Monthly Archives: January 2015

How I Hate Yankees ~ January 1865~ the 8th to 12th

How I Hate Yankees ~ Eliza Frances Andrews.

cavalry battle images

Anger and resentment simmer in Georgia. Many people are concerned not only with sick and wounded soldiers but also with the increasing number of permanently disabled veterans. The Charleston newspaper continues to criticize President Jeff Davis. Whitman prepares to return to Washington where a paying job awaits him. In Oberlin, Ohio, religious enthusiasm continues as it does in many places during the war. The Lincoln Administration investigates General Sherman’s treatment of freed slaves.

January 8– Sunday– near Macon, Georgia– “I wish to ask you what is to become of such men as I that is disabled and cannot get what is due them from the government. I cannot work for a living with one hand. Times is so no one won’t hire a overseer. And I wish to know what I am to do, if I can look to Georgia for help or have I got to turn out in the world. These times are [hard], after fighting in this cruel war until I was ruined for life, when I had nothing in the world to fight for but myself, without parents or relation or property of any kind, though I considered it my duty to fight for the country, and I did so until I was disabled. Since that time it looks like the world has forsaken me and cares not for a man no longer than he is able for the battlefield. I hope you will adopt some plan that I may draw what is due me or some plan that I may get some clothing without turning out in the world a beggar or being sent to the poor house. I will close, hoping that you will consider my condition and let me hear from you soon.” ~ Letter from a disabled Confederate soldier to Georgia Governor Joseph Brown.

veteran who lost both arms

veteran who lost both arms

January 8– Sunday– Dooly County, Georgia– “Sure enough Sherman has reached the coast. I believe he can go any where he pleases. Some predict that he will take Augusta next. I hope this letter will go through first. I’m about to despair of our ever gaining our independence. We have had so many reverses of late. I still think this spring, the struggle will be decided. Let our fate be what it may, I want to see it. I wish the suspense to be done away with.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé, Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer.

Alva Benjamin Spencer

Alva Benjamin Spencer

January 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit herewith the letter of the Secretary of War, with accompanying report of the Adjutant-General, in reply to the resolution of the House of Representatives dated December 7, 1864, requesting me ‘to communicate to the House the report made by Colonel Thomas M. Key of an interview between himself and General Howell Cobb on the 14th day of June, 1862, on the bank of the Chickahominy, on the subject of the exchange of prisoners of war.’” ~ Message from President Lincoln to Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

January 9– Monday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The Confederacy at this moment is in much the condition of a man who, having more than once got his enemy under him, with his knee up on his breast, and his hand upon his throat, is, while in the act of dealing him his death blow, assailed from behind by one whom he had supposed to be his best friend, whilst the enemy is released from his grasp for the third or fourth time. Staggering upon his legs from repeated blows from behind, confronting his released and enraged antagonist– weakened in strength, shaken in nerve, sick at heart – his efforts all vain, his skill all vain, his success all vain, exhausted by his long struggle, stunned by the fore blows, reeling he still bears up and endeavors to summon back his ebbing energies. If conquered, he falls not by the force of the enemy in front, but by the unlooked for blows from behind. Yet, had he expected this foul play, could he at any time by one effort have felled this puny creature in his rear. Even yet he might free himself of his presence, and, retreating slowly before his antagonist in front, gradually collect his strength and hurl him back to the ground. Will he do it? or will he suffer himself to perish by this foul play?” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 10– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, in accordance with the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, do hereby declare and proclaim that the port of St. Albans, in the State of Vermont, is and shall be entitled to all the privileges in regard to the exportation of merchandise in bond to the British North American Provinces [Canada] adjoining the United States which are extended to the ports enumerated in the seventh section of act of Congress of the 3rd of March, 1845, aforesaid, from and after the date of this proclamation.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

President Jeff Davis, Confederate States of America

President Jeff Davis, Confederate States of America

January 10– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We turn our eyes to Richmond, and the contrast [with Washington] is appalling, sickening to the heart. In the Cabinet, and in Congress, in the conduct of foreign affairs, in the military service, from the commanding generals to quartermaster clerks, everywhere there reigns a pandemonium of imbecility, laxity, weakness, failure. Not that there are not many brave and able men in the army. We have an abundance of both. But that they are so circumscribed and controlled as to produce weakness throughout. In the beginning of the war, when we had the basis upon which to have established a firm, solid financial system, all efforts were vain, all counsel vain, to have anything done with a view to a fixed, financial system. . . . It is there [in the military] where the fuming passions of Executive petty tyranny strike most directly at the heart of the Confederacy, by a corrupt and unscrupulous exercise of delegated power, in proscribing and ejecting from position, or forcing entirely out of the service, the very foremost military men in America; whilst men notoriously incompetent are made the pivots of our destinies. Nor are these remarks applicable alone to the leaders of armies; but on every side we see petty favorites lifted up to promotions and pushed into positions of importance whilst men of magnificent gallantry and accomplished minds are suffered to fight on in the ranks, or to fall in some position of inferior command. Political tools are rewarded with commissions as Brigadier and Major Generals, whilst their friends, relations and acquaintances generally fill up the lower grades of promotion. Not soldiers to lead armies are sought, but creatures to whine at the foot of the Executive; or else, honest, but incompetent men are made use of, as sticks to lay over the heads of some personal pet hatred. As an inevitable consequence, laxity and inefficiency prevails everywhere in the army. Imbeciles and good-for-naughts hold high commissions and low commissions – there is no responsibility anywhere – no discipline is enforced – men straggle and desert – even officers do the same. But favorites cannot be shot, or cashiered, and it would not do for ‘Uncle Jeff’ to make himself unpopular with the men, by allowing the penalties of military law to be executed.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 11– Wednesday– Bergen County, New Jersey– “My Father & Mother are smart considering their age– they are still keeping House. George has been out here since last May– he is stout– he has done considerable work for me and we have had some nice rides going to the Political meetings last fall and we have elected our Man and I hope and pray he will with God’s help settle this trouble before long. Walter I am sorry to inform you that I never got the paper you sent me and I think you better come out here yourself and give us the particulars yourself – we would be very happy to see you, we all send our best respects to you and all your friends. You will see my pen and ink are both poor and myself a poor writer so I will close by wishing you a happy New Year.” ~ Letter from Herman Storms to his friend Walt Whitman.

January 11– Wednesday– Oberlin, Ohio–”The Religious Interest manifested during the Fall Term, attending the earnest labors of President [Charles] Finney still continues, as is evidenced by the number who united with the First Church on last Sabbath. Eighteen new members were added– a good beginning for the new year. The Young People’s Meeting on Monday evening is always crowded now, and we may hope that much good is being done.” ~ Lorain County News.

January 11– Wednesday– Savannah, Georgia– Secretary of War Edwin Stanton arrives to meet with Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, not over military matters but rather in response to concerns expressed by others about Sherman’s treatment of freed slaves. Word had reached the North that during the march to the sea, a Union general, J. C. Davis, had caused the death of hundreds of freed slaves at Ebenezer Creek, when he ordered a pontoon bridge removed before the former slaves following his army could cross the creek. Few could swim, but rather than be left behind, many jumped in the water and drowned while trying to make to the other side. Also, it was rumor claimed that many of those left behind had been killed by Confederate cavalry. Stanton, a staunch abolitionist, decided to come personally to investigate. He first holds a meeting with Sherman and a group of twenty black ministers. Next, Stanton asks about enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. Then, he asks Sherman to step out of the room while he asks the ministers about Sherman’s actions toward black people. They voice support for Sherman, describing him as “a friend and a gentleman” in his treatment of black people. Stanton calls Sherman back into the room to ask about the Ebenezer Creek tragedy. Sherman replies that the incident has been blown out of proportion. No black refugees were turned back, and General Davis had removed the bridge because he needed to carry it with him. General Sherman knows of no freed slaves killed by the Confederate cavalry. Whether Stanton is convinced or not, he ends his investigation.

Edwin Stanton

Edwin Stanton

January 12– Thursday– Bridgeville Delaware– “It is with the greatest pleasure that I seat myself to give you a few lines to let you know that your most welcome letter came safe to hand and you don’t know how glad I was to hear from you– I often thought of you and could not hear what had become of you. You stated in yours that you hoped that I had not forgotten you. I never will forget you so long as life should last. Uncle I have got very near well. The wound in my chest has got nearly well. I am so that I can go about and do light duty. Also my arm is getting along nicely but there is some slight pain yet but none to stop me from writing such a kind and affectionate friend as you have been to me. May God bless you forever– I can’t find words to tell you the love there is in me for you. I hope you & I may live to meet again on this earth if not I hope we shall meet in the world where there is no more parting.” ~ Letter from William H. Millis to his friend Walt Whitman.

January 12– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Upon reporting at this Department and passing a satisfactory examination you will be appointed to a First Class Clerkship at a compensation of twelve hundred dollars per annum.” ~ Letter from Mr William T. Otto, U. S. Department of the Interior, to Walt Whitman. [The salary would equal $17,700 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 12– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “[Georgia] Governor Brown has furloughed the new regiment recently organized at Macon. A correspondent of the Enquirer, writing on the 19th ultimo, says: The Governor reviewed our regiment at half-past 11 o’clock, and afterwards made us a short, but pointed, speech. I will now attempt to give a synopsis of his remarks for want of space. He sends all of us home on and after to-morrow. There was not a wet eye visible in the entire regiment. The Governor, it is thought, made many a vote by that little speech. He said we could go home now, but would remain subject to another call when the State required our services in the field. He hoped it would not be soon, however. All delinquents are to be tried by a military court-martial, to sit in Macon; and, if found guilty, the pains and penalties of desertion will be visited upon them. He complimented the Georgia militia, and said he had been assured by a distinguished Confederate general that they fought and won the bloody battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina; that the enemy’s loss there was fully one thousand; that he counted on the field one hundred dead Negroes and whites. We are to keep our organization intact, our powder dry, and to respond promptly whenever a call is made.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

Union army doctors

Union army doctors

January 12– Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee– “On the 30th of December, 1864, Surgeon Brinton, superintendent of hospitals at Nashville, was directed to make use of such of the rebel surgeons as he might require in the treatment of the rebel wounded, being informed at the same time that, previous to putting them on duty, it was absolutely necessary for them to be put upon their written parole by the provost-marshal-general Department of the Cumberland. From all this it may be observed that everything was done in order to have the rebels properly cared for, both as sick men and prisoners of war. As soon as the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad shall be opened every wounded rebel in our possession whose life will not be endangered by so doing will be brought to Nashville, and not only those in the hospitals but those, too, who are scattered in the farm-houses through the country.” ~ Report from Dr George E. Cooper, U. S. Army, Medical Director.

