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.

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