Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Guns Seemed to Redouble Their Efforts~ November 30, 1864

The Guns Seemed to Redouble Their Efforts ~ Lucy Virginia French.

At Franklin, Tennessee, Confederate General Hood’s efforts to disrupt Sherman’s rear come to a bloody stop. A young woman in the area describes the sounds of the battle. A friend of Whitman wishes to see him in Washington. An arms sale to Japan causes consternation in Lincoln’s Cabinet.

graveyard at Franklin, Tennessee

graveyard at Franklin, Tennessee

November 30– Wednesday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “We were very glad to hear from you, particularly to learn that you had got an outfit of clothing. I had felt uneasy about it, knowing how cold the weather becomes in this latitude during the Winter. You will find more need of constant exercise in the open air now than in Summer or Fall. Don’t lie up in your quarters too closely in good weather. I am also very glad to know you have books. You should improve your time to the uttermost, not only by reading miscellaneously, but by the study of text books if you can obtain them. No matter how simple the study, you can learn much that will be valuable in life. As to associates, you haven’t much choice, I suppose, but you can avoid intimacy with anyone with whom you would not associate at home. I am sure you will not carelessly or recklessly fall into habits which would grieve our father and relatives. I reserve my good news to the last. Ira has gone to Savannah for exchange and, I trust, is now at large in our dear old state. Be of good cheer. Your time and mine will come after awhile. And don’t forget to thank our Heavenly Father for the good fortune of our brother.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to one of his brothers, also in a Federal prison camp.

Henry McDaniel--circa 1883

Henry McDaniel–circa 1883

November 30– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “How I wish you were with us this beautiful day! It is so warm that I sit here with three windows wide open. I have a little fire in the stove, and the sun pours in full and strong. It is a perfect day, & seems more like May than November. How are you? & is there any hope of your coming this way this winter? I have hoped you would but I begin to despair of it, as you have not come yet, and we have not heard from you. . . . The election passed-off well, didn’t it? & I am so glad that we are to have a better Congress next time. The [Fernando] Woods out, & some others like them. This three months will soon go. We feel very hopeful about Sherman, especially as this fine weather will help him so much. Do you think Grant will do any thing this fall? . . . We wished for you on Thanksgiving day. We had a quiet day, no one with us but Charley, he dined with us, & we all wished that you were here. . . . What about your poems? Are you at work on them now? & what about publishing? Have you done any thing since we came on? Write, won’t you? I want to hear from you very much. I have spoken of writing every day since I came back, but have hardly touched a pen at all. Tell me what you hear from your brother.

I have not yet been in any hospital since I came home, but I mean to go.” ~ Letter from Ellen M. O’Connor to Walt Whitman.

November 30– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with two Quakers who seek the release of three other Quakers who are being held among the Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout, Maryland.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

November 30– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “There are some singular movements in regard to our relations with Japan and certain transactions connected with that people that cause me annoyance. Some two years ago, or more, our Minister or Commissioner to Japan notified the State Department or the Secretary of State that the Japanese government wanted two or three of our vessels, and had placed in his hands, or would place in the hands of such persons as he, the Minister, might select, $600,000 for the purpose. Mr. Pruyn, the Minister, accepted the trust and appointed his brother-in-law, Lansing, and Thurlow Weed to execute it. Mr. Seward addressed a note to me on the subject, submitting the letter. I advised that the government in no way should become involved in the affair, and gave offense to Weed, who, not friendly before, has intrigued against me ever since. My advice would have been the same, had any other person than Weed been named. Without regarding my suggestions, the work went on. One of the vessels is finished. I know not whether more than one has been commenced. A difference has grown up between Japan and the European powers, and, under the direction of Mr. Pruyn, our Minister, we have joined in the fight, become involved in an English and French war with Japan, although the Japanese have no quarrel with us. Now comes an inquiry to me from persons sent here by Weed, to know if the Navy Department will not examine, approve, and take this vessel, which has been built and been paid for. I am not pleased with the management or proposed arrangement. This whole proceeding on the American side had appeared to me a fraud and swindle to enrich Weed & Co. It is wicked to prostitute the government to such a private purpose, and to impose upon the Japanese, who have trusted us. I am opposed to having the Navy Department mixed up in any manner with this scheme, and have let the President know what I think of it and Seward also. Weed does not approach me on the subject. He has not been able to use the Navy Department as he wishes, and, like John P. Hale, is at enmity with me because I will not consent to be used in swindling operations. New York party politics are always more or less personal. Party organizations are considered convincing contrivances to be used by leading managers for their benefit.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

November 30– Wednesday– Franklin, Tennessee–In a terrible frontal assault on Union positions, Confederate forces under General Hood suffer a bloody defeat, sustaining 6,252 total causalities, including the deaths of six generals, while Federal casualties amount to 2,326 dead, injured and missing.

Battle of Franklin, Tennessee

Battle of Franklin, Tennessee

November 30– Wednesday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “A golden day. . . I was out in the yard the greater portion of the day—and set out some hyacinths and tulips. While at our pleasant work on this pleasant day—I would pause every now and then to listen to a dull shudder in the air, which we so well knew to be distant cannon. . . . There was a fresher breeze . . . and the cannonading sounded much louder. Towards evening . . . the guns seemed to redouble their efforts, but the sound was different. Instead of being a shudder in the air, the reports came like a thick, falling thud. Mollie had come home that day and we listed to the guns with hearts filled with varied emotions. Hope and fear, joy and sadness swayed us by turns. Towards nightfall all was quiet. Towards nightfall all was quiet.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

Confederate graveyard, Franklin, Tennessee

Confederate graveyard, Franklin, Tennessee

November 30– Wednesday– Burton, Georgia– “The wire-grass region proper extends east to the Ogeechee River; rode all morning through or among pine forests, whose aromatic odor is delightful tome. All through this pine country there are better farms than we expected, and large stores of corn, fodder and potatoes (sweet). Railroad here at Station is say 200 to 250 yards from river bank. Very good brick station house was– that is we shall say ‘was’ after tomorrow morning– no good houses here save one frame, of old Johnny Wells, Rail Road agent here. Old man Wells came to see General [Sherman] & sat us with us all evening by camp-fire– jolly old brick, great talker, full of jokes, some coarse ones. He claims to be utterly opposed to J.D. [Jeff Davis] & Co. damns the lying editors and warlike preachers in heartiest style, says, as all we have met, almost, that a minority not only did force, but are still forcing on the war in the South. Here as everywhere same terrible stories and lies have been spread about us ‘killing everybody’ burning all houses, including dwellings, etc.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

The Perfection of Campaigning~ November 1864~ 28th to 29th

The Perfection of Campaigning ~ Henry Hitchcock.

Chief Black Kettle

Chief Black Kettle

Confederate efforts in Georgia fail to stop the Federal advance. Mary Chesnut despairs. Both sides prepare for a major battle in Tennessee. Militia in Colorado massacre Native Americans.

November 28– Monday– Englewood, New Jersey– Birth of Mary Katherine Jones Bennett, educator, leader in home mission and interdenominational work in the United Presbyterian Church. The second of two daughters of Henry and Winifred Jones, Mary Katherine will work energetically for civic improvement, the advancement of women, especially in the church, and with Carrie Chapman Catt and Jane Addams in the cause of world peace. [Dies April 11, 1950.]

women for peace -- 1915

women for peace — 1915

November 28– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We learn that a number of guerrillas entered West Warren, Monongalia county, early one morning last week, and after a sharp skirmish with some home guards succeeding in robbing a store and stealing several horses. The report says the rebels lost two of their men.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

November 28– Monday– near New Market, Virginia– “I wrote you a line & enclosed with [it] a letter from Margaret but thinking you might fail to get it I shall again write. I wish you to purchase 80 to 120 yards good cotton cloth I also wish you to exchange $1000 [paper money] for Gold. You can check on the Bank in the name of H & E Ott. Mess Tyler & son will assist you, you will also have to get [a] check for enough in addition to the $1000 to pay for the cotton cloth buy so cheap as you can in buying a good article also if you buy or have bought the Beaver cloth for Margaret & Jinnie. The mail is leaving & I must close. . . . Write to me at Home & request them to sent it to me.” ~ Letter from Henry Ott to his brother Enos Ott in Richmond.

November 28– Monday– Staunton, Virginia– “I seat my self to let you know how I am getting on – this leaves me in very good health hoping this will reach you in due time & find you enjoying all the rich blessing I can wish – I have no news to write – I am very anxious to hear from you as it has been18 days since I have had a letter from you – they have been coming in 6 days – I think I will be certain to get one tonight as you stated you was poorly when you wrote – I am afraid you are sick . . . if I stay here I will get a 60 days furlough this winter as they give all the attendants furloughs I don’t know how it will be with me at the regiment about getting a furlough . . .. I hope by the spring we can all come home to stay & enJoy our selves as before – you must excuse my short letters as I write every week – you must write every chance & let me no how you are getting on – I desire a intrust in your prayers.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John Jarrett to his wife Mary.

November 28– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– Guards arrest thirteen patients at the Winder Hospital on gambling charges.

Sherman's troops on the march

Sherman’s troops on the march

November 28– Monday– Petersburg, Virginia– Based upon news from a fellow soldier, a man writes, “Sherman with his army passed through Cedartown a few days before he left. Camped around Cedartown one night. They burned every house in town that was not occupied: Court house, all the storehouses, grocers, blacksmith shops and every house that there was no person living in. They take and kill everything as they go. Kill all the stock, ducks, chickens, &c., take all the provisions both for beast and man. I did not hear what they did to Father’s. I expect they tore him up. They went out to old Mrs. Battle’s and tore open all her feather beds and poured them out in the middle of the floor, poured three sacks of salt on them and a sack of wheat bran and a jug of vinegar and stirred them all together. My dear, I am very uneasy about you. I ought to have received a letter from you three or four nights ago, but still I hear nothing. I fear the mail has been stopped to that point. If so, I do not know what I will do. hope things will soon get quiet in that department and Sherman and all of his army be captured but that is almost one of the impossibilities. I don’t want you to become frightened should they ever get there, for I don’t think they will try to hurt you or insult you, unless you should say something out of the way. I would give everything I am worth to be there.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife in Georgia.

