I Regard Captured Negroes as I Do Other Property~June 1864~22nd to 25th

I Regard Captured Negroes as I Do Other Captured Property ~ Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Forrest refuses to confirm or deny accusations about the Fort Pillow massacre. The situation at Andersonville prison continues to deteriorate. A hospital in Richmond gets in a fuss with women trying to comfort the wounded. Lincoln is in a good mood. Whitman is home in Brooklyn. Hard fighting occurs in many places.


June 22– Wednesday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “The 2nd Rhode Island has not been engaged today as we are at work building rifle pits and guarding the Jerusalem Plank Road on the left flank of the Army. Yesterday President Lincoln paid us a visit. I did not see him, as I was at the front.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 22– Wednesday– Kolb’s Farm, Cobb County, Georgia– Federal forces turn back a Confederate attack. Union casualties– dead, wounded, missing– total 350; Confederate casualties amount to more than 1,000.

June 22– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– Matters continue to worsen at the prison camp as an official from the prison sends an urgent message to Georgia Reserves Commander Howell Cobb, requesting that the guards be reinforced and that no further prisoners should be sent to the already badly overcrowded stockade.

Andersonville prison

Andersonville prison

June 22– Wednesday– Aleitsota, Lithuania– Birth of Hermann Minkowski, mathematician and theorist of relativity who will be a teacher of Albert Einstein. [Dies January 12, 1909.]

Hermann Minkowski

Hermann Minkowski

June 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “I will drop you a few lines this morning, to inform you that I am about well again and shall start to my Regiment in the morning. My health has improved rapidly since I came here. I reported for duty yesterday morning. I do not know where our Regiment is or how long it will take me to get to it, but I suppose it is somewhere around Petersburg. I have had a shirt and pair of drawers, and my Coat and Pants washed by the Government, since I came here. I went to the James River a short distance from here, yesterday and the day before and took a delightful, swimming frolic, which was quite a treat to me. There are about 1800 patients in the wards and 300 in tents near the hospital. There are about 500 nurses, cooks, ward matrons, Doctors, Clerks, &c. Jeff Davis is feeding may people at this time.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

June 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “We are informed that a number of ladies who have devoted themselves to the relief of the soldier from the inception of the war, attempted to reach the interior of the Stuart hospital on Tuesday with food and delicacies, but were refused admittance by the guard or porter in attendance, and turned away with their very acceptable burden. Who commands at Fort Stuart, that ladies cannot be admitted whenever they are the bearers of such welcome stores to our wounded soldiers, as we know the above ladies to have been? An explanation is needed.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

June 23– Thursday– near Allatoona, Georgia– “It is with a heavy heart that I contemplate the loss of five men killed and thirty three wounded in what was little more than a skirmish. We were very much exposed all day after we advanced into this position, and the enemy with the protection of his works was enabled to fire deliberately. The bullets flew around and over us thick and fast. As soon as I can get another, I will send you my hat, to show the narrowness of my escape from a fatal bullet; it tore out a large piece of the brim and passed within half an inch of my head. Another ball which had glanced from something else, probably a tree, and was without force, struck my left knee, but did not hurt me at all. I picked it up, and it was so hot that I could not hold it in my hand.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

June 23– Thursday– Andersonville, Georgia– An official writes to Confederate President Jeff Davis that the young, inexperienced guards in the guard towers at the prison camp are shooting prisoners in the stockade even though these prisoners had not crossed the lines of the prison yard and were not attempting to escape.

June 23– Thursday– Tupelo, Mississippi– “I regard your letter [of June 17] as discourteous to the commanding officer of this department, and grossly insulting to myself. You seek by implied threats to intimidate him, and assume the privilege of denouncing me as a murderer and as guilty of the wholesale slaughter of the garrison at Fort Pillow, and found your assertions upon the ex parte testimony of your friends, the enemies of myself and country. I shall not enter into the discussion, therefore, of any of the questions involved nor undertake any refutation of the charges made by you against myself; nevertheless, as a matter of personal privilege alone, I unhesitatingly say that they are unfounded and unwarranted by the facts. But whether these charges are true or false, they, with the question you ask as to whether Negro troops when captured will be recognized and treated as prisoners of war, subject to exchange, &c., are matters which the Government of the United States and Confederate States are to decide and adjust, not their subordinate officers. I regard captured Negroes as I do other captured property and not as captured soldiers, but as to how regarded by my Government and the disposition which has been and will hereafter be made of them, I respectfully refer you through the proper channel to the authorities at Richmond. It is not the policy nor the interest of the South to destroy the Negro– on the contrary, to preserve and protect him– and all who have surrendered to us have received kind and humane treatment.” ~ Letter from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to Union General Cadwaller Colden Washburn.


