Immediate Effort for a Cessation of Hostilities~August 1864~the 30th

Immediate Efforts for a Cessation of Hostilities~Democratic Party Platform.

In Chicago, the Democrats call for an immediate peace. Governor Seymour of New York vilifies Lincoln. George Whitman updates his mother on the fighting around Petersburg. Gideon Welles criticizes the army and the War Department. The descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers make the news.

mutineers of HMS Bounty put Captain Bligh adrift

mutineers of HMS Bounty put Captain Bligh adrift

August 30– Tuesday– New York City– “Few episodes in naval history are more romantic than the story of the Mutineers of the Bounty. What caused the mutiny was never very clear, though the strange fate of those engaged in it, who took refuge in Pitcairn’s Island, has invested it with unusual interest. The severe sufferings of Captain Bligh and the eighteen set adrift with him, roused such official indignation in England that the Pandora frigate was sent in search of the Bounty to the Society Inlands. Several of the mutineers were there caught and carried to England, and three of them were afterward executed; but Christian, the leader, and eight others, together with six men and twelve women of Tahiti, had sailed away in the Bounty to Pitcairn’s Island, and after stripping the ship, burnt it, and thus isolated themselves from their race. . . . Since 1829 these people have never been quite lost sight of, but little has been known by the public at large of their actual condition. As their numbers increased beyond the capacity of the Island to maintain them, the British Government removed them to Tahiti; but, disgusted with the immorality they saw, which was inexplicable to this little community, accustomed daily to assemble twice for prayer, and to fast once in every week, they earnestly begged to return to their former home, and were accordingly taken back. But the necessity for migration became imperative, for Pitcairn’s Island was inadequate to their maintenance. At the suggestion of Queen Victoria, it is said, it was proposed to transplant them to Norfolk Island, which, since the convicts had been removed, was uninhabited. This offer was accepted, and thither they were carried in 1856, and the present condition of the colony has been, by the Queen’s command, recently made the subject of a report to the British Parliament. . . . The Governor of New South Wales is their Governor; and, in his absence, three magistrates, elected annually by universal suffrage, exercise the executive power. The courts are very paternal in their action, and their jury consists of seven persons. Education is compulsory, and they have a perfect Maine Liquor law. The use of bad language, the bearing of false witness, and slander are punished by a fine, and any crime which exceeds the contemplation of this code is punished according to the laws of New South Wales. The recommendations of Sir William have mostly been carried into effect. The chief want, a convenient port, is in a fair way to be supplied, though it may interfere with the present rule of not allowing strangers to remain on the Island. . . . Such is the present condition of the descendants of the mutineers of the Bounty. A more striking instance of total change, wrought by the influence of one man, the survivor of a band of murderers – for such they were upon one another after they burnt the Bounty – is hardly to be found. That such a change, so conspicuous after the murderous acts which cut off the other mutineers, should have occurred in that one man is, perhaps, not less wonderful than the work which be, with no counselors except a Bible and Prayer-book saved from the Bounty, afterward performed.” ~ New York Times.

satellite photo of Pitcairn Island

satellite photo of Pitcairn Island

August 30– Tuesday– Charles Town, West Virginia– “Sunday we left camp at Harpers Ferry and moved to this place again. Yesterday the Rebel Cavalry attacked our lines and we expected a battle but the enemy withdrew. I am expecting a lot of recruits now in a few days. This will give me a larger command.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

August 30– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– “This administration can not save this Union. It has, by its proclamations, by vindictive legislation, by displays of hate and passion, placed obstacles in its own pathway which it cannot overcome and has hampered its own freedom of action by unconstitutional acts. . . . But if the administration cannot save the Union, we can. Mr Lincoln values many things above the Union; we put it first of all. He thinks a proclamation worth more than peace. We think the blood of our people more precious than the edicts of the President. There are no hindrances in our pathways to Union and to peace. We demand no conditions for the restoration of our Union; we are shackled with no hates, no prejudices, no passions. We wish for fraternal relationship with the people of the South. We demand for them what we demand for ourselves– the full recognition of the rights of States. We mean that every star on our nation’s banner shall shine with equal luster.” ~ Speech by Horatio Seymour, Democratic governor of New York, at the Democratic National Convention. [Seymour, age 54, has been involved in politics and the Democratic Party since the early 1830’s. He is sympathetic to the South and to slavery while virulently anti-Lincoln. New York City lawyer George Templeton Strong blames him for failure to take quick and firm action to suppress the rioting in July, 1863. Horace Greeley, editor of the Tribune has denounced Seymour as a “temporizing Copperhead” with dangerous and disloyal views.]

