Tag Archives: artists

September ~ Election Year 1860


Republican candidate Lincoln and his supporters increase campaign activities. Slavery remains a key issue with many abolitionists not yet supportive of the Republican cause. The Prince of Wales is touring the United States, a contact with Great Britain which will be of increasing significance in the next four years. Italy moves to unification. The American mercenary Walker is tried and executed.

September 1– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “The point you press– the importance of thorough organization– is felt, and appreciated by our friends everywhere. And yet it involves so much more of dry, and irksome labor, that most of them shrink from it– preferring parades, and shows, and monster meetings. I know not how this can be helped. I do what I can in my position, for organization; but it does not amount to so much as it should.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Henry Wilson.


September 2– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Roman Catholic churches here raise money to send to Pope Pius IX who is seen as in trouble from Garibaldi and the movement for Italian unification.

September 3–Monday– Tinto River, Honduras– Pressed by a combined Honduran and British military force, William Walker surrenders to Commander Salmon of the Royal Navy. Salmon reports that Walker does so unconditionally.

September 4–Tuesday– Detroit, Michigan–Speaking to a large gathering at a railroad yard, Senator William Seward gives an energetic speech supporting Lincoln and other Republicans.

September 4– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois–”Yours of the 29th is received; and I presume I understand what has prompted you to write it. In 1832 I was first a candidate for the Legislature, with some ten or a dozen other candidates. Peter Cartwright, and three others were elected, of whom I was not one. In 1834 he, and I, and several others, again become candidates; he declined before the election, I saw the race through, and, with three others, was elected. In 1835 he became a candidate to fill a vacancy in the State Senate, and his sole competitor, Job Fletcher, beat him by near six hundred majority. In 1836, 1838, & 1840, I was successively elected to the Legislature– he not being a candidate at either of those elections. I then ceased to be a candidate for anything till 1846, when I ran for Congress. Mr. Cartwright was my competitor, and I beat him, as I recollect 1511 majority, being about double the party majority of the District. I was never a candidate for congress at any other time, and never had any contest with Mr. Cartwright other than as I have stated.” ~ Letter from Lincoln to John Coulter.


September 5– Wednesday– Jersey City, New Jersey– New Jersey Republicans held a massive evening meeting. After a torch-lit parade, Senator John Ten Eyck speaks, warning all party members to be watchful of Democratic attempts at electoral fraud. Governor William Pennington urges everyone to work to make sure of a Republican victory in November. Newspaper reports put the crowd at more than 6,000 people, the largest such gathering on record up to that time.

September 6–Thursday– Cedarville, Illinois– Birth of Jane Addams, social worker, peace activist, author, lecturer, advocate for immigrants, suffrage activist, first president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1931, a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union and a reformer. [Dies May 21, 1935.]


Jane Addams


September 6–Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland– Senator Douglas speaks for two hours to a large crowd of his supporters. He attacks Breckinridge, saying that without Breckinridge’s interference, he could readily beat Lincoln in every state with the exception of Vermont and Massachusetts.

September 6– Thursday– Sacramento, California– With the state Democratic Party irrevocably split, the Douglas loyalists, claiming to be the true Democratic Party, close their two day convention, endorsing the Douglas ticket and the national platform passed in Baltimore. They also strongly condemn the withdrawals at the national conventions which resulted in the alternative nomination of Breckinridge.

September 7–Friday–Boston, Massachusetts–Garrison pokes fun at the Democrats and President Buchanan in the current issue of The Liberator. Under the headline “Lost: One Cent Reward,” he describes the Democratic Party as lost on the road between Charleston and Baltimore and last seen running after a fugitive slave. “The stock in trade being hopelessly lost, the above reward will be paid by James Buchanan, Caleb Cushing, Benjamin D. Butler, Assignees.”

September 7–Friday– Greenwhich, New York– Birth of Anna Mary Robertson Moses, who will become known as the painter “Grandma Moses.” [Dies December 13, 1961.]


Anna Robertson Moses as a child


September 7–Friday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania–Hard on the campaign trail, Senator Douglas arrives here by rail from Baltimore. On the way, he stopped at York, Pennsylvania where he spoke to 3000 people. Here he meets with Democratic leaders and gives a speech in the evening to a crowd of several thousand.

September 8– Saturday– Trujillo, Honduras–In negotiations with Honduran military and political leaders, Commander Salmon surrenders William Walker to them in return for safe passage home for the other American mercenaries.


William Walker, mercenary


September 8–Saturday– New York City–Today’s Herald quotes William H Seward’s recent speech in Lansing, Michigan in which he said, “I favor . . . the decrease and diminution of African slavery in all the states.”

September 10– Monday– Augusta, Maine– In a heavy voter turn-out, Republicans win all state offices with significant majorities. Israel Washburn, Jr, age 47 and a founder of the Republican Party in the state, is easily elected as governor, beating Democrat Ephraim K Smart, age 47.


September 11– Tuesday– Albany, New York– As many as 4,000 men parade in support of the Republican ticket.

September 12– Wednesday– Trujillo, Honduras–Authorities court-martial William Walker and execute him by firing squad. Walker is 36 years old.

September 13–Thursday– Laclede, Missouri–Birth of John J Pershing, who will have an important career in the U S Army, including command of American forces in France during 1917 and 1918. [Dies July 15, 1948.]

September 13–Thursday– Fort Worth, Texas–A white mob breaks into the jail and lynches Anthony Bewley, a fifty-six year old white Methodist preacher accused of violent abolitionism and inciting slave insurrection.

September 14–Friday– Upstate New York–Traveling with his wife, Senator Douglas speaks in five towns in the region.


September 14– Friday– New York City– “I don’t know clearly on which side to count myself in. I’ve a leaning toward the Republicans. But I shall be sorry to see Seward and Thurlow Weed with their profligate lobby men promoted from Albany to Washington. I do not like the tone of the Republican papers and party in regard to the John Brown business of last fall, and I do not think rail-splitting in early life a guarantee of fitness for the presidency. . . . But I can’t support . . . Douglas, the little giant, for I hold the little giant to be a mere demagogue. As to Breckenridge, the ultra Southern candidate, I renounce and abhor him and his party. He represents the most cruel, blind, unreasoning, cowardly absolute despotism that now disgraces the earth.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 14– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Prince of Wales and the Colored People of Canada– An address of welcome and congratulation was presented to the Prince of Wales by the colored citizens, on His Royal Highness’s arrival in Montreal. At a recent meeting of the colored people of Toronto, the following resolutions were moved and unanimously adopted: Resolved, That appreciating, as we do, the visit of the Prince of Wales to this and other parts of the British dominions, we do with all loyalty to our Severing Lady the Queen, as a free people, escaped from slavery, deem it our duty to appoint a committee to wait upon His Royal Highness, and present him with a suitable address, such as would be creditable to ourselves and those connected with us at large. Resolved, That as freemen we are willing to show all classes in this noble Province, that we will not be behind them in coming forward to show our Queen’s Representative, the Prince of Wales, all the loyalty we can bestow. Resolved, That if her Majesty the Queen, from invasion, or rebellion, or otherwise, should require the services of the colored inhabitants of the British Provinces, we will be ready to assist, with our fellow inhabitants, in maintaining the integrity of the Mother Country both at home and abroad.” ~ The Liberator

September 15– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– The Army Corps of Engineers begins repairs on Fort Sumter.

September 17– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Democrats hold a large rally

September 18–Tuesday– Rochester, New York–After his well-attended speech, Senator Douglas is honored at night by torch-light parade through the downtown.

September 20– Thursday– Detroit, Michigan–The mayor of the city and the governor of Michigan greet the Prince of Wales as he arrives from Windsor, Ontario, to begin his historic visit to the United States.


September 20– Thursday– Springfield, Illinois– “Yours of the 17th is just received. Here, in Illinois, we are precisely in the condition you seem to understand– safe, as we think, on the National and State tickets, but in danger as to the Legislature. How the National committee can do anything in the premises I do not quite understand; tho, on this point I would refer to Mr. Judd. I shall confer with some friends, and write you again soon– saying no more now that, in my opinion, no one thing will do us so much good in Illinois, as the carrying of Indiana at the October election. The whole surplus energy of the party throughout the nation, should be bent upon that object up to the close of that election. I should say the same of Pennsylvania, were it not that our assurances seem so abundant of Curtin’s election there. If I might advise, I would say, bend all your energies upon Indiana now.” ~ Letter from Lincoln to E D Morgan, Republican National Chairman.

September 21–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today The Liberator reports on the activities of the abolitionist activist William Wells Brown, himself an escaped slave who has been in Vermont for four weeks. He comments that he finds the most illiterate and ignorant people in the Democratic party. He tells of a series meetings in a number of towns In one place he could not find a hotel in which he could stay. “Still, there are many warm hearts in the Green Mountain State, who are anxious to have the American Anti-Slavery Society send in an agent or two, to lecture in all the towns. Vermont is certainly a good field for missionary labor.”


September 22– Saturday– Dwight Station, Illinois–The Prince of Wales begins four days of rest and quiet on the farm of Charles Spencer, one of the town’s founders.

September 23–Sunday– St Joseph, Missouri–Senator William Seward encourages a crowd of 2000 people to support Lincoln.

September 25–Tuesday– Off the coast of West Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Cora with a cargo of 705 slaves.

September 26–Wednesday– Lawrence, Kansas– Senator Seward receives a hero’s welcome in this center of free soil Kansas. Several thousand people listen attentively to his rousing speech recounting the efforts Kansas is making to reject slavery and enter the Union as a free state. When he asks them to vote for the Republican ticket his audience claps and cheers.

