Labor Together for the General Welfare~September 1864~7th to 9th

Labor Together for the General Welfare ~ Henry Highland Garnet.

A former slave calls for a convention of black leaders to plan for the future. Canadian politicians consider confederation. McClellan accepts the Democratic nomination. Grant evaluates Confederate strength. Sherman plans for the future of Atlanta. Welles evaluates the political significance of the success of Farragut and Sherman.

widows in cemetary images

September 7– Wednesday– Augusta, Georgia– “Important events since I last made entries in my diary. Atlanta has been besieged by Sherman, the commander of the Yankee Army, for many weeks. Hood, the Confederate commander, evacuated the place at night of the 1st. Some fighting before the evacuation in which the Confederates were defeated and many killed and wounded on both sides. The retreat was successful via McDonough to Griffin, where our army now is. George, Sims, Gilmer and Elbert [his sons] were in the retreat. This defeat has changed our prospects and makes this a dark day of the war. We have had considerable fighting about Petersburg, Virginia. We sustain ourselves better at all points than in Georgia.” ~ Diary of John Banks.

September 7– Wednesday– Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada– “The conference of delegates from the several provinces to consider the expediency of uniting under one Government and Legislature certain portions or the whole of British North America, has continued its deliberations here since the 1st of September. The conference meets every morning at 10 and adjourns at 3 P.M. The delegates enjoy in the evening the hospitalities of the citizens of Charlottetown. The proceedings of the conference are kept entirely secret. Not a whisper of what has been going on from day to day in the Parliament buildings has reached the public. But from the apparent cordiality among the delegates and the confidence with which they publicly assert the great advantages of confederation to all the provinces, it is assumed, and I suspect correctly assumed, that the original proposal of the maritime provinces is likely to be merged in the larger scheme of a confederation of all British North America. It was rumored this morning, that the Canadian gentlemen had their closing interview with the delegates from the maritime provinces yesterday, having made all the progress in the negotiation that could be made in an unofficial manner. It is also stated that the maritime delegates meet to-day finally, to determine whether to go on with their original plan, or to drop it and adopt the Canadian scheme.” ~ Dispatch from a reporter to the New York Times.

delegates to the Charlottetown Conference

delegates to the Charlottetown Conference

September 8– Thursday– Orange, New Jersey– “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, informing me of my nomination by the Democratic National Convention, recently held at Chicago, as their candidate at the next election for President of the United States. It is unnecessary for me to say to you that this nomination comes to me unsought. I am happy to know that when the nomination was made, the record of my public life was kept in view. . . . The existence of more than one Government over the region which once owned our flag is incompatible with the peace, the power, and the happiness of the people. The preservation of our Union was the sole avowed object for which the war was commenced. It should have been conducted for that object only and in accordance with those principles which I took occasion to declare in active service. Thus conducted, the work of reconciliation would have been easy, and we might have reaped the benefits of our many victories on land and sea. . . . A vast majority of our people, whether in the army and navy or at home, would, as I would, hail with unbounded joy the permanent restoration of peace, on the basis of the Union under the Constitution without the effusion of another drop of blood. But no peace can be permanent without union. . . . Believing that the views here expressed are those of the Convention and the people you represent, I accept the nomination. I realize the weight of the responsibility to be borne, should the people ratify your choice. Conscious of my own weakness, I can only seek fervently the guidance of the Ruler of the Universe, and, relying on His all-powerful aid, do my best to restore union and peace to a suffering people, and to establish and guard their liberties and rights.” ~ Letter from George B. McClellan to the Democratic National Committee, accepting the nomination.

McClellan campaign poster

McClellan campaign poster

September 8– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– “We must concede to our enemy that he met these efforts patiently and skillfully, but at last he made the mistake we had waited for so long, and sent his cavalry to our rear, far beyond the reach of recall. Instantly our cavalry was on his only remaining road, and we followed quickly with our principal army, and Atlanta fell into our possession as the fruit of well-concerted measures, backed by a brave and confident army. This completed the grand task which had been assigned us by our Government.” ~ Congratulatory message from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his soldiers.

September 8– Thursday– Mobile, Alabama– Federal forces destroy the salt works at Salt House Point.

September 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Fellow-Citizens: The present state of our country, together with the claims of humanity and universal freedom, and the favorable development of the Providence of God, pointing to the liberation and enfranchisement of our race, demand of us to be united in council, labor and faith. The nation and the age have adjudged that the extinction of slavery is necessary to the preservation of liberty and republicanism, and that the existence of the Government itself if contingent upon the total overthrow of the slaveholders’ oligarch and the annihilation of the despotism which is inseparably connected with it. Brethren, the present time is immeasurably more favorable than any other period in our history to unite and act for our own most vital interests. If we are to live and grow, and prove ourselves to be equal to the exigencies of the times, we must meet in council, and labor together for the general welfare of the people. Sound morality must be encouraged; education must be promoted; temperance and frugality must be exemplified, and industry, and thrift, and everything that pertains to well-ordered and dignified life, must be exhibited to the nation and the world. Therefore, the strong men of our people, the faithful and the true, are invited to meet in a National Convention, for the advancement of these objects and principles, on Tuesday, the 4th day of October, A.D. 1864, at 7 o’clock P.M.. (place will be named at an early day,) in the city of New York.” ~ Call for a national convention, signed by Henry Highland Garnet and a number of other prominent African Americans, appearing in today’s issue of The Liberator. [Garnet (1815– 1882) escaped from slavery in Maryland as a youth, is an abolitionist, educator and minister and at this time serves as pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.]

