Put Your Trust in God~November, 1864~1st to 3rd

Put Your Trust in God~ letter to a Confederate soldier.

In these religious times soldiers and their families regularly invoke God’s blessing upon each other. Clergy and religious volunteers work in the camps and hospitals. Even a chaplain can become a prisoner of war. Petersburg area seems to be settling down for a winter siege. Sheridan’s Federal troops remain active in the Shenandoah Valley while rumors circulate among Sherman’s soldiers about what may be next in Georgia. Georgia, among other states, feels the financial burden of the war. The presidential election is on the mind of many. A popular women’s magazine reminds its readers that a smile can be the greatest of assets.

godey's lady's book images

November– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “A beautiful smile is to the female countenance what the sunbeam is to the landscape. It embellishes an inferior face, and redeems an ugly one. A smile, however, should not become habitual, or insipidity is the result; nor should the mouth break into a smile on one side, the other remaining passive and unmoved, for this imparts an air of deceit and grotesqueness to the face. A disagreeable smile distorts the lines of beauty, and is more repulsive than a frown. There are many kinds of smiles, each having a distinct character. Some announce goodness and sweetness– others betray sarcasm, bitterness, and pride. Some soften the countenance by their languishing tenderness– others brighten by their spiritual vivacity. Gazing and poring before a mirror cannot aid in acquiring beautiful smiles half so well as to turn the gaze inward, to watch that the heart keeps unsullied from the reflection of evil, and is illuminated and beautiful by all sweet thoughts.” ~ Godey’s Lady’s Book.

fashionable dresses of 1864

fashionable dresses of 1864

November 1– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Hallow E’en. – This occasion was duly observed last evening by the rising generation. In different portions of the city Hallow E’en was commemorated by boys who robbed cabbage patches and went about the city banging and thumping the doors of private citizens, much to their own enjoyment and to the great annoyance of nervous people. Prudent people who had cabbages yet ungathered were warned in time to conceal their vegetables, but there was still enough left outstanding to answer the purpose of the juveniles, and the way they thumped and banged . . . was a caution to quiet, orderly folks.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

November 1– Tuesday– near Middletown, Virginia– “The fields look more like a cemetery than a camp, for they are covered with graves. Mountains enclose us on three sides and the scenery is very beautiful. It is very cold and we keep huge fires burning in front of our tents day and night.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

CW graves-3

November 1– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “From the annual report of the State Comptroller of Georgia we gather some interesting statistics relative to the condition of what has been called the ‘Empire State’ of the Confederacy. The returns are from one hundred and eight counties five being left out in consequence of their being held by the enemy. The average value of the land for this year is placed at $10.95 per acre, about double the value at which it was estimated in 1863; and the total value of all property shows an increase of 91 per cent over the old estimate. The number of slaves in the State has increased 15,198, and the whites about 7,000. . . . Slaves have been returned at an increased value of about 100 per cent; land at 31 per cent; city and town property at 82 per cent; merchandise at 90 per cent. . . . The receipts into the treasury for the fiscal year amounted to $15,434,532, and the disbursements to within $2,146,087 of that amount. The estimated expenditures and receipts for 1863 will increase this balance to $6,109,425. The public debt of the State is $28,980,692 – about $9,000,000 of which comes under the head of war debt.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

November 1– Tuesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “We have orders to prepare at once for an active campaign with very limited transportation. We will have to store our baggage in Chattanooga. General Thomas’ headquarters have been moved back to that place and all property has been removed from Atlanta. I think the idea is to send a small garrison there and mass the army to operate against Hood in northern Alabama. There are some indications that he intends to invade Tennessee; in that case, he will fare about as well as Price did in Missouri. I don’t think we will have a very long campaign or a bloody one.” ~ Letters from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

Sherman's troops encamped

Sherman’s troops encamped

November 1– Tuesday– Rolla Missouri; near Waynesville, Missouri; Greenton, Missouri; near Lebanon, Missouri; Green Spring Run, West Virginia; Union Station, Tennessee; Charles City County, Virginia– Encounters, confrontations, uproar and assorted melees.

November 2– Wednesday– New York City– “Standing Committee of the Sanitary Commission tonight at Dr Bellow’s. . . . The moment election is over we must declare war against the [Army] Medical Bureau, which has been steadily retrograding for six months.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

seal of Sanitary commission

November 2– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “During the day, supplied with tracts, stationery, &c., we visited the various camps around the place and also hospitals, write letters for the wounded soldiers and act the good Samaritan generally. It should be said to the credit of the truly loyal of this region, that of their ability and beyond their ability they have been forward in this work. Those however, who are able to do much, have been heavily drawn on, and it is wrong to let them bear the burden. Next to them stand the Christian Commission, of these there are four here, four at Winchester and four at the front. These all labor without money and without price. The Sanitary Commission is also in the field and is a good institution, especially for the officers. Incidents of thrilling interest, enough to fill a volume, have been witnessed by us already that neither your space nor my time admits of their recital at present. The friends of Reverend J. B. Feather, will be pleased to learn that he is laboring here with great efficiency, as is also Chaplain Wallace of the 12th regiment, and G. Martin of the 14th. The latter we have not yet seen, but were informed by the soldiers that he made his escape unharmed from the rebels, though they rained a shower of bullets around him. Reverend J. L. Irwin, Chaplain of the 15th regiment, has been taken to Richmond.” ~ Letter to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer from a man signs himself simply “A” in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

soldiers at religious service 834-640wi

November 2– Wednesday– in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia– “I take the opportunity of writing a few lines to let you know that I am well. At present hoping this few lines will find you in the same state of good health, Mother, I may let you know of the late enlistment of my self to the U. S. service. I enlisted on the 14 of September. The reason I enlisted was I was afraid of the draft. I wish I know if any of our boys have been drafted. I would like to know if Franklin Walker has been drafted or not. I would like to know how little Ida is getting along.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Augustus Hover to his mother.