January 12– Thursday– near Albany, Georgia– “I have a letter from Tolie; she is living in Montgomery, supremely happy, of course, as a bride should be. She was sadly disappointed at my absence from the wedding. The city is very gay, she says, and everybody inquiring about me and wanting me to come. If I wasn’t afraid the Yankees might cut me off from home and sister, too, I would pick up and go now. Yankee, Yankee, is the one detestable word always ringing in Southern ears. If all the words of hatred in every language under heaven were lumped together into one huge epithet of detestation, they could not tell how I hate Yankees. They thwart all my plans, murder my friends, and make my life miserable.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

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A Superb Little Fellow ~ January 1865 ~ 6th to 8th

A Superb Little Fellow ~ John Townsend Trowbridge

A New England writer and a Georgia soldier find hope and comfort in their little boys. A reader hopes for the quick end to slavery as debate on a constitutional amendment begins afresh in Congress. Siege continues at Petersburg. A Yankee general issues harsh orders to deal with raiders. A prominent Southern newspaper holds out hope for railroad development and criticizes the failures of the army and the government at Richmond.

cavalry-05-images

January 6– Friday– Somerville, Massachusetts– “I have been thinking much of you lately & wondering where you were (for I heard some time since that you had left Washington), when the N.Y. Times came, with your long & interesting communication. I do not yet, from reading that, understand very well where you are, & I send this at a venture. If this reaches you, please let me know your address, & I will try to send you something to help along your good work. I sent you, some time last summer, by private hands, a copy of Great Expectations & two dollars in money, but could never learn that they reached you: did they? How are you now? A great change has taken place in my life since I saw you. My dearest friend has left me, leaving in her place a little boy, now eleven months old. A superb little fellow (although I say it); & in him I have great comfort. I went three times to find Dr. LeBarren Russell, with your note in my hand, but failing each time, I gave him up. I am not trying to withdraw from the arena of popular literature; only the necessity of coining a livelihood has kept me in it so long. I feel that, if I live frugally sincerely, and do not use up my mental energies in rapid writing I may be able to do something excellent. I am about getting out a volume of poems, or, as you would say, prettinesses.” ~ Letter from John Townsend Trowbridge to his friend Walt Whitman. [Trowbridge, 1827 – 1916, became a popular author. His wife Cornelia, to whom he had been married less than four years, died in March, 1864, shortly after birthing their son.]

John Townsend Trowbridge

John Townsend Trowbridge

January 6– Friday– New York City– “The land it [Sherman’s march to the sea] traversed was flourishing with milk and honey and all manner of good things. Hence, I deduced . . . a doubt whether the farmers and planters of Georgia, whose barnyards, pigpens, and storerooms unwillingly issued all these delicacies, are likely to feel much love for national soldiers, or for the Union, in the name whereof their homesteads have thus been harried. But the grip of Richmond officials may have been bad or even worse.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 6– Friday– Brooklyn, New York– “I see I have said I consider Drum-Taps superior to Leaves of Grass. I probably mean as a piece of wit, & from the more simple & winning nature of the subject, & also because I have in it only succeeded to my satisfaction in removing all superfluity from it, verbal superfluity I mean. I delight to make a poem where I feel clear that not a word but is indispensable part thereof & of my meaning. Still Leaves of Grass is dear to me, always dearest to me, as my first born, as daughter of my life’s first hopes, doubts, & the putting in form of those days’ efforts & aspirations– true, I see now, with some things in it I should not put in if I were to write now, but yet I shall certainly let them stand, even if but for proofs of phases passed away. Mother & all home are well as usual. Not a word for over three months from my brother George– the probabilities are most gloomy. I see the Howells now & then. I am well, but need to leave here– need a change.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D. O’Connor.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

January 6– Friday– Washington, D.C.– In the House of Representatives, Congressman James Ashley, Republican from Ohio, introduces the proposed Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. It had previously passed the Senate but had been defeated in the House. In his speech he declares that it is Christian duty to abolish slavery. James Brooks, Democrat from New York, speaks against the measure, saying that abolition of slavery is not the only object of the war and the proposed amendment is unnecessary.

Congressman James Ashley

Congressman James Ashley

January 6– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and thawing. No war news – but it is known Sherman’s army is not quiet, and must soon be heard from in spite of the interdict of the government.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

January 6– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The railroad, which is now in progress of construction, bids fair to become of more importance to the Confederate States than any other since the completion of the Piedmont road, which has, beyond all question, saved Richmond from capture by the enemy, as it would have been almost entirely isolated from the balance of the Confederacy by an interruption of the communication of the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad by Grant’s army. . . . Two thousand hands could complete the road in six months, or four thousand in three months; and when the vast importance of the road is taken into consideration, we do not think the authorities should hesitate for a moment to place at the command of the Company every resource requisite for its earliest possible completion. There are slaves in the country whose services can be had, and, we learn, an ample supply of provisions in the counties lying between here and Columbia. The South Carolina Legislature should at once adopt such measures as will insure the Company provisions and other necessaries for as many employers as may be required to complete the road in as short a period as possible.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

seal of Sanitary commission

January 6– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “M. H. Way of the U. S. Christian Commission in Memphis reported that in 1864 it issued to U. S. troops:15 blankets, 350 bed ticks, 12,849 shirts, 943 quilts, 3,459 pillows, 6,000 pairs of drawers, 2,600 pillow cases, 1,353 sheets, 402 dressing gowns, 219 coats and vests, 4,303 towels and 683 pairs of socks, 156 pairs of slippers, 632 fans, 298 mosquito bars, 7,665 lbs of bandages, 1,829 cans fruit, 1,240 lbs. concentrated beef, 833 lbs dried beef, 245 ½ lbs dried fruit, 1,856 lbs. butter, 954 dozen eggs,1,856 bottles wine and spirits, 3,319 cases concentrated milk, 30,179 gallons pickles, 7,051 gallons sauerkraut, 3,312 bushels potatoes, 4,203 bushels onions, 563 gallons of ale, 355 bush green apples, 3,605 lbs. farinaceous articles, 34,190 lbs. soda crackers, 1,993 lbs. crushed sugar, 2,243 lbs. corn meal, 613 lbs green tea, 88 ½ lbs. cod fish, 400 bottles relishes, 40 reams writing paper, 20,000 envelopes. At northern prices this amounted to over $100,000. Additionally, at ‘[the] Soldiers’ Lodge on the bluffs. . . during. . . November and December1864,’ 8,865 meals were served to disabled, furloughed and discharged soldiers going home.”~ Memphis Bulletin.

January 7– Saturday– East Westmoreland, New Hampshire– “Enclosed, please find $4.00 for the Liberator for one year more, hoping there will be no necessity for the Liberator after the progress, its mission will have been well and faithfully fulfilled. Then they its worthy, and indefatigable, and venerated Editor, after so many years of unceasing warfare in vindication of human rights, be enabled to say with good old Simeon, ‘Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.’ I wish to be kept on your list of subscribers until the Liberator and Slavery shall both cease to be. I owe too much to the old pioneer sheet to abandon it now, just as it is nearly ready to publish the victory won. I do not share with those who seem some what alienated, because of the expression of your honest convictions in regard to the reelection of Abraham Lincoln. I am sorry to see that any should be thus influenced. God bless the Editor of the Liberator! as millions, yet in the future, will rise up to bless his memory.” ~ Letter from Jehiel Claflin to William Lloyd Garrison.

1850_Liberator_HammattBillings_design

January 7– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a copy of two treaties between the United States and Belgium, for the extinguishment of the Scheldt dues, etc., . . . and I recommend an appropriation to carry into effect the provision thereof relative to the payment of the proportion of the United States toward the capitalization of the said dues.” ~ Message from President Lincoln.