November 28– Monday– Columbia, South Carolina– “We dined at Mrs. Mc Cord’s. She is as strong a cordial for broken spirits and failing heart as one could wish. How her strength contrasts with our weakness. Like Doctor Palmer, she strings one up to bear bravely the worst. She has the intellect of a man and the perseverance and endurance of a woman. Poor Cheves’ beautiful young widow was there– not yet twenty, and for more than two years in widow’s caps. She has a touchingly pathetic smile. It enhances her beauty wonderfully. We have lost nearly all of our men, and we have no money, and it looks as if we had taught the Yankees how to fight since Manassas. Our best and bravest are under the sod ; we shall have to wait till another generation grows up. Here we stand, despair in our hearts.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

November 28– Monday– near Louisville, Georgia– “Thus we approached Ogeechee [River] at two points– one column at Louisville, which is ten to twelve miles above railroad bridge, and other three columns coming towards railroad bridge across the Ogeechee which is at Station 10. Meanwhile Kilpatrick has gone far round to the North from Milledgeville via Sparta, with orders to choose his own road and strike and cut R.R. at or near Waynesboro, between Augusta and Millen, thence to come down on Millen if possible with dash and rescue prisoners and again cut Savannah railroad below Millen. Today’s march on sandy roads, and through woods chiefly pines, though as yet we still see oaks and other trees. Good farms along the traveled roads, and crops have all been good. We see hardly any cotton – corn almost exclusively instead – for which we are much obliged. We often laugh over J.D.’s [Confederate President Jefferson Davis] idea that Sherman’s army will be starved out. Never was an army so bountifully supplied.” ~Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

destroying Georgia railroads

destroying Georgia railroads

November 28– Monday– Buckhead Creek, Georgia– Confederate forces attempting to stop or slow General Sherman’s drive toward to coast attack Union troops but suffer a serious defeat. Federal losses– killed, wounded and missing– are 46; Confederate casualties total approximately 600.

John Chivington

John Chivington

November 28–Monday– Sand Creek, Colorado–At night 700 militia under John Chivington, using four artillery pieces, launch a surprise attack upon the camp of the Cheyenne. They kill 105 women and children and 28 mostly unarmed men. The Cheyenne had an American and a white flag clearly flying over their camp.

Sand Creek memorial

Sand Creek memorial

November 28– Monday– Shelbyville, Tennessee; near Davidsborough, Georgia; Waynesborough, Georgia; Goresville, Virginia; Cow Creek, Kansas; west of Cumberland, Maryland– Raids and skirmishes.

November 29– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– The Passport Bureau of the State Department asserts that “there is no distinction made to regard to color. Passports can be obtained by any one complying with the regulations.”

November 29– Tuesday– Moffett’s Creek Virginia– “Mr Junkin held sacramental meeting last Sabbath– commencing Friday he had no assistance, had a very slim congregation Friday but pretty good Saturday and Sunday. Text on Sunday in 21st chapter John, verse 16. Words ‘Lovest thou me’– he preached a very impressive sermon, and was listened to with attention. Oh that the word preached may find lodgment and bring deep conviction to many hearts, that many may ask themselves ‘do I love Jesus’ & Seek Him and find Him precious to their souls. I believe I have nothing new or strange to write. Aunt Mag wrote you a few lines in which I suppose she told you some news. Please write soon and all the news you can and believe me to be your affectionate Niece.” ~ Letter from Hannah to her uncle Enos Ott.

November 29– Tuesday– Spring Hill, Tennessee– After heavy skirmishing, a force of 7,000 Federal troops, along with artillery and all their supplies, eludes the 12,000 soldiers of John Bell Hood’s Confederates and successfully joins other Union forces at Franklin, Tennessee.

November 29– Tuesday– near Rocky Creek, Georgia– “Certainly this is the perfection of campaigning. Since we left Sandersville I have seen nothing of an enemy. We know, however, that it is dangerous to go off the roads or to get either before or behind the army. But no orders nor danger can prevent squads of men going off foraging, and only yesterday a lieutenant and small party were ‘gobbled’ in our rear on the very road we had just come over in the morning. And this though it is well understood that to be made prisoner probably means to have one’s throat cut at once.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.


November 29– Tuesday– Smith’s Spring, Tennessee; Hunt’s Crossroads, Tennessee; Rally Hill, Tennessee; Mount Carmel, Tennessee; Thompson’s Station, Tennessee; Louisville, Georgia; Boyd’s Landing, South Carolina; Charles Town, west Virginia; Doyal’s Plantation, Louisiana; near Dardanelle, Arkansas– Engagements, tussles, firefights and clash of arms.

Made A Desolation of the Country ~ November 1864 ~ 26th to 27th

Made a Desolation of the Country ~ a Confederate soldier from Georgia.

destruction in Georgia

destruction in Georgia

Georgia reels from the wide swath of desolation and destruction as Federal troops advance practically unhindered toward Savannah and the sea. Northern newspapers like Frank Leslie’s comment upon the marvel of conducting a presidential election in the midst of civil war and its significance for the course of the war. George Templeton Strong comments on one aspect of refugees in the North. Soldiers nursed by Walt Whitman continue to stay in touch with him.


November 26– Saturday– New York City– “We have passed quietly through the most imposing, the most momentous, and in many respects, the most critical ordeal of a national election in the history of the United States. The general results are before the country, in the re-election of President Lincoln, by an overwhelming popular and electoral vote, and in the return of a two-thirds Administration majority in the popular branch of Congress. No elaborate exposition of causes and effects is here necessary to account for these results. They are simply due to the pressure of that paramount and all-absorbing issue upon the people of the loyal States, the inflexible prosecution of this war, until the rebellious States shall be brought to the point of submission to the supreme authority of the Union. This broad and comprehensive program of the Administration has carried the day against the untenable positions taken by the Democratic party at Chicago, that the war for the Union is ‘a failure,’ and that ‘immediate efforts’ should be made for ‘a cessation of hostilities,’ in order that negotiations might be tried in behalf of peace. In the face of the oft-repeated and consistent declarations of the leaders of the rebellion, that they will have no peace, nor enter into any negotiations for peace, except upon the basis of Southern independence, those Chicago propositions were largely regarded by the people concerned in this late election as equivalent to overtures for a surrender to Jeff Davis. Thus the Democratic party, in blindly casting away a golden opportunity for a great success, have been signally defeated. The people of the loyal States have given their verdict in favor of the war policy of the Administration; they have decreed that there shall be no ‘cessation of hostilities,’ short of the overthrow and dispersion of the armed forces of the rebellion. The policy of the Government, under Abraham Lincoln as its chief executive officer, is thus established for the next four years. All doubts upon the subject are at an end. The opinion is also widely entertained among the rank and file of the dominant party, that the moral influences of Mr. Lincoln’s re-election will immediately and powerfully operate to unite and consolidate the loyal States, and to distract, divide and break up the so-called ‘Confederate States.’ The implacable feelings of hostility manifested on all occasions by the rebel chiefs and rebel journals to the ‘Illinois despot,’ and their anxiety expressed through a thousand channels for ‘anything in the way of a change in the Yankee Government,’ have been advanced as fully warranting these hopeful predictions. We congratulate all parties concerned, that the fierce excitements, jealousies and party wrangling of the Presidential campaign are over, and that the National Government and the loyal States have now a fair field before them for a ‘short, sharp and decisive’ campaign against the armies of the rebellion. We bow to the will of the people.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly.


November 26– Saturday– New York City– “George Anthon . . . tells me that . . . the harlotry of the city is largely reinforced by Southern refugee women who were of good social standing at home but find themselves here without means of support and forced to choose between starving and whoring. Mortal man will never know the whole amount of sorrow, suffering, bereavement, devastation and crime for which the secession conspirators of 1860 are answerable. It seems a just retribution on the Southern slaveholding chivalry who have been forcing their female slaves– black, mulatto, and quadroon– to minister to their pleasures that their rebellion should drive their wives and daughters to flee northward and prostitute themselves to Northern ‘mudsills,’ plebeian ‘Yankees.’” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 26– Saturday– Newark, New Jersey– “I write these few lines to you in order that you may know where I am and also that I am in the enjoyment of middling good health. I heard from you through my Father some time ago and I have wanted to visit you but I am sorry to say my health will not admit of my being out much this cold weather. If you remember I was wounded through my lung and the ball is now near my right kidney and I am not as healthy as I use to be before I was wounded. I feel quite well to day. I have just received a letter from my Brother in my Regiment (15th New Jersey) he spoke of you. I wrote him concerning you and he says he would like to see you. I think I owe you a thousand thanks for your kindness to me while in Hospital at Washington. I have often thought of you and wished I could hear from you. I would like to hear from that Lady who did so much for me. I think it was Miss Howard. I think I will be well enough to come and see you in a week or two and then we will talk over all the incidents of our short acquaintance in Washington. If you will answer this and set the day I will come and see you. I am a little deaf now from the earache but I hope we will get along with that. Hoping to hear from you soon.” ~ Letter from Jesse Mullery to Walt Whitman.

November 26– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Our news from Georgia is meager and entirely unsatisfactory. The newspapers publish nothing at all scarcely, as the government keeps them cowered down, and, as the government keeps its own council, we get no news at all. We don’t know today whether the Yankees have taken Macon or Augusta or what they have done. Don’t know whether Sherman is marching on Savannah or Columbus and then to Mobile. It was published in the Richmond papers that they had taken Milledgeville and burned the place, including the capitol and penitentiary. Of course, the ‘assembled wisdom’ [the state legislature] was scattered, and Joseph I [Governor Joseph E. Brown] took walking papers! Indeed, I reckon he did some tall walking! We learn by the Northern papers that they have made a desolation of the country as far as they have gone, by burning town, village and hamlet and leaving, as Sherman’s motto is, ‘no resting place for an enemy in our rear.’ I have been very uneasy about you and have hoped and still hope that if Sherman has determined to cut his way to the coast he has taken the nearest route to Savannah, as that would take him away from our part of the state. That looks selfish I know, but then we are necessarily selfish here below, and it is right and proper to be so to a certain extent. They burn and destroy everything as they go and should their cavalry ever get to Americus, we should perhaps be left homeless and destitute, as our house stands so near the square and would scarcely escape. And what you and our little ones would do in case we were burned out, I shudder to contemplate. Still, we must make up our minds to bear, and as easily as possible, all the horrors and hardships of this cruel war. Even now you may be a refugee with our houses and furniture in ashes. What a thought– my Wife and children wanderers and homeless! We know nothing of the course Sherman has taken or the progress he has made, but I pray and trust you are yet safe and that you may never be visited by the fiends or devils in human form.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife in Georgia.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 26– Saturday– Covington, Georgia– “A very cold morning. Elbert [her slave coachman] has to go to mill this morning, and I shall go with him, fearing that, if he is alone, my mule may be taken from him, for there are still many straggling soldiers about. Mounted in the little wagon, I went, carrying wheat not only for myself, but for my neighbors. Never did I think I would have to go to mill! Such are the changes that come to us! History tells us of some illustrious examples of this kind. Got home just at night. Mr. Kennedy stopped all night with us. He has been refugeeing on his way home. Every one we meet gives us painful accounts of the desolation caused by the enemy. Each one has to tell his or her own experience, and fellow-suffering makes us all equal and makes us all feel interested in one another.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

burning & pillaging in Georgia

burning & pillaging in Georgia

November 26– Saturday– Sandersville, Georgia– “We have just arrived at Sandersville and gone into camp. Our advance had a slight skirmish with rebel cavalry today, but drove them back easily. We left Milledgeville day before yesterday and traveled all through a very cold night, yet we are all in very good condition. We have employed two mulatto brothers, Hillard and Bill Ford. One is assistant cook, the other is hostler. I suppose Savannah to be our objective point; we are about half way now. I hope the remainder of our journey will be as successful and pleasant.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

November 26– Saturday– Sandersville, Georgia; near Plum Creek Station, Nebraska Territory; Osage, Missouri; Fairfax Station, Virginia– Skirmishes and firefights.

November 26– Saturday– Highbridge, Somerset, England– Birth of Edward Higgins who will serve as Chief of Staff of the Salvation Army from 1919 to 1929. [Dies December 14, 1947.]

Edward Higgins

Edward Higgins

November 27– Sunday– Martinsburg, West Virginia– “I attended the Methodist Church today and I enjoyed the service and felt that we were worshiping our Master. The pastor announced that ‘This is a loyal church’ and invited all Christians to remain for the communion service. We remained and partook with the others, both citizens and soldiers. The pastor prayed for the President of the United States and for the success of the Union Armies.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 27– Sunday– Lawrenceburg, Tennessee; Columbia, Tennessee; Centreville, Tennessee; Shelbyville, Tennessee– Heavy skirmishing as Confederate troops under General John Bell Hood and Federal troops under General John Schofield probe each other’s positions in preparation for a major engagement.

turning railroad ties into Sherman's neckties

turning railroad ties into Sherman’s neckties

November 27– Sunday– Tennille Station, Georgia– “Twelfth day, Headquarters in a field . . . . Ride from Sandersville here through pine forests over sandy road. At this place found Rail Road depot, store-houses, etc., in smoking ruins– this is the land for sweet potatoes– from Covington to Milledgeville. Good story of soldier who ‘don’t touch any but red ones now,’ and scornfully rejects white ones. Accidentally got to talking with brunette lady of the house today about the war, etc. I pity these women sincerely, but curse the miserable ‘State pride’ which blinds them. I believe there is no such contemptible provincialism in this world as these people have. It does me good to quote A.H. Stephens’ Union speeches to them – and it hits hard– the harder because most politely done, with surprise and regret at his abandonment of principles so admirably and truthfully declared. General [Sherman] in fine spirits, and well he may be. He desires nothing better than for Longstreet [Confederate General James Longstreet, inaccurately rumored to be at Augusta, Georgia but in fact with General Lee in Virginia] to come and fight him. All our commanders constantly report our troops in the very best of spirits and condition, ‘spoiling for a fight.’ Our little skirmish yesterday at Sandersville showed it. Meanwhile we are all the time destroying the Georgia Central Railroad – tearing up and burning the ties and sleepers and bending and twisting the rails. At Oconee Bridge, twelve miles from here, over two miles of trestle work through swamps on both sides of the river have been burned, as well as the bridge, a long and important one.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

Titanic American Struggle~ November 1864~the 25th

Titanic American Strife ~ Karl Marx.

Marx congratulates President Lincoln on his reelection. Sherman and his officers enjoy their progress through Georgia. A Southern belle despairs.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 25– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Judge Lyons’ Court. Only one case was tried in this court yesterday – namely, that of William Bohannon, the young man who, on the 25th ult., shot with a musket and killed, at Seabrook’s hospital, in this city, James S Brooks, a little boy 8 years old. The jury acquitted the prisoner upon the ground that he was at the time of the commission of the horrid deed, and still is, insane. Prisoner was committed to jail and ordered to be sent to the insane asylum at Staunton.” ~ Richmond Daily Whig.

November 25– Friday– Columbia, South Carolina– “Sherman is thundering at Augusta’s very doors. My General was on the wing, somber, and full of care. The girls are merry enough; the staff, who fairly live here, no better. . . . There is nothing but distraction and confusion. All things tend to the preparation for the departure of the troops. It rains all the time, such rains as I never saw before; incessant torrents. These men come in and out in the red mud and slush of Columbia streets. Things seem dismal and wretched to me to the last degree, but the staff, the girls, and the youngsters do not see it.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

November 25– Friday– west of Sandersville, Georgia– “Soon learned on the road that bridge or bridges over Buffalo Creek burned: a troublesome place, swampy, creek spreads, really nine successive short bridges. Two or three stories about who burned bridge– Negroes said done by this man, others by party from Sandersville. General [Sherman] very angry at it, no wonder– got to talk about proposed burning of this house– quite a good one, two story frame with several out-houses, cabins, etc. Good blacksmith shop with very good set carpenter’s tools. Ewing was for burning house. I opposed it without evidence that owner had burned or helped burn bridge. General [Sherman] was sitting near, unobserved by me, but, as usual – for nothing escapes him– heard and noticed conversation. Presently he broke in. ‘In war everything is right which prevents anything. If bridges are burned I have a right to burn all houses near it.’ Poe rebuilt bridges rapidly and well, and the whole delay was only about four hours. Learned that rebel cavalry were on t’other side and a few shots exchanged at first but no harm done.” Diary of Union officer Henry Hitchcock.

Sherman's headquarters on the march

Sherman’s headquarters on the march

November 25– Friday– London, England– David Roberts, Scottish-born painter who specialized in painting Egypt and the Middle East, dies at age 68. Queen Victoria was one of his patrons.

November 25– Friday– London, England– “We congratulate the American people upon your re-election by a large majority. If resistance to the Slave Power was the reserved watchword of your first election, the triumphant war cry of your re-election is Death to Slavery. From the commencement of the titanic American strife the workingmen of Europe felt instinctively that the star-spangled banner carried the destiny of their class. The contest for the territories which opened the dire epopee, was it not to decide whether the virgin soil of immense tracts should be wedded to the labor of the emigrant or prostituted by the tramp of the slave driver? . . . . the working classes of Europe understood at once, even before the fanatic partisanship of the upper classes for the Confederate gentry had given its dismal warning, that the slaveholders’ rebellion was to sound the tocsin for a general holy crusade of property against labor, and that for the men of labor, with their hopes for the future, even their past conquests were at stake in that tremendous conflict on the other side of the Atlantic. Everywhere they bore therefore patiently the hardships imposed upon them by the cotton crisis, opposed enthusiastically the proslavery intervention of their betters– and, from most parts of Europe, contributed their quota of blood to the good cause. While the workingmen, the true political powers of the North, allowed slavery to defile their own republic, while before the Negro, mastered and sold without his concurrence, they boasted it the highest prerogative of the white-skinned laborer to sell himself and choose his own master, they were unable to attain the true freedom of labor, or to support their European brethren in their struggle for emancipation; but this barrier to progress has been swept off by the red sea of civil war. The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world.” ~ Letter from Karl Marx and the Central Council of the International Workingmen’s Association to President Lincoln.

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Utterly Despoiled by the Yankee Army~ November 1864~23rd to 25th

Utterly Despoiled by the Yankee Army ~ telegram from a Georgia mayor.

