More & More Obscure, Dubious & Muddled~August 1864~14th to 16th

More and More Obscure, Dubious and Muddled ~ George Templeton Strong.

To an observer like New York lawyer and businessman George Templet Strong, the election coming in November looks problematic. President Lincoln makes clear that he will not back away from emancipation. Gideon Welles writes of his displeasure with the Secretary of State. The U S Navy gets into another problem with Great Britain. Wounded soldiers write home about their injuries. Southern civilians note plenty of troubles, particularly in Georgia which worsens every day as Sherman advances.

soldiers at religious service 834-640wi

August 14– Sunday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Another Sabbath has come, how rapidly time is passing away & now how it rejoices my often depressed spirits to know that if we all live & I get permission, after 9 more Sabbaths shall have been numbered with the past, I will be in the enjoyment of the society of my family & friends, God grant that I may then find them all alive & well and if we can only then be in the enjoyment of the Blessings of Peace in our afflicted country. The day is very pleasant, but still I have to remain at Home. This morning my young friend Evans again called & spent an hour with me. At 10 o’clock the Chaplain Mr. Griffith had services, his congregation did not exceed 150 attending– his services were short not even an hour– his sermon a good one on the necessity of the Reformation of our natural lives & dependence for the atonement of Christ for Salvation. I was surprised to see the small number attending the services, the most of the men on the outskirts– how little do men think of their duties to God and of the condition of their souls on the final day of accountability. Death & the great exposure to death, tend it seems to render men more thoughtless.” ~ Diary of William King.

August 14– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– “Another week of anxiety and suspense has passed and the fate of Atlanta is still undecided. We have had but one severe shelling on our side of town, and that was on Wednesday night, and kept us awake from 12 o’clock until daylight. Our humane foes allowed us to get well to sleep before they began their work of destruction. Another shell entered our store, or rather the rooms above, while I was there examining the premises to see if any more had visited them. I was enveloped in the dust made by it.” ~ Diary of an Atlanta businessman.

siege of Atlanta

siege of Atlanta

August 14– Sunday– Columbus, Georgia– “And again I must record the death of another dear son. On the 11th, we were telegraphed that Watkins Banks was killed in Atlanta. Yesterday Gilmer came with his remains and told us that Watkins was passing near the enemy’s lines, arranging to send out some pickets, when a sharpshooter killed him, hitting him in the head. He died instantly and was not known to speak afterwards. He was buried yesterday.” ~ Diary of John Banks.

August 14– Sunday– Strasburg, Virginia; Lamar, Mississippi; near Dalton, Georgia; Pine Log Church, Georgia; near Fairmount, Georgia– Skirmishes and firefights.

August 15– Monday– New York City– “The details of the glorious news from Admiral Farragut’s fleet, which we publish this morning, fully sustain the conclusions drawn from the telegraphic report, as to the importance of the victory gained.” ~ New York Times.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “If the Government should purchase, on its own account, cotton northward of you, and on the line of your communications, would it be an inconvenience to you, or detriment to the military service, for it to come to the north on the railroad?” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

August 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “There have been men base enough to propose to me to return to slavery the black warriors of Port Hudson and Olustee, and thus win the respect of the masters they fought. Should I do so, I should deserve to be damned in time and eternity. Come what will, I will keep my faith with friend and foe. My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am President, it shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy, and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion. Freedom has given us one hundred and fifty thousand [black] men, raised on Southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much it has subtracted from the enemy, and, instead of alienating the South, there are now evidences of a fraternal feeling growing up between our men and the rank and file of the rebel soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is not necessary to a restoration of the Union. I will abide the issue.” ~ President Lincoln in an interview with John T Mills.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D. C.– “From Mobile Bay the news continues favorable. Had Farragut’s preliminary dispatch of the 5th to-day. Have just written a congratulatory letter to him. These letters are difficult to pen. They must be brief and comprehensive, satisfactory to the Navy, the Government, and country, and not discreditable to the Department.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Admiral Farragut

Admiral Farragut

August 15– Monday– Fisher’s Hill, Virginia– “I have not heard from you for some days but knowing that you will hear all kinds of stories & will be anxious to hear the truth I will write again, though briefly . . . . My shirts are getting somewhat worse for wear & I think I shall try to buy some ready made ones if we get where there are any, I believe white ones do as well as any others in the army & they usually last longer. I do not think it best to have any pants made of my cloth just now – if you have not done anything to them just keep the cloth safely – I will do all I can for your memoranda bless your dear little heart– I wish you had all the things you want. I hope Parkins carried up the box of cups & saucers & that you have gotten it by this time. Write me how the children like the books I sent them &c &c. Write me my love – I know you have hard times this hot weather & wish I could be at home to attend to affairs but be of good cheer – all will yet be well. Love & kisses & blessings for you all.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

August 15– Cobb County, Georgia– “The prevailing feeling of the [Union] Army now seems to be not only a reconstruction of the Union, but the abolition of slavery, not that they feel any interest in the poor Negro, but believing slavery to have been the cause of this sad War, they believe it necessary for future peace, that the Negro question must be settled now, by getting rid of the slave. The general feeling of the Army seems to be to favor Mr. Lincoln’s election, not that he is their choice, but for the same cause which induced so large a vote for Governor Brown, that it is better to leave the reins of Government undisturbed in his Hands during the War. I learnt today that there has been frequent injuries lately done to the [rail] Road above, causing damage to the Trains, one above Big Shanty last Friday, from the slight injuries done to the Road at different places, I apprehend they are done by persons living in the vicinity. I hear a Report today that a Confederate force has made a demonstration on Dalton.” ~ Diary of William King.

