This Administration Will Not Be Re-elected~August 1864~22nd & 23rd

This Administration Will Not Be Re-elected~President Lincoln.

In a dark mood, a pessimistic Lincoln drafts a secret memorandum pledging to support his successor who will not be able to save the Union. Publicly he encourages soldiers to press for victory. A Southern woman with four children learns that she is a widow. Another Southern woman worries that a slave revolt will be worse than an invasion by Yankees. A free black man is imprisoned in Richmond for the crime of serving as a scout for Federal troops. Yet another woman, born in the North, finally finds a way to her birthplace but leaves the South with deep regret. A Yankee soldier writes home about receiving his dead brother’s personal effects. Appalled by various wars in the last ten years, a group of Europeans sign the First Geneva Convention, an attempt to mitigate bellicose atrocities, and thereby sanction the activities of the International Red Cross.


August 22– Monday– New York City– “Grant has made a new move, extending his left and occupying the Weldon Railroad. Lee was compelled to come out and attack. Sharp fighting. Results rather mixed in quality. We have lost heavily, but seem to hold our new position, a position it much concerns Lee to recover if he can.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 22– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I suppose you are going home to see your families and friends. For the services you have done in this great struggle in which we are engaged, I present you sincere thanks for myself and the country. I almost always feel inclined, when I say anything to soldiers, to impress upon them, in a few brief remarks, the importance of success in this contest. It is not merely for the day, but for all time to come, that we should perpetuate for our children’s children that great and free government which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours. I happen, temporarily, to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has. It is in order that each one of you may have, through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field, and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise, and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life with all its desirable human aspirations–it is for this that the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthrights– not only for one, but for two or three years, if necessary. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.” ~ Remarks of President Lincoln to the 166th Ohio Regiment.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

August 22– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Mr. Fessenden returned yesterday– a long absence for such a period as this. The course pursued at the Treasury Department in withholding money from the naval contractors for months after it is due is reprehensible and injurious in the highest degree to the public credit. Mr. F. is not responsible for this wrong. It was the work of Chase, who, in order to retire his interest-bearing notes, seized the money which legitimately belonged to the naval contractors to the amount of $12,000,000. As a consequence we shall lose some of our best contractors, who feel there is bad faith and no dependence on the government.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [The $12 million would equal $184 million today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

August 22– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Francis J. Blake, of the Maryland Line, was on yesterday sent to Castle Thunder on the charge of being a spy and holding treasonable correspondence with the enemy. Peter Curry, a free Negro, sent down from Lynchburg, was committed on the charge of voluntarily piloting [Union General David] Hunter in Amherst county.” ~ Richmond Whig.

August 22– Monday– Petersburg, Virginia– “It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the death of your gallant husband E. H. Jones, who fell in the engagement near Deep Bottom on the 16th instant. In him we have lost a dear comrade, a true and noble soldier and one that did his whole duty cheerfully. He fell at his post endeavoring to repel a charge made by the enemy. He remained in the trenches after they had been abandoned by the greater part of his comrades and fell by a shot that caused instant death. He is buried near the spot he fell. I will take charge of his effects as soon as I can find some one to testify to them, and either send them to you, or make any disposition of them you may advise. My personal and immediate attention will be given to any information or service you may desire. I feel a deep and earnest sympathy for you in your great affliction, and hope ‘God who doeth all things well’ may comfort and console you.” ~ Letter from Confederate Lieutenant T. M. Beasley to Susan Jones of Box Springs, Georgia. [Susan and Edmond Jones married in 1857 or 1858 and she finds herself a widow with four children under 6 years of age. She will live another 36 years.]

typical outfit of Civil War widows

typical outfit of Civil War widows

August 22– Monday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Last evening 3[Union] soldiers rode up to get shelter from the very heavy Rain, & remained with me until 10 o’clock before they could leave, they would have remained all night, but feared their Horses would be stolen . . . they were very sensible men, & very anxious for this War to close, & asked if there was no way of closing it, but by but by wantonly killing off each other when there was so little ill feelings between the soldiers & private citizens, they like all others hated the poor Negro & said for their good they could never be placed in a more favorable condition than we now have them, but like all others they said the whole country would go to ruin if the Union was not restored.” ~ Diary of William King.

August 22– Monday– McIntosh County, Georgia– “The policemen of this county have recently traced out a deeply laid plan of insurrection by the Negroes, not only of this county but of the adjoining counties of Georgia and Florida. They have held their meetings and have organized their company and were soon to begin their horrid work of murdering our men, women and children. But thanks to an all-wise providence it has been found out and checked for the present. The leaders of this band of Negroes belong to my husband, Mr. Mitchell Jones who is now in the service at Atlanta in response to your last call. The police of this county is very small in comparison to the Negroes. The authorities have whipped these Negroes severely, and I have requested them to keep in custody the Negroes that belong to Mr. Jones until I could try and get him a detail for a short time. Such is a true statement of the facts that now exist here. I believe I would rather fall into the hands of the Yankees than the Negroes. Of the two I believe they have more humanity.” ~ Letter from a Mrs Jones to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown.