With a relentless forward motion Union troops keep pushing through Georgia, wreaking havoc and creating panic. President Lincoln prepares his State of the Union message and accepts the resignation of his Attorney General. Black people in Georgia celebrate Federal success and in Washington, D. C., celebrate the new constitution of the state of Maryland. In France a child is born who will become a renowned artist.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 23– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– General Grant and his staff officers confer with President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

November 23– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Last night Coroner Coleman was called upon to hold an inquest upon the body of John Phillips, aged 14 years, who was killed about 7 o’clock last night by Oliver Morton, aged 12 years, a son of Dr. Morton. From what we can learn on the subject, some person had stolen some cigars from the Commercial Hotel, and John Phillips accused Oliver of taking them, calling him a ‘d____d thieving son of a _____,’ at which Oliver drew his pistol, and shot John, the ball taking effect in the lower part of the breast bone, passing through the lungs, and lodging in the back, causing death in a few minutes. A verdict in accordance with the above facts was rendered.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

November 23– Wednesday– near Macon, Georgia– “On yesterday morning we left camp and marched down the road in pursuit and come to where they [Union forces] were in the evening, a mile or two below Griswoldville, where we formed a line of battle and marched up in front of the enemy. Then a fight commenced which lasted for about three hours. It ceased about night. We then marched back near to the ditches and camped on the east side of Macon, the rest of the night about ten miles from the battlefield. . . . Several of my acquaintances in the regiment were killed and others severely wounded. I escaped without being touched though two or three were struck close by me and severely wounded. I fear the fight yesterday was a badly managed affair, as we lost a good many men and I fear did not gain much by it. The Yanks have torn up our railroad badly for some distance below this city, and it seems like we may be cut off from supplies, as we were in Atlanta. Oh, that this cruel war could stop!” ~ Letter from a Georgia militiaman to his wife.


November 23– Wednesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– The city has served as the state capital since 1804 [and will so serve until 1868]. The state government has fled. Union General Sherman and his troops occupy the town. Sherman uses the governor’s mansion as his headquarters, while a number of Union officers held a mock convention in the capitol building and “vote” the repeal of Georgia’s 1861 ordinance of secession. The railroad depot, several factories and warehouses are burned, though the capitol building is spared. Sherman issues orders for the next leg of his march to the sea. “Advanced guards should be strengthened, attended by a pioneer corps prepared to construct temporary bridges in case of their destruction by the enemy; and wherever any such obstruction occurs the commanding officer of the troops present on the spot will deal harshly with the inhabitants near by, to show them that it is to their interest not to impede our movements. Should the enemy burn forage and corn on our route houses, barns, and cotton-gins must also be burned to keep them company.”

November 23– Wednesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– “I write at the Capital of the State of Georgia, We left Atlanta a week ago yesterday . . . . The white people of Georgia are cold and for the most part intensely Secesh, and remain true to the most terrible resolutions that they will never give up, but the Negroes, black and white– for it is difficult to distinguish them from white men– are the most devoted friends of the Yankee soldiers. Their demonstrations are literally frantic. They dance and shout and clap their hands when they see our column approach. Whatever a soldier may ask for, they hasten to do for him. Whatever their masters have, he will get. It is claimed the Negroes are so well contented with their slavery; if it ever was so, that day has ceased to be. Hundreds of men go with us, and thousands would if they could take their families along. Most of them have more or less white blood in their veins, and though they are not taught even to count, they are by no means unintelligent. Up to this time I have thought the South could organize a formidable military force out of their Negroes, but I am satisfied now that they dare not attempt it. Every Negro in the land will defend a Yankee soldier to the utmost of his power; many of our prisoners have escaped by their aid, and not one I believe has ever been betrayed by them. At Madison they burned the calaboose or whipping post, and the wild transports of men, women and children, dancing about, was really a spectacle worth seeing.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

November 23– Wednesday– Henryville, Tennessee; Fouche Springs, Tennessee; Mount Pleasant, Tennessee; Ball’s Ferry, Georgia; Morganza, Louisiana– Skirmishes and firefights.

November 24– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We believe there is a goodly number of very worthy men in your city. Men of as profound learning and moral worth as can be found anywhere. But what takes us so fearfully back, is that you are so equally divided in Wheeling! that Mr. Lincoln could only get 140 votes over General McClellan! That such a large number of citizens of that enlightened and religious city should have their heads and hearts turned the wrong way!! while several districts with less intelligence and partial information, but honest in heart and purpose, gave large majorities for the Union. But so it is.” ~ Letter from a man in Jackson County, West Virginia to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. [Lincoln carried the state of West Virginia by 68.2% of the popular vote.]

Lincoln 1864 campaign literature

November 24– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “For some months past, you have been aware of my desire to withdraw from the active labors & constant cares of the office which I hold by your favor. Heretofore, it has not been compatible with my ideas of duty to the public & fidelity to you, to leave my post of service for any private consideration, however urgent. Then, the fate of the nation hung, in doubt & gloom. Even your own fate, as identified with the nation, was a source of much anxiety. Now, on the contrary, the affairs of the Government display a brighter aspect; and to you, as head & leader of the Government, all the honor & good fortune that we hoped for, has come. And it seems to me, under these altered circumstances, that the time has come, when I may, without dereliction of duty, ask leave to retire to private life. In tendering the resignation of my office of Attorney General of the United States (which I now do) I gladly seize the occasion to repeat the expression of my gratitude, not only for your good opinion which led to my appointment, but also for your uniform & unvarying courtesy & kindness during the whole time in which we have been associated in the public service. The memory of that kindness & personal favor, I shall bear with me into private life, and hope to retain it in my heart, as long as I live. Pray let my resignation take effect on the last day of November.” ~ Letter from Attorney General Edward Bates to President Lincoln.

Edward Bates

Edward Bates

November 24– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and frosty. Ice half an inch thick this morning. All quiet below. . . . Colonel Northrop, Commissary-General, reports only 15 days’ bread rations in Richmond for 100,000 men, and that we must rely upon supplies hereafter from the Carolinas and Virginia alone. The difficulty is want of adequate transportation, of course. The speculators and railroad companies being in partnership, very naturally exclude the government from the track. The only remedy, the only salvation, in my opinion, is for the government to take exclusive control of the railroads, abate speculation, and change most of the quartermasters and commissaries. . . . General Cooper, the Adjutant-General, . . . turned out twenty of his eighty clerks yesterday, to replace them with ladies. It is said and believed that Sherman’s cavalry has reached Milledgeville [Georgia], and destroyed the public buildings, etc. We have nothing from Wheeler since the 18th instant.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

November 24– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “The loud report heard in the city, this afternoon, was caused by the accidental explosion of a number of shells in field above the Tredegar works. One white man and three Negroes were killed by the explosion.” ~ Richmond Whig.

November 24– Thursday– Milledgeville, Georgia– “Our citizens have been utterly despoiled by the Yankee army. Send us bread and meat, or there will be great suffering among us. We have no mules or horses. What you send must be brought by wagon trains. The railroad bridge and the bridge across the Oconee have been burned. The State House and Executive Mansion and Factory are sill left to us. Send us relief at once.” ~ Telegram from the city’s mayor to the mayor of Macon, Georgia.

November 24– Thursday– Columbia, Tennessee; Lynnville, Tennessee; Campbellsville, Tennessee; St Charles, Arkansas; Prince George Court House, Virginia– Encounters and showdowns.

November 24– Thursday– Victoria County, Ontario, Canada– Birth of John Wesley Brien, physician and politician. [Dies January 11, 1949.]

November 24–Thursday– Albi, Tarn, France– Birth of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, painter. [Dies September 9, 1901.]



November 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Last week the colored people of Washington assembled at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church for the purpose of celebrating the adoption of the new constitution of Maryland. The church was densely crowded, and several hundred were unable to gain admission. . . . they celebrated the occasion by a fine display of fireworks. The outside of the church was finely illuminated by a large number of torches fastened to the iron railing surrounding the building, while the inside of the edifice was tastefully decorated with a number of large American flags. The choir . . . sang several appropriate pieces during the evening. There was quite a sprinkling of whites in the assemblage. . . . A collection was taken up for the sick and wounded soldiers, during which the choir sang ‘Rally Round the Flag, Boys,’ which was received with great applause, and when concluded cries of ‘Sing it again’ were heard from all parts of the house. The song was repeated, nearly all present taking part in it.” ~ The Liberator.

November 25–Friday– New York City– Southern sympathizers attempt to set a dozen arson fires but all are quickly discovered and extinguished.

November 25–Friday– New York City– “[Eliakim] Littell, the Boston publisher . . . . wants to be enabled to send a copy [of his pamphlet on Confederate treatment of Union prisoners] to every clergyman and every newspaper editor in the Northern States. He thinks it will influence the coming campaign on the anti-slavery constitutional amendment question, as displaying most clearly the barbarizing and maligning effect of slavery on slave-holding communities; and he knows Eastern Copperheads who . . . confess the rebel treatment of our prisoners inexcusable and criminal beyond precedent.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Boston office of Eliakim Littel

Boston office of Eliakim Littel

November 25– Friday– Shinnston, West Virginia– Confederate guerillas rob a local store of about $500 worth of supplies.

November 25– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “He [President Lincoln] read to us what he had prepared [for the upcoming state of the union message to Congress]. There was nothing very striking, and he evidently labors in getting it up. The subject of Reconstruction and how it should be effected is the most important theme. He says he cannot treat with Jeff Davis and the Jeff Davis government, which is all very well, but whom will he treat with, or how commence the work? All expressed themselves very much gratified with the document and his views. I suggested whether it would not be well to invite back not only the people but the States to their obligations and duties. We are one country. I would not recognize what is called the Confederate government, for that is a usurpation, but the States are entities and may be recognized and treated with. Stanton, who was present for the first time for six weeks, after each had expressed his views, and, indeed, after some other topic had been taken up and disposed of, made some very pertinent and in the main proper and well-timed remarks, advising the President to make no new demonstration or offer, to bring forward his former policy and maintain it, to hold open the doors of conciliation and invite the people to return to their duty. He would appeal to them to do so, and ask them whether it would not have been better for them and for all, had they a year since accepted his offer. Each of the members of the Cabinet were requested to prepare a brief statement of the affairs of their respective Departments. Seward had already handed in much of his. I told the President I would hand him my brief the next day.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.


