Tag Archives: Canada

Christmas Gift for President Lincoln ~ December 1864 ~ the 22nd to 24th

Christmas Gift for President Lincoln

Sherman presents the city of Savannah to the President and issues orders for the occupation. A Canadian urges support for the Union cause. French forces suffer a defeat in Mexico. The coming year holds the promise of action on an amendment to ban slavery. War time shortages and problems abound. The world goes on.

Fort McAllister outside Savannah

Fort McAllister outside Savannah

December 22– Thursday– Savannah, Georgia– Having accepted a citizen’s offer to use his luxurious house as headquarters, Union General Sherman there meets with a U.S. Treasury agent, who requests that the Treasury Department be allowed to claim all cotton, rice, and public buildings in the city. General Sherman agrees to turn over what his soldiers do not need. The agent mentions that a ship is about to depart Savannah for Fort Monroe and asks if Sherman wants to send a Christmas message to President Lincoln. Quickly, Sherman grabs a piece of paper and writes as follows: “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.”

December 22– Thursday– Montreal, Quebec Province, Canada– “We have no desire to quarrel with the Free States of the North. They are our neighbors and natural friends, bound to us, as we to them, by the reciprocal ties of amicable commercial intercourse. With them, as with us free labour is respected, and the honest tiller of the soil has the status of a man and a citizen. With them, and with us, the word liberty has the same meaning, involving the right of poor and rich, black and white alike, to the disposal of their own persons, of their personal ability and exertion, and of the fruits thereof. In the vocabulary of the Slave States, when they cry for liberty and independence, we know that they mean only license to hold the poor in bondage, and rob the tiller of their soil of his first rights as a man. The traditions and policy of our mother country have been steadily on the side of personal liberty. And this, which is one of her most glorious distinctions, has been a cause of constant hostility towards her by statesmen and people of the Slave States.” ~ Public address by Reverend John Cordner.

December 22– Thursday– San Pedro, Mexico– Mexican forces defeat the French and their aristocratic Mexican allies.

Henry Clarke Wright, radical abolitionist

Henry Clarke Wright, radical abolitionist

December 23– Friday– Barnstable, Massachusetts– “Notice is hereby given, that the bill providing for the prohibition of slavery by an amendment of the Constitution will be taken up January 6th.Should the amendment be adopted, and sent to the people, and by them ratified, in the course of the spring, as I doubt not it would be, if it is adopted by Congress, then, so far as the Federal Government is concerned, slavery has no legal existence in the United States; the black spot on our national character is wiped out, so far as legislative enactments can wipe it out. Slavery is not only legally abolished, but also forever prohibited within the limits of the Republic. Slavery being legally abolished, and forever prohibited so far as it can be by the Constitution and by statute, law, what more have we to do as Abolitionists? Our great work, the abolition of chattel slavery, is done. No power will exist in any State to perpetuate or to establish it. No new State can come in, and no old State can remain in, with a slave. So far as organic and statute law can do it, this sum of all villainy,’ this consummation of all meanness, theft, robbery and piracy, is at an end in this nation. Only the debris of that temple of blood and tears remains to be removed. Its removal will be a colossal work. To educate and elevate the redeemed slaves will require the energies of philanthropy for years to come. In this work hundreds of thousands will join with us, who have not only taken no part in the abolition of slavery, but who have strenuously and persistently opposed it, by whatever ecclesiastical, political, social, commercial or literary power they possessed. With these we can unite our efforts to secure to the emancipated their domestic, social, political, educational and industrial rights. Equality as to natural rights, without regard to color, country or condition! This must be the watchword of the Nation’s future. To remove all obstructions which the churches, the State Governments, and the mean and base prejudices of society throw in the way of the intellectual, social and moral elevation and happiness of the Negro will require great integrity and firmness of purpose, and great wisdom and energy of action. . . . Equality of Natural Rights must be written on every pulpit, on every ballot-box, over the door of every school-house and college, home and nursery. On the practical recognition of this self-evident truth must the Republic exist, or it cannot long exist at all. . . . Would to God that our great work could have been finished without the shedding of any blood but our own! But it was not so to be. On whom rests the responsibility of these rivers of blood shed to destroy slavery, the Future will ask of those who, twenty-five years ago, had the power to abolish it without bloodshed, but who would not and did not use it. . . . Let all do what they can to back up and urge on Congress and the President to do this great work. Slavery is not dead. Any State may, if it choose, establish slavery. In God’s name, let as have the Constitutional Prohibition! Then, in all coating time, not a slave shall clank a chain, nor shed a tear, on our broad domain.” ~ Letter from Henry Clarke Wright to William Lloyd Garrison.

December 23– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, freeing three millions of bondmen, will rank as one of the great edicts of history. It therefore eminently deserves the attention of artistic genius, and we are gratified to know that a competent hand has put on canvass the scene when the remarkable document was first brought to light. Carpenter’s picture of ‘The Emancipation Proclamation before the Cabinet,’ now on exhibition at Williams & Everett’s, 234 Washington Street, is an admirable representation of the meeting at which President Lincoln had his proclamation before the members of the Cabinet. The President and his constitutional advisers are grouped around the council board in thoughtful, yet unconstrained attitudes, and the large size of the figures gives to them a life-like appearance otherwise unattainable. The likenesses are excellent. The features of the President. Secretary Seward, Chase, Stanton, Blair, Welles, Bales and Smith are delineated with great clearness, and their individuality is unmistakable. The accessories of the picture are literal, it having been painted in the Cabinet room of the White House, and the furniture represented is that introduced in Jackson’s time, and now familiar to all visitors to the national ‘sanctum sanctorum.’ The picture is well worth seeing, not only as the representation of a great event, but as a work of art.” ~ The Liberator.

Emancipation Proclamation painting by Carpenter

Emancipation Proclamation painting by Carpenter

December 23– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Miss Annie Murphy, one of the female prisoners committed to the Atheneum a couple of weeks ago, died yesterday morning of typhoid fever. The deceased formerly resided in Braxton county and was arrested upon the charge of tearing down government telegraph poles and acting as a spy for the enemy. . . . The jail of this city which has got to be quite an important institution since it has been converted into a state penitentiary, has lately been improved and rendered more safe than heretofore. A large massive iron door has lately been placed at the entrance of the building on Fifth street, at the expense of Adams’ Express company, in order more thoroughly to secure the safety of Risley, Marks, and Meredith, the three men charged with robbing the company’s office at Grafton not long since. With the late improvement the jailor has no doubt of his ability to keep his pets until called for by the courts. ” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

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December 23– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The military order fixing the price of milk is likely to deprive us of this important article entirely, unless our dairymen are allowed to receive at least as much for their milk as will enable them to pay expenses. We respectfully submit the following facts given us by one of our leading dairymen, to the consideration of General Miller and the Military Board. Before the war, the price of milk was forty cents a gallon, the price of feed being from $3 to $15 per ton. The price fixed by the Military Board, is 60 cents per gallon, while the price of bran per ton is $60, oats and hay scarcely to be had at any price. The dairyman alluded to above has thirty cows, which at this season of the year yield less than twenty gallons of milk per day, the actual product of last week being $70, while the actual cost of feeding amounted to $85 to say nothing of labor, board of hands, wear and tear of materials, etc. Unless the Board make some change, we are informed that dairymen will be compelled to sell out their stock, and retire from the business until feed can be procured at more reasonable prices.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

December 23– Friday– Covington, Georgia– “Just before night Mrs. Robert Rakestraw and Miss Mary drove up to spend the night with me. They had started down into Jasper County, hoping to get back their buggy, having heard that several buggies were left at Mr. Whitfield’s by the Yankees. Nothing new! It is confidently believed that Savannah has been evacuated. I hear nothing from my boys. Poor fellows, how I miss them!”~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

December 23– Friday– Savannah, Georgia– “Savannah, being now is our possession, and the river partially cleared out, and measures have been taken to remove all obstructions, will at once be made a grand depot for future operations. 1. The chief-quartermaster, General Easton, will, after giving the necessary orders touching the transports in Ogeechee River and Ossabaw Sound, come in person to Savannah, and take possession of all public buildings, all vacant store-rooms, warehouses, &c., that may be now or hereafter needed for any department of the army. No rents will be paid by the Government of the United States during the war, and all buildings must be distributed according to the accustomed rules of the quartermaster’s department, as though they were public property. 2. The chief commissary of subsistence, Colonel A. Beckwith, will transfer the grand depot of the army to the city of Savannah, secure possession of the needful buildings and offices, and give the necessary orders, to the end that the army may be supplied abundantly and well. 3. The chief engineer, Captain Poe, will at once direct which of the enemy’s forts are to be retained for our use and which dismantled and destroyed; and the chief ordnance officer, Captain Baylor, will, in like manner, take possession of all property pertaining to his department captured from the enemy and cause the same to be collected and carried to points of security. All the heavy sea-coast guns will be dismounted and carried to Fort Pulaski. 4. The troops, for the present, will be grouped about the city of Savannah, looking to convenience of camps . . . . 5. General Howard will keep a small guard at Forts Rosedale, Beaulieu, Wimberly, Thunderbolt, and Bonaventura, and he will cause that shore and Skidaway Island to be examined very closely, with a view to finding many and convenient points for the embarkation of troops and wagons on sea-going vessels.” ~ Orders from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

James Bronterre O'Brien

James Bronterre O’Brien

December 23– Friday– London, England– James Bronterre O’Brien, Irish Chartist leader, reformer and journalist dies at age 59 after a long illness.

