Reorganize as Protection Societies ~ March 1865 ~ 7th to 8th

Reorganize as Protection Societies

words of a prophet

words of a prophet

Lydia Maria Child, radical reformer, speaks with a prophet’s voice about the future and calls for action. An admirer writes to Whitman. While some citizens worry about another rebel threat from bases in Canada, Lincoln sees the threat diminished. Sherman’s troops push into North Carolina. Some in Canada oppose the idea of Confederation. While Child praises Lincoln’s inaugural address, a rebel clerk mocks it.

youthful Lydia Maria Child

youthful Lydia Maria Child

March 7– Tuesday– Wayland, Massachusetts– “It seems as if the end of this physical warfare was rapidly approaching; but we must all remember that the cessation of military hostilities is but the beginning of the great moral work that is to be accomplished. The disappointed and malignant slaveholders will doubtless enact the part of Cain, as they did in Jamaica. They will do all they possibly can to discourage and harass the emancipated laborers. They will exert all their power and all their cunning to make the system of free labor work badly, and then they will cry exultingly, ‘Behold the effects of emancipation!’ Mattie Griffith, who is now in Georgetown, D.C., writes to me that the colored people are shamefully treated by their former owners. It is well that the anti-slavery societies should disband as soon as their work is completed; but they ought to reorganize as protection societies. The newly-emancipated will need vigilant watchmen on the towers for one generation more, at least. Yet what a wonderful change has been wrought! Though everybody says it, I cannot help repeating, What a wonderful change! If you would measure the progress, read Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural and his last. How concise and significant, how full of wisdom and moral power, is that last brief address to the people! I have found a great deal of fault with President Lincoln, but, I must say, he has continually grown upon my respect and confidence. He is evidently a sensible, an honest, and a kindhearted man. I regard it as one of the best auguries for the American people that they has the good sense to stand by him at this important crisis. . . . How impressive is that portion of the President’s inaugural, where he says that every drop of blood drawn by the lash has been repaid by drops drawn by the sword! During the progress of the war, I have often been struck with the fact, that the same measure we have meted out has been measured unto us. The poor slaves had their children shot down, whipped to death, and torn from them to die afar off, and we heard of it with languid indifference, or has no execrations to bestow, except upon those who told of such deeds. They died by slow starvation, and we heeded it not. They were torn by bloodhounds, and we would not believe that Southern gentlemen could train ferocious brutes for such a purpose. And lo! we learn it all now, in the terrible school of experience. Slavery tears our children from us, to die far away from us; she starves them to skeletons; she tracks their flight with fierce bloodhounds. And, to complete the lesson, the poor, abused Negro, whom we have helped to abuse, hides them, and feeds them, and guides them to their friends. It seems to me that never, in human history, was the Divine Hand so plainly visible.” ~ Letter from Lydia Maria Child to Theodore Tilton. [Massachusetts-born Lydia Maria Francis Child, 1802– 1880, is a force of nature – abolitionist, feminist, author, editor, educator, anti-imperialist and all around reformer. See, The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child by Carolyn L Karcher (1994).]

Lydia Maria Child, c.1870

Lydia Maria Child, c.1870

March 7– Tuesday– Troy, New York– “Your last letter from Washington in the paper lying on my lap. Your book in the hands of my friend Lucy who sits there by the window reading it in the morning sunshine. She looks up suddenly and says ‘I think this is the soul I am waiting for, is Walt Whitman married?’ I cannot answer the question, but will you? I am not interested to know if you are married, but I would like to look in your face. How many years did you live ere you could look into the depths of all hearts. Through what experiences did you learn that lore? Remember, if ever the opportunity comes I will look in your face. It should say all that is in your book and something more. I want that something more.” ~ Letter from Celia M. Burr to Walt Whitman.

March 7– Tuesday– New York City– “The citizens of Oswego [New York] held a meeting yesterday, at which the Mayor presided, for the purpose of adopting measures for the better defense of the city from the anticipated rebel raid from Canada. A sufficient force had been detailed from Fort Ontario to patrol the streets at night.” ~ New York Herald.

