So Tedious Here & So Hot~July 1864~the 1st to the 3rd

So Tedious Here and So Hot ~ Union officer in Georgia to his wife.

The month will be much the same: while Federal forces under Sherman advance in Georgia, Grant’s forces lay siege to Petersburg, Virginia, much as he did last year to Vicksburg, Mississippi, while trying to prevent Lee from re-enforcing Johnston in Georgia and Lee launches a diversionary attack northward. Lincoln make changes in his cabinet.

William Pitt Fessenden

William Pitt Fessenden

July 1–Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln appoints William Pitt Fessenden, Senator from Maine, as Secretary of the Treasury. Fessenden, age 57, a lawyer, politician and financier, has served in the Senate since 1854. [He will serve only until March 3, 1865, when he will return to the Senate, having restored the U S Treasury to a relatively sound condition. Lincoln describes him as “a Radical without the petulant and vicious fretfulness of many Radicals.” He dies in Portland, Maine on September 8, 1869, five weeks before his 63rd birthday.

July 1– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “This day is the anniversary of my birth. I am sixty-two years of age. Life is brief. Should I survive another year, I shall then have attained my grand climacteric. Yet it is but the journey of a day, and of those who set out with me in the morning of life how few remain! Each year thins out the ranks of those who went with me to the old district school in my childhood. Governor Tod has declined the position of Secretary of the Treasury. It does not surprise me. Senator Fessenden has been appointed, who will, it is said, accept, which does surprise me. I doubt if his health will permit him to bear the burden. He has abilities; is of the same school as Chase. Has been Chairman of the Committee of Finance during Chase’s administration of the Treasury, and, I have supposed, a supporter of his policy. Yet I have had an impression that Fessenden is an improvement upon Chase, and I trust he is.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.


Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

July 1– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “You spoke of having vegetables soon for dinner. I hope you may eat them till you get fat and weigh one hundred and seventy-five pounds. I can’t get any here,white potatoes is selling at from three to four dollars per quart, onions and eggs one dollar a piece, everything is out of all reason and still going upward, even apple dumplings is worth one dollar a piece. As for war news, I reckon you have plenty as the war has got down most to you. Here Grant will hold his lines around the city. We still confront him. We still have confidence in Johnston but like you, we think he is very slow. He has been getting Sherman in a trap all spring and summer. I think it’s about time the trap would fall, at all events, I want the dead fall thrown ere he gets further south.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W. A. Stilwell to his wife.

July 1– Friday– Bartow County, Georgia– “I am suffering a little from the blues, it is so tedious here and so hot. The mail has not come. . . . A year ago to-day was a hard day for this regiment, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. I don’t feel much like writing today. If I had a good place, I would lie down and rest, but here we are in the heat, in the open field, and those disagreeable stray bullets always flying about. One of my men was badly wounded in the hip and thigh this morning, and last evening a bullet went through Captain Steinmeyer’s tent, right over his body; fortunately he was lying down at the time. Since those orders the other day to get ready with ten days’ rations, we have heard nothing more about moving.” ~ Letters from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.


July 1– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the prison camp the inmate population has reached 26,000, in a stockade designed to hold only 12,000. The facility is enlarged by adding ten acres extending north of the prison creek. Commander Henry Wirz orders half of the inmates to occupy the new section.


Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison

July 2–Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “The last business day of the session, and many of the Members have gone home already. Much is done and omitted to be done during the last hours of Congress. Members do wrong in abandoning their post at these important periods, and no one who does it should be trusted. I am told by the members of our naval committees that all naval matters are rightly done up in the two houses, but I discredit it. Some matters will be lost, and hurried legislation is always attended with errors.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 6th ultimo, requesting information upon the subject of the African slave trade, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers by which it was accompanied.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.

 July 2–Saturday– Washington, D.C.–The Senate grants a charter to the Northern Pacific Railroad.

July 2– Saturday– Winchester, Virginia– In an attempt to force General Grant’s troops away from Petersburg, Confederate troops under General Jubal Early are headed north to try to attack Washington and enter the town here, pushing back light Federal opposition.


