Directly in Front of Atlanta~July 1864~9th & 10th

Directly in Front of Atlanta ~ General Sherman

While Grant is stalemated in Virginia and settles down for a long, long siege, Sherman inches ever closer to Atlanta, dealing harshly with the people of Georgia. Whitman slowly recovers at home. Women on both sides worry and do what they can to help. Horace Greeley, a critic of the Lincoln Administration, attempts to generate peace talks. Lincoln seeks to calm nervous Northern politicians. Escaped slaves continue to join Federal forces. The first known murder on a train shocks England.

fashionable women of the period

fashionable women of the period

July 9– Saturday– Brooklyn, New York– “I had grown worse, quite a good deal, & I was about making up my mind that I would have to stand a good siege but yesterday the current changed, & I felt better all day, & in the afternoon went out riding with my brother, the first time I have been out of the house since I got home & to-day I remain feeling better. The doctor to-day tells me my throat is markedly better. . . . When you write tell me the impressions you got in the army, & the probabilities as far as you can make them out. As to me, I still believe in Grant, & that we shall get Richmond.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend Charles W. Eldridge.

July 9– Saturday– Fairmont, West Virginia– “I enclose you a check for $72.15, being the amount of collections made by one our West Virginia Union girls, Miss Mollie E. Strum, of Bingammon, Harrison County. She rode five days – long, hot days – over a sparsely populated section of country, to collect the above amount, in items ranging from five cents to two dollars! Don’t you think she deserves a special praise? When or where has such self sacrificing devotion to the welfare of the suffering soldiers been exhibited? Were half our young ladies so devoted, so self-denying and enthusiastic in the case of the Union, how much good could be done; how much pain and suffering could be alleviated and how much sooner the war would end in the overthrow of the rebellion! Who will emulate the noble example of Miss Sturm? Let us teach our children to honor the memories of the patriotic ladies who minister with angel hands to the heroes, suffering that the Union may be preserved.” ~ Letter from J N Boyd to John Donlon. [Mollie Strum’s $72.15 would equal $1100 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

July 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “If you can find any person, anywhere, professing to have any proposition of Jefferson Davis in writing, for peace, embracing the restoration of the Union and abandonment of slavery, whatever else it embraces, say to him he may come to me with you; and that if he really brings such proposition, he shall at the least have safe conduct with the paper (and without publicity, if he chooses) to the point where you shall have to meet him. The same if there be two or more persons.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Horace Greeley.

Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley

July 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Our Alabama news comes in opportunely to encourage and sustain the nation’s heart. It does them as well as me good to dwell upon the subject and the discomfiture of the British and Rebels. The perfidy of the former is as infamous as the treason of the latter. Both were whipped by the Kearsarge, a Yankee ship with a Yankee commander and a Yankee crew.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

combat with the CSS Alabama

combat with the CSS Alabama

July 9– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “We have British accounts of the sinking of the Alabama, near Cherbourg, by the United States steamer Kearsarge, but [Captain] Semmes was not taken, and his treasure, etc. had been deposited in France.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

July 9– Saturday– Cleveland, Tennessee– “Mollie G. & Julia Grant came this morn, they are in a great deal of trouble in consequence of being notified to report at Chattanooga. We are making some new calico dresses in case we have to desert our homes. The order was read to us by a sergeant in the dining room, just as tea was ready, stating that all rebel sympathizers had to report at Chattanooga Monday [July 11]. Through the assistance of Chaplain Spence [a Federal soldier] we have been released [from reporting]. How said I feel to think even if we are permitted to stay our friend will go, and we cannot even bid them farewell or else we will be accused of sympathizing with them & plotting against the government & be sent off without a thing in the world.” ~ Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.

July 9– Saturday– Memphis, Tennessee– “George Mellersh and William J. Conran, residents of Memphis, have applied for exemption from service in the Enrolled Militia of Memphis, on the ground of allegiance to Great Britain. It appears from the sworn statement of each of these men, that in 1861 and 1862, they were in the military service of the so-called Confederate States, and that subsequently thereto they came to Memphis and engaged in business, and in 1863 sought and obtained papers of protection as British subjects. Therefore, in pursuance of the previous of the circular from these Headquarters dated June 2nd, 1864, George Mellersh and William J. Conran are hereby directed to be sent outside the lines of the United States forces, not to return during the war.” ~ Order of Union General C. C. Washburn.

July 9– Saturday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Saturday has pretty much passed away, as the preceding days, with a few visits among friends in and out of town, trying to cheer and comfort them as cheerless and comfortless as I felt myself– this afternoon [Union] Captain Rankin informed me (rumor of which I heard yesterday) that all of the Roswell factories had been burnt by order of General Sherman, the causes which prompted the order he did not know; he stated that he had conversed with many of the operatives who had been brought into Marietta, to be sent North; he stated that they all spoke in very bitter terms.” ~ Diary of William King.