The Horrors of War~November, 1864~22nd & 23rd

The Horrors of War ~ Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

One after another, Georgia plantations in the path of Sherman’s advancing troops experience the horrors of war. At Griswoldville, Georgia, a group of inexperienced militia and new recruits tangle with Sherman’s veterans and suffer a costly defeat. Sherman takes personal delight in ordering the plundering of the estate of Confederate General Cobb. There is a report that slaves are escaping to the North to avoid conscription in the Confederate army. Some in Nashville complain of an increase of crime. Andersonville, Georgia, and Johnson’s Island, Ohio, present a contrast in the condition of prisoners.

Federal troops marching through Georgia

Federal troops marching through Georgia

November 22– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The agitation down in Dixie, of ‘drafting’ the Negroes into the army is beginning to have its effect. The first installment of five able bodied men arrived here from Augusta County, Virginia, this afternoon. They have been employed on Governmental works of various kinds; but upon learning that there was a proposition to put them into the army, they determined to make tracks for the dominions of ‘Massa Lincoln.’ This is a fact which needs no comment and goes far towards answering the question—Will the Negroes fight for the South? Deserters from the rebel army are also pouring in along our entire front. The arrivals at this place average five per day. Early’s army has lost for the last two months, by desertions along at least a company per day. Many of them are in bad condition to begin the winter. The Chivalry must shiver these cold nights. They say that [Confederate General] Early’s army is also very poorly fed – nothing being issued but flour and meat, and short rations of that. The deserters state the they are never followed, with a view to recapture; as the authorities are afraid to send guards for them – the guards themselves usually deserting in a body when so sent.” ~ Letter from a man in New Creek, West Virginia, to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

runaway slaves

runaway slaves

November 22– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois– Elizabeth Todd Grimsley, a cousin of the First Lady, sends a note to President Lincoln seeking appointment for herself as postmaster in the President’s hometown.

Elizabeth Todd Grimsley

Elizabeth Todd Grimsley

November 22– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I seat my self to answer yours of the 16th which is just [arrived]. I was very sorry to hear you was suffering with your old disease. I was in hopes it had got well. I hope this will reach you in due time [and] find you well [and] hearty. This leaves me well– only my bowels is not right yet. I am as hearty as a pig, I have no news of interest to write. I wrote to you the other day and give you all the news– it is very cold weather here– we have Snow at this time though I don’t feel the affects [sic] of it. I suppose the boys is seeing a very bad time– they are about 40 miles below here near New Market. I understand they are furloughing all that is not able for service – you wanted me to come home– I wold be glader than you if possible there is no one would be glader to see their family than I would at this time though my heavenly father will send me when he sees proper for I put my hole trust in him not in man. I feel but little hopes of coming home before I go to my command unless I take relapse which I think there is no danger with care.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John Jarrett to Mary, his wife.

November 22– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “We believe the fact that our city is infested with gangs of desperate men, robbers and murderers, is generally conceded. The question now is, what ought to be done by the civil and military authorities under the circumstances? One ofour contemporaries suggests an increase in the police and the arrest of all personfound upon the streets without passes after nine o’clock at night. The pass system has been tried and proved to be one of the best arrangements for burglars ever invented. . . . Experience has proved that burglars and robbers can not only obtain passes in abundance, but the countersign also. We made a suggestion about two years ago, which was adopted, and worked admirably, making the city as quiet and safe as any city could be; it was this: That the military detail fifty or sixty men, and place them under the control of the Mayor. Detail one policeman to accompany two soldiers in patrolling the city during the night. Make the districts small, so that patrols will be within call of each other by a given signal. Arrest all suspicious characters, and all found without viable passes of existence let the strong arm of the military or civil law be laid upon him, also as to give him to understand that it might benefit his health to find honest employment or another city to ply his avocations. Hundreds of soldiers and government employees are pounced upon and robbed before they have their hard earned pay six hours in their possession. These are matters of daily occurrence and well known to our police authorities. A special guard ought to be detailed to patrol certain dangerous places, where robberies are of frequent occurrence. We respectfully submit the above for considerations of those in authority, believing their adoption would be productive of much good to the community.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

destruction of Atanta

destruction of Atanta

November 22– Tuesday– ten miles northeast of Milledgeville, Georgia– Recognizing that the plantation here belongs to Confederate General Howell Cobb, Union General Sherman issues orders. “Of course, we confiscated his property. I sent word back to General Davis to explain whose plantation it was and instructed him to spare nothing. That night huge bonfires consumed the fence-rails, kept our soldiers warm, and the teamsters and men, as well as the slaves, carried off an immense quantity of corn and provisions of all sorts.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

November 22– Tuesday– following one of Sherman’s columns in Georgia– “To-day we followed on and whipped about 1,000 Negroes, who were on their way to the enemy. We camped at dark.” ~ Diary of Texas Ranger Enoch John, part of a small contingent of Texas Rangers shadowing and reporting on General Sherman’s movements.

November 22– Tuesday– near Clinton, Georgia– “Ordered to march at 7.AM. but it was 10 before we left camp. Our Brigade had the rear of the Division, A very, very cold morning and continues cold and windy throughout the day. We enjoyed a snow storm in Central Georgia this morning. Roads still very heavy. Pontoon train delayed us very much. Had to halt an hour three or four different times to allow them to get out of our way. & as it was very Cold, the fences along the road had to suffer. We passed the place where General Stoneman was captured last summer. It was the intention to reach Clinton today, but the Pontoons got stuck & froze in the mud and it was impossible to go any farther. So we had to halt and go in camp 3 mile from Clinton. It was nine o’clock when we went in camp – very dark, ground frozen and very rough.” ~ Diary of Cornelius C. Platter.

November 22– Tuesday– Covington, Georgia– “After breakfast this morning I went over to my grave-yard to see what had befallen that. To my joy, I found it had not been disturbed. As I stood by my dead, I felt rejoiced that they were at rest. Never have I felt so perfectly reconciled to the death of my husband as I do to-day, while looking upon the ruin of his lifelong labor. How it would have grieved him to see such destruction! Yes, theirs is the lot to be envied. At rest, rest from care, rest from heartaches, from trouble. Found one of my large hogs killed just outside the grave-yard. Walked down to the swamp, looking for the wagon and gear that Henry [one of her slaves] hid before he was taken off. Found some of my sheep; came home very much wearied, having walked over four miles. Mr. and Mrs. Rockmore called. Major Lee came down again after some cattle, and while he was here the alarm was given that more Yankees were coming. I was terribly alarmed and packed my trunks with clothing, feeling assured that we should be burned out now. Major Lee swore that he would shoot, which frightened me, for he was intoxicated enough to make him ambitious. He rode off in the direction whence it was said they were coming. Soon after, however, he returned, saying it was a false alarm, that it was some of our own men. Oh, dear! Are we to be always living in fear and dread! Oh, the horrors, the horrors of war!” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

November 22– Tuesday– Griswoldville, Georgia– A division of the Georgia Militia, a force of about 3,000 irregulars, mostly young boys and old men, by chance encounter a brigade of waiting Union troops. Though instructed to avoid a direct battle, the militia leaders decide to attack. The Union force is initially outnumbered; however, the battle is not an even match. The Federals are veterans, entrenched, and equipped with repeating rifles. Near the close of combat, the Union position is reenforced by one additional regiment of infantry and two regiments of cavalry. The militia retreat. Total Confederate casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are 650 while the Federal total reaches 62. A Union officer notes afterward, “Old, gray-haired men and weakly looking men and little boys not over 15 years old lay dead or writhing in pain. I did pity those boys.”

ravine where many Confederate dead and wounded fell on top of one another

ravine where many Confederate dead and wounded fell on top of one another

November 22– Tuesday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the Andersonville prison camp the inmate population is now down to around 1500, with escapes by prisoners and desertions by guards occurring regularly. However, conditions remain quite bad, as noted by a Confederate official who visits the prison and reports that he saw the inmates scavenging and digging for roots inside the stockade in an attempt to find things to eat.

November 23– Wednesday– Johnson’s Island, Ohio– “Indeed since Hood’s evacuation of Atlanta I have had no direct intelligence from Monroe. I fear my recent letters may not have reached you. Cousin Carrie Cleveland wrote me recently that early in the Fall she and others of my friends expected me home through special exchange. I have heard nothing of the matter save in her letter. In fact exchange is a subject on which we rarely suffer our minds to dwell, we have been disappointed so often. Not that we are without hope; we merely consider speculations upon that contingency as unprofitable. In this way we strive to cheat our life of its despondent monotony. I am fortunate in being associated (in a small room) with educated men who are fond of reading. We employ our time as far as possible in study. It is not very enlivening, to be sure, but it is our best. Tonight (as usual once a week) a prayer-meeting was held in our room. The singing of familiar hymns recalled vividly to mind home scenes, the happiest of my life. It is a never failing source of pleasure and interest to think of home, of the dear one that await our coming. It is particularly pleasing to me to recall memories of you. That these are tender and true, you may rest assured.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his sweetheart Hester Felker.

November 23– Wednesday– Detroit, Michigan– Birth of Henry Bourne Joy, automotive executive, social activist and early advocate for the Lincoln Highway system. [Dies November 6, 1936.]

Henry Bourne Joy

Henry Bourne Joy

November 23– Wednesday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I seat myself this evening to drop you a few lines to let you know that we are preparing a box to send you. We expect to send it to Staunton tomorrow to go down [to Richmond on] Friday. We send your overcoat, socks, flannel shirt, gloves, one chicken, some pies and ginger cakes, biscuit butter and some apple butter rolled in paper & a bottle of molasses. We could not send you a blanket this time but if you still want it let us know and we will send it to you the first opportunity. We did not know we could send a box this week or I would have send over to Pa’s and got some apples but we did not know it until this morning. Mr Spencer said he would take it down on one of his wagons for us.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to Enos, her husband.

