Wind Up Matters About Richmond ~ March 1865 ~ 18th to 22nd

Wind up Matters about Richmond

Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina

Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina

General Grant expresses optimism while a Confederate government clerk hopes for intervention by France on behalf of the Confederacy. Longstreet and Lee try to anticipate Grant’s next move. A Southern woman mourns the death of a slave. Families mourn the death of loved ones.

CW arms

March 18– Saturday– Lynchburg, Virginia– “Your model of gun is so incomplete that it will be useless to take it Richmond in it present condition & I haven’t time to have one made. I have left it in Farmers Bank with Mr. Lo. Norvell. I think you had better come here & complete the Model & take it Richmond But I have ascertained that you can do nothing with the government or any one else unless we can furnish the metal for its manufacture. I can get up a large company here if we can furnish the metal. So I think you had better go to Orono at once & put things through there & then start the gun nearly at the Armory works in Richmond are stopped for want of metal. Some very wealthy men are anxious to go into the iron business at Orono we get the iron & then we can go ahead with the gun. I would have written to you sooner, but have been worked half to death by generals in & around Lynchburg ever since I parted with you. Keep me acquainted with your movements.” ~ Letter from A. D. Robertson to Lorenzo Sibert.

March 18– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourns. [It will not meet again.]

March 18– Saturday– Warsaw, Poland– On or about this date, Anna Held is born. She will become a star in American musical comedy and common law wife of Florenz Ziegfeld. [Dies August 12, 1918.]

Anna Held, circa 1902

Anna Held, circa 1902

March 19 – Sunday– Milwaukee, Wisconsin– Birth of William Morton Wheeler, entomologist and educator. [Dies April 19, 1937.]

March 19– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “As beautiful a spring morning as ever dawned since the sun spread its glorious light over the Garden of Eden. Cannon is heard at intervals down the river; and as we have had a few days of wind and sunshine, the surface of the earth is becoming practicable for military operations. . . . Thousands of non-combatants and families, falling weekly within the power of Sherman’s army, have succumbed to circumstances and perforce submitted. I suppose most of those remaining in Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, etc. have taken the oath of allegiance to the United States; and I hear of no censures upon them for doing so. Whether they will be permitted long to enjoy their property– not their slaves, of course– will depend upon the policy adopted at Washington. If it be confiscated, the war will certainly continue for years, even under the direction of President Davis, who is now quite unpopular. If a contrary course be pursued, the struggle may be more speedily terminated– perhaps after the next great battle. And Mrs. Davis has become unpopular with the ladies belonging to the old families. Her father, Mr. Howell, it is said was of low origin, and this is quite enough to disgust others of ‘high birth,’ but yet occupying less exalted positions. Ladies are now offering their jewels and plate at the Treasury for the subsistence of the army. It is not a general thing, however. Yesterday bacon was selling at $20 per pound, and meal at $140 per bushel. If Sherman cuts the communication with North Carolina, no one doubts that this city must be abandoned by Lee’s army– and yet it may not be so if diligent search be made for food. The soldiers and the people may suffer, but still subsist until harvest; and meantime the God of battles may change the face of affairs, or France may come to our relief.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 19– Sunday– City Point, Virginia– “We are now having fine weather and I think will be able to wind up matters about Richmond soon. I am anxious to have Lee hold on where he is a short time longer so that I can get him in a position where he must lose a great portion of his army. The rebellion has lost its vitality and if I am not much mistaken there will be no rebel army of any great dimensions in a few weeks hence. Any great catastrophe to any one of our armies would of course revive the enemy for a short time. But I expect no such thing to happen. . . . I am in excellent health but would enjoy a little respite from duty wonderfully. I hope it will come soon. My kindest regards to all at home. I shall expect to make you a visit the coming summer.” ~ Letter from Union General Ulysses S Grant to his father Jesse.

General Grant

General Grant

March 20– Monday– New York City– “The secessionists of East Tennessee, who, at the outset of the war, practiced every imaginable outrage on their neighbors, are beginning to suffer the just penalty of their action. The Union men, the courts having been reestablished, are prosecuting their former prosecutors for damages sustained, and the juries, so far as cases have come to trial, indicate a disposition to see full justice done to all concerned. Parson Brownlow has just recovered $25,000 damages in the United States Circuit Court at Knoxville, from three persons who had made him the object of their malice; another loyalist has obtained a verdict for a similar amount, while the heirs of a third have recovered the large sum of $40,000 in a similar manner. Brownlow, in his paper, advises all Union men who have suffered to commence suits at once; and the verdict in the cases named will, no doubt, influence very many to follow his advice. . . . Should the practice thus initiated in Tennessee be carried out in other States, as they are gradually recovered and civil government reestablished, many wrongs will no doubt be righted and the wealthy secessionist, even should they escape all political penalties, will find, as others have done before them, that crime always brings, in some form, its own retribution. The action of the east Tennessee juries affords conclusive evidence that the loyal people of the insurgent States, when the rebellion is finally expelled, can be depended upon to administer the laws and take care of the secession element without any help from loyal bayonets.” ~ New York Times.

