Concern Felt About Sherman ~ December 1864~ 8th and 9th

Concern Felt about Sherman ~ George Templeton Strong.

General Sherman

General Sherman

North and South, people wonder what has become of General Sherman and his troops. A desultory stalemate continues in the siege of Petersburg. A Union general authorizes Maryland citizens to take action against guerrillas and outlaws. A Boston preacher calls upon people to aid former slaves build new lives in freedom. The Pope condemns the “inventions of innovators.”

December 8– Thursday– New York City– “A windy night and growing colder after a cold day. Much concern felt about Sherman. His failure would be a fearful calamity. Even Richmond papers seem not certainly to know what has become of him. Perhaps he will never be heard of again, like King Arthur . . . . He should be very near the coast by this time, unless he has come utterly to grief.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Union siege artillery outside Petersburg

Union siege artillery outside Petersburg

December 8– Thursday– New York City– “In the armies of the Potomac and the James [at Petersburg, Virginia] the picket firing, which is still kept up, and the occasional exchanges between the opposing batteries, are all that disturb the quiet. On Monday there was some artillery firing by the Ninth corps guns and the rebels opposite and between the Monitors and the Howlett House battery, but without causing any casualties on the Union side. The Tenth and Eighteenth corps have been consolidated, and are known as the Twenty-fourth corps, of which General Ord has assumed command. The corps of colored troops, under General Weitzel, is numerically designated the Twenty-fifth. General Meade presented medals of honor to a number of non-commissioned officers and privates of the Second corps on Tuesday. No intercourse whatever with the enemy or exchange of newspapers is now allowed in either army, under severe penalties. . . . The city of Detroit [Michigan] is again greatly excited by anticipations of a raid on it from Canada by rebels who are said to be now perfecting their organization. The civil and military authorities of the city are making every preparation to receive the raiders. Extra police have been placed on duty, and arrangements are making for the enrolment and arming of the militia.” ~ New York Herald.


December 8– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “McMullen and Baker, the two members of the 2nd West Virginia Cavalry, who were committed to the Atheneum several days ago for assaulting a Mustering officer at the Custom House, were yesterday released from confinement at the request of the officer, who withdrew the charges.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 8– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “We received no news from Sherman on yesterday. At our last advices, he was believed to be moving towards the coast, and our troops were concentrating to obstruct his route. We are glad to see from the Augusta papers that the railroad companies in Georgia are going to work vigorously to reconstruct and repair their railroads. The Central railroad is already running from Macon nearly to Gordon. The Atlanta and West Point road will be in running order in a month, and the Georgia road, from Augusta to Atlanta in forty days. Latest accounts, received last night, state that Sherman is moving in two columns down the Ogechee river, one column on either side.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

December 8– Thursday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Your letter is the latest I have heard of that did come through. I suppose it got to Augusta before Sherman cut the railroad. I feel in great hopes now that no Yankees will invade our county. I have eagerly gathered all the news from Georgia I could to find out Sherman’s course. We get nothing scarcely but rumors but from all I can learn he is making his course east of Macon, and I hope, as I said before, that he pass our section unmolested. But I will fear great concern till I hear direct from you again. We had a change of the monotony of camp life last Sunday. An old gentleman named R. O. Davidson delivered an address on the invention of a bird of Art. He says he made an artificial bird to go by steam through the air that can carry a man to guide it and a number of shells which the man can drop on the Yankees as he passed over them which will soon kill and scare them all away. He first applied to the Government for aid but was refused and he now appeals to private contributions. At the close of his address the boys contributed $116.00 to assist him in forwarding his designs. He proposes to make five hundred of these birds to follow one behind the other, he is taking the lead and to drop bomb shells on yanks wherever found. Quite an idea if he can only succeed and who knows but what he will. Of course it is ridiculed to a great extent, also the idea of steam cars [railroad trains], telegraphic wires and all other great inventions, laughed at at first.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to Amanda, his wife.

December 8– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– In another effort to create problems in the rear of General Sherman’s march toward Savannah, all white men in Fulton County between the ages of 16 and 55 are ordered to report to the city hall for military duty.

marching toward Savannah

marching toward Savannah

December 8– Thursday– on the march in Georgia– “Twenty-third day out. Roads today heavy sand and both yesterday and today very bad at swampy places and creek crossings – same thing in fact, for all the creeks seem to spread into swamps. Stopped at house of Reverend Mr. Heidt– fifty-four years old, Methodist, very well off, barns, etc, full of all sorts of forage when we came. Fluent talker, pretty shrewd, but foolish enough to argue with General [Sherman] about importance of cotton; General down on cotton.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock,

December 8– Thursday– Ebenezer Creek, Georgia; near Bryan Court House, Georgia; Hatcher’s Run, Virginia; Tuscumbia, Missouri– Engagements and encounters.

December 8– Thursday– Ballintemple, County Cork, Ireland– George Boole, mathematician, inventor of Boolean algebra, philosopher and logician, dies at 49 years of age.

George Boole

George Boole

December 8– Thursday– London, England– James Clerk Maxwell presents his paper “A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field” to the Royal Society, treating light as an electromagnetic wave and presenting Maxwell’s equations.

December 8– Thursday– Fere-en-Tardenois, Aisne, France– Birth of Camille Claudel, sculptor and graphic artist. [Dies October 19, 1943.]

