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

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