Horatio Seymour

Horatio Seymour

August 30– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– “Resolved, That in the future, as in the past, we will adhere with unswerving fidelity to the Union under the Constitution as the only solid foundation of our strength, security, and happiness as a people, and as a framework of government equally conducive to the welfare and prosperity of all the States, both Northern and Southern. Resolved, That this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which . . . the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view of an ultimate convention of the States, or other peaceable means, to the end that, at the earliest practicable moment, peace may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the States. . . . Resolved, That the aim and object of the Democratic party is to preserve the Federal Union and the rights of the States unimpaired . . . . Resolved, That the shameful disregard of the Administration to its duty in respect to our fellow-citizens who now are and long have been prisoners of war and in a suffering condition, deserves the severest reprobation on the score alike of public policy and common humanity. Resolved, That the sympathy of the Democratic party is heartily and earnestly extended to the soldiery of our army and sailors of our navy, who are and have been in the field and on the sea under the flag of our country, and, in the events of its attaining power, they will receive all the care, protection, and regard that the brave soldiers and sailors of the republic have so nobly earned.” ~ Platform of the Democratic Party adopted in convention.

site of the 1864 Democratic convention

site of the 1864 Democratic convention

August 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Something must be done to close the entrance to Cape Fear River and port of Wilmington. . . . It is true that blockade-running has become systematized into a business, and the ingenuity and skill of Englishmen and the resources of English capital are used without stint in assisting the Rebels. I have been urging a conjoint attack upon Wilmington for months. Could we seize the forts at the entrance of Cape Fear and close the illicit traffic, it would be almost as important as the capture of Richmond on the fate of the Rebels, and an important step in that direction. But the War Department hangs fire, and the President, whilst agreeing with me, dislikes to press matters when the military leaders are reluctant to move. Fox urges the immediate recall of Farragut and giving him the North Atlantic Squadron. But to withdraw Farragut from Mobile suddenly will give cause for censure. The country is expecting the capture of the city of Mobile. I do not think it an important object at this moment. We have the bay and have closed all communication from abroad. To capture the city will be difficult, very difficult if the army does not take the principal work in hand.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

August 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I received your letter today & was very glad to hear from you once more– I have been wounded again but it has got well– it hit me in the right thigh this time– I have had A pretty hard time of it this summer marching & fighting together . . . I would like to see you very much I have dreamt of you often & thought of you oftener still– I expect to leave here tomorrow morning for Carlisle barracks – I was to go this morning but did not & now I am to go tomorrow morning I guess that they won’t put it off any longer my time is out in eleven days now – I have been home on A furlough – I shan’t have to do any more fighting I think.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Bethuel Smith to Walt Whitman.

August 30– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The case of Messrs. Pollard & Elmore, charged with being concerned in the late duel, was again before the county court yesterday. The court gave its decision on the question raised as to whether Dr. Peticolas should be compelled to testify, he having declined upon the ground that his evidence might criminate himself. The decision of the court was that the witness ‘was bound to testify.’ Dr. Peticolas still respectfully declining to testify, the court issued an order for his committal to jail. Thereupon Dr. Peticolas was carried before Judge Meredith upon a writ of habeas corpus, when the Judge continued his case till this morning, and admitted him to bail in $1,000. The case will be argued before the Judge this morning at 11 o’clock. In the meantime the County Court have adjourned the case of Messrs. Pollard and Elmore till Saturday next, to await the decision of Judge Meredith.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

August 30– Tuesday– along the Weldon Railroad, Virginia– “We have moved 4 or 5 miles since I wrote you last. We came here on the 19th and expected to have a right smart fight, but so far, we have been very agreeably disappointed, as our Division has not been engaged to any extent. The first night we came here I was ordered . . . to deploy the Regiment as skirmishers and advance through a piece of woods where the enemy had been in considerable force a few hours previous, I thought we were in for a fight sure, but upon advancing and taking the position, as ordered, we found the enemy had fell back, and next morning we advanced ½ a mile further, to this place and here we have remained since. We have a splendid position here, and are very strongly entrenched, have plenty of shade, plenty to eat, plenty of good water, and are very comfortable. I think we have got this Rail Road all right although the enemy may make another effort to drive us away, but I don’t believe they will meet with any better success than they have in the three attempts they have made already, they have been pretty severely punished each time and may not think it worth while to try it again but if they are not satisfied let them keep on trying, we are prepared for them. . . . Mother I hope you take things easy and don’t worry and keep a bright look out for that little place in the country, When I get the New York papers I almost always look over the Farms for sale to see if there is anything offered that will suit us.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Louisa Whitman

Louisa Whitman

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: