Just Heard of Your Great Victory~September 1864~18th to 20th

Just Heard of Your Great Victory~ President Lincoln.

For the third time in the war, Confederate and Union soldiers fight at Winchester, Virginia, with the Federal troops proving victorious. President Lincoln expresses his please to General Sheridan. This victory along with those of Admiral Farragut and General Sherman and the withdrawal of Fremont from the race for president have vastly improved Lincoln’s chances of winning reelection. Politics draws much attention in many places, from West Virginia to Georgia and Indiana. George Templeton Strong enjoys the new Central Park in New York City. Black soldiers with good marksmanship make Confederate guerrillas flee. A desperate Southern woman sells one of her best dresses and laments that she is paid in Confederate money. A Confederate soldier has an erotic dream of his wife. A discharged soldier writes to Walt Whitman.

campaign poster showing Lincoln concerned for widows

campaign poster showing Lincoln concerned for widows

September 18– Sunday– Detroit, Michigan– “I once more take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you. And if I don’t get an answer to this I shall never write again. I have never rec’d a line from you since I left Washington. I am at present attending the Commercial College here in Detroit. It is a good institution if I can judge by the Book Keepers here in the City that have been through the course. I have been here about five weeks now and think it will take about four or five weeks longer. I think I can keep Books in any business that may be brought on the carpet. Now Mr Whitman if you could get me a situation as Book Keeper or Clerk in the Paymaster department or some other good place if you will I will pay you any price you’ve a mind to ask. Detroit is a very pleasant City. They have two or three Theaters going now. I was to one of them last evening they Played The Country Cousin. Miss Laura Keen’s Company from N.Y. City have been here for the last week last night was the last night. I presume you have seen her lots of times. No more until I receive a letter from you.” ~ Letter from Justus F. Boyd to Walt Whitman.

September 18– Sunday– Shenandoah Valley, Virginia– Union General Phil Sheridan, with more than 40,000 troops, learns that Confederate General Jubal Early, with 12,000 soldiers, is dangerously spread out. Sheridan decides to mount a major offensive against Winchester, Virginia, in the hope of beating Early’s force piecemeal.

General Phil Sheridan

General Phil Sheridan

September 18– Sunday– in camp with General Hood, somewhere in Georgia– “It is with a good deal of pleasure that I begin to write you these few lines after doing so much cooking today. You don’t know half of what I think of you all the time. I keeps dreaming of you a good deal. Now, my dear Dot, I am a-going to tell my awful dream last night. I ain’t been myself since. I dreamed I was with you, Dot, and we was on the bed. I had covered you two or three times, and we joyed ourselves tarnal [a lot]. Well, now, my dear Dot, I believe I’d got you in a baby way, for I’d puke every morning before breakfast.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife.

September 18– Sunday– Bath, England– A scheduled debate between Richard Burton, soldier and explorer, age 43, and John Speke on the topic of the source of the Nile River is canceled because of Speke’s recent death.

Sir Richard Burton, 1864

Sir Richard Burton, 1864

September 18– Sunday– Sanmu, Chiba, Japan– Birth of Ito Sachio, poet and novelist. [Dies July 30, 1913.]

Ito Sachio

Ito Sachio

September 19– Monday– New York City– “General Sherman has surpassed all the newspaper correspondents as a military writer. He is not as picturesque, nor as effective, in a popular point of view, as some of the gentlemen connected with journalism; but for conciseness, perspicacity and comprehensiveness, with brevity, he is a perfect model. The congratulatory order which he issued to his army at Atlanta, on the 8th instant, is a superb example of this. In less than a page of an ordinary duodecimo book, he surveys the grand four months’ campaign which opened by the march from Chattanooga and was consummated by the fall of Atalanta.” ~ New York Times.

September 19– Monday– New York City– “Walked through Central Park yesterday afternoon with George C Anthon. The lower park is finished now, all but the trees, which have twenty years of work before them yet, and it is certainly most attractive and creditable. The structures– bridges, and so on– are all god, some of them very good. Strange of all these various, elaborate structures not one should be an absolute monstrosity.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 19– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A meeting was held on Saturday evening at the Union Campaign Club Rooms, corner of Market and Quincy streets. A. W. Campbell, president called the Club to order, and in doing so took occasion to remark that the apparent indifference of the Union people was in some degree accounted for by the fact that we had no enemy to fight. Our enemies are embarrassed; they have no electoral organization in this State, and it appears as if they intended to allow the election to go by default. But we should be on our guard. We may be surprised at the polls as we have been before. We should act as if we had a well recognized foe to fight and poll just as large a vote as possible. We have already lost ground by our neglect to turn out and poll our full vote. When we pull a small vote our enemies conclude that we are demoralized. The political status of a county or congressional district is no idle matter at a time like this. We have a party in the country that is building its hopes upon a probable disaster to the Union arms, and it is just as important that men should go into political organizations for the preservation of the Union as it is that men should go to the front. We must not allow the moral supplies of the army to be cut off.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer.

