Tag Archives: Alabama

A Many-sided Field-day ~ March 1865 ~ 24th to 26th

A Many-sided Field-day

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Talk of some type of evacuation of Richmond flourishes at many levels. Lee tries a desperate measure to relieve the siege but suffers a bitter loss. Longstreet worries about the number and morale of his soldiers. Whitman visits his brother George home now from a prison camp. Mexico struggles against the French invaders.

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March 24– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and very windy. The fear of utter famine is now assuming form. Those who have the means are laying up stores for the day of siege– I mean a closer and more rigorous siege– when all communications with the country shall cease; and this makes the commodities scarcer and the prices higher. There is a project on foot to send away some thousands of useless consumers; but how it is to be effected by the city authorities, and where they will be sent to, are questions I have not heard answered. The population of the city is not less than 100,000, and the markets cannot subsist 70,000. Then there is the army in the vicinity, which must be fed. I suppose the poultry and the sheep will be eaten, and something like a pro rata distribution of flour and meal ordered.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 24– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I see no cause for despondency; but on the contrary, I think there is great encouragement to hope. Sherman has gone almost unopposed through the most flourishing portions of the Confederacy; but has he conquered the people? True, his progress will have a deleterious effect upon our cause abroad; but tis far from ‘crushing the rebellion.’ The repulse of our Peace Commissioners, has also produced a desirable effect, causing a greater unanimity of feeling to exist among our people than ever before. The ‘Negro’ bill has been passed, and already the Negroes are being put into the field. This will undoubtedly greatly increase our effective force, since the places of many of our troops now occupying the lines around Petersburg and Richmond can be easily filled; but I think this bill unconstitutional and violently antagonistic to the principles for which we are fighting; if however, tis reported to an act of necessity I cheerfully acquiesce. These men being relieved can operate more successfully upon the enemy’s flanks, and soon we would be ready for another foray into Pennsylvania. I know what you will say to this, since you’ve already told me, you were ‘opposed to invasion;’ but I believe that’s the only way to make the Yankees cry ‘enough.’Tis certainly better for us to enter the enemy’s country, and be fed by them, than remain in these detestable ditches poorly provided for, subject to every manner of disease and to death from the many and fiendish invasions of our foe. More men have been lost since we came south of Richmond than in the celebrated battle of Gettysburg. I’m glad to learn that Senator Hill and others are delivering addresses to the people of Georgia; for I am sorry to say I think they need some stimulus to make them do their duty, since they will not do it voluntarily. Now is the times we need their encouragement and their strongest efforts. Why do they withhold it? Surely they do expect to save anything by submission or reconstruction. On the contrary, they will lose everything, not even their home will be spared.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

March 24– Friday– Quebec, Canada– Four political leaders are appointed to negotiate Confederation in London.

March 25– Saturday– New York City– “Benito Juarez, President of Mexico, has issued a New Year’s proclamation, dated Chihuahua, in which he urges upon all Mexicans to fight out the question with the [French] invaders. He reiterates his hope that he will triumph in the end. . . . The British army and navy estimates for the year 1865-6 have just been announced. The cost of the army is $71,000,000; of the navy $51,000,000. Total estimates for the military and naval establishments for the coming year, £24,76,671; or, in American currency, $123,703,355.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly.

President Benito Juarez

President Benito Juarez

March 25– Saturday– Vernon County, Wisconsin– The “Claywater Meteorite” explodes just before reaching ground level. Its fragments, having a combined mass of 1.5 kg, are recovered.