March 20– Monday– outside Richmond, Virginia– “I presume that the enemy’s next move will be to raid against the Danville Railroad, and think that it would be well if we begin at once to make our arrangements to meet it. In order that we may get the troops that may be necessary to meet such a move, would suggest that we collect all the dismounted men of Generals Fitz Lee, Rosser, and Lomax, and put them behind our strongest lines, and draw out a corps of infantry and hold it in readiness for the raid. General W. H. F. Lee’s dismounts might also be used behind our works to great advantage. With a cavalry force of two or three thousand men to hold the enemy in check, I think that our infantry may be able to overtake the raiding column. If we can get a large cavalry force I think that we would surely be able to destroy the raiding force.” ~ Message from Confederate General James Longstreet to General Robert E Lee.

General Longstreet

General Longstreet

March 20– Monday– Albany, Georgia– “The rain has stopped at last and the waters are beginning to subside, but the roads are terrible. We have had a mail at last, too, and a long letter from home giving us carte blanche as to future movements; as dear old father expressed it: ‘Go where you please, when you please, do what you please and call on Mr. Farley or Mr. Butler for all the money you need.’ That is the way I like to be treated. I think now we will go to Chunnennuggee by way of Eufaula and the Chattahoochee. The river trip would be pleasant, and Jenny and Julia Toombs are with their aunt in Eufaula, who has invited us to meet them there. However, our movements are so uncertain that I don’t like to make engagements. We will stop a few days in Cuthbert with the Joyners, anyway.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 20– Monday– Kyoto, Japan– Yamanami Keisuke, a prominent samurai, dies by his own hand at 32 years of age.

Group of Samurai, circa 1860

Group of Samurai, circa 1860

March 21– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Battalion from Camps Winder and Jackson, under the command of Dr. Chambliss, including the company of colored troops under Captain Grimes, will parade on the square on Wednesday evening, at 4½ o’clock. This is the first company of Negro troops raised in Virginia. It was organized a month since, by Dr. Chambliss, from the employees of the hospitals, and served on the lines during the recent Sheridan raid.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

March 21– Tuesday– Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, Virginia– “I wrote you immediately on Seeing the two notices in the papers of our Brother, I know you would be in a State of great agony of mind. We have no farther news at all & keep indulging in a hope that he may be only wounded. I have telegraphed to all the Sources, I think I can get any farther information from, and am still without any news. If I can get suitable papers I will go on myself and look after him. It would be next to impossible for you to get on these now. I will do all in my power for him & if wounded will contrive him someway of getting to Georgia or make him comfortable where he is. I feel greatly for you my dear sister & trust you will find support in this dark hour of suspense. I have not written Father & Mother yet until we can find out the facts.” ~ Letter from one of the King brothers to his sister, concerning his brother Barrington Simeral King.

March 21– Tuesday– Bentonville, North Carolina– Three days of fighting concludes in another Union victory as the last effort to stop Sherman’s advance fails. Total casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are approximately 1500 for the Federals and approximately 2700 for the Confederates.

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

March 22– Wednesday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “Poor Martha [a slave] passed away from earth– I trust into a heavenly rest. I felt very badly . . . winds roared and raved everywhere, shook the windows, and drove the smoke down the chimneys. I had a fire made in the front bed-room, where I staid with the children after we got Martha laid out, and all the house clean and quiet. I made wreaths to put over her of white peach blooms and hyacinths and arbor-vitae. She looked very natural. That evening Mollie came and how glad I was to see her! I had been feeling so sick, and lonely and depressed all day. Mollie had heard in the evening that Martha was dead, and came right off as soon as school was out, walking three miles and crossing the river on horseback behind a Negro to get here. I was so grateful to her. That night there was a room full of Negroes to sit up. I sent them in refreshments about midnight—coffee, cordial, bread, fresh peaches, etc. They were very quiet and orderly, no noise except when some one slipped out for wood to replenish the fire and the sound of the hymns they sung all thru the night. I could not help feeling sorry for the Negroes – times are so changed with them from what they were before this war. Their merry-makings then were so numerous and so characteristic as also were peculiar ways of conducting all these things, which were characteristic—and so picturesque, if I may use the term. In a few years these things will pass away, be merged in Yankee customs, in accordance with, and obedience to that old Puritanic spirit which will never permit anybody to speak, act, or think but just as it thinks, speaks and acts. Let us of the South be not boastful that we are a separate and different people– but grateful.” ~Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

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