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.

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