War Is Cruelty~September 1864~the 12th to 14th

War Is Cruelty ~ General Sherman.

Sherman answers the letter from the mayor of Atlanta. One of his officers rejoices. Georgia newspapers want the government in Richmond to help but Lee is already short of soldiers and food. George Templeton Strong blames Peace Democrats. Reverend Charles Finney hopes for Lincoln’s reelection. A Nashville newspaper complains of the garbage pickers.

Union soldiers occupying Atlanta

Union soldiers occupying Atlanta

September 12– Monday– Atlanta, Georgia– “We must have peace, not only at Atlanta but in all America. To secure this we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war we must defeat the rebel armies that are arrayed against the laws and Constitution, which all must respect and obey. To defeat these armies we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose. . . . I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what I propose to do, but I assert that my military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible. You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty and you cannot refine it, and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now it will not stop . . . . You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home is to stop the war, which can alone be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride. We don’t want your Negroes or your horses or your houses or your lands or anything you have, but we do want, and will have, a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and if it involves the destruction of your improvements we cannot help it. . . . I want peace, and believe it can now only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect an early success. But, my dear sirs, when that peace does come, you may call on me for anything. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter. Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble, feed and nurse them and build for them in more quiet places proper habitations to shield them against the weather until the mad passions of men cool down and allow the Union and peace once more to settle over your old homes at Atlanta.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to Mayor James M. Calhoun along with Councilmen E. E. Rawson and S.C. Wells.

General Sherman & officers at Atlanta

General Sherman & officers at Atlanta

September 12– Monday– Atlanta, Georgia– “The Major and I took a moonlight ride around the city last evening and lingered some time near General Thomas’ headquarters, where that excellent band of the 33rd Massachusetts discoursed some of its exquisite music. Atlanta is really a very fine city; there must have been a great deal of wealth in it. There are many large mansions and it looks much like a western city. Two-thirds of our term of service has now expired, and we can stay only one year more. I have a hope that it won’t be a year more, still who can tell. The citizens of Atlanta are all leaving; large wagon trains leave daily with southern families and their chattels, all but the human chattels and are received into General Hood’s lines under flags of truce. Those who are not devoted to the south are preparing for a grand migration northward; thus Atlanta will be left to the soldiers alone. General Sherman has issued a stringent order, that no trader shall be allowed to settle within any fortified place south of Chattanooga. He has no sympathy with those who follow the army to make money out of it. The clerk of the paymaster of our brigade has arrived. It seems that all the armies are being paid; thus relief will soon be brought to your suffering soldiers’ families.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

September 13– Tuesday– New York City– “A great and decisive battle may be fought in Virginia before this week ends. There will be a murder grim and great, for Lee’s hungry cohorts will fight their best. Hundreds or thousands of men, enlisted to maintain and enforce the law of the land, will perish by the violence of masterful rebels. Our Copperheads . . . Peace Democrats and the candidates and leaders, McClellan and George H Pendleton . . . are answerable for the death of every national soldier who dies in his duty.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 13– Tuesday– Oberlin, Ohio– “Your Dear Letters of last March were received & would have been answered long since but for the fact that I had written so many letters to sympathizing friends, & had thus kept the fountain of my sorrows open & flowing that my health was suffering. I ceased to write on the subject of my bereavement & from the result or the apparent result on my health I think it was wise to turn my thoughts away from my bereavement made doubly afflictive by the circumstances [of] my Precious wife’s death. She died suddenly, as you are aware away from home at a hotel. The material circumstances you have seen in the newspapers. O how delighted she would have been to have received letters from you both before her departure. It is not possible for any one who did not know my Dear Wife intimately & in her home life, & in her domestic character, to conceive adequately of the nature & extent of my loss. You had an opportunity to witness something of her importance to me as an evangelist. You might also infer what she was as a Pastor’s wife & also as the wife of a President of a college having among the number of its students nearly 500 young ladies. In all my public relations she was rarely qualified to be a helper. Rare as her endowments were as a help meet in my Public Relations her qualities as a wife & a mother were still more rare. In these relations she was a most excellent model. But I must not dwell upon what she was. I rather think of what she is. Now glorified! O how much that means! . . . . on the subject of our war . . . . We are progressing hopefully & I think surely to the total extinction of slavery & to the subjugation of the rebel territory. Our army & navy are victorious & the end can not be far distant. It is a great wheel & at least appears to people abroad to move slowly. But in fact progress has been astonishingly rapid. To us who know what has to be done & what has been accomplished the changes have been unparalleled in the world’s history both in magnitude & in rapidity. We are now once more & I trust for the last time to have a political contest with the sympathies with rebellion at the north. I feel confident that the right will triumph & that in this political triumph that corrupt party [the Democratic] that was so long in league with the slave power had every thing in [the ] wrong way, will be finally used up.” ~ Letter from Reverend Charles G Finney to Robert and Elizabeth Best. [Finney’s second wife Elizabeth died November 27, 1863. He will marry in 1865 for the third time. Finney has opposed slavery all during his ministry.]

