That Old Hag and Harlot of Slavery~September 1864~14th to 16th

The Old Hag and Harlot of Slavery ~ New York Times.

New York Times attacks the Democrats for their on-going support of slavery as found in their campaign literature and an English reader encourages support for Lincoln. Sheman terminates his exchange of letters with General Hood. A Confederate soldier worries about Sherman attempting to liberate Andersonville prison. Residents of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, appeal to Masonic brothers for help to rebuild. Welles writes about a couple of Union admirals. Garrison’s paper carries news of Frederick Douglass and the Whittier family. A prominent British explorer dies.

one of Whittier's anti-slavery broadsides

one of Whittier’s anti-slavery broadsides

September 14– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I agree with you that this discussion by two soldiers is out of place and profitless, but you must admit that you began the controversy by characterizing an official act of mine in unfair and improper terms. I reiterate my former answer, and to the only new matter contained in your rejoinder I add, we have no ‘Negro allies’ in this army; not a single Negro soldier left Chattanooga with this army or is with it now. There are a few guarding Chattanooga, which General Steedman sent to drive Wheeler out of Dalton. I was not bound by the laws of war to give notice of the shelling of Atlanta, a ‘fortified town’ with magazines, arsenals, foundries, and public stores. You were bound to take notice. See the books. This is the conclusion of our correspondence, which I did not begin, and terminate with satisfaction.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to Confederate General John Bell Hood.

September 14– Wednesday– London, England– Birth of Robert Cecil, lawyer, politician and diplomat who will win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937. [Dies November 24, 1958.]

Robert Cecil, c.1919

Robert Cecil, c.1919

September 15– Thursday– New York City– “We observe in an advertised list of ‘Democratic Campaign Documents,’ twenty-seven in number, three whose titles indicate that they are devoted to the defense of human Slavery. They are Bishop Hopkins’ Bible View of Slavery, Professor Morse on the Ethical Position of Slavery in the Social System, and Results of Emancipation in English, French and Spanish America. Three out of twenty-seven devoted specifically to Slavery – this is only one-ninth of the whole, though we think it altogether likely, that of the remaining eight-ninths the greater part are really, under various guises, on the same side of the same topic. It seems impossible for the Democratic party to get rid of the idea that the main and everlasting aim and end of its existence is the defense of Slavery. Don Quixote was not more eager to rush to the aid and risk his life in the defense of forlorn and abused damsels of high degree, than the Democratic party has been at all times, and it seems still is, to rush to the defense of the old hag and harlot of Slavery.” ~ New York Times.

September 15– Thursday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “The undersigned . . . were, by resolution, appointed a Committee to address the Grand and Subordinate Lodges of this Commonwealth, and to invoke some relief for the destitute and suffering brethren of that place. We would gladly refrain from recital of the melancholy circumstances of the recent terrible conflagration at Chambersburg, and which are now a part of the history of the times. It is perhaps enough to say, that a large number of the members of our Lodge, from circumstances of ease and comfort, have been reduced to the sad condition of a houseless and homeless poverty. We make no argument– we would indulge in no eloquence, but we would simply point you to the black and smouldering ruins of that once happy and prosperous town– to business destroyed, to labor prostrated, to the burning tears of widowhood, to the moving sorrows of orphanage, to the desolation of home, and to the ashes of the altar where devotion knelt or love fed its flame of perennial joy. The undersigned, as the representatives of their unfortunate brotherhood, make, with great confidence, this earnest and anxious appeal to the sympathy and generosity of the Masonic heart. This august and venerable Order, renowned for her mighty achievements, and cherished her for noble and princely charities, will, we indulge the fond hope, turn a listening ear to the cry that comes from the distressed and destitute-the stricken and unfortunate brethren of Chambersburg.” ~ Letter of appeal from Thomas Barnhart, George W. Brewer, and H. S. Stoner to other lodges of Freemasons throughout Pennsylvania.

September 15– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Admiral Farragut writes that his health is giving way under the great labor imposed and long-continued service in the Gulf and the Caribbean Sea. Says he must have rest and shore exercise. The Department had ordered him North to command the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and capture Wilmington. These orders he had not received when his dispatch was written, and I am exceedingly embarrassed how to proceed. . . . Farragut would take the place three times while [Union Admiral Samuel Phillips] Lee was preparing, and hesitating, and looking behind for more aid. It pains me to distress him and the Blairs by detaching him and ordering another to the work, but individual feelings, partialities, and friendships must not be in the way of public welfare. The importance of closing Wilmington and cutting off Rebel communication is paramount to all other questions– more important, practically, than the capture of Richmond. It has been impossible to get the War Department and military authorities to enter into the spirit of this work. They did not appreciate it. But they and Grant have now engaged in it, and Grant is persistent.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [Samuel Philips Lee (1812– 1897), a career naval officer, is a cousin of Confederate General Robert E Lee. Samuel rose to the rank of admiral in September, 1862, and from then until October, 1864, commands the Union ships blockading the coast of North Carolina, keeping European and American blockade runners from reaching southern ports.]

