Tag Archives: Asia

Inclined at Various Angles~February 1859~13th to 28th

Inclined at Various Angles ~ H. D. Thoreau

Thoreau admires winter’s wonders. American politics grow increasingly confrontational. Economic issues, including slavery, are ever more divisive. A member of Congress kills his wife’s lover; the murder and legal proceedings will make news for weeks to come. Politics are boiling in Mexico and in Britain. French imperialism reaches southeast Asia. A chess prodigy reaches fame. A book of translations of old poetry does not initially sell well.

February 13– Sunday– New York City– “The Charleston Mercury, upon the question of a protective tariff, says: ‘We trust that the members of Congress from the South will stand firm, and will rule out of all political or party association every man and any wing which may join the black republicans in this flagrant device of sectional plunder.’ The same warning authority further remarks that, ‘already Southern Presidential aspirants, with their retainers and followers, have sought to sustain and keep in affiliation the traitor [Senator Stephen] Douglas and his Northern clan,’ but that, protective tariff men included, ‘we trust the State Rights men in Congress will repudiate such allies, and purge the party of their corrupting presence and association.’ This demand for mere ‘purging’ when the party has already been purged to the verge of the grave, is a very severe one. The party wants a tonic. [The acquisition of] Cuba will do; and even an incidental protective revenue tariff may strengthen the backbone of the party. In default of these specifics, it must be turned over to the undertaker. We agree with our Charleston contemporary however, upon the main point ‘that when the party has ceased to be true to its principles, whatever they may be, it were better that it ceased to exist.’” ~ New York Herald.

February 13– Sunday– Hampstead, England– Eliza Acton, poet and one of the foremost women to publish cookbooks in the 19th century, dies eight weeks before her 60th birthday. Her most famous book is Modern Cookery for Private Families, first published in 1845.

February 14–Monday– Washington, D.C.– Oregon joins the Union as the 33rd state and a free state. However, while the state constitution bans slavery, it also limits citizenship to white people and bans free black people from settling.

February 14– Monday– near Galesburg, Illinois– Birth of George Washington Ferris, son of George Washington and Martha Hyde Ferris. [He will graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and have a successful career as an engineer, achieving fame for inventing the amusement ride, the Ferris Wheel. He will die of typhoid fever on November 22, 1896.]

George Washington Ferris

George Washington Ferris

February 14– Monday– London, England– Birth of Henry Valentine Knaggs. He will become a prominent physician, advocate of “nature cure methods” and author of 37 books about healthy living. [Dies July 11, 1954.]

February 15– Tuesday– Indianapolis, Indiana– “A collision occurred in the Senate this morning between Senators Gooding and Heffron, in consequence of some personal remarks made by both in the Senate some days ago. During the fight a brother of Gooding interfered and struck Heffron on the head with a cane, wounding him severely. Otherwise little damage was done to either party. Both were armed, but had no opportunity to use their weapons. The excitement in the Senate during the difficulty was intense.” ~ report from a correspondent of the New York Times.

February 15– Tuesday– London, England– The bookseller Bernard Quarich [1819 – 1899] first publishes the translation of the poetry of an eleventh century Persian writer under the title The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam of Naishapur [1048 –1131], translated by the British poet Edward Fitzgerald [1809 – 1883]. Quarich prints two hundred copies, priced at five shillings each. However, sales are so poor that he ends up selling them on the stall outside his Leicester Square shop for a penny a piece. [Five shillings equaled $4.90 U S in 1859 and 1 British penny equaled 2cents U S at the time.]

Edward FitzGerald

Edward FitzGerald

February 16– Wednesday– Centre County, Pennsylvania– The Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania formally opens its doors. [Under Lincoln’s program to establish land grant colleges, it will become Penn State University.]

February 17– Thursday– New York City– “[Francis] Lieber’s address tonight . . . was the best of the four. Embodied much thought and clever illustration. Unlike the others, it was not delivered from manuscript.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [German-born Francis Lieber (1800 – 1872) is a jurist, political scientist, educator and author. In 1857, with the aid of Strong and others, Lieber acquired a teaching position at Columbia. He will serve as a legal consultant to the Lincoln Administration during the Civil War.]

Francis Lieber

Francis Lieber

February 17– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– In one of the most glamorous social events of the season, high society hosts a grand ball at Willard’s Hotel in honor of Lord Francis and Lady Anne Jane Napier, the retiring British ambassador and his wife. The presence of many from the Buchanan Administration, the Congress and the military constitutes a sure sign of the general American satisfaction with the service of the popular Napier. A career diplomat, age 39 at this time, Napier has served here only since 1857 and leaves to take a post as Her Majesty’s minister to the Netherlands. In his short stay he has charmed Americans and is considered the best British envoy since American independence.

Francis Napier, Her Majesty's Minister to the United States

Francis Napier, Her Majesty’s Minister to the United States

February 17– Thursday– Rome, Italy– The premiere of Guiseppe Verdi’s opera The Masked Ball takes place at the Teatro Apollo. The story of assassination and intrigue was originally set in Stockholm, Sweden, but Italian nervousness over political murder prompts the opera’s setting to be described as seventeenth century Boston, Massachusetts.

February 17– Thursday– Saigon, Vietnam– With the stated aim of protecting Vietnamese adherents to the Catholic faith, French army and naval forces, supported by some Spanish troops, capture the city.

February 18– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Oregon, with its tyrannical constitution, outlawing all free colored persons, was admitted to the Union on Saturday last, by a vote of 114 to 103 in the House of Representatives– Comins and Thayer, of this State, voting in the affirmative!” ~ The Liberator

February 18– Friday– New York City– “The bark Ottawa sailed yesterday [from Mobile, Alabama], ostensibly for St. Thomas, but it is believed that her destination is the southern coast of Africa [to engage in illegal international slave trade].” ~ New York Times.

February 18– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Buchanan seeks authority from Congress to send U.S. ground and naval units to protect the transit of American citizens and trade across the isthmus of Panama. Since the discovery of gold in California a decade ago, this area has become increasingly important as a short-cut to the west coast ports of California.

February 19– Saturday– Wik Castle, Sweden– Birth of Svante August Arrhenius, who will win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903. [Dies October 2, 1927.]

February 20– Sunday– outside Havana, Cuba– “On the plantations the slaves of both sexes wear hardly clothes enough to make them appear decently. The intense heat of the summer to those exposed to field labor is the excuse given for this, and all the clothing a . . . congo Negro desires to wear in the field is a broad palm leaf hat.” ~ Diary of American businessman Joseph Dimock.

February 21– Monday– New York City– “The general feeling among the best informed is, that the Liberal cause is lost forever, and the supremacy of France and England established in Mexico, unless the Government of the United States acts immediately. Nineteen-twentieths of the people are with the Liberals, but they are without the capital, and have no arms and ammunition to make their power effectual. It is believed fully that a recognition by the United States would give the Liberal Government moral support, such as would lead England immediately to abandon her intervention for the Church Party. In the even that Liberals would have little difficulty in disposing of Miramon, and the only remaining trouble would be in shaking off the influences of France and Spain.” ~ New York Times.

February 22– Tuesday– Hannibal, Missouri– The 207-mile Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad providing service to the western part of the state at St. Joseph commences operations today. It is the first railroad completed in the state.

February 22– Tuesday– Paris, France– Americans host a ball in honor of the birthday of George Washington.

February 23– Wednesday– Concord, Massachusetts– “Walk to Quinsigamond Pond, where was good skating yesterday, but this very pleasant and warm day it is suddenly quite too soft. I was just saying to Blake that I should look for hard ice in the shade, or [on the] north side, of some wooded hill close to the shore, though skating was out of the question elsewhere, when, looking up, I saw a gentleman and lady very gracefully gyrating and, as it were, curtseying to each other in a small bay under such a hill on the opposite shore of the pond. Intervening bushes and shore concealed the ice, so that their swift and graceful motions, their bodies inclined at various angles as they gyrated forward and backward about a small space, looking as if they would hit each other, reminded me of the circling of two winged insects in the air, or hawks receding and approaching.” ~ Journal of H. D. Thoreau.

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

February 24– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The American Sunday School Union, founded in1824, concludes its three-day convention with several hundred Sunday school teachers from around the country in attendance.

February 24– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President James Buchanan vetoes a bill passed by Congress which provided for “donating public lands to the several States and Territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanical arts.” Buchanan questions the constitutionality of the measure as well as the effect of such a transfer of public land on future development within the states. [A similar act will be passed and signed into law during the Lincoln administration.]

February 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today’s Liberator carries a letter from Susan B Anthony urging readers to petition their state legislatures to enact protection for fugitive slaves. She calls upon them to remember that “one half of the slave victims are women.”

Susan B Anthony

Susan B Anthony

February 25– Friday– Keokuk County, Iowa– Birth of John Burke, who will serve as governor of North Dakota (1907 to 1913) and U S Treasury Secretary (1913 to 1921). [He will die May 14, 1937.]

February 25– Friday– San Francisco, California– “The lamentable frequency of Senatorial brawls and Representative street-fights in these days is a matter worthy of the serious attention of the people of the United States. My thoughts are led in this direction by the account, taken from an Eastern paper, in the Bulletin of 23rd February, of the recent misunderstanding in the Senate between Mr. [Stephen A] Douglas [of Illinois] on the one side, and Messrs [Graham] Fitch [of Indiana] and [Jefferson] Davis [of Mississippi] on the other. The very words of the article which I speak of are sufficiently indicative of the indifference with which these things have come to be regarded by the people at large. Mr. Douglas, a Senator of the United States, in the hall of that formerly dignified body, is represented as ‘pitching into’ the Postmasters of Illinois, and Senator Fitch as giving the lie direct to his assertions, while Mr. Davis uses language for which he afterwards deems fit to apologize. Such things are beneath the dignity of men anywhere, to say nothing of Senators in the Senate Chamber. The members of the House are not a whit behind their leaders in the display of their unmanly jealousies, and in their ardent attempts at imitation, are in imminent danger of cutting their throats, like the monkey in the fable when he tried to shave. The worst of it is, that now these disgraceful scenes have become so common, they attract no attention, not even contempt. But notwithstanding our indifference, nothing is looked upon with greater satisfaction in Europe than such unworthy exhibitions of our belligerent propensities.” ~ editorial comment in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin.

