Eternal Resistance to Reunion ~ January 1865 ~ 28th to 30th

Eternal Resistance to Reunion ~ Charleston Mercury\


In South Carolina as in other parts of the Confederacy, there exists strong resistance to peace negotiations with the North. Some Southern clergy do not worry about the sinfulness of slavery itself but rather their failure to bless slave marriages. [In many parts of the South slave marriages were not blessed by white clergy in order to make it easier to sell slave spouses apart from one another.] Reports are surfacing about Yankee troops taking vengeance on South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union. It is about to become much worse. Ladies’ magazines have special offers for their readers. Whitman settles back into life in Washington.

fashionable men's clothes for 1865

fashionable men’s clothes for 1865

January 28– Saturday– New York City– “Frank Leslie’s Lady’s Illustrated Almanac for 1865. This annual contains a greater amount of useful and entertaining information than any publication of the kind ever issued. It is indeed the only Lady’s Illustrated Almanac published. It is embellished with over 70 beautiful engravings, by the finest Artists of the day, executed in the highest style of art. It contains directions for the parlor, ball-room, boudoir, store-room, kitchen, garden, nursery and sick-room. In a word, it is the matron’s vade mecum, as well as the young lady’s companion, and it should be found in every household. In addition to general illustrations, it contains splendid portraits of Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. McClellan. exquisitely engraved on steel, and a graphic Bathing-Scene at Long Branch, printed on fine paper. This complete Lady’s Manual– which contains more reading matter than an octavo volume– costs only 50 cents. It will be sent, postage free, on receipt of the price, either in currency or postage stamps.” ~ Advertisement in today’s Frank Leslie’s Weekly. [The 50 cents would equal $7.38 in today’s money using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 28– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Charleston Mercury of . . . the 18th, states that about two hundred and fifty refugees – men, women and children – have arrived in that city from Savannah. They nearly all concur in the statement that the general treatment of the inhabitants of Savannah by the Yankees has been mild. They say that Sherman has, with Foster’s reinforcements, eighty thousand men, and that he began his movement against Branchville and Augusta on Wednesday, January 11th. The refugees say that the privates speak of wreaking their vengeance on South Carolina; but the officers say that their actions will depend upon the amount of opposition they may encounter. They declare that if they should have hard fighting to do, and are successful, they will not attempt to restrain their men.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

Southern refugees

Southern refugees

January 28– Saturday– near Thomasville, Georgia– “We left Albany at an early hour. Albert Bacon rode out home in the carriage with us, and I did the best I could for him by pretending to be too sleepy to talk and so leaving him free to devote himself to Mett. Fortunately, the roads have improved since last Saturday, and we were not so long on the way. We found sister busy with preparations for Julia’s birthday party, which came off in the afternoon. All the children in the neighborhood were invited and most of the grown people, too. The youngsters were turned loose in the backyard to play King’s Base, Miley Bright, &c., and before we knew it, we grown people found ourselves as deep in the fun as the children. In the midst of it all a servant [slave] came up on horseback with a letter for sister. It proved to be a note from Captain Hines bespeaking her hospitality for General Sam Jones and staff, and of course she couldn’t refuse, though the house was crowded to overflowing already. She had hardly finished reading when a whole cavalcade of horses and government wagons came rattling up to the door, and the general and one of his aides helped two ladies and their children to alight from an ambulance in which they were traveling. When they saw what a party we had on hand, they seemed a little embarrassed, but sister laughed away their fears, and sent the children out to join the others in the backyard and left the ladies, who were introduced as Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Creighton, with their escorts, in the parlor, while she went out to give orders about supper and make arrangements for their accommodation. Mrs. Meals, Metta, and I hustled out of our rooms and doubled up with sister and the children. Everybody was stowed away somewhere, when, just before bedtime, two more aides, Captain Warwick, of Richmond, and Captain Frazer, of Charleston, rode up and were invited to come in, though the house was so crowded that sister had not even a pallet on the floor to offer them. All she could do was to give them some pillows and tell them they were welcome to stay in the parlor if they could make themselves comfortable there. People are used to putting up with any sort of accommodations these times and they seemed very glad of the shelter. They said it was a great deal better than camping out in the wagons, as they had been doing, and with the help of the parlor rugs and their overcoats and army blankets, they could make themselves very comfortable. They were regular thoroughbreds, we could see, and Captain Frazer one of the handsomest men I ever laid my eyes on – a great, big, splendid, fair-haired giant, that might have been a Viking leader if he had lived a thousand years ago. Sister has been so put out by Mr. Ballou that I don’t see how she could keep her temper well enough to be polite to anybody. He has packed up and taken himself off, leaving her without an overseer, after giving but one day’s notice, and she has the whole responsibility of the plantation and all these Negroes on her hands. It was disgraceful for him to treat her so, and Brother Troup off at the war, too.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 28– Saturday– Dhudike, Punjab, India– Birth of Lala Lajpat Rai, author, politician and a leader of Indian independence movement. [Dies November 17, 1928.]