September 28– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “If . . . the Republican party shall succeed in getting the rein of government into its own hands, and preserving the Territories absolutely and beyond a peradventure from the designs of the Slave Power, it will do no slight service to the cause of freedom; and to that extent, and for that reason, it has our sympathies and best wishes as against its three antagonistically and thoroughly pro-slavery rivals. If this is our view of the present political struggle, it may be asked why we do not espouse the Republican party, and urge abolitionists to vote for its candidates. Our answer is, that the greater includes the less, and the immediate abolition of slavery is a matter of incomparably greater concern than an effort simply to prevent its extension; that ‘an ounce of remedy is worth a pound of cure’; that the slave-holding guarantees of the Constitution are such as morally to vitiate that instrument, and no party can be justified on any presence in swearing to uphold it; that the North ought to take disunion ground at once, in order to clear her skirts of blood-guiltiness, instead of remaining an accomplice in slaveholding where it now exist at the South; that the result of such disunion must inevitably and speedily be the extinction of the slave system universally; and that to make no compromise with oppressors is to do the highest service to all classes and all interest in the land. It is not necessary for us to elucidate these points in this connection, as it is our constant aim to show that upon the Northern banner should be inscribed the motto, ‘No Union with Slaveholders!’and the battle carried to the gate.” ~ The Liberator


William Lloyd Garrison


September 29– Saturday– Cleveland, Ohio– “A call is issued for a meeting of the Bell-Everett party in this city, the alleged object of the meeting being the establishment of a Bell-Everett Club. We warn such of the old Whigs as may be inclined to favor the Bell movement, that such a ‘Club’ will be used for no other purpose than to dash out their own brains. In Ohio, as in other Northern States, the real object of the wire-workers in the Bell-Everett movement is the election of Douglas. The men who are controlling the movement are Douglas men, open or disguised. Some of them make no scruple of avowing their only intention to be the distraction of the Republican party, and the election of Douglas. They are to be found on the platform at Douglas meetings, and are in the counsels of the Douglas leaders, and are aided and abetted in their efforts by Douglas presses. We cannot believe that any of the gallant band of old Whigs will allow themselves to be humbugged in this manner. The men who at the name of Henry Clay felt their blood stirred as at a trumpet call to action, will never act as the allies of the man who stigmatized their pure and patriotic leader as a ‘black hearted traitor.’ That Henry Clay Whig, who, by diverting a vote from Abraham Lincoln, the warm friend of Henry Clay, aids the election of Stephen A. Douglas, his bitter enemy, assents to the villainous abuse which that arch-demagogue heaped on the Sage of Ashland.” ~ The Cleveland Herald.


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.


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.

Sherman Is Proving Himself a Great General ~ February 1865 ~ 21st to 22nd

Sherman Is Proving Himself a Great General ~ Gideon Welles

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

Lincoln’s government is pleased with General Sherman as his troops march through South Carolina, more hindered by rainy weather than by strong defense from Confederate soldiers. The Georgia legislature shows signs of contention with the government in Richmond, particularly disagreeing with the idea of drafting slaves into the army. Food supplies are so short in some Southern places that soldiers steal flour for local women to use.


February 21– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We learn from citizens of Wayne county who arrived yesterday, that a few days ago a guerrilla murder was committed at Ceredo, on the Ohio river in that county. It appears that a gang of men, under command of the notorious Bill Smith, came down to Ceredo and entered the house of Jack Meadows, a citizen, shot him through the heart, drove his wife and children out of doors, and set fire to the premises. Mrs. Meadows who was fortunately armed with a revolver, shot one of the guerrillas dead and seriously wounded another, but not until one of her legs had been broken by a blow with a gun in the hands of one of the rebels. The rebels having completely destroyed the house of Mr. Meadows, with all its contents, fled to their hiding places, leading their dead companion unburied. Mrs. Meadows and her children were taken to Catlettsburg, Kentucky where she still remains.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

February 21– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “We have made great progress in the Rebel War within a brief period. Charleston and Columbia have come into our possession without any hard fighting. The brag and bluster, the threats and defiance which have been for thirty years the mental aliment of South Carolina prove impotent and ridiculous. They have displayed a talking courage, a manufactured bravery, but no more, and I think not so much inherent heroism as others. Their fulminations that their cities would be Saragossas were mere gasconade, their Pinckneys and McGrawths and others were blatant political partisans. General Sherman is proving himself a great general, and his movements from Chattanooga to the present demonstrate his ability as an officer. He has, undoubtedly, greater resources, a more prolific mind, than Grant, and perhaps as much tenacity if less cunning and selfishness. In Congress there is a wild, radical element in regard to the rebellious States and people. They are to be treated by a radical Congress as no longer States, but Territories without rights, and must have a new birth or creation by permission of Congress. These are the mistaken theories and schemes of Chase, perhaps in conjunction with others.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.


February 21– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “We are having delightful weather and quite warm . . . . We have today glorious news– the fall of Charleston. Salutes have been fired along the entire line and the troops have cheered themselves hoarse. Thank God for the victory, for I hope it will help to end the war. The enemy still continues to desert to our lines. Last night ten came. They all tell the same story– that the Southern cause is hopeless. I begin to feel that the war is really drawing to a close, but we shall have some severe fighting yet.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 21– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Another bright and glorious morning. Charleston fell on Thursday night last. A large number of heavy guns fell into the hands of the enemy. The confidential telegraph operators remained with the enemy. They were Northern men; but it is the policy of those in possession of this government to trust their enemies and neglect their friends. . . . The Negro bill also passed one House [of Congress], and will pass the other to-day. . . . These measures may come too late. The enemy is inclosing us on all sides with great vigor and rapidity. A victory by Beauregard would lift up the hearts of the people, now prone in the dust.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 21– Tuesday– Winnsborough, South Carolina– “A rebel woman set fire to her store filled with cotton and destroyed two or three blocks before the troops entered. The Fourteenth Corps entering first put out the fire and appropriated the large amount of supplies found there.” ~ Diary of an officer serving with Union General Oliver O. Howard.

civilians fleeing before Sherman's advance

civilians fleeing before Sherman’s advance

February 21– Tuesday– Macon, Georgia– “1st. Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, That the struggle in which we have been engaged for the last four years involves not only the domestic institutions of the South, but the rights of self government and State Sovereignty, in which every State of this Confederacy as well as each State of the North, is most deeply interested; to maintain political equality and the sovereignty of the States should be an object demanding the greatest public sacrifice. 2nd, Resolved, That we do spurn with indignation due to so gross an insult, the terms on which the President of the United States has proffered peace to the people of the Confederate States. 3rd, Resolved, That the freedom with which the President [Jeff Davis] has received even unofficial commissioners from the United States, his ready response to unofficial invitations to send commissioners, and the wise and discreet choice of persons made by him, commands our highest admiration, and is proof conclusive to the world of an honest and sincere desire to adjust the differences between the two nations, and put an end to this bloody strife. 4th, Resolved, That burying all past differences of opinion as to the origin and conduct of the war, we intend to take nothing but our absolute independence, and to accomplish this Georgia pledges herself to use all the resources which Providence has placed in her power, humbly relying upon divine assistance in the defense of all that is dear to freemen. 5th, Resolved, Though having lately passed through an ordeal of blood and trial, Georgia renews her pledges to her sister States to stand by them with her army and treasury until independence is achieved and liberty won. 6th, Resolved, That our  profoundest gratitude is due to her soldiers, who on many a bloody battle field have illustrated their State by deeds of heroic valor, and that while we look to them with pride and confidence, we will see to it that their efforts are generously sustained, and that the amplest resources of the State are applied for the support and comfort of their families at home. 7th Resolved, That His Excellency the Governor, be requested to transmit a copy of the resolutions to the President of the Confederate States, the Governors of the several independent States, and to our Senators and Representatives in Congress.”


February 21– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “A letter from Mecca Joyner, saying she is coming to make me a visit, and I must meet her in Albany on Wednesday. Just as I had finished reading it a buggy drove up with Flora Maxwell and Captain Rust, from Gopher Hill. Flora has a great reputation for beauty, but I think her even more fascinating and elegant than beautiful. Captain Rust is an exile from Delaware, and a very nice old gentleman, whom the Maxwells think a great deal of. He was banished for helping Southern prisoners to escape across the lines. He tells me that he sometimes had as many as fourteen rebels concealed in his house at one time.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

February 21– Tuesday– Paris, France– The painter Constant Troyon dies at 54 years of age.

Cattle Drinking by Troyon

Cattle Drinking by Troyon

February 21– Tuesday– Melbourne, Victoria, Australia– A Royal Commission into the origin and nature of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (a cattle disease) presents its final report to the Parliament of Victoria.

February 22– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “As your life has been faithfully devoted to the cause of humanity, the abolition of slavery and the welfare of the freedman, I am sure you will be interested in all facts and questions relating to the condition of those in any part of the country whom the rebellion has made free. I went from Ohio to New Orleans in the summer of 1863, and since, then, most of the time, have resided there, participating in and observing the effect of the new order of things which the slaveholders’ war has inaugurated. From what I have seen in Northern papers, I think the true condition and relation of those who were formerly slaves, in the State of Louisiana, have not been fully understood. . . . Slavery, I trust, is forever abolished in Louisiana; and if, in the future, her lawgivers secure equal rights to all her citizens; her fertile lands and genial climate, producing figs, rice, corn, tobacco, sugar and cotton; her orange groves, bending and yellow with ripening fruit; and her thousands of miles of navigable rivers and bayous, furnishing ample, cheap, convenient and expeditions means of conveying the products of her soil to market, will invite capital and labor from every civilized country and clime. She will then learn to her advantage that ‘righteousness exalteth’ a State. But if, in the future as in the past, a majority of her laborers are oppressed and disfranchised, she will learn, at her cost that injustice ‘is a reproach to any people.’” ~ Letter from John Hutchins to William Lloyd Garrison.

February 22– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– General Robert E. Lee, now commander of all Confederate armies, issues Special Order No. 3, naming General Joseph E. Johnston commander the Army of Tennessee and of all troops in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Privately, Lee telegraphs Johnston with instructions: “Concentrate all available forces and drive back Sherman.” Quickly, Johnston telegraphs back: “It is too late to expect me to concentrate troops capable of driving back Sherman. The remnant of the Army of Tennessee is much divided. So are other troops. Is any discretion allowed me? I have no staff.”

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

February 22– Wednesday– Frankfort, Kentucky– The legislature rejects the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 22– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– The state adopts a new state constitution which includes a prohibition of slavery.

February 22– Wednesday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “Some Yanks came– wanting milk– they said. I met them at the backdoor, spoke pleasantly but held the door knob in my hand. I saw they were preparing to come in but I did not invite them and bolting the door, directed them to [a slave] Mammy’s house to get the milk. They went-dreadfully dissatisfied and grumbled to the servants [slaves] that I had not asked them to come in the house. They were gentlemen, had been raised, never had been in any place before but what they were asked in the house, if they had been officers she would have asked them in, if they had been secesh etc. etc. etc., until Mammy and Puss [both slaves] said they thought both were born fools. The servants [slaves] told them I never asked soldiers in the house soldiers did not expect it and have no right to expect it—they usually come to get something and if I had it I gave it and they went away—if they expected to be invited in they mostly come with some friend to introduce them etc. etc. Finally they commenced about killing chickens, the Negroes got them out to if—then they wanted milk which was brought—then walnuts—these also were furnished—some wanted bread and this was handed over also—then they went off after examining all the outhouses, etc. carefully—for what I do not know. Just as dinner was on the table and we sitting down to it here they came again—whiz! Bang! Went the rocks everywhere. They were after the chickens, and they carried them off in triumph. Not all satisfied however, for they came back 3 times after more but failed to catch them. Mammy was so mad she was fit to fly and Puss was quite as much exasperated.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

February 22– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– “Whereas, We are informed that the Confederate Government contemplates and are making efforts, to enlist in the military service of the Confederate States, the male slaves of the State, within certain ages, first paying the owners their value, and then setting them free at the end of the war. 1st. Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of Georgia, That it is our opinion, that this measure if carried out, will be a violation of the Constitution of the Confederate States. 2nd. Resolved, That independent of the constitutional difficulty, in the opinion of this General Assembly, the policy of employing this class of persons in the army, will be pre-judicial in the extreme and will result in the destruction of the slave interest of the South, as well as the ruin of our army. 3rd. Resolved, That the Governor of Georgia, be requested to transmit a copy of these resolutions to the President of the Confederate States, and to the Governors of each of the Confederate States.”