February 26– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I, James Buchanan, President of the United States, do issue this my proclamation, declaring that an extraordinary occasion requires the Senate of the United States to convene for the transaction of business at the Capitol, in the city of Washington, on the 4th day of next month, at 12 o’clock at noon of that day, of which all who shall then be entitled to act as members of that body are hereby required to take notice.”

February 26– Saturday– Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada– Birth of Basil King. After a career as a clergyman, he will turn to writing novels and books, publishing 24 volumes between 1900 and 1927. [Dies June 22, 1928.]

February 26– Saturday– London, England– American Paul Morphy, age 21, begins a chess match against Augustus Mongredien, age 52, an English merchant and chess master. The first game is a draw. Morphy wins the next seven in a row. [Morphy emerged as a child chess prodigy at age 12. He speaks French, Spanish and German as well as English. However, after 1864 he will play less and less often and not all after 1869. He will live quietly and unmarried in New Orleans, enjoying his family’s wealth, until his own death at age 47 in July, 1884.]

February 27– Sunday– Washington, D.C.–In Lafayette Park, Congressman Daniel Sickles of New York shoots and kills Philip Barton Key, the well-liked district attorney for the District of Columbia and son of Francis Scott Key, for having an affair with his wife. [Sickles, age 33 at this time, is a lawyer and politician. His attractive wife Theresa is 23. He accused her of having an affair with Key, a 40 year old widower and popular with fashionable women. Sickles himself had an affair with a prostitute whom he took to Europe while Theresa was pregnant. Sickles will be found not guilty of Key’s murder by reason of temporary insanity. He will lose his right leg at the battle of Gettysburg in 1863 and will live until May 3, 1914.]

Sickles murders Key

Sickles murders Key

February 27– Sunday– Memphis, Tennessee– “We have received the Santa Fe Gazette of the 29th ult., from which we take the following items: ‘We are proud to announce that the House of Representatives of the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico yesterday passed, with but one dissenting voice, a very stringent bill providing for the protection of property in slaves in the Territory, which was sent to the Senate, where it will pass by a like very large majority.’ Let the statesmen and politicians of the Union, North and South, stick a pin there!”~ Memphis Appeal

February 27– Sunday– Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, Louisiana– The fully loaded steamboat Princess had just left the city, headed downstream to New Orleans, when its boilers blow up and the vessel quickly sinks. Nearby steamboats and other craft pick up survivors but approximately seventy passengers are killed, drowned, or will later die of their injuries.

February 28– Monday– Little Rock, Arkansas– The state legislature passes a measure requiring that all free black people in the state choose between enslavement or exile. The law requires that free black people either leave the state or if they still remain after the stated period of grace, they will be subject to arrest and will be sold at a slave auction. Slaves constitute 25% of the state’s total population while “free people of color” total less than 1% of the total population.

February 28– Monday– London, England– In the House of Commons, 54 year old Benjamin Disraeli introduces plans for the moderate reform of the parliamentary franchise in Britain. The bill would extend the right to vote and redistribute seats in parliament, largely in favor of the Conservatives. [However, the measure is doomed to failure as Conservatives themselves are divided on the measure and opposition Liberals and Radicals remain too strong for such a partisan bill to prevail. When it ultimately is voted down, the Conservative Government will resign. A modest expansion of the franchise will come in 1867.]

February 28– Monday– Thusis, Switzerland– Birth of Florian Cajori, historian of mathematics. [Dies August 15, 1930.]

A Retrospective of 1862~Part Two

Immigration (U.S.):
> despite the on-going war, 91,985 immigrants enter the United States:
> 30.0% come from the German states;
> 26.8% come from Great Britain;
> 25.4% come from Ireland;
> 4.8% come from France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Netherlands combined;
> 3.9% come from China;
> 3.6% come from Canada;
> 2.8% come from Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined;
> 0.8% come from Central and South America, excluding Mexico;
> 0.6% come from Italy;
> 0.5% come from Greece, Spain and Portugal combined;
> 0.2% come from Mexico;
> 0.2% come from the Austrian Empire;
> 0.1% come from Poland;
> 0.1% come from the Russian Empire;
> 0.2%% come from other regions and other countries.
> Sex and age:
> 41.6% are female;
> 58.4% are male;
> 73.0% are between 15 and 40 years of age;
> 18.0% are under age 15;
> 9.0% are over age 40.
> Occupations by major categories:
> 54.9% have no occupation–this includes children;
> 15.5% have general labor occupations;
> 10.5% have skilled craft occupations;
> 8.1% have agricultural occupations;
> 6.8% have commercial occupations;
> 3.2% have domestic work occupations;
> 0.7% have professional occupations;
> 0.3% have miscellaneous occupations

