We Had Each Band & Drum Corp Play John Brown’s Body~August 1864~the 8th to 10th

We Had Each Band and Drum Corps Play John Brown’s Body ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

While chasing Confederate General Early, Federal troops march through a part of West Virginia rife with Southern sympathizers and do what they can to antagonize “rebel loyalists.” A Union general enjoys have his troopers chase and kill Confederate guerillas and has an ardent abolitionist officer find employment for slaves escaping into the Federal lines. Sherman orders relentless bombardment of Atlanta. In Ontario a writer encourages Canadians to avoid the poison of Southern secession. Confederate soldiers wonder and worry about their friends and families. Sectarian violence causes Queen Victoria to send troops into Ireland.


August 8– Monday– Tullahoma, Tennessee– “My most important enjoyment is sending out after guerillas that are committing depredations in the country. I have one Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry here that are splendid guerilla hunters. They are well acquainted with the country and there is a deadly hatred between them and the guerillas, caused by out rages committed by the latter upon the families or friends of the former. The most of my Tennessee troops are refugees who have been driven from their homes, and all have wrongs to avenge so they take no prisoners. This suits me exactly and they know it so I never see any guerrilla prisoners and frequently hear of them being killed and see their horses and arms. A great many Negroes both male and female run away from their masters and come here and at other points along the Rail Road and hire to Quarter Masters, rail road repairers and wood contractors and I have daily application from them to send for their children that they could not get away with them and they are afraid to go back for them. I have turned this branch of the business over to Colonel Dunn. He is an abolitionist and takes pains to give all the help he can to those poor creatures in getting their families together.” ~ Letter from Union General Robert H Milroy to his wife Mary.

Union General Robert H Milroy

Union General Robert H Milroy

August 8– Monday– outside of Atlanta, Georgia– “Orders for to-morrow, August 9: All the [artillery] batteries that can reach the buildings of Atlanta will fire steadily on the town to-morrow, using during the day about fifty rounds per gun, shell and solid shot. General Schofield will, during the cannonading, completely envelop the enemy’s strength and position on his left flank.” ~ General William T. Sherman

August 8– Monday– Mobile, Alabama– Confederate Fort Gaines surrenders to Union besiegers.

August 8– Monday– Fairfax Station, Virginia; Salem, Kentucky; La Fayette, Tennessee– Skirmishes.

August 8– Monday– Belfast, Ireland–Rioting erupts between Protestants and Catholics and continues for the next eleven days. Queen Victoria authorizes the use of 3,000 regular troops to restore order.

August 9– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times reports that early last month a meeting in Geneva of Swiss businessmen and political leaders expressed support for President Lincoln and his steps to abolish slavery. Upon invitation from the presiding chairman the American Counsel Charles Upton was given the floor and said, “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the noble sentiments and the friendship you express for my Government.”

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “News of Farragut’s having passed Forts Morgan and Gaines was received last night, and sent a thrill of joy through all true hearts. It is not, however, appreciated as it should be by the military. The President, I was sorry, spoke of it as important because it would tend to relieve Sherman. This is the narrow view of General Halleck, whom I tried to induce to make a joint demonstration against Mobile one year ago. He has done nothing new and only speaks of the naval achievement as a step for the army. While I regard the acts and opinions of Halleck as of little worth, I regret that from constant daily intercourse he should be able to imbue the President at times with false and erroneous notions. Halleck never awarded honest credit to the Navy ; the President never knowingly deprived them of any merit. Yet I have mentioned the result.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Union ships attacking Confederate forts at Mobile Bay

Union ships attacking Confederate forts at Mobile Bay

August 9–Tuesday– City Point, Virginia– This place serves as the Federal supply depot and communications center for the siege of Petersburg. Two Confederate saboteurs place a bomb on a Union transport vessel. The noon-time explosion kills 43 people, injures 126 others, and does severe property damage, even showering debris on General Grant as he sits in front of his tent.

August 9– Tuesday– City Point, Virginia– “Your views about showing no despondency, but keeping the enemy, with his last man now in the field, constantly employed, are the same I have often expressed. We must win, if not defeated at home [in the upcoming election]. Every day exhausts the enemy at least a regiment, without any further population to draw from to replace it, exclusive of the losses in battle.” ~ Letter from Union General Ulysses S. Grant to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Union General Ulysses S Grant

Union General Ulysses S Grant

August 9– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Well Mother I think that is talk enough about fighting for this time. Things with us are going the same as ever, we have not been paid yet, but we expect the pay master in the course of a day or two. . . . I should like very much also for Walt to send me one of his new books as soon as it is published. Jeff asked me in a letter a short time ago, if there was any chance for a fellow (in case he was drafted) to get a substitute from the men of our who are discharged at the expiration of their term of service. None of the men who have been through this Campaign, will listen to Re-enlisting at present they all think they have had soldiering enough and its no use talking to them until they have been home a month or two, then probably a good many of them will change their minds.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

August 9– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Eliza, the last thing I have heard from home was that there was a regiment of Yankees stationed there in the store house, that is with their headquarters in it. A man by the name of Bowman told us he was in sight of the house and saw them. I am very uneasy about you, but I hope they will not hurt you nor take all you have to eat. I hope you will treat them so as to be treated well. I don’t want you to try to wheedle in with them, only treat them with the respect that is due an enemy. Don’t deny that I am in the war for they think more of a man that will fight for his country than one that won’t.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife in Georgia.