August 15– Monday– Cedar Creek, Virginia; Strasburg, Virginia; Charles Town, West Virginia; Buchanan, Georgia; Sandtown, Georgia; Fairburn, Georgia; Dalton, Georgia; near Gainesville, Florida; Dripping Spring, Missouri– Raids and cavalry skirmishes.

August 15– Monday– off the coast of Lisbon, Portugal– The U.S.S. Niagara seizes the C. S. S. Georgia. However the ship is no longer in Confederate service having been sold by the Confederacy at Liverpool, England, a few months ago, to a shipowner named Bates for a price in excess of £15,000. With a British crew and captain she now carries mail from Liverpool to Lisbon to the Azores and back. [The £15,000 at that time equaled $150,000 US, not $CSA, which was worth about 20 cents on the Yankee dollar by this point in the war; using the Consumer Price Index it would equal £1,287,000 or $2,290,000 in today’s money.]

USS Niagara

USS Niagara

August 16– Tuesday– New York City– “The great election of next November looks more and more obscure, dubious and muddled every day. Lincoln is drifting to the leeward. So much is certain. There is rumor of a move by our wire-pullers and secret unofficial governors to make him withdraw in favor of Chase, or somebody else, on whom the whole Republican party (if such a thing exists) can heartily unite. Fremont’s nomination is coldly received here, though it may find favor in Missouri.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 16– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “It was to me a painful exhibition of want of common intelligence as to his [Secretary of State William Seward] duties. He evidently supposes that his position is one of unlimited and unrestrained power, that he can override the courts and control and direct their action, that a case of [captured] prize [ship] he can interfere with and withdraw if he pleases. All his conversation exhibited such utter ignorance of his own duties and those of the court in these matters that one could scarcely credit it as possible. But it has been so through his whole administration of the State Department. My impression was, on witnessing his outbreak and hearing his remarks, that, having the senatorship in view, he was proposing to leave the Cabinet, and I am by no means certain that he has not some thoughts of such a step– men aspiring for office often have strange fancies.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Secretary of State William Seward

Secretary of State William Seward

August 16– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have lost my right hand. I have also a severe wound in the right leg, one of the bones being badly fractured, and I fear that I will have to lose my leg, though the surgeon appears to be confident that he can save it. My strength holds out pretty well. My health otherwise is good. I am under charge of excellent surgeons and receive every attention. The hospital is well-managed, and I could not be better treated. Write to the rest of my Sisters and let them know where I am.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier, now a prisoner and being treated in a Federal hospital, to one of his sisters.

August 16– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Warm and cloudy. There are movements of interest of the armies below, from the fact that we have as yet no authentic account of the fighting during the last few days. I fear we have not been so successful as usual. The enemy is reported to be in force on this side (north) of the river, and marching toward this city. The local (clerks) troops have been called out to man the fortifications. But the blow (if one really be meditated) may fall on the other (south) side of the river.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

August 16– Tuesday– Cleveland, Tennessee– “We were awakened last night at 1 o’clock from our slumbers, by the hurrying to& fro of army wagons, horses, men, etc., caused by an alarm given that the Confederates were coming. Rhoda arose, dressed. We all packed some few clothes to take in case we were ordered out of town. About 4 o’clock we all dressed, put on our bonnets & ate a little cold breakfast & were ready to start to the country when the first gun was fired.” ~ Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.

August 16– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “It has been an occasion of much surprise to me the uninterrupted experience of kindness & sympathy I have experienced from the officers & privates of the Federal Army. Could I be anxious to separate our political connection with such a people? What folly on the part of our politicians, to have involved this once happy country in such a War for such a purpose! May God ordain good results out of such a sad calamity. Often have officers stationed in town and about, when suddenly ordered off, rode out only to shake hands with me & say goodbye, and then passing near afterwards stopped to make me a short visit– how grateful must I feel for the many manifestations of kind and sympathetic feelings which I have experienced.” ~ Diary of William King.

August 16– Tuesday– outside of Atlanta, Georgia– “A body of rebel cavalry is raiding on our railroad lines, according to last accounts. No trains have come through from Chattanooga since Saturday. They were at Dalton on Sunday and demanded its surrender. To what extent they will succeed in interfering with our communications remains to be seen. I trust the rebels will not capture any of our mails. The monotony of our existence makes it difficult to write letters. I paid out my last fifty cents for five loaves of bread today. Don’t you pity my poverty? I would send for money, but it is too risky, and then we can get almost anything on credit, so there is no distress connected with poverty.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

Amsterdam Crystal Palace

Amsterdam Crystal Palace

August 16– Tuesday– Amsterdam, the Netherlands– The Palais voor Volksvligt, a/k/a the Amsterdam Crystal Palace, opens to the public. With its main hall capable of holding up to 9000 people it will serve a key role in the cultural and social life of the city until it is destroyed by fire in 1929.

August 16– Tuesday– Altona, near Hamburg, Germany– Birth of Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller, philosopher. [Dies August 6, 1937.]

August 16– Tuesday– Cotta Walla, New South Wales, Australia– Birth of Mary Gilmore, poet and socialist journalist. [Dies December 3, 1962.]

Mary Gilmore~1927

Mary Gilmore~1927

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