March 25– Saturday– Headquarters First Army Corps, Virginia– “The impression prevails amongst the Georgia troops of this command that persons at home having authority to raise local organizations are writing and sending messages to the men in the ranks here, offering inducements to them to quit our ranks and go home and join the home organizations. The large and increasing number of desertions, particularly amongst the Georgia troops, induces me to believe that some such outside influence must be operating upon our men. Nearly all of the parties of deserters seem to go home, and it must be under the influence of some promise, such as being received in the local forces. I would suggest, therefore, the publication of a general order warning all officers or persons authorized to raise local organizations against receiving such deserters or in any way harboring them, and cautioning all such parties that they shall be punished for such crimes under the twenty-second and twenty-third Articles of War. It may be well to publish the articles in the order, and to send the order South to be published in all the Southern papers. If the order is published, I would suggest that copies be sent to the Southern papers by special messenger or by parties going South who will take pains to have it published, otherwise I fear it may miscarry or be delayed by our irregular mails. Another growing evil seems to trouble us now in the shape of applications to raise Negro companies, regiments, brigades, etc. The desire for promotion seems to have taken possession of our army, and it seems that nearly all the officers and men think that they could gain a grade or more if allowed to go home. I presume that many may try to go merely because they get furloughs. I would suggest, therefore, that some regulation be published upon this subject, and it seems to me that it should require the companies to be mustered in as non-commissioned officers and privates by the enrolling officers, and that all of the officers (general, field, and company) shall be selected from the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates on duty with the armies of the Confederacy. If these matters are not speedily taken hold of by a firm hand, I fear that we shall be seriously damaged by them.” ~ Letter from Confederate General James Longstreet to Colonel W. H. Taylor.

General Longstreet

General Longstreet

March 25– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– In a desperate attempt to break the siege, Confederate troops launch a heavy attack against a Federal position called Fort Stedman. After day-long fighting, initial Southern success is turned into a defeat. Total casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are approximately 1400 for the Union and almost 4000 for the Confederacy.

March 25– Saturday– City Point, Virginia– “We may indeed call this a many-sided field-day: a break fast with a pleasure party, an assault and a recapture of an entrenched line, a review by the President of a division of infantry, and sharp fighting at sundry points of a front of eighteen miles! If that is not a mixed affair, I would like to know what is? It has been a lucky day, for us, and the 9th Corps, after patient waiting for eight months, have played the game of the ‘Mine’ against their antagonists. The official despatches will give you the main facts very well, but I can add some particulars. About daylight, the enemy having massed three divisions and a part of a fourth, made a sudden rush and carried Fort Stedman and about half a mile of line commanded by it. The garrisons of the forts on either side stood firm, however, and repelled a severe attack with much injury to the enemy. Meantime, General Parke had ordered that the works should be retaken, if it cost every man in the Corps; and all the scattered regiments immediately at hand were put in and checked a further advance, until General Hartranft (I m not sure about the spelling of his name) brought up the 3rd division, which had been camped in reserve. He person ally led in one brigade of it, with conspicuous gallantry, retook the whole portion lost, and captured, at one swoop, 1800 Rebels. It was just the ‘Mine,’ turned the other way: they got caught in there and could not get out. Their loss also in killed and wounded must have been severe, not only from musketry, but also from canister, which was thrown into a ravine by which they retreated. Upwards of a hundred Rebel dead lay in and round Fort Stedman alone. Our own losses in the 9th Corps will be somewhat over 800, half of whom may be reckoned prisoners, taken in the first surprise. I should guess the loss of their opponents as not less than 2600.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his wife Elizabeth.

interior section of Fort Stedman

interior section of Fort Stedman

March 25– Saturday– Mobile, Alabama– Federal forces begin a siege of the city.

March 26– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “I write a few lines to tell you how I find the folks at home. Both my mother & brother George looked much better than I expected. Mother is quite well, considering– she goes about her household affairs pretty much the same as ever, & is cheerful. My brother would be in what I would almost call fair condition, if it were not that his legs are affected– it seems to me it is rheumatism, following the fever he had– but I don’t know. He goes to bed quite sleepy & falls to sleep– but then soon wakes, & frequently little or no more sleep that night– he most always leaves the bed, & comes downstairs, & passes the night on the sofa. He goes out most every day though some days has to lay by. He is going to report to Annapolis promptly when his furlough is up. I told him I had no doubt I could get it extended, but he does not wish it. He says little, but is in first rate spirits. I am feeling finely & never enjoyed a visit home more than I am doing this. I find myself perplexed about printing my book. All the printers tell me I could not pick a more inopportune time– that in ten days prices of paper, composition &c will all be very much lower &c. I shall decide tomorrow.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friends William D. and Ellen M. O’Connor.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

March 26– Sunday– Staunton, Virginia– “I am still at the Hotel & keeping it open. I have been trying hard to make some disposition of it but it seems impossible to do it & I fear the only way to save it until after the war is for me to keep it open & don’t know now who to get in it & for the present will have to stay here myself. Sometimes I think it best for you to come out here & live & when I think of the risk of all of our property I hesitate & can’t decide what is best for us all round but I think it will not be long until we will be able to judge more fully what is best & what to do. I assure you I am very anxious to be with you but I can’t ask you to abandon home with all its comforts to come here with me for my own comfort & pleasure & of course I have concluded to try & stand it longer.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

March 26– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “I fear now it will be impossible to prevent a junction between Grant and Sherman, nor do I deem it prudent that this army should maintain its position until the latter shall approach too near.” ~ Message from Confederate General Robert E Lee to President Jeff Davis.

