Such Wicked Instument as the Federal Army~September 1864~26th to 28th

Such Wicked Instrument as the Federal Army ~ Sally Wendel Fentress.

While Southerners lament Sherman’s wickedness, his process of forcing civilians out of Atlanta moves ahead. He advises President Lincoln of his situation. Plenty of fighting takes place throughout the South. North and South vibrate with political activity. Consideration of possible Canadian federation makes the news in the United States. European radicals form the International Workingmen’s Association which, in several forms and spin-offs, will be a political force for the next half century.

September 26– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– “We took a stroll in the vicinity of the Chattanooga depot yesterday morning, and witnessed some interesting sights. About twenty box cars filled with refugees, principally from the late confederate city of Atlanta, were upon the track, awaiting orders to proceed further northward. Each car appeared to contain a separate family, and many of the occupants did not wear the wretched aspect one would suppose, after making such a lengthy journey with such limited accommodations. A large portion of them were children, the apparent ages of many of whom would seem to indicate that all the able-bodied male population of the South had not abandoned the peace and quiet of family joys for the field of Mars. Some appeared to have been in comfortable circumstances, and they appeared to like the change.” ~ Nashville Daily Times and True Union.

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

September 26– Monday– Port Republic, Virginia; Weyer’s Cave, Virginia; Brown’s Gap, Virginia; Roswell, Georgia; Vache Grass, Arkansas; Osage Mission, Kansas; Richland Creek, Tennessee; Arcadia Valley, Missouri; Shut-in-Gap, Missouri; Ironton, Missouri– Brawls, altercations, raids, and minor engagements.

September 27– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Hallett & Davis piano factory on East Newton Street is entirely destroyed by fire. The loss is close to $250,000. About 200 pianos, in various states of construction, are lost. [The loss would amount to $3,820,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

September 27– Tuesday– New York City– “A rigid economy on the part of housekeepers at this crisis in the gold market, would bring about a wonderful revolution in the general provision business, before the dawn of another Sunday morning. The fall in gold may stagger the dealers to some perceptible degree. But in order to strike a blow at the petty trade combination which they shall really feel, economy, rigid and systematic, is the grand requirement of the time. Most families could do with half the quantity of butter they consume, and feel as well as look the better for the abstinence. The same applies – although in a less degree – to heavy joints of meats which are often allowed to go to waste. Let economy be the order– if only to see how the experiment will work.” ~ New York Times.

hairstyle & ornaments~ Godey's Lady's Book ~ September 1864

hairstyle & ornaments~ Godey’s Lady’s Book ~ September 1864

September 27– Tuesday– Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania– “I take this opportunity to write to you to let you know how I am. I am well and my wound is Almost healed up and I hope that these few lines will find you well. I received your letter and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well. I haven’t got transferred to New York yet I tried to when I was at home but I could not. So I had to come back here. the Doctor ask me when I came back if I did not want my discharge. I told him that I would rather be transferred to New York and if I could not that I would like to have my discharge, he said that he would get me transferred or give me my discharge. I walk with crutches yet. Thomas Flood is well and is ward master of this ward. I think [it] likely that I shall go home. Some time this month there was an order in the paper that we was all A’goin’ to be Sent home to vote.” ~ Letter from Union soldier James S. Stilwell to Walt Whitman.

September 27– Tuesday– Winchester, Virginia– “At Newtown a Negro told me that [Confederate Colonel John] Mosby and some of his men were in town and would attack us as we passed through. I caught a citizen and sent him to Colonel Mosby with my compliments and told him to get out of town or I would burn it. The citizen asked me if I had orders to burn the town. I told him we would have the fire and get the order afterwards. The Rebels left, and we could see them on the hills but not near enough to fight. . . . One lady invited me into her house and gave me a good lunch. Two young ladies present turned their chairs and sat facing the wall but this did not take my appetite away. I dined at a house near Kernstown and then returned to Winchester, arriving late in the afternoon. . . . I passed last evening with some young ladies in the city and today I am invited to dine with one of the residents. I hope we shall be allowed to spend the winter in Winchester, for it is great fun. One young girl told me that when the Union and Rebel troops were fighting in front of her house, she ran out on the front steps in her excitement. She also said when she saw the Union flag she cried for joy.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

September 27– Tuesday– Centralia, Missouri– A small Confederate force attacks the town, killing 24 Union soldiers in the town and another 116 in an ambush. The Confederates burn parts of the town.

