A Conflict Between Free Labor & Slave Labor~October 1864~the 7th to 9th

A Conflict Between Free Labor and Slave Labor ~ Henry C. Wright.

Writing in The Liberator, Henry C. Wright, age 67, a radical abolitionist, pacifist, anarchist and feminist characterizes the war as one between free labor and slave labor and encourages workers to vote for Lincoln. Whitman worries about his brother George, now a prisoner. Varina Davis writes about the late Rose Greenhow. A Northern woman has an inside look at a Tennessee prison. George Templeton Strong hears a story about his father. Plenty of hard fighting on many fronts. Yet the world turns.

Lincoln campaign poster

Lincoln campaign poster

October 7– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “This war is the laboring man’s war; a conflict between free labor and slave labor. Shall the North be subjugated to slave labor, or the south to free labor? The slaveocracy and their apologists in the North and in Europe claim that the South represents capital, and the North labor; that the South is capitalist, and the North the laborer. By slavery, the South means labor; by slaveholder, it means capitalists; and by slave, it means laborer. That labor and slavery, and laborer and slave, are one and the same thing, is the pervading sentiment of the South. . . . Laborers of the North! For whom and for what do you mean to vote on the 8th of next November? For freedom or for slavery to the toiling millions of this nation and continent, and of the world? All who vote for Lincoln vote for dignity to labor and for freedom and self-respect to the laborer; but all who vote for McClellan vote for the enslavement of the laborer, and for the degradation and dishonor of labor. Voting Laborers! Will you vote for your own disfranchisement, degradation and dishonor? Will you vote for concubinage or for marriage? for the prostitution, pollution and damnation of your wives and mother, your daughters and sisters, or for their purity elevation and happiness? Your votes must tell for the blessings of free labor, or for the horrors of slave labor. They must tell for freedom and free labor in Lincoln, or for slavery and slave labor in McClellan. They must tell for the elevation and happiness of laborers in the Baltimore Platform; or for their degradation, their enslavement and ruin in the Chicago platform. Are you for Lincoln and free labor, or for McClellan and slave labor? Earth’s toiling millions wait and watch for the answer you may give by your ballots the 8th of November. Heaven grant your votes may be against slavery and slave labor, and for freedom and free labor!” ~ Letter to The Liberator from Henry C. Wright.

Henry C Wright, c.1847

Henry C Wright, c.1847

October 7– Friday– Columbia, South Carolina– “I went out to the gate to greet the President, who met me most cordially; kissed me, in fact. Custis Lee and Governor Lubbock were at his back. Immediately after breakfast (the Presidential party arrived a little before daylight) General Chesnut drove off with the President’s aides, and Mr. Davis sat out on our piazza. There was nobody with him but myself. Some little boys strolling by called out, ‘Come here and look; there is a man on Mrs. Chesnut’s porch who looks just like Jeff Davis on postage-stamps.’ People began to gather at once on the street. Mr. Davis then went in. Mrs. McCord sent a magnificent bouquet I thought, of course, for the President ; but she gave me such a scolding afterward. She did not know he was there ; I, in my mistake about the bouquet, thought she knew, and so did not send her word. The President was watching me prepare a mint julep for Custis Lee when Colonel McLean came to inform us that a great crowd had gathered and that they were coming to ask the President to speak to them at one o clock.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

October 7– Friday– St Louis, Missouri– Birth of Louis F. Gottschalk, composer and conductor. [Dies July 15, 1934.]

October 7– Friday– Dallas, Georgia; Kingston, Tennessee; Johnston’s Farm, Virginia; Four Mile Creek, Virginia; near Columbia Furnace, Virginia; near Strasburg, Virginia; near Jefferson City, Missouri; Tyler’s Mills, Missouri; Moreau Creek, Missouri– Showdowns, encounters and free-for-alls.

October 7– Friday– of the coast of Bahia, Brazil–A U S warship, Wachusett, attacks and captures the CSS Florida in Brazilian waters, violating Brazilian neutrality.