Princess Zorka

Princess Zorka

December 23– Friday– Cetinje, Montenegro– Birth of Princess Zorka, eldest child of the reigning monarch, Nicholas. [She will marry the heir to the throne of Serbia and die on March 16, 1890, giving birth to her fifth child in six years.]

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Sorry Tales to Tell ~ December, 1864 ~ 14th and 15th

Sorry Tales to Tell ~ Wheeling newspaper

Refugees from Virginia continue to head north. The siege of Petersburg continues in cold weather, the Confederacy is short of soldiers, even to the point of seriously considering drafting slaves yet Lee’s troops remain confident. Sherman is about to capture Savannah. A major battle is developing in Tennessee. Gideon Welles laments Washington politics.

Federal supply train

Federal supply train

December 14– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Refugees from the Valley of Virginia continue to arrive in the city almost daily. All of these persecuted people have sorry tales to tell of their hardships on the route and their sufferings at home. We conversed yesterday with a very intelligent gentleman who left Rockbridge County [Virginia] about two weeks ago and reached Beverly [West Virginia] with a party of thirteen others a few days since. Our friend had been detailed as a miller by the rebel authorities, but, as our readers are aware all orders for details were lately revoked, and the men had either to go into the rebel army or leave. The refugees travel always over the mountains and through the woods and are in constant danger of being shot by bush whackers and conscript hunters sent out for the purpose. Out of a party of eight refugees who reached Greenbrier bridge about two weeks ago, two were killed and one or more wounded by bushwhackers. The party with whom our informant came were unlucky in the selection of a guide. The man who undertook to act as guide came very near swamping the whole party. He got lost the very first night out. Luckily, however, one of the party happened to have a small pocket compass and they were thus enabled to find their way out of the wilderness. Nearly all of the . . . men who are coming in now are mechanics and are very intelligent and well informed. Since the snow has fallen in the Allegheny  mountains it is feared that many refugees will perish from cold and hunger, for they will brave any danger rather than go into the rebel army.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 14– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy, and thawing rapidly. All quiet below. The bill to employ 40,000 Negroes, as recommended by the President, for army purposes, though not avowedly to fight, has passed one House of Congress. So the President is master yet. There ought to be 100,000 now in the field. An effort will be made by the government to put into the field the able-bodied staff and other officers on duty in the bureaus here. It will fail, probably, since all efforts have failed to put in their able-bodied clerks. If Bragg were here, and allowed his way, he would move them to the front.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

December 14– Wednesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I take the opportunity this evening of in forming you that I am well at present. I received your letter on Saturday the tenth and was glad to hear from you and that you was all well. I would have answered your letter sooner but we have not been in camp since Friday evening about six o’clock only a little while on Monday morning and last night we came in to camp again about Eight o’clock but we don’t know how long we will stay. We have been out on a raid. . . . There was some of the Cavalry in front of us and they did put fire to all the buildings along the road and some of them was most splendid houses but they are paying them for burning Chambersburg [Pennsylvania]. . . . You had better believe that we slept good after we got our supper. There was some of the boys feet got that sore and some of them froze that they could not put on their shoes. My feet did get a little sore but I made it to camp.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Sylvester McElheney to Harriet, his wife, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, where Confederate troops burned part of Chambersburg in July.

typical entrenchments at Petersburg

typical entrenchments at Petersburg

December 14– Wednesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “From General Lee’s Army. (Extract of a Private Letter.) There are a variety of opinions here as to what phase this long protracted campaign will assume. If warlike, we are ready and willing to meet it, feeling as we do our conscious ability to whip Grant and his free-booters. I believe the campaign to be virtually ended. Grant, it is true, may make demonstrations of a character sufficient to deter us from sending troops to the succor of Georgia, but that he intends any serious move upon Richmond at this late stage of the proceedings, I do not believe. He is as well aware of the fact as you, or any other person, that there is one army in the Confederate States that he cannot whip. One army, which nothing but the force of public sentiment and dire necessity can ever again make him confront; an army which looks with scorn, pity and contempt upon the vain effort made at home by croakers and fishers to weaken its strength; an army that will never submit to a dishonorable peace, no matter what the basis, with the United States, though the people clamor for it. Better, yea, better be in our graves, than bow the neck in submission to Yankee task masters. It nauseates me to hear men talk of being subjugated. Their conversation, in my mind, is always associated with swaddling clothes; I would not dignify them by saying troops. Others may doubt the final issue of the contest, now being waged, but to the Army of Virginia our freedom is as certain as the air we breathe.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

December 14– Wednesday– outside Savannah, Georgia– “We still had in our wagons and in camp abundance of meat, but we needed bread, sugar, and coffee, and it was all-important that a route of supply should at once be opened, for which purpose the aid and assistance of the navy were indispensable. We accordingly steamed down the Ogeechee River to Ossabaw Sound, in hopes to meet Admiral Dahlgren, but he was not there, and we continued on by the inland channel to Wassaw Sound, where we found the Harvest Moon and Admiral Dahlgren. I was not personally acquainted with him at the time, but he was so extremely kind and courteous that I was at once attracted to him. There was nothing in his power, he said, which he would not do to assist us, to make our campaign absolutely successful. He undertook at once to find vessels of light draught to carry our supplies from Port Royal to Cheeve’s Mill or to King’s Bridge, whence they could be hauled by wagons to our several camps; he offered to return with me to Fort McAllister, to superintend the removal of the torpedoes, and to relieve me of all the details of this most difficult work. General Foster then concluded to go on to Port Royal, to send back to us six hundred thousand rations, and all the rifled guns of heavy caliber and ammunition on hand with which I thought we could reach the city of Savannah from the positions already secured. Admiral Dahlgren then returned with me in the Harvest Moon to Fort McAllister. This consumed all of the 14th of December.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman

General Sherman

General Sherman

December 14– Wednesday– Maury County, Tennessee– “Southern troops are all around Nashville, the scouts and pickets are fighting every day. We are trying to get straight after the visit of the Southern army, which we entertained. We are trying to haul up some wood, working the black mule in the 2 horse wagon, which is all that was left us [by the Southern army]. The [Southern] soldiers are all through our place, so it is hard work to keep even this mule. Confederates are conscripting all between 18 and 45, they having employed substitutes is no excuse. The next call will be between 16 and 50. They may get me yet.” ~ Diary of Nimrod Porter.

December 14 – Wednesday– Waterloo, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Henry Edgarton Allen, merchant and politician. [Dies December 28, 1924.]

December 15– Thursday– New York City– Eliza Wood Burhans Farnham, prison reformer, author and lecturer, dies of consumption at age 49. In her last work, Woman and Her Era, published this year, she argues that women are by nature superior to men and the discrimination suffered and limited roles forced upon women come from men’s recognition that males are inferior. She radically differs from other period feminists by demanding not equality with but superiority over men.