January 7– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Our boy must be of considerable size by this time. He is nearly four years old now. I want to see him with his jeans suit on with pockets in his britches, and a hat on, and see him run and jump. The later part of next year he will be old enough to start school– I want you to start him as soon as you can when he gets old enough and keep him going whether there is any chance to pay for it or not. There seems to be a general despondency, at this time throughout the Confederacy. I am truly sorry to see this and sometimes I wish I could instill my feelings on this subject in every man, woman and child in the Southern Confederacy. It is natural for some to grumble all the time while many others hearing so much grumbling and despondent chatter have not the spirit to rise above this, but fall under the influence and conclude that we are gone up. And we have had some reverses and bad Generalship, with a prospect of a continuance of the war which makes some good men croak and have the blues, and study over it till they conclude that we are about gone up, and they have their influence. But a large number are yet left who have resolved to die rather than submit to Yankee Rule, and never; never give it up. If croakers would but consider a moment the consequence of subjugation they would certainly talk different. Pen cannot describe nor tongue tell the degradation and suffering of our people if we ever submit.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda

Confederate soldiers says good-bye to his wife & children

Confederate soldiers says good-bye to his wife & children

January 7– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The dispirited condition of some of our armies; the disorganization that prevails in more than one of its corps; the thinness of the ranks produced by these causes; the dissatisfaction which reigns in certain sections among the people, produced by the almost invariable mismanagement of our arms and the maladministration of affairs by the Executive, are causes which have clouded the hopes of the most steadfast men in the country. No thinking man can do otherwise than look with apprehension upon the present aspect of our affairs. In the midst of this condition of things, nothing is so essentially important on the part of our legislators, and indeed, on the part of all thinking influential men, that a steadfast self collection and the use of a calm, unshaken scrutiny into the causes of our disasters, and a stern application of the remedies necessary to their eradication. . . . Because inefficiency is allowed to pervade every branch of the service; because favoritism dictates who shall command our armies; because tools are sought, and not competency; because hatreds rule, and the best and bravest are proscribed; because laxity prevails everywhere; because discipline is not required, and, where it is attempted to be enforced, the effort is checked by Executive weakness and egotism and love of popularity, whilst the service is disgraced and the cause brought to the brink of ruin by officers who cannot be shot, and cannot be cashiered.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 7– Saturday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Eighth. You will burn the houses of the following named persons, take any of the articles named above that they may have, together with all forage grains belonging to them that you can bring away which may be useful to the U. S. government for military purposes or otherwise and will give no receipt of any kind whatsoever.[Seven names are included in this section] Ninth. The following person will be shot in addition to suffering in the manner prescribed in Paragraph # 8. [Four names appear in this section of the order.]Tenth. The following named persons have committed murder and if caught will be hung to the first tree in front of their door and be allowed to hang there for an indefinite period. You will assure yourself that they are dead before leaving them also if their residence they will be stripped of everything as per the above instructions and then burned [Four names appear in this section of the order].” ~ Orders from Union General Robert H Milroy to deal with a number of alleged Confederate bushwhackers and guerrillas.

Confederate guerrilas

Confederate guerrilas

January 8– Sunday– Johnson’s Island, Ohio– “It seems that communication with the South by Flags of Truce has been resumed. We are anxiously awaiting the first mail after a deprivation for months. May I not hope that your dear handwriting will greet my eye? More than half a year has elapsed since I have heard directly from you. Do not be uneasy about my health and comfort. Providence has dealt kindly by me. I will not suffer more than I can cheerfully and patiently endure. I have been quite uneasy about you and yours. May God bless and preserve you!” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry McDaniel to his sweetheart Hester Felker.

January 8– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I forgot to tell you about our New Year’s dinner. We got it on the 4th instant, I believe. It was nearly a failure. I got a little piece of turkey and two small pieces of meat and about four good mouthfuls of light bread. It was too large an undertaking to try to give the whole army such a dinner. I am sorry you are making me a coat and heartily wish you had used the cloth for Henry [their son] and yourself. Do not make me anymore. I want you to have it for I can draw here and you have a hard task to cloth yourself and family without me. I am so sorry.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

January 8– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “The Brigade band are now in front of my quarters giving me a serenade. We have had a splendid day but not much of a Sabbath. After inspecting the troops I took a long ride. The Rebels in our front are quiet, and we enjoy life after a fashion.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Incorrigible Inter-meddling ~ January 1865 ~ 4th to 6th

Incorrigible Inter-meddling ~ Charleston Mercury

The Confederacy shows signs of unraveling. States more concerned about retaining soldiers for their own defense. Criticism of generals and of President Davis. Congressional inactivity. Concerns about large scale desertions from the army’s ranks. Resentment about the inability to stop General Sherman’s devastation of Georgia and concern about his threat to South Carolina. In Boston, William Lloyd Garrison takes note of the increased visitation to the halls of Congress by African American citizens.

men's fashions 1865

men’s fashions 1865

January 4– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright, but several inches of snow fell last night. . . . General J. S. Preston, Superintendent Bureau of Conscription, writes a long letter from South Carolina indorsing an act of the Legislature authorizing the impressment of one-fifth of the slaves between eighteen and fifty, for work on the fortifications within the State, but also providing for impressment of an additional number by the Confederate States Government. This, General Preston considers a treasonable move, indicating that South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, etc. have a purpose to disintegrate Confederate authority, and that they will not contribute another man, black or white, to the Confederate service, to be commanded by Confederate States authority. And he has several thrusts at General Bragg and General Kemper, and, indirectly, at the President, for interfering with his bureau. I see nothing in the act to warrant his interpretations, and I have no faith in his predictions. W. F. D. Saussure and others, Columbia, South Carolina, petition the government to send a corps of Lee’s army to save their State and Georgia from devastation, as there are no adequate forces in them for defense. They confess that Richmond is important to hold, but insist that Georgia and South Carolina must be defended to hold it, etc. They are frightened evidently.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

January 4– Wednesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “It is stated that there are one hundred thousand absentees from the armies of the Confederate States. In this Department, we are credibly informed, there is a single corps of twenty-seven thousand on the rolls, which does not turn out seven thousand effective men. These facts support the statement of President Davis, made in his Macon speech, upon his return from a review of the sullen Army of the West, after his removal of General Johnston, the bloody repulses of Hood, and the fall of Atlanta. Why is it that men are not in the ranks and at the front? Will any one say that the people of the Confederate States are not patriotic? History tells of no struggle for independence in which more general and heroic devotion was ever displayed. Our people have made great exertions in behalf of a great cause. It is the people of these States which over and over have lifted out of the perils ensuing from incompetent mal-administration the affairs of the country. It is the incorrigible inter-meddling, mischievous dictation, malignant prejudices and petty partisanship which make sacrifices apparently endless and useless. It is these things which weigh like a pall upon the heart of the country. It is these things which infuse inefficiency everywhere, and inspire selfishness and indifference. It is these things which are destroying us, and which must be eradicated by the action of Congress.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

Robert B Rhett, owner of the Charleston Mercury

Robert B Rhett, owner of the Charleston Mercury

January 4– Wednesday– near Albany, Georgia– “I am just getting well of measles, and a rough time I had of it. Measles is no such small affair after all, especially when aggravated by perpetual alarms of Yankee raiders. For the last week we have lived in a state of incessant fear. All sorts of rumors come up the road and down it, and we never know what to believe. Mett and I have received repeated letters from home urging our immediate return, but of course it was impossible to travel while I was sick in bed, and even now I am not strong enough to undertake that terrible journey across the burnt country again. While I was ill, home was the one thought that haunted my brain, and if I ever do get back, I hope I will have sense enough to stay there. I don’t think I ever suffered so much before in all my life, and dread of the Yankees raised my fever to such a pitch that I got no rest by night or day. I used to feel very brave about Yankees, but since I have passed over Sherman’s track and seen what devastation they make, I am so afraid of them that I believe I should drop down dead if one of the wretches should come into my presence. . . . General Sherman told Mr. Cuyler that he did not intend to leave so much as a blade of grass in South-West Georgia, and Dr. Janes told sister that he (Sherman) said he would be obliged to send a formidable raid here in order to satisfy the clamors of his army, though he himself, the fiend Sherman, dreaded it on account of the horrors that would be committed. What Sherman dreads must indeed be fearful. They say his soldiers have sworn that they will spare neither man, woman nor child in all South-West Georgia. It is only a question of time, I suppose, when all this will be done. It begins to look as if the Yankees can do whatever they please and go wherever they wish – except to heaven; I do fervently pray the good Lord will give us rest from them there. . . . medicine nearly killed me. It was a big dose of opium and whisky, that drove me stark crazy, but when I came to myself I felt much better. Dr. Janes was my regular physician and had the merit of not giving much medicine, but he frightened me horribly with his rumors about Yankee raiders. We are safe from them for the present, at any rate, I hope; the swamps of the Altamaha are so flooded that it would take an army of Tritons to get over them now.” ~ Diary of Eliza Frances Andrews.

alexander_gardner_-_abraham_lincoln-1

January 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I herewith return to your honorable body, in which it originated, a ‘Joint resolution to correct certain clerical errors in the internal-revenue act,’ without my approval. My reason for so doing is that I am informed that this joint resolution was prepared tinting the last moments of the last session of Congress for the purpose of correcting certain errors of reference in the internal-revenue act which were discovered on an examination of an official copy procured from the State Department a few hours only before the adjournment. It passed the House and went to the Senate, where a vote was taken upon it, but by some accident it was not presented to the President of the Senate for his signature. Since the adjournment of the last session of Congress other errors of a kind similar to those which this resolution was designed to correct have been discovered in the law, and it is now thought most expedient to include all the necessary corrections in one act or resolution. The attention of the proper committee of the House has, I am informed, been already directed to the preparation of a bill for this purpose.” ~ Veto message by President Lincoln.