Cherished Memory of the Loved & Lost~November, 1864~20th & 21st

Cherished Memory of the Loved and Lost ~ Abraham Lincoln.

As the war grinds on the number of women who have lost husbands and sons increases and will affect an entire post-war generation. President Lincoln attempts to console a grieving mother. Other women worry about their men in prison camps. A woman in West Virginia thanks her husband’s artillery company for their thoughtfulness. The people of Georgia suffer.

Lincoln and a widow

Lincoln and a widow

November 20– Sunday– Covington, Georgia– “This is the blessed Sabbath, the day upon which He who came to bring peace and good will upon earth rose from His tomb and ascended to intercede for us poor fallen creatures. But how unlike this day to any that have preceded it in my once quiet home. I had watched all night, and the dawn found me watching for the moving of the soldiery that was encamped about us. Oh, how I dreaded those that were to pass, as I supposed they would straggle and complete the ruin that the others had commenced, for I had been repeatedly told that they would burn everything as they passed. Some of my [slave] women had gathered up a chicken that the soldiers shot yesterday, and they cooked it with some yams for our breakfast, the guard complaining that we gave them no supper. They gave us some coffee, which I had to make in a tea-kettle, as every coffeepot is taken off. The rear-guard was commanded by Colonel Carlow, who changed our guard, leaving us one soldier while they were passing. They marched directly on, scarcely breaking ranks. Once a bucket of water was called for, but they drank without coming in. About ten o’clock they had all passed save one, who came in and wanted coffee made, which was done, and he, too, went on. A few minutes elapsed, and two couriers riding rapidly passed back. Then, presently, more soldiers came by, and this ended the passing of Sherman’s army by my place, leaving me poorer by thirty thousand dollars than I was yesterday morning. And a much stronger Rebel! After the excitement was a little over, I went up to Mrs. Laura’s to sympathize with her, for I had no doubt but that her husband was hanged. She thought so, and we could see no way for his escape. We all took a good cry together. While there, I saw smoke looming up in the direction of my home, and thought surely the fiends had done their work ere they left. I ran as fast as I could, but soon saw that the fire was below my home. It proved to be the gin house [cotton gin] belonging to Colonel Pitts. My boys have not come home. I fear they cannot get away from the soldiers. Two of my cows came up this morning, but were driven off again by the Yankees. I feel so thankful that I have not been burned out that I have tried to spend the remainder of the day as the Sabbath ought to be spent. Ate dinner out of the oven in Julia’s [the cook’s] house, some stew, no bread. She is boiling some corn. My poor servants feel so badly at losing what they have worked for; meat, the hog meat that they love better than anything else, is all gone.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

damaged buildings in Georgia

damaged buildings in Georgia

November 20– Sunday– Madison, Georgia– Joshua Hill, who knows General Sherman’s brother Senator John Sherman and was the last Confederate senator to leave Washington D. C., rides out to meet the Union forces under General Henry Slocum. He requests that the town be spared destruction. General Slocum grants the request and orders his troops not to burn any buildings or homes or destroy any property. Despite the order, Federal soldiers loot and plunder a great deal of personal property while not setting any fires.

November 20– Sunday– Eatonton, Georgia– “About 1 or 2 o’clock, 4 or 5 Yankees came, professing they would behave as gentlemen. These gentlemen, however stole my gold watch, and silver spoons,besides whiskey, tobacco, and a hat or two, besides. About the middle of the afternoon, 4 more came, and got a few hats and one fiddle, and some whiskey.” ~ Journal of Joseph Addison Turner.

November 20– Sunday– Clinton, Georgia; Walnut Creek, Georgia; East Macon, Georgia; Griswoldville, Georgia– In skirmishes, raids and firefights, Confederate cavalry and infantry as well as Georgia militia try unsuccessfully to halt Sherman’s advance.

November 20–Sunday– St Petersburg, Russia–Czar Alexander II begins reforms of the judicial system.

November 21– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “To the Soldiers of Company D, 1st West Virginia Light Artillery: Gentlemen: I. H. Williams, Esq., of this city, has handed us the sum of forty-five dollars, and stated that said amount had been given to him, by you, as a contribution to myself and children. I cannot but regard such a favor as a testimonial of respect for my husband, now a prisoner in the hands of our enemies, and trust that all such favors may soon be unnecessary, through his return to his comrades and duty. May his present lot never be the fate of either of you, and may the God of battles soon, either through the repentance or destruction of our foes, bring both you and him to your homes and firesides, never more to mingle in deadly strife, but to enjoy the liberty maintained, the blessings purchased, and the rights secured through the perpetuity of our National Government. I am, very respectfully, Mary Jenkins.” ~ Letter in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

November 21– Monday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia– “Sister wants to know what black calico is selling at down there [at Richmond] she wants to get a dress and there was but one piece in Staunton and it was very coarse she says if it is not too dear she would life for you to get her a dress & she will pay you in silver if you wish it. There was three men here gathering the tithe corn [for the Confederate army] out of the field last week, and four men here yesterday trying to get wheat, and there are two wagons here now for the hay. I have not heard from Mr Newton yet whether he can let you have a hat or not Pa will see about it and I will let you know we will send you the things you wrote for as soon as we can. . . . I think if you have to stay in service you are as safe there as any place else the men in the Valley have had some very hard marching to do lately. I believe I have no news to write we are all well. Nothing more at present.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to her husband Enos.

November 21– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Mrs Lydia Bixby of Boston. [Most likely, only two actually died in battle, two of her sons had deserted and one was honorably discharged.]

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

November 21– Monday– Petersburg, Virginia– “We have been for twelve or fourteen days down on the bay gathering corn, fodder, wheat, &c. There was between 3000 and 4000 of us at the business. I suppose we have gathered about 75,000 or 100,000 bushels of as fine corn as I [have] ever seen. It will average from 25 to 75 bushels per acre. There are some of the prettiest farms on this peninsula I have seen. The land is almost level, and is of a rich red brown color. The object of having so many to gather was to guard the wagons. For we went below our line of pickets. Therefore, it being so close to Newport News, the wagons would have been liable to be taken by the Yankee scouts.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.

November 21– Monday– Plymouth, Michigan–” Last week I was sick so that the house was obliged to hold me very tight It is kind of a curious thing for me. I can not go out in to the open air with out taking cold. Perhaps you will call at Armory Square when in Washington. I have been thinking about going there this winter to wile away some of these lonesome days. My Folks have some objections to my going where I have been so often for the last three years. But there is nothing like getting used to a thing or two. The least stormy weather here drives us in to the house. But the rainiest night on Picket in Virginia we had to stand any how. Even a snow storm or two we have had here then I thought about being by the side of a snug fire all cuddled up in a little heap half froze to death.A good warm bed a fellow gets at home besides other fixins throwed in. I hardly ever thought of these when I Enlisted & perhaps I may try the self same operations again. This is a curious world to live & sport in. There will be no Young ladies after this war closes. Because they are afraid some of the loved ones will come home crippled & they will Marry while they think about it. Mostly of the Softer Sex will be old Maids waiting so long. I presume some of them are tired.” ~ Letter from Reuben Farwell to Walt Whitman.

November 21– Monday– along the tracks of the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad headed toward Nashville, Tennessee– Confederate guerrillas attack and destroy a train.

CW train wreck-O197CC1L

November 21– Monday– Florence, Alabama– A force of about 38,000 Confederate troops begins to move toward Tennessee.

November 21– Monday– Covington, Georgia– “We had the table laid this morning, but no bread or butter or milk. What a prospect for delicacies! My house is a perfect fright. I had brought in Saturday night some thirty bushels of potatoes and ten or fifteen bushels of wheat poured down on the carpet in the ell. Then the few gallons of syrup saved was daubed all about. The backbone of a hog that I had killed on Friday, and which the Yankees did not take when they cleaned out my smokehouse, I found and hid under my bed, and this is all the meat I have. About ten o’clock this morning Mr. Joe Perry called. I was so glad to see him that I could scarcely forbear embracing him. I could not keep from crying, for I was sure the Yankees had executed him, and I felt so much for his poor wife. The soldiers told me repeatedly Saturday that they had hung him and his brother James and George Guise. They had a narrow escape, however, and only got away by knowing the country so much better than the soldiers did. They lay out until this morning. How rejoiced I am for his family! All of his Negroes are gone, save one man that had a wife here at my plantation. They are very strong Secesh. When the army first came along they offered a guard for the house, but Mrs. Laura told them she was guarded by a Higher Power, and did not thank them to do it. She says that she could think of nothing else all day when the army was passing but of the devil and his hosts. She had, however, to call for a guard before night or the soldiers would have taken everything she had.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

November 21– Monday– Griswoldville, Georgia– Union forces enter the small community and burn Samuel Griswold’s pistol factory, which had supplied thousands of Confederate sidearms. They also burn a mill, a soap and candle factory, a train of railroad cars with locomotive driving wheels, and approximately one third of the town.

destruction by Sherman's troops

destruction by Sherman’s troops

November 21– Monday– near Hillsboro, Georgia– “Up at 4 o’clock and found it raining very hard. It rained nearly all last night. Had orders to move at 4 ½ a m but did not move until 6.A.M. Brigade Head Quarters Were ‘behind time’ this morning and had to start without breakfast. Passed through Montcello a very pretty village. Saw some beautiful gardens – full of roses and flowers in full bloom. ‘Red white & blue’ – it was indeed strange to see such colors in ‘Dixie land.’ Pontoon train in our front which delayed us very much – roads very heavy – rained most of the day. This has been about the most disagreeable day we have seen lately. Passed through Hillsboro. Which was an insignificant town. But it is in ashes now. Went in camp half a mile south of Hillsboro in an open field. No wood nor rails near and a cold piercing wind blowing. We had rails hauled and made ourselves comfortable for the night – We came 11 miles.” ~ Diary of Cornelius C. Platter.

