The Victory of Sheridan Has A Party-Political Influence~September 1864~21st to 23rd

The Victory of Sheridan Has a Party-Political Influence. ~ Gideon Welles.

Fremont’s withdrawal from the presidential race and Sheridan’s victories in the Shenandoah Valley begin to spell success for Lincoln’s reelection Hard fighting continues in that Valley. Train accidents, common in the time period, occur with unfortunate regularity. At the time injured workers usually fall into poverty as workers compensation does not yet exist nor do unemployment benefits. Sherman’s expulsion of the citizens of Atlanta continues. Fashionable women consider clothes for the new season.

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

September 21– Wednesday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Presidential question has in effect been entered upon in such a way that the union of the Republican party has become a paramount necessity. The policy of the Democratic party signifies either separation, or reestablishment with Slavery. The Chicago platform is simply separation. General Mc Clellan’s letter of acceptance is reestablishment with Slavery. The Republican candidate on the contrary is pledged to the reestablishment of the Union without Slavery; and, however hesitating his policy may be, the pressure of his party will, we may hope, force him to it. Between these issues, I think, no man of the Liberal party can remain in doubt; and I believe I am consistent with my antecedents in withdrawing, not to aid in the triumphs of Mr. Lincoln, but to do my part toward preventing the election of the Democratic candidate. In respect to Mr. Lincoln, I continue to hold exactly the sentiments contained in my letter of acceptance. I consider that his Administration has been politically, militarily and financially, a failure, and that its necessary continuance is a cause of regret for the country. . . . But in the uncertain condition of affairs leading men were not found willing to make public a dissatisfaction and condemnation which could have rendered Mr. Lincoln’s nomination impossible; and their continued silence and support established for him a character among the people which leaves now no choice. United, the Republican party is reasonably sure of success; divided, the result of the Presidential election is, at the least, doubtful.” ~ Letter from General John C Fremont to a committee of political leaders.

September 21– Wednesday– New York City– “Sheridan seems doing much to help our defense. His victory of the 19th grows bigger and higher as we learn more about it and about his way of following it up. It was a hard-fought battle, decided at last by a heavy cavalry charge. That is a new feature in our battles, I think. Another new feature is that he seems to be pushing the retreating army vigorously, even as Blucher after Waterloo, and was when last heard from near Strasburg, thirty miles from his original position. No victorious army, rebel or national, has heretofore made what seemed a prompt effort to secure the fruits of victory by pressing on the heels of its losing adversary.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

third battle of Winchester

third battle of Winchester

September 21– Wednesday– Washington, D. C.– “The victory of Sheridan has a party-political influence. It is not gratifying to the opponents of the Administration. Some who want to rejoice in it feel it difficult to do so, because they are conscious that it strengthens the Administration, to which they are opposed. The partisan feeling begins to show itself strongly among men of whom it was not expected. . . . Some attempt is made by the Richmond papers to help the cause of McClellan by an affectation of dread of his superior military attainments and abilities and his greater zeal for the Union. The effort is so bald, so manifestly intended for their sympathizing friends, that no one can be deceived by it. There was a time when such stuff had a market in the North, but that time has gone by.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 21– Wednesday– en route to Richmond, Virginia– “Since my last we have left the valley and are now en route for Richmond or some other point south. I suppose Grant is making a great arrangement to take Richmond and General Lee getting ready to meet him. God defend the right. Iforgot to say that I was complimented very highly for my conduct in the cavalry fight the other day. I was laughing most all the time and cheering on the boys sometimes from fifty to seventy-five yards in front of the brigade on my horse. I hope you will not scold me dear Molly, for if I fall in this war let me die like a soldier and let my name illustrate the blood of my veins.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer W A Stilwell to his wife Molly.

cavalry battle

cavalry battle

September 21– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Would it not be desirable to teach music systematically in our public schools by the employment of a competent teacher? In St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, and nearly all other large cities, special music teachers are employed for the schools, and their labors not only communicate a very desirable accomplishment, but aid materially in the maintenance of school discipline. If the increased expense of employing a special music teacher would be objectionable, then specific attention to music as a branch of study might be required under the direction of our present excellent teachers. Perhaps the introduction of music in connection of Dio Lewis’ Light Gymnastics, for two or three hours a week or more, might be advantageous.” ~ Memphis Bulletin

September 22– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Early in the morning two trains collide. None of the passengers are injured. However, both locomotives are damaged and the engineer and greaser in one of the engines are scalded by escaping steam from the broken boiler.

period railroad accident

period railroad accident

September 22– Thursday– Fisher’s Hill, Virginia– General Jubal Early’s Confederates lose another battle to a larger Federal force. Total Confederate casualties– killed, wounded, missing– amount to 1235; Union losses amount to 528.

September 22– Thursday– near Strasburg, Virginia– “We have had stirring times since we have been in Camp– we got to camp 8 miles below Winchester last Friday evening– on Monday morning we met the enemy near Bruce Town– they came up on 3 sides and nearly cut us off before we could get out they commenced firing on us from 3 sides– we had to fall back– a good many of the brigade were wounded – [the] 2 young Shepherds were wounded one of them I think mortally– John N. Wheat was badly wounded in the shoulder but I don’t think it is dangerous– I brought him off the field– after riding a piece we overtook Fielden Templeton who came with us– as soon as we found the doctor he dismounted to have his wound dressed but the Yanks pressed us so hard we had to mount and double quick– John got very sick– I was afraid he would faint and fall off if he had the yanks would of gotten him for they were in sight of us– after we passed through Winchester I thought he was safe we traveled nearly all night to keep ahead of the army then could hardly do it for John was not able to ride fast– the army fell back to Fishers Hill– that night we got about 1 ½ miles above– Tuesday morning I turned back and joined the command– I hope John will have luck to reach home safe– when you write please let me know how he is. Risk Shewy must be captured– his horse was shot in the leg we have not heard from him nor [his] horse.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James R. McCutchan to his cousin Rachel Ann McCutchan.

