All Those Things Desirable~September 1864~the 6th & 7th

All Those Things Desirable ~ President Lincoln.

Lincoln receives the gift of a Bible and comments on the sacred text. The New York Times speaks of the desirability of the fall of Atlanta and the capture of the CSS Georgia. Southern papers call for a desirable defense of Georgia, even at a cost to General Lee’s army. General Sherman finds it desirable to empty Atlanta of its civilian population.

damaged buildings in Atlanta

damaged buildings in Atlanta

September 6– Tuesday– New York City– “For months past the feeling in Richmond respecting the fate of Atlanta has been one of the gravest anxiety, in spite of the attempts to conceal it under a show of bravado. Said the London Times correspondent, writing from Richmond on the 14th of July: ‘It must be admitted that great and increasing anxiety is here felt, as telegram follows telegram announcing that General Johnston has again and again fallen back, until . . . his bold antagonist, General Sherman is seen to be within three leagues of Atlanta.’ . . . the advance of Early into Maryland was more than counterpoised in Richmond ‘by the gloom which is inspired by the mere mention of Sherman and Atlanta.’ It must be noticed that this fearful gloom overspread the rebel capital nearly two months ago, while Early was within sight of Washington, while communication between the National Capital and the North was actually interrupted, and while the rebel raiders were reaping a harvest of plunder in the richest counties north of the Potomac. It must be remembered, too, that this dismal foreshadowing of their doom had fallen upon the rebel chiefs before Sherman had crossed the Chattahoochee, and a full month before Grant had laid his iron grasp upon the main rebel line of communication south of Richmond. By this we can judge what is the terror struck home at the rebel heart to-day, with Atlanta in our possession, and Hood’s army cut in twain in the open field. We can judge, too, how ineffectual to allay this terror will be the peace platforms and the peace candidates of the rebel sympathizers here – while Sherman and Grant clench the conspirators by the heart, and hold them in the final death-grapple.” ~ New York Times.

September 6– Tuesday– New York City– “The seizure of the rebel privateering corvette Georgia by the frigate Niagara, off the coast of Portugal, seems, so far as we have the facts, to have been a perfectly justifiable affair. We have no doubt that the Captain of the Niagara, satisfied himself fully as to the character borne by the Georgia before he took possession of her. The fact that the latter made no defense in the presence of such a formidable adversary, argues nothing; and the trick of hoisting the English flag is one that has been adopted by all the pirates on every opportunity. The Georgia was engaged last Autumn and Winter in destroying our vessels on the high seas; and we had no doubt, when she lately passed out of a French port after refitting, that it was for the purpose of again engaging in her nefarious work. A telegram of the 18th of last month from Lisbon announced that the Niagara had arrived in the Tagus – that her mission was to intercept a steamer bought at Liverpool ostensibly for navigation between Lisbon and Liverpool, and that as the intention of the Federal naval commander had become known, the steamer Georgia would not sail from Portugal. This shows that the purpose of the Niagara was not hastily formed, and furnishes strong reason for believing that the Georgia still retained her piratical character.” ~ New York Times.

CSS Georgia

CSS Georgia

September 6– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The condition of our troops in the field is much better than at the time of my last visit to them. They are in good spirits, willing to march or fight –anxious to help put down this infernal rebellion, and then return to the loved ones at home. I am under many obligations to Major Walker, the efficient and obliging Paymaster and his faithful and accommodating clerk, for valuable aid rendered me in the discharge of my duty. I close with this observation, that the more thorough the efficiency of our troops the more prompt the efforts to have them paid.” ~ Report from Jacob Hornbrook to Governor Boreman of West Virginia.

September 6– Tuesday–Washington, D.C.– “A disagreeable, rainy day. Only a light Cabinet meeting. As usual the dignitaries were absent, but Seward is not in Washington. Fessenden and Stanton were not with us, and Usher has gone to Indiana. . . . Governor Koerner sent his name in before we left and was introduced. He is recently from Spain. Says Semmes [Captain of the CSS Alabama] was taunted into fighting the Kearsarge by French and other European officers.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [See my blog entry for June 19, 1864.]

Captain Semmes of the CSS Alabama

Captain Semmes of the CSS Alabama

September 6– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I arrived here this morning after a long and tiresome trip. I am in good health. I got skinned and bruised up smartly by the collision of the [railroad] cars at Barnesville, Georgia. I never seen such a sight in my life, twenty-six persons killed and many wounded. I was riding on top of the cars because I could not get inside. I jumped off and got hurt some but I am all right now, and thank God that I got off so light but I have to report another accident that happened to me. I got my carpet sack stole from me and all that was in it between Columbia, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina. I was asleep and had the carpet sack under me and they jerked out and jumped off the cars while they were running and run off in the woods, so you may tell all that sent sacks by me that they are all gone. I am very sorry but could not help it.” ~ Letter from William Stilwell to his wife Molly.

