Fight For Charleston! ~ January 1865 ~ 21st to 24th

Fight for Charleston!

Dozens of women in Charleston, South Carolina, call on their men to fight the Yankees to the death. An exchanged Confederate prisoner reports that morale is high among rebel soldiers in Northen prison camps. Yet another soldier writes to his wife that desertions from the Confederate ranks are increasing and morale is low. A Tennessee woman notes that the war is demoralizing every body. Like other Northerners, George Templeton Strong sees the end of slavery as necessary to re-establishment of the Union. Whitman has a job in Washington.

slave auction

slave auction

January 21– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “It has been a long time since I have seen or heard from you, and I suppose that you have nearly forgotten me, but if you will think back you will remember a man by my name, whom you met in Carver Hospital Washington D. C. where we met then the first time. I never expected to be able to write you a line in the year 1865, but I have been spared for some other purpose I suppose. And now you will please accept my thanks for all the favors that you have shown me while lying then unable to help myself. Lieutenant Babcock has this morning recd a letter from Lieutenant Caldwell. Caldwell and all the rest of our officers are in Danville Military Prison Virginia, he mentions Major Wright, Captain Whitman . . . [and others] they are all doing well, & all they ask for is for something to eat, Hard Bread and Pork, or anything that can be sent them, and as it is impossible for us to get them anything how I hope some of you good people at home will try and do something for them. Lieutenant Babcock has shown me a memorial of the Old 51st and if you could possibly send me a few copies I would be very much obliged to you for your trouble. Once more allow me to thank you for your kindness toward me while in Hospital.” ~ Letter from Union officer Aaron Smith to Walt Whitman with news of Whitman’s brother George.

January 21– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– According to an article in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch the state of Georgia had16,000 slaves in 1776 and 381,682 slaves in 1850.

January 21– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “From Colonel M. L. Woods, of the 46th Alabama regiment, who has just returned from imprisonment in the North, in which he remained for twenty months, we learn that there are now in the prison camp on Johnson Island, three thousand Confederate officers and two hundred private soldiers. For the first six or eight months after Colonel Weeds reached Johnson island, the prisoners were treated well. . . . What is most important, however, concerning our prisoners, is the spirit which animates them. They were never more enthusiastic in their patriotism, and were never more determined to fight through the war than now. They authorized Colonel Woods to say to the President and the Confederate Congress that, in the reorganization of the army, which they anticipated, any claims which they might have as officers should be entirely disregarded. They are perfectly willing to shoulder their muskets and march in the ranks of the army. The general spirit of Confederate prisoners – privates as well as officers – throughout the North, was undaunted and determined; and whilst a large number of soldiers are reported to have taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, Colonel Woods knows that the number is not only grossly exaggerated, but that a large number who do take the oath only do so to enable them to get out of the clutches of their keepers and return to the Confederacy.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

johnson island index01

January 21– Saturday– somewhere in southeast South Carolina– “I see the citizens of Savannah has held a Union meeting and passed resolutions in favor of going back into the Union. They say they are going to send one copy to the Mayor of Augusta, one to the Mayor of Atlanta, one to Macon, one to Columbus and one to the President of the United States. I suppose they treat them very well in Savannah! I had the chance of [a] lieutenant position the other day and would not accept it. All I want is to get out of this war. Sallie, when you write me let me know the people’s notions at home about the war. Let me know what your notions are. I will tell you what mine are: I am whipped. Sallie, we are a ruined people. There is no chance for us. Good many of our regiments are deserting. They are in low spirits. Tom Sanders from our county has deserted, but I don’t think I will ever desert. I will stay with them until the war ends or they kill me. I think the best thing we can do is to go back into the Union. The Negroes are certain to be set free. Sallie, we have done all that we can. That’s my notion, Sallie. Remember me in this dark hour of trial.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife Sallie.

Federal ambulances

Federal ambulances

January 21– Saturday– Albany, Georgia– “I never in all my life knew such furious rains as we had last night; it seemed as if the heavens themselves were falling upon us. In addition to the uproar among the elements, my slumbers were disturbed by frightful dreams about Garnett. Twice during the night I dreamed that he was dead and in a state of corruption, and I couldn’t get anybody to bury him. Colonel Avery and Captain Mackall were somehow mixed up in the horrid vision, trying to help me, but powerless to do so. In the morning, when we waked, I found that Metta also had dreamed of Garnett’s death. I am not superstitious, but I can’t help feeling more anxious than usual to hear news of my darling brother. The rain held up about dinner time and Mrs. Sims determined to return to Albany, in spite of high waters and the threatening aspect of the sky. We went five miles out of our way to find a place where we could ford Wright’s Creek, and even there the water was almost swimming. Mett and I were frightened out of our wits, but Mrs. Sims told us to shut our eyes and trust to Providence, and Providence and Uncle Aby between them brought us through in safety. At some places in the woods, sheets of water full half a mile wide and from one to two feet deep were running across the road, on their way to swell the flood in Flint River. Sister sent a Negro before us on a mule to see if the water-courses were passable. We had several bad scares, but reached town in safety a little after dark.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 21 – Saturday– Paris, France– Joseph Xavier Boniface Saintine, novelist and dramatist, dies at age 66.

civil-war-poetry-pic

January 21– Saturday– Helsinki, Finland– The painter Johan Erik Lindh dies at 71 years of age.