Camille Claudel

Camille Claudel

December 8– Thursday– Rome, Italy– Pope Pius IX condemns theological liberalism as an error, asserts the supremacy of Roman Catholic Church over civil society and condemns rationalism and socialism. “For, teaching and professing the most fatal error of ‘Communism and Socialism,’ they assert that ‘domestic society or the family derives the whole principle of its existence from the civil law alone; and, consequently, that on civil law alone depend all rights of parents over their children, and especially that of providing for education.’ By which impious opinions and machinations these most deceitful men chiefly aim at this result, viz., that the salutary teaching and influence of the Catholic Church may be entirely banished from the instruction and education of youth, and that the tender and flexible minds of young men may be infected and depraved by every most pernicious error and vice. For all who have endeavored to throw into confusion things both sacred and secular, and to subvert the right order of society, and to abolish all rights, human and divine, have always (as we above hinted) devoted all their nefarious schemes, devices and efforts, to deceiving and depraving incautious youth and have placed all their hope in its corruption. For which reason they never cease by every wicked method to assail the clergy, both secular and regular, from whom (as the surest monuments of history conspicuously attest), so many great advantages have abundantly flowed to Christianity, civilization and literature, and to proclaim that ‘the clergy, as being hostile to the true and beneficial advance of science and civilization, should be removed from the whole charge and duty of instructing and educating youth.’ Others meanwhile, reviving the wicked and so often condemned inventions of innovators, dare with signal impudence to subject to the will of the civil authority the supreme authority of the Church and of this Apostolic See given to her by Christ Himself, and to deny all those rights of the same Church and See which concern matters of the external order.” ~ the encyclical Quanta Cura [Condemning Current Errors]

Pope Pius IX

Pope Pius IX

December 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Rev. Mr. Banvard, in his sermon on Thanksgiving day, which was on topics for the times said: The present condition of the colored race in this country, as well as of those in their father-land, is impressively described in that simple yet sublime conception of Anne Whitney in her statute of Africa, now on exhibition in Boston. It is the form, in colossal proportions, of a female with subdued African features, in the act of rising from her couch. She has risen sufficiently to lean upon one elbow, whilst with her other hand she shades her eyes as she endeavors to look in the distance before her, and catch the first rays of the coming dawn. She is awakening to a new, day and looking forward with mingled feelings of curiosity, and hope, endeavoring to penetrate the future. It is a grand embodiment of majesty, strength, anticipation, hopefulness, and a readiness to meet the events which the future may reveal. It is an appropriate and majestic symbol of Africa awaking to a new career, and is equally truthful and fitting as an emblem of Africa in our country as in her. She is arising from a long and terrible night. The day dawns. The morning star of hope shines serenely upon the brow of heaven. Africa has caught its cheering rays. She begins to stir. She rouses herself from her long night of, ignorance, suffering and bondage. She looks before and around her to see what the unusual portents of the times reveal, and she is preparing herself for the future which awaits her. For a long time has her hand been stretched out in supplication to her God; and now there is put into it the alphabet and the Bible, the musket and the banner of freedom, and she is learning to use them all. The question is asked, and will be repeated with increasing emphasis for years to come, what is our duty toward the colored race in this country? I answer, that during the painful period of their transition from slavery to freedom, which to them is necessarily a period of nakedness and hunger, want and wretchedness, the government and the people should unite to provide them with shelter, clothing and food, until they can make arrangements to provide for themselves. Furnish them also with labor and the elements of education. Send them teachers and books; and when they shall have reached a settled, normal condition, then don’t interfere with them. Let them alone; give them a fair chance, and let them carve out their own fortune, and we may be assured that as a general thing they will be amply able to support themselves.” ~ The Liberator.

"Our Countrymen in Chains"

“Our Countrymen in Chains”

December 9– Friday– New York City– “No positive intelligence from Sherman. Rebel newspapers report that he has been badly defeated at this point– repulsed with heavy loss at that point. His march is a failure. . . . There must be Southerners capable of believing such stuff, or it would not have been written.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 9– Friday– Cumberland, Maryland– “As the borders of this department are infested with small disreputable bands of men, who in civil times, would be called horse thieves and murderers, but who dignify themselves with the title of guerrillas, claiming to belong to the service of the so-called Confederate States, and are following their unlawful calling under the cover and guise of either army, seeking protection within the mountains when pursued – it becomes necessary that some measures be taken by citizens living within this department, and whose property is so threatened, for their own protection. Citizens are called upon to organize for the destruction of all bands of these villains, who have no just claim to the protection of any government, and all possible assistance for their destruction will be given them. Such men, banded together for purposes of plunder and dishonorable personal advantages, are unworthy of, and should receive, no quarter, and when taken, any disposition that may be deemed necessary by the captors themselves toward their persons will be fully upheld and justified. It is impossible to hunt down and destroy these parties by large military organizations, while citizen residents – able at all times to know of their whereabouts – may speedily organize for their destruction. Citizens living within this department must protect themselves in the same manner as in civil times, when over-run by these plundering, marauding and thieving bands, and rise with a determination to rid themselves of them at once, and for all, resting upon the assurance that all the assistance possible will be given them by the department commander.” ~ Orders from Union General Crook.

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