Much Party Machinery Is In Motion~August 1864~26th to 28th

Much Party Machinery Is In Motion~ Gideon Welles.

Welles complains about party politics, 1864 style. [Editorial comment: My gosh, have today’s politicians taken pages out of that old playbook?] People going to jail for one reason or another, plenty of fighting in the Shenandoah Valley and in the greater Atlanta area, anti-American sentiment rises again in England and a scholarly diplomat heads for South America.


August 26– Friday– New York City– A federal magistrate holds a hearing on the extradition of Mr Franz Muller for the murder of Mr Briggs on July 9th in London, England. Three witnesses brought to New York by Scotland Yard identify the defendant and he had in his possession the watch and hat of the deceased when arrested here.

Franz Muller

Franz Muller

August 26– Friday– Shepherdstown, West Virginia– “We are again on the Banks of the Potomac – we drove the Yanks down to Harpers Ferry, spent two days in front of that place, then came away yesterday, leaving the 1st Corps in front of the enemy there & came to this place, met all the Yankee cavalry on the road . . . at Leetown & routed them driving them in every direction – & killed & wounded a good many & forced the rest back across the Potomac & to Harper’s Ferry, so nipping in the bud one of the biggest raids they have ever undertaken. We lost but few but they were fine men . . . . I hope my letter with the ribbons &c in, my box with the cups & saucers & Tumblers &c, & the little bundle with the bonnet pattern in, have all gotten to you safely. If you do not like the bonnet pattern you can sell it. I will get everything I can for you – rest assured my dear One – I want to send you some money but the communications are so uncertain. I will send [some] before long. I have not heard from you by letter for a long time – two weeks at least – but Jacob Henger told me you were all well & quieted my fears that you might be sick – but do write. I long to hear from you & have an ardent desire to come home, but no chance while we are so busy & if we can only end the war I am perfectly willing to endure this season of activity – the signs are brightening & I still confidently [believe] a conclusion of hostilities [will come] with the ending of ‘Old Abe’s’ reign . I have not time to write more now. Kiss the children for me, they must be good girls. ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

August 26– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Eighty odd Negroes, captured before Petersburg in the battle of the 30th July, were brought over to the city yesterday and lodged in Castle Thunder. The way they were dirty it were hard to tell!” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

August 26– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Fanny Wilson, aged 19 years, and an actress in the Memphis Theatre, was arrested a few days since while attempting to be a soldier. She had shorn her locks and donned the Federal blue—but it would not do. She had heard of major Pauline Cushman and panted for military glory and the romance of a Southern prison.” ~ Nashville Dispatch. [Pauline Cushman, 1833– 1893, an actress from Louisiana, served as a spy for the North for many months in the first years of the war, was caught by the Confederacy and sentenced to hang but was saved by Federal troops. Her story gained great notoriety in the press. See, Pauline Cushman, Spy of the Cumberland: an Accounting and Memorandum of Her Life by William J. Christen, Roseville, Minnesota, 2006.]

Pauline Cushman

Pauline Cushman

August 26– Friday– Cobb County, Georgia– “The 2 little Delk boys had come in again with Peaches & apples to get flour, sugar & coffee, while some thief took from my Pocket the last Handkerchief I had. I gathered no news. Some of the women told me many of their neighbors are getting about as bad as the soldiers, & were stealing from each other. What a crop of thieves this war has produced. An old man told me that Greenlee Butler was very low & that he had come in to try & get a Physician to go & see him, I told him I did not think he would find one who would be willing to venture it, from the danger of being taken by our [Confederate] Scouts.” ~ Diary of William King.

August 26– Friday– Pace’s Ferry, Georgia; Turner’s Ferry, Georgia; Halltown, West Virginia; Charles Town, West Virginia; Williamsport, Maryland; Bayou Tensas, Louisiana– Clashes and firefights.

August 26– Friday– Atlantic Ocean in the Western Hemisphere– The third hurricane of the season begins today, churning the ocean waters until September 1st but does not make landfall.

August 27– Saturday– New York City– “We learn by late advices from Peru that the Hon. E.G. Squier will undertake the exploration of the Republics of Peru and Bolivia after his duties as Commissioner to settle the various questions between the United States and Peru have terminated, to which important diplomatic office he was appointed by President Lincoln in the early part of 1863. The plan of Mr. Squier . . . is to thoroughly examine and explore the ancient remains of the Incas, which are to be found throughout the breadth and length of Pacific Peru, and also of the Basin of the Lake of Titicaca in Bolivia, and possibly of portions of Ecuador and North Chile, and to correct the topography [maps] of those countries. In this labor great attention will be directed . . . to the examination of the old convent and college libraries, and the public archives of these districts, of the works of ancient Spanish-American history, published in Spain and her western colonies, between 1560 and 1800; and also those left in manuscript, which are now very scarce, and particularly those relating to the Indian languages and the chronicles compiled in Spanish by descendants of the Incas or their nobles, many of whom are still to be found in the uplands of Peru. . . . Mr. Squier’s well-known volumes . . . show that he is in every way competent to satisfy not only men of learning, literature and art, but in an eminent degree to make a popular work for the masses.” ~ New York Times. [Ephraim George Squier, age 43, journalist, diplomat, archaeologist and author, is primarily self-educated and recognized by this time as one of the most distinguished scholars in the field. His scholarly friends and colleagues included historians William Prescott and Francis Parkman. Squier dies April 17, 1888.]

