, including 300 officers, besides 467 guns. The continuance of the unequal war at such a sacrifice can not surely be permitted by the intervening Powers.” ~ New York Times.

June 7– Tuesday– New York City– “English newspapers have heard of Grant’s progress as far as Spotsylvania Court House. They are bothered by the news. Their faith in the final triumph of those dear, chivalric slave-breeders and girl-floggers is unimpaired, of course, but they are pained to discover that Grant, though a Northern general, must be admitted to possess a certain amount of military ability; that men in the national service can fight almost if not quite as well as the ‘patriotic legions’ of the South.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 7– Tuesday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Republican Party adopts a campaign platform which includes resolutions “to do everything in our power to aid the Government in quelling by force of arms the Rebellion now raging against its authority, and in bringing to the punishment due to their crimes the Rebels and traitors arrayed against it . . . . That as slavery was the cause, and now constitutes the strength of this Rebellion, and as it must be, always and everywhere, hostile to the principles of Republican Government, justice and the National safety demand its utter and complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic; and that, while we uphold and maintain the acts and proclamations by which the Government, in its own defense, has aimed a deathblow at this gigantic evil, we are in favor, furthermore, of such an amendment to the Constitution, to be made by the people in conformity with its provisions, as shall terminate and forever prohibit the existence of Slavery”; benefits for disabled veterans and provision for widows and orphans of deceased soldiers; “that the Government owes to all men employed in its armies, without regard to distinction of color, the full protection of the laws of war—and that any violation of these laws, or of the usages of civilized nations in time of war, by the Rebels now in arms, should be made the subject of prompt and full redress;” to encourage immigration; to encourage speedy construction of a railroad to the Pacific coast and to do all necessary to discourage European efforts to re-establish monarchy in the Americas, a provision aimed at French intervention in Mexico.


Baltimore's Front Street Theater where the Republican convention meets

Baltimore’s Front Street Theater where the Republican convention meets

June 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The Convention to-day is the absorbing theme but there is something from the army relative to the late fights that disturbs me. We have had severe slaughter. Brave men have been killed and maimed most fearfully, but Grant persists.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have not felt well at all the last weeks. I had spells of deathly faintness, and bad trouble in my head too, & sore throat, (quite a little budget, ain’t they?). My head was the worst, though I don’t know, the faint weak spells were not very pleasant but I feel so much better this forenoon I believe it has passed over. There is a very horrible collection in Armory Building, (in Armory Square hospital) about 200 of the worst cases you ever see, & I had been probably too much with them– it is enough to melt the heart of a stone– over one third of them are amputation cases. . . . Mother, it is most too much for a fellow, & I sometimes wish I was out of it but I suppose it is because I have not felt first rate myself . . . . it seems to me if I could only be home two or three days, & have some good teas with you & Mat, & set in the old basement a while, & have a good time & talk with Jeff, & see the little girls, &c– I should be willing to keep on afterward among these sad scenes for the rest of the summer– but I shall remain here until this Richmond campaign is settled, any how, unless I get sick, & I don’t anticipate that.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.