Busy Tearing Up the Railroad ~ February 1865 ~ the 6th to 8th

Busy Tearing up the Railroad ~ a Union officer

skirmishing in South Carolina

skirmishing in South Carolina

While the governor of South Carolina calls on all citizens to resist the Yankee, Federal troops are busy destroying railroads and burning cotton, just as they did marching through Georgia months ago. While Delaware, a slave-holding state which remained in the Union, rejects the Thirteenth Amendment, five other states ratify it. Snow falls up and down the east coast. Secretary Welles again describes a dysfunctional Congress driven only by party politics– just as today’s Congress. Lincoln sends a thank you letter to William Lloyd Garrison. An obscure Catholic monk presents pioneering scientific research.

February 6– Monday– Jefferson City, Missouri– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 6– Monday– London, England– Isabella Mary Mayson Beeton, cook and author of a popular book on household management, dies at 28 years of age.

Isabella Beeton

Isabella Beeton

February 6– Monday– Antrim, Ireland– Birth of Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin, astronomer and educator. [Dies September 20, 1939.]

February 6– Monday– Kristiansand, Norway– Birth of William Martin Nygaard, publisher and politician. [Dies December 19, 1952.]

February 7– Tuesday– Augusta, Maine– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

13th_Amendment_Pg1of1_AC

February 7– Tuesday– Brooklyn, New York– “We are now having quite a snow storm– it looks as if it would be quite deep. I am rather sorry to see it for it looks hard for the soldiers. I feel disappointed in regard to the peace talks. I was in hopes that we have had war enough. It seems almost impossible that the south can keep up the fight much longer– however I think the president showed a great deal of cuteness in going down to see them and if he only told them that the Union was all he asked [he showed] more statesmanship than I ever gave him credit for. I see that a great many here have not yet given up the idea but what there is something more to come– the desire for a peace on the basis of the Union alone seems so far as I can see meets with universal applause. Well Walt so you have gone to keeping house have you? You must be careful or you will get sick again. I fear you do not live well. I think the great cause of good health is good eating. Keep up the supply of good things. Do you have about the same experience in the Hospitals as you used to? were the men glad to see you back? were any remaining that you used to visit? if so I know they were glad to see you– and it must seem like old times for you to go among them. Do you see many of the friends that you used to know then? I suppose you visit the Hospitals once a day– are there as many in them as there used to be? I hope not– tis so long since we have had any very large battles that I should suppose the Hospitals were not full.” ~ Letter from Jeff Whitman to his brother Walt.

February 7– Tuesday– Dover, Delaware– The legislature rejects the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have your kind letter of the 21st of January, and can only beg that you will pardon the seeming slight occasioned by my constant engagements. When I received the spirited and admirable painting, ‘Waiting for the Hour,’ I directed my Secretary not to acknowledge its arrival at once, preferring to make my personal acknowledgment of the tender kindness of the donors; and waiting for some leisure hour, I have committed the discourtesy of not replying at all. I hope you will believe that my thanks, though late, are most cordial, and I request that you will convey to them to those associated with you in this flattered and generous gift.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to William Lloyd Garrison.

Waiting for the Hour, a gift to President Lincoln

Waiting for the Hour, a gift to President Lincoln

February 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Very little before the Cabinet. The President, when I entered the room, was reading with much enjoyment certain portions of Petroleum V. Nasby to Dennison and Speed. The book is a broad burlesque on modern Democratic party men. Fessenden, who came in just after me, evidently thought it hardly a proper subject for the occasion, and the President hastily dropped it. . . . Strange how men in prominent positions will, for mere party, stoop to help the erring and the guilty. It is a species of moral treason. J. P. Hale is, as usual, loud-mouthed and insolent in the Senate, belying, perverting, misstating, and misrepresenting the Navy Department. The poor fellow has but few more days in the Senate, and is making the most of them for his hate.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

February 7– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “This morning when I awoke I found as did all the troops that I was covered with snow and ice. It had snowed during the night and then turned to rain which froze as it fell. I never felt more uncomfortable in my life and we started fires to try and dry our clothing.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 7– Tuesday– Hatcher’s Run, Virginia– In the third and final day of hard fighting, Federal forces defeat Confederate troops, creating an encirclement around Petersburg and Richmond which extends 37 miles, leaving General Lee’s 46,000 soldiers short on supplies and facing General Grant’s 125,000 troops who are well supplied. For this three day battle, Union casualties– dead, wounded, missing– total 1512 while total Confederate losses amount to approximately 1160.

February 7– Tuesday– Topeka, Kansas– The state legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