Eliza Farnham

Eliza Farnham

December 15– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “As most of our readers have already been advised, the Supper and Festival of the Ladies Soldiers’ Aid Society takes place at Washington Hall this evening. The ladies have left nothing undone to make the entertainment worthy of the patronage of the public, and it is only necessary to make known the noble cause to which the proceeds are to be devoted in order to secure the attendance and hearty co-operation of every loyal man and woman in the city and vicinity. The members of the Ladies Soldiers Aid Society deserve all honor and praise for their noble work in the cause of humanity. By a report which one of their number has recently made we learn that the Association has performed within the past two months an immense amount of good and have relieved many pressing wants in the homes of wives and children, in the hospital and in the field. . . . It is expected that a handsome sum will be realized for the prosecution of the work this evening, and the ladies expect and ought to receive a generous response to their appeals. Tickets may be had at the Music Store of J. B. Meilor, E. Bocking’s Drug Store and the Book Store of J. C. Orr & Co.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 15– Thursday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I made you another pair of gloves and if you do not get home we will send you some things but I hope you will get home soon I hope you will know soon what you will have to depend upon, though I think if you do not get home there is a poor chance for others getting off. We have not got the cloth home from Staunton yet but Mr Spencer is going down Thursday and will bring it for us. I think if we don’t soon get it we will not get our cloaks made before Christmas. Mag wrote to you for a pattern but I don’t think I will wait for a pattern as I heard they are the same there that they are here. There has been very bad weather here for the last week snow ever since last Friday and the appearance is very good for more. Charlotte says if you want to see her single once more you had better hurry home for if you don’t come soon she cannot wait [to marry]. Davie B sung over at the school house last Saturday night and is going to sing tomorrow night. Mag and Hannah are at a sewing today at Mr Thomas Harris helping the girls to make their cloaks I was invited too but was not able to go I did not expect to go if I had been well. I have just finished reading a statement of the treatment of Col. L. M. Lewis when a prisoner in the north and it is the most outrageous things I ever read I wish you could see it.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to Enos, her husband.

December 15– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– “The Members of Congress have hardly commenced work as yet. They are feeling about. The malcontents are not in better mood than before the election. Chase’s appointment gives satisfaction to Senator Sumner and a few others; but there is general disappointment. Public sentiment had settled down under the conviction that he could not have the position. Sumner helped to secure it for him. The President told Chandler of New Hampshire, who remonstrated against such selections, that he would rather have swallowed his buckhorn chair than to have nominated Chase. Sumner declares to me that Chase will retire from the field of politics and not be a candidate for the Presidency. I questioned it, but Sumner said with emphasis it was so. He had assured the President that Chase would retire from party politics. I have no doubt Sumner believes it. What foundations he has for the belief I know not, though he speaks positively and as if he had assurance. My own convictions are that, if he lives, Chase will be a candidate and his restless and ambitious mind is already at work. . . . In his interview with me to-day, it being the first time we have met since he reached Washington, Sumner commenced by praising my report, which he complimented as a model paper– the best report he had read from a Department, etc., etc. As he is a scholar and critic, a statesman and politician capable of forming an opinion, has culture, discrimination, and good judgment, I could not but feel gratified with his praise. He says he read every word of it. Very many Members have given me similar complimentary assurances, but no one has gratified me so much as Sumner.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Senator Charles Sumner, c.1860

Senator Charles Sumner, c.1860

Fort McAllister Taken ~ December 1864 ~ 11th to 14th

Fort McAllister Taken ~ William Tecumseh Sherman.

Signal station at Fort McAllister

Signal station at Fort McAllister

Federal forces take Fort Mc Allister outside Savannah, Georgia and the city lies open for siege or assault. The siege of Petersburg drags on and on. Nashville is ready for a major confrontation. Canada wins no friends in the North as a Canadian court releases the Confederate raiders who attacked St Albans, strengthening anti-British sentiment in some quarters.

December 11– Sunday– Montgomery, Alabama– “It is impossible to describe the delight and apparent rapture with which our presence caused the fair Florentines. Ladies lined the streets [of Florence, Alabama] in every direction, beautiful in the excitement of agreeable surprise, cheering the army with tender words and gentle looks, clasping husbands, brothers, sons, in a gush of joy and love. Never was there a time of more real enjoyment. The tired army grew sprightly and buoyant under the patriotic impression, and there was not a soldier there who did not inwardly feel a pride in lifting such a people from the humiliation of Yankee presence. After passing through the city we come to a halt near the outskirts, threw up breastworks and here, pleasantly encamped, we have remained for the past week. All is life, gaiety and festivity in our little city now. A few nights ago the officers of Lee corps gave an entertainment in the college. It was singular to notice the friendship that existed between Mars and Cupid, as, side by side, they swept the floor of the building with fantastic feet.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to the editor of the Montgomery Advertiser.

victorian-C-20

December 12– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “James S. Scott was on Saturday morning brought before the Mayor on the charge of feloniously shooting and killing D. H. Bevans, conductor on the Fredericksburg railroad. The shooting took place at Millford, on the 5th of November. Bevans was brought to this city, and on or about the 20th of November, died at the officers’ hospital (City Alms House).” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

December 12– Monday– Confederate lines outside Petersburg, Virginia– “This morning finds me alive and tolerable well . . . . I Suppose you know not what has become of me – well we are in what is called Dinwiddie County about 10 miles to the right of Petersburg, about thirty miles from Richmond – the railroad runs [as] a crows [flies] from Richmond to Petersburg – we are 8 or ten miles from the railroad– we have been on picket [duty] nearly all the time since we came here– was relieved yesterday evening – are today in quarters– there is plenty of cabins here– we occupy cabins that other troops built and were then ordered away father to the right of the lines – there was some fighting on the right of the line Day before yesterday– it is said the Yankees were drove back. This is a very cold day here– there is some snow on the ground . . . . I am now in a part of the world I never was before – it does not look like home. . . . well I must stop for this time – hoping this may find you alive and well – have not had any mail since wee came here – some will soon– I will write soon again. Remember me at [the] throne of grace.” – Letter from Confederate soldier John P. Dull to his wife Ginny.

typical entrenchments at Petersburg

typical entrenchments at Petersburg

December 12– Monday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Two nights without sleep has a tendency to make me sleepy. Winter campaigning is cold work, but it is all for the Union, and I will not complain. I thank God that I have such good health and can stand it.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 12– Monday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Having a little leisure this evening I will improve it in writing You a few lines. Since my return to the regiment we have been very busy, and we still have a great deal to do in the way of Picket duty. The next day after my return we received orders to be ready to move at a moment’s notice which we did about noon the Same day took our backward track to the front of Petersburg, near to the place where Captain Sims was killed, We can stand in our bombproofs and See the very place where he fell. At the present time there is a heavy fight going on our left but for once the 51st have been left behind in Company with the 48th Tennessee, 36th Massachusetts and 58th Massachusetts – all small regiments, to hold the lines in our front while the rest of our Division have gone to participate in the present engagement. It is rumored that we have the South Side Rail Road now in Earnest. I hope it may be So, but as yet we have no Official report and only have the news from men that Say they have been to the front they Say it is correct. Yet I don’t write it for Sure as we have been fooled So many times with the Same news. I have found Your Brother’s large Trunk– it was Stored at City Point. I had it fetched up and the Same is now in Charge of our Regimental Quarter Master and I will Send it home with the first Officer of my regiment that has the good luck to get a leave of absence. And if there don’t a chance occur, Lieutenant Schoonmaker will muster out of the Service on the 15th of January and I will Send it by him. There is no news of importance with us that would inerest you So I will close by Sending my best respects to Your Mother and Yourself, likewise to all inquiring friends hoping to hear from You Soon.” ~ Letter from Union officer William E. Babcock to Walt Whitman.

December 12– Monday– St Louis, Missouri– Birth of Paul Elmer More, educator, journalist, essayist and religious writer. [Dies March 9, 1937.]

Paul Elmer More

Paul Elmer More

December 12– Monday– outside Savannah, Georgia– “I instructed General Howard to send a division with all his engineers to King’s Bridge, fourteen and a half miles southwest from Savannah, to rebuild it. On the evening . . . I rode over myself, and spent the night at Mr. King’s house, where I found General Howard, with General Hazen’s division of the Fifteenth Corps. His engineers were hard at work on the bridge, which they finished that night, and at sunrise Hazen’s division passed over. I gave General Hazen, in person, his orders to march rapidly down the right bank of the Ogeechee and without hesitation to assault and carry Fort McAllister by storm. I knew it to be strong in heavy artillery, as against an approach from the sea, but believed it open and weak to the rear. I explained to General Hazen fully that on his action depended the safety of the whole army and the success of the campaign.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

part of Fort McAllister

part of Fort McAllister

December 13– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A few of us belonging to the Pocahontas State Guard, held an election in the county, the first since the reign of terror in 1861. We cast 21 votes at the State election and 23 at the Presidential election. – We were united for ‘Father Abraham.’ The county is almost depopulated of men, many of whom have come out and joined our army. It would do the soldiers of any State good to see the patriotism of those mountaineers and especially the women and children, who still reside there, a large majority of whom are true to the Union. Those devoted women and old men begged us to remain in the county and protect them from rebel rule, and they would feed and support us out of their hard earnings. Although my old homestead – my native county – the Indian Queen of the evergreen mountains – Pocahontas has been overrun with Southern vandals for almost four years, still the love and attachment for the old Union in the hearts of the people has not abated. Mountain people will be free.” ~ letter from Mr S Young of Beverly, West Virginia, to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 13– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation with Honduras and a separate treaty of friendship, commerce, navigation, and for the extradition of fugitive criminals with Haiti.