October 7– Friday– St Petersburg, Russia– Apollon Grigoryev, poet and songwriter, dies at age 42 of problems from his alcoholism.

October 8– Saturday– New York City– “Even a drawn battle is a victory just now, for Rebeldom is exhausted, outnumbered, and suffocating– teste [Latin for ‘witness’] rebel newspaper articles, general orders, and Jefferson Davis’s Macon speech.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

October 8– Saturday– New York City– “The war has been described as ‘fratricidal,’ ‘sanguinary,’ ‘inhuman,’ ‘terrible.’ Of course it is. All war is. And how fearful, therefore, is their responsibility who begin it. The Copperhead orators and papers are very fond of this strain. If Sheridan wins a victory, or Sherman, or Farragut, or Grant, these people fall to shedding tears and bemoaning the families made wretched. Tears enough must indeed be shed, hearts broken, and homes desolated so long as the war lasts. Why, then, do not these canting worms entreat their friends the public enemies to lay down their arms and give us peace? If the Copperhead heart is so wrung with the misery of wounded soldiers and wretched families, let it urge the deluded men who are resisting the Government which never harmed them to submit to the laws which they themselves helped to make.  When the haughty leaders of the rebels threatened the country before the attack on Sumter, when they declared that if they could not have their own way they would overthrow the Government and dissolve the Union, why did not these plaintive Copperheads hiss them down, and recount to them the horrors of the war which they were provoking? Instead of that they told the friends of the Union and the Constitution that if they did not submit to the menaces of those leaders, they, the loyal men, would be responsible for the bloodshed! That is to say, if you awake and find a ruffian with his hand at your wife’s throat, you are guilty, if in the struggle she is hurt. That is the contemptible cant which crops out in the Chicago platform, and in all the harangues and papers of the Chicago party. The war is shocking, they say, and ought to stop. Certainly it ought, and when those who began it choose to stop fighting it will end. Meanwhile the American people will fight them—spelling fight as Sheridan is reported to spell it, ‘f-i-g-h-t, kill’– until they do choose to stop.” ~ Harper’s Weekly.

October 8– Saturday– Brooklyn, New York– “I am pretty well, perhaps not so unconsciously hearty as before my sickness. We are depressed in spirits home here about my brother George . . . if not killed, he is a prisoner– he was in the engagement of September 30 on the extreme left. My book is not yet being printed. I still wish to stereotype it myself. I could easily still put it in the hands of a proper publisher then, & make better terms with him. . . . The weather here is fine of late– to-day a little blowy. The political meetings in New York & Brooklyn are immense. I go to them as to shows, fireworks, cannon, clusters of gaslights, countless torches, banners & mottos, 15, 20, 50,000 people. Per contra I occasionally go riding off in the country, in quiet lanes, or a sail on the water, & many times to the sea shore at Coney Island. All the signs are that Grant is going to strike forthwith, perhaps risk all. One feels solemn who sees what depends. The military success, though first-class of war, is the least that depends.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend Charles W. Eldridge.

walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

October 8– Saturday– New Market, Virginia– “We got here yesterday & are resting today – the enemy has gone on down the Valley [where] they did a great deal of burning. I am very tired – it is really cold this morning. Keep my coat until I send for it. The news from Missouri & Georgia is very cheering. I send you a piece of a Broome County paper. Send it to Nelson – the Courier is going & I can only say blessings on you all & love for you. Write me often. I suppose we shall go on.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

October 8– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Nothing has so impressed me as the account of poor Mrs Greenhow’s sudden summons to a higher court than those she strove to shine in. And not an hour in the day is the vivid picture which exists in my mind obliterated of the men who rowed her in across ‘the cruel, crawling, hungry foam’ and her poor wasted beautiful face all divested of its meretricious ornaments and her scheming head hanging helplessly upon those who but an hour before she felt so able and willing to deceive. She was a great woman spolied by education – or the want of it. She has left few less prudent women behind her– and many less devoted to our cause. ‘She loved much,’ and ought she not to be forgiven? May God have mercy upon her and upon her orphan child.” ~ Letter from First Lady Varina Davis to her friend Mary Chesnut.

