We Come to You as American Women~September 1864~the 4th

We Come to You as American Women~ workers in New York City.

In a letter whose language could come out of today, women appeal for a wage to match the price of living. Garibaldi, the great Italian revolutionary, praises Lincoln’s efforts at the emancipation of slaves and calls for Europe to learn a lesson. Lincoln salutes a Quaker peace activist. In Richmond and Atlanta people worry about the loss of the city while General Sherman proposes to depopulate the place. A bold Confederate officer is ambushed and killed, leaving a pregnant widow.

19th century woman at work in a factory

19th century woman at work in a factory

September 4– Sunday– New York City–”We, the undersigned working women of the City of New York, respectfully solicit your indulgence while we relate the causes which have compelled us to seek relief from the Government, of which you are an honored representative. At the breaking out of this unhappy rebellion, which has desolated so many hearthstones, the prices paid for female labor at the United States Arsenal were barely sufficient to enable us to obtain a subsistence. No stronger argument of the necessity of our appeal can be adduced than the unprecedented increase in all the necessaries of life, coupled with the fact that women’s labor has been reduced more than thirty per cent since the existence of the rebellion. We do not ask charity, we come to you as American women, many of whom have sacrificed the dearest treasures of their hearts on the altar of freedom. We appeal to those in authority to do all in their power to alleviate the misery which is the inevitable result of war. Let it not be said that the Government turns a deaf ear to the prayer of women who have given their all to their country. What we ask is an order to the Quartermaster-General, authorizing him to increase the price of female labor, until it shall approximate to the price of living. We would also respectfully ask you (if it comes within your province) to so modify the contract system as to make it obligatory upon all contractors to pay Government prices. We feel assured that no other argument is required to induce you to use all the power vested in you, than the fact that to-day thousands of delicately-reared women whose husbands, fathers and brothers have fallen on the battle-field, are making army shirts at six cents apiece. In the name of justice and humanity, we implore you to do all in your power to remedy this evil. Trusting in Him, who has promised to be a father to the fatherless, and the widow’s friend, we leave our cause in your hands, praying that God may so incline your hearts that your answer may come as a ministering angel to our households, teaching us that our sacrifices have not been in vain.” ~ Letter from working women to Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

September 4– Sunday– New York City– “I desire to add my name to the four thousand citizens of Geneva who have addressed the United States in favor of the maintenance of the Constitution and the abolition of Slavery, and I hope in so doing to obtain the approbation of the Liberal Press, and of all my fellow-citizens. Glory to Switzerland! That old home of liberty deserves to stand in the vanguard of human emancipation. From a fatality now weighing on nations, we see great peoples grow less, and even disappear before the lying flattery of despotism, and the champions of freedom become the police of tyranny. Well, let Switzerland take the lead till nations repent. Tyrants pass away; nations are immortal. What avails a minority? We shall conquer by aid of our old traditions; and we shall again see tyranny melt before the sun. We shall conquer because we have right, justice and brotherhood on our side. Let me now call the attention of Switzerland to a great fact. The American Republics present to the world the spectacle of the connection of the peoples. An aggression against the Peruvian territory, completed by the Spanish Bourbons, has raised a cry of shame and vengeance from all her sister nations. If the elder sister of Republics will send one word of comfort to her suffering sister, it would be a striking contrast to the shameful league of tyrants against liberty which we now see in Europe. Mind this: Poland swamped by Russia, amid the apathy of all, is the first step to a return to the barbarism of the middle ages. If the ‘partition’ disgraced the Eighteenth, the destruction of Poland is a lasting blot on the Nineteenth Century. Alas! our civilization as yet is but false.” ~Public letter from Garibaldi, published in today’s New York Times.

Giuseppe Garibaldi

Giuseppe Garibaldi

September 4– Sunday– near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “We had a refreshing rain here, commencing on Saturday evening and lasting (at intervals) all day Sunday. Many of us were sorry for this, as we had an invitation to attend Divine worship, under the direction of our esteemed and worthy Chaplain, Rev. Rakestraw, which was to have been held in a grove contiguous to camp. Dress Parade was also dispensed with for the same reason, which was another source of annoyance to most of the men, for a true soldier delights to see the regiment drawn up for inspection, to witness the fine appearance the respective companies present on the occasion. The Harrisburgers belonging to the 201st have evidently been accustomed to good living. After duty, parties go out to ‘forage,’ as they term it, and return to camp laden with poultry; corn; sweet potatoes; fruit; milk; &c., all of which they pay for. Our young Colonel issued an order that no private property was to be molested, and the order is strictly adhered to. The rations we get daily are fresh, ample and of the best quality. But ‘force of habit’ is strong with many people, and they must have delicacies if money can procure them. It is amusing to witness the railroad engineer, the blacksmith, tailor, carpenter, clerk, butcher and man of letters, sitting around a fire of logs, toasting hard tack, frying chicken, stewing lamb and sweet potatoes, or anything else that their appetite craves. Many of them will be capital cooks when they return to their homes, and adepts in the art and mastery of gastronomy.” ~ Letter from Union soldier A.H. Baum to the Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph, a newspaper published in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state capital.