March 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The meeting at the Cabinet was interesting, the topics miscellaneous. Vice-President Johnson’s infirmity was mentioned. Seward’s tone and opinions were much changed since Saturday. He seems to have given up Johnson now, but no one appears to have been aware of any failing. I trust and am inclined to believe it a temporary ailment, which may, if rightly treated, be overcome.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

March 7– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and frosty. Yesterday we had no certain accounts of the movements of Sheridan. His force was said to be near Charlottesville– at Keswich. Fitz Lee’s cavalry and Pickett’s infantry were sent in that direction. Not a word has yet appeared in the Richmond papers concerning this movement from the Valley– the papers being read daily in the enemy’s camp below. We hear of no corresponding movement on the part of Grant; and perhaps there was none. Preparations to evacuate the city are still being made with due diligence. If these indications do not suffice to bring the speculators into the ranks to defend their own property (they have no honor, of course), the city and the State are lost; and the property owners will deserve their fate. The extortioners ought to be hung, besides losing their property. This would be a very popular act on the part of the conquerors. . . . The packing up of the archives goes on, with directions to be as quiet as possible, so as ‘not to alarm the people.’ A large per cent of the population would behold the exodus with pleasure!” ~ Diary of John Jones.

first-main-cavalry

March 7– Tuesday– Rockingham, North Carolina– Federal troops enter the state here and at other points, skirmishing with Confederate soldiers. It appears that General Sherman’s forces are headed for Fayetteville.

March 7– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “I have here in arrest two noted rebel women, Mrs. Dolly Battle and Miss Sallie Battle, who reside ten miles from Nashville, but came all the way to Wartrace, on horseback, two days ago, to re-coffin and bury the body of Trummel, alias Van Houghton, who was killed at that place on the night of the 21st ultimo, while engaged, with nine other guerrillas, in robbing the telegraph office and stores. The daguerreotypes of these two she-rebels were found on the body of this robber thief after he was killed, with letters from them showing great intimacy. They boast that they are rebels and have never taken the [loyalty] oath. Their father is an officer in the rebel army; their brother Bob is a guerrilla. This family have been spies and harborers of rebels and guerrillas since the beginning of the war. Their mother, as I was well informed last summer, boasts that they have done more good for the Confederate cause than a regiment of soldiers. I respectfully ask permission to send these two south of our lines.” ~ Letter from Union General Robert Milroy to General George Thomas.

March 7– Tuesday– Fredericton, New Brunswick– The provincial government rejects the proposal for Canadian Confederation.

Lincoln family-ZA9R12VL

March 8– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas, pursuant to the order of the President of the United States, directions were issued from this Department, under date of the 17th of December, 1864, requiring passports from all travelers entering the United States, except immigrant passengers directly entering an American port from a foreign country; but whereas information has recently been received which affords reasonable grounds to expect that Her Britannic Majesty’s Government and the executive and legislative branches of the government of Canada have taken and will continue to take such steps as may be looked for from a friendly neighbor and will be effectual toward preventing hostile incursions from Canadian territory into the United States, the President directs that from and after this date the order above referred to requiring passports shall be modified, and so much thereof as relates to persons entering this country from Canada shall be rescinded, saving and reserving the order in all other respects in full force.” ~ Executive Order from President Lincoln.

March 8– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Damp and foggy. . . . President Lincoln’s short inaugural message, or homily, or sermon, has been received. It is filled with texts from the Bible. He says both sides pray to the same God for aid– one upholding and the other destroying African slavery. If slavery be an offense,– and woe shall fall upon those by whom offenses come,– perhaps not only all the slaves will be lost, but all the accumulated products of their labor be swept away. In short, he ‘quotes Scripture for the deed’ quite as fluently as our President; and since both Presidents resort to religious justification, it may be feared the war is about to assume a more sanguinary aspect and a more cruel nature than ever before. God help us! The history of man, even in the Bible, is but a series of bloody wars. It must be thus to make us appreciate the blessings of peace, and to bow in humble adoration of the great Father of all. The Garden of Eden could not yield contentment to man, nor heaven satisfy all the angels.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 8– Wednesday– Bloomington, Illinois– Birth of Frederic W Goudy, designer of numerous typefaces. [Dies May 11, 1947.]