General Lee

General Lee

March 26– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I feel it my duty this pleasant Sabbath Evening to Inform you that I just came from the hospital from seeing your husband and he requested me to write you a letter to let you know how he was and what had happened him. The Rebs did make a break in through the picket line about one mile from this yesterday morning and we was called out about 5 o’clock and about 6 o’clock we was in line of battle in front of the enemy and we had just gave them two volleys when Sylvester and I was both wounded. Sylvester is wounded through the leg but I guess the bone is not fractured any at least he thinks so. He was in very good spirits to day and I think that it wont be sore very long. I got a slight tap through one of my fingers on the left hand. Mine is a very light wound but it is pretty sore to day. Sylvester was taken to the Hospital just shortly after he was wounded and I came back to camp. There was eight wounded in our Company and one killed. The rest of the boys are all out yet lying at the breast works. There was some of them had to go on picket last night but they will come in this evening but we drove the rebs back and they loosed a good many men. They had taken two or three of our forts before we got to them but we soon took them all back and the report is that we took fifteen hundred prisoners. There was over three hundred of the rebs killed and our loss don’t exceed more than three hundred killed wounded and missing. . . . Old General Lee told his men that they would go to City Point again . . . when they started but the old fellow missed that game . . . . Well I must soon bring my scribbling to a close for I will have to get at and get supper.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Jacob Shearer to Harriet A. McElheney.

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Invoking the Favor & Guidance of Almighty God ~ February 1865~ 18th to 20th

Invoking the Favor and Guidance of Almighty God ~ Jeff Davis

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Seeking relief from numerous setbacks, President Davis issues a call for a day of prayer and fasting throughout the Confederacy. General Lee asks Congress to authorize the use of slaves as soldiers in the Confederate army. Even government employees in Richmond worry that it may be too late for survival of the rebellion. In South Carolina, Charleston is occupied and additional damage inflicted upon Columbia. Union General Howard issues orders for his troops to guard and guide the increasing number of escaped slaves who are following the Federal forces and he instructs officers to stop soldiers from looting and vandalism. Canada moves toward the creation of the modern nation we know.

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February 18– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Proclamation by the President, appointing a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, with thanksgiving. ‘The Congress of the Confederate States have, by a joint resolution, invited me to appoint a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer, with thanksgiving to Almighty God. It is our solemn duty, at all times, and more especially in a season of public trial and adversity, to acknowledge our dependence on His mercy, and to bow in humble submission before His footstool confessing our manifold sins, supplicating His gracious pardon imploring His Divine help, and devoutly rendering thanks for the many and great blessings which He has vouchsafed to us. Let the hearts of our people turn contritely and trustfully unto God; let us recognize in His chartering hand the correction of a Father, and submissively pray that the trials and sufferings which have so long borne heavily upon us may be turned away by His merciful love; that His sustaining grace be given to our people, and His divine wisdom imparted to our rulers; that the Lord of Hosts will be with our armies, and fight for us against our enemies; and that He will gratuitously take our cause into His own hand and mercifully establish for us a lasting, just and honorable peace and independence. And let us not forget to render unto His holy name the thanks and praise which are so justly due for His great goodness, and for the many mercies which He has extended to us amid the trials and sufferings of protracted and bloody war. Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this my proclamation, appointing Friday, the fifth day of March next, as a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer, (with thanksgiving,) for invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, and I do earnestly invite all soldiers and citizens to observe the same in a spirit of reverence, penitence and prayer.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

