The Consequences of This Measure~September 1864~the 11th & 12th

The Consequences of this Measure~ the mayor of Atlanta.

Mayor Calhoun and members of city council ask General Sherman to reconsider his decision to force people to leave Atlanta while Hood and Sherman continue their heated exchange of letters. A Southern soldier writes about overcoming his sadness. A Northern widow learns more about her husband’s service and death. Business is literally booming in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania oil wells of the period

Pennsylvania oil wells of the period

September 11– Sunday– Winchester, Virginia– “Yours of the 27th . . . came safely to hand Yesterday, and I Will reply at once. You can only imagine how greedily I devoured its contents. And indeed it was a rich Treat to me. It gave me a great deal of pleasure to peruse it line by line; Every Word was Interesting and cheering to me, For I must confess, it arrived in a very good time, for I was very much down in the mouth about The fall of Atlanta. Just before, I had been raised to the very highest pinnacle that imagination could place a man, on the peace question. With the hopes that, Atlanta could hold out This campaign, but alas! all my bright visions of peace was blasted. My hopes of the pleasure of meeting my old Friends as a Freeman and enjoying my self as of years gone by, in their company. Then, to give up all, I admit it was too much for me, but your cheerful letter [caused] me to brighten up again, and bring back the old cheerful smile on my pug. I Soon banished all despondency, and now, I am Just as hopeful as Ever.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James H. Blakemore to Mary Anna Sibert.

September 11– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– “We, the undersigned, mayor and two of the council for the city of Atlanta, for the time being the only legal organ of the people of the said city to express their wants and wishes, ask leave most earnestly, but respectfully, to petition you to reconsider the order requiring them to leave Atlanta. . . . As you advanced the people north of this fell back, and before your arrival here a large portion of the people had retired south, so that the country south of this is already crowded and without houses enough to accommodate the people, and we are informed that many are now staying in churches and other outbuildings. This being so, how is it possible for the people still here (mostly women and children) to find any shelter? And how can they live through the winter in the woods? No shelter or subsistence, in the midst of strangers who know them not, and without the power to assist them much, if they were willing to do so. This is but a feeble picture of the consequences of this measure. You know the woe, the horrors and the suffering cannot be described by words; imagination can only conceive of it, and we ask you to take these things into consideration. We know your mind and time are constantly occupied with the duties of your command, which almost deters us from asking your attention to this matter, but thought it might be that you had not considered this subject in all of its awful consequences, and that on more reflection you, we hope, would not make this people an exception to all mankind, for we know of no such instance ever having occurred; surely none such in the United States, and what has this helpless people done, that they should be driven from their homes to wander strangers and outcasts and exiles, and to subsist on charity? We do not know as yet the number of people still here; of those who are here, we are satisfied a respectable number, if allowed to remain at home, could subsist for several months without assistance, and a respectable number for a much longer time, and who might not need assistance at any time. In conclusion, we most earnestly and solemnly petition you to reconsider this order, or modify it, and suffer this unfortunate people to remain at home and enjoy what little means they have.” ~ Letter from Mayor James M. Calhoun along with E. E. Rawson and S.C. Wells, members of City Council, to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

damaged Atlanta rail yard

damaged Atlanta rail yard

September 11– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– Atlanta families begin registering with Federal authorities for their removal from the city, under orders from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, who intends to use Atlanta as his military base while his army rests, recovers and is re-supplied after the Atlanta campaign. [Over the next nine days, 446 families along with their furniture and household goods will be loaded into Union Army covered wagons and moved southward to the town of Rough and Ready. There, the refugees will be met by Confederate forces who will transport them to Lovejoy’s Station, where they will board trains to Macon, Georgia, and other locations. A total of 79 slaves accompany their masters, though most slaves decide to stay with the Union Army.]

September 11– Sunday– Gornji Milanoval, Serbia– Birth of Dragina Milicevic Lunjevica. [She will become Queen Consort when she marries King Alexander I on August 5, 1900. The royal couple will be assassinated by a group of army officers on June 11, 1903.]