December 13– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Hood still lies in front of us with his army, and still Destruction is our ruler!The officers say that the suburbs of the city have been so changed in every direction during this fortnight that we have been kept at our own post, that we of Springside would not know them. Trees all gone, beautiful houses pulled down, as the would interfere with the cannons range, hills turned into threatening fortifications, and lines of soldiers drilling everywhere! Hood himself is at Mr. Rains’s, the next place to Uncle John Trimble’s– think of it, as near as that! No wonder the poor blacks are terrified out of their wits.” ~ Journal of Maggie Lindsley.

December 13– Tuesday– outside Savannah, Georgia– “About 2 p.m. we observed signs of commotion in the fort and noticed one or two guns fired inland and some musket-skirmishing in the woods close by. This betokened the approach of Hazen’s division, which had been anxiously expected, and soon thereafter the signal-officer discovered about three miles above the fort a signal-flag, with which he conversed, and found it belonged to General Hazen, who was preparing to assault the fort and wanted to know if I were there. On being assured of this fact and that I expected the fort to be carried before night, I received by signal the assurance of General Hazen that he was making his preparations and would soon attempt the assault. The sun was rapidly declining, and [I] Was dreadfully impatient. At that very moment someone discovered a faint cloud of smoke and an object gliding, as it were, along the horizon above the tops of the sedge toward the sea, which little by little grew till it was pronounced to be the smoke-stack of a steamer coming up the river. Soon the flag of the United States was plainly visible, and our attention was divided between this approaching steamer and the expected assault. When the sun was about an hour high, another signal-message came from General Hazen that he was all ready, and I replied to go ahead, as a friendly steamer was approaching from below. Soon we made out a group of officers on the deck of this vessel, signaling with a flag, ‘Who are you?’ The answer went back promptly, ‘General Sherman.’ Then followed the question ‘Is Fort McAllister taken?’ ‘Not yet, but it will be in a minute!’ Almost at that instant of time, we saw Hazen’s troops come out of the dark fringe of woods that encompassed the fort, the lines dressed as on parade, with colors flying, and moving forward with quick, steady pace. Fort McAllister was then all alive, its big guns belching forth dense clouds of smoke, which soon enveloped our approaching lines. One color [color bearer] went down, but [the flag] was up in a moment. As the lines advance, faintly seen in the white sulphurous smoke, there was a pause, a cessation of fire; the smoke cleared away, and the parapets were blue with our men, who fired their muskets in the air and shouted so that we actually heard them, or felt we did. Fort McAllister was taken, and the good news was instantly sent by the signal-officer to our navy friends on the approaching gunboat.” ~ Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman.

one of the Fort McAllister guns captured by Federal troops

one of the Fort McAllister guns captured by Federal troops

December 14– Wednesday– New York City– “The Richmond papers of yesterday report General Sherman at Bloomingdale, fifteen miles from Savannah, on Saturday, December 10. . . . The severity of the weather has prevented any important movements by either side at Nashville. Nothing of importance is reported to day from the Armies of the Potomac or of the Shenandoah.” ~ New York Herald.

December 14– Wednesday– New York City– “The St Albans raiders and bank robbers discharged by the Canadian court for want of jurisdiction; whereupon General Dix issues a stringent order to military authorities along the Canadian frontier, bidding them to be watchful and militant, and requiring them in case of another raid to pursue the raiders across the line. This is right and sustained by British precedent in the case of the Caroline, when American sympathizers were aiding provincial rebellion. It may lead to complication and war with England but we must take that disaster, if it comes, as in our day’s work. It’s a great inducement to southern refugees and agents in Canada to repeat the St Albans experiment but I think the Canadian government is honestly trying to prevent its repetition.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [For a detailed study of the Caroline affair, see, Border Diplomacy- The Caroline and Mc Leod Affairs in Anglo-American-Canadian Relations, 1837-1842 by Kenneth R. Stevens (1989).

Emancipation of the Working Classes~October 1864~24th to 29th

Emancipation of the Working Classes ~ Karl Marx

The German exile Karl Marx delivers a stirring speech to a leftist gathering in London, England. Immigrant conscripts are arrested in Richmond for trying to evade military service. A Georgia woman tells her sweetheart how much she treasures his letters. A Virginia woman informs her brother of the deaths of friends. Another updates her husband on family and community news. A hospitalized soldier writes of his desire to vote in upcoming presidential election. The radical Wendell Phillips encourages abolitionists to keep the pressure on Lincoln for the total elimination of slavery. Canada moves toward confederation.

CW graves-3

October 24– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “An inquest was held on Saturday, on the body of James J. Brooke, the little boy, eight years old, who was shot by Williamm Bohannon, one of the nurses at Seabrook’s Hospital. We have before given the facts of the murder. A witness before the Coroner testified that the child was not more than five feet from Bohannon when the latter shot him. The jury rendered in their verdict that the child had come to his death by a gunshot wound, inflicted by Bohannon. The murderer will be examined before the Mayor this morning.” ~ Richmond Daily Whig.

October 24– Monday– London, England– “If the emancipation of the working classes requires their fraternal concurrence, how are they to fulfill that great mission with a foreign policy in pursuit of criminal designs, playing upon national prejudices, and squandering in piratical wars the people’s blood and treasure? It was not the wisdom of the ruling classes, but the heroic resistance to their criminal folly by the working classes of England, that saved the west of Europe from plunging headlong into an infamous crusade for the perpetuation and propagation of slavery on the other side of the Atlantic. The shameless approval, mock sympathy, or idiotic indifference with which the upper classes of Europe have witnessed the mountain fortress of the Caucasus falling a prey to, and heroic Poland being assassinated by Russia: the immense and unresisted encroachments of that barbarous power, whose head is in St. Petersburg, and whose hands are in every cabinet of Europe, have taught the working classes the duty to master themselves the mysteries of international politics; to watch the diplomatic acts of their respective governments; to counteract them, if necessary, by all means in their power; when unable to prevent, to combine in simultaneous denunciations, and to vindicate the simple laws or morals and justice, which ought to govern the relations of private individuals, as the rules paramount of the intercourse of nations. The fight for such a foreign policy forms part of the general struggle for the emancipation of the working classes. Proletarians of all countries, unite!” ~ Speech by Karl Marx to the International Working Men’s Association.

Engels & Marx with Marx's daughters

Engels & Marx with Marx’s daughters

October 25– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Daniel O’Donnell, Patrick Grant, John Doyle, A. Mehegan, P. Farley and F. Curran, Irishmen and conscripts, were yesterday morning picked up by General Garey’s scouts on the Williamsburg road, near Boar Swamp, ten miles below the city. The party were evidently attempting to make their way to the enemy’s lines. They were all detailed conscripts, who have recently been ordered to go to their commands in the field. They have been committed to the Castle. O’Donnell is a plumber and gas-fitter, doing business on Broad street, above Ninth. He being put hors de combat, the city is, we believe, without an accomplished gas-fitter.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

October 25– Tuesday– Dooly County, Georgia– “Nothing affords me greater pleasure than a perusal of your letters. I hope the time is not far distant when we shall see each other. I do really think you ought to be permitted to visit Georgia this winter. Two years is a long time to be kept from home enduring so many hardships, sufferings and dangers. I haven’t a word of news to write concerning the two armies, in this state. Hood, though, is certainly in Sherman’s rear, and doing much damage.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer.

October 25– Tuesday– Kaluga, Russia– Birth of Alexander Gretchaninov, composer. [Dies January 3, 1956.]

Alexander Gretchaninov, 1911

Alexander Gretchaninov, 1911

October 26– Wednesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– Two men are arrested for having robbed Martin Feely, a city councilman, of $4500 yesterday.