> in a move aimed at restricting Chinese immigration, California imposes a tax of $2.50 per month, per person on all people of Asian descent [this would be about $57.70 in today’s money]

Journalism:
> Samuel L Clemens begins writing for The Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada Territory;
> James Russell Lowell begins writing for The North American Review

Samuel Clemens a/k/a Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens a/k/a Mark Twain

Medicine & Health:
> in Canada, smallpox sweeps through Fort Victoria area and down the length of the northwest coast, killing an estimated 200,000 First Nation people;
> Hermann Snellen, a 28 year old Dutch opthalmologist, publishes the Snellen chart for testing visual acuity.
> ergotism, a disease cause by fungus in rye, breaks out in Finland where rye bread is a diet staple of peasants and urban poor
>Dr Louis Elsberg opens the first public clinic to treat diseases of the throat
>in France Dr Edouard Raynaud publishes a paper on the cardiovascular disorder which will come to be called by his name

Military:
> as of June 30th, 673,124 men are on active duty in the U S military;
> the writer Ambrose Bierce, only 20 years old, is commissioned a first lieutenant and joins the staff of General William Bradcock Hazen. as a topographical engineer
> in Arizona, Cochise emerges as a brilliant military leader of the Apache people and will hinder and delay settlement by European Americans for the next ten years

Religion:
>the American Bible Society of New York City distributes thousands of pocket editions of the Bible to soldiers

Science & Technology:
> Brown & Sharpe, a Rhode Island company pioneering in making modern machine tools, produce the first universal milling machine
> Alexander Borodin, age 29, the illegitimate son of a Russian nobleman, becomes professor of chemistry at the Academy of Medicine in St Petersburg, Russia, and this year publishes the results of important experiments with benzoyl chloride; [he will soon begin his career in music as well];

Alexander Borodin

Alexander Borodin

> the 30 year old Julius von Sachs, a German botanist, shows that starch is the product of photosynthesis
> the first American open-hearth furnace for use in making steel begins operation

Social Movements:
> in the tiny Kingdom of Monaco the first Monte Carlo gambling casino opens
>Swiss philanthropist Henri Dunant, age 34, publishes a pamphlet in French urging the creation of non-military volunteer societies to aid wounded on battlefields; he will become a key person in the creation of the International Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions on the Conduct of warfare

Henry Dunant

Henry Dunant

Sports and Exercise:
>trotting-style horse races continue to be popular both in the North and the South; a new race track opens in New York City

Transportation:
>the Illinois-Central Railroad with miles of track running north-south provides great help to the Union army
>Ben Holladay, age 42, Kentucky-born and living in California, buys up the bankrupt Russell, Majors and Wadell company which went broke financing the now defunct Pony Express; Holladay now controls a monopoly on carrying mail and passengers between the Pacific coast and Missouri; over the next four years he will make a fortune before selling out in anticipation of the success of railroads to cross the Great Plains; however, he will die at age27 in 1887, impoverished by the Panic of 1873

Workers and Employment:
> in Charleston, South Carolina, in late July, at a slave auction, one entire family of a man, age 28, a woman, age 24, and their child, age 6, are sold for $3,060; one man, age 24, is sold for $1,365; one woman, age 20, with her infant, are sold for $1,120; a boy, age14, brings $955 on the auction block; six men, ranging in age from 20 to 38 years and in various degrees of health and strength, average $749 each.[The family of three sold for the equivalent of $70,600 in current dollars; the six men averaged a modern value of $17,300 each.]

Eve of Jubilee~December, 1862~the 28th to the 31st

In the last four days of the year the bloodshed continues and soldiers wonder if peace will ever come. Gideon Welles complains of party spirit hindering government. Reports arrive in the United States of political changes in Japan. German political theorist Karl Marx works on a manuscript. The poet Walt Whitman, having found that his brother George is alright, looks for employment in Washington. Anti-British sentiment continues because of the raider Alabama.

What emancipation will bring as depicted by Thomas Nast

What emancipation will bring as depicted by Thomas Nast

Above all, abolitionists and free black people, fugitive slaves, the Federal government in Washington and the Confederate government in Richmond all wonder if the essential nature os the war is about to change. Will President Lincoln carry out his promise of September to put the Emancipation Proclamation into effect? New Year’s Eve is a watch night for many.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

December 28– Sunday– Rochester, New York– Speaking at Zion Church in anticipation of the Emancipation Proclamation actually taking effect in a matter of days, Frederick Douglass sounds a prophetic warning. “This is no time for the friends of freedom to fold their hands and consider their work at an end. The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance. Even after slavery has been legally abolished, and the rebellion substantially suppressed, even when there shall come representatives to Congress from the states now in rebellion, and they shall have repudiated the miserable and disasterous error of disunion, or secession, and the country shall have reached a condition of comparative peace, there will still remain an urgent necessity for the benevolent activity of the men and the women who have from the first opposed slavery from high moral conviction.”