President Jeff Davis

President Jeff Davis

February 18– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “With reference to the employment of Negroes as soldiers, I think the measure not only expedient, but necessary. The enemy will certainly use them against us if he gets possession of them. As his present numerical superiority will enable him to penetrate many parts of the country, I can’t see the wisdom of the policy of holding them to await his arrival, when we may, by timely action and judicious management, use them to arrest his progress. I do not think that our white population can supply the necessities of a long war without overtaxing its capacity, and imposing great suffering on our people; and I believe we should provide for a protracted struggle, not merely for a battle or a campaign. . . . I can only say that, in my opinion, the Negroes, under proper circumstances, will make efficient soldiers. I think we could do at least as well with them as the enemy, who attaches great importance to their assistance. Under good officers and good instructions, I do not see why they should not become soldiers. They possess all the physical qualities, and their habits of obedience constitute good foundation for discipline. They furnish more promising material than many armies of which we read in history, which owe their efficiency to discipline alone. I think those who are employed should be freed. It would be neither just nor wise, in my opinion, to require them to remain as slaves. The course to pursue, it seems to me, would be to call for such as are willing to come, with the consent of their owners. An impressment or draft would not be likely to bring out that class, and this course would make the war more distasteful to them and their owners. I have no doubt that if Congress would authorize their reception into the service, and empower the President to call upon individuals or States for such as are willing to contribute, with the condition of emancipation to all enrolled, a sufficient number would be forthcoming to enable us to try the experiment. If it should prove successful, most of the objections to the measure would disappear; and if individuals still remained unwilling to send their Negroes to the army, the force of public opinion in the States would soon bring about such legislation as would remove all obstructions. I think the matter should be left, as far as possible, to the people and to the States, which alone can legislate as the necessities of this particular service may require. As to the mode of organizing them, it should be left as free from restraint as possible. Experience will suggest the best course. It would be inexpedient to trammel the subject with provisions that might, in the end, prevent the adoption of reforms suggested by actual trial.” ~ Message from Confederate General Robert E Lee to the Confederate Congress.

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

February 18 – Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained last night; but this is as lovely a morning as ever dawned on earth. A gentle southern breeze, a cloudless sky, and a glorious morning sun, whose genial warmth dispels the moisture of the late showers in smoky vapors. But how dark and dismal the aspect of our military affairs! Columbia fallen and Charleston (of course) evacuated. My wife wept, my daughter prayed, upon hearing the news. South Carolina was superior to all the States in the estimation of my wife, and she regarded it as the last stronghold. Now she despairs, and seems reckless of whatever else may happen in Sherman’s career of conquest.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 18– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The city of Charleston and its defenses came into our possession this morning, with over 200 pieces of good artillery and a supply of fine ammunition. The enemy commenced evacuating all the works last night, and Mayor Macbeth surrendered the city to the troops of General Schimmelfennig at 9 o’clock this morning, at which time it was occupied by our forces.” ~ Message from Union General Quincy Gillmore to the War Department in Washington, D.C.

United States Colored Troops marching through Charleston

United States Colored Troops marching through Charleston

February 19– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– ” Another bright and glorious morning. I hear of no news whatever from the South– although I know that important events are transpiring– and the reticence of the government is construed very unfavorably. Hence if Beauregard has fought a battle, it is to be apprehended that he did not gain the day; and if this be so, South Carolina lies at the conqueror’s feet.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 19– Sunday– Columbia, South Carolina– Before moving on, Sherman’s Federal troops destroy any and all remaining industrial buildings and railroads.

February 19– Sunday– Columbia, South Carolina– “Major [William H.] Reynolds, Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, is hereby assigned to the command of all escaped Union officers and soldiers [who had just been freed from Confederate prison camps in the area], and will also take charge of all refugees [escaping slaves] and their conveyances accompanying the army. These officers and soldiers will move with the refugee train as an escort, and from them will be organized a foraging party. One officer will be selected to act as quartermaster and commissary. The train will be assigned its position in the column from day to day. Major Reynolds will report to these headquarters for instructions.” ~ Order from Union General Oliver O Howard.

Union General Oliver O Howard

Union General Oliver O Howard

February 19– Sunday– Cahaba, Alabama– “It seems a long time since I heard from you or any of my connection. I am very anxious to hear from you all. I am still at Cahaba the same place when you heard from me last. I have not heard from you since last spring. I want to know what has become of you all. I have not heard from home since I was at your house. I have rote and rote and could get any anser. If you have ever heard any thing from my family, please don’t delay to let me know. It seems that I am way here cut off from my family and all my near relatives and can’t hear from them. I think hard and here I expect to have to remain, I can’t tell how long. God only knows. Duty is heavy. I am on guard every other day and night guarding Yankee prisoners. You all must wright [sic] to me. My health has been good ever since I saw you, with the exception of two weeks. I had chills. I will have to close as I have no more room.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to a family member.