August 22– Monday– Camden County, Georgia– “We have been startled at last by the appearance of a [Union] gunboat. The pickets ran in great terror. The Negroes were sent over to Major Bailey’s. Mr. Fisher drove a cart load of trunks into the woods and then stationed himself where he could watch the doings of the enemy. Mrs. Linn, Sybil and myself were left to receive them. Mrs. Linn with her two children seated themselves on the front steps. Soon eight men came up and immediately surrounded the house, and inquired for Richardson. He fortunately had left that morning for Savannah. They could not take Mrs. Linn’s word but searched the house. Sybil ran down thinking that Mrs. Linn might be frightened, and met six more at the gate. The result was that we were taken by the Gunboat with only a few moments warning, and sent North.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

August 22– Monday– Charles Town, West Virginia; Canton, Kentucky; Roaring Springs, Kentucky; Yell County, Arkansas; Cove Point, Maryland– Altercations, skirmishes and brawls.

August 22– Monday– Geneva, Switzerland– A number of European states sign the First Geneva Convention. They include Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Spain and Switzerland. The Convention provides for: the immunity from capture and destruction of all establishments for the treatment of wounded and sick soldiers, the impartial reception and treatment of all combatants, the protection of civilians providing aid to the wounded, and the recognition of the Red Cross symbol as a means of identifying persons and equipment covered by the agreement. [The Convention will be revised and expanded by additional agreements in 1899, 1906, 1929 and 1949. There are currently 64 articles under the Geneva Convention and 194 governments are signatories.]

original document of the First Geneva Convention

original document of the First Geneva Convention

August 23– Tuesday– Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia– “I am detailed at Brigade Head Quarters . . . I won’t haft to go near a fight as long as I will be here, perhaps I will be here all summer just according to circumstances. I had a letter from the Hospital steward where William died at the U.S.A. Hospital stating William wanted him to send his watch to me, but, as they was going to send his valise & saber & revolvers home he thought it best to send the watch along with them, you tell Mother to Keep the watch until I get Home, I also gave William a Revolver, a large Remington Revolver, his own Revolver is silver mounted, you will also keep the one I gave him till I get Home, and his saber and Revolver you will hang up in his room in memory of our Dear beloved Brother, as his sword has done his duty. I send forty Dollars to you as I wrote to [you] before, you will receive it from Fuller in Scranton. I am well and in good spirits.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Josiah Bloss to his sister.

widows in a graveyard

widows in a graveyard

August 23– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward.” ~ Secret memorandum drafted by President Lincoln which he asks the members of his Cabinet to sign without reading it.

August 23– Tuesday– “Received dispatches to-day from Admiral Farragut confirming intelligence received several days since through Rebel sources. The official account confirms my own previous impressions in regard to operations. Secretary [of War Edwin] Stanton in one of his bulletins represented that Fort Gaines had surrendered to General Granger and the army. It is shown that the proposition of Colonel Anderson, who commanded the fort, was to surrender to the fleet after the monitors had made an assault, that Admiral Farragut consulted with General Granger, that the terms were dictated from the squadron, that Colonel Anderson and Major Brown went on board the Admiral’s vessel when the arrangement was consummated, etc. Why should the Secretary of War try to deprive an officer like Farragut and the naval force of what is honestly their due? It is only one of many like occurrences during the War. I do not recollect a single instance of generous award to the Navy by Stanton.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Union Admiral Farragut

Union Admiral Farragut

August 23– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “Freddy [his son] & I are well and get along quite well– he amuses himself in riding the horses & a little mule here. We have written you several letters lately. I sent you an Irish girl down to do your work, but I suppose she did not go straight on as the Yankees were advancing up the Valley at the time & no doubt she was stopped at the lines. She went with Mr C Stump who promised to send her to you so soon as practicable. I think she will suit you. I wrote by her. If you are willing to come out I will bring you out now. I most think you had better move out and let our property run chances. they can’t destroy the land & I don’t think the other property can be much hurt and if it does it can’t be so much loss, at least not to be compared with this life we now live. Freddy is often wishing you here. I think to stay here would be much better than for me to be there as here I can make some money & live peaceably Whilst to be there I would not be allowed to do business & constantly in dread of being & perhaps would be arrested and confined in prison which would keep you Constantly in dread &c &c. And upon the whole I rather think we had better live comfortably together whilst we do live & let the property go, or at least run chances.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester. [She has remained at that home in Berkeley County, West Virginia, in the eastern panhandle of the state, an area which is now filled with Federal troops.]

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