December 28– Sunday– Murfreesboro, Tennessee– Outside of the city, Union and Confederate skirmishers stop shooting long enough to exchange friendly banter and out-dated newspapers. Afterward, one Union soldier writes, “So we met and parted, not realizing we were enemies. My God, when will this unnatural war have an end!– when shall friend cease to seek the life of friend, and mankind once more realize the blessings of peace?”

December 28– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times reports political changes in Japan. “Intelligence has . . . just reached us, via San Francisco, that . . . . revolution has, in fact, taken place, which will probably have a most injurious effect on the interests of foreigners in Japan. For it is no longer the party friendly to the foreigner and to foreign commerce that governs . . . and determines the privileges of intruders, but that fanatical faction who have always been the inveterate foes of the stranger, and who have always been prompt to incite their followers to outrage against him. There is a chance . . . that things may not turn out so bad as they promise. Parties are seldom as ultra in as out of office, and such may be the case in Japan. But if the Reactionists remain true to the principles which they practiced when in opposition; if they still hold it a sacred duty to disregard the rights of aliens, and to protect their assassins, the foreign residents may prepare for persecution under the new regime. But should the treaties be disregarded, and the residence of aliens in the Empire be rendered unsafe and intolerable, Japan will speedily call down upon her head the punishment she deserves. The adoption of so execrable a policy on the part of the Japanese will be an open defiance of civilization; and the crimes and the arrogance of the Islanders will arouse the indignation of foreign Governments.”

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

December 28– Sunday– London, England– Karl Marx, age 44 and in exile in London since 1849, writes to his friend Frederick Engels about his manuscript for a book on political economy which he will call Capital. He explains the delays in finishing the work and his plans for publication. Also, he inquires about the political situation in Germany with expectations of coming revolution. “I have been, and still am, forced to undertake a large amount of hackwork to prevent myself and my family from actually being relegated to the streets. I had even decided to become a ‘practical man’ and had intended to enter a railway officer at the beginning of next year. Luckily — or perhaps I should say unluckily? — I did not get the post because of my bad handwriting. So, you will see that I had little time left and few quiet moments for theoretical work. It seems probable that the same circumstances will delay my finishing the book for the printers for longer than I should have wished. . . . The conspiration de silence with which I am honored by the German literary rabble as soon as the latter finds out that the thing can’t be dismissed with insults is . . . unfavorable from the point of view of sales. As soon as I have a fair copy of the manuscript (upon which I shall make a start in January 1863), I shall bring it to Germany myself, it being easier to deal with publishers on a personal basis. . . . I should be most grateful if you could write to me occasionally about the situation at home. We are obviously heading for revolution — something I have never once doubted since 1850. The first act will include a by no means gratifying rehash of the stupidities of ’48-’49. However, that’s how world history runs its course, and one has to take it as one finds it.”

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

December 29– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Having come looking for his brother to see if George is alright after the battle of December 13th, Walt Whitman finally writes to his mother. “When I found dear brother George, and found that he was alive and well, O you may imagine how trifling all my little cares and difficulties seemed– they vanished into nothing. And now that I have lived for eight or nine days amid such scenes as the camps furnish, and had a practical part in it all, and realize the way that hundreds of thousands of good men are now living, and have had to live for a year or more, not only without any of the comforts, but with death and sickness and hard marching and hard fighting, (and no success at that,) for their continual experience– really nothing we call trouble seems worth talking about. . . . George is very well in health, has a good appetite. I think he is at times more wearied out and homesick than he shows, but stands it upon the whole very well. Every one of the soldiers, to a man, wants to get home.” On this same day, Whitman writes to Ralph Waldo Emerson, telling Emerson that he is seeking employment in Washington and asking Emerson to write letters of reference to Secretary of State Seward and to Treasury Secretary Chase as well as a letter of introduction to Senator Charles Sumner.

December 29– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles notes new activities on the high seas. “We had yesterday a telegram that the British pirate craft Alabama captured the Ariel . . . on her passage from New York to Aspinwall [now, Colon, Panama], off the coast of Cuba.” Referring to the raider as “this wolf from Liverpool”, Welles vows to “have a day of reckoning with Great Britain for these wrongs, and I sometimes think I care not how soon nor in what manner that reckoning comes.”

December 29– Monday– Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi–From strong defensive positions, Confederate troops repel an attack by William Tecumseh Sherman’s force and inflict heavy losses. Union killed, wounded and missing total 1776 while the rebel defenders suffer a total of 207 casualties.