Rev Charles Grandison Finney

Rev Charles Grandison Finney

September 13– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “A bright, cool morning. . . . General Lee writes urgently for more men, and asks the Secretary to direct an inquiry into alleged charges that the bureaus are getting able-bodied details that should be in the army. And he complains that rich young men are elected magistrates, etc., just to avoid service in the field. . . . ‘Everybody’ is now abusing the President for removing General Johnston, and demand his restoration, etc. . . . I hope General Grant will remain quiet, and not cut our only remaining railroad (south), until we get a month’s supply of provisions! I hear of speculators getting everything they want, to oppress us with extortionate prices, while we can get nothing through on the railroads for our famishing families, even when we have an order of the government for transportation. The companies are bribed by speculators, while the government pays more moderate rates. . . . In this hour of dullness, many are reflecting on the repose and abundance they enjoyed once in the Union. But there are more acts in this drama! And the bell may ring any moment for the curtain to rise again.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

September 13– Tuesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Feminine Politics. The discussion of partisan politics and public affairs is by no means confined in Memphis to person of the masculine gender. Half a dozen dear creatures who chance to meet at the house of some mutual friend can hardly wait to get their what-you-call-ems off and go through the insipid kissing each other, in which women habitually indulge before some casual remark, launches the whole bevy into a sea of argumentation.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

September 13– Tuesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– “President Davis, we know, is determined to hold Richmond, at all hazards, and to the last extremity; but it is by no means impossible for him to do this and still save Georgia from the grasp of Sherman. . . . Georgia has troops enough in Virginia and South Carolina who if brought upon their own soil would drive Sherman and his hordes over the Tennessee River in dismay and utter rout. Must the brave Georgians in General Lee’s army who have done so much to defend the soil of Virginia, and especially the city of Richmond, be compelled to witness, in a distant land, the subjugation of their Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Wives and Children and fellow citizens because the President considers the city of Richmond of more importance than the security of the great State of Georgia?” ~ Confederate Union.

September 13– Tuesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– “It is not to be disguised that the possession of Atlanta by the enemy is a severe blow to Georgia, and we may say to the military operations of the Confederate Government. . . . The army and the people– the whole people– now realizes the fact that each man must do his duty, and not govern his actions by those of his neighbor. Sherman should be made to feel that he is no longer fighting an army but a people– and that people determined to be free.” ~ Southern Recorder.

September 13– Tuesday– near Andersonville, Georgia– Over twenty Union prisoners and Confederate guards are killed or injured when a train transferring them from Andersonville prison to Camp Lawton in Millen, Georgia, derails near the Andersonville depot. Prisoners not injured are returned to the stockade, to be relocated at a later date.

September 14– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “No news of our wheat and molasses yet; and we have hardly money enough to live until the next pay-day. We have no coal yet.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

September 14– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– ” Outrageous Nuisance. A respectable citizen asks us to call the attention of the city officers to the abominable nuisance daily committed on the bank of the [Cumberland] river at the foot of Church [Street]. Hundreds resort thither to perform the mysterious rights of the goddess Cloacina, the thoughts of which makes one involuntarily hold his nose. It is intolerable, and should be stopped forthwith. The police should go there and compel the offenders to evacuate the premises.” ~ Nashville Daily Times and True Union. [Cloacina was the minor Roman goddess in charge of the main sewers of the city and was invoked as the patroness of those who were scavengers of sewer systems.]

ancient coins honoring the goddess Cloacina

ancient coins honoring the goddess Cloacina

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