February 22– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “We understand that some soldiers belonging to [Confederate General] Hood’s army, at home on furlough, made a ‘raid’ on the Commissary store in Hartwell last Thursday, and helped themselves to what they wanted. They afterwards went to McMullen’s mill, where the Government grain was ground, and distributed to about fifty females a sack of flour each.” ~ The Southern Banner.

February 22– Wednesday– Albany, Georgia– “I . . . brought Mecca Joyner and Jim Chiles home with me. I took dinner with Mrs. Sims and met several friends, whom I invited to our picnic. Sister had a large company to spend the evening, and they stayed so late that I grew very sleepy. I am all upset, anyway, for letters from home have come advising us to stay here for the present, where there is plenty to eat, and less danger from Yankees now, than almost anywhere else. It must be perversity, for when I thought I had to go home I wanted to stay here, and now that father wants me to stay, I am wild to go. I have written him that he had better order me back home, for then I would not care so much about going. Now that the Yanks have passed by Augusta and are making their way to Columbia and Charleston, I hope they will give Georgia a rest.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

Fight For Charleston! ~ January 1865 ~ 21st to 24th

Fight for Charleston!

Dozens of women in Charleston, South Carolina, call on their men to fight the Yankees to the death. An exchanged Confederate prisoner reports that morale is high among rebel soldiers in Northen prison camps. Yet another soldier writes to his wife that desertions from the Confederate ranks are increasing and morale is low. A Tennessee woman notes that the war is demoralizing every body. Like other Northerners, George Templeton Strong sees the end of slavery as necessary to re-establishment of the Union. Whitman has a job in Washington.

slave auction

slave auction

January 21– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “It has been a long time since I have seen or heard from you, and I suppose that you have nearly forgotten me, but if you will think back you will remember a man by my name, whom you met in Carver Hospital Washington D. C. where we met then the first time. I never expected to be able to write you a line in the year 1865, but I have been spared for some other purpose I suppose. And now you will please accept my thanks for all the favors that you have shown me while lying then unable to help myself. Lieutenant Babcock has this morning recd a letter from Lieutenant Caldwell. Caldwell and all the rest of our officers are in Danville Military Prison Virginia, he mentions Major Wright, Captain Whitman . . . [and others] they are all doing well, & all they ask for is for something to eat, Hard Bread and Pork, or anything that can be sent them, and as it is impossible for us to get them anything how I hope some of you good people at home will try and do something for them. Lieutenant Babcock has shown me a memorial of the Old 51st and if you could possibly send me a few copies I would be very much obliged to you for your trouble. Once more allow me to thank you for your kindness toward me while in Hospital.” ~ Letter from Union officer Aaron Smith to Walt Whitman with news of Whitman’s brother George.

January 21– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– According to an article in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch the state of Georgia had16,000 slaves in 1776 and 381,682 slaves in 1850.

January 21– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “From Colonel M. L. Woods, of the 46th Alabama regiment, who has just returned from imprisonment in the North, in which he remained for twenty months, we learn that there are now in the prison camp on Johnson Island, three thousand Confederate officers and two hundred private soldiers. For the first six or eight months after Colonel Weeds reached Johnson island, the prisoners were treated well. . . . What is most important, however, concerning our prisoners, is the spirit which animates them. They were never more enthusiastic in their patriotism, and were never more determined to fight through the war than now. They authorized Colonel Woods to say to the President and the Confederate Congress that, in the reorganization of the army, which they anticipated, any claims which they might have as officers should be entirely disregarded. They are perfectly willing to shoulder their muskets and march in the ranks of the army. The general spirit of Confederate prisoners – privates as well as officers – throughout the North, was undaunted and determined; and whilst a large number of soldiers are reported to have taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, Colonel Woods knows that the number is not only grossly exaggerated, but that a large number who do take the oath only do so to enable them to get out of the clutches of their keepers and return to the Confederacy.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

johnson island index01

January 21– Saturday– somewhere in southeast South Carolina– “I see the citizens of Savannah has held a Union meeting and passed resolutions in favor of going back into the Union. They say they are going to send one copy to the Mayor of Augusta, one to the Mayor of Atlanta, one to Macon, one to Columbus and one to the President of the United States. I suppose they treat them very well in Savannah! I had the chance of [a] lieutenant position the other day and would not accept it. All I want is to get out of this war. Sallie, when you write me let me know the people’s notions at home about the war. Let me know what your notions are. I will tell you what mine are: I am whipped. Sallie, we are a ruined people. There is no chance for us. Good many of our regiments are deserting. They are in low spirits. Tom Sanders from our county has deserted, but I don’t think I will ever desert. I will stay with them until the war ends or they kill me. I think the best thing we can do is to go back into the Union. The Negroes are certain to be set free. Sallie, we have done all that we can. That’s my notion, Sallie. Remember me in this dark hour of trial.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife Sallie.

Federal ambulances

Federal ambulances

January 21– Saturday– Albany, Georgia– “I never in all my life knew such furious rains as we had last night; it seemed as if the heavens themselves were falling upon us. In addition to the uproar among the elements, my slumbers were disturbed by frightful dreams about Garnett. Twice during the night I dreamed that he was dead and in a state of corruption, and I couldn’t get anybody to bury him. Colonel Avery and Captain Mackall were somehow mixed up in the horrid vision, trying to help me, but powerless to do so. In the morning, when we waked, I found that Metta also had dreamed of Garnett’s death. I am not superstitious, but I can’t help feeling more anxious than usual to hear news of my darling brother. The rain held up about dinner time and Mrs. Sims determined to return to Albany, in spite of high waters and the threatening aspect of the sky. We went five miles out of our way to find a place where we could ford Wright’s Creek, and even there the water was almost swimming. Mett and I were frightened out of our wits, but Mrs. Sims told us to shut our eyes and trust to Providence, and Providence and Uncle Aby between them brought us through in safety. At some places in the woods, sheets of water full half a mile wide and from one to two feet deep were running across the road, on their way to swell the flood in Flint River. Sister sent a Negro before us on a mule to see if the water-courses were passable. We had several bad scares, but reached town in safety a little after dark.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 21 – Saturday– Paris, France– Joseph Xavier Boniface Saintine, novelist and dramatist, dies at age 66.


January 21– Saturday– Helsinki, Finland– The painter Johan Erik Lindh dies at 71 years of age.

January 22– Sunday– New York City– “I have faith in Uncle Abe’s sagacity and honesty and in Stanton’s vindictiveness. They favor no pacification that leaves the sources of this war still open and the Slaveocracy in existence to recover its strength and rebel a second time. They know that peace and union cannot be secured without utterly squelching slavery and slaveholders.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 22– Sunday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “The war seems to be demoralizing every body. . . . Some of the very nicest girls of this county are throwing themselves, their honor and good name away, losing control over fiendish passions, ruining themselves forever in the eyes of the world. Oh will people never be brought to their senses!” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

January 22– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “The rains returned with double fury in the night and continued all day. If ‘the stars in their courses fought against Sisera,’ it looks as if the heavens were doing as much for us against Kilpatrick and his raiders. There was no service at St. Paul’s, so Mrs. Sims kept Metta and me in the line of duty by reading aloud High Church books to us. They were very dull, so I didn’t hurt myself listening. After dinner we read the Church service and sang hymns until relieved by a call from our old friend, Captain Hobbs.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 22– Sunday– Schwerin, Germany– Birth of Friedrich Paschen, educator and physicist. [Dies February 25, 1947.]

Friedrich Paschen

Friedrich Paschen

January 23– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, That our senators in congress be instructed, and our representatives requested, to cast their votes in favor of the proposed amendment to the constitution of the United States for the abolishment of slavery.” ~ Resolution passed by the state legislature.

January 23– Monday– Paris, France– The painter Joseph Desire Court dies at 67 years of age.

woman on a couch by Joseph Desire Court

woman on a couch by Joseph Desire Court

January 24– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Several members of the Cabinet, with myself, considered the question, to-day, as to the time of your coming on here. While we fully appreciate your wish to remain in Tennessee until her State government shall be completely re-inaugurated, it is our unanimous conclusion that it is unsafe for you to not be here on the 4th of March. Be sure to reach here by that time.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Andrew Johnson.

January 24– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “You are hereby appointed to a Clerkship of the first class in the Office of Indian Affairs, of this Department, the salary of which is $1200 per annum, to commence when you have subscribed the enclosed oath, and entered upon duty.” ~ Letter from William T. Otto to Walt Whitman.

January 24– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We beg, through your columns, to address, the General commanding South Carolina, and the Governor of this State. We, women of Charleston, not enthusiastic girls, but women whose hair has whitened through the anguish of this awful war, whose husbands, sons, brothers, have died for South Carolina and Charleston, entreat to be heard. We would say that we have listened, with grief and horror inexpressible, to the hints of abandoning to our foes, without a struggle, the city of our love. We urge, by all our titles to regard; we implore, as the greatest boon, fight for Charleston! Fight at every point – fight for every inch, and if our men must die, let them die amid the blazing ruins of our homes, their souls rising upward on the flames which save our city from the pollution of our enemy. Send out the women and children yet in the city. Thousands of Charleston women scattered through the land will share with them their all. They shall not starve. But let them be no excuse for deserting the sacred homes of us and our ancestors. . . . By the rain of blood and tears, which has fallen upon our hearts, never quenching, but brightening the flame of patriotism there, do not utterly crush those true hearts by this blow. We know, each of us, our husbands, our brothers, our sons, are not shrinking now. They are chafing at this fatal policy of retreat. They who have won their fame from the Savannah river to Charleston harbor, they ask but leave to fight on as they have fought. Do you but lead them on, not keep them back. We call upon the Commanding General to stand by us, to fight with us, heart and soul. We call upon our Governor, sworn to defend Carolina and her honor, to defend it here. Let the mantle of the dictator fall upon him, and if Charleston, defended to the hour, must then fall amidst her burning edifices and her homes – either to the sound of guns of our forts, as they send out their last defiance to the baffled foe.” ~ Letter signed by dozens of women to the editor of the Charleston Mercury.