September 6– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “The streets in Marietta are all barricaded, the Episcopal, Presbyterian & Baptist Churches are used as Hospitals. The Methodist Church, I understand, is open, but occupied by the Negroes for their services. Preaching by the Christian Commission is conducted on Sundays & prayer meetings in the week held at Mr. A. Green’s Store. I will try to attend next Sabbath. Mrs. Brown made me a visit this afternoon, she talks very dull, she does not know how they are to live the coming winter. . . . I truly hope our [experience?] may warn the people in future to place [no faith in the?] wisdom or honesty of professed politicians. I [find?] most of them, the worst & most dangerous . . . so little has my confidence been in them from my boyhood, that I have never voted a Democratic nor Whig ticket, never having identified myself with either party; but always been at war with both, for their intolerable corruption.” ~ Diary of William King.

September 6– Tuesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– “[Sherman’s] frank policy, we confess, is difficult to overcome. If it continues to be successful, Macon will be reached and Andersonville will be relieved of its 35,000 Yankee prisoners, who will increase Sherman’s army to frightful proportions. If General Hood can draw the enemy into open field, or into a general fight, we have no fears of the result. At the present writing, all is uncertainty from that quarter.” ~ Southern Recorder.

damaged buildings in Atlanta

damaged buildings in Atlanta

September 6– Tuesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– “No effort, not even the weakening of Lee’s Army, should be spared to defend the central line of communication through the state. A few weeks will determine the fate of Georgia. . . . We think the best thing our Government could do, touching the Yankee prisoners at . . . Andersonville, would be to parole all of them . . . and send them beyond our lines. There are many good reasons for such a course of conduct, which we may urge at another time.” ~ Confederate Union.

September 6– Tuesday– Andersonville, Georgia– A surgeon at the Andersonville prison camp reports to Richmond that conditions at the prison are deplorable: beds for the sick prisoners are without straw, rations are often inedible, and the hospitals on the post lack medicines.

September 6– Tuesday– Shimonoseki, Japan– A fleet of warships, consisting of 9 British, 4 Dutch, 3 French and 1 American, complete two days of bombardment of fortifications in order to protect the interests of foreign traders in the area.

September 7– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I can only say now, as I have often said before, it has always been a sentiment with me, that all mankind should be free. So far as I have been able, so far as came within my sphere, I have always acted as I believed was just and right, and done all I could for the good of mankind. I have, in letters sent forth from this office, expressed myself better than I can now. In regard to the great Book, I have only to say it is the best gift which God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book. But for that Book, we could not know right from wrong. All those things desirable to man are contained in it. I return you sincere thanks for this very elegant copy of this great Book of God which you present.” ~ Remarks by President Lincoln to a committee of African Americans from Baltimore, Maryland, who present him with a leather-bound Bible.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

September 7– Wednesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “It is reported that Hood’s Army has been routed & scattered, & a large number of Prisoners taken, how anxious do I feel about our little boy. A Train heavily loaded with soldiers passed down this morning– how painful to the feelings to witness such constant demonstrations for the destruction of human life & happiness; how sadly corrupt is the Human family, can there be any hope of ever attaining a high standard of character & Christianity? or in Man even with the Bible in hand always to remain in subjugation to his Brute passions, delighting to kill each other & to destroy happiness? I went to town this afternoon, heard nothing more. About 400 prisoners went up in the Train this morning.” ~ Diary of William King.

September 7– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I have deemed it to the interest of the United States that the citizens now residing in Atlanta should remove, those who prefer it to go South, and the rest North. For the latter I can provide food and transportation to points of their election in Tennessee, Kentucky, or farther north. For the former I can provide transportation by [railroad] cars as far as Rough and Ready, and also wagons; but that their removal may be made with as little discomfort as possible it will be necessary for you to help the families from Rough and Ready to the [railroad] cars at Lovejoy’s. If you consent I will undertake to remove all the families in Atlanta who prefer to go South to Rough and Ready, with all their movable effects, viz, clothing, trunks, reasonable furniture, bedding, &c., with their servants, white and black, with the proviso that no force shall be used toward the blacks one way or the other. If they want to go with their masters or mistresses they may do so, otherwise they will be sent away, unless they be men, when they may be employed by our quartermaster. Atlanta is no place for families or non-combatants and I have no desire to send them North if you will assist in conveying them South. If this proposition meets your views I will consent to a truce in the neighborhood of Rough and Ready, stipulating that any wagons, horses, or animals, or persons sent there for the purposes herein stated shall in no manner be harmed or molested, you in your turn agreeing that any [railroad] cars, wagons, or carriages, persons, or animals sent to the same point shall not be interfered with. Each of us might send a guard of, say, 100 men to maintain order, and limit the truce to, say, two days after a certain time appointed. I have authorized the mayor to choose two citizens to convey to you this letter and such documents as the mayor may forward in explanation, and shall await your reply.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to Confederate General John Bell Hood.

General Sherman

General Sherman

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