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.

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