Confederate women

Confederate women

January 24– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “Mr. and Mrs. Welsh spent the evening with us. Jim Chiles came last night and sat until the chickens crowed for day. Although I like Jimmy and enjoy his budget of news, I would enjoy his visits more if he knew when to go away. I never was so tired and sleepy in my life, and cold, too, for we had let the fire go out as a hint. When at last we went to our room I nearly died laughing at the way Metta had maneuvered to save time. She had loosened every button and string that she could get at without being seen, while sitting in the parlor, and had now only to give herself a good shake and she was ready for bed. We spent the morning making calls with Mrs. Sims, and found among the refugees from South Carolina a charming old lady, Mrs. Brisbane. Though past fifty, she is prettier than many a woman of half her years, and her manners would grace a court. Her father was an artist of note, and she showed us some beautiful pictures painted by him. After dinner we enjoyed some Florida oranges sent by Clinton Spenser, and they tasted very good, in the absence of West India fruit.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Concern Felt About Sherman ~ December 1864~ 8th and 9th

Concern Felt about Sherman ~ George Templeton Strong.

General Sherman

General Sherman

North and South, people wonder what has become of General Sherman and his troops. A desultory stalemate continues in the siege of Petersburg. A Union general authorizes Maryland citizens to take action against guerrillas and outlaws. A Boston preacher calls upon people to aid former slaves build new lives in freedom. The Pope condemns the “inventions of innovators.”

December 8– Thursday– New York City– “A windy night and growing colder after a cold day. Much concern felt about Sherman. His failure would be a fearful calamity. Even Richmond papers seem not certainly to know what has become of him. Perhaps he will never be heard of again, like King Arthur . . . . He should be very near the coast by this time, unless he has come utterly to grief.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Union siege artillery outside Petersburg

Union siege artillery outside Petersburg

December 8– Thursday– New York City– “In the armies of the Potomac and the James [at Petersburg, Virginia] the picket firing, which is still kept up, and the occasional exchanges between the opposing batteries, are all that disturb the quiet. On Monday there was some artillery firing by the Ninth corps guns and the rebels opposite and between the Monitors and the Howlett House battery, but without causing any casualties on the Union side. The Tenth and Eighteenth corps have been consolidated, and are known as the Twenty-fourth corps, of which General Ord has assumed command. The corps of colored troops, under General Weitzel, is numerically designated the Twenty-fifth. General Meade presented medals of honor to a number of non-commissioned officers and privates of the Second corps on Tuesday. No intercourse whatever with the enemy or exchange of newspapers is now allowed in either army, under severe penalties. . . . The city of Detroit [Michigan] is again greatly excited by anticipations of a raid on it from Canada by rebels who are said to be now perfecting their organization. The civil and military authorities of the city are making every preparation to receive the raiders. Extra police have been placed on duty, and arrangements are making for the enrolment and arming of the militia.” ~ New York Herald.


December 8– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “McMullen and Baker, the two members of the 2nd West Virginia Cavalry, who were committed to the Atheneum several days ago for assaulting a Mustering officer at the Custom House, were yesterday released from confinement at the request of the officer, who withdrew the charges.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 8– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “We received no news from Sherman on yesterday. At our last advices, he was believed to be moving towards the coast, and our troops were concentrating to obstruct his route. We are glad to see from the Augusta papers that the railroad companies in Georgia are going to work vigorously to reconstruct and repair their railroads. The Central railroad is already running from Macon nearly to Gordon. The Atlanta and West Point road will be in running order in a month, and the Georgia road, from Augusta to Atlanta in forty days. Latest accounts, received last night, state that Sherman is moving in two columns down the Ogechee river, one column on either side.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

December 8– Thursday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Your letter is the latest I have heard of that did come through. I suppose it got to Augusta before Sherman cut the railroad. I feel in great hopes now that no Yankees will invade our county. I have eagerly gathered all the news from Georgia I could to find out Sherman’s course. We get nothing scarcely but rumors but from all I can learn he is making his course east of Macon, and I hope, as I said before, that he pass our section unmolested. But I will fear great concern till I hear direct from you again. We had a change of the monotony of camp life last Sunday. An old gentleman named R. O. Davidson delivered an address on the invention of a bird of Art. He says he made an artificial bird to go by steam through the air that can carry a man to guide it and a number of shells which the man can drop on the Yankees as he passed over them which will soon kill and scare them all away. He first applied to the Government for aid but was refused and he now appeals to private contributions. At the close of his address the boys contributed $116.00 to assist him in forwarding his designs. He proposes to make five hundred of these birds to follow one behind the other, he is taking the lead and to drop bomb shells on yanks wherever found. Quite an idea if he can only succeed and who knows but what he will. Of course it is ridiculed to a great extent, also the idea of steam cars [railroad trains], telegraphic wires and all other great inventions, laughed at at first.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to Amanda, his wife.

December 8– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– In another effort to create problems in the rear of General Sherman’s march toward Savannah, all white men in Fulton County between the ages of 16 and 55 are ordered to report to the city hall for military duty.

marching toward Savannah

marching toward Savannah

December 8– Thursday– on the march in Georgia– “Twenty-third day out. Roads today heavy sand and both yesterday and today very bad at swampy places and creek crossings – same thing in fact, for all the creeks seem to spread into swamps. Stopped at house of Reverend Mr. Heidt– fifty-four years old, Methodist, very well off, barns, etc, full of all sorts of forage when we came. Fluent talker, pretty shrewd, but foolish enough to argue with General [Sherman] about importance of cotton; General down on cotton.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock,

December 8– Thursday– Ebenezer Creek, Georgia; near Bryan Court House, Georgia; Hatcher’s Run, Virginia; Tuscumbia, Missouri– Engagements and encounters.

December 8– Thursday– Ballintemple, County Cork, Ireland– George Boole, mathematician, inventor of Boolean algebra, philosopher and logician, dies at 49 years of age.

George Boole

George Boole

December 8– Thursday– London, England– James Clerk Maxwell presents his paper “A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field” to the Royal Society, treating light as an electromagnetic wave and presenting Maxwell’s equations.

December 8– Thursday– Fere-en-Tardenois, Aisne, France– Birth of Camille Claudel, sculptor and graphic artist. [Dies October 19, 1943.]

Camille Claudel

Camille Claudel

December 8– Thursday– Rome, Italy– Pope Pius IX condemns theological liberalism as an error, asserts the supremacy of Roman Catholic Church over civil society and condemns rationalism and socialism. “For, teaching and professing the most fatal error of ‘Communism and Socialism,’ they assert that ‘domestic society or the family derives the whole principle of its existence from the civil law alone; and, consequently, that on civil law alone depend all rights of parents over their children, and especially that of providing for education.’ By which impious opinions and machinations these most deceitful men chiefly aim at this result, viz., that the salutary teaching and influence of the Catholic Church may be entirely banished from the instruction and education of youth, and that the tender and flexible minds of young men may be infected and depraved by every most pernicious error and vice. For all who have endeavored to throw into confusion things both sacred and secular, and to subvert the right order of society, and to abolish all rights, human and divine, have always (as we above hinted) devoted all their nefarious schemes, devices and efforts, to deceiving and depraving incautious youth and have placed all their hope in its corruption. For which reason they never cease by every wicked method to assail the clergy, both secular and regular, from whom (as the surest monuments of history conspicuously attest), so many great advantages have abundantly flowed to Christianity, civilization and literature, and to proclaim that ‘the clergy, as being hostile to the true and beneficial advance of science and civilization, should be removed from the whole charge and duty of instructing and educating youth.’ Others meanwhile, reviving the wicked and so often condemned inventions of innovators, dare with signal impudence to subject to the will of the civil authority the supreme authority of the Church and of this Apostolic See given to her by Christ Himself, and to deny all those rights of the same Church and See which concern matters of the external order.” ~ the encyclical Quanta Cura [Condemning Current Errors]

Pope Pius IX

Pope Pius IX

December 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Rev. Mr. Banvard, in his sermon on Thanksgiving day, which was on topics for the times said: The present condition of the colored race in this country, as well as of those in their father-land, is impressively described in that simple yet sublime conception of Anne Whitney in her statute of Africa, now on exhibition in Boston. It is the form, in colossal proportions, of a female with subdued African features, in the act of rising from her couch. She has risen sufficiently to lean upon one elbow, whilst with her other hand she shades her eyes as she endeavors to look in the distance before her, and catch the first rays of the coming dawn. She is awakening to a new, day and looking forward with mingled feelings of curiosity, and hope, endeavoring to penetrate the future. It is a grand embodiment of majesty, strength, anticipation, hopefulness, and a readiness to meet the events which the future may reveal. It is an appropriate and majestic symbol of Africa awaking to a new career, and is equally truthful and fitting as an emblem of Africa in our country as in her. She is arising from a long and terrible night. The day dawns. The morning star of hope shines serenely upon the brow of heaven. Africa has caught its cheering rays. She begins to stir. She rouses herself from her long night of, ignorance, suffering and bondage. She looks before and around her to see what the unusual portents of the times reveal, and she is preparing herself for the future which awaits her. For a long time has her hand been stretched out in supplication to her God; and now there is put into it the alphabet and the Bible, the musket and the banner of freedom, and she is learning to use them all. The question is asked, and will be repeated with increasing emphasis for years to come, what is our duty toward the colored race in this country? I answer, that during the painful period of their transition from slavery to freedom, which to them is necessarily a period of nakedness and hunger, want and wretchedness, the government and the people should unite to provide them with shelter, clothing and food, until they can make arrangements to provide for themselves. Furnish them also with labor and the elements of education. Send them teachers and books; and when they shall have reached a settled, normal condition, then don’t interfere with them. Let them alone; give them a fair chance, and let them carve out their own fortune, and we may be assured that as a general thing they will be amply able to support themselves.” ~ The Liberator.

"Our Countrymen in Chains"

“Our Countrymen in Chains”

December 9– Friday– New York City– “No positive intelligence from Sherman. Rebel newspapers report that he has been badly defeated at this point– repulsed with heavy loss at that point. His march is a failure. . . . There must be Southerners capable of believing such stuff, or it would not have been written.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 9– Friday– Cumberland, Maryland– “As the borders of this department are infested with small disreputable bands of men, who in civil times, would be called horse thieves and murderers, but who dignify themselves with the title of guerrillas, claiming to belong to the service of the so-called Confederate States, and are following their unlawful calling under the cover and guise of either army, seeking protection within the mountains when pursued – it becomes necessary that some measures be taken by citizens living within this department, and whose property is so threatened, for their own protection. Citizens are called upon to organize for the destruction of all bands of these villains, who have no just claim to the protection of any government, and all possible assistance for their destruction will be given them. Such men, banded together for purposes of plunder and dishonorable personal advantages, are unworthy of, and should receive, no quarter, and when taken, any disposition that may be deemed necessary by the captors themselves toward their persons will be fully upheld and justified. It is impossible to hunt down and destroy these parties by large military organizations, while citizen residents – able at all times to know of their whereabouts – may speedily organize for their destruction. Citizens living within this department must protect themselves in the same manner as in civil times, when over-run by these plundering, marauding and thieving bands, and rise with a determination to rid themselves of them at once, and for all, resting upon the assurance that all the assistance possible will be given them by the department commander.” ~ Orders from Union General Crook.

