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.

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