Lala Lajpat Rai

Lala Lajpat Rai

January 29– Sunday– near Thomasville, Georgia– “Breakfast early so as to let our general and staff proceed on their way, as they said they wanted to make an early start. General Jones has recently been appointed commandant of the Department of South Georgia and Florida, with headquarters at Tallahassee. It was nearly eleven o’clock before they got off. Mr. Robert Bacon says he met them on their way, and they told him they were so pleased with their entertainment at sister’s that they wished they could have staid a day or two longer. I had a good long talk with the two young captains before they left and they were just as nice as they could be. We found that we had a number of common friends, and Captain Warwick knows quite well the Miss Lou Randolph in Richmond that Garnett writes so much about, and Rosalie Beirne, too.Just before bedtime we were startled by heavy steps and a loud knocking at the front door. Having no white man within three miles, even an overseer, we were a little startled, but mustered courage, sister, Mett, and I, followed by two or three of the Negroes, to go to the door. Instead of a stray Yankee, or a squad of deserters, we confronted a smart young Confederate officer in such a fine new uniform that the sight of it nearly took our breath away. He said he was going to the Cochran plantation, but got lost in the pond back of our house and had come in to inquire his way. Sister invited him into the sitting-room, and he sat there talking with us till one of the servants [slaves] could saddle a mule and go with him to show him the road. Sister said she felt mean for not inviting him to spend the night, but she was too tired and worried to entertain another guest now, if the fate of the Confederacy depended on it. His uniform was too fresh and new anyway to look very heroic.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.


January 30– Monday– Elmira, New York– “I seat my self to write in answer yours of the 18th December which I have just received it is the first letter I have had from you since I have been a prisoner. It found me well I have had good health all the time. I was very glad to hear you all was in good health. My Dear you wrote of trouble do not be troubled about me if you can help it. Although we are miles apart. Should life last I will return to you some time I cannot say when. It will be months and may be years although do the best you can. Give my respects to Enquiring friends. School our children– tell them Papa will be home some time. I want to see them very bad.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Richard Henry Brooks to his wife Telitha.