Having Their Own Say ~ December, 1864

In two different and important publications, women have their own say. In a significant way they foreshadow what the rest of the 19th century will see women do. A pioneering artists defends her work.  A magazine editor offers a shopping service by mail.

Harriet Hosmer

Harriet Hosmer

December– Boston, Massachusetts– “We women-artists have no objection to its being known that we employ assistants; we merely object to its being supposed that it is a system peculiar to ourselves. When Thorwaldsen was called upon to execute his twelve statues of the Apostles, he designed and furnished the small models, and gave them into the hands of his pupils and assistants, by whom, almost exclusively, they were copied in their present colossal dimensions. The great master rarely put his own hand to the clay; yet we never hear them spoken of except as ‘Thorwaldsen’s statues.’ When Vogelberg accepted the commission to model his colossal equestrian statue of Gustavus Adolphus, physical infirmity prevented the artist from even mounting the scaffolding; but he made the small model, and directed the several workmen employed upon the full-size statue in clay, and we never heard it intimated that Vogelberg was not the sculptor of that great work. Even Crawford, than whom none ever possessed a more rapid or facile hand, could never have accomplished half the immense amount of work which pressed upon him in his later years, had he not had more than one pair of hands to aid him in giving outward form to the images in his fertile brain. Nay, not to refer solely to artists who are no longer among us, I could name many studios, both in Rome and England, belonging to our brothers in Art, in which the assistant-modeller forms as necessary a part of studio– ‘property’ as the living model or the marble-workers,– and many more, on a smaller scale, in which he lends a helping hand whenever required. If there are a few instances in which the sculptor himself conducts his clay model through every stage, it is usually because pecuniary considerations prevent his employing a professional modeller. . . . I am quite persuaded, however, that, had Thorwaldsen and Vogelberg been women, and employed one-half the amount of assistance they did in the cases mentioned, we should long since have heard the great merit of their works attributed to the skill of their workmen. . . . those who look upon sculpture as an intellectual art, requiring the exercise of taste, imagination, and delicate feeling, will never identify the artist who conceives, composes, and completes the design with the workman who simply relieves him from great physical labor, however delicate some portion of that labor may be. It should be a recognized fact, that the sculptor is as fairly entitled to avail himself of mechanical aid in the execution of his work as the architect to call into requisition the services of the stone-mason in the erection of his edifice, or the poet to employ the printer to give his thoughts to the world. Probably the sturdy mason never thinks much about proportion, nor the type-setter much about harmony; but the master-minds which inspire the strong arm and cunning finger with motion think about and study both. It is high time that some distinction should be made between the labor of the hand and the labor of the brain. It is high time, in short, that the public should understand in what the sculptor’s work properly consists, and thus render less pernicious the representations of those who, either from thoughtlessness or malice, dwelling upon the fact that assistance has been employed in certain cases, without defining the limits of that assistance, imply the guilt of imposture in the artists, and deprive them, and more particularly women-artists, of the credit to which, by talent or conscientious labor, they are justly entitled.” ~ An essay by the American sculptor Harriet Goodhue Hosmer in this month’s issue of Atlantic Monthly.

Zenobia by Hosmer, c.1859

Zenobia by Hosmer, c.1859

[Harriet Hosmer, 1830 – 1980, was the first successful American woman to make career for herself as a sculptor. Her father, a physician in Watertown, Massachusetts and concerned that his wife and his three other children died of disease, decided to make and keep Harriet healthy by teaching her to ride, swim, ice skate and shoot as well as encouraging her interests in mechanics, drawing and clay modeling. She studied sculpture in Rome and spent much of her life in Italy and England. She successfully sued detractors who claimed in print that her work was not hers but done by her mentor, John Gibson. This article was in response to claims that her beautiful work depended solely upon the skill of her helpers. On her life and work, see, Harriet Hosmer: A Cultural Biography by Kate Culkin (2010).]

Zenobia by Hosmer, 1857

Zenobia by Hosmer, 1857

December– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “Notice to Lady Subscribers. Having had frequent applications for the purchase of jewelry, millinery, etc., by ladies living at a distance, the Editress [sic] of the Fashion Department will hereafter execute commissions for any who may desire it, with the charge of a small percentage for the time and research required. Spring and autumn bonnets, materials for dresses, jewelry, envelops, hair-work, worsteds, children’s wardrobes, mantillas, and mantelets, will be chosen with a view to economy, as well as taste; and boxes or packages forwarded by express to any part of the country. For the last, distinct directions must be given. Orders, accompanied by checks for the proposed expenditure, to be addressed to the care of L.A. Godey, Esq. No order will be attended to unless the money is first received. Neither the Editor nor Publisher will be accountable for losses that may occur in remitting. The Publisher of the Lady’s Book has no interest in this department, and knows nothing of the transactions; and whether the person sending the order is or is not a subscriber to the Lady’s Book, the Fashion editor does not know. Instructions to be as minute as is possible, accompanied by a note of the height, complexion, and general style of the person, on which much depends in choice. Dress goods from Evans & Co.’s; mourning goods from Besson & Son; dry goods of any kind from Messrs. A. T. Stewart & Co., New York; cloaks, mantillas, or talmas, from Brodie’s, 51 Canal Street, New York; bonnets from the most celebrated establishments; jewelry from Wriggens & Warden, or Caldwell’s, Philadelphia. When goods are ordered, the fashions that prevail here govern the purchase; therefore, no articles will be taken back. When the goods are sent, the transaction must be considered final.” ~ Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book

Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book

Utterly Despoiled by the Yankee Army~ November 1864~23rd to 25th

Utterly Despoiled by the Yankee Army ~ telegram from a Georgia mayor.

With a relentless forward motion Union troops keep pushing through Georgia, wreaking havoc and creating panic. President Lincoln prepares his State of the Union message and accepts the resignation of his Attorney General. Black people in Georgia celebrate Federal success and in Washington, D. C., celebrate the new constitution of the state of Maryland. In France a child is born who will become a renowned artist.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 23– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– General Grant and his staff officers confer with President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

November 23– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Last night Coroner Coleman was called upon to hold an inquest upon the body of John Phillips, aged 14 years, who was killed about 7 o’clock last night by Oliver Morton, aged 12 years, a son of Dr. Morton. From what we can learn on the subject, some person had stolen some cigars from the Commercial Hotel, and John Phillips accused Oliver of taking them, calling him a ‘d____d thieving son of a _____,’ at which Oliver drew his pistol, and shot John, the ball taking effect in the lower part of the breast bone, passing through the lungs, and lodging in the back, causing death in a few minutes. A verdict in accordance with the above facts was rendered.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

November 23– Wednesday– near Macon, Georgia– “On yesterday morning we left camp and marched down the road in pursuit and come to where they [Union forces] were in the evening, a mile or two below Griswoldville, where we formed a line of battle and marched up in front of the enemy. Then a fight commenced which lasted for about three hours. It ceased about night. We then marched back near to the ditches and camped on the east side of Macon, the rest of the night about ten miles from the battlefield. . . . Several of my acquaintances in the regiment were killed and others severely wounded. I escaped without being touched though two or three were struck close by me and severely wounded. I fear the fight yesterday was a badly managed affair, as we lost a good many men and I fear did not gain much by it. The Yanks have torn up our railroad badly for some distance below this city, and it seems like we may be cut off from supplies, as we were in Atlanta. Oh, that this cruel war could stop!” ~ Letter from a Georgia militiaman to his wife.


November 23– Wednesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– The city has served as the state capital since 1804 [and will so serve until 1868]. The state government has fled. Union General Sherman and his troops occupy the town. Sherman uses the governor’s mansion as his headquarters, while a number of Union officers held a mock convention in the capitol building and “vote” the repeal of Georgia’s 1861 ordinance of secession. The railroad depot, several factories and warehouses are burned, though the capitol building is spared. Sherman issues orders for the next leg of his march to the sea. “Advanced guards should be strengthened, attended by a pioneer corps prepared to construct temporary bridges in case of their destruction by the enemy; and wherever any such obstruction occurs the commanding officer of the troops present on the spot will deal harshly with the inhabitants near by, to show them that it is to their interest not to impede our movements. Should the enemy burn forage and corn on our route houses, barns, and cotton-gins must also be burned to keep them company.”

November 23– Wednesday– Milledgeville, Georgia– “I write at the Capital of the State of Georgia, We left Atlanta a week ago yesterday . . . . The white people of Georgia are cold and for the most part intensely Secesh, and remain true to the most terrible resolutions that they will never give up, but the Negroes, black and white– for it is difficult to distinguish them from white men– are the most devoted friends of the Yankee soldiers. Their demonstrations are literally frantic. They dance and shout and clap their hands when they see our column approach. Whatever a soldier may ask for, they hasten to do for him. Whatever their masters have, he will get. It is claimed the Negroes are so well contented with their slavery; if it ever was so, that day has ceased to be. Hundreds of men go with us, and thousands would if they could take their families along. Most of them have more or less white blood in their veins, and though they are not taught even to count, they are by no means unintelligent. Up to this time I have thought the South could organize a formidable military force out of their Negroes, but I am satisfied now that they dare not attempt it. Every Negro in the land will defend a Yankee soldier to the utmost of his power; many of our prisoners have escaped by their aid, and not one I believe has ever been betrayed by them. At Madison they burned the calaboose or whipping post, and the wild transports of men, women and children, dancing about, was really a spectacle worth seeing.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

November 23– Wednesday– Henryville, Tennessee; Fouche Springs, Tennessee; Mount Pleasant, Tennessee; Ball’s Ferry, Georgia; Morganza, Louisiana– Skirmishes and firefights.

November 24– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We believe there is a goodly number of very worthy men in your city. Men of as profound learning and moral worth as can be found anywhere. But what takes us so fearfully back, is that you are so equally divided in Wheeling! that Mr. Lincoln could only get 140 votes over General McClellan! That such a large number of citizens of that enlightened and religious city should have their heads and hearts turned the wrong way!! while several districts with less intelligence and partial information, but honest in heart and purpose, gave large majorities for the Union. But so it is.” ~ Letter from a man in Jackson County, West Virginia to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. [Lincoln carried the state of West Virginia by 68.2% of the popular vote.]