soldiers at a religious service

soldiers at a religious service

September 4– Sunday– Fayette County, West Virginia– “We have experienced a great many hardships and deprivations her, as you are a ware it has been our lot to be placed between the two Armies. Goods are high and getting more so every day and cannot be had at all times. Taking every thing into consideration we have gotten along as well as could be expected and may be better than many other places and do not feel disposed to murmur. . . . We have had a good deal of dry weather this Summer, in consequence of which corn will be cut short– however since it has become more seasonable corn seems to be coming out considerably and if frost will keep off until it makes it self there will be considerable corn raised more I think than were last year, grain was very scarce here last year. Wheat crops this year were not very good hardly an average Crop.” ~ Letter from Thomas McGuffin to his brother Templeton.

September 4– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “I have not forgotten probably never shall forget the very impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years ago– nor has your kind letter, written nearly a year later, even been forgotten. In all, it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance on God. I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayer and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom, and our own error therein. Mean while we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay. Your people– the Friends– have had, and are having, a very great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience, under my oath to the law. That you believe this I doubt not, and believing it, I shall still receive, for our country and myself your earnest prayers to our Father in Heaven.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to Eliza P. Gurney. [Gurney (1801– 1881) is a Quaker minister, the widow of Joseph John Gurney, one of the co-founders of Earlham College, an abolitionist and ardent pacifist. She has traveled extensively in North America and in Europe. See, The Quaker in the Forum by Amelia Mott Gunmere (1910) and The Later Period of Quakerism by Rufus M Jones (1921).]

Eliza P Gurney

Eliza P Gurney

September 4– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Showery. Atlanta has fallen, and our army has retreated some thirty miles; such is Hood’s dispatch, received last night. The cheering in Grant’s camp yesterday was over that event. We have not had sufficient generalship and enterprise to destroy Sherman’s communications. Some 40,000 landowners, and the owners of slaves, are at their comfortable homes, or in comfortable offices, while the poor and ignorant are relied upon to achieve independence! and these, very naturally, disappoint the President’s expectations on momentous occasions.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

September 4– Sunday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Sabbath again– another week gone, & I one week nearer Home; & Atlanta being occupied by the Federals, I may soon be able to get a passport to return Home & what anxiety must I feel until I can hear from Home, not knowing what sad changes may have taken place during the long, anxious period since I have last heard from them. After the hard Rains yesterday, we have today a bright, clear & cool Sabbath. I have not left the House, not being able to hear of any Church services in town. I may walk into town this afternoon for exercise. Dr. Miller . . . made me a pleasant of over 2 hours this morning, he is a very intelligent & pleasant man from Iowa. He told me he would like to move to this country after the war was over, & we united, but he apprehended the feelings would be too much opposed to all Northerners. I told him I did not think it would be so towards him, he has been so very kind to Mrs. Mc C. & others. We had a long & pleasant discussion about the waging of this War & the prospects of its termination. I told him if the North was contending for the Union & the Constitution as they professed, an early reunion may take place, but if they intended to act in violation of the Constitution, on the subject of Slavery or in any other way, they had to subjugate the South & force it back & keep it in by many Bayonets, which would violate all principles of a free government, to effect this purpose it would require years of bloody War. He said it was a sad state, but the North was so convinced that we could not live together in harmony with slavery, that it became necessary to if possible to get rid of the [slave system.]” ~ Diary of William King.

September 4– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– “It is strange to go about Atlanta now and see only Yankee uniforms. The City Hall is headquarters for the Provost Guard. The enemy behave themselves pretty well except in the scramble for liquor, during which every store in town nearly was broke into yesterday. This afternoon three soldiers asked for dinner saying their rations had not come and they would pay for their dinner, so Sallie had some cooked for them. They belonged to Company E, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteers, but their chief spokesman was a Scotchman. They think McClellan will be the next president as he has been nominated by the Chicago Convention. Returning home [after church] we heard that another big fight in Jonesboro had resulted disastrously to the Confederates, and in confirmation of this we saw 1800 ‘rebel prisoners’ marched into town. They filled the street from the [2nd] Baptist Church to Whitehall St. It was a sad sight but the Yankees cheered at it lustily of course.” ~ Diary of an Atlanta resident.

General Sherman

General Sherman

September 4– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I propose to remove all the inhabitants of Atlanta, sending those committed to our cause to the rear, and the rebel families to the front. I will allow no trade, manufactories, nor any citizens there at all, so that we will have the entire use of the railroad back, as also such corn and forage as may be reached by our troops. If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking. If they want peace they and their relatives must stop war.” ~ Report from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to the War Department in Washington.

September 4– Sunday– Greenville, Tennessee–Acting on a tip from a local woman, Federal troops attempt to capture Confederate General John Hunt Morgan. He flees and is shot dead while trying to escape. [There is some dispute about whether he is killed while trying to surrender. His wife Martha Ready Morgan is two months pregnant with their second child. They have been married only since December 14, 1862.]

Martha Ready Morgan with her husband John Hunt Morgan

Martha Ready Morgan with her husband John Hunt Morgan

 

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