High Estimate of General Grant~June 1864~3rd and 4th

High Estimate of General Grant ~ President Lincoln

The President and others voice approval of General Grant. The Republican National Convention begins to gather in Baltimore. Hard fighting takes place. A Memphis newspaper complains about obscenity. Like many others, a soldier has his picture taken and sends it home.

June 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “For several days the delegates to the National Convention have been coming in. Had a call from several. Met a number at the President’s. All favor the President. There is a spirit of discontent among the Members of Congress, stirred up, I think, by the Treasury Department. Chase has his flings and insinuations against the President’s policy, or want of policy. Nothing suits him. There seems some difference among the delegates about the Vice-Presidency, but they wilt be likely to renominate Hamlin, though he has not much personal strength and has not the mind and temperament to build up a party for the country. There is an impression here that he has great strength in New England, but that is not my opinion. He has party cunning and management but not breadth and strength and is but little cared for there; is not offensive or obnoxious, but there is no zeal for him.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

June 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Your letter, inviting me to be present at a mass meeting of loyal citizens, to be held at New York on the 4th instant, for the purpose of expressing gratitude to Lieutenant-General Grant for his signal services, was received yesterday. It is impossible for me to attend. I approve, nevertheless, of whatever may tend to strengthen and sustain General Grant and the noble armies now under his direction. My previous high estimate of General Grant has been maintained and heightened by what has occurred in the remarkable campaign he is now conducting, while the magnitude and difficulty of the task before him does not prove less than I expected. He and his brave soldiers are now in the midst of their great trial, and I trust that at your meeting you will so shape your good words that they may turn to men and guns, moving to his and their support.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to P. A. Conkling and others.

General Grant

General Grant

June 3– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “About four miles east of Dallas [Georgia], all the roads leading to Marietta or Atlanta would be covered by a line of five miles in length, and there is apparently no chance to flank the position unless the country can be traversed outside the main, which is said to be impracticable. It is possible a fight may occur there. Eighteen miles southeast of this spot, is the Chattahoochee river in its nearest appear on to Atlanta, say seven miles. Two miles west of the Chattahoochee is a favorable ridge fronting a good battle ground, and some say this will be the place.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch speculates on where the major fighting in Georgia will take place.

June 3– Friday– Cold Harbor, Virginia– “We have had a terrible battle today, and the killed and wounded number in thousands. . . . At any rate, General Grant means to hold on, and I know that he will win in the end.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 3– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “The display of highly colored daubs and photographs of naked women, obscene groups, etc, in the windows and upon the stands of our stationers, booksellers, and news dealers has become most noticeably common and deserving of public attention and censure. We have long been accustomed to see such, upon a larger plan, hung about the walls of grogshops, club rooms, and places visited only by the male sex, but when they are to be introduced into the street windows and compiled into albums, it is certainly carrying the thing a bit too far-altogether too far. Such pandering to vitiated taste is at least unbecoming many of those who have been guilty of the practice, and in our opinion the city ordinance, prohibiting the publication or sale of obscene books, would apply as well to the sell of obscene pictures.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

June 3– Friday– somewhere north of New Hope Church, Georgia– “We have changed our position. Our corps was relieved in the position we held by the 15th Corps, about noon day before yesterday. We marched towards the left some miles and went into a dense wood, where we bivouacked until a little past noon yesterday, when amid torrents of rain, such rain as you have scarcely ever known in Wisconsin, we continued our march toward the left of the army. We halted, then marching slowly arrived a little before sunset in this place, in the extreme left of the army, in a reserve position– the 23rd Corps in our front. It seems that we are pushing our army towards the left, probably to get to the railroad. Orders have just come to be ready to march at a moment’s notice. There has been slow skirmishing in front ever since we came here, accompanied by occasional shelling. One shell came right into the regiment last night, grazing one man’s leg.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

June 3– Friday– New Hope, Georgia– “Though our march was short, being only five or six miles, still I think it was more fatiguing than any former one, being made immediately after a very hard rain and over a military road. The mud in many places was over our boots. And after it became dark, we could not see the logs and rails over the swollen creeks, consequently had to go in beast fashion. We will leave walls of stone and earth which will be gazed upon by generations to come, as the earth which protected father or grandfather. They will accidentally stumble upon a small mound of red earth which was raised to mark the resting place of some veteran of ‘64. I would say to all who should visit the works from Rocky Face Mountain near Dalton to Paulding County: Treat lightly, for this is sacred ground, made so from the many gallons of Southern blood it has drunk and the many mangled bodies it contains.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his mother.

June 4– Saturday– New York City– “The moderate tone of all his [Grant’s] despatches is a most favorable sign. It indicates that he is a man of business and work, that he knows the worth of facts and of results accomplished, and the importance of results not yet attained, and that he cares little for talk or telling bulletins. I begin to rate Grant very high.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

George Templeton Strong

George Templeton Strong

June 4– Saturday– Columbus, Ohio– “It is doubtful whether this reaches you directly. I write, however, in the hope that intercourse may be resumed ere long by Flag of Truce. The cessation falls heavily upon prisoners on either side and upon their friends at home. The monotony of our life remain unvaried. The fronts of the buildings (called Blocks) have been sodded by the occupants, and the grass presents quite an attractive appearance. Here and there is to be seen a miniature garden-plot, but the space allotted to us is nearly all required for exercise. This is taken now in various forms. Parties are seen at nearly all hours of the day playing at base ball, marbles, pitching quoits, etc. I am debarred from the first of these by the effects of my wound, from the others by want of inclination. Walking is my resource, as it is that of the majority.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry McDaniel to his wife Hester.

June 4– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Many delegates to [the Republican] Convention in town. Some attempts made by Members of Congress to influence them. The friends of Chase improve the opportunity to exclaim against Blair. There has been continued fighting, though represented as not very important. Still there is heavy loss, but we are becoming accustomed to the sacrifice. Grant has not great regard for human life.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 4– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “We again conjure the friends of the Southern soldier to send of their surplus to the hospitals food, delicacies, cordials, and bandages, and appliances for wounds. In those particulars our hospitals are quite scant, and anything that the citizens can supply will be doubly acceptable in this emergency.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

June 4– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Yesterday morning, our city was awakened by the roar of battle, which began with the dawn, between Lee and Grant’s armies. The cannonade was very heavy, and the rattle of the musketry was also distinctly heard from the hills around the city. The letter of our correspondent details the operations up to about noon. A visit to the lines in the afternoon enables us to add some further items, more particularly as to affairs on our right. The operations yesterday consisted of heavy and continuous skirmishing all along our line . . . . Last evening as the darkness closed in, the skirmishing, which had slackened, has become very brisk and noisy, and wore to the distant listener the sound of an engagement. We shall not be surprised if we learn before putting these lines to press, that the enemy took advantage of the shades of evening to organize another charge on our lines.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

June 4– Saturday– Cold Harbor, Virginia– “We are on the old battle ground of Cold Harbor fought on Friday evening the 27th [of] June nearly two years ago. We are not far from where I done my first fighting. Our Brigade has done no fighting since I wrote last, but much hard fighting has been done since then. Yesterday was one among the bloodiest days of this war. The sun refused to shine on the awful scenes. It was thick cloudy all day. The fighting commenced right close to us on our left and I learned extended along our whole line from here to our extreme left. Reports and dispatches say that our boys killed the Yankees by the thousand, and captured a great many prisoners, and that our loss was very light, and that in some places our forces drove the yanks for some distance. Our boys had good works to fight behind and I just know they poured it to them right. Old Grant tried mighty hard to get this position, but General Lee was too smart for him.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

Mathew  Brady, photographer

Mathew Brady, photographer

June 4– Saturday– Morris Island, South Carolina– “I had got my likeness taken and I had none [stamps] to put on the letter but you must not get scared When you see it for I had no razor to shave and I have to have my hair Cut off Close all the time . . . . I Will get it taken again as soon as I Can raise a dollar. I think it Will look better but I hope that you Will get yours taken and send it to me for I think it a long time to see your face and . . . Glad I Was to hear that you are getting a long so Well . . . . I hope that you Will excuse this short letter– please give my love to Aunt Mary Harson and to uncle Solon and to Dad and to Lizzie and all the friends and my best love to yourself.” ~ Letter from Union soldier David Demus to his wife Mary Jane

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