January 5– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and cold. It is understood now that General Hood has crossed to the south side of the Tennessee River with the debris of his army. . . . It is supposed we shall have active operations again before this city as soon as the weather and roads will permit. But it really does seem that the States respectively mean to take control of all their men not now in the Confederate States armies, and I apprehend we shall soon have ‘confusion worse confounded.’” ~ Diary of John Jones.

discharged veteran tells his war stories

discharged veteran tells his war stories

January 5– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– “A gentleman, who left Savannah last week, says that the city continued quiet– the citizens not being molested, and private property being protected. An order has been issued not to cut the shade trees because fuel is short. Sherman promises to bring wood by the Gulf Railroad. The 14th and 25th Corps are in the entrenchments, reaching from the Savannah River to the Plank Road. The Yankees are building a new pontoon bridge opposite the Exchange. The Churches on Sunday were filled with ladies. Many Negroes, who joined Sherman in the country are leaving; in fact, the roads are lined with them. . . . Several Federal steamers are engaged in removing the obstructions from the river. Adams’ Express Company have opened an office in the city. In Augusta, on Thursday, about three hundred Negroes were sold by various auction houses, at an average of $3,000 to $3,500 each.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 5– Thursday– somewhere in southeast South Carolina– “We left our camp in Savannah on Monday morning and crossed the river on a steamer, the Planter. We landed in the rice fields. The first trip brought over three regiments, including mine. I was put in command, and our brigade commander went back. We had to repair, or rather rebuild, a bridge on the dike, and that took us until late in the afternoon; then we marched forward four miles, where our first brigade was camped. Here I found General Ward, who told me to camp there for the present. Evening: I was interrupted this morning by an order to go out reconnoitering. Tuesday I sent out a party early and they had not been gone long before we heard quite heavy firing, so I concluded to go out and see what it was myself. Our horses had not then come across the river and I had to go on foot. I found that our party had met a rebel cavalry force, who had fallen back to an entrenchment commanding the road, on each side of which there was an impassable swamp. I sent parties to the right and left to try to get through the swamp, but they could not accomplish it and I finally found, on personal examination, it was just about impracticable. I was bound to get them out, so I took a few of my men and made a wide detour. We went over a rice field dike as far as we could and then worked our way inch by inch through a canebrake on very swampy bottom, and finally came out on a road which would lead me to their rear. Here I came upon a cavalry picket post, who gave the alarm, and they all ran off. To-day I went over the same road and met no enemy, but found immense quantities of rice and sent a scow load down the river. We moved forward about a mile and went into camp on good dry ground yesterday. To-day our wagon came up and brought us a few boards. I have a floor in my tent, but no chimney. There are no bricks here, the soil is all sandy. It is reported that a portion of the 17th Corps has embarked on board of transports, bound for some more northerly port. I hinted to a staff officer of the division that I wanted to resign, a few days ago; he thought I could not possibly get my resignation approved.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

1850_Liberator_HammattBillings_design

January 6– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– ” It was noticeable that there were in the Senate galleries about a dozen colored persons sitting on the back seats, to be sure, but as well-behaved and properly dressed as any other persons in the gallery. This is the first time Negroes were ever present on opening day, though, towards the close of the last session, it was no uncommon thing to see them in the galleries– more particularly in those of the Senate. . . . Various semi-secesh women of Washington were also excessively shocked it this alarming evidence of our national relapse into barbarism, and charged it all to ‘Sumner and the nasty abolitionists’ declaring, with flashing eyes and scornfully turned upper lip, that it was an insult to every body in the land to admit ‘N******’ into the gallery. The enormity of the offence is shown by the fact that in the two years, perhaps as many as fifty different colored persons have visited the Senate gallery; some of whom have actually been there two or three times. This revolution, at least, trill not go backward. Hereafter color will not be a qualification for admission to all parts of the Capitol. . . . in one of the lower halls, four soldier [were] exploring the building together, two of whom were whites and two of whom were Negroes. When whites and Negroes meet on such terms of equality as that, what may we not expect next?” ~ The Liberator.

Loyal Citizens ~ January 1865 ~ the 2nd to the 4th

Loyal Citizens

North and South, people show loyalty in various ways. Black people in Boston celebrate emancipation. Business people in Tennessee request the lifting of trade restrictions so loyal commerce may flourish. Lincoln receives black citizens at the White House. Sherman prepares to advance the Union cause into South Carolina. A rumor says leaders in Savannah affirmed loyalty to the Federal government. A diarist in Richmond is thankful for loyal clergy, even if they were born in the North. A Southern paper calls for better management of the Confederate military and curtailment of desertions. Questions arise about whether Southern soldiers have a greater duty to their home state or to the Confederacy.

black women nurses

black women nurses

January 2– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The black people of the city hold a celebration to mark the second anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

January 2– Monday– New York City– “On New Year’s Day duty from eleven til near five . . . . I think New Year’s Day visiting has been rather less generally attended to this year than usual. The streets were bad for pedestrians and a hack cost thirty dollars. . . . I think the Southern Confederacy is destroyed. It may or may not save itself from subjection by arming its Negroes. But if it do thereby sustain itself in existence for a time, it abolishes the institution for which it rebelled and will soon begin to wonder for what it is fighting.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [The $30 cab ride would equal $443 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “This is the day for official interchange, yesterday being Sunday. Was at the Executive Mansion precisely at twelve, as requested, with Mrs. Welles, the first Cabinet officer to arrive, I believe, although the others were there within ten minutes. Many of the foreign ministers and their suites were there, probably all. Some of them came in advance. Remained over half an hour and returned home. Received until 4 p.m. The day is one which the people seem to enjoy, and one which they want. A little more system at the President’s would improve matters.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

January 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Because the start of the year fell on a Sunday, today is the day for the usual New Year’s White House reception. Beginning at noon, Abraham and Mary Lincoln receive Cabinet members, various generals, the diplomatic corps, and the justices of the Supreme Court. Beginning at 1 o’clock they begin to receive the general public, including members of Congress. Over 5,000 people line up to greet the President and Mrs Lincoln. For the first time the crowd includes many black people whom the President heartily welcomes, much to the disgust of some white people.

January 2– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The campaign of Sherman, early in the spring, from Vicksburg to the Alabama line, with the purpose of taking Mobile and Selma, having failed, that officer was transferred to Chattanooga to take command there. He began to move against General Johnston early in June. That officer fell back from one position to another until he had reached Atlanta, fighting on the retreat several severe battles, in which, while he lost only nine thousand men, he inflicted upon the enemy, according to their own statements, a loss of fifty-five thousand. Here, to the great regret of the whole country, and of none so much as the army he commanded, he was relieved by General Hood. This General, after fighting a bloody and indecisive action, was eventually defeated by Sherman at Jonesboro and fell back in the direction of Macon. Subsequently, he got in the rear of Sherman and marched into Tennessee, where, after a hard-won victory at Franklin, he was defeated before Nashville by Thomas. We have the results of that defeat only from the Yankees. We shall, therefore, not state them here. In the meantime, Sherman, finding himself unopposed, marched, almost without resistance, through Georgia and took Savannah.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

battle of Nashville

battle of Nashville

January 2– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The salaries of the clergymen have been raised by their congregations to $10,000 and $12,000. I hear that Dr. Woodbridge received a Christmas gift from his people of upwards of $4000, besides seven barrels of flour, etc. He owns his own house, his own servants [slaves], stocks, etc. Most of these fortunate ministers are natives of the North, but true to the Southern cause, so far as we know. God knows I am glad to hear of anyone, and especially a minister, being made comfortable.” ~ Diary of John Jones. [The $10,000 would equal $148,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 2– Monday– somewhere in southeast South Carolina– “Marched at 7 A. M. and after waiting at the dock in the city [Savannah, Georgia] until noon, when we went on board of a small transport ( The Planter) and had a pleasant boat ride among the point of Green Island. In about an hour landed on the shores of . . . [South] Carolina, the birthplace of secession. While the Planter returned for the rest of the Brigade, we improved the time in cooking and eating a dinner of rice and coffee. About 3 o’clock the rest of the Brigade arrived and we took up our formation, we came to a pine forest and after proceeding in, a little ways, we came to the camp of the ( I think) 4th Infantry which had preceded us in invading the air lands of [South Carolina] two days before.” ~ Diary of Union officer George Jones.

January 2– Monday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Your petitioners, loyal citizens of Memphis, desirous to mitigate the sufferings of our people and to rekindle in their hearts their former ‘love of country’, and thus add a moral victory to the brilliant successes that have recently crowned the efforts of our armies, deem it not only our privilege but duty to remonstrate against any unnecessary hardships being imposed upon them, and respectfully but urgently pray that the present orders closing the lines against the loyal residents of West Tennessee be revoked.” ~ Petition from several business owners to Union military leaders, requesting the lifting of trade restriction.

January 2– Monday– Savannah, Georgia– “I herewith inclose to you a copy of a project which I have this morning, in strict confidence, discussed with my immediate commanders. I shall need, however, larger supplies of stores, especially grain. I will inclose to you, with this, letters from General Easton, quartermaster, and Colonel Beckwith, commissary of subsistence, setting forth what will be required, and trust you will forward them to Washington with you sanction, so that the necessary steps may be taken at once to enable me to carry out this plan on time. I wrote you very fully on the 24th, and have nothing to add. Every thing here is quiet, and if I can get the necessary supplies in our wagons, shall be ready to start at the time indicated in my project (January 15th). But, until those supplies are in hand, I can do nothing; after they are, I shall be ready to move with great rapidity. I have heard of the affair at Cape Fear. . . . My report of recent operations is nearly ready, and will be sent you in a day or two, as soon as some further subordinate reports come in.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to General Ulysses S Grant, on Sherman’s plan to move into South Carolina.

Sherman entering Savannah

Sherman entering Savannah

January 2– Monday– Shannon County, Missouri– Federal troops scour the area, hunting for bushwhackers.

January 3– Tuesday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “As I do not know where a letter will reach you, I send this under cover to Aunt Sanders with the request to read and forward it. The long cessation of Flags of Truce has rendered us very anxious to hear from home. The Winter thus far has been favorable, and we are besides better prepared to withstand its rigors than we were last winter. Egbert has received an outfit of clothing and, though he thinks the climate very cold, he is cheerful and thinks he will be comfortable. I contrived to send him a small sum of money a day or two ago. Ira is doubtless at home. I can sympathize in your joy at his return, and ardently hope that no untoward circumstances may have defeated his release. Could Egbert be sent South, I might rest content in prison many months longer. Meantime, have all efforts to effect my exchange proven fruitless?” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his father.

