We Are Full of Politics Here~September 1864~the 9th to 11th

We Are Full of Politics Here~Walt Whitman.

Still at home in Brooklyn but now mostly recovered, Whitman writes to friends and as others in the nation, he is discussing politics. Sherman and Hood exchange letters about Sherman’s plan to empty Atlanta of its citizens while a Union officer praises Sherman, declaring that Sherman should be Secretary of War. A citizen of Atlanta complains about the loss of his slave “property.” Loyal northern women continue efforts to support the cause.

pro-Lincoln cartoon which contrasts Lincoln by showing McClellan shaking hands with Confederate President Jeff Davis

pro-Lincoln cartoon which contrasts Lincoln by showing McClellan shaking hands with Confederate President Jeff Davis

September 9– Friday– Atlanta, Georgia– “We have had several days of great excitement, as it was understood that order had been, or were about to be, issued to the effect that everybody not belonging to the army must leave the city, going North or South as they saw fit, except the families of those men who had left the city before the Yankees came, and such must go South. But as yet no orders have been published specifying anything and we do not know what we have to do. The Yankees have not molested us much at the house, and have generally behaved pretty well. One unpleasant feature of present circumstances is the impudent airs the Negroes put on, and their indifference to the wants of their former masters. Of course they are all free and the Yankee soldiers don’t fail to assure them of that fact. Jabe’s Sally has come out of her hole now and is independent as can be. George and Clem are said to be in the city too. So our Negro property has all vanished into air.” ~ Diary of an Atlanta man.

"Negro property" vanishing by moonlight

“Negro property” vanishing by moonlight

September 9– Friday– near Lovejoy’s Station, Georgia– “I do not consider that I have any alternative in this matter. I therefore accept your proposition to declare a truce of two days, or such time as may be necessary to accomplish the purpose mentioned, and shall render all assistance in my power to expedite the transportation of citizens in this direction. I suggest that a staff officer be appointed by you to superintend the removal from the city to Rough and Ready, while I appoint a like officer to control their removal farther south; that a guard of 100 men be sent by either party, as you propose, to maintain order at that place, and that the removal begin on Monday next. And now, sir, permit me to say that the unprecedented measure you propose transcends, in studied and ingenious cruelty, all acts ever before brought to my attention in the dark history of war. In the name of God and humanity I protest, believing that you will find that you are expelling from their homes and firesides the wives and children of a brave people.” ~ Letter from Confederate General John Bell Hood to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

General John Bell Hood

General John Bell Hood

September 9– Friday– Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada– The delegates depart, having agreed to meet next month in Quebec City for further discussions.

September 10– Saturday– Jamestown, New York– Birth of Josephine Adams Rathbone to Joshua and Elizabeth Bacon Adams. She will become an educator and librarian, serving on the staff of the Pratt Institute Free Library of Brooklyn from 1893 to 1938. [Dies May 17, 1941.]

Josephine Adams Rathbone

Josephine Adams Rathbone

September 10– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “An accident occurred on the Pennsylvania Railroad, near Latrobe, last evening. Three men were killed and one injured by the explosion of the locomotive attached to a freight train. Six cars loaded with cattle were totally demolished. . . . Most of the cattle in the forward car were killed. The passenger train which left Pittsburgh at 8:40 P.M., Friday, was detained six hours. The wreck has been removed and trains are now running regularly.” ~ Philadelphia Bulletin.

September 10– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “At a meeting of the ‘Ladies’ Union Aid Society’. . . held on the 9th day of September, 1864, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted, viz: Resolved, That the thanks of this society be and they are hereby tendered to the Board of Managers of the Patriotic Fair and Festival, recently held in this city, for the transfer of the munificent sum of one thousand dollars, ($1,000) of the proceeds of said fair and festival, for the use of this society, to be expended in its efforts to relieve the wants and sufferings of our sick and wounded soldiers. Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Intelligencer. The Ladies of Wheeling are reminded that the Society still meets, on Friday, of each week, at 2 o’clock P.M.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. [The $1000 would equal $15,300 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

September 10– Saturday– Atlanta, Georgia– “We have received a lot of congratulatory orders, from the President yesterday, and from General Grant, who fires salutes . . . trained upon the enemy, and finally one from General Sherman, in which he recounts the main achievements of the campaign. General Thomas is coming to review our corps in a few days. I am not ashamed of my regiment. The two hundred men I have look as neat and trim and have their arms and accouterments as bright and shining as though they had been in camp undergoing daily drills and inspection, only I am out of all music. The rains have broken all our drums; when the pay master comes, we shall raise a fund and buy a half dozen first-class drums. General Sherman, in conducting the war, does not shrink from harshness. He says, in an order, that the City of Atlanta is wanted exclusively for military purposes, and orders all citizens to leave; this, of course, causes great excitement in town. They will lose a great deal of property by it, and it is hard for the people, but they cannot remain without falling a burden to the United States, and many of them are of very doubtful loyalty. But few men would have the courage to issue, or the firmness to execute, an order of banishment to all the inhabitants of a city. The army approves the fearless and independent course of the General in Chief; such a man we should have for Secretary of War. Wouldn’t he put the draft through? and wouldn’t he catch the runaways [deserters]?” ~Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