General Jubal Early

General Jubal Early

July 2– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “We are laying here yet in front of the Rebel lines, our Regiment about a quarter of a mile from the enemy’s works, but our line of battle in front of us is not more than 200 yards from that of the enemy, both parties are working away at night, strengthening their lines and as they are so close together, and watch each other so closely the least unusual noise at night will frequently start the [gun] fire along the whole line and almost every night we have a general row lasting half an hour or so. These night affairs are splendid, when a fellow can lay back in the rear and look at them. They are generally commenced by the pickets, and soon the straggling picket firing changes to regular volleys, then the [artillery] Batteries generally open pretty savage, and the Mortars join in and altogether they manage to kick up a terrible noise but as both parties are behind earthworks the execution done is very slight compared with the noise made. I suppose Mother, you all want to hear something about the prospects of our soon taking Petersburg, but I can’t tell you anything more than you can see in the newspapers. All that I know is that we are laying here waiting for General Grant to say what he wants us to do next, and everyone is satisfied to wait until he gives the word, and then whether it be, to take the City by Assault, or whatever the order may be, I think all hands will obey it just as readily and cheerfully as if the campaign was just commencing, The amount of it is Mother we all believe in Grant, and as far as I can hear the opinion is universal in the army, that before this campaign is over Petersburg and Richmond will be in our possession. Our lines are in some places within easy Artillery Range of the City, and from where we lay we can plainly see the spires of the Churches in the City.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louise. 

July 3– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “The yanks tore up the railroad and stopped communication, and it has been useless to write. There is a man from our Brigade going to start home on furlough tomorrow, and says he will carry this for me, if he gets through himself. My health is very good and we are here in line of battle as usual. It is very warm and dry here yet. We sharpshooters are not on duty today but will go on again this evening. The Yankee line is some distance from us here, but in some places on our left, the two lines are very near each other. The yanks throw shells into Petersburg every day and have killed several women and children. Tomorrow is the day Old Grant was to take a big dinner in Richmond but I rather think he will be sadly disappointed. I have no idea that he will ever take Richmond or Petersburg, but he may trouble us for some time yet.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.


Federal troops burning southern railroad bridge

Federal troops burning southern railroad bridge

July 3– Sunday– Cobb County, Georgia– “I arose early and took my breakfast, our infantry still passing through and gathering up the remaining chickens. About 6 o’clock the last of our infantry had passed, and our Cavalry skirmishers were collecting in the yard, they informed me that a detachment of our Cavalry had formed in an open field a few hundred yards south, to check the advance of the Federal Cavalry. The firing soon commenced. I placed the servants [slaves] and children for safety in the stone wood cellar, where I remained with them the most of the time, the firing continued about half an hour while the Federal Cavalry were advancing from the Powder Springs Road to our house. Many of them were killed or wounded near the house, our Cavalry fell back near 1 o’clock, some passing over the Railroad embankment, and others over the Atlanta Road, and for some time kept up a fire on each other with small arms, the balls falling about the yard. After 7 o’clock all was quiet again on the premises, and we in possession of the Federal Army. The advance Cavalry was a detachment under command of Lieutenant Harvey . . . of General Hooker’s escort, his behavior was very gentlemanly, he asked me if I had any Rebel soldiers. I told him but one, who was sick, and him I delivered up. A Major and Colonel soon after made their appearances, all with the men conducting themselves very properly.” ~ Diary of William King.

July 3– Sunday– near Smyrna Church, Georgia– “On Friday I was ordered to Marietta, arrived there about 6 o’clock in the evening. In a few minutes, heavy cannonading commenced, and in a short while the continual roar of artillery, extending for miles along our line, seemed to give evidence of a general conflict. Dark night soon rested upon the scene, and all for which was quiet. But before dawn of morning the sleeping repose of the inhabitants of the once beautiful but now desolated city of Marietta was aroused by the angry roar of the cannon and the sharp crack of the rifles. Soon all was astir, expecting the deadly strife that [would] commence, but not so. Very early in the morning it was ascertained that it was only a feint on the part of the enemy to draw the attention of our army until Sherman could commence with one of his flank movements on our left. But the noble Johnston had already anticipated this movement and was prepared at every point to meet him. The effect of Sherman’s move, however, has been a falling back of our army, some five miles below Marietta . . . . Thus you see that Marietta is doomed to fall into the hands of the Yankees and the footprints of the vandals to pollute the soil where lie buried so many of our friends and relatives” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier to his wife.

July 3– Sunday– Leetown, West Virginia; Darkesville, West Virginia; Martinsburg, West Virginia; North Mountain, West Virginia; Buckton, Virginia; James Island, South Carolina; Platte County, Missouri; along the Amite River, Louisiana; Kingston, Georgia; Ruff’s Mills, Georgia; Big Shanty, Georgia; Sweetwater Bridge, Georgia– Skirmishes, raids, firefights and cavalry encounters.

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