Lincoln 1864 campaign literature

November 24– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “For some months past, you have been aware of my desire to withdraw from the active labors & constant cares of the office which I hold by your favor. Heretofore, it has not been compatible with my ideas of duty to the public & fidelity to you, to leave my post of service for any private consideration, however urgent. Then, the fate of the nation hung, in doubt & gloom. Even your own fate, as identified with the nation, was a source of much anxiety. Now, on the contrary, the affairs of the Government display a brighter aspect; and to you, as head & leader of the Government, all the honor & good fortune that we hoped for, has come. And it seems to me, under these altered circumstances, that the time has come, when I may, without dereliction of duty, ask leave to retire to private life. In tendering the resignation of my office of Attorney General of the United States (which I now do) I gladly seize the occasion to repeat the expression of my gratitude, not only for your good opinion which led to my appointment, but also for your uniform & unvarying courtesy & kindness during the whole time in which we have been associated in the public service. The memory of that kindness & personal favor, I shall bear with me into private life, and hope to retain it in my heart, as long as I live. Pray let my resignation take effect on the last day of November.” ~ Letter from Attorney General Edward Bates to President Lincoln.

Edward Bates

Edward Bates

November 24– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and frosty. Ice half an inch thick this morning. All quiet below. . . . Colonel Northrop, Commissary-General, reports only 15 days’ bread rations in Richmond for 100,000 men, and that we must rely upon supplies hereafter from the Carolinas and Virginia alone. The difficulty is want of adequate transportation, of course. The speculators and railroad companies being in partnership, very naturally exclude the government from the track. The only remedy, the only salvation, in my opinion, is for the government to take exclusive control of the railroads, abate speculation, and change most of the quartermasters and commissaries. . . . General Cooper, the Adjutant-General, . . . turned out twenty of his eighty clerks yesterday, to replace them with ladies. It is said and believed that Sherman’s cavalry has reached Milledgeville [Georgia], and destroyed the public buildings, etc. We have nothing from Wheeler since the 18th instant.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

November 24– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “The loud report heard in the city, this afternoon, was caused by the accidental explosion of a number of shells in field above the Tredegar works. One white man and three Negroes were killed by the explosion.” ~ Richmond Whig.

November 24– Thursday– Milledgeville, Georgia– “Our citizens have been utterly despoiled by the Yankee army. Send us bread and meat, or there will be great suffering among us. We have no mules or horses. What you send must be brought by wagon trains. The railroad bridge and the bridge across the Oconee have been burned. The State House and Executive Mansion and Factory are sill left to us. Send us relief at once.” ~ Telegram from the city’s mayor to the mayor of Macon, Georgia.

November 24– Thursday– Columbia, Tennessee; Lynnville, Tennessee; Campbellsville, Tennessee; St Charles, Arkansas; Prince George Court House, Virginia– Encounters and showdowns.

November 24– Thursday– Victoria County, Ontario, Canada– Birth of John Wesley Brien, physician and politician. [Dies January 11, 1949.]

November 24–Thursday– Albi, Tarn, France– Birth of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, painter. [Dies September 9, 1901.]



November 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Last week the colored people of Washington assembled at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church for the purpose of celebrating the adoption of the new constitution of Maryland. The church was densely crowded, and several hundred were unable to gain admission. . . . they celebrated the occasion by a fine display of fireworks. The outside of the church was finely illuminated by a large number of torches fastened to the iron railing surrounding the building, while the inside of the edifice was tastefully decorated with a number of large American flags. The choir . . . sang several appropriate pieces during the evening. There was quite a sprinkling of whites in the assemblage. . . . A collection was taken up for the sick and wounded soldiers, during which the choir sang ‘Rally Round the Flag, Boys,’ which was received with great applause, and when concluded cries of ‘Sing it again’ were heard from all parts of the house. The song was repeated, nearly all present taking part in it.” ~ The Liberator.

November 25–Friday– New York City– Southern sympathizers attempt to set a dozen arson fires but all are quickly discovered and extinguished.

November 25–Friday– New York City– “[Eliakim] Littell, the Boston publisher . . . . wants to be enabled to send a copy [of his pamphlet on Confederate treatment of Union prisoners] to every clergyman and every newspaper editor in the Northern States. He thinks it will influence the coming campaign on the anti-slavery constitutional amendment question, as displaying most clearly the barbarizing and maligning effect of slavery on slave-holding communities; and he knows Eastern Copperheads who . . . confess the rebel treatment of our prisoners inexcusable and criminal beyond precedent.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Boston office of Eliakim Littel

Boston office of Eliakim Littel

November 25– Friday– Shinnston, West Virginia– Confederate guerillas rob a local store of about $500 worth of supplies.

November 25– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “He [President Lincoln] read to us what he had prepared [for the upcoming state of the union message to Congress]. There was nothing very striking, and he evidently labors in getting it up. The subject of Reconstruction and how it should be effected is the most important theme. He says he cannot treat with Jeff Davis and the Jeff Davis government, which is all very well, but whom will he treat with, or how commence the work? All expressed themselves very much gratified with the document and his views. I suggested whether it would not be well to invite back not only the people but the States to their obligations and duties. We are one country. I would not recognize what is called the Confederate government, for that is a usurpation, but the States are entities and may be recognized and treated with. Stanton, who was present for the first time for six weeks, after each had expressed his views, and, indeed, after some other topic had been taken up and disposed of, made some very pertinent and in the main proper and well-timed remarks, advising the President to make no new demonstration or offer, to bring forward his former policy and maintain it, to hold open the doors of conciliation and invite the people to return to their duty. He would appeal to them to do so, and ask them whether it would not have been better for them and for all, had they a year since accepted his offer. Each of the members of the Cabinet were requested to prepare a brief statement of the affairs of their respective Departments. Seward had already handed in much of his. I told the President I would hand him my brief the next day.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.


Most Terrible of All Wars, a Civil One~March 1864~28th to 31st

Most Terrible of All Wars, a Civil One ~ Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles reflects upon the challenges faced by the Lincoln Administration. Whitman mourns the death of a young, unidentified soldier. The South brags of its capabilities while enduring all manner of shortages. Soldiers think about God while plenty of skirmishing foretells worse fighting to come. Election year politics are underway. Mexicans defeat a French force. The world continues to turn.

March 28– Monday– Copenhagen, Denmark– Princess Louise Charlotte of the Danish royal family dies at age 74.

March 29– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mr. Charles B Stuart, consulting engineer, appointed such by me upon invitation of the governor of New York, according to a law of that State, has made a report upon the proposed improvements to pass gunboats from tide water to the northern and northwestern lakes, which report is herewith respectfully submitted for your consideration.” ~ Message to Congress from President Lincoln.

March 29– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The poor boy was dead– they took him into the ward, & the doctor came immediately, but it was all of no use– the worst of it is too that he is entirely unknown– there was nothing on his clothes, or any one with him, to identify him& he is altogether unknown. Mother, it is enough to rack one’s heart, such things– very likely his folks will never know in the world what has become of him– poor, poor child, for he appeared as though he could be but 18. I feel lately as though I must have some intermission, I feel well & hearty enough, & was never better, but my feelings are kept in a painful condition a great part of the time– things get worse & worse, as to the amount & sufferings of the sick, & as I have said before, those who have to do with them are getting more & more callous & indifferent. Mother, when I see the common soldiers, whatthey go through, & how every body seems to try to pick upon them, & what humbug there is over them every how, even the dying soldier’s money stolen from his body by some scoundrel attendant, or from some sick ones, even from under his head, which is a common thing & then the agony I see every day, I get almost frightened at the world. Mother, I will try to write more cheerfully next time– but I see so much– well, good bye for present, dear Mother.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

March 29– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Augustus Syncoe, the detective who was sent to the penitentiary for shooting Emma Thompson, has been pardoned by Governor Smith. Sending the worst criminals to the penitentiary now-a-days is little more than a farce. The shooting of this woman, by this man, was one of the most outrageous crimes ever perpetrated in any Christian community.” ~ Richmond Whig.

March 29– Tuesday– Columbus, Georgia– Factories here are “capable of turning out one thousand pairs of socks per week. . . . The character of their work is very superior, and reflects upon their skill and pains the utmost credit. Three of their machines are keep constantly running on soldiers’ work. One machine is engaged in knitting for children, or rather youths. One is engaged exclusively on ladies stockings, and turns off as good and handsome work as the most fastidious could wish, especially when the yarn in fine and well prepared. The yarn mostly used for soldiers’ wear is prepared by the Eagle factory, though they work up a considerable amount prepared by private hands.” ~ Article sent to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

March 29– Tuesday– Monett’s Ferry, Louisiana; Roseville, Arkansas; Caperton’s Ferry, Alabama; Long View, Arkansas; Cloutierville, Louisiana; Arkadelphia, Arkansas– Fire fights, raids, small battles. Also, Federal troops are on the move from Lookout Valley, Tennessee to Deer Head Cove, Georgia and in the area of Bellefonte, Arkansas.

March 29– Tuesday– London, England– Great Britain restores control of the Ionian Islands to Greece.

painting by Paul Ranson

painting by Paul Ranson

March 29– Tuesday– Limoges, France– Birth of Paul Ranson, painter and writer. [Dies February 20, 1909].

March 30– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “A severe storm last night and to-day. Mrs. Welles had arranged for a party this evening. The rain ceased about sundown. The evening passed off pleasantly. A large and choice company and many celebrities. Secretary Seward fell in with Mr. Carpenter, the artist in the parlor. Carpenter is getting out a large painting of the President and the Cabinet at the time the Emancipation Proclamation was under consideration. The President and Cabinet have given him several sittings, and the picture is well under weigh. . . . . Nearly sixty years of peace had unfitted us for any war, but the most terrible of all wars, a civil one, was upon us, and it had to be met. Congress had adjourned without making any provision for the storm, though aware it was at hand and soon to burst upon the country. A new Administration, scarcely acquainted with each other, and differing essentially in the past, was compelled to act, promptly and decisively.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [Mrs Welles is Mary Jane Hale Welles of Lewistown, Pennsylvania, who at this time has been married to Gideon for almost 29 years and bore him nine children.]

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

March 30– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The only arrivals of prisoners now are from Mosby and McNeal’s ever active commands. Preparations are making in Richmond, Andersonville, South Carolina, and elsewhere, for the reception and holding of an increased number of prisoners during the ensuing summer. All the sick in the hospitals here, about eight hundred, will probably be sent Northward by the next flag-of-truce.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

March 30– Wednesday– Milwaukee, Wisconsin– The Union State Convention endorses Lincoln for reelection.


March 30– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “Mr John H. Colt has presented us with a bottle of blackberry wine, in which he used sorghum syrup instead of sugar. The syrup should be used according to taste; but care should be taken that the wine is not made too sweet. Probably a safe rule would be to use the same quantity by weight as of sugar. The sample before us is fully equal, if not superior, to any we have ever tasted. This is a valuable discovery; as nothing is more useful in certain cases of sickness, than blackberry wine, and its manufacture has almost entirely ceased, on account of the scarcity of sugar. Mr Colt deserves the thanks of the public for the prompt manner in which he has made the discovery known.” ~ The Southern Banner.