January 3– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “It is snowing hard and it looks like a severe storm, which if it continues will interfere with our plans for tomorrow.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

January 3– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Calm and quiet; indications of snow. By a communication sent to Congress, by the President, it is ascertained that 500,000 pairs shoes, 8,000,000 pounds bacon, 2,000,000 pounds saltpeter, 50 cannon, etc. etc., have been imported since October 1st, 1864. When the enemy’s fleet threatened Wilmington, the brokers here (who have bribed the conscript officers) bought up all the coffee and sugar in the city. They raised the price of the former from $15 to $45 per pound, and the latter to $15, from $10. An application has been made to Mr. Secretary Seddon to order the impressment of it all, at schedule prices, which he will be sure not to do. Congress paid their respects to the President yesterday, by waiting upon him in a body.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

newspaper map of Savannah harbor

newspaper map of Savannah harbor

January 3– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “Remedies are sought for the discouraging effects of repeated mismanagement in the employment of our military resources – in the plans of campaign chosen in Richmond, and the officers appointed to execute them. Remedies are sought for the effects of a systematic failure to exercise discipline and execute military law towards deserters from our armies. Nobody doubts there being men enough in these Confederate States to carry on this war to a successful termination, if the men can be got out, kept out, and properly fought. But men who ought to be in the army, and others who ought to go into the army at this time, are at home, and not in the army. Patent follies and their disastrous consequences have brought despondency upon the people, and license has thinned the ranks of the defenders of the country. Instead of aiming at radical changes in the causes of the effects under which we suffer and are endangered, men are found who propose the mad remedy of driving our quiet Negro producers into the war, and forcing them to fight. They are to understand that the Yankees are getting the upper hand of us, and that their time of immunity from war is over; they are to choose between fighting with us the weaker party, or with the stronger party, our enemy. They are to fight for slavery (or their individual freedom) on our side, or on the side of our enemy for total and general emancipation of their families, race and people allured by all the fancied luxuries of nothing to do. Independent of law, independent of principle, independent of our institutions, the proposition appears to us as desperate in its absurdity as it is the reckless of everything else. Can Congress find no remedy for the incompetency and mismanagement which is riding us down to ruin. That is the evil from which we must and can escape.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 4– Wednesday– New York City– “I have since learned that you called at the ‘De Soto’ immediately after I had left. I remained there till 6:30 P.M. & thinking that you were prevented calling by another engagement, I left for home. I would be happy to meet you at any time you may be pleased to appoint. In company with Captain Holbrook I invited a gentleman, who has a relative– a prisoner of war at Camp Chase, Ohio. He is desirous of obtaining the name of some Captains, an order to obtain his exchange, by securing the release of the Captains. Your brother’s name was given & the party promised to act upon it immediately. I can say nothing of its results.” ~ Letter from David F. Wright to Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

January 4– Wednesday– New York City– “News from Savannah, possibly of first-rate importance. Its Mayor and sundry civic notables seem to have been prominent at a public meeting that passed resolutions declaring that community subject to the laws of the United States, praising General Sherman, deploring further war, averring that bygones should be bygones, and calling on the governor of Georgia to convoke a convention that shall restore his state to her lawful and constitutional relations with the Union! Did this meeting represent any respectable minority of Savannites? Or was it got up by Sherman? If genuine, it is an event of first order.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

released Union prisoners celebrate

released Union prisoners celebrate

Happy New Year~ New Year’s Day ~ 1865

Happy New Year, 1865 Style

In the Confederacy, food is in short supply in many places. Many mourn and worry about the immediate future. The most popular lady’s magazine hopes for more readers and the coming of better times. Sherman reports on the amount of damages inflicted on Georgia during his march to the sea. Gideon Welles ponders his destiny and that of his country.

Federal gunboat

Federal gunboat

January– Boston, Massachusetts– This month’s issue of the Atlantic Monthly contains articles by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Bayard Taylor, and James Russell Lowell, stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Harriet Beecher Stowe as well as poems by John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant and Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

January– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “A Happy New Year! Thus we send greeting to all our friends, this first day of Eighteen-Hundred and Sixty-five. Good wishes show good feelings; when beginning a new cycle of the years and gathering up new hopes for ourselves, one of our best pleasures is the wish to see this bow of promise bend over all our friends: ay, over all the world. Philanthropy should be the atmosphere of New Year’s Day. One essential requisite for health and happiness is cheerfulness of mind; this we consider a moral virtue and easily cultivated, if we only look on the silver lining to every cloud, instead of letting its darkness veil the light of heaven from our hearts. How many blessings we all have to make us hopeful as well as thankful. For ourselves, it has been our happy lot to see the Lady’s Book enjoy a full tide of prosperity for a long succession of years and now we feel sure our list of friends is larger than ever. But perhaps the claim of other duties, in these trying scenes through which our beloved country is now passing, may become so important as to diminish our number of subscribers. If so, we shall be sorry to part with a single name, but we know our friends are true to us, and when the storm of war is over, we shall hear again their warm welcome to our Periodical as their family friend. Those who continue will find the price is not raised; three dollars a year is the subscription; this faithfulness to his old friends should draw new names to Godey, even in these troublous times. To all our friends, who are bearing the burdens of life, we wish Heaven’s best wealth and wisdom; that wealth which gives the power of doing good and the heart to do it; and the wisdom which can be innocently happy on this day, while looking forward with grateful anticipations to the blessings which the year may have in store for us.” ~ Godey’s Lady’s Book.

period fashion

period fashion

January 1– Sunday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “I hand you herewith five dollars ($5.00) which I trust will reach you speedily. Cessation of intercourse with the South has disappointed both Dennis and myself of expected supplies of money. I am glad to be enabled to send you a trifle which may increase your comforts. We have heard nothing from the South in a long time. It is probable, however, that we will have a Dixie mail soon, from newspaper reports. I will not fail to write you any news I may receive. I may add that there seems reason to hope that an exchange of prisoners will be effected, certainly that supplies will reach us from the South. Keep cheerful, observe prison regulations, take exercise, and trust in God. In His own time He will restore you to your friends.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to one of his brothers, also a prisoner of war.

Henry McDaniel

Henry McDaniel

January 1– Sunday– “Washington, D.C.– The date admonishes me of passing time and accumulating years. Our country is still in the great struggle for national unity and national life; but progress has been made during the year that has just terminated, and it seems to me the Rebellion is not far from its close. The years that I have been here have been oppressive, wearisome, and exhaustive, but I have labored willingly, if sometimes sadly, in the cause of my country and of mankind. What mischief has the press performed and is still doing in the Rebel States by stimulating the people to crime by appeals to their manhood, to their courage, to all that they hold dear, to prosecute the war against the most benignant government that a people ever had ! Violent misrepresentation and abuse, such as first led them to rebel, are still continued. The suppression for a period of the Rebel press in Richmond, Charleston, and one or two other points would do more than armies in putting an end to this unnatural war.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

January 1– Sunday– “Snowed a few inches in depth during the night– clear and cool morning. . . . Thus we begin the new year– Heaven only knows how we shall end it! I trust we may be in a better condition then. Of one thing I am certain, the People are capable of achieving independence, if they only had capable men in all departments of the government.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

January 1– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Bread rations are very short now, and we failed to get any at all today. The excuse is that they cannot get it on the cars to us. I hope it will be remedied soon. Yesterday we drew crackers but only little more than half enough of them. Tomorrow we are to get the big New Year’s dinner, and it will be welcomed heartily I assure you. Today is or was Sunday, and was a clear, beautiful, cold day. I mean beautiful to look upon not to feel. It snowed yesterday evening and last night, and the ground was covered with snow today. I now think there is some chance for me to get home yet this winter, but it is so uncertain that you need count but little on it. The spirits of some of our troops is rather dull, but generally speaking all are in good heart yet. We have some croakers here but not so many as you have there at home. I hate to hear them talk, but it is natural for some. I have no distant dream of ever giving up. Yankees may kill me but will never subjugate me.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

January 1– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “New Year’s Day again and this is the fourth that I have passed in the U. S. Army. The war drags along but we feel that we are gaining all the time and when Petersburg and Richmond fall, as they must soon, the war will end. I am grateful to god for all of his mercies toward me and that I am spared in health and strength to do my share towards restoring the Union.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

January 1– Sunday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The Undersigned under the Instruction of the Ladies, take pleasure in announcing that the Bazaar will be opened at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, 17th January, in the State House, in the city of Columbia. The purposes of this undertaking, the relief of the sick and suffering in Homes, Hospitals and the Navy – the great interest it has excited – the quantity of articles, foreign and domestic, already collected, and the untiring industry with which the work is still being prosecuted – all warrant the expectation that it will prove successful. The Legislature of the State, in placing the State House at the disposal of the Ladies, while manifesting most encouraging interest in the enterprise, has placed it in the power of those engaged in it to exhibit their wares and products to great advantage. An enterprise having such purposes, and sustained by such agencies, needs no recommendation in the country. That country, with every family in it, is represented in the field and hospital. Every act of kindness – every measure of relief extended through the Bazaar – is extended to our own households and families. Let all, then, work diligently in contributing, in every possible way, to this trusty, benevolent and patriotic work. The various Railroads and the Southern Express Company, with most commendable public spirit, have consented to forward articles free of charge.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 1– Sunday– Savannah, Georgia– “I was thereby left with a well-appointed army to sever the enemy’s only remaining railroad communications eastward and westward, for over 100 miles– namely, the Georgia State Railroad, which is broken up from Fairburn Station to Madison and the Oconee, and the Central Railroad, from Gordon clear to Savannah, with numerous breaks on the latter road from Gordon to Eatonton and from Millen to Augusta, and the Savannah Gulf Railroad. We have also consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah, as also the sweet potatoes, cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry, and have carried away more than 10,000 horses and mules, as well as a countless number of their slaves. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia and its military resources at $100,000,000; at least $20,000,000 of which has inured to our advantage, and the remainder is simple waste and destruction. This may seem a hard species of warfare, but it brings the sad realities of war home to those who have been directly or indirectly instrumental in involving us in its attendant calamities.” ~ Report from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to the War Department.