January 22– Sunday– New York City– “I have faith in Uncle Abe’s sagacity and honesty and in Stanton’s vindictiveness. They favor no pacification that leaves the sources of this war still open and the Slaveocracy in existence to recover its strength and rebel a second time. They know that peace and union cannot be secured without utterly squelching slavery and slaveholders.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 22– Sunday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “The war seems to be demoralizing every body. . . . Some of the very nicest girls of this county are throwing themselves, their honor and good name away, losing control over fiendish passions, ruining themselves forever in the eyes of the world. Oh will people never be brought to their senses!” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

January 22– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “The rains returned with double fury in the night and continued all day. If ‘the stars in their courses fought against Sisera,’ it looks as if the heavens were doing as much for us against Kilpatrick and his raiders. There was no service at St. Paul’s, so Mrs. Sims kept Metta and me in the line of duty by reading aloud High Church books to us. They were very dull, so I didn’t hurt myself listening. After dinner we read the Church service and sang hymns until relieved by a call from our old friend, Captain Hobbs.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 22– Sunday– Schwerin, Germany– Birth of Friedrich Paschen, educator and physicist. [Dies February 25, 1947.]

Friedrich Paschen

Friedrich Paschen

January 23– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, That our senators in congress be instructed, and our representatives requested, to cast their votes in favor of the proposed amendment to the constitution of the United States for the abolishment of slavery.” ~ Resolution passed by the state legislature.

January 23– Monday– Paris, France– The painter Joseph Desire Court dies at 67 years of age.

woman on a couch by Joseph Desire Court

woman on a couch by Joseph Desire Court

January 24– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Several members of the Cabinet, with myself, considered the question, to-day, as to the time of your coming on here. While we fully appreciate your wish to remain in Tennessee until her State government shall be completely re-inaugurated, it is our unanimous conclusion that it is unsafe for you to not be here on the 4th of March. Be sure to reach here by that time.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Andrew Johnson.

January 24– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “You are hereby appointed to a Clerkship of the first class in the Office of Indian Affairs, of this Department, the salary of which is $1200 per annum, to commence when you have subscribed the enclosed oath, and entered upon duty.” ~ Letter from William T. Otto to Walt Whitman.

January 24– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We beg, through your columns, to address, the General commanding South Carolina, and the Governor of this State. We, women of Charleston, not enthusiastic girls, but women whose hair has whitened through the anguish of this awful war, whose husbands, sons, brothers, have died for South Carolina and Charleston, entreat to be heard. We would say that we have listened, with grief and horror inexpressible, to the hints of abandoning to our foes, without a struggle, the city of our love. We urge, by all our titles to regard; we implore, as the greatest boon, fight for Charleston! Fight at every point – fight for every inch, and if our men must die, let them die amid the blazing ruins of our homes, their souls rising upward on the flames which save our city from the pollution of our enemy. Send out the women and children yet in the city. Thousands of Charleston women scattered through the land will share with them their all. They shall not starve. But let them be no excuse for deserting the sacred homes of us and our ancestors. . . . By the rain of blood and tears, which has fallen upon our hearts, never quenching, but brightening the flame of patriotism there, do not utterly crush those true hearts by this blow. We know, each of us, our husbands, our brothers, our sons, are not shrinking now. They are chafing at this fatal policy of retreat. They who have won their fame from the Savannah river to Charleston harbor, they ask but leave to fight on as they have fought. Do you but lead them on, not keep them back. We call upon the Commanding General to stand by us, to fight with us, heart and soul. We call upon our Governor, sworn to defend Carolina and her honor, to defend it here. Let the mantle of the dictator fall upon him, and if Charleston, defended to the hour, must then fall amidst her burning edifices and her homes – either to the sound of guns of our forts, as they send out their last defiance to the baffled foe.” ~ Letter signed by dozens of women to the editor of the Charleston Mercury.

Confederate women

Confederate women

January 24– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “Mr. and Mrs. Welsh spent the evening with us. Jim Chiles came last night and sat until the chickens crowed for day. Although I like Jimmy and enjoy his budget of news, I would enjoy his visits more if he knew when to go away. I never was so tired and sleepy in my life, and cold, too, for we had let the fire go out as a hint. When at last we went to our room I nearly died laughing at the way Metta had maneuvered to save time. She had loosened every button and string that she could get at without being seen, while sitting in the parlor, and had now only to give herself a good shake and she was ready for bed. We spent the morning making calls with Mrs. Sims, and found among the refugees from South Carolina a charming old lady, Mrs. Brisbane. Though past fifty, she is prettier than many a woman of half her years, and her manners would grace a court. Her father was an artist of note, and she showed us some beautiful pictures painted by him. After dinner we enjoyed some Florida oranges sent by Clinton Spenser, and they tasted very good, in the absence of West India fruit.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

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