September 19– Monday– Winchester, Virginia–For the third time in the war, Confederate and Union forces engage in battle here. Confederates under General Jubal Early are beaten back in a savage fight with General Phil Sheridan’s Federals. Total Federal casualties– dead, wounded, missing– number 4,018; total Confederate casualties are 3,921. The casualties are barely 10% of Sheridan’s force but Early’s losses are 25% of his army.

third battle of Winchester

third battle of Winchester

September 19– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The State election of Indiana occurs on the 11th of October, and the loss of it to the friends of the Government would go far towards losing the whole Union cause. The bad effect upon the November election, and especially the giving the State government to those who will oppose the war in every possible way, are too much to risk if it can be avoided. The draft proceeds, notwithstanding its strong tendency to lose us the State. Indiana is the only important State voting in October whose soldiers cannot vote in the field. Anything you can safely do to let her soldiers or any part of them go home and vote at the State election will be greatly in point. They need not remain for the Presidential election, but may return to you at once. This is in no sense an order, but is merely intended to impress you with the importance to the Army itself of your doing all you safely can, yourself being the judge of what you can safely do.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

September 19– Monday– Columbia, South Carolina– “My pink silk dress I have sold for $600, to be paid for in instalments, two hundred a month for three months. And I sell my eggs and butter from home for two hundred dollars a month. Does it not sound well four hundred dollars a month regularly. But in what? In Confederate money. Helas!” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

September 19– Monday– Cabin Creek, Indian Territory [now Oklahoma]– Confederate troops capture 202 supply wagons, 5 ambulances, 40 horses and 1253 mules, supplies desperately needed by the South.

September 19– Monday– near Windsor, Ontario, Canada– A desperate plot by a handful of Confederate operatives to raid the prison camp on Johnson’s Island, Ohio, on Lake Erie and free the Confederate prisoners, falls apart. The men flee in different directions; however, John Yates Beall, the leader, determines to try other espionage against the North.

September 20– Tuesday– New York City– “”Fall weather cannot be finer than this. . . . Hurrah for Sheridan and Sherman! If Grant can but do as well as his lieutenants have done, the rebellion will be played out before November. The military value of this victory is great but it is worth still more as influencing the political campaign and contributing to the determination of the fearful issue that campaign is to decide: nationality or anarchy.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 20– Tuesday– “Intelligence reaches us this morning that Sheridan has achieved a great victory over Early in the valley of the Shenandoah, after much hard fighting. This will do much to encourage and stimulate all Union-loving men, and will be ominous to [Confederate General Robert E.] Lee.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Have just heard of your great victory. God bless you all, officers and men. Strongly inclined to come up and See you.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Union General Phil Sheridan.

September 20– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “‘Old Robertson’ is famous for good whisky and bad guerrillas. On last Tuesday a party of five bushwhackers caught a young man near Springfield, and robbed him of all his valuables. Colonel Downey, of the United States Colored Troops, stationed at Springfield, heard of the robbery and immediately sent out a squad of his men, who came upon the guerrillas about ten miles from Springfield, towards the Kentucky line. The colored chivalry immediately opened fire on the rebels, and stiffened three of them as cold as a lump of ice. The other two, squealing with fright, looked over their shoulders, and with hair standing on end, eyes as wide as saucers, cheeks as pale as their dirty shirts, and chattering teeth, fled as if the everlasting devil was after them. The guerrillas made as good time as ever a Tennessee race-horse did. Of course the soldiers had to give up the chase, as there was no use trying to compete with Jeff Davis’s chivalry in a foot-race.” ~ Nashville Daily Times and True Union.

black cavalry troopers

black cavalry troopers

September 20– Tuesday– Middletown, Virginia; Strasburg, Virginia; Cedarville, Virginia; Cartersville, Georgia; Ponder’s Mill, Missouri; Keytesville, Missouri– Clashes, encounters and pitched battles.

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