January 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have this morning written to Captain Mason, telling him where George is, & asking him, as that would be ten times more likely to get through, if he will have (or direct some proper person) to put up a box of things to eat, & given him George’s address to send it through the lines, & said that I or you would pay the bill of course, & be most deeply obliged to him & that I would have enclosed the money in the letter I sent him, but thought it safer to wait & see whether it reached him. I have written to George since I have been here in Washington. . . . We have had very cold mean weather here ever since I arrived till to-day– it is now moderated & very pleasant overhead. I am quite comfortable, have a comfortable room enough, with a wood stove, & a pile of wood in the room, a first rate & good big bed, & a very friendly old secesh landlady whose husband & son are off in the Southern army– she is different from any I have found yet here, is very obliging, starts my fire for me at 5 o’clock every afternoon, & lights the gas, even, & then turns it down to be ready for me when I come home. I get my meals where I can– they are poor & expensive. You speak of the Indian office– it is a Bureau in the Department of the Interior, which has charge of quite a large mass of business relating to the numerous Indian tribes in West & Northwest, large numbers of whom are under annuities, supplies, &c for the government. All I have hitherto employed myself about has been making copies of reports & Bids, &c for the office to send up to the Congressional Committee on Indian Affairs. It is easy enough– I take things very easy– the rule is to come at 9 and go at 4 but I don’t come at 9, and only stay till 4 when I want, as at present to finish a letter for the mail. I am treated with great courtesy, as an evidence of which I have to inform you that since I began this letter, I have been sent for by the cashier to receive my pay for the arduous & invaluable services I have already rendered to the government. I feel quite well, perhaps not as completely so as I used to was, but I think I shall get so this spring– as I did indeed feel yesterday better than I have since I was taken sick last summer. I spent yesterday afternoon in Armory Square Hospital, & had a real good time, & the boys had too. Jeff, you need not be afraid about my overdoing the matter. I shall go regularly enough, but shall be on my guard against trouble. I am also going to some of the camps about here, there is a great chance among them to do good, & they are interesting places every way, for one who goes among the men.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his brother Jeff.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

January 30– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Protestant and Catholic clergy of the Confederacy are calling attention to the duty of enforcing the sanctity of the marriage relation among slaves. The Baptist Convention of Georgia has adopted an emphatic resolution upon this subject. The Southern Churchman quotes various religious authorities, setting forth the sinfulness of any neglect by masters of this Christian duty; among them Bishop Verot, (Roman Catholic Bishop of Savannah,) who says: ‘Slavery, to become a permanent institution of the South, must be made to conform to the law of God; a Southern Confederacy will never thrive unless it rests upon morality and order; the Supreme Arbiter of Nations will not bless with stability and prosperity a state of things which would be a flagrant violation of His holy commandments.’” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

January 30– Monday– Charleston, South Carolina– “For two days past the political atmosphere has been thick with rumors of approaching peace. The basis of these rumors appears in the despatch we publish today, announcing the appointment of three well known Confederate gentlemen, as Commissioners to confer with the Lincoln Government on the subject of peace. We should have been better pleased, had the first formal as well as actual overtures for peace come from Washington to Richmond, instead of from Richmond to Washington; but in a case where the honor, the treasure and the blood of our people are all at stake, we would not stand upon trifles; and, if there be really a prospect of achieving our independence and an honorable peace by negotiation, then we bid our Commissioners God speed! But has there been anything in the course of the Yankee Government, or press, or people, to indicate the least disposition to yield the sine qua non of an honorable settlement – Confederate Independence? We know not. Every utterance of public sentiment, official or unofficial, that has reached us from beyond the Potomac, forbids the hope of such a concession at this time. But if, in this matter we are mistaken – if, indeed, so great a change has come over the spirit of the Yankee dream that they are ready to consent to the separation which we have been fighting so long to maintain– it would, perhaps, be well worth while for our Government to dally for a season, until we can fully learn the causes which could have produced so sudden and so singular an effect. Meantime, it behooves our people to be elated by no delusive hopes, and our soldiers to stand to their arms. Let the spirit of eternal resistance to reunion with the fiends who have wrought such desolation to Southern homes everywhere, be freshly awakened throughout the land. Let the atrocities and the faithlessness of our foe be ever kept in view, and let the sea of blood shed by the hosts of devoted, martyrs to our cause forever roll between us and the hated States of the North. Let the Commissioners at Washington parley and wrangle over the terms of peace to their hearts’ content. Sherman and his insolent army are the commissioners with whom, just now, we have to deal.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

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