January 1– Sunday– White County, Tennessee– “Another year gone and a new one commenced. There is not much alteration in affairs of the country from what it was last year that I can see. Of course, the Federals have gained and the Rebels lost ground, but as for peace I see no prospect, and as to myself I am no happier nor no wiser that I can see than I was a year ago.” ~ Diary of Amanda McDowell.

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

January 1– Sunday– Beersheba Springs, Tennessee– “There seems but little to live for—yet we live on, and strangely enough as it seems to me at times, we still wish to live. Life to us is devoid of pleasures—and is made up of endurances. Still ‘there never was a bad but it might be worse’—so let us console ourselves in that we have yet so little to eat and wear and a shelter to cover us from the elements. . . Last night too was the anniversary of our ‘Union Party.’ 4 years ago! Oh! Heaven! How changed are we all since that eve of a gay social re-union! To look back is most saddening—to look forward, even more disheartening for it seems we have nothing now for which to hope. All is to be endured—nothing of good anticipated. Had I no children to care for and educate I would sit down even here if duty bade me stay, and study so to improve myself that it might amount to the end of them— but my concern is for my children. They weigh heavily upon me—oh! so but my concern is for my children. They are to be fed and clothed and educated, and how is it all to be done?. . . I feel discouraged in every way—our cause seems sinking day by day, our resources certainly are failing fast, as a family we merely get along, as agents for any good anywhere—we are powerless. Surely it is disheartening—God help us thro’ it all. I was reading last night a sketch of the palm groves and sunny skies of Cuba—oh! How I wished myself there instead of shivering here in this enlightened land of zero, and rapine, and wretched war.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

Goodbye Old 1864~ December ~ the 30th and 31st

Goodbye Old 1864 ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Soldiers and civilians, North and South, bid the old year adieu and ponder what 1865 may hold.

christmas-eve-1500

December 30– Friday– Savannah, Georgia– “I received a most disagreeable order just now, that we must move tomorrow at seven o’clock, to take up a new encampment on the north side of the river. We have such comfortable quarters here, are right by the city, and now we have to go off there. It would be some satisfaction to know the reason of this move, but it must be submitted to I suppose. Our corps was reviewed today. A blockade runner who had not been informed of the change of proprietorship to Savannah, merrily sailed up the river night before last, little dreaming that while she had escaped our navy, she would fall into the hands of our infantry. There are a good many citizens in Savannah who have been interested in blockade running.” ~ Diary of Fredrick C. Winkler

December 30– Friday– near Dubrovnic, Kingdom of Dalmatia– Birth of Marko Murat, Serbian painter. [Dies October 14,1944.]

Marko Murat

Marko Murat

December 31– Saturday– New York City– “Miss Sarah Jane Smith, of Arkansas, who was sentenced to be hung for cutting the telegraph wire, near Springfield, Mississippi, has had her sentence commuted to imprisonment during the war. She is under 17, but a bitter rebel. She is said to be insane. . . . In the south-eastern part of Massachusetts there are 12,000 women employed in bonnet factories. Miss Avonia Jones, the popular actress, while on her voyage from St. Louis to Memphis, had her luggage riddled by the bullets of the guerillas who infest the banks of the Mississippi. She fortunately escape personal hurt. . . . A bill has been introduced into the Legislature of Louisiana, permitting the marriage of white and colored persons. . . . Barker’s famous establishment, 622 Broadway, is not only the largest in America, but also in the world. The elegance with which it is fitted up is remarkable, and it deserves a visit. Here is found every article intended to ornament lovely woman; here the darts are sharpened which beauty shoots at man. Little does the world know, as it gazes with admiration on the head-dress of a beautiful woman, and sees how artistically that great ornament, the hair, is made, not only a glorious gift of Nature, but a wonderful work of art, requiring a master hand– little does the world guess the elaboration it requires to perfect the work. The ladies’ dressing-room is a marvel for its chaste arrangement of colors, the light being thrown from above. The store, which is elegantly fitted up with oak carvings, contains everything needful for a lady’s toilet. The wigs for both ladies and gentlemen are really models of art, and can bear the closest inspection– it being absolutely impossible to detect them from a natural head of hair. . . . If there is any season of the year in which maids and matrons wish to look younger and lovelier than at other times, it is the holiday season of Christmas and New Year’s Day. And naturally, because all the surroundings of life are then bright and joyous. To be in keeping with the season is, as a matter of course, the ambition of all womankind, and we dare say that ambition will attain its object now, as it always has done. But in order to win enduring freshness and loveliness, our fair friends should not fail to enlist in their service the various appliances for the toilette that are furnished by Dr. Felix Gouraud. We commend these, because they have stood the test of time, and are thoroughly good.” ~ odds and ends of news and gossip from the “Epitome of the Week” column in Frank Leslie’s Weekly.

civil-war-dresses

December 31– Saturday– New York City– “Thus passeth away into history this memorable year 1864. Much has been done toward destroying rebellion in these twelve months. It is far weaker tonight than it was a year ago. God aid our efforts to put it down and establish unity and peace this coming year as the last!” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 31– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Nearly every day a dozen or so deserters from the rebel army report themselves to the commander of the post here and exhibit certificates that they have taken the oath of allegiance, whereupon they are furnished with transportation and sent to the west or wherever they wish to go. Yesterday a forlorn chap, who looked like the stage version of the apothecary in Romeo and Juliet, accompanied by another ‘anatomy of a starved pilchard’ that might have been mistaken for his shadow, entered Colonel Washburne’s office in great distress. The apothecary said that his shadow had lost the written evidence of his having taken the oath. The Colonel informed him that it made no difference – that if anybody interfered with him on his travels he could easily take the oath over again and it wouldn’t hurt him a bit. The men took their departure for Ohio. Since the cold weather set in deserters have been flocking into all the outposts in this department. They take the oath and are sent on here or elsewhere. Sometimes a rank rebel makes his way into our lines for mischief, through this means, but generally they are genuine deserters, badly clothed, poorly fed and shivering in every limb.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

federal cavalry officers-KOYX

December 31– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “By the authority conferred upon the President of the United States by the second section of the act of Congress approved July 2, 1864, entitled ‘An act to amend an act to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean,’ etc., I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby designate the Merchants’ National Bank, Boston; the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad Company’s office, Chicago; the First National Bank at Philadelphia; the First National Bank at Baltimore; the First National Bank at Cincinnati, and the Third National Bank at St. Louis, in addition to the general office of the Union Pacific Railroad Company in the city of New York, as the places at which the said Union Pacific Railroad Company shall cause books to be kept open to receive subscriptions to the capital stock of said company.” ~ Executive order by President Lincoln.

December 31– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “A Yankee prisoner at the Libby was yesterday morning killed by the accidental explosion of a musket in the hands of Colonel Spencer, Brigade Inspector of General P. T. Moore’s Reserves. The Colonel was inspecting the weapon in the basement of the Libby, when it exploded, driving the bullet with which it was loaded and the iron ram rod which was in the barrel through the floor over head, and into the body of a prisoner who was sitting on the floor. The prisoner died in a very short time. We could not learn his name.” ~ Richmond Whig.

December 31– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Goodbye old 1864. Your departure is not regretted, as it brings us so much nearer the end of the war. May God grant us success in the year about to open.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 31– Saturday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “If I am tired of life at seventeen what will I be at twenty seven! A perfect misanthrope. Yes, in a great deal less time to be the gayest in the crowd, but if anyone knew the insatiable longing of my soul they would pity me. But it may be all my fault. I am so cold, inconstant and deceitful, no society is congenial to me. Oh how I strive to show a cheerful countenance and be affectionate and agreeable. I confess that I have no love of the world, Any but the few that I love I find hypocritical, mean and selfish.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

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December 31– Saturday– Savannah, Georgia– “We started out this morning to go across the river. We crossed the South Branch, which took us to Hutchinson’s Island. The broader stream is on the other side of it; this was not bridged, and the South Carolina shore was defended by some rebel cavalry. We crossed some men in boats, but they could not get to a good landing, the ground was so marshy. It was attempted to lay a pontoon bridge, but the wind was so furious and agitated the water so much that it was exceedingly difficult, besides we had not nearly pontoons enough. It was very chilly and rained all day, and we lay there in the mud on the island until night, when all but one brigade was sent back to their old camps. That brigade is to be crossed by means of a steam tug and Sat boats, and I suppose we will start out again tomorrow morning to cross the same way, and then we can easily put a bridge across. Most of our camps had been occupied by other troops when we came back; ours had not been broken up and carried off, but was in the possession of a Quarter Master, who was quickly turned out . . . . We have had no mail yet; it is said that one is expected today. I trust we will get it before we leave, as we have orders to be ready to march at any moment. The weather seems to have been rough on the ocean of late, three-mast steamers came in yesterday with top masts gone. They have had a meeting in the city and passed resolutions of submission to the United States, but I think they do not represent the general sentiments of the city; all the educated classes are intensely secesh, still necessity may make them good citizens. Savannah is a very handsome city; private residences are very fine and luxuriously furnished.” ~ Diary of Fredrick C. Winkler.