October 26– Wednesday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia– “I seat myself this morning to write you the limited page. Received a letter dated 12 September last week. All are well this morning. Hope you also are in health and tolerable comfort. I have sad news to inform you of. Your friend Sergeant Ben Hupp was killed last Wednesday [the] 19th at Cedars Creek. ‘Twas a great shock to me to hear of it and I judge will be much more so to you who was an (almost) inseparable companion. Seems as if death has come nearer to you than ever before. We can’t help but feel his death. Not more than 3 weeks since he was at home and now dead. Can scarce believe it’s true. Ought not this to be sufficient to rouse you to reflection? Yes and God grant we may not be hardened by this, his Providence. Mrs Hupp only yesterday eve received a letter from Baylor informing her of the circumstances the first she knew of it. . . . Hope you will get home before winter– if not can we send from here any thing for your comfort or will you be allowed to receive.” ~ Letter from Mary A. Smiley to her brother Thomas Smiley.

freshly buried dead soldiers

freshly buried dead soldiers

October 26– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “At the Mayor’s Court: William Bohannon, charged with murdering a boy named James J. Brooke, on Friday afternoon last, was sent before the Hustings Court for examination. His counsel, A. J. Crane, Esq., expects to prove that the accused is irresponsible for his actions, on account of mental deficiency.” ~ Richmond Daily Whig.

October 27– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Yesterday about noon, as the Camp Lee train was coming down the Fredericksburg railroad, Broad street, a number of boys, white and black, as usual, jumped on to steal a ride. As the train passed Third Street one of the boys, a free Negro named Harris, about fourteen years old, from some cause fell from the position he had taken in rear of the tender. The passenger coach wheels passed directly over his head, crushing his skull horribly and killing him instantly. Accidents of this kind are constantly occurring on this road, but the warnings seem to be utterly lost on the boys, who, we believe, would, in spite of the efforts of the railroad officers to keep them off, continue to jump on the train if a dozen of them were killed a day.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

October 27– Thursday– outside of Atlanta, Georgia– “At 10 ½ o’clock some 30 Yankees rode up. Took Phillip’s wagon and two horses, all our meal and flour, one keg of syrup and several articles from the house that I do not know of, one bushel [of] grain, the last we had. They stayed some 15 or 20 minutes and put back over the river. They also took John E’s saddlebags and a large tin cup.” ~ Diary of a local farmer.

cavalry raid

cavalry raid

October 27– Thursday– Quebec City, Quebec, Canada– The conference on confederation ends and the delegates return to their provinces to submit to the various provincial legislatures the “Seventy-Two Resolutions” which they have adopted.

October 28– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “As for the common world, . . . the Governors and Senators, whose voices are loudest in this canvass, their dissent does not surprise me. It took them twenty years to find out that the Abolitionists were no fanatics, and to join us in 1861. I cheerfully give them ten years more to see, not men like trees walking, but clearly, the whole meaning of this issue and its needs. Day dawns gradually from twilight to noon, for all who keep their eyes open; for those who will open their eyes wide enough only to take in a party platform or candidate, it remains always twilight. Reform cries always, ‘No danger in opening your eyes wide!’ Lincoln will obey the strongest. Only agitation will keep us the strongest, or show him that we are so. Agitate! agitate! now, in the harvest time, when every ear in the nation is open, when hearts and minds are malleable! Indeed, gentlemen, this course is our only safety. Remember the pregnant words of Macaulay, ‘The true secret of the power of agitators is the obstinacy of Government. Liberal governments make moderate citizens.’ Mr. Lincoln, in 1848, when he opposed the Mexican war, dared to tell Polk and his party that it was the duty of a good citizen to distinguish, in such times, between the President and the Country. . . . Gentlemen, I will cheerfully support any man for the Presidency whom I believe honest, capable, and resolved to end this war so as ‘to form a more perfect union,’ to ‘insure domestic tranquility’ forever, ‘to establish justice’ for all men of every race, and ‘to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity meaning by ourselves every one born under the flag, and every one who takes refuge beneath it. Against every other man I mean to agitate, till I bayonet him and his party into justice.” ~ a recent speech by Wendell Phillips, quoted in today’s edition of The Liberator.

Wendell Phillips

Wendell Phillips

October 28– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The election yesterday passed off without the occurrence of any of the serious disturbances which too often attend such occasions. We heard of one or two little skirmishes in different parts of the city but none of them attained the dignity of an ‘engagement.’ Not a little ill-feeling was created by ‘challengers’ at some of the precincts who insisted that every foreigner offering to vote should exhibit his naturalization papers. In one instance an old gentleman who proposed to vote the Union ticket was challenged. He was requested to produce his papers. He could not do so, having mislaid them. He was naturalized forty years ago and has been voting ever since, but in consequence of not being able to find his papers he could not voteyesterday. There were other cases of similar hardship that came to our knowledge. Quite a number of Copperheads refused to take the oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of West Virginia, as provided by law, and therefore were not allowed to vote. The great majority of those to whom the oath was presented, however, took it, but with a wry face, and deposited their votes.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

October 28– Friday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia– “I received your letter on Tuesday evening and was glad to hear that you were well & I hope when these few lines reach you may still be enjoying good health. I would have written yesterday but there was no one to take the letter to the Post Office, as there was no one at home but myself until it was too late. Alex is staying with us now he came down the same day you left so we are doing better than we expected. We heard some very bad news yesterday heard that Mr Hupp was killed last Wednesday shot just below the eye and never knew what hurt him. Becca and Sister were over last Friday night– Becca is going down to Churchville next week for the cloth and wants me to go down to Aunt Sallies– she will have a buggy and thinks it will be a good opportunity for me. I expect to go over to the meeting tomorrow or next day. next time you write let me know whether Davis is there or not & how he is getting along. There was two burials at New Providence last Sabbath– Miss Eliza Beard and Mr Culton’s child. We are all well. when you write again direct to Greenville as I expect to be over at Pa’s. I believe I have told all the news. As Mag is waiting I will have to close. I hope you will get home soon. May God watch over and protect you is the prayer of your devoted Wife.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to her husband Enos.

CW graves

October 29– Saturday– McDougall Hospital, New York City– “I am still here but am fit to go [to] the Regiment at any moment. The sooner the better. All soldiers here living in Michigan, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, New Jersey and New York soldiers living west of Albany, were transferred or furloughed. It is reported here that Pennsylvania troops are to stay here and vote. I don’t know how it is. There was no agent around yet, to give us tickets. Five sixth of the men won’t vote if kept here, since men from other states were transferred. The Doctors say that they have no order for us yet and don’t know if one will come for us or not. The Ohio troops are in the same fix. I expect we will be kept here and not get a chance to vote. To day every man in the Hospital was Vaccinated. There is now about three hundred men here since the rest were transferred. Out of the 300 men here not fifty votes will be poled if they are kept here. Can’t you send me a blank filled up, all but signed, so that I can send it home and still vote? If I don’t get it nothing will be lost. Don’t write to me until you hear further from me, but send a blank or something so that I can vote, as soon as you receive this. From three to eight die every day here. I am well.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Henry C. Metzger to his father in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

A Day of Intense Excitement~October 1864~19th to 21st

A Day of Intense Excitement ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes

In the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, General Phil Sheridan turns a successful Confederate surprise attack into a Federal victory, rallying his troops and pushing the rebels back into the mountains. The Union casualties include the friend and brother-in-law of Robert Gould Shaw who died leading the 54th Massachusetts. The win serves to strengthen President Lincoln’s reelection possibilities while McClellan campaign hard. An eloquent woman campaigns for Lincoln. Lincoln praises the people of Maryland for banning slavery in the new state constitution and calls for Thanksgiving to be observed in November. Confederate soldiers provoke an international incident when they stage a raid from Canada into Vermont. As in the North women of the South help sick and wounded soldiers. A grieving father writes to Whitman. Religious enthusiasm increases in Oberlin, Ohio, as in other parts of the war-torn nation.

Federal cavalry officers

Federal cavalry officers

October 19– Wednesday– St Albans, Vermont– Twenty-five Confederate soldiers under Lieutenant Bennett Young arrive from Canada and in mid-afternoon stage simultaneous robberies of the town’s three. The fire bombs they brought to burn the town do not work. They escape across the Canadian border fifteen miles away with over $200,000. [The United States demands the arrest and extradition of the Southerners. However a Canadian court will rule that the men were soldiers, not spies, and declines to extradite them. Canada returns the $88,000 Canadian officers found on the Confederates. The rebel effort turns many Canadians against the Confederacy as they see the raid as an effort to draw Canada into the war.]