Varina Davis, First Lady of the Confederacy

Varina Davis, First Lady of the Confederacy

October 8– Saturday– Nashville, Tennessee– “‘How is it about the health of those who work here all the time?’ was the query. ‘Good,’ the overseer replied emphatically.’I was but sixteen when I first engaged in the business-was slender and weakly, but in a year’s time was strong and well.’This does not prove, however, that he might not be just as well, if a carpenter or machinist, and his labor have been of some befit to the world, instead of the reverse. Wanted to lower his self-respect a little by telling him so, but didn’t. We saw also the narrow cells where they [the prisoners] sleep. One cell was only occupied, by a maniac. He was chained by the foot, and standing in the open door with hands behind him. We were cautioned not to go within a certain distance. His position indicated that his hands were folded or carefully crossed, but we found afterward that he held a club in his right hand. He watched us in silence with lowering eyebrows and hanging head, apparently measuring the distance between himself and us, with his small, black, malignant eye. ‘Cannot I speak to him’ inquired one of the ladies. ‘Yes, you can, but I wouldn’t advise you to,’ said our attendant.’You’d likely be sorry for it if you do. He never speaks to anyone unless spoken to, but that easily angers him.’ It seems that for years he was a captain on the Mississippi River, where he acted on the proverb that drowned men tell no tales with those whose purses he thought worth his care. He afterward became a highway robber on land. His term of fifteen years expired about a week since, and they have been trying to get him transferred to the Insane Asylum, but the officers of said institution object to receiving him on account of being made insane while here. He has been so dangerous that he has been chained constantly for four years. They dare not go near enough for him to get hold of one, and his foot is pushed within his reach. Kindness they say only makes him worse-treating those worst who show him favors.” ~ Journal of Elvira Powers, a Northern woman, describing her visit with several other women to the state penitentiary.

Elvira Powers

Elvira Powers

October 8– Saturday– Andersonville, Georgia– Several major Confederate prison officials are transferred from the Andersonville prison camp to Camp Lawton, Georgia.

October 8– Saturday– in the Luray Valley, Virginia; Tom’s Brook, Virginia; the Vaughan Road near Petersburg, Virginia; Rogersville, Tennessee; Barry County, Missouri; near Jefferson City, Missouri– Sorties and intrusions.

October 8– Saturday– St Hilaire de Rouville, Quebec, Canada– Birth of Ozias Leduc, painter. [Dies June 16, 1955.]

October 9– Sunday– New York City– Birth of Jessica Blanche Peixotto, only daughter and first of five children of Raphael and Myrtilla Davis Peixotto. She will become the second woman to earn a doctoral degree from the University of California (1900) and build a career as an educator and social economist, studying and writing on such issues as unemployment, the need of a living wage, insurance for the unemployed and the elderly, and the social costs of poverty. [Dies October 19, 1941]

Jessica Blanche Peixotto

Jessica Blanche Peixotto

October 9– Sunday– New York City– “After dinner Mr Ruggles came in, bringing Judge Selden to look at some of my old books. The Judge is fervent in patriotism and . . . . thinks that Lincoln will be re-elected– God grant it!– and laments his own want of early training and his inability to read Latin, German, and French. Tells me that one of earliest legal recollections is a brief of may father’s for some motion before a vice-chancellor at Rochester or thereabouts in 1829 or 1830.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

October 9– Sunday– Tom’s Brook, Virginia–General Sheridan orders his cavalry to attack a detachment of Confederate cavalry that have been harassing the Union column. The running battle covers 10 miles before the Union cavalry stop, having captured 300 Confederates.


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