Henry Highland Garnet

Henry Highland Garnet

September 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “A large and enthusiastic meeting was held to celebrate the recent victories of the Union army at Atlanta and Mobile. Speakers include Governor Andrew, Senators Wilson and Sumner, and there is discussion of how negotiations for peace might best proceed.” ~ The Liberator.

September 9– Friday– New York City– “McClellan’s letter of acceptance is in the morning papers. Will it help much? It is made up of platitudes floating in mucilage, without a single plain word against treason and rebellion. It has no ring of true metal, and no suggestion of magnetic power in word, phrase, or thought. . . . Now that Atlanta has fallen, rebel newspapers discover that it was not worth holding and declare that Sherman’s occupation of it is quite a blow top the Federal cause and equivalent to a rebel victory. Nothing is so characteristic of Southerners as brag (self-assertion, tall talking, and loud lying).” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 9– Friday– New York City– “The rebels have now in their ranks their last man. The little boys and old men are guarding prisoners, guarding railroad bridges, and forming a good part of their garrisons or intrenched positions. A man lost by them cannot be replaced. They have robbed the cradle and the grave equally to get their present force. Beside what they lose in frequent skirmishes and battles, they are now losing from desertions and other causes at least one regiment per day. With this drain upon them, the end is not far distant, if we will only be true to ourselves. Their only hope now is in a divided North. This might give them reinforcements from Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri, while it would weaken us. With the draft quietly enforced, the enemy would become despondent, and would make but little resistance. I have no doubt but the enemy are exceedingly anxious to hold out until after the Presidential election. They have many hopes from its effects. They hope a counter-revolution. They hope the election of the peace candidate. In fact, like Micawber, they hope for something to ‘turn up.’ Our peace friends, if they expect peace from separation, are much mistaken. It would be but the beginning of war, with thousands of Northern men joining the South because of our disgrace in allowing separation. To have ‘peace on any terms,’ the South would demand the restoration of their slaves already freed; they would demand indemnity for losses sustained, and they would demand a treaty which would make the North slave-hunters for the South; they would demand pay for the restoration of every slave escaped to the North.” ~ Letter from Union General Ulysses S Grant to Elihu B Washburne, Republican Congressman from Illinois and a strong supporter of President Lincoln, quoted in today’s New York Times.

September 9– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The success of Sherman at Atlanta, following on that of Farragut at Mobile, has very much discomposed the opposition. They had planned for a great and onward demonstration for their candidate and platform, but our naval and army successes have embarrassed them exceedingly. General McClellan, in his letter of acceptance, has sent out a different and much more creditable and patriotic set of principles than the convention which nominated him; but the two are wholly irreconcilable. It will be impossible for Vallandigham, Wood, Tom Seymour, Long, Brooks, and men of that stripe to support McClellan without an utter abandonment of all pretensions to consistency or principle. Yet some of that class will be likely to adhere to him, while those who are sincere will not. But the letter will be likely to secure him more friends than he will lose by it.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

September 9– Friday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Much excitement in town . . . that the inhabitants of Atlanta have been ordered to leave the place in a few days, either to go North or South, and the same order is apprehended will be issued here; unless the order in Atlanta arises, as is surmised by some in consequence of so many citizens having remained there, as not to afford unoccupied houses enough for Hospitals & officers uses. I cannot well credit the rumor, as the Federal Army has expressed surprise at the folly of the people in abandoning their Homes as their Army approaches; if such be their feelings they cannot be willing to force off those who do remain; & yet the course they are pursuing of refusing to sell provisions & clothing to those who remain & who have been robbed of everything, tends to the same result. War seems to be like party politics, a complete game of lying, deception is strategy. Honesty in War & Politics is deemed and treated as poor Policy.” ~ Diary of William King.

September 9– Friday– Atlanta, Georgia– ” Your dispatch is received. Even sutlers must be prohibited from coming to Atlanta. I will as soon as the railroad is open make arrangements for opening and supplying three stores, one at Atlanta, one at Decatur, and one at East Point, and allow them jointly one [railroad] car a day. Telegraph all parties to push [Confederate General] Wheeler and his bands to the death. Now is the time to strike hard, and to wipe out all guerrilla bands. Show them no mercy. I will exchange with [Confederate General John Bell] Hood about 2,000 prisoners that I have in hand. Our success has been very complete, and I want to make it thorough from the Ohio River to Atlanta, so that we may use Atlanta hereafter as a base.” ~ Message from General William Tecumseh Sherman to General Henry W. Slocum.

General Henry W Slocum

General Henry W Slocum

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