September 22– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I send this as an explanation to you, and to do justice to the Secretary of War. I was induced, upon pressing application, to authorize the agents of one of the districts of Pennsylvania to recruit in one of the prison depots in Illinois; and the thing went so far before it came to the knowledge of the Secretary that, in my judgment, it could not be abandoned without greater evil than would follow its going through. I did not know at the time that you had protested against that class of thing being done; and I now say that while this particular job must be completed, no other of the sort will be authorized, without an understanding with you, if at all. The Secretary of War is wholly free of any part in this blunder.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to General Grant.

September 22– Thursday– Rockbridge County, Virginia– “I was taken down with fever at New Market about the middle of August and sent to Staunton for treatment. Two weeks ago I was sufficiently recovered to come to this place. I am now well and will return to duty in a few days. Mary is with us. Her health is still very delicate. She read your letter of July 28th & answered it at once. This week I received your letter of July 14th. I am endeavoring to carry out your request but doubt my ability to accomplish anything. I have written to General Wise invoking his aid & hope it will be more potent than my efforts. Some of your friends have been killed since your capture, though I believe none with whom you were very intimate. Colonel Lang & Thornhill were killed below Winchester week before last. Poor Lang we shall miss him greatly.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John D Imboden to his brother Frank.

September 22– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– Approximately 3500 people have left the city headed into other parts of the Confederacy. A similar number have taken General Sherman’s offer to move somewhere in the North, some going as far as New York City.

wagon train of refugees

wagon train of refugees

September 22– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “Friends are drawn together in adversity. . . . Our cause is not lost. Sherman cannot keep up his long line of communication, and retreat, sooner or later, he must. . . . Let no one despond.” ~ Speech by Confederate President Jeff Davis to a group of Georgia refugees.

September 22– Thursday– Augusta, Georgia– “Was it ominous that I should find my pen split when I took it up to write tonight? In these troublous times how superstitious we become. Shall I dare hope that this new Journal which I am commencing will record Peace, an independent Southern Confederacy? Truly the skies are gloomy and the heavy storm appears ready to discharge its thunders in our very midst. Yet how calm, how indifferent we are, we laugh, we smile, we talk, we jest, just as tho no enemy were at our door. And yet the idea has several times suggested itself to me that someday I would have to aid in earning my own support. We have made no arrangement whatever for such a contingency. Gold has increased in value and we have not a dollar and yet I am hopeful of the success of our cause, the ultimate success of our Confederacy, while I do not think it improbable that we will lose our fortunes before that final success is achieved.” ~ Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas.

September 23– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– A locomotive on the Boston and Eastern Railroad explodes at the Ipswich Depot, killing the fireman and severely injuring the engineer.

fall fashions of 1864

fall fashions of 1864

September 23– Friday– New York City– “The opening of Fall fashions has been signalized by a larger display of novelties this season than we remember to have seen for several years. Bonnets have undergone a total revolution; extraordinary innovations have been introduced into garments for outside wear, while in dress and ornamental fabrics, many quite new and elegant designs and combinations have made their appearance for the first time in this country. Prices, of course, rule high, but this is to be expected in ‘war times,’ and as labor is plenty, wages good, and business active, few object to the advanced rates. Bonnets which were formerly sold for ten dollars are now sold for thirty, but this seemed to make little difference to the crowd which, as usual, attended the semi-annual exhibition. Possibly fewer bonnets were sold, but certainly a much larger quantity of materials were purchased. Many ladies seeking to economize by exercising their ingenuity, and taste in the making up of their own head-gear. . . . Winter cloaks have hardly as yet made their appearance, but it is already understood that the tight-fitting paletot, with or without a cape, will be one of the most prominent styles. Round cloaks are also in vogue, made in velvet, beaver or plush, and trimmed in the first instance with flat braids and hanging buttons, and in the second with heavy chenille fringe. . . . Gored dresses have been reviving this fall, and are made to a considerable extent in poplins, in heavy ribbed silks, and in moire antique. In black poplin, they are sometimes corded down the seams with thick crimson, or gold colored silk, and the same idea carried into the trimming of the waist and sleeves. The skirt is always laid in large single fox plaits, and hangs very long behind. . . . For early Fall wear grey dresses, trimmed with black taffetas, stitched on with the sewing machine, in effective designs, are in excellent taste – flat trimmings having largely taken the place of fluting, ruches, and the line. Low bodies are made altogether for evening dresses, with Grecian folds, when the material is thin, and long wide scarf of the material at the back, edged with quilting of tulle, or ribbon, and floating nearly to the bottom of the skirt. In thicker materials, the body is made low and square, cut off sharply upon the hips, and descends in long tails behind. One of the new and pretty French lace capes, with a volant, may be worn with these waists, or a tucked or puffed Pompadour chemisette.” ~ New York Times.

outerwear-fall, 1864

outerwear-fall, 1864

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