Frederick C Winkler, circa late 1890s

Frederick C Winkler, circa late 1890s

September 10– Saturday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I say that it is kindness to these families of Atlanta to remove them now at once from scenes that women and children should not be exposed to, and the ‘brave people’ should scorn to commit their wives and children to the rude barbarians who thus, as you say, violate the laws of war, as illustrated in the pages of its dark history. In the name of common sense I ask you not to appeal to a just God in such a sacrilegious manner; you who, in the midst of peace and prosperity, have plunged a nation into war, dark and cruel war; who dared and badgered us to battle, insulted our flag, seized our arsenals and forts that were left in the honorable custody of peaceful ordnance sergeants; seized and made ‘prisoners of war’ the very garrisons sent to protect your people against Negroes and Indians long before any overt act was committed by the, to you, hated Lincoln Government; tried to force Kentucky and Missouri into rebellion, spite of themselves; falsified the vote of Louisiana, turned loose your privateers to plunder unarmed ships; expelled Union families by the thousands; burned their houses and declared by an act of your Congress the confiscation of all debts due Northern men for goods [you] had and received. Talk thus to the marines, but not to me, who have seen these things, and who will this day make as much sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South as the best born Southerner among you. If we must be enemies, let us be men and fight it out, as we propose to do, and not deal in such hypocritical appeals to God and humanity. God will judge us in due time, and He will pronounce whether it be more humane to fight with a town full of women, and the families of ‘a brave people’ at our back, or to remove them in time to places of safety among their own friends and people.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to Confederate General John Bell Hood.

September 10– Saturday– Campbellton, Georgia; Woodbury, Tennessee; Roanoke, Missouri; Pisgah, Missouri; Dover, Missouri; Darkesville, West Virginia; Chimneys, Virginia– Fevered assaults and bitter skirmishes.

September 11– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “Well I am still home & no event of importance to write you about. My illness has passed over, & I go around the same as formerly, only a lingering suspicion of weakness now & then– I go out fishing & have been out riding frequently. There is a hospital here, containing a couple of hundred soldiers, it is only a quarter of a mile from our house, & I go there a good deal– am going this afternoon to spend the afternoon & evening. Strange as it may seem days & days elapse without their having any visitors. So you see I am still in business. Some of the cases are very interesting. My mother is very well, & the rest [of the family] the same. We have heard from my brother [George] up to the beginning of this month, he is well. We felt pretty gloomy some little time since, as two young men of the 51st New York, friends of my brother George & of our family (officers of 51st ), were killed in battle within ten days of each other & their bodies brought on for burial here. Mother was at the funeral of each of them, & I also– the regiment is on the Weldon [rail] road & in a position of danger.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend Ellen M. O’Connor.

pro-Lincoln cartoon

pro-Lincoln cartoon

September 11– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “I have nothing of consequence to write, but I thought I would send you a few lines anyhow. I have just written Nelly [Ellen] a letter . . . . We are full of politics here, the dispute runs high & hot everywhere. I think the Republicans are going to make a stout fight after all, as there is confusion in the opposition camp– the result of course I do not pretend to foretell. My health is quite re-established, yet not exactly the same unconscious state of health as formerly. The book is still unprinted. Our family are all well as usual. I go two or three times a week among the soldiers in hospital here. I go out quite regularly, sometimes out on the bay, or to Coney Island & occasionally a tour through New York life, as of old– last night I was with some of my friends . . . till late wandering the east side of the City first in the lager beer saloons & then elsewhere– one crowded, low, most degraded place we went, a poor blear-eyed girl bringing beer. I saw her with a McClellan [election] medal on her breast. I called her & asked her if the other girls there were for McClellan too– she said yes every one of them, & that they wouldn’t tolerate a girl in the place who was not, & the fellows were too– (there must have been twenty girls, sad, sad ruins)– it was one of those places where the air is full of the scent of low thievery, druggies, foul play, & prostitution gangrened. I don’t know what move I shall make, but something soon, as it is not satisfactory any more in New York & Brooklyn. I should think nine tenths, of all classes, are copperheads here, I never heard before such things as I hear now whenever I go out– then it seems tame & indeed unreal here, life as carried on & as I come in contact with it & receive its influences.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D O’Connor.

September 11– Sunday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “I have waited for weeks to hear from you. I know that your wound had not been doing well. Why have you not written? I cannot permit myself to think it was on account of some untoward development of the painful disease that had been infecting your wound. Nor have I been more fortunate with respect to Egbert. Not a syllable from him or of him, though I wrote nearly three weeks ago and though search is being made for him by persons in the prison at Elmira [New York]. Has he written to you? Let me hear from you as soon as you are able to write. I have had nothing from home. Carrie Sanders writes August 4th that the Monroe people were well, as was also our father when last heard from. She did not then know what had befallen you. Judge S. suffered somewhat from a party of the enemy which passed through Walton, but private property was respected except for army uses. Take care of yourself, don’t mope, meet the fortunes of war firmly.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry McDaniel, in a Federal prison camp, to one of his brothers.

Henry McDaniel, Governor of Georgia, 1883 to 1886

Henry McDaniel, Governor of Georgia, 1883 to 1886

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