September 28– Wednesday– New York City– “The preliminary conferences of the delegates appointed to discuss the question of a Federative Union of the Provinces, have closed. Meetings of a more or less formal character have been held at the capital towns of the three Maritime Colonies, and the leading delegates who have been entertained at a public banquet in Halifax have partially broken the seal of silence heretofore imposed upon their deliberations. The sum of the revelation then is, that the scheme of Union, so far as it has been canvassed, is found to be practicable. The members present at the various conferences are united in their opinion as to the desirability of a Union, which, while it shall leave each Province a certain control in all matters of local concern, shall yet subordinate the whole to a strong central governing body. The general feeling is in favor of a federal system which shall designate the specific powers, functions and responsibilities of the local governing bodies; leaving all else to the absolute control of the central body – our system inverted, as it were, in this essential feature. The whole scheme, however, is only yet conceived in the crudest form. Another meeting of the delegates will be held at Quebec, to consider something like a common basis of action for reference to the Legislature of each separate Province as they now stand. During the coming sessions of the Colonial Parliaments, the business of Federation will be dealt with in detail; and probably several sessions will be consumed in its discussion, before a final decision is reached. The important announcement has been made by Sir Richard Graves Macdonnell, the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, that he has instructions from the Imperial authorities in England to give all the official aid and encouragement in his power to the proposed scheme of federation. And we find that at the Halifax banquet Admiral Sir James Hope, speaking, as he said, from an intimate knowledge of the state of public feeling in England is thus reported, on the question of ultimate independence for the confederated Colonies: ‘Rest well assured that your aspirations for nationality will find nothing else than a cordial response among us.’ . . . . And it is this question of ultimately cutting loose from the monarchical system that will be found to be the great source of sectional division and strife. The purest monarchists in this hemisphere to-day are the descendants of the French noblesse of Lower Canada. All their traditions go back beyond the imperial and revolutionary era. The edicts of the Kings of France are their law; the customs of the monarchical era are still their rule. And from these it will be an almost hopeless task to undertake to wean them by any specious promise of independence.” ~ New York Times.

delegates to the Canadian Charlottetown Conference

delegates to the Canadian Charlottetown Conference

September 28– Wednesday– New York City– “The Journal of Commerce takes upon itself to deny our statement that when the news of Sheridan’s victory was posted on its bulletin, the crowd that gathered round cheered for President Lincoln. We are not surprised at this, for the fact is a hard one for the Copperheads to get over. Certainly no one in the crowd thought of cheering for McClellan. But we allege again that the crowd did cheer for President Lincoln, and if the Journal desires it the fact can easily be established by affidavit.” ~ New York Times.

September 28– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– President Jeff Davis approves the request of General John Bell Hood to relieve native Georgian General William J. Hardee of duty with Hood’s army. Hardee, who does not get along well with Hood, accepts an assignment to command the troops along Georgia’s Atlantic coast. [There he will encounter Sherman and his army again in December.]

September 28– Wednesday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “Since my last date I have entered into an arduous task that of school teaching. Aunt Anne requiring an assistant, I agreed to assist her in the mornings, Ida in the afternoons. Have heard a report of the capture of Athens, Alabama, by General Forrest. Rumor says that he captured 30 pieces of artillery besides 1300 prisoners. Ma has been attacked with Erysipelas [skin disease causing raised red patches on the face and legs] again. Has not been well since her first attack and is now very sick. I think that she despairs of her life but the Doctor seems to have no fears. Ma has so much depending on her that she, in her hurry and anxiety to get well, injured herself more materially than she otherwise would do. Oh, what if the Great God should see fit to take her! What a helpless family she would leave! Since the Federal invasion our property has been ruined and stolen. Three brothers in the Army, nothing to live upon. Good God! shall we be reduced from ease and affluence to abject poverty! We can collect no debts that have long since been due, therefore we are so helpless it is truly hard, very hard to say ‘Thy will be done.’ O When will the cruel, cruel war cease. How long shall we be outraged and humiliated by our heavenly Parent through such wicked instrument as the Federal Army.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

September 28– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I have positive knowledge that Jeff Davis made a speech at Macon on the 22nd which I mailed to General Halleck yesterday. It was bitter against Johnston & Governor Brown. The militia is on furlough. Brown is at Milledgeville trying to get a legislature to meet next month but he is afraid to act unless in concert with other Governors. Judge Wright of Rome has been here and Messrs Hill and Nelson former members of our Congress are also here now and will go to meet Wright at Rome and then go back to Madison and Milledgeville. Great efforts are being made to re-enforce Hood’s army and to break up my Railroads, and I should have at once a good reserve force at Nashville. It would have a bad effect if I were to be forced to send back any material part of my army to guard roads so as to weaken me to an extent that I could not act offensively if the occasion calls for it.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to President Lincoln.

September 28– Wednesday– London, England– A varied assortment of leftists and radicals from England, Ireland, France, Germany, Poland and Italy meet at St Martin’s Hall. They form the International Workingmen’s Association [a/k/a The First International, which will function in various states of turmoil until 1876].

delegates to the First International

delegates to the First International

September 28– Wednesday– Cambridge, England– Birth of Barry Dell Pain, journalist, poet and author. [Dies May 5, 1928].

Barry Pain--1891

Barry Pain–1891

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