Confederate raiders of St Albans, Vermony

Confederate raiders of St Albans, Vermony

October 19– Wednesday– Oberlin, Ohio– “The scene at the Communion at the First Church, last Sabbath afternoon, was deeply gratifying and encouraging to all friends of religion. Fifty-one, mostly young people, united with the church and partook of the Sacrament. As their names were read, they took their places in the aisles, and lines were formed, on either side, extending from the pulpit nearly the entire length of the church. The usual ceremonies were then performed, some twenty receiving baptism, the remainder having previously been baptized elsewhere. The occasion was one of solemn joy and will be remembered with pleasure, in after years by the converts, as the commencement of their Christian life.” ~ Lorain County News.

October 19– Wednesday– Cedar Creek, Virginia– Early in the morning Confederate troops under General Jubal Early mount a surprise attack on the sleeping Federal camp, initially having significant success. However, Union General Phil Sheridan arrives from Washington in mid-morning, rallies his soldiers, counter-attacks and drives back the Confederates. Total Confederate losses– dead, wounded, missing– amount to 2910 while Federal losses reach 5665. Sheridan can receive replacements; Early can not as Lee has none to send him.

Sheridan leading successful counter-attack at Cedar Creek

Sheridan leading successful counter-attack at Cedar Creek

October 19– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I am notified that this is a compliment paid me by the loyal Marylanders resident in this District. I infer that the adoption of the new Constitution for the State furnishes the occasion, and that in your views the extirpation of slavery constitutes the chief merit of the new Constitution. Most heartily do I congratulate you, and Maryland, and the nation, and the world upon the event. I regret that it did not occur two years sooner, which I am sure would have saved to the nation more money than would have met all the private loss incident to the measure; but it has come at last, and I sincerely hope its friends may fully realize all their anticipations of good from it, and that its opponents may by its effects be agreeably and profitably disappointed. . . . I may add that in this purpose to save the country and its liberties, no classes of people seem so nearly unanimous as the soldiers in the field and the seamen afloat. Do they not hive the hardest of it? Who should quail when they do not? God bless the soldiers and seamen, and all their brave commanders!” ~ Remarks by President Lincoln to a group of citizens who gathered outside of the White House to sing to him.

October 19– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– A Confederate doctor assigned to the prison camp submits a brutally honest report maintaining that the high death rate among the inmates is due to dysentery, scurvy, and gangrene, caused in large part by poor rations, little medicine, and the accumulation of human waste within the stockade.

Confederate nurse

Confederate nurse

October 19– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “Georgia Relief and Hospital Association. This Samaritan of Institutions, with its head at Augusta, and its big heart with every Confederate army, is most justly complimented in a late letter of P. W. A., in the Savannah Republican. We cannot let this occasion pass without adding our mite of praise to this generous association of noble hearted men. For two years past it has been our good fortune to know somewhat of its actings [sic] and doings. And here let us remind our readers that it is not alone to the Georgian it has brought its assistance and succor, but to men from every State in the Confederacy. ‘God bless the Georgia Relief Association,’ has gone up from thousands of hearts not of Georgia – from the plains of Texas, and the mountain streams of Arkansas, from the Mississippi, the Ohio and Potomac, have the men come, who have been the recipients of its kindly charity. A few devoted men, whose names will go down to posterity, as a part and parcel of this war, have bent their wills and energies to this glorious charity.” ~ Athens Southern Banner.

October 19– Wednesday– Dublin, Ireland– Birth of Thomas Pakenham, Irish peer and soldier. [Dies in battle August 21, 1915.]

Thomas Pakenham, the 5th Earl of Longford

Thomas Pakenham, the 5th Earl of Longford

October 20– Thursday– New York City– “Another victory by Sheridan. News came today at noon. . . . He seems a brilliant practitioner, and our best fighting general. . . . Either we fight better of late, or the rebels fight worse.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

October 20– Thursday– somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia– “I take the earliest opportunity to inform you of our glorious victory, since I wrote to you before, the rebels, attacked our lines the day that I wrote home, the fight lasted from morning till dark at night, the fields lay full of wounded and dead rebels, over double the number of ours, and we captured 54 pieces of artillery . . . . this is the third time that we whipped them very badly since the 1st of last month, General Sheridan was at the head of his brave soldiers in the engagement, there is not a soldier here but would sacrifice their lives for the brave General, Sheridan’s army has crowned its self with victory. I am well.~ Letter from Union soldier Josiah Bloss to his sister.

fighting at Cedar Creek

fighting at Cedar Creek

October 20– Thursday– Winchester, Virginia– “Yesterday was a day of intense excitement in this city. . . . The Rebel Cavalry were all about the outskirts of town, and I had all I could do looking after the pickets. Many rebel families prepared food for the expected Rebel Army, but they did not come, and at night we received the news of Sheridan’s glorious victory. Hurrah for Sheridan! He is the man for me. . . . Our Army is now pursuing Early into the mountains. I hope they may catch him and use him up entirely.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

October 20– Thursday– Middletown, Virginia– Union General Charles Russell Lowell, age 29, a nephew of the editor and author James Russell, dies of wounds he received yesterday at the battle of Cedar Creek. His wife, Josephine Shaw Lowell, age 20, a sister of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who died in July, 1863, while leading the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, is eight months pregnant with her first child. [To honor the memory of her husband and her brother she will be active in social and political reform until her death on October 12, 1905. She never remarries.]

Josephine Shaw Lowell & her husband Charles Russell Lowell

Josephine Shaw Lowell & her husband Charles Russell Lowell

October 20– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps, and our sailors on the rivers and seas, with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new: sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our working-men in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, he has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions. Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the, land which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

October 20– Thursday– a prison camp in the Union lines outside of Petersburg, Virginia– “Knowing your anxiety to know my fate, I embrace this opportunity for the purpose of sending you a short note. I was captured in the action of yesterday and am doing well. You need not suffer any uneasiness about me. I will write every opportunity. Give my love to all and reserve a goodly portion for yourself.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.

October 20– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “In reply to your letter . . . addressed to His Excellency [Joseph Brown, Governor of Georgia], and desiring to know under what conditions he would be in favor of a reconstruction of the old Federal Union, and go into fraternal embrace with the foul invaders of our homes and rights, the murderers of our brave men, and the abusers and insulters [sic] of our women, in a word, the base and fiendish uncivilized of the age, I am directed by the Governor to say that his position on this subject has been so often given to the country in an official form that he does not consider it his duty to spend time in further explanations. All who wish to understand it have the means of information at hand.” ~ quoted from a Georgia newspaper in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch.

October 21– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Miss Anna E. Dickinson. We have no words to fittingly describe the lecture of this talented young female orator, delivered at Ilion [New York] on Tuesday evening. For nearly two hours and a half she held a crowded audience in almost breathless attention. Her treatment of the Chicago Convention and of its nominees– especially her vivid historical, sketch of McClellan’s military career– was most bitterly sarcastic, and many portions of it most beautifully sublime. She has a power over the feelings and hearts of the people which few can resist; and it is a satisfaction to know that it is exercised ever in the cause of Justice and the Rights of Humanity.” ~ The Liberator. Today’s issue also reports that the widow, two daughters and one son of the radical John Brown are traveling with a guard of Federal troops as they cross Idaho Territory on their way to California.

Anna E Dickinson

Anna E Dickinson

October 21– Friday– Jersey City, New Jersey– “I have just returned home last evening from Washington, being there to see about getting the body of my son Captain Michael Mullery of Company I, 7th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers who was killed while leading his men in a desperate charge before Petersburg, Virginia, June 16th . I took a friend with me from Jersey City (T. C. Brown Esq.) but could only get a pass for one, so Mr. Brown has gone to City Point to get the Body. He took the boat for City Point last Wednesday at 3 o’clock and is now I hope on his way back with the body. Your friend Jesse came home from Washington June 23rd on a 30 days furlough, and the same evening received the sad intelligence of the death of our son Michael, when Jesse came home he was so reduced and weak that I thought he could not live a week, but he gained fast after a week or two . . . . he returned September 5th, and is there yet at Ward U S. General Hospital, Center Street. I took Breakfast with him yesterday morning. He looks well and is fleshy, but not fit for the front. I will write to him to day and send him your letter, and he will call and see you at his earliest convenience, he spoke very highly of you when he came home and had your ‘carte de visite’ and took it back with [him] to Newark, he is now assistant cook in the Hospital. He belongs in the 7th Ward. His Brother James is still at the front with Sheridan he is well and so far unhurt. Thank God, he has never been home since he went in the service, if he lives, we look for him next August when I must write to him, and let him know about the invitation you have given him to call & see you. I have another son Joseph who enlisted September 9th last year, for one year. . . . I remain Truly & Respectfully Yours Much Obliged.” ~ Letter from William Mullery to Walt Whitman.