Union Admiral Samuel Philips Lee

Union Admiral Samuel Philips Lee

September 15– Thursday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I am sorry to say that I am no better and I fear I am worse. I hate to write so discouraging, but if I write at all I have to tell the truth. It seems that Ihave gotten into a low state of health and it is a hard matter for me to take a rise. I have an every other day kind of dumb chill or something and severe headache and fever but not much fever either. The Dr. says it is very near fever. I take medicine on my well days but there is not much well about any of them. My appetite is good and they feed us well but nothing I eat agrees well with me. I am getting pretty weak and poor and I get gradually weaker for the last few days. Now this is about as gloomy an account of myself as I could well put up and since I have been so frank in telling you, you must not by any means let it render you uneasy, for I am not low spirited myself, and still hope that I will have the pleasure of writing you in a short time that I am improving fast. Do write soon and do not be uneasy about me. May God bless you. Pray for me.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

September 15– Thursday– Andersonville, Georgia– Some improvements have finally been completed at Andersonville prison. A second stockade was built, enclosing the first for security. Better barracks and a better privy for the inmates were constructed.

John Speke, explorer

John Speke, explorer

September 15– Thursday– Wiltshire, England– The soldier and explorer John Speke dies at age 37 in a hunting accident. [About Speke and his explorations, see, The Blue Nile by Alan Moorehead (1962); Explorers on the Nile by Andrew Langley (1982) and Burton and Speke by William Harrison (1982)]

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

September 16– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– Today’s issue of The Liberator focuses much attention on a letter of June, 1864, from Frederick Douglass to an English abolitionist. “I have not readily consented to the claims set up in the name of anti-slavery for our Government, but I have tried to believe all for the best. My patience and faith are not very strong now. The treatment of our poor black soldiers – the refusal to pay them anything like equal compensation, though it was promised them when they enlisted; the refusal to insist upon the exchange of colored prisoners when colored prisoners have been slaughtered in cold blood, although the President has repeatedly promised thus to protect the lives of his colored soldiers – have worn my patience threadbare. The President has virtually laid down this as the rule of his statesmen: Do evil by choice, right from necessity. . . . I see no purpose on the part of Lincoln and his friends to extend the elective franchise to the colored people of the South, but the contrary. This is extremely dishonorable. No rebuke of it can be too strong from your side of the water.” On another page the paper carries the following obituary: “Elizabeth H. Whittier, sister of John G. Whittier, died at their residence in Amesbury on the 3rd instant. Miss Whittier’s name has long been known as that of a devoted friend of the colored race. Like her brother, she was born a poet, and the few pieces of hers which she has permitted to appear in print, are marked by rare grace and felicity of thought and expression, and deep and tender feeling. She has always lived in great retirement, the delight of her friends, who saw in her not only high poetical gifts, but an elevated and almost perfect character.” [Elizabeth Whittier was, in the words of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, “the rarest of women, the pet and pride of the household, her brother’s complement, possessing all the readiness of taking in his presence, the lead in conversation, which Whittier so gladly abandoned to her, while he sat rubbing his hands, and laughing at her daring sallies … no one can truly estimate the long celibate life of the poet without bearing in mind that he had for many years at his own fire-side, the concentrated wit and sympathy of all womankind in his sister.”]

the Whittier home shared by the poet sister and brother

the Whittier home shared by the poet sister and brother

September 16– Friday– New York City– “There are papers in England which have strenuously, steadfastly – aye, and even enthusiastically supported the Federal cause and sought to counteract the evil designs of the London Times and its audacious copartners in guilt and falsehood. The Daily News and the Morning Star have, from the onset, been Federal to the backbone; yet what say they about this forthcoming election? Why, they say, if you study your own interest, your national honor and future peace, you will elect – General G.B. McClellan? No. But Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, the man who would not permit the ‘little Mac,’ the ‘Young Napoleon,’ the ‘hesitator,’ to trifle with a noble army, or play traitor in the face of an anxious people. The nomination of such a man as McClellan might be taken as an insult, especially when his military antecedents are analyzed. But it seems there are politicians in America, as in England, who have face enough for anything. If ‘Mac’ is elected, the London Times will express its satisfaction, but will secretly laugh at you. If Lincoln is your choice, it will howl forth its maledictions, for then it will know the Union is neither dead nor sleepeth.” ~ Letter to the editor of the New York Times from an English visitor.

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 16– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Knowing that Andersonville was the point which Sherman was so anxious to possess, and knowing too that you were not very far distant, I was every day fearful that the raiders had made their appearance. Since your last was written Atlanta has fallen. What has been the effect produced upon the people of Georgia, I can’t tell; but I’m afraid the people have become somewhat discouraged, I hope not though. Its capture, did at first, I’m sorry to say, have quite a demoralizing effect on our army; but since the true condition of affairs has been made known, the same determined resistance and hatred to the Yankees has returned stronger, if possible, than ever. As to the cause of our failures in Georgia, or course, I’m not able to judge, but from all I can learn I’m fully convinced that your opinion, of the in competency of Hood to command so large an army was correct. I judged his ability by his previous successes while in command of a division in this army. You may think from the above, that I’m proud to belong to General Lee’s army. Well, I am, and I believe tis an honor too. Ought I not to feel so?” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

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