Leaving A Track of Desolation Behing Him~ November 1864~19th and 20th

Leaving a Track of Desolation Behind Him ~ George Templeton Strong.

Northerners gloat and the people of Georgia moan as Sherman and his troops forage, burn, plunder and fight their way through the state. Sherman issues orders to control the vandalism but soldiers will continue to harass and rob civilians. Rebel prisoners write home from Federal prison camps. Northen papers comment on the Southern discussion about arming slaves for the Confederate cause. As evidence of increased Federal control President Lincoln lifts the blockade of several Southern ports.

Sherman's troops marching through Georgia

Sherman’s troops marching through Georgia

November 19– Saturday– New York City– “It has been semi-officially announced from Richmond that Jeff Davis and his Confederate rulers have determined upon the desperate expedient of arming and drilling, for the spring campaign, the formidable auxiliary force of 300,000 able-bodied slaves. They are to be bought over to this extraordinary service of fighting for slavery by the offer to each man of the boon of his personal freedom, with the promise of 50 acres of land at the close of the war. The masters concerned, for the loss of their valuable slave property, are to be indemnified in ‘Confederate Scrip.’ This is the scheme. To the dispassionate and intelligent reader, it may seem incredible and preposterous, beyond all bounds of belief; but it is seriously discussed and advocated by the Richmond journals and many of the leading Southern politicians, from Virginia to Louisiana. They contend that the thing is feasible and advisable; that Southern independence is worth even the sacrifice demanded, and that the gift of his individual freedom and 50 acres of land will secure their black soldier against all the temptations of the Yankees. Absurd, ludicrous, insane and suicidal, therefore, as this project may appear, under the lights of experience and the reasoning of common sense, we are constrained to treat it as a movement seriously contemplated by that remarkable philanthropist and champion of liberty, Jeff Davis. We are the more disposed to this treatment with his confession before us that, with Richmond invested by General Grant, and the imminent danger, and with Georgia and all the States below threatened with subjugation by General Sherman, two-thirds of the white soldiers of ‘the Confederacy’ are deserters or ‘absent without leave,’ while none of the remaining whites at home are capable of bearing arms. . . . It will fail at both ends. The slaves cannot be spared from the hoe, and cannot be trusted with the bayonet. The masters having sacrificed everything else to protect their institution of slavery, will not sacrifice their slaves to protract the vain struggle of Davis to save himself ‘in this last ditch.’ We are rather inclined to consider the agitation of this scheme at Richmond as an ingenious method of announcing to the slaveholders concerned that their cause is gone, and that Davis would like to have their influence in favor of giving up ‘the Confederacy’ in disgust.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly.

November 19– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of George Barbier, stage and film actor who will make more than 35 films. [Dies July 19, 1945.]

George Barbier

George Barbier

November 19– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas by my proclamation of the 19th of April, 1861, it was declared that the ports of certain States, including those of Norfolk, in the State of Virginia, Fernandina and Pensacola, in the State of Florida, were, for reasons therein set forth, intended to be placed under blockade; and Whereas the said ports were subsequently blockaded accordingly, but having for some time past been in the military possession of the United States, it is deemed advisable that they should be opened to domestic and foreign commerce. Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, pursuant to the authority in me vested by the fifth section of the act of Congress approved on the 13th of July, 1861, entitled ‘An act further to provide for the collection of duties on imports, and for other purposes,’do hereby declare that the blockade of the said ports of Norfolk, Fernandina, and Pensacola shall so far cease and determine, from and after the 1st day of December next, that commercial intercourse with those ports, except as to persons, things, and information contraband of war, may from that time be carried on, subject to the laws of the United States, to the limitations and in pursuance of the regulations which may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, and to such military and naval regulations as are now in force or may hereafter be found necessary.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

November 19– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Let every man fly to arms! Remove your Negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”~ Telegram from Georgia’s delegation to the Confederate Congress to the people of Georgia.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 19– Saturday– Covington, Georgia– “I walked to the gate. There they came filing up. I hastened back to my frightened servants [slaves] and told them that they had better hide, and then went back to the gate to claim protection and a guard. But like demons they rush in! My yards are full. To my smoke-house, my dairy, pantry, kitchen, and cellar, like famished wolves they come, breaking locks and whatever is in their way. The thousand pounds of meat in my smoke-house is gone in a twinkling, my flour, my meat, my lard, butter, eggs, pickles of various kinds– both in vinegar and brine– wine, jars, and jugs are all gone. My eighteen fat turkeys, my hens, chickens, and fowls, my young pigs, are shot down in my yard and hunted as if they were rebels themselves. Utterly powerless I ran out and appealed to the guard. ‘I cannot help you, Madam; it is orders.’ As I stood there, from my lot I saw driven, first, old Dutch, my dear old buggy horse, who has carried my beloved husband so many miles, and who would so quietly wait at the block for him to mount and dismount, and who at last drew him to his grave; then came old Mary, my brood mare, who for years had been too old and stiff for work, with her three-year-old colt, my two-year-old mule, and her last little baby colt. There they go! There go my mules, my sheep, and, worse than all, my boys [slaves]! Alas! little did I think while trying to save my house from plunder and fire that they were forcing my boys from home at the point of the bayonet. . . . Thanks to my God, the cotton [bales] only burned over, and then went out. Shall I ever forget the deliverance? To-night, when the greater part of the army had passed, it came up very windy and cold. My room was full, nearly, with the Negroes and their bedding. They were afraid to go out, for my women could not step out of the door without an insult from the Yankee soldiers. They lay down on the floor; Sadai got down and under the same cover with Sally, while I sat up all night, watching every moment for the flames to burst out from some of my buildings. . . . I could not close my eyes, but kept walking to and fro, watching the fires in the distance and dreading the approaching day, which, I feared, as they had not all passed, would be but a continuation of horrors.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

Union troops destroying a stretch of railroad track

Union troops destroying a stretch of railroad track

November 19– Saturday– past Covington, Georgia– “Last night I read to him [General Sherman] Alexander H. Stephen’s [native Georgian and vice-president of the Confederacy] most remarkable letter to Senator Sumner of Louisiana sent by A. H.S. to the Augusta Constitutionalist, in which wereceived it. The General was greatly interested, but made few or no comments. I remarked on A. H.S.’s idea that separation would secure permanent peace, and his talk about the ultimate, absolute sovereignty of the States. Said the General, ‘Stephens is crazy on the States Rights question. This war is on our part a war against anarchy. I wish they were separated from us and a foreign Government would whale on ‘em all the time.’ By 11 or 12 o’clock we reached Newborn. The men are foraging and straggling, I an sorry to say, a good deal. At and near every farmhouse we hear constant shooting of pigs and chickens. I remarked to the General something about the straggling. He answered, ‘I have been three years fighting stragglers, and they are harder to conquer than the enemy.’” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

November 20– Sunday– New York City– “Reports from Sherman, more or less authentic (probably less), place him seventy miles south of Atlanta on the 14th, and ‘advancing toward the Savannah River,’ eating his way, living on the country, and leaving a track of desolation behind him. May God prosper his march and help and comfort the homes which right and justice, whose minister he is, oblige him to lay waste! It is sad to think of the misery rebellion has brought upon Rebeldom . . . . But the nation should execute justice on the guilty all the more sternly because their crime has inflicted so much suffering on the innocent.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 20– Sunday– Point Lookout, Maryland– “I take my pen this Sabbath morning to drop a few lines to inform you that I am in good health and Praying that this may find you and all the family enjoying the same blessing. My health has been good since [becoming] a prisoner but am deprived of many comforts that we once enjoyed but I trust this cruel war will soon come to a close so we could enjoy our selves as the past. The health of the camp is good at present. The Officers in charge here spare no pains in promoting the health and comfort of the prisoners. Our rations are of a good quality. Some complain that they don’t get enough but I think it is a enough. . . . As we are limited to a half sheet [of] note paper I must close.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Jesse Rolston to his wife Mary.

November 20– Sunday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “I hope the agreement between the two governments in reference to supplies of clothing, food, etc., may be put into successful operation. As it may not reach us soon, I wish my friends in Georgia to take advantage of any opportunity to send me per flag of truce from Savannah or Charleston some flour, bacon, dried fruit, peas, or any other staple food that can be conveniently shipped. I leave the details of quantity, quality, and shipment to you. Dennis S. has written to his mother to the same effect. We are permitted to receive express packages containing provisions from the South.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his father.

prison camp at Johnson Island

prison camp at Johnson Island

November 20– Sunday– near Kernstown, Virginia– “Still raining and I fear the grand review by General Sheridan which is down for tomorrow will have to be postponed. I have an invitation to dine at at Brigade Headquarters on Thanksgiving Day.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 20– Sunday– near New Market, Virginia– “It is with pleasure that I take this opportunity to drop you a few lines to let you now how I am at this time– thank the Lord I enjoy good health have been well ever since left home except a cold– I have had right bad cold for some time other ways I have been hearty– hoping this may find you all well. I hoped to have gotten a letter from you before now but have not I wrote you the ninth of this month. Suppose you did not get it. Since that time we have had a hard march down the valley– we were near Winchester– expected to have a fight but it turned out other wise – we are now in Camp where we was when I last wrote – my feet became very sore on the march but are now well again, this is rainy wet weather here this is the Sabbath day – things are quite still here today. . . . I invited Several of my Company to eat with me they said that the woman that made that Butter and Bread knowed how to do it. You have no idea how such things are appreciated in camp – the men found that I had butter they would have take all I had in a short time if I would have let them. You sent more butter than I thought I could use so I Spared one of the roll. Sold two pound of it and loaned the rest out – thought it would come good some time. I let the men have it at 7 Dollars per pound – it was selling at ten Dollars in camp but I thought it was to much for Soldiers to pay . . . . hoping to hear from you soon – I will close – my Prayer is that the Lord will bless you and take care of you all and save us all in heaven at last.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John P. Dull to his wife Ginny.