McClellan campaign poster

McClellan campaign poster

October 21– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “As the McClellan procession was passing through Ritchietown yesterday morning, a man in the procession got off and struck a boy for some real or imaginary offence. The man was arrested and taken into an Alderman’s office, when some of the McClellan men moved as if to attempt a rescue. Some Union men interfered to preserve the peace when a sort of a general row commenced, during which stones were thrown and several persons were more or less hurt.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

I Will Make Georgia Howl~October 1864~9th to 11th

I Will Make Georgia Howl ~ General Sherman.

William Tecumseh Sherman advises General Grant of his plans for the next operation in Georgia. Plenty of fighting and raiding goes on in Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee. A Northern woman calls on the widow of President Polk. In the midst of election worries President Lincoln maintains his sense of humor. Canadian officials continues discussion about confederation.

refugees leaving Atlanta

refugees leaving Atlanta

October 9– Sunday– Tullahoma, Tennessee– Union General R H Milroy requests a cavalry regiment of the United States Colored Troops to deal with Confederate activity in the area of Fayetteville, Tennessee.

October 9– Sunday– Chattahoochee River, Georgia– “We have had despatches of another fight at Allatoona, in which the rebels were discomfited. General Sherman has telegraphed to General Slocum that Hood was moving south and might swing around upon him; it would seem, therefore, that the road is now clear. Then there is hope ahead, and we may at least hope, before another week passes, to be in communication with our homes. We are no longer in Atlanta I received orders on Friday night to march my regiment to the Chattahoochee River bridge and there report to Colonel Smith, commanding the 1st Brigade of our division. We came down accordingly and have just got into our new camp. There is not a board here and it is very cold; we ought to have fireplaces. We were fairly driven into bed last night by the cheerless cold at seven o’clock. To-night we will sleep in our uniforms, otherwise there is no standing it. A portion of the railroad bridge was carried off by the current about a week ago, and it has been impassable ever since; thus misfortunes multiply upon this road. The repairs will be completed today. We are in a terribly sad state of ignorance. We know that communications are now open, but beyond that, not a word. . . . We have not a grain of forage for our horses. I have sold my extra one, as I had not half enough for my Jennie, who is no longer as round as a ball. A sort of cane that grows in the marshes, leaves and sticks must keep them alive. One of our couriers was waylaid between here and Atlanta and murdered by guerrillas yesterday. His dead body was found by the wayside, rifled of his arms, with one bullet through his head and one through his breast. We have to get up at four o’clock every morning now, so as to be on the alert in case the rebels should come, but they won’t come here. What good would it do them? The destruction of a bridge so near to Atlanta will too poorly compensate Mr. Hood even for a trifling loss, and he has learned from experience that he cannot assault our fortified positions without very heavy loss.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

General Sherman in camp

General Sherman in camp

October 9– Sunday– near Allatoona, Georgia– “I can make this march, and I will make Georgia howl!” ~ Telegram from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to General Ulysses S Grant as Sherman reveals his plan to strike southeast toward Savannah.

October 9– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the Andersonville prison camp the quartermaster establishes a factory for making shoes for the inmates, and a brewery for the production of a medical drink called corn beer, to combat scurvy, a major disease caused by a diet lacking in fresh foods.

October 9– Sunday– Boonville, Missouri; Russellville, Missouri; California, Missouri; St Francois County, Missouri; Fauquier County, Virginia; Bayou Sarah, Louisiana; Ven Wert, Georgia– Harrying, probing and assaulting.

October 10– Monday– New York City– “Cold. War news not much, but of a good sort. Sheridan seems to have harried the Valley of Virginia like a Viking.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

General Phil Sheridan

General Phil Sheridan

October 10– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “A convention of Maryland has framed a new constitution for the State; a public meeting is called for this evening at Baltimore to aid in securing its ratification by the people, and you ask a word from me for the occasion. I presume the only feature of the instrument about which there is serious controversy is that which provides for the extinction of slavery. It needs not to be a secret and I presume it is no secret, that I wish success to this provision. I desire it on every consideration. I wish all men to be free. I wish the material prosperity of the already free, which I feel sure the extinction of slavery would bring. I wish to see in process of disappearing that only thing which ever could bring this nation to civil war. I attempt no argument. Argument upon the question is already exhausted by the abler, better informed, and more immediately interested sons of Maryland herself. I only add that I shall be gratified exceedingly if the good people of the State shall, by their votes, ratify the new constitution.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Henry W. Hoffman.

October 10– Monday– Petersburg, Virginia– “We had a rich beef . . . just before I left the sharpshooters which I do not think I told you about. About an hour by sun one bright beautiful morning, a fine fat young cow was seen crossing the Yankee picket line, and making direct for our line, with a high head and quick step looking as wild as a buck. She halted in front of our outposts . . . but two of our boys anxious to obtain some fat Yankee beef succeeded by getting around her in forcing her to cross. They then yelled at her and on she came to our line in full tilt. Several of the boys gathered their guns, determined not to let her pass unmolested, myself among the rest. Just before she got up to our line the sharp crack of a rifle rang through the air, but as she was running, the ball missed her and the noise only made her more wild and quickened her pace. Bang! Bang! Crack! Crack! went another and another rifle but on she went or came; crossing our line and going to the rear. I shot at her about 150 yards in full speed, the ball passing just over her shoulders and entering the ground beyond, making the dust rise but getting no beef. By this time several of the Sharpshooters from each Regiment were after her. Crack! Crack! went the sharp ring of the rifles till I think about the 20th shot she fell headlong to the ground. She was immediately butchered and divided among all the Sharpshooters from the Brigade, each man getting a large hunk of tender fat beef. Now the mournful part of the tune had not come. Up to that time it was all excitement and fine fun for us. The Colonel commanding the Regiment in our rear, thinking sure we were attacked, had his men to Arms yet in the trenches wait patiently the approaching conflict as he thought. As no Yanks came he sent down to know the cause of the alarm. Learning the cause he sent for all that fired to appear before him immediately. I being Sergeant had to carry the squad up and myself with them. There were 6 of us from our Regiment being arraigned in his august presence, he called on me for full detail, which I gave, closing with a plea of defense, as we did it under excitement, etc. He gave us a long lecture, telling us he did not mind our getting the cow but the fuss we made. He sent us back and that night sent us word that he would acquit us but we must do so no more. The boys said they would not unless another cow came over.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

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October 10– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Called this morning on Mrs. James K. Polk to obtain some leaves and flowers for souvenirs of the place, to arrange on paper for a Sanitary Fair. Received very cordially by Mrs. Polk, who accompanied me to the grounds and cut the leaves and blossoms for me herself. She also presented a fine photograph of the place, taken from Vine Street, and showing the tomb of the ex-president. Mrs. Polk has not entered society since the death of her husband. In person she is perhaps a trifle above the medium height, slender, with high forehead and delicate features, and bears marks of taste and refinement. Think she has passed through the ordeal of her former position with a true sense of its real worth in comparison with Christian duties and deeds of philanthropy.” ~ Journal of Elvira Powers. [Sarah Childress Polk, age 60, is the childless widow of President James Polk who died in the spring of 1849. She receives a government pension of $5,000 per year, which would equal $76,500 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index. While publicly proclaiming her neutrality, privately she has voiced pro-Union sentiments. She will have the longest widowhood of any former First Lady by the time she dies on August 14, 1891.]

Sarah Polk

Sarah Polk

October 10– Monday– Rectortown, Virginia; Thorn Hill, Tennessee; near Gallatin, Tennessee; near Valley Station, Colorado Territory; Pemiscot, County, Missouri; near Rome, Georgia; Eastport, Mississippi– Skirmishes, raids, expeditions and assaults.

October 10– Monday– Quebec City, Quebec, Canada– Delegates meet to discuss forming a Canadian confederation.