Ephraim G Squier

Ephraim G Squier

August 27– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia–”John C. Gilliland of Greenbrier county, was arrested and confined in a southern prison in the early part of the war for eight months, for his adherence to the laws of the United States; and was subsequently released and became a delegate to the first Legislature of West Virginia. He recently went to visit his family in Greenbrier, and I learn he was shot and almost instantly killed by some of the employees of Jeff Davis & Co., near his own residence. I hardly know what comment to make. I think the property of every rebel sympathizer in the neighborhood should be seized and given to the wife and children of Mr. Gilliland.” ~ Letter to the editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer.

August 27– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Much party machinery is just at this time in motion. No small portion of it is a prostitution and abuse. The Whig element is venal and corrupt, to a great extent. I speak of the leaders of that party now associated with Republicans. They seem to have very little political principle; they have no belief in public virtue or popular intelligence; they have no self-reliance, no confidence in the strength of a righteous cause, little regard for constitutional restraint and limitations. Their politics and their ideas of government consist of expedients, and cunning management with the intelligent, and coercion and subornation of the less informed.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

August 27– Saturday– Cobb County, Georgia– “We have missed one of Sows with [baby] pigs. Sharper says he heard that the soldiers had shot them all yesterday; there is no protecting anything out of doors from the Thieves, and I fear after I leave there will be but little safety for the food for the servants [slaves] left within the House. The whole country is overrun with Robbers, blue coats, gray coats, citizen’s coats & no coats, blessed are the poor who have nothing to lose. Mrs. Haynes & the 2 Delk boys came again to trade with Dr. Miller’s Wagon, which they have done and returned Home, they gave so little provisions in exchange, that they do not think they will come back. I hear General Kilpatrick had returned from his first raid unsuccessful, having lost heavily, that he had started yesterday towards the eastward Atlanta on a 2nd Raid.” ~ Diary of William King.

August 27– Saturday– Fairburn, Georgia; Farmer’s Ferry, Georgia; Nutter’s Hill, West Virginia; Duffield’s Station, West Virginia; Owensborough, Kentucky–Attacks, counter-attacks and skirmishes.

August 27– Saturday– London, England– “The capture of the Georgia by a Federal man-of-war is apparently another of those violations of the law of nations to which the Federal authorities periodically resort. From the time when Commodore Wilkes stopped the Trent, and sent the Confederate Commissioners prisoners to Washington, the officers of the Federal navy have imagined themselves jurists as well as seamen. We all remember the grotesque attempts at defending his conduct which the Commodore gleaned from his researches in Wheaton and Grotius; but while we can afford to amuse ourselves with blunders the Federal Government never indorsed, we are keenly alive to the fact that it was the attitude of our indignant people, and not the spirit of international law, which ruled the decision of the Cabinet of Washington. In those days we were unused to insult; we are more humble now, and perhaps, the depth of our abasement, both in Europe and America, may lead the astute Yankees to trespass somewhat on our forbearance. Let them be of good cheer, they may trample on us without any risk. The civis Romanus doctrine is odious to the present advisers of the Crown; meekness is the Christian principle which guides their actions; and the utmost limit to which indignation will move them will be the penning of numberless dispatches, and the delivery of empty but resounding protests.” ~ London Herald.

CSS Georgia

CSS Georgia

August 28– Sunday– Bunker Hill, West Virginia– “We have remained quietly in camp & there has been preaching, for the first time in a good while. I have never known a more active campaign, but is the only kind to protect us from the movements of the Yankees – we must keep them busy all the time or their roving dispositions will cause them to annoy us. . . . I ate come corn yesterday that did not agree with me & have been under the weather today, but feel better this evening – it is the first time I have been at all unwell. I bought you a pound & a half of tea which I will send you by the first chance – I could only find black tea but will try & get other during the summer. I paid $25. Confederate for the 1 ½ pounds. I think I will get you some nice flannel next time we go to Shepherdstown. I have heard where there is some. I see by a recent order that all the detailed farmers are obliged to sell all their surplus to soldiers families at the government price or be put into the Army. So I hope you will have no difficulty in procuring supplies. Did my letter with the ribbons &c come to hand? I send you a few stamps & envelopes I have but few stamps on hand. It is quite cool – wish I could have a bedfellow to help me to keep warm. How do the children like the books & you the bonnet stuff? I lately saw some children’s & ladies hats made of corn shucks & trimmed with the same wrought into a band of rosettes &c – they were very pretty. Write often.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

August 28– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “I have been sick with fever for about two weeks. I was taken very suddenly. I was sent to our Brigade hospital first but our Regiment moved and they moved the sick too. I have had too much fever to try to write to you before this morning. My throat and mouth is very sore. I had heard of Alex’s [his brother] death before I got your letters telling about it. I am in no fix to write. I am too weak and feverish. Don’t be at all uneasy about me.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

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