March 30– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– General Howell Cobb takes command of the Reserve Corps of Georgia, which, among other duties, provides the guards at Camp Sumter near Andersonville. This force is composed mainly of boys under the age of seventeen and men over fifty; some of the boys are so small they can barely see over the prison walls from the guard towers.

Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison

March 30– Wednesday– Camden County, Georgia– “Mr Fisher went over to Major Bailey’s today to consult about getting a passport. This seems the most difficult part of all. I have but little faith in getting one and it will make a heavy expense to go to Savannah– probably cost a $100.00. Sybil seems to be getting in a bad way. Her whole body swells badly and has a good deal of pain. If she is no better we shall be unwilling to leave her. We have been obliged to kill a pig. Poor and tough, hardly fat enough to fry itself.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

March 30– Wednesday– Greenton, Missouri; Mount Elba, Arkansas; Cherry Grove, Virginia; Snyder’s Bluff, Mississippi; Big Creek, Arkansas– Skirmishes, little affairs, raids and surprise attacks. Federals troops are reconnoitering around Woodville, Alabama and Columbus, Kentucky.

March 31– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, I have been in the midst of suffering & death for two months worse than ever– the only comfort is that I have been the cause of some beams of sunshine upon their suffering & gloomy souls & bodies too– many of the dying I have been with too. Well, mother, you must not worry about the grocery bill &c, though I suppose you will say that is easier said than followed. (As to me I believe I worry about worldly things less than ever, if that is possible). Tell Jeff & Mat I send them my love. General Grant has just come in town from front– the country here is all mud again. I am going to a spiritualist medium this evening, I expect it will be a humbug of course, I will tell you next letter. Dear mother, keep a good heart.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

March 31– Thursday– near Stephensburg, Virginia– “My desire is to do my duty and live in such a way as to make Heaven my home when I come to cross the cold Jordan of Death. My prayer and sincere desire is that-if we never meet on Earth, that God will help us to meet in Heaven where there will be no War or no parting then. Take care of your health and if it is God’s will– we will soon be permitted to meet each other.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

March 31– Thursday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I have the honor herewith to inclose you a list of the families fed by the U. S. Commissary at this post, whose natural supporters are now serving in the armies of the Confederate States, and fighting against the Government which is saving them from starvation. My object in so doing is to propose that you receive these families and provide for them, as they have no claims upon the United States but those prompted by considerations of humanity. Their friends and their sympathies are all with you and your cause, and I cannot but think that your own sense of justice will agree with me that it is your duty to receive these people within your lines and provide for their necessities.” ~ Message from Union General George Thomas to Confederate General Joseph Johnston.

Union General George Thomas

Union General George Thomas

March 31– Thursday– Natchitoches, Louisiana; Arkadelphia, Arkansas; Palatka, Florida; Forks of Beaver, Kentucky; Spring Island, South Carolina– Skirmishing, gun battles and assorted mayhem.

 March 31– Thursday– Mazatlan, Mexico– In the climax of four days of fighting, Mexican forces defeat the French.

To Resist the Present Rebellion~March 1864~16th to 21st

To Resist the Present Rebellion ~ President Lincoln

Lincoln finds support among Northern workingmen. Women do their part on both sides of the struggle. Alcohol can be problematic for soldiers on leave. The failed Union cavalry raid from the start of the month remains an issue. Inflation and food shortages bother many in the South. The prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia is off to a bad start. Grant re-organizes the Federal command structure. The Danes win a naval battle against the Germans. Darwin finds a strong defender.

March 16– Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland– Birth of Carrie Bamberger Frank Fuld [dies July 18, 1944], the fifth of the six children of Elkan and Theresa Hutzler Bamberger. Both her parents are Jewish immigrants from Bavaria. [Through her first husband, Louis Meyer Frank, she will have access to a substantial fortune, becoming a well-known philanthropist to benefit Princeton University, Hadassah, the New York Philharmonic, the Newark (New Jersey) Community Chest and various charitable and social service organizations.]

Carrie Bamberger Fuld

Carrie Bamberger Fuld

March 16– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– At the close of the Sanitary Commission Fair here, President Lincoln says, “In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments have manifested themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars; and among these manifestations nothing has been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families. And the chief agents of these fairs are the women of America. I am not accustomed to the use of language of eulogy: I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say, that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America.”

March 16– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln asks General Butler to see about obtaining the return of the body of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren from the Confederates.

March 16– Wednesday– Army of Northern Virginia winter quarters, Virginia– “The pictures came to hand which done me almost as much good as if I had seen you all except you. Some of the pictures are good some not so good but they all suit me. . . . . And as to yourself you look well in the face but form much more delicate than I expected to see. Come up & see us and get some of our good eatings & I think you will improve.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

March 16– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– In an attempt to avoid fraternization, guard troops at the prison camp near Andersonville are ordered not to speak with prisoners except on official business.

Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison

March 16– Wednesday– Annandale, Virginia; Tullahoma, Tennessee; Palatka, Florida; Santa Rosa, Texas; Bristoe, Station, Virginia– Encounters, affrays and tough scraps.

March 17– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “On Monday a couple of soldiers, being somewhat intoxicated, were making profane remarks in the presence of ladies on a steamboat that was about leaving the wharf, when the captain of the boat being unable otherwise to preserve order and decorum started towards the Atheneum after a guard. The soldiers anticipating his purpose, are said to have caught hold of the captain and refused to allow him to go and he was compelled to leave with his boat without enjoying the satisfaction of seeing the men arrested. We have lately heard of similar instances of disorder on other steamers running to and from this point.” ~Wheeling Daily Intelligencer

March 17–Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee–In a face-to-face meeting, General Grant promotes William Tecumseh Sherman to head the Military Division of the Mississippi commanding the Department of the Ohio, Department of the Tennessee, Department of the Cumberland and the Department of the Arkansas. Major General James McPherson is promoted to Sherman’s old position as commander of the Army of the Tennessee.

March 17– Thursday– near the Island of Rugen, Baltic Sea– In a brief battle known as the Battle of Jasmund, the Danish navy scores a tactical victory over the German navy. Casualties on both sides are very few in number; however, the Danes force the Germans to pull back.

Battle of Jasmund

Battle of Jasmund

March 18– Friday– New York City– “Bad news for the household of Hamilton Fish. His beautiful daughter, Bessy, who married young d’Hauteville within the year, has died at Marseilles of puerperal convulsion in a premature confinement. God help those who suffer the catastrophe . . . . General Grant seems for the present in command of the Army of the Potomac as General-in-Chief without displacing General Meade. . . . . A terrible ordeal for Grant. His path is whitened by the bones of popular reputations that perished because their defunct owners did not know how to march through Virginia to Richmond. I hope grant may possess the talisman, ‘the seal of Solomon’ that raises its possessor to capacity for his place, however large.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 18–Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln praises the efforts of northern women to aid the Union cause. Mere words, he says, “would not do them justice for their conduct during this war.”

March 18– Friday– Dalton, Georgia– “All remain quiet beyond Tunnel Hill, and appearances are unfavorable for an engagement at an early day. Division drills are still the order of the day. An interesting revival is going on in the various Methodist churches here.” ~ Brief news update by a reporter for Richmond Times Dispatch.

March 19– Saturday– St Louis, Missouri– Birth of Charles Marian Russell. [He will become a painter and sculptor, doing over 2,000 paintings of the American West. He will die October 24, 1926.]

March 19– Saturday– Eel River, California; Laredo, Texas; Beersheba Springs, Tennessee; along the Cumberland River, Kentucky; Black Bay, Arkansas– Struggles, strife and skirmishes. Federal troops are also on the move at Lexington, Missouri and Rolling Prairie, Arkansas.

March 19–Saturday– London, England–Thomas Henry Huxley, noted British biologist and nicknamed “Darwin’s bulldog,” publishes a brilliant rebuttal to a Mr Hunt who had published a paper claiming that black people were biologically inferior. Huxley proves Hunt is unscientific and affirms the rightness of the Union drive to end slavery.

Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Henry Huxley

March 19– Saturday– Bombay, India– Birth of Joseph Baptista, who will become an advocate of Indian home rule. [He will die in 1930.]

Joseph Baptista

Joseph Baptista

March 20– Sunday– Elk River, Tennessee– “The Colonel has been absent some days attending the court-martial in which those guerrillas that were taken at Boone’s Hill are being tried. I understand that some have been convicted of murder and are to be hung. Those men are not soldiers but a band of robbers and murderers. They don’t mind whether a man is a Union man or a Confederate,– if he has money they will take it. They commit crime on the Confederate people and then the Union soldiers are charged with it. I do not intend ever to fall into their hands.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Robert Cruikshank to his wife Mary.

March 20– Sunday– St Louis, Missouri– “A deputation of the citizens presented each soldier with a badge of welcome. We were then marched to a capacious hall where a bountiful feast had been prepared for us. After dinner, we all adjourned to the saloon where all who chose were treated to beer.” ~ Diary of Union soldier Lucius Barber, describing being on furlough.

March 20– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “No one but Franky came in to Sunday School. We have been out of meat some days. Live on corn and rice. Yesterday Kate sent us a potato pie, and radishes, such a treat! And one day in the week Mrs. Linn gave us a piece of venison. We have kind and thoughtful neighbors. . . . Gussy has just come with a loaded mule. Goods sent by Julia in exchange for some cast off clothing. For mine she has received $217.00 Confederate money– worth about 5cents on the dollar. Having no opportunity for spending the money I concluded to invest it in land thinking it might become profitable. Sybil has received some . . . cloth for the boys. Once worth from ten to twelve cents a yard– now from six to twelve dollars bringing a calico dress to $100.00, a calico shirt to $40.00. The bubble must burst before long. . . . We want Northern comforts. It is tedious to spend half the time catching fleas and the other half in sleeping and eating hominy and rice. The thought of milk, potatoes and good bread makes us mourn for a return of good times.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

March 20– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the prisoner of war camp the 15 foot high rectangular log stockade is finally completed. It includes guardposts called “pigeon roosts” along the top, and a low railing 15 feet inside the walls called “the deadline” which no prisoner may cross under penalty of being shot by a guard.

March 21–Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln signs legislation allowing Nevada and Colorado to become states even though they do not meet the population requirements.

March 21– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The honorary membership in your association, as generously tendered, is gratefully accepted. . . . . None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudices, working division and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer was the hanging of some working people by other working people. It should never be so. The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”~ President Lincoln’s reply to a committee from the Workingmen’s Association of New York.