Frederick W Goudy, circa 1924

Frederick W Goudy, circa 1924

March 8– Wednesday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “Nothing from Lettie [a house slave] yet. Yesterday morning Sister Mary sent her to Mrs. Grey’s, and upon finding at the expiration of three of four hours, she failed to return, sent for her, but she had left there some time before, I suppose for Yankeedom. Joy go with her. Sister and myself cleaned up our rooms this morning alone and before the Negroes had risen. (So much for Southern cruelty). She made the fire. I made up my bed and did various other things as cheerfully as any one. Had the rooms cleaned, breakfast over and baby washed and dressed before nine. When Lettie was here the rooms were generally done about eleven. Ha! Ha! Ha! I’m very glad she’s gone. The rest [of the slaves] will follow her example. The nuisances! Two women, one man and four children, all save one able to work, can’t get ready for business until ten or eleven o’clock in the morning. Isn’t it perfectly ridiculous! O Yankees, Yankees, what mistakes you have made in your attempt at sympathy and kindness.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

March 8– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– “The Senate took up the report of the committee upon the bill to be entitled an act to make an appropriation of two millions of dollars, in addition to the appropriation already made for the support of indigent families of Soldiers, who are in the public service, and for the support of indigent soldiers who have been or may be hereafter disabled by wounds or disease in the Confederate or State service, for the year 1865, and for other purposes.” ~ record of the Georgia state legislature.

chitchat among ladies-EA3C19FA75C61EA882_5730

March 8– Wednesday– Gopher Hill, Georgia– “I went up to Americus [Georgia] yesterday, with Flora and Captain Rust, to see Cousin Bolling about my eyes, expecting to return to Gopher Hill on the afternoon train, but Cousin Bessie insisted that we should stay to dinner, and her attempt to have it served early was so unsuccessful that Captain Rust and I got to the station just in time to see the train moving off without us. Flora had another engagement, that caused her to decline Mrs. Pope’s invitation, so she made the train, but the captain and I had nothing for it but to spend the night in Americus and kill the night as best we could. I was repaid for the annoyance of getting left by the favorable report Cousin Bolling gave of my eyes. He says it is nothing but the effects of measles that ails them, and they are almost well. I occupied Flora’s room that night. Cousin Bessie lent me one of her fine embroidered linen nightgowns, and I was so overpowered at having on a decent piece of underclothing after the coarse Macon Mills homespun I have been wearing for the last two years, that I could hardly go to sleep. I stood before the glass and looked at myself after I was undressed just to see how nice it was to have on a respectable undergarment once more. I can stand patched-up dresses, and even take a pride in wearing Confederate homespun, where it is done open and above board, but I can’t help feeling vulgar and common in coarse underclothes. Cousin Bessie has brought quantities of beautiful things from beyond the blockade, that make us poor Rebs look like ragamuffins beside her. She has crossed the lines by special permit, and will be obliged to return to Memphis by the 2nd of April, when her pass will be out. It seems funny for a white woman to have to get a pass to see her husband, just like the Negro men here do when their wives live on another plantation. The times have brought about some strange up-turnings. Cousin Bolling is awfully blue about the war, and it does begin to look as if our poor little Confederacy was about on its last legs, but I am so accustomed to all sorts of vicissitudes that I try not to let thoughts of the inevitable disturb me. The time to be blue was five years ago, before we went into it. . . . Captain Rust was so afraid of being left again that he would not wait for the omnibus, but trotted me off on foot an hour ahead of time, although it was raining. We met Mr. Wheatley and Major Daniel on our way to the depot, and they told us that a dispatch had just been received stating that the Yanks have landed at St. Mark’s [Florida] and are marching on Tallahassee. We first heard they were 4,000 strong, but before we reached the depot, their numbers had swelled to 15,000.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: