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.

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