December 29– Monday– Helena, Arkansas– A group of Federal military chaplains and Army doctors file a protest regarding the poor treatment of fugitive slaves by some soldiers. They request that the generals in charge take some remedial action. “The Contrabands [escaped slaves] within our lines are experiencing hardships oppression & neglect the removal of which calls loudly for the intervention of authority. We daily see & deplore the evil and leave it to your wisdom to devise a remedy. In a great degree the contrabands are left entirely to the mercy and rapacity of the unprincipled part of our army . . . with no person clothed with Specific authority to look after & protect them. . . . These grievances reported to us by persons in whom we have confidence, & some of which we know to be true, are but a few of the many wrongs of which they complain– For the sake of humanity, for the sake of Christianity, for the good name of our army, for the honor of our country, cannot something be done to prevent this oppression & to stop its demoralizing influences upon the Soldiers themselves?”

December 30– Tuesday– New York City– George Templeton Strong wonders in the pages of his diary if the Emancipation Proclamation will really take effect on Thursday. “Will Lincoln’s backbone carry him through the work he is pledged them [the slave population] to do? It is generally supposed that he intends to redeem his pledge, but nobody knows, and I am not sanguine on the subject. If he comes out fair and square, he will . . . take high place among the men who have controled the destinies of nations. If he postpone or dilute his action, his name will be a byword and a hissing till the annals of the nineteenth century are forgotten.”

December 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Preparing to issue the formal Emancipation Proclamation on New Year’s Day, President Lincoln provides members of the Cabinet with a copy of the Final Emancipation Proclamation and requests them to offer suggestions. The President informs General Burnside that “You must not make a general movement of the army without letting me know.”

December 31– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.–President Lincoln signs the act approving admission of West Virginia to the United States. He also meets with his Cabinet for a final review of the Emancipation Proclamation.

December 31– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles finishes his diary for this year. “The year closes less favorably than I had hoped and expected, yet some progress has been made. It is not to be denied . . . that the national ailment seems more chronic. The disease is deep seated. Energetic measures are necessary . . . . Worse than this, the envenomed, relentless, and unpatriotic spirit of party paralyzes and weakens the hand of the Government and country.”

December 31– Wednesday– Falmouth, Virginia– Elisha Hunt Rhodes observes the day. “Well, the year 1862 is drawing to a close. As I look back I am bewildered when I think of the hundreds of miles I have tramped, the thousands of dead and wounded that I have seen, and the many strange sights that I have witnessed. I can truly thank God for his preserving care over me and the many blessings I have received. . . . The year has not amounted to much as far as the War is concerned, but we have hope for the best and feel sure that in the end the Union will be restored. Good bye, 1862.” He makes a list in his journal of 73 towns and cities were he has been since his enlistment 18 months ago.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

December 31– Wednesday– Murfreesboro, Tennessee– Union and Confederate forces clash in almost simultaneous attacks. The fighting begins at dawn and will last until the 2nd of next month.

December 31– Wednesday– Mobile, Alabama– President Jeff Davis sends a message to the War Department in Richmond, saying that “guns and ammunition . . . needed at Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Very much depends upon prompt supply.”

December 31– Wednesday– Off the coast of North Carolina–The Union ironclad Monitor sinks in a gale with 16 of the 62 crewmen lost in the storm.

By Blood and Iron~September, 1862~the second week

In the second week of September, casualties mount as Confederate troops invade Maryland. General Lee tries to reassure Marylanders that his army means freedom and choice for the state. His military intentions are revealed to the Union army by accident. British sympathy for the South increases in some quarters.

President Lincoln maintains a hectic schedule and publicly ponders the will of God while meeting with an interdenominational group from Chicago. The abolitionist Frederick Douglass criticizes General McClellan in a private letter to an old friend.

An assault on English citizens who are ignorant of or indifferent to the culture in Japan will create an international incident between the two island empires.

abolitionist activist Gerrit Smith in a photo by Matthew Brady

 

September 8– Monday– Rochester, New York– Frederick Douglass writes to his old friend, the abolitionist politician Gerrit Smith who is now 65 years old and having some health problems. “I had attributed your silence of late to what I supposed must be your ineffable disgust at the wretched management of the war. Your gloomiest predictions have been even now more than realized, and I shudder at what the future may still have in store for us. I think the nation was never more completely in the hands of the Slave Power. This government is now in the hands of the Army, and the Army is in the hands of the very worst type of American Democracy, the chief representative of which is now doing his utmost to destroy the country.” [This comment refers to Union General George McClellan, a long-time member in the Democratic Party.]

September 8– Monday– Fredericktown, Maryland– General Robert E Lee issues a proclamation to the people of Maryland, asserting that the state has long had ties to the South and is being oppressed by the Federal government. He concludes by saying, “In obedience to this wish [for freedom] our army has come among you, and is prepared to assist you with the power of its arms in regaining the rights of which you have been so unjustly despoiled. This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission so far as you are concerned. No restraint upon your free-will is intended—no intimidation will be allowed within the limits of this army at least. Marylanders shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and speech. We know no enemies among you, and will protect all of you in every opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny, freely and without constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may be; and, while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when you come of your own free-will.”