August 9– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “During the afternoon I had some conversation with Major Carter, being the first of any length I have had with him, there seemed to be so little congeniality between him & myself either in mind or spirits, that I have had but little intercourse with him, contrary to my course with all the other officers who have been here– in this interview I found him to be a fair set off against our fire eating disunion men at the South. With him as with them, governed by passion and not by reason; he considered all the Citizens at the South rebels, and as such had forfeited all their rights to life, liberty and property, and not only had the government a right to do with them as it pleased, but the individual soldiers had also the right to appropriate to their own use all they could find of Rebel property which would contribute to their comfort & gratification, the depredations committed by his Regiment exhibits some of the fruits of his opinions & feelings. It affords me much gratification however to record the fact, that this case of Major Carter is the first instance I have yet found of such opinions & feelings in officer or private, after a free and extensive intercourse with the Federal Army for more than 6 weeks, and this single exception can have but little influence in affecting my very favorable opinion I have had occasion to form of the sound sense, good feelings & good conduct of the officers & privates of the Federal Army.” ~ Diary of William King.

Federal siege artillery

Federal siege artillery

August 9– Tuesday– outside of Atlanta, Georgia– “The rebel pickets have been firing into our camp today very disagreeably. One excellent man was dangerously wounded . . . this morning. This constant firing, when not really fighting, is the greatest annoyance of this campaign, and the losses it involves are so painful. This poor boy this morning seemed to feel it so deeply . . . . In a pitched battle, we have so much to occupy us, but here in camp it is horrible to see our men wounded.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

August 9–Tuesday– St Catherines, Ontario, Canada– “The Southern Confederacy has turned out some precious guerrillas, skedaddlers, freebooters, pirates, highwaymen and chivalric scoundrels, the chief of which, in our estimation, is Captain Semmes, of the late ‘piratical rover,’ the Alabama; and nothing but the deep depravity of the human heart would induce any man to become his ‘apologist’ and ‘admirer,’ or cause such number of the arrogant aristocrats of the Old World to applaud and approve of his treacherous, trickery, willful waste and damnable destruction of two hundred ships, meat, merchandise, material and men, in times of peace, as he has done– and would now be doing but for Captain Winslow– for the past two or three years on the high seas, and in both hemispheres. . . . Canadians! As the Northern States are your next door neighbors and friends, and always will be, let this American civil strife issue as it may; and as we have got to be their neighbors always, from the contiguity of the two peoples, and as the South is far removed from us, I beseech of you don’t be bamboozled and fooled by these Southern schemers in our midst, for they plot and meditate us mischief, as well as their own Government, continually. Listen not to their plausible tales, for they are as full of deception and hypocrisy as an egg is full of meat; tell them this is the ‘Land of the free and the home of the slave;’ that you are content, and that they are welcome here only just so long as they behave well, speak well, think well, and no longer! Take in none of their poison; drink in none of their treason, and swallow down none of their secession stuff and damnable doctrines; but do justly toward the North, love mercy and walk humbly with your God!” ~ Letter from Oliver Seymour Phelps to the New York Times. [For forty years before the Civil War St Catherines has publicly and willingly welcomed fugitive slaves from the American South.]

Salem Chapel of the British Methodist Episcopal Church, which received fugitive slaves

Salem Chapel of the British Methodist Episcopal Church, which received fugitive slaves

August 9– Tuesday– Warsaw, Poland– Birth of Roman Stanislaw Dmowski, politician. [Dies January 2, 1939.]

August 10– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Mrs. A. Wilhelm, M.D. of Philadelphia, delivered a lecture at Washington Hall on Monday evening on ‘the Past, Present and Future of our country.’ The proceeds were devoted to the Ladies’ Aid Society. The lecture was an exceedingly interesting one, and all who heard it were highly pleased and deeply impressed with its stirring truth and fine sentiment.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

August 10– Wednesday– near Charles Town, West Virginia– “We left Harpers Ferry this morning and marched to this camp passing through Charles Town. This is the place where John Brown was hung and we had each band and drum corps play ‘John Brown’s Body’ . . . as we passed through the streets of the town. The men joined in singing the hymn much to the disgust of the people. I saw at Harpers Ferry the engine house where John Brown was captured and at Charles Town the spot where his execution took place.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

typical women's bonnet of the period

typical women’s bonnet of the period

August 10– Wednesday– near Winchester, Virginia– “We went across the Potomac on Friday – took around by way of Sharpsburg, to near Hagerstown & came back via Williamsport – got 150 beeves, 2000 bushels of corn, a large lot of leather &c, drove away the Yankee cavalry – killed 4 & captured 8 of them & we had one man wounded & Saturday came back across the Potomac & on to our old camp. I got you a bonnet pattern, sent for it &, did not get the one I wanted – but you can see if it pleases you when it gets home – I got two neck ribbons for the girls– could only find one bright colored one – I enclose them & 2 skeins of silk & a yard of elastic cord & a paper of needles – I will send 2 spools of white cotton thread & one of black thread – all I could find – such little articles are very scarce & dear – & there are calls innumerable for them . . . . I will get you what I can of your list – I wrote you what I sent in the box – it will soon get home & I enclose a few items that I have now I am delighted that the ribbon pleased you – for my taste is not good. Glad Anne is improving. She shall have the red ribbon for it.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

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