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.

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