February 20 – Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Another morning of blue skies and glorious sunshine. Sherman is reported to be marching northward, and to have progressed one-third of the way between Columbia and Charlotte, North Carolina . . . . Grant’s campaign seems developed at last. Sherman and Thomas will concentrate on his left, massing 200,000 men between Lee and his supplies, effectually cutting his communications by flanking with superior numbers. It is probable Charleston, Wilmington, and Richmond will fall without a battle; for how can they be held when the enemy stops supplies? and how could the garrisons escape when once cut off from the interior? And yet Congress has done nothing, and does nothing, but waste the precious time. I fear it is too late now!” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 20– Monday– moving north by north east from Columbia, South Carolina– “I desire to call your attention to the fact that some of our soldiers have been committing the most outrageous robberies of watches, jewelry, &c. A case has come to my notice where a watch and several articles of jewelry were stolen by a foraging party under the eye of the commissioned officer in charge. Another, where a brute had violently assaulted a lady by striking her, and had then robbed her of a valuable gold watch. In one instance money was stolen to the amount of $150, and another, where an officer with a foraging party had allowed his men to take rings off the fingers of ladies in his presence. To-day a soldier was found plundering, arrested, placed under the guard of one of General Corse’s orderlies, and was liberated by some of his comrades who had arms in their hands, and who threatened the life of the guard. These outrages must be stopped at all hazards, and the thieves and robbers who commit them be dealt with severely and summarily. I am inclined to think that there is a regularly organized banditti who commit these outrages and who share the spoils. I call upon you and upon all the officers and soldiers under you, who have one spark of honor or respect for the profession which they follow, to help me put down these infamous proceedings and to arrest the perpetrators. Please furnish to every inspector, provost-marshal, and officer in charge of a foraging party a copy of this letter, and enjoin them to be on the watch to stop these infamous proceedings, and to bring to justice the individuals who commit them.” ~ Orders from Union General Oliver O Howard.

February 20– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– Colonel R. D. Mussey of the United States Colored Troops reports to Andrew Johnson that there are 2600 children of former slaves enrolled in 11 schools in Tennessee.

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February 20– Monday– Quebec City, Quebec, Canada– The Legislature of the Province of Canada passes a motion in favor of Confederation.

Everything That the Law of Nations Requires~September 1863~the 26th to the 28th

Everything That the Law of Nations Requires~Earl Russell

Her Britannic Majesty’s Foreign Secretary reaffirms Britain’s neutrality in the American war while criticizing the Federal government in general and Senator Sumner in particular. A new crisis threatens European peace. A new prince is born on the Iberian Peninsula.

People in West Virginia and in Tennessee worry about invasion and raids. War damage is visible in many places in Virginia. In New York City Russian and American naval officers have fellowship while wealthy citizens complain of the lack of good domestic help.

Lord John Russell, Foreign Secretary

Lord John Russell, Foreign Secretary

September 26– Saturday– Blairgowrie, Scotland– In a lengthy speech, John Russell, the 1st Earl Russell, Her Majesty’s Foreign Secretary, addresses international relations and foreign affairs. Concerning the ships built by Laird Brothers for the Confederacy, he states, “They are steam rams, which might be used for the purpose of war without ever touching the shores of the Confederate ports. Well, gentlemen, to permit ships of this kind knowingly to depart from this country, not to enter into any Confederate port, not to enter into the port of a belligerent, would, as you see, expose our good faith to great suspicion; and I feel certain that if, during our war with France, the Americans had sent line-of-battle ships to break our blockade at Brest, whatever reasons they might have urged in support of that, we should have considered it a violation of neutrality. Such is the spirit in which I am prepared to act. Everything that the law of nations requires, everything that our law, that the Foreign Enlistment act requires, I am prepared to do, and even, if it should be proved to be necessary for the preservation of our neutrality, that the sanction of Parliament should be asked to further measures. In short, to sum up, Her Majesty’s Government are prepared to do everything that the duty of neutrality requires– everything that is just to a friendly nation, taking as a principle that we should do to others as we should wish to be done to ourselves. But this we will not do– we will not adopt any measure that we think to be wrong. We will not yield a joy of British law or British right in consequence of the menaces of any foreign Power.”

Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts

Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts

Regarding a critical speech made by Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, Lord Russell declares, “But, certainly, if I look to the declarations of those New-England orators– and I have been reading lately, if not the whole, yet a very great part, of the very long speech by Mr Sumner on the subject, delivered at New-York– I own I cannot but wonder to see these men, the offspring, as it were, of three rebellions, as we ourselves are the offspring of two rebellions, really speaking like the Czar of Russia, the Sultan of Turkey, or Louis XIV. himself, of the dreadful crime and guilt of rebellion. . . . Now, gentlemen, with these feelings I own I almost lose my patience when I see men, in what is called an oration, heaping up accusation after accusation, and misrepresentation after misrepresentation, all tending to the bloody end of war between these two nations. I cannot but say, are they not satisfied with the blood that has been shed in the last two years, with that field of Gettysburg where 10,000 corpses of men, most of them in the prime of manhood, were left lying stretched on the ground? Are they not satisfied with that bloodshed, but would they seek to extend to the nations of Europe a new contest in which fresh sacrifices are to be made of human life, of human interest, and of human happiness? . . . . believing that we ought to make every effort that all these various conflicts may end in peace, in union and in friendship, I shall at all events have the consciousness that I have done my best to preserve peace between these mighty nations.”

September 27– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times reports that new tensions are arising between Germany and Denmark even as the threat of war in Europe remains possible over the status of Poland.

September 27– Sunday– New York City– “We would ask, why is it that while far higher wages are paid here than in Europe, so few really good servants are to be procured? Why is it that institutes are not founded for the purpose of instructing women of good character in the proper performance of household duties? Why are there not some intelligence offices which will make it their business to recommend to their customers only such servants as are furnished with good references, which they are prepared, after making the necessary inquiries, to fully indorse? Why are there not some agencies for the purpose of securing good places for such of the colored people, unhoused during the late riots, as desire to obtain them? (Many of these are, doubtless, competent and deserving. Shall they be driven to seek employment elsewhere by the clamors of a brutal mob, which would dictate to Americans in this Empire City what sort of servants they shall employ?) And, finally, why will not poor American girls throw aside their false pride and earn honest livings for themselves by going out to service in respectable families, and relieve us from the tyranny of the horde of immigrants who, having never had an opportunity of learning anything at home, yet claim on their arrival here to know everything, and confidently take upon themselves situations whose duties they are wholly incompetent to fill? We, of course, do not deny that a pretty large number of excellent servants is to be found, of every country and profession of faith; but the number of these is lamentably small in proportion to the demand. Our people are certainly as kind to their employees as those of any other nation; they offer, moreover, more liberal wages than are paid anywhere in Europe. Why, then, should they not be able to obtain and to retain in their families for years servants who will work intelligently, cheerfully and faithfully, and secure for themselves in return the happiness of a pleasant home, the good will of their masters and mistresses, and the consciousness of being thoroughly respected by their employers – because, forsooth, they show themselves in look and word and deed thoroughly deserving of respect.” ~ Letter to the editor of the New York Times. The sender signed her/him-self only as “G.M.”. [If the reader listens carefully she can hear the author sighing ‘Good help these days is so hard to find.’]

Russian warship in New York harbor

Russian warship in New York harbor

September 27– Sunday– near Culpepper, Virginia– “On our march to this place we passed through the village or town of Sulphur Springs which before the war was a famous summer resort. Traces of its glory and beauty can still be seen in the ruined and blackened walls of its hotels. We did not stop long enough to visit the famous springs.” ~ Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes in his diary.