December 31– Saturday– New Orleans, Louisiana– “One year ago, in my little room in the Camp Street house, I sat shivering over Tennyson and my desk, selfishly rejoicing over the departure of a year that had brought pain and discomfort only to me, and eagerly welcoming the dawning of the New One whose first days were to bring death to George and Gibbes [ two of her brothers], and whose latter part was to separate me from Miriam, and brings me news of Jimmy’s approaching marriage. O sad, dreary, fearful Old Year! I see you go with pain! Bitter as you have been, how do we know what the coming one has in store for us? What new changes will it bring? Which of us will it take? I am afraid of eighteen sixty-five, and have felt a vague dread of it for several years past. Nothing remains as it was a few months ago. Miriam went to Lilly [Georgia], in the Confederacy, on the 19th of October (ah! Miriam!), and mother and I have been boarding with Mrs. Postlethwaite ever since. I miss her sadly. Not as much, though, as I would were I less engaged. For since the first week in August, I have been teaching the children for Sister; and since we have been here, I go to them every morning instead of their coming to me. Starting out at half-past eight daily, and returning a little before three, does not leave me much time for melancholy reflections. And there is no necessity for indulging in them at present; they only give pain.” ~ Diary of Sarah Morgan Dawson.

Sarah Morgan Dawson

Sarah Morgan Dawson

December 31– Saturday– London, England– Birth of William Bridgeman, politician who will serve as Home Secretary from 1922 to 1924. [Dies August 14, 1935.]

We Now Clearly See the Beginning of the End ~ December 1864 ~ 28th to 30th

We Now See Clearly the Beginning of the End ~ Henry Hitchcock

Rebels and Yankees see a shortened life for the Confederacy. Yet a Richmond newspaper asserts the loyalty of slaves and sees hope in the Confederate use of black soldiers. West Virginia papers talk about law and order. A friend encourages Whitman to return to Washington. Abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison ponder the future of freed people.

raids by guerrillas

raids by guerrillas

December 28– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Some half dozen of the scoundrels who have lately been robbing and plundering the peaceable citizens of Marion and Harrison counties, have lately been arrested, brought to the city and committed to the Atheneum. Among the number is one James H. Nay, a deserter from Company K, 9th West Virginia Infantry. He is said to have lately distinguished himself as a great thief and guerrilla since he deserted from the Union army, and it is thought likely that a little hanging will be applied to him in case he shall be found guilty. Another one of the gang is William Coon, who was here once before as a prisoner and who escaped from the guard while on the way to Camp Chase.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 28– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Men fight at the bidding of incentives of many kinds, and their valor is called forth in proportion as their incentives are strong or weak. Array an army of Southern slaves against an army of Federal Negroes, as the South proposes, and which will have the strongest incentive to fight? Certainly the Southern slaves. . . . So far, we have only viewed the different interests which prevail on the respective sides. But there is another influence at work upon the Southern slave tending to make him play the part of a faithful soldier to the rebellion. It is that relation, affection and sympathy between himself and master. Its existence was once generally discredited in the North, in spite of manifold proofs; but the war has furnished too many notorious incidents of the devotion of a majority of the slaves to allow it longer to be doubted. Thousands of slaves follow their masters, be they in the ranks or at the head of armies, through the dangers of the battle field, and many have laid down their lives as the price of the temerity dictated by their love. During [General Jubal] Early’s last invasion of Maryland, General McCausland owed his life to the valor of his faithful body servant, who came to the rescue of his master when hard pressed by Averill’s troops, and relieved him by seriously wounding the Federal captain at the head of the attacking party. General McCausland is represented as the roughest of Virginia’s cavaliers– yet he binds the heart of his lowly slave by the ties of affection that cannot be stifled by the dangers of battle. There are many such masters and slaves in the South.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

problems of rebel women in Virginia as depicted in Harpers Weekly

problems of rebel women in Virginia as depicted in Harpers Weekly

December 29– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained all night; spitting snow this morning. Although General Bragg announces that the enemy’s fleet has disappeared off Wilmington, still the despondency which has seized the croakers remains. It has probably sailed against Charleston, to co-operate with Sherman. . . . Most people believe Charleston will fall next, to be followed by a sweep of the entire sea-board; and grave men fear that the impetus thus given the invader cannot be checked or resisted.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

December 29– Thursday– Savannah, Georgia– “There is nothing very new to add. Indications daily increase of the tremendous moral effect our campaign has had and will have in Georgia in ‘knocking out the underpinning’ of the C.S.A. . . . while I do not think the war likely to end within a year from this as some do, I do think we now see clearly ‘the beginning of the end.’ And our General [Sherman] is the man who under God will bring it.” ~ Letter from Union officer Henry Hitchcock to Mary, his wife.

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator

December 30– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The abolition of slavery in this country is the release of a population as large as that of all New England from a tyranny which crashed all the rights and claims of human nature at a blow; which left to its victims nothing but the capacity to suffer, and the sole duty to be as submissive to their pretended owners as though they were created to, be ‘yoked with the brute and fettered to the soil.’ For them there was no home, no parental or filial relationship, no freedom of locomotion, no right to think or speak, no scope for conscience or the fear of God, no development of those faculties, and powers which take hold of immortal life, no moral culture, no educational improvement, no protection against even the most atrocious wrongs, no incentive to industry but the lash, no power of accumulation, no thrift, no prompting to invention or enterprise, no art, no science, no philosophy, no literature, no aspiration to be good or great. Their emancipation, therefore, meets them just where slavery leaves them– in need of everything that pertains to their physical, intellectual, and moral condition. Here, then, is opened an immense field, for philanthropic and missionary effort; and it is gratifying to perceive a disposition widely felt to cultivate it, both by individuals and associations. No doubt the charities of the benevolent, in this direction, will be sometimes abused, through the selfishness or in competency of some who enter this field; hence, too much caution cannot be exercised by those who are asked to contribute for so laudable an object. As a friend remarks, ‘The term freedman is now a word to conjure with,’ and therefore is there a special liability to be imposed upon by self-seeking adventurers or proselyting sectarists. As far as our knowledge extends, we regard the various Freedmen’s Associations now in operation as trustworthy mediums, and deserving of general encouragement in proportion to the catholic spirit in which they are organized, without reference to theological differences of opinion. We trust they will be vigilant and discriminating in the employment of teachers and agents, and endeavor to penetrate into the motives of those who apply for such situations; for if the animating spirit be simply to find employment or to get pecuniary gain, the moral and educational experiment will be neither successful nor creditable.” ~ The Liberator.

December 30– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “At this time we find it difficult to write anything out of the usual line of every day transactions, which, with us, consists principally in scouting after ‘Johnny Rebs at home’ on extended furloughs, leaves of absence, special and general details, and all the various modes and devices by which a thoroughly worn out and a badly used reb can fabricate and avail himself of to get home, to see his friends and replenish his wardrobe, the latter, to judge from appearances, being the greater inducement. In fact, to judge from the appearance of a ‘fresh arrival’ from Dixie, it would seem that the Southern Confederacy, or what is left of it, is made up of gray or muddy-colored jackets, all of which have seen much service – as none come without them, and few with anything else. This season of the year being favorable for the business, they are caught about as fast as they come in. Many having a wholesome fear of the State Scouts [state militia], and an antipathy to visiting Camp Chase [a prison camp] at this unseasonable time of the year, have availed themselves of President Lincoln’s Proclamation, came in, surrendered up their arms, and taken the oath of fidelity to that Government that they have been trying to break down, which leaves the county of Braxton with fewer armed rebels in it now than there has been since the war commenced, and should we be furnished in future from the General Government the protection we now have – which consists of a sufficient force near to stop or check all large raids through this county, and which we are justly entitled to, we can within ourselves and by Spring put a final stop to horse stealing, bushwhacking, and all the different unlawful and barbarous callings that have been practiced so long and successfully in this and similarly situated localities. All we ask is an extension of our present admirably arranged State organization.” ~ Letter from a Union soldier in Braxton, County, West Virginia, to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

guerrilla robbers

guerrilla robbers

December 30– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “I have been constantly hoping to have you here again and now begin to see something more than a glimmer of fruition. Ashton has spoken (at my instigation) to Mr. Otto the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior in your behalf, and Mr. Otto says that if you will write a letter of application to the Secretary of the Interior, he will endeavor to put you in. Now, dear Walt, do this without delay. The object of your writing the letter is to get a specimen of your hand. Pick out, then, a good pen and write as fairly as you can a letter formally applying for a clerkship. Then enclose a copy of this letter to Ashton, so that he can follow it on to the Secretary. The first letter you will, of course, mail to the Secretary direct. Do this as soon as you can. We shall fetch it this time. I have every confidence that you will get a good and an easy berth, a regular income, &c., leaving you time to attend to the soldiers, to your poems, &c– in a word, what Archimedes wanted, a place on which to rest the lever. I shall wait anxiously to hear that you have sent on the letters. Have been thinking of you constantly for months and have been doing everything I could to secure you a foothold here. . . . I write this letter at intervals between the press of office work, which has driven upon me in spasms today, but pretty severely when it did come. Any incoherence in it, you may refer to the obfuscated state which such hurryings [sic] have induced in me. Farewell, dear Walt. I hope to hear from you very soon. We are all tolerably well at home.” ~ Letter from William D. O’Connor to his friend Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