 

General Robert E Lee, c.1863

 

September 8– Monday– London, England– Chancellor or the Exchequer William Gladstone writes to a colleague that “the South cannot be conquered . . . It is our absolute duty to recognize . . . that Southern independence is established.”

September 10– Asuncion, Paraguay– Carlos Antonio Lopez, who has ruled dictatorially since 1841, dies at age 69.

William S Porter, aka O. Henry

September 11–Thursday–Greensboro, North Carolina– Birth of William Sydney Porter who will become famous as O Henry, American writer.

September 11– Thursday– Hagerstown, Maryland– Confederate troops seize the town.

Confederate Cavalry

September 11– Thursday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– Fearing a rebel invasion, Governor Andrew Curtin calls for 50,000 militia to prepare to defend the state.

September 12– Friday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– State records and the state treasury are shipped to New York to avoid seizure from the expected Confederate invasion.

John Ross, a leader among the Cherokee people

September 12– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with John Ross, a leader of Cherokee Nation, to discuss treaty relations; holds a brief cabinet meeting on military affairs; writes to General McClellan “that the enemy is recrossing the Potomac. Please do not let him get off without being hurt”; advises Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania that he does not have 80,000 troops to send to Pennsylvania; and assures the mayor of Philadelphia that “Philadelphia is in no danger. . . . and could not be reached by the rebel Army in ten days, if no hindrance was interposed.”

September 13– Saturday– Frederick, Maryland– Two Union soldiers find a copy of Confederate General Lee’s orders for the invasion of Maryland. The document is quickly passed to General McClellan. In the evening, Jeb Stuart advises Lee that McClellan has the document.

September 13– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with a an interdenominational group of Christians from Chicago who present a petition calling for emancipation of all slaves. In response, Mt Lincoln says, “I hope it will not be irreverent of me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal his will to others, on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed he would reveal it directly to me; for unless I am more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what it is I will do it.” He concludes his remarks by saying, “I view the matter as a practical war measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.”

Battle of South Mountain

September 14– Sunday– South Mountain, Maryland– In pitched battles for control of three passes through the Blue Ridge Mountains in this area, Federal troops turn back the Confederate forces. Dead, wounded and missing Confederates total 2685 and Union casualties amount to 2325.

body of Charles L Richardson

September 14– Sunday– Namamugi, Japan– Four British nationals– Charles Lennox Richardson, Woodthorpe Charles Clark, William Marshall, and Mrs. Margaret Watson Borradaile– are traveling on the Imperial Highway, enjoying a sight-seeing ride. When they encounter the large and well-armed retinue of Satsuma regent Daimyo Shimazu Hisamitsu heading in the opposite direction, they do not yield the roadway nor stop nor dismount. When Mr Richardson approaches Shimazu’s palanquin too closely, the daimyo’s bodyguard attack the Englishmen, killing Richardson and seriously injuring Marshall and Clark. [The incident initially provokes fear among the Europeans in Japan and when the Japanese government fails to pay reparations, will lead to a British naval bombardment of a Japanese town in August of 1863 and eventual payment by Japan of £25,000.]

Streets Paved with Gold: Immigration and the Civil War, 1860 to 1865

Following the outbreak of the Great Famine in Ireland in 1845, the failure of the European revolutions of 1848 and the discovery of gold in California in 1849, the United States received waves of immigrants between 1845 and 1855. In 1860, as the United States went through a bitter and divisive election and began to splinter into disunion, immigration declined and then fell precipitously during 1861 and 1862. However, by 1863, the numbers rose significantly and through the end of the war, the country was again becoming a nation of immigrants.

German immigrants, mid-19th century

 Immigration in 1860:

>153,640 immigrants enter the United States:

> 35.4% come from the German states;

> 31.6% come from Ireland;

> 19.4% come from Great Britain;

> 3.6% come from China;

> 3.4% come from France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Switzerland combined;

> 2.9% come from Canada;

> 1.2% come Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.7% come from Spain, Portugal and Greece combined;

> 0.7% come from Italy;

> 0.5% come from Norway, Sweden and Denmark combined;

> 0.6% come other regions and other countries.

Sex and age:

> 41.4% are female;

> 74.5% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 15.9% are under age 15;

> 9.6% are over age 40

Occupations by general categories:

> 52.3% have no occupation– this includes children;

> 17.4% have general labor occupations;

> 12.1% have agricultural occupations;

> 10.8% have skilled craft occupations;

> 6.2% have commercial occupations;

> 0.8% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.4% have professional occupations.

 

 

Immigration in 1861:

> 91,918 immigrants enter the United States, a 40% reduction from the previous year:

> 34.4% come from the German states;

> 25.9% come from Ireland;

> 21.4% come from Great Britain;

> 8.2% come from China;

> 4.1% come from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland combined;

> 2,2% come from Canada;

> 0.9% come from Italy;

> 0.9% come from Denmark, Sweden and Norway combined;

> 0.6% come from Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.5% come from Greece, Spain and Portugal combined;

> 0.9% come from other regions and other countries.