March 21– Monday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I saw more men the other day than I ever saw before at one place in my life & I only seen a handful to what you all have seen. I always thought I was intended to be an old Maid but I don’t know the other girls is always quarreling with me about the boys & I tell them that I was intended to be an old maid but I think I will wait till some of them that is older than me gets married first as I’m never in a hurry. . . . Jim, if you want a wife I have been corresponding with a young lady for some time & she wants to marry. If it is your request I will Court her for you & you Can Marry as soon as the war is over. Give my love to Monroe & receive a due portion for yourself.” ~ Letter from Mollie Houser to her cousin James Houser.

March 21– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The papers found in Dahlgren’s pockets, which the Yankee papers pronounce forgeries, have been carefully filed at the War Department.” ~ Richmond Whig.

Ulric Dahlgren

Ulric Dahlgren

March 21– Monday– Greenbrier County, Virginia– “I think if our rations get much less, General Starvation will be here also or General ‘Skidaddle’ to a quarter where there is more to eat. . . . . I’m getting awfully tired of this camp, I despise this inactivity. I am tired of the war – I want to fight it out, the sooner we begin this spring the better. We had a grand sight here last night. The mountains around us were literally mountains of fire. It burned all round our cabins– what do you think we did – we just let it burn. I have to reduce myself to half a sheet as paper is scarce just at this time. We can buy nothing here now – nor can we, I suppose until the new money is issued – give my best love to all & write soon, assured that I will do the same.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James R McCutchan to Rachel Ann McCutchan.

March 21– Monday– Orange County, Virginia– “Like you, I often think of the happy times we had there in our young days, and the scene enacted while riding along the road not far from there, when I asked a blushing girl of fifteen summers to be mine, and she would not consent. . . . we have had many trials since then and a hard road to travel, but that was the last quarrel we had. I often wonder how you ever managed to love me. I was so much older and uglier than you but I suppose a woman can do anything she sets her head to. I was 29 the 18th of this month but the day passed off without my thinking about it– I think and highly hope that this war will end this year, and Oh then what a happy time we will have. No need of writing then but we can talk and talk again, and my boy can talk to me and I will never tire listening to him and he will want to go with me everywhere I go– So, hoping for these good times, let us cheer up and go forth with renewed vigor and energy. Pray for me.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda. [Marion and Amanda married February 26, 1860. She was 16. Marion will die of wounds next year on April 6, 1865. Amanda will remarry in 1873 and live until 1907.]

The New Year, 1863 Turns Into 1864

The New Year, 1863 Turns Into 1864

North and South, people hope for peace and the success of their side. Many Northerners are more optimistic than last year. Many Southerners worry about scarcity and extremely inflated prices. Extremely cold weather dominates much of the nation, thus preventing fighting but hard on soldiers and their animals. The world continues to move on.

December 31, 1864– Thursday– New York City– “1863 A.D. is now in extremis. It has proved a far better year for the country than it promised at its birth. . . . . But only a very bold man can prophesy for a whole year ahead in these times.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 31– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The year closes more satisfactorily than it commenced. . . . The War has been waged with success, although there have been in some instances errors and misfortunes. But the heart of the nation is sounder and its hopes brighter. The national faith was always strong, and grows firmer. The Rebels show discontent, distrust, and feebleness. They evidently begin to despair, and the loud declarations that they do not and will not yield confirm it. The President has well maintained his position, and under trying circumstances acquitted himself in a manner that will be better appreciated in the future than now.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Lincoln seated in the White House, 1863

Lincoln seated in the White House, 1863

December 31– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with Count Carl Edward Vilhelm Piper, minister from the kingdom of Sweden to the United States. On behalf of King Charles XV, Count Piper presents Lincoln with a “volume containing engravings of the Royal collection of arms.” President Lincoln gives to the Count for His Majesty, “a pair of pistols, of American workmanship.” The President and the Count express “mutual good wishes . . . for the continuance of the cordial relations now existing between the two Governments.” [Sweden, along with other European powers, has refrained from recognizing the Confederacy.]

December 31– Thursday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “The year is ended. Good bye 1863 and may God grant that success attend our labors for our country in the year so soon to open.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 31– Thursday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “I declare I have been so busy learning housekeeping [these last three months] that I forgot [my] Journal, music and everything. Nannie was sick and Eliza [a slave] had engaged to work out so I agreed to cook and make up my bed. I cooked breakfast, dinner and supper and ironed my dress. I gave my biscuits five hundred and one licks. Kate took supper once. We both can cook right well and I can make a bed up very decently and upon the whole I expect I would make quite a nice housekeeper.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress

December 31– Thursday– New Orleans, Louisiana– “The last of eighteen sixty-three is passing away as I write. . . . Every New Year since I was in my teens, I have sought a quiet spot where I could whisper to myself Tennyson’s ‘Death of the Old Year,’ and even this bitter cold night I steal into my freezing, fireless little room, en robe de nuit, to keep up my old habit while the others sleep. . . . . Go and welcome! Bring Peace and brighter days, O dawning New Year. Die, faster and faster, Old One; I count your remaining moments with almost savage glee.” ~ Diary of Sarah Morgan Dawson.

January 1, 1865– Friday– New York City– “By these presents I wish a Happy New Year to all mankind, except Jefferson Davis and his group. To them, I wish virtue enough to withstand urgent daily temptations to hang themselves.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 1– Friday– Hoboken, New Jersey– Birth of Alfred Stieglitz [dies July 13, 1946], art gallery proprietor, photographer and arts patron. He is the first of six children born to Edward and Hedwig Werner Stieglitz. His father is a German immigrant who has served in the Union Army. [Alfred Stieglitz will be a prophetic figure in his advocacy for avant-garde and experimental art, especially the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, present the first exhibitions in the United States of Matisse, Cezanne and Picasso, and serve as an inspiration to writers such as Lewis Mumford and Sherwood Anderson.]

Alfred Stieglitz, 1902

Alfred Stieglitz, 1902

January 1– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “A bright day ushers in the year. Yesterday’s northeast storm has disappeared, and the clouds fell to the earth in heavy rain last night. Went with my family to the Executive Mansion at 11 A.M. to pay our respects to the President. Foreign ministers and attaches were there. Navy and Army officers came in at half past eleven. The house was full when we left, a little before twelve. Received at house until 4 p.m. Had official and friendly calls from Navy and Army officers, judges, foreign ministers, etc., etc., with such old friends of my own State as were in Washington, and not a few comparative strangers, who expressed warm personal and official regard.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

January 1– Friday– St Paul, Minnesota– At daybreak the temperature is 35 degrees below zero.

January 1– Friday– Hardy County, West Virginia– “Encamped about 12 o’clock at night about 3 miles south of Moorefield. Marching very bad on account of ice, and cold weather.” ~ Diary of Confederate soldier Robert P Bryarly.

January 1– Friday– Brandy Station, Virginia– “The new year opens without any important events. The troops are in comfortable quarters, built of logs and covered with canvas. Drill takes place daily and an occasional review breaks up the monotony of our camp life. The men are still re-enlisting for the remainder of the war and I hope to be sent home soon on my leave of absence.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

January 1– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “A bright windy day, and not cold. The President has a reception to-day, and the City Councils have voted the hospitalities of the city to General [John Hunt] Morgan, whose arrival is expected. If he comes, he will be the hero, and will have a larger crowd of admirers around him than the President. . . . . Flour is now held at $150 per barrel. Capt. Warner has just sold me two bushels of meal at $5 per bushel; the price in market is $16 per bushel. I did not go to any of the receptions to-day; but remained at home, transplanting lettuce-plants, which have so far withstood the frost, and a couple of fig-bushes I bought yesterday. I am also breaking up some warm beds, for early vegetables, and spreading manure over my little garden: preparing for the siege and famine looked for in May and June, when the enemy encompasses the city. I bought some tripe and liver in the market at the low price of $1 per pound. ~ Diary of John Jones. [The $150 barrel of flour would equal a price of $2,260 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index, and based on United States money. Confederate money, in substantial decline as 1864 begins, would require an additional multiplier of at least 5.]

January 1– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “The cases of George, a slave of Thomas Garland, charged with aiding Mary, a slave belonging to Dr. F. W. Hancock, to escape from the city, and Peter Williams, a slave, accused of stealing one pair of boots and half a side of sole leather from J. F. Dabney, were severally continued [i.e., postponed to a later date].” ~ Richmond Sentinel

January 1– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– A large cold air mass sweeping out of Canada into much of the United States has brought frigid temperatures this far south. On almost all fronts, no military action occurs.

January 1– Friday– Chattanooga, Tennessee–Mary Ann Bickerdyke (1817– 1901)and Eliza Porter (1807– 1888) establish a field hospital. These two women will serve together for the next nine months, following Union General Sherman’s forces into Georgia and taking care of Yankee and rebel wounded and sick. [Soldiers call Mrs Bickerdyke “Mother” and she calls her petite friend Mrs Porter “little brown bird” because of her auburn hair.]

Mother Bickerdyke, c.1890s

Mother Bickerdyke, c.1890s

January 1– Friday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “Tis New Year, a happy one to our household. Lieutenants Spotswood and Eddie came last night. Poor Eddie is greatly in need of clothes. . . . It is very cold, all nature is robed in Ice. Notwithstanding the Yanks are such near neighbors, we have had a house full of Rebels all day, four of Henderson’s Scouts– Lieutenants S. Eddie, Jim & Elb Jeters. Nannie and I went in the buggy over to the smuggler’s, Joe White, to see if we could not get some things there for Eddie, failed, brought Lute some soap– almost froze to death– got home at dark, all just finishing dinner, had a splendid time tonight. Our Armies all seem to be Status Quo. God grant successful may be the termination of 1864– oh! my savior I have buried the past-guide and lead me from temptation. After you, my God, then I live for my Country– God bless our leaders in Dixie.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

January 1– Friday– Covington, Georgia “A new year is ushered in, but peace comes not with it. Scarcely a family but has given some of its members to the bloody war that is still decimating our nation. Oh, that its ravages may soon be stopped! Will another year find us among carnage and bloodshed? Shall we be a nation or shall we be annihilated? . . . The prices of everything are very high. Corn seven dollars a bushel, calico ten dollars a yard, salt, sixty dollars a hundred, cotton from sixty to eighty cents a pound, everything in like ratio.” ~ Journal of Dolly Sumner Lunt

New Year's Day 1864

New Year’s Day 1864

January 1– Friday– Liberty, Texas– “Reached Liberty, frozen stiff. Yesterday it was so cold we could not travel. Horses, saddles, blankets, clothes all frozen stiff. One man frozen to death. Today the ice on the prairie held the weight of the horses, causing them to slide and fall, injuring them severely. Forded Trinity River above town, saddle seat deep. Rained all day and night.” ~ Diary of Confederate soldier H N Connor.

January1– Friday– Brisbane, Queensland, Australia– The Queensland Police Force begins operations with 143 employees.