July 9– Saturday– near Chattahoochee River, Georgia– “I have ordered the arrested operators at the Confederate manufactories at Roswell and Sweet Water, to be sent North. When they reach Nashville have them sent across the Ohio River and turned loose to earn a living where they won’t do us any harm. If any of the principals seem to you dangerous, you may order them imprisoned for a time. The men were exempt from conscription by reason of their skill, but the women were simply laborers that must be removed from this district.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to the Union commandant in Nashville, Tennessee.

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

July 9– Saturday– near Chattahoochee River Georgia– “The army is very large and extends from Roswell factory at the north around to Sandtown, but my centre is directly in front of Atlanta. I will have to maneuver some hereabouts to drive the enemy and to gain time to accumulate stores by rail to enable me to operate beyond reach of the railroad. Thus far our supplies have been ample and the country is high, mountainous, with splendid water and considerable forage in the nature of fields of growing wheat, oats and corn, but we sweep across it leaving it as bare as a desert. The people all flee before us. The task of feeding this vast host is a more difficult one than to fight.” ~ Letter from William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

July 9– Saturday– Atlanta, Georgia– The Southern Confederacy newspaper prints a report from a correspondent with the army in which he expresses confidence that the Union forces will be turned back at the Chattahoochee River, comparing the situation to that of Union General George McClellan who had proclaimed “On to Richmond” in 1861 only to be turned back by Confederate troops then under General Joseph E. Johnston, now directing the defense of Atlanta. The writer asserts that Sherman’s “On to Atlanta” will be repulsed as well.

July 9– Saturday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the Andersonville prison camp the number of inmates has reached close to 30,000. A message is sent to Confederate officials in Richmond desperately asking for reinforcements, claiming that the guard force at the camp is undisciplined, riddled with spies, threatening mutiny and decreased by desertion.

July 9– Saturday– London, England– On a train, Thomas Briggs, a 69 year old banker, is assaulted and robbed by a German named Franz Muller. Muller tosses the badly injured Briggs from the train. His body is soon discovered and he dies in hospital.

Franz Muller

Franz Muller

July 10– Sunday– Franklin County, Pennsylvania– “We had meeting [for worship] to day, this after noon, at the School house, and had a very fine shower of rain which will freshen up things a little. It was very dry, and is no ways soaked deep yet. The news are as yet not very favorable the Rebels are said to be moving on towards Baltimore. But we Know nothing and should give all over to God to rule who has all in his hands. and power. I often feel that I dread the cross too much and would rather see it go according to my wish & will. Oh What short sighted creatures are we. May the Lord rule my heart and let me be silent.” ~ Letter from Eliza R. Stouffer to Catherine and Amos Miller.

July 10– Sunday– Wheeling, West Virginia– About 50 fugitive slaves who escaped from Virginia under the protection of Union General Hunter hold a prayer meeting and prepare to enlist in the U. S. Colored Troops. White citizens are a bit startled by the religious enthusiasm of the African Americans, as “such a noise as they created is seldom heard in this section.”

July 10– Sunday– Johnson Island near Sandusky, Ohio– “No letter from you in months, but two of yours indeed having reached me since my capture. I have written regularly. If I could have direct intelligence from Monroe, it would relieve my anxiety. The monotony of life on Lake Erie does not vary. We rarely even have a blow – never a respectable storm. The weather is now intensely hot, beyond almost anything I ever experienced. This, however, rarely continues many days in succession. There is much sickness among the prisoners, not severe in type, I think. As we have ample grounds for exercise, I make that the chief daily concern. Next to exercise, I class reading, being provided by friends with suitable books.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry McDaniel to his wife Hester. [By this time McDaniel has been a prisoner for over a year, having been captured at Gettysburg in early July, 1863.]

July 10– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “I have not a single soldier but whom is being disposed by the military for the best protection of all. By latest accounts the enemy is moving on Washington. They cannot fly to either place. Let us be vigilant, but keep cool. I hope neither Baltimore nor Washington will be sacked.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to a number of Maryland politicians.

Lincoln with his two secretaries

Lincoln with his two secretaries

July 10– Sunday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “The right wing of our skirmish line rests on the Appomattox River and my post is on the extreme right, so I am now sitting on the banks of the river writing. The Yankee skirmish line is a short distance from us in full view. By mutual agreement, we do not fire at each other, there being no use of it unless an advance is made. They are quite friendly with us. We meet them everyday nearly and exchange papers. Only one or two go at a time and they meet half way. We have traded with them some too, but that is against orders and it got to be so common that they have put very strict orders against it, and have about broken it up. But occasionally some of the boys run the blockade and trade with them yet. Our boys give them tobacco and cornbread for crackers and knives, soap, pockette books, &c. I gave one them the other day a plug of tobacco for a pockette knife and six crackers. It was old Jeff Davis tobacco that I drawed about a month ago and I was glad to dispose of it. Of the future I can tell nothing more than you. We have been at it two months and over, and Old Grant still pecks away, but he is as far from having Richmond now as when he started.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

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