Sex and age:

> 42.9% are female;

> 72.3% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 16.8% are under age 15;

> 10.9% are over age 40.

Occupations by general categories:

> 53.9% have no occupation– this includes children;

> 17.2% have general labor occupations;

> 10.4% have agricultural occupations;

> 10.3% have skilled craft occupations;

> 6.8% have commercial occupations;

> 0.6% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.6% have professional occupations;

> 0.2% have miscellaneous occupations.

 

Immigrants arriving at port of Philadelphia

 

Immigration in 1862:

> 91,985 immigrants enter the United States:

> 30.0% come from the German states;

> 26.8% come from Great Britain;

> 25.4% come from Ireland;

> 4.8% come from France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Netherlands combined;

> 3.9% come from China;

> 3.6% come from Canada;

> 2.8% come from Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined;

> 0.8% come from Central and South America, excluding Mexico;

> 0.6% come from Italy;

> 0.5% come from Greece, Spain and Portugal combined;

> 0.2% come from Mexico;

> 0.2% come from the Austrian Empire;

> 0.1% come from Poland;

> 0.1% come from the Russian Empire;

> 0.2%% come from other regions and other countries.

> Sex and age:

> 41.6% are female;

> 73.0% are between 15 and 40 years of age;

> 18.0% are under age 15;

> 9.0% are over age 40.

> Occupations by major categories:

> 54.9% have no occupation–this includes children;

> 15.5% have general labor occupations;

> 10.5% have skilled craft occupations;

> 8.1% have agricultural occupations;

> 6.8% have commercial occupations;

> 3.2% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.7% have professional occupations;

> 0.3% have miscellaneous occupations

 

Irish immigrants serving in the Union Army attend Catholic mass

 

Immigration in 1863:

> 176,282 immigrants enter the United States this year, almost double last year’s number and despite the on-going war:

> 37.9% come from Great Britain;

> 31.7% come from Ireland;

> 18.8% come from Germany;

> 4.1% come from China;

> 2.0% come from Canada;

> 1.8% come from France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland combined;

> 1.8% come from Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined;

> 0.6% come from Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal combined;

> 0.4% come from Central & South America, including Mexico;

> 0.1% come from the Russian Empire, Poland and the Austrian Empire combined.

> 0.8% come from various other regions and countries.

Sex and age:

> 39.9% are female;

> 71.1% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 18.7% are under age 15;

> 10.2% are over age 40.

> Occupations by Major Groups:

> 49.6% have no occupation– this includes children;

> 23.1% have general labor occupations;

> 12.1% have skilled craft occupations;

> 6.2% have agricultural occupations;

> 4.6% have domestic work occupations;

> 3.8% have commercial occupations;

> 0.6% have professional occupations.

 

Immigration in 1864:

> 193,418 immigrants enter the United States, more than double the number of 1862 and despite the continuing Civil War:

> 32.8% come from Ireland;

> 29.6% come from Germany;

> 27.6% come from Great Britain;

> 2.9% come from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland combined;

> 1.9% come from Canada;

> 1.5% come from China;

> 1.5% come from Sweden, Denmark and Norway combined;

> 0.9% come from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece combined

> 0.5% come from Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.8% come from other regions and other countries.

> Sex and age:

> 40.6% are female;

> 68.5% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 18.9% are under age 15;

> 12.6% are over age 40.

> Occupations by major categories:

> 48.1% have no occupation–this includes children;

> 21.7% have general labor occupations;

> 11.9% have skilled craft occupations;

> 7.0% have domestic work occupations;

> 6.2% have agricultural occupations;

> 4.3% have commercial occupations;

> 0.5% have professional occupations;

> 0.3% have miscellaneous occupations.

 

Irish immigrants on the ship Mersey

 

Immigration in 1865:

> 248,120 immigrants enter the United States, better than 2.5 times the number of 1862:

> 33.6% come from Germany;

> 33.2% come from Great Britain;

> 11.9% come from Ireland;

> 8.7% come from Canada;

> 3.2% come from France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands combined;

> 2.9% come from Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined;

> 1.2% come from China;

> 0.8% come from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece combined;

> 0.5% come from Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.5% come from the Russian Empire, Poland, and Austrian Empire combined;

> 3.5% come from other regions and other countries or their country of origin was not properly reported by immigration authorities.

> Sex and age:

> 40.1% are female;

> 61.1% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 22.7% are over age 40;

> 16.2% are under age 15.

> Occupations by major categories:

> 56.2% have no occupation–this includes children;

> 15.7% have general labor occupations;

> 11.7% have skilled craft occupations;

> 7.0% have agricultural occupations;

> 4.4% have commercial occupations;

> 3.2% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.6% have professional occupations;

> 1.2% have miscellaneous occupations.