September 27– Sunday– Bridgeport, Alabama– “Having learned from reliable sources that Colonel Murray, with 500 men, is prowling around in the [Tennessee] counties of DeKalb, Warren, Smith, and Wilson, committing depredations upon Union families which for barbarity and cruelty have had no parallel in this campaign, I respectfully ask that my command may be ordered to McMinnville or Carthage, to relieve the cavalry forces stationed at either point. The forces stationed at these points are unacquainted with that country, while my men have a perfect knowledge of every crossroad and by-path throughout that section. My only desire to be ordered to one of the points is for the good of the service. I could render more good for the service of stationed at one of these points, while the cavalry I would relieve could be as beneficial as myself if here. The inhabitants of the counties named are almost unanimously loyal, having sent more men in loyal Tennessee regiments than any other four counties in Middle Tennessee, and in justice to themselves they ought to be protected in their loyalty to their Government. Murray and his men, having every advantage of a perfect knowledge of the country, keep out of the way of the cavalry now in that country. They have not only stolen property, insulted ladies, but have even murdered loyal men. They have stolen all my stock, have attempted to burn my house, insulted my family, fired on my wife, and committed the most heathenish outrages ever heard of. While I could render important service, if stationed there, the cavalry I would relieve could be as useful here. If I am allowed to go to either of these points I pledge my all that I will clear the country of all rebels. I earnestly request that Companies C and H of this command, now stationed at Decherd and Tullahoma, respectively be ordered to join this portion of the regiment. It is the desire of the officers and men to do so, and as they are of little benefit where they are. I respectfully urge that they be ordered to join me at once. While I would willingly join General Crook in the front, I feel it is my duty to protect the families of my men.” ~ Colonel William B Stokes, 5th Tennessee [U S] Cavalry, requesting that he and his soldiers be reassigned to duty in their home area.

September 28– Monday– New York City– The New York Times criticizes New York’s Governor Seymour for his opposition to the draft while not mounting a legal challenge to test its constitutionality.

 September 28– Monday– New York City– The officers of the visiting Russian fleet are entertained at the Metropolitan Hotel by Admiral Farragut, Commodore Paulding and Captain Eads of the U S Navy, among others.

 

Commodore Hiram Paulding, U S Navy

Commodore Hiram Paulding, U S Navy

September 28– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– Fearing a large scale invasion by Confederate forces, the governor issues a proclamation calling the state militia to readiness. “To the end, therefore, that they may be met and driven back from the borders of the State and defeated in their wicked and ruinous purpose, I, Arthur I. Boreman, Governor of the State of West Virginia, do issue this my proclamation, calling on the requiring all officers of the militia and all persons subject to military duty within the State to have their arms in order and be ready to assemble at their usual places of rendezvous at a moment’s notice, and to move to any point when their services may be required. Officers in command of regiments are especially required to give orders to the commandants of companies to see that every man in their respective companies is notified to be in readiness and to have his arms in order for service.” [Governor Boreman, a 40 year old lawyer, played a key role in keeping the area loyal to the Union and in the separation from Virginia.]

 

Governor Boreman of West Virginia

Governor Boreman of West Virginia

September 28– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Union Generals Crittenden, McDowell and McCook are relieved of duty and ordered to Indianapolis, Indiana, to face a court of inquiry regarding their conduct at the Battle of Chickamauga.

September 28– Monday– Bealton Station, Virginia– “We don’t live here quite so well here as we did in the front. The army has been here all summer & the whole of this once beautiful country is a continuous scene of desolation. There are no cornfields nor potato patches, hogs or sheep munching over the fields. What few citizens remain here have nothing to sell or trade for our coffee or sugar but still we live well & I have as good health as ever. . . . I suppose Mr Burns death will be a lesson for all of us to be ready for we know not the day nor the day when the angel of death will take either of us from this earth. May we strive for a home in heaven. We know our time will come to die & so let us be prepared to meet the author of our existence to give an account of the deeds done here on earth & oh that we may hear that welcome sentence. Well done good & faithful servant, enter thou in the joy of thy Lord. What will become of us when we die. Will we have time & opportunity. Dear Cynthia let us prepare, though others do as they will. . . . All of my affections center there [at home]. There is the attraction for me, if I were to get twenty letters a week & none from my wife. I would be as uneasy & unsatisfied as if I got none.” ~ Union soldier Samuel Potter to his wife Cynthia at home in Pennsylvania.

King Charles I of Portugal c.1900

King Charles I of Portugal c.1900

September 28– Monday– Lisbon, Portugal– A prince, Charles, is born to King Luis I and Queen Maria Pia. As Charles I he will rule Portugal from 1889 until his assassination in 1908.