Dragvina when Queen Consort

Dragvina when Queen Consort

September 12– Monday– New York City– “A table giving a list of one hundred and two Oil Companies, with a capital stock, the number of sharps, the prices asked and bid and the dividends declared, is published in the Philadelphia Commercial List and Price Current. The nominal capital of these companies exceeds $52,000,000! Of the whole number of companies only twenty-four have declared dividends. The Commercial List, which has devoted much attention to oil matters and is good authority on the subject, also gives a list of the off refineries in Pittsburgh, their capacity and owners’ names; likewise a list of all the oil companies of Philadelphia, location of office end name of President and Secretary, similar in style to the table of Mining Companies given some time since in the Commercial Bulletin. The Commercial List also gives a description of a few of the companies who peremptorily refuse to inform the public of what their assets consist. and are therefore set down as worthless. The excitement in these stocks lately, so well as the sales, have been unprecedented. The excitement runs high all through the oil region, parcels of real estates frequently changing hands at a high valuation; but in the estimation of those concerned all this is only a faint premonition of what is to come. The preserve production of oil is estimated at 6,000 barrels per day, and from present appearances the large number of new wells going into operation will enhance materially this aggregate.” ~ New York Times. [The $52 billion would equal $795 billion today, using the Consumer Price Index. On the Pennsylvania oil boom see, Oil on the Brain: The Discovery of Oil and the Excitement of the Boom in North Western Pennsylvania by Gary S McKinney, Chicora, Pennsylvania, 2008; Titusville of Yesterday, by Thomas O. Cartney, Richard Foy, and Alice Morrison, Oil City, Pennsylvania, 1984.]

workers in Pennsylvania oil fields

workers in Pennsylvania oil fields

September 12– Monday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I suppose you have already learned of the death of your husband. I have just been officially notified that Dr. S.M. Potter died at U.S. General Hospital, Point Lookout, Maryland, on the 6th instant at 1 A.M. of chronic Diarrhoea. I saw the Dr. at Cavalry Corps Hospital, City Point, Virginia, a short time before he was removed to Point Lookout. He thought & so did I that it might better his condition to be transferred to Point Lookout Hospital. I made every effort to get him sent to Washington City or Philadelphia but the boats were receiving none but wounded men for those points. The Dr. was a faithful Steward. He stood high in the estimation of every officer & man in the Regiment. We miss him very much. . . . The Doctor too had all the elements of a good soldier. He shrank from no danger or hardship when duty called. I have his pipe which I shall take care of and such other effect of his as I can find. His accounts with the Government will be properly arranged as soon as possible, when by application you can secure what may be due him. I think he has back pay due since February 29, 1864, at the rate of $430 per month. I can’t think he has been paid since then. . . . If you determine on the removal of his remains home I will lend any assistance or furnish any information I can. Had he died here I should have had his body embalmed & sent to you. . . . God’s ways are not our ways nor his thoughts our thoughts. May His Grace temper this sad affliction to your stricken heart. and may we all be reminded mortality & be prepared as the Dr. gave ample assurance that he was, for the great change that awaits us all, whether at Home or abroad, whether surrounded by friends or among strangers at Home or in the Army. Any inquiries you may wish to make concerning the deceased or his effects or accounts with the government address me & I will reply promptly.” ~ Letter from Union officer J. R. Loyd to Cynthia Potter, confirming the death of her husband Samuel Potter. [Disease caused more deaths among soldiers during the Civil War than did gunfire. Typhoid, malaria, smallpox, diarrhea, dysentery and pneumonia often ravaged the ranks on both sides. Poor medical care and/or an outbreak of disease frequently killed wounded soldiers. It is estimated that in the Union Army 2 out of every 27 soldiers died of disease. See, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865 by William F Fox (1889); Doctors in Blue: the Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War by George W Adams (1952) and Bleeding Blue and Grey: Civil War Surgery and the Evolution of American Medicine by Ira M Rutkow (2005).The $430 would equal $6580 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

typical dresses worn by widows

typical dresses worn by widows

September 12– Monday– near Lovejoy’s Station, Georgia– “The residue of your letter is rather discussion. It opens a wide field for the discussion of questions which I do not feel are committed to me. I am only a general of one of the armies of the Confederate States, charged with military operations in the field, under the direction of my superior officers, and I am not called upon to discuss with you the causes of the present war, or the political questions which led to or resulted from it. These grave and important questions have been committed to far abler hands than mine, and I shall only refer to them so far as to repel any unjust conclusion which might be drawn from my silence. . . . And because I characterized what you call a kindness as being real cruelty you presume to sit in judgment between me and my God and you decide that my earnest prayer to the Almighty Father to save our women and children from what you call kindness is a ‘sacrilegious, hypocritical appeal.’ You came into our country with your army avowedly for the purpose of subjugating free white men, women, and children, and not only intend to rule over them, but you make Negroes your allies and desire to place over us an inferior race, which we have raised from barbarism to its present position, which is the highest ever attained by that race in any country in all time. I must, therefore, decline to accept your statements in reference to your kindness toward the people of Atlanta, and your willingness to sacrifice everything for the peace and honor of the South, and refuse to be governed by your decision in regard to matters between myself, my country, and my God. You say, ‘let us fight it out like men.’ To this my reply is, for myself, and, I believe, for all the true men, aye, and women and children, in my country, we will fight you to the death. Better die a thousand deaths than submit to live under you or your Government and your Negro allies.” ~ Letter from Confederate General John Bell Hood to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

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