Governor Andrew Magrath of South Carolina

Governor Andrew Magrath of South Carolina

February 7– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The doubt has been dispelled. The truth is made manifest; and the startling conviction is now forced upon all. The invasion of the State has been commenced, our people driven from their homes; their property plundered and destroyed; the torch and the sword displayed, as the fate to which they are destined! The threats of an insolent foe are to be carried into execution, unless that foe is checked and beaten back. I call now upon the people of South Carolina to rise up and defend, at once, their own rights and the honor of their State. . . . Remove your property from the reach of the enemy; carry what you can to a place of safety; then quickly rally and return to the field. What you cannot carry, destroy. Whatever you leave that will be of use to your foe, what he will not need, that will he destroy. Indulge no sickly hope that you will be spared by submission; terror will but whet his revenge. Think not that your property will be respected, and afterward recovered. No such feeling prompts him. You leave it but to support and sustain him; you save it but to help him on his course. Destroy what you cannot remove. . . . You have led the way in those acts which united the people of your sister States in this confederation of States, and their secession from the Government of the United States. You first fired the gun at the flag of the United States, and caused that flag to be lowered at your command. As yet, you have suffered less than any other people. You have spoken words of defiance – let your acts be equally significant. In your sister States, with the people of those States, you have a common sympathy in the determination to be free, and in your hatred of the foe; you will not falter in that strong sympathy which is derived from a common suffering. . . . Rise, then, with the truth before you, that the cause in which you are to arm is the cause of Justice and of Right! Strike, with the belief strong in your hearts, that the cause of Justice and of Right is the cause which a Power superior to the hosts seeking to oppress you will not suffer to be overthrown. And even upon the soil of the State in which this monstrous tyranny was first defied, let it meet the fate it deserves, while imperishable honor will be awarded those who contributed to that great consummation, in which humanity will rejoice.” ~ Message from Governor Andrew Gordon Magrath to the people of South Carolina, published in today’s Charleston Mercury.

February 7– Tuesday– Bamberg, South Carolina– “Marched into Bamberg; five miles. This was a once thriving town on the Charleston and Augusta Railroad. The Fifteenth Corps was busy tearing up the railroad; as we entered the last train to Charleston passed about 4 o’clock that morning. In Bamberg we found an immense quantity of cotton, which was burned.” ~ Diary of a staff officer under Union General Oliver O. Howard.

typical of the South Carolina railroads destroyed by Federal Troops

typical of the South Carolina railroads destroyed by Federal Troops

February 8– Wednesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Massachusetts legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 8– Wednesday– New York City– “Not so clear but that the Hampton Roads Conference has done good after all by silencing or converting Peace Democrats. . . . Opposition papers . . . say in substance, more or less distinctly, ‘Since the South refuses to negotiate about peace, except on the basis of recognition and disunion, there is nothing left but to fight it out.’ Strange they have been so long in coming to that conclusion.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

February 8– Wednesday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– The Pennsylvania legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 8– Wednesday– Johnson’s Island, Ohio– “I am forced to reiterate the familiar cry – no letter. It is a consolation to know that a portion of my letters reach you. But I look daily for the batch of old missives that have been detained by the way. Letters from Aunt Mary, Ira and Carrie Sanders have been received. The information those contained relieved my anxiety about affairs at home. The suspense had been unutterably painful. On every Wednesday night there is held a small prayer-meeting in my room. The old familiar songs are sung, the loved [ones] at home are remembered in prayers of men familiar with every experience of grim-visaged war. There are none on earth I love better. Monroe was before me; the dear old church hard by my grandmother’s home, the other scarcely less dear from kindred associations, those whom I have so often met within their sacred walls. I have abiding faith that I shall one day meet them as of old.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his sweetheart Hester C. Felker.

Henry McDaniel

Henry McDaniel

February 8– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I am called on by the House of Representatives to give an account of my interview with Messrs. Stephens, Hunter & Campbell; and it is very desirable to me to put in your despatch of February 1st to the Secretary of War, in which among other things you say ‘I fear now their going back without any expression from any one in authority will have a bad influence.’ I think the despatch does you credit while I do not see that it can embarrass you. May I use it?” ~ Private message from President Lincoln to General Grant.

February 8– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained all day yesterday– slush– bright this morning and cool– ground still covered with snow. It is reported by General Lee that the losses on both sides on Monday were light, but the enemy have established themselves on Hatcher’s Run, and intrenched; still menacing the South Side Railroad. It is also said fighting was going on yesterday afternoon, when the dreadful snow and sleet were enough to subdue an army! We have nothing from Charleston or Branchville, but the wires are said to be working to Augusta.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 8– Jacksonville, Florida– “The military force is so small here now, that the rebels are giving us some annoyance. Dickinson’s band of cavalry, about two hundred strong, is in this vicinity, and have recently captured several small parties of our soldiers, amounting, in all, to over a hundred men. Our Schools are in a flourishing condition; we have an average attendance of one hundred and sixty. I have organized a sewing-school – the children bringing such work as they have – and we teach them to mend, and patch, and the older ones to cat by patterns, which we prepare for them. It is an interesting sight to see my sewing school; and the delight of the smaller ones, who are being initiated into the mysteries of making rag babies, is comical to see. It is the best I can do, we have so little to do with besides. I have great faith in the knowledge which comes to children through their dolls. Last Saturday, I visited thirty-seven different families, white and black, in town. I wish I could give you some idea of the difference between the two– equally poor, equally dirty and destitute! The whites, have a hopeless, listless appearance; and no words of encouragement or cheer seem to reach them. They do not hesitate to beg, and are full of complaints. There is no elasticity in them; with the blacks, it is just the opposite: they are cheerful, willing to work, do not beg or complain, and are far more hopeful objects to labor for.” ~ Report from Esther H. Hawks to the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society.

Dr Esther H Hawks

Dr Esther H Hawks

February 8– Thursday– Brunn, Moravia, Austrian Empire– Gregor Mendel, age 43, a Catholic friar, presents his first paper on plant genetics to the Nature Research Society.

Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel

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