November 2– Wednesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you in the same state of health. We are now laying in the front in the breastworks about one half mile from the canal that [Union General Ben] Butler is digging across the James river. We expect to have a fight as soon as it is done. We are now doing picket duty here. Our pickets are about two hundred yards apart from the rebels and we exchange sugar and coffee for tobacco to them and every day one or two of them desert and come over to us they say that if little Mac [General McClellan] is elected they will come back to the union but there will be a very bad show for him in the army but I hope you will give him a large majority in the north for he is the only one that can settle the war. I hope you will not forget to put in a vote for little Mac [General McClellan] and the union.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Daniel Helker to his cousin George Miller.

trench warfare outside of Petersburg

trench warfare outside of Petersburg

November 2– Wednesday– near Atlanta, Georgia– “Hands gathering up corn and some trifling folks at it too, but this is war time and maybe worse is coming, but we must try and bear it as best we can.” ~ Journal of a local farmer.

November 2– Wednesday– Atlantic Ocean– A Confederate blockade runner is captured and the crew on board are taken to Point Lookout prison in Maryland, where they will be held for the next four months. The young signal officer of the crew is Sidney Lanier, age 22. [He will become a poet, musician, author and educator. Unfortunately, while in prison he will contract tuberculosis, which would trouble him for the rest of his life and cause his death on September 7, 1881.]

Sidney Lanier

Sidney Lanier

November 3– Thursday– New York City– “[Secretary of State] Seward telegraphs . . . the Mayor to beware of a conspiracy to burn this and other Northern cities on or about November 8th. The community is infested by rebel refugees and sympathizers. There are doubtless rebel agents among them, eagerly watching their opportunity to do mischief.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 3– Thursday– Fort Delaware, Delaware– “I will attempt to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well & hope on the receipt of this that you may all be well. All of the company that are here are well. Thomas McCray and W. Dice are both well. I am getting along pretty well at present; as I have been getting a little assistance from different persons in the north, which helps me materially. I have written five letters home and received but two, one of them by flag of truce. Please write soon as I am anxious to hear from you. Give my love to all who may think me worth inquiring for and receive a due share yourself from your affectionate son.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Thomas M. Smiley, in a Federal prison camp, to his father William.

November 3– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “I asked them [the soldiers] about Sheridan’s orders to clear the Valley. ‘Well,’ said one, ‘I tell you, ‘tis pretty hard. We get orders to clean out a section. The Captain, he picks his men;’ (here they all grinned;) ‘he knows pretty well who to take,and then we get orders to burn every barn, every stack of grain, everything expect the houses, and then we start the people. We go out in squads of ten or a dozen; and the way we ride is a caution. You see the most of ‘em’s secesh families; the women are Union – to a man’– winked he– ‘and their husbands, and brothers, and sons are in with the rebs; but for all that its hard when the women come out on their knees crying and praying, and the children clinging to ‘em. But,’ said he, ‘it’s a good deal harder to go along a road, and right along by the side of the woods, to find your own brother hanging to a tree, with his ears, his nose, and his lips cut off, as I did mine last week! These devils,’ said he, ‘if they’d only come out in clear day and fight us as we do them, and not murder us, they never would have had their country cleared out as we have been forced to do.’ This man had a diary kept for two years in which the events of each day had been entered. War is a terrible thing, we all agreed; but there are greater evils than that even.” ~ A reporter’s interview with Union soldiers serving under General Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley appears in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

November 3– Thursday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia– “Yours of October 29th was received day before yesterday. Jennie went to her father’s last Friday and has not yet returned. I went with her, was at church Friday and Saturday. She and Becca expected to go down the country this week but I think it is doubtful whether they have gone yet as yesterday was rainy, and today is cloudy and cool. . . . We are all doing the best we can. Alex stays with us and helps Alfred. There has been some cider made at the mill Alex attends to it, Aunt Mag refused to let people make it at first but when she found that he could attend to it she did not hinder. . . . Are there many of your men found for light duty and assigned to heavy artillery are you drilling any or learning how to fire your guns? I suppose from what you say in your letter that you sometimes have to go in the trenches as well as mind your guns. I believe I have no news to write when you please try and give us all the news you can Take good care of yourself, keep in good spirits. Put your trust in God, and I pray God to bless, cure, accept and take care of [and] preserve you, and bring you home in His good time may that good time be soon.” ~ Letter from Hannah to her uncle Enos Ott.


November 3– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln arranges transportation home for a soldier on furlough, even though the man declares that once at home he intends to vote for General McClellan, the Democratic candidate

November 3– Thursday– Petersburg, Virginia– “The most of them are busily engaged preparing for winter, which is fast approaching here. Instead of building huts as formerly, they dig a hole in theground about 6 feet deep and 10 ft. square, put over the top a layer of large logs. On that a layer of boughs and leaves, and cover the whole with dirt which they pile on till it is shaped like a potato hill. They then fix a chimney and are not only very comfortable but protected from the enemy’s shells. The Conscription of Negroes in the South is freely discussed now. It is a serious and momentous question. I am not competent to decide which is the best for us. I had much rather gain our independence without it but if necessary I say put them in and make them fight. But I hope it will not be necessary.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

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