June 23– Thursday– New Castle, Virginia; Sweet Sulphur Springs, West Virginia; Cove Gap, West Virginia; Jones’ Bridge, Virginia; Allatoona, Georgia; Okolona, Mississippi; Collierville, Tennessee– Skirmishes, raids and fire-fights.

June 24– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The President was in very good spirits at the Cabinet. His journey has done him good, physically, and strengthened him mentally and inspired confidence in the General and army. Chase was not at the Cabinet-meeting. I know not if he is at home, but he latterly makes it a point not to attend. No one was more prompt and punctual than himself until about a year since. As the Presidential contest approached he has ceased in a great measure to come to the meetings. Stanton is but little better. If he comes, it is to whisper to the President, or take the dispatches or the papers from his pocket and go into a corner with the President. When he has no specialty of his own, he withdraws after some five or ten minutes.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 24– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “To the Editor of the Examiner: I am sure, when the good ladies understand this matter, they will sustain me in the position I have taken. No sane physician, in private practice, would permit the room of his patient to be crowded with visitors all day, annoying him with questions, preventing sleep and rest to patients, and administering all kinds of food, both wholesome and deleterious, to the patient, and each visitor a different kind. When I took charge of the Stuart hospital, I found my patients were being killed with kindness. The surgeons in the wards complained to me that the wards were so filled with visitors all day that they could not get to their patients to dress their wounds, and many cases were such as were manifestly improper to dress in the presence of ladies. . . . My duty to these sick and wounded soldiers placed under my charge is certainly as great as to any private patient. There are many kind and benevolent ladies who visit this hospital for the good of the patients, who bring delicacies for them. These ladies I will always be glad to see, and will give them permission to bring in their contributions to the chief matron at all times; but for one of these there are many who come from mere curiosity, and who do no good, but much harm. The food at this hospital is prescribed on a diet roll each day for each patient . . . . All contributions to this hospital from the ladies will be thankfully received, but will be turned over to the chief matron for distribution, in accordance with the prescriptions on the diet rolls. . . . During the morning and evening, when the surgeons are prescribing for and dressing the wounds of the patients, the hospital is closed, except to those having sick or wounded relatives in the hospital; in the interim the gates are thrown open to the whole community. R. A. Lewis, Surgeon in Charge.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

fashionable ladies of the period

fashionable ladies of the period

June 24– Friday– near Kolb’s Farm, Georgia– “We have got into a new position somewhat in advance of the one we held before. The rebels tried an attack in this place yesterday, but were repulsed with great loss. It is a very important position, as it holds one of the principal roads leading back to Marietta. The loss of so many of my good boys yesterday affected me very much more than at any other time; it was, I believe, because I saw everything so plainly and talked to many of the wounded myself. The engagement was slow and lasted so long; one had an opportunity to see all so plainly, and then, while both at Resaca and near Dalton the great majority of the wounds were light, most of them yesterday were severe, many of them fearful. Now the intelligence that the result of the fighting yesterday has been largely in our favor, has reconciled us somewhat to our individual loss.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his family. [The battle took place on the 22nd not the 23rd and was a victory for the Federals. Total Union losses– killed, wounded and missing– were about 250; Confederate total losses were approximately 1500.]

Kolbs Farm

Kolbs Farm

June 24– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– Confederate officials in Richmond are advised that the prison camp is taxed to the utmost extent, the mortality rate is considerable, and more guards, surgeons, and engineers are desperately needed.

June 25– Saturday– Brooklyn, New York– “I write just a line to let you know I got home all safe. I do not feel very well yet, but expect to, or begin to, pretty soon. I send my love to you & Nelly & to Charles Eldridge.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D. O’Connor in Washington, D.C.

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