December 30– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Augusta Chronicle publishes some particulars of the evacuation of Savannah, derived from one who left the city the night before our troops. It says: ‘When he left the city on Monday, several hundred families were without anything to eat. Provisions were exceedingly scarce. During the past week several assaults were made on our lines, but were repulsed signally. Our works around the city were very strong, and the place, in all probability, would have been held had it not been for the fall of Fort Mc Allister. The usual garrison of Fort Mc Allister numbered about one hundred and twenty five men. A day or two before it fell, however, about six hundred more troops were sent to their aid. By its fall we lost between seven and eight hundred men. . . . After Sherman captured the fort he communicated with the fleet and procured a bountiful supply of ammunition – an article which he was deprived of by Providence in Atlanta. Sherman also transferred the heavy guns from Fort Mc Allister to a position from which he could shell the city in case he wished to. No demand was made for the surrender of the city until Saturday. On that day he demanded the unconditional surrender of the city. General Beauregard, in substance, informed him that he knew the way to the city and could take it if he was able. General Beauregard left the city on Sunday. The residents of Savannah did not expect that the city would be captured. They were totally unprepared for such a result. But very few of them succeeded in getting away. Those who did were obliged to leave most of their effects behind. The best order was maintained throughout the siege. All the whiskey was locked up. The stills were all seized by the authorities. The four local companies were assigned to police duty and kept law-breakers quiet. One or two small fires occurred, but little property, however, was damaged. All the rice on the plantations in the vicinity of the city fell into the hands of the Yankees. . . . A large portion of the Central railroad cars were sent down the Savannah and Gulf railroad before that line was interrupted. Both of the printing offices in the city fell into the hands of the Yankees. Both editors left before the capitulation. A gentleman from Savannah says that some of our troops, when leaving, broke open stores and helped themselves to everything they saw, carrying away what they fancied and wantonly destroying much property they could not remove.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

Union General George Thomas, victor at Nashville

Union General George Thomas, victor at Nashville

December 30– Friday– Pulaski, Tennessee– “As the enemy is now entirely driven out of the State of Tennessee, I would respectfully suggest that immediate measures be taken for the reorganization of the civil government of the State, as it is desirable, it possible, to place as force of the army beyond the borders of the State and as close to the enemy as we can, and I should be very happy to be assured that I could leave the State in the hands of the citizens. All should certainly now feel that the establishment of rebel authority in the State of Tennessee is hopeless, and their own interests should induce them to return to their allegiance to the United States, and restore peace to their State without any further quibbling.” ~ Letter from Union General George Thomas to Andrew Johnson

Many Thanks for Your Christmas Gift ~ December 1864 ~ 26th and 27th

Many Thanks for Your Christmas Gift ~ President Lincoln

CW graves-3

Lincoln sends thanks to Sherman for the generous gift at Christmas. Sherman makes plans. George Templeton Strong takes note of Northern joy. The governor of West Virginia encourages citizens to take action against rebel bandits. In Richmond there is talk of making General Lee a dictator and arming thousands of slaves, all in desperate attempts to save the Confederacy.

December 26– Monday– New York City– “Great news today, official and indubitable. Savannah surrendered to Sherman last Wednesday . . . . the city is reclaimed and occupied by the national army. Its people seems quite resigned to the change and we have secured a new and most valuable water-base for operations on the Gulf States and on South Carolina. . . . So much for Sherman’s desperate enforced retreat to the coast and for the braying and bragging . . . of all rebel newspapers. . . . They out-lie any Northern paper I know.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

George Templeton Strong

George Templeton Strong

December 26– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We invite the attention of our readers to the terse and vigorous address of Governor Boreman, which appears in our advertising columns this morning. To the people of the interior counties infested by gangs of robbers and murderers it has an especial interest. The Governor recommends that the citizens form organizations among themselves for the purpose of exterminating, or otherwise ridding their sections of these outlaws. He promises to furnish arms and ammunition to all squads and companies organized for this purpose. This is the true policy. The citizens can do this work better than the military. Let them shoot down every scoundrel known to be guilty, and we shall soon see an end of this devilish work. It will only need then that restitution be made off of the home rebels who have been harboring and encouraging these bandits, for losses already sustained. We would be glad to see the Commander of this Department issue such an order.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 26– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift, the capture of Savannah. When you were about leaving Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that ‘nothing risked, nothing gained,’ I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honor is yours; for I believe none of us went further than to acquiesce. And taking the work of General Thomas into the counting, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success. Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantages, but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of the [of] whole Hood’s army, it brings those who sat in darkness to see a great light. But what next? I suppose it will be safer if I leave General Grant and yourself to decide. Please make my grateful acknowledgments to your whole army, officers and men.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Abraham_Lincoln_O-55,_1861-crop

December 26– Monday– Savannah, Georgia– “We have an order to move to the north side of the river tomorrow, there to camp for the present; that will take us into South Carolina, that hot-bed of secession. If the people of that state had been listeners to the conversations of officers and soldiers here lately, they would know that their doom is no enviable one. It seems to be a favorite contemplation with all, how they will plunder upon getting into South Carolina. I think General Sherman will take his army into the interior of that state before long. It is a good plan. Soldiers like sweet potatoes and young pork, varied with poultry, much better than lean beef and hard tack. It is cheaper also for the United States. Then there are some railroads there too, that ought to be fixed. I think we will operate some this winter without very hard work, and what is still better, won’t be cut off from communication. I have read the President’s Message and Secretary Fessenden’s Report today. The latter is a very interesting document; I have never studied finances at all, but it becomes a subject of great interest now. The weather is like summer. We are commencing our daily drills again.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

General Sherman

General Sherman

December 26– Monday– Savannah, Georgia– “The city of Savannah and surrounding country will be held as a military post, and adapted to future military uses, but, as it contains a population of some twenty thousand people, who must be provided for, and as other citizens may come, it is proper to lay down certain general principles, that all within its military jurisdiction may understand their relative duties and obligations. 1. During war, the military is superior to civil authority, and, where interests clash, the civil must give way; yet, where there is no conflict, every encouragement should be given to well-disposed and peaceful inhabitants to resume their usual pursuits. Families should be disturbed as little as possible in their residences, and tradesman allowed the free use of their shops, tools, etc.; churches, schools, and all places of amusement and recreation, should be encouraged, and streets and roads made perfectly safe to persons in their pursuits. Passes should not be exacted within the line of outer pickets, but if any person shall abuse these privileges by communicating with the enemy, or doing any act of hostility to the Government of the United States, he or she will be punished with the utmost vigor of the law. Commerce with the outer world will be resumed to an extent commensurate with the wants of the citizens, governed by the restrictions and rules of the Treasury Department. 2. The chief quartermaster and commissary of the army may give suitable employment to the people, white and black, or transport them to such points as they may choose where employment can be had; and may extend temporary relief in the way of provisions and vacant houses to the worthy and needy, until such time as they can help themselves. They will select first the buildings for the necessary uses of the army; next, a sufficient number of stores, to be turned over to the Treasury agent for trade-stores. All vacant storehouses or dwellings, and all buildings belonging to absent rebels, will be construed and used as belonging to the United States, until such time as their titles can be settled by the courts of the United States. 3. The Mayor and City Council of Savannah will continue to exercise their functions, and will, in concert with the commanding officer of the post and the chief-quartermaster, see that the fire-companies are kept in organization, the streets cleaned and lighted, and keep up a good understanding between the citizens and soldiers. They will ascertain and report to the chief commissary of subsistence, as soon as possible, the names and number of worthy families that need assistance and support. The mayor will forthwith give public notice that the time has come when all must choose their course, viz. remain within our lines, and conduct themselves as good citizens, or depart in peace. He will ascertain the names of all who choose to leave Savannah, and report their names and residence to the chief-quartermaster, that measures may be taken to transport them beyond our lines. 4. Not more than two newspapers will be published in Savannah; their editors and proprietors will be held to the strictest accountability, and will be punished severely, in person and property, for any libelous publication, mischievous matter, premature news, exaggerated statements, or any comments whatever upon the acts of the constituted authorities; they will be held accountable for such articles, even though copies from other papers.” ~ Orders from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Federal cavalry officers

Federal cavalry officers

December 27– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your note of the twentieth of December, conveying the announcement that the Trustees of the College of New Jersey had conferred upon me the degree of Doctor of Laws. The assurance conveyed by this high compliment, that the course of the Government which I represent, has received the approval of a body of gentlemen of such character and intelligence, in this time of public trial, is most grateful to me. Thoughtful men must feel that the fate of civilization upon this continent is involved in the issue of our contest. Among the most gratifying proofs of this conviction is the hearty devotion everywhere exhibited by our schools and colleges to the national cause. I am most thankful if my labors have seemed to conduct to the preservation of those institutions, under which alone we can expect good government and in its train sound learning, and the progress of the liberal arts.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Dr. John Maclean

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

December 27– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “A night of rain– morning of fog and gloom. At last we have an account of the evacuation of Savannah. Also of the beginning of the assault on Port Fisher and Caswell below Wilmington, with painful apprehensions of the result; for the enemy have landed troops above the former fort, and found no adequate force to meet them, thanks to the policy of the government in allowing the property holders to escape the toils and dangers of the field, while the poor, who have nothing tangible to fight for, are thrust to the front, where many desert. Our condition is also largely attributable to the management of the Bureau of Conscription . . . . It is reported that Sherman is marching south of Savannah, on some new enterprise; probably a detachment merely to destroy the railroad. An expedition is attacking, or about to attack, Mobile. All our possessions on the coast seem to be the special objects of attack this winter. If Wilmington falls, ‘Richmond next,’ is the prevalent supposition. The brokers are offering $50 Confederate States notes for $1 of gold. Men are silent, and some dejected. It is unquestionably the darkest period we have yet experienced. Intervention on the part of European powers is the only hope of many. Failing that, no doubt a Negro army will be organized– and it might be too late! And yet, with such a preponderance of numbers and material against us, the wonder is that we have not lost all the sea-board before this. I long since supposed the country would be penetrated and overrun in most of its ports, during the second or third year of the war. If the government would foster a spirit of patriotism, the country would always rise again, after these invasions, like the water of the sea plowed by ships of war. But the government must not crush the spirit of the people relied upon for defense, and the rich must fight side by side with the poor, or the poor will abandon the rich, and that will be an abandonment of the cause. It is said General Lee is to be invested with dictatorial powers, so far as our armies are concerned. This will inspire new confidence. He is represented as being in favor of employing Negro troops.” ~ Diary of John Jones.