November 20– Sunday– in the field, General Sherman’s Headquarters, Georgia– “1). The discharge of fire-arms by foragers and others has become an evil which must be stopped. Many men have already been wounded and a waste of ammunition incurred which we cannot afford. However no firing will be permitted under any circumstances. Animals and fowls must be caught, not shot. . . . 3). One pack-animal may be allowed to each company and so many to brigade and division headquarters as division commanders may think proper. All animals taken from the country are the property of the Government, and must be turned over to the quartermasters. All surplus draft animals must be used to strengthen the wagon trains. Indiscriminate mounting of unauthorized men cannot be allowed. Every commanding officer is responsible that no unauthorized man under him is mounted.” ~ Orders from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Sherman's field headquarters

Sherman’s field headquarters

Citizens Are In Great Confusion~November 1864~the 17th & 18th

Citizens Are in Great Confusion ~ a Confederate soldier.

Military activity continues in Tennessee as well as in the Shenandoah Valley and around Petersburg, Virginia, but the heaviest action is in Georgia as Federal troops burn buildings, destroy railroads and, despite General Sherman’s orders, raid private dwellings and scare civilians.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 17– Thursday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I have been a prisoner of war since October 28th. I was captured at Morristown, Tennessee. I am in very good health and expect to be sent North in a very short time– would like very much to receive a letter from you but do not expect to be so heavenly favored soon. When I am permanently located in a Northern Federal Prison, I will let you know where I am and you must write me there. I saw your father at Knoxville, he was looking well. I have written a note to Lizzie. I hope you succeed in sending it through.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his sweetheart.

November 17– Thursday– south of Atlanta, Georgia– “Second day out– we did not start until 7 A.M. Marched three miles to town of Lithonia, on the railroad, halted say an hour: troops busy destroying track. Captain Poe’s hooks enable a few men to do pretty much upsetting. Poe reports railroad depot was burned at Lithonia and sparks set fire to and destroyed some two or three dwellings. Merely bending rails in ordinary way, by piling ties, laying rails across, and allowing their own weight at ends to bend them, thus, is not effectual. If thus merely bent, they can be restored by reverse process. But if twisted, even a little, they are ruined and must be rerolled. Poe has provided wrenches with which his pioneers very quickly and effectually do this– one man at each end of a rail pulling in opposite directions, and thus twisting the heated middle.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

Sherman's troops destroying railroad tracks

Sherman’s troops destroying railroad tracks

November 17– Thursday– General Sherman’s field headquarters, south of Atlanta, Georgia– “In order to secure to the soldier an equal share of stores gathered from the country, each brigade commander will send out daily, until further orders, foraging parties composed of fifty privates and an adequate number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers, whose duty it will be to gather forage and meat rations. These parties will in no case go beyond supporting distance from the main column. The supplies collected must be brought to the roadside and there loaded in their respective brigade wagons and turned over to the brigade quartermasters. Cattle and sheep are to be driven on the hoof whenever practicable. The officers in charge of these parties should enforce the strictest discipline and order. Foraging parties will on no pretense be permitted to enter houses except by written authority from the division commander. The assistant provost-marshal will see this last clause strictly enforced, and will arrest all soldiers found in houses without competent authority.” ~ Order by General Sherman

November 17– Thursday– near Millen, Georgia– Anticipating the arrival of Sherman’s Federal forces, Confederate authorities abandon the large stockade for Union prisoners known as Camp Lawton just north of town. The stockade had been built to relieve overcrowding at Andersonville. Encompassing 42 acres, it was considered the largest prison stockade in the world at the time. Camp Lawton operated only briefly, from opening in early October until its abandonment today.

November 17– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “Things are very bad here. Sherman in person is leading, say, 30,000 men against us. We are retreating as rapidly as possible, consistent with good order and efficiency. The militia are retreating in admirable order and good discipline, as General Cobb reports. I will meet them between this and Forsyth this evening. I believe the legislature will grant you large and liberal powers. Tell them the country is in danger. Let all of her sons come to her rescue. We have called for the troops in Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah. If we do defend here they will be on us by Monday. Cavalry force said to be below 6,000. Send all the troops you can. If we do not get help we must abandon this place.” ~ Letter from Robert Toombs to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown.

Governor Joseph E Brown

Governor Joseph E Brown

November 17– Thursday– Clay County, Mississippi– “My 24th birth day – I wonder if any one thought of me at home” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

November 18– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Ladies’ Sanitary Commission for Colored Soldiers report that they have cleared nearly $3000 by the late fair for the aid of colored soldiers, and that they have yet to be raffled for one of Chickering’s fine pianos, a Hamlin cabinet organ, and a lace cape valued at $60.The Charlestown table returned $865, the Chelsea table$268.18, the Worcester table $105.59, and the West Newbury table $79.” ~ The Liberator. [The $3000 raised would equal $45,900 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

November 18– Friday– near Kernstown, Virginia– “Received a new Division flag, a present from the ladies of Providence [Rhode Island]. The flag is a fine one . . . . It is raining, but I am quite comfortable.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 18–Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “In addition to the troops of all kinds you should endeavor to get out every man who can render any service, even for a short period, and employ Negroes in obstructing roads by every practicable means. Colonel Rains, at Augusta, can furnish you with shells prepared to explode by pressure, and these will be effective to check an advance. General Hardee has, I hope, brought some reenforcements, and General Taylor will probably join you with some further aid. You have a difficult task, but will realize the necessity for the greatest exertion.” ~ Telegram from President Jeff Davis to Confederate General Howell Cobb.

Howell Cobb

Howell Cobb

November 18– Friday– past Covington, Georgia– “We passed through the handsome town of Covington, the soldiers closing up their ranks, the color-bearers unfurling their flags, and the bands striking up patriotic airs. The white people came out of their houses to behold the sight, in spite of their deep hatred of the invaders, and the Negroes were simply frantic with joy. From Covington the Fourteenth Corps, with which I was traveling, turned to the right for Milledgeville, via Shady Dale. General Slocum was ahead at Madison, with the Twentieth Corps, having torn up the railroad as far as that place, and thence had sent Geary’s division on to the Oconee, to burn the bridges across that stream.” ~ Memoirs of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

November 18– Friday– Covington, Georgia– “Slept very little last night. Went out doors several times and could see large fires like burning buildings. Am I not in the hands of a merciful God who has promised to take care of the widow and orphan? Sent off two of my mules in the night. Mr. Ward and Frank [a slave] took them away and hid them. In the morning took a barrel of salt, which had cost me two hundred dollars, into one of the black women’s gardens, put a paper over it, and then on the top of that leached ashes. Fixed it on a board as a leach tub, daubing it with ashes [the old-fashioned way of making lye for soap]. Had some few pieces of meat taken from my smoke-house carried to the Old Place [a distant part of her plantation] and hidden under some fodder. Bid them hide the wagon and gear and then go on plowing. Went to packing up mine and Sadai’s clothes. I fear that we shall be homeless. The boys came back and wished to hide their mules. They say that the Yankees camped at Mr. Gibson’s last night and are taking all the stock in the county. Seeing them so eager, I told them to do as they pleased. They took them off, and Elbert [a slave] took his forty fattening hogs to the Old Place Swamp and turned them in. We have done nothing all day – that is, my people have not. I made a pair of pants for Jack [a slave]. Sent Nute [a slave] up to Mrs. Perry’s on an errand. On his way back, he said, two Yankees met him and begged him to go with them. They asked if we had livestock, and came up the road as far as Mrs. Laura Perry’s. I sat for an hour expecting them, but they must have gone back. Oh, how I trust I am safe! Mr. Ward is very much alarmed.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 18– Friday– Macon, Georgia– “We marched all night until about one hour today we stopped. After day we started again and marched all day until 10 o’clock last night, when we were halted and to camp. We were used completely up and thought we would rest all night. We ate what little we had and could get, not having any rations given us since the day before, and then did not get it in time to cook it and had to throw it away. From Griffin [to] Forsyth [is] about 40 miles, which we made [in] one day and night. The times look gloomy about here now, I assure you. The citizens of Macon are in great confusion and are moving out pretty fast. It is not worthwhile for me to write you anything about the Yankees, as you will know as much as I can tell you and sooner than I can tell you. Suffice it to say they are making demonstrations this way. The hopes that we had of being let loose soon has faded from our minds at this time. I can’t say what will be the next move on foot or whether we will stay here long or not. I will not be surprised at any move now.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife. [About 10,000 Confederate soldiers, including some cavalry, are gathered in the city to defend it but Federal troops just made a feint in this direction and have now turned away.]

Music of the March


The original full lyrics:

Bring the good old bugle, boys, we’ll sing another song
Sing it with a spirit that will start the world along
Sing it as we used to sing it, 50,000 strong

While we were marching through Georgia.

Hurrah! Hurrah! we bring the jubilee!

Hurrah! Hurrah! the flag that makes you free!
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea
While we were marching through Georgia.

Verse 2
How the darkeys shouted when they heard the joyful sound
How the turkeys gobbled which our commissary found
How the sweet potatoes even started from the ground
While we were marching through Georgia.

Verse 3
Yes and there were Union men who wept with joyful tears,
When they saw the honored flag they had not seen for years;
Hardly could they be restrained from breaking forth in cheers,
While we were marching through Georgia.

Verse 4
“Sherman’s dashing Yankee boys will never reach the coast!”
So the saucy rebels said and ’twas a handsome boast
Had they not forgot, alas! to reckon with the Host
While we were marching through Georgia.