October 11– Tuesday– New York City– Union General Phil Sheridan “describes his recent operations. He says that he has destroyed, in the Shenandoah, Luray and Little Fort valleys, over two thousand barns filled with wheat, hay and farming implements, and over seventy mills filled with flour and wheat. He has obtained a very large number of horses, has driven four herds of stock before the army, and has killed and issued to it about three thousand sheep. This destruction and this spoliation are in accordance with the instructions of General Grant, who finds in these severe measures the only preventive of the enemy periodical incursions down the valley, which he is determined shall be stopped. General Sheridan says he has rendered the entire country through which he has passed untenable to the rebel army, and has made the inhabitants sick of the war, which before they were not, owing to the abundance in the midst of which they were living. These are the people, many of whom had protection papers from former commanders of our forces, who have for some time been bushwacking every Union train and small party passing along their roads. Railroad communications through from Alexandria to Strasburg will be completed in a few days. The soldiers in Sheridan’s department have suffered considerably from the cold weather of the past few days. Snow fell to the depth of three inches at Cumberland, Maryland, on Saturday last.” ~ New York Herald.

October 11– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln spends most of the evening in the telegraph office monitoring voting results from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. In between messages he reads and laughs over pages from The Nasby Papers by David Locke, a book of political satire which pokes fun at Democrats and Copperheads. Lincoln will periodically read out loud to whole room sections which he finds very funny. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton complains privately to an assistant about how Lincoln “when the safety of the Republic was thus at issue . . . could turn aside to read such balderdash and to laugh at such frivolous jests.”

lincoln_rockingchair

October 11– Tuesday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– In state-wide elections Republicans gain 3 seats in the U S House of Representatives, winning 15 of 24 seats.

October 11– Tuesday– Columbus, Ohio– In state-wide elections Republicans gain 12 seats in the U S House of Representatives, winning 17 of 19 seats.

October 11– Tuesday– Indianapolis, Indiana– In state-wide elections Republicans gain 4 seats in the U S House of Representatives, winning 8 of 11 seats.

October 11– Tuesday– New Market, Virginia– “We are off again tomorrow & I shall not be able to write to you for a day or two so I will write before I retire. I wrote you a few days ago – yours of the 4th Instant came a day after Mr. Robinson’s 2nd ‘Sunday surprise’ – I wanted to surprise you the 3rd Sunday but ‘Old Jubal’[General Early] said ‘no’ so I had to moodily submit & forgo a sweet day at home & spend a cheerless one in camp but I trust such days will not last always & that a kind Providence will permit us to spend many quiet & happy years at home – all the more happy because we have been compelled to spend so many away from each other & have been taught to appreciate the more fully each the others worth & mutual benefit. . . . It seems hard my Dear to call out [all] the . . . men, but the next 6 weeks determine our fate & every man must come out for that time & do his duty – if they do all will be well & they can then go home in peace & stay there with safety – see what the reserves did at Saltville & so they can do everywhere until this emergency is past — All must put a shoulder to the wheel & roll on to the end of this campaign & I feel that the end will then come. Our men in the field have lost none of their accustomed courage, their leaders none of their accustomed skill, but our ranks are depleted by the many bloody battles of this mighty campaign & we must have our lines lengthened to oppose those of the insolent foe that has added thousands upon thousands to his from every household in the North. The enemy is determined to do all that numbers can do this year & we must, shall , & will meet him with even numbers – no even as figures tell it, but every as moral courage & unconquerable will tell it. So say for me, to all that they must cheerfully come now, and in two months all will be well . . . . Get all your flour & eatables home as soon as you can – get Mr. Reed to get a Bushel of flour from Mr. Smith – for you. Pleasant dreams to you & may Heavenly blessings descend upon the heads of all the ‘loved ones at home.’ Write soon.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

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October 11– Tuesday– Morris Island, South Carolina– “I take this opportunity of informing you that I am Well as Present & Hope that when this Comes to your Hand it may Find you enjoying the Blessings of God. I thought that I would Let you Know that I would Not get Home this time.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Jacob Watson, a black man serving with the 54th Massachusetts, to his brother Hezekiah.

Inflict Retaliatory Vengeance~September 1859~12th to 21st

Inflict Retaliatory Vengeance ~ Franklin Repository.

A Pennsylvania newspaper comments on Southern fears of a slave insurrection, unaware that on a Maryland farm, not far from Harpers Ferry, Virginia, a radical and militant abolitionist named John Brown is preparing to foment just such a bloody revolt. Lincoln criticizes Stephan Douglas in a series of speeches. The slavery question creates literally dueling politicians in California. Many other politicians busily make speeches. A mentally unbalanced man proclaims himself Emperor of the United States. Life moves on– fairs, storms, births, deaths. How many soldiers, wearing blue or grey in the fall of 1864, might wish to return to the quieter times before the events at Harpers Ferry?

ladies autumn bonnets for the fall of 1859

ladies autumn bonnets for the fall of 1859

September 12– Monday– Syracuse, New York– Reverend Samuel J May, Unitarian minister, radical abolitionist, advocate of women’s rights and uncle of Louisa May Alcott, turns 62 years of age. [Dies July 1, 1871.]

September 12– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania–Birth of Florence Kelley, labor reformer and advocate of child welfare and consumer rights. [Dies February 17, 1932. See, Impatient Crusader: Florence Kelley’s Life Story by Josephine Goldmark (1953) and Florence Kelley: the Making of a Social Pioneer by Rose Blumberg (1966).]

Florence Kelley

Florence Kelley

September 12– Monday– the Atlantic Ocean– A ship near 40°N latitude, 50°W longitude, reports strong winds. At least four ships sustain structural damage or take on water. The Bell Flower loses her captain and a crew member to the sea. The severity of the weather encountered by the ships suggests a storm of modest hurricane intensity, the second of the month and the fourth of this year’s hurricane season.

September12– Monday– Chicago, Illinois– The National Agricultural Society’s annual fair opens today and runs through September 17th.

September 13– Tuesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– “Would it be convenient for you, before your return home, to visit Pittsburgh and give us a speech? Mr. Douglas was here, with his stereotyped speech, and it would much gratify us if you could follow him up. Please write me and let me know if you can come, and when; we will make ample arrangements, and give you as large an audience as you can wish.” ~ Letter from Russell Errett to Abraham Lincoln.

September 13– Tuesday– San Francisco, California– Kentucky-born David S. Terry, recently defeated for re-election as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, fights a duel with fellow Democrat, U.S. Senator David C. Broderick, just outside the city. Terry had argued with Broderick, who had opposed him in the election due to Terry’s views on extending slavery to California. The exchanges had escalated into the challenge to settle the matter by a duel. The gunfire leaves Broderick mortally wounded, shot through the right lung. [Terry will serve in the Confederate army during the Civil War.]

September 14– Wednesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “We have often stated that the tendency of extending the area of slavery is to eradicate the white population in the old Southern States. This is fast becoming verified in the very strong-hold of the peculiar institution. The authorities in South Carolina have instituted measures for taking the census of that State, which produces such an abundance of fire-eaters. The returns from seventeen parishes alone, show a decrease of more than 5000 in the white population, in the last four years, (a similar census-taking having occurred in 1855,) whilst the blacks have increased very largely in numbers, in the same time, in those parishes. At this rate the blood-and-thunder State will soon become sufficiently Africanized to suit the tastes of the greatest Negro-lovers in the land. Is it not astonishing that the simpletons who urge so strongly the propriety of repealing the laws of Congress which pronounce the Slave-trade piracy, cannot see that they are preparing for themselves the most horrible doom imaginable? The slave-holders of the South are now almost afraid to go to bed without a revolver under their pillows for fear their darkeys will rise in the night and inflict retaliatory vengeance upon their self constituted owners– their unfeeling task-masters. Then why do they insist upon increasing the danger? They had better be upon their guard, and prevent this iniquity, while they have the strength, lest an opening of the Slave trade should result in so completely Africanizing the Southern States as that the tables might be turned– the whites becomes the slaves while the blacks bear rule. The only way slavery is upheld now, or ever was, is by brute force– the law of might. If, therefore, the weak of to-day become the strong of to-morrow, there is nothing in the world which can prevent their enslaving the weaker portion of society– from whom they have learned the inhuman lessons.” ~ Franklin Repository.

September 14– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– “The Republicans of Cincinnati, at one of their meetings on Monday evening last, appointed a committee consisting of two hundred and ten gentlemen to receive Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, who will address the people of that city in reply to Senator Douglas, on Saturday evening next. Well done, Cincinnati! You are paying merited respect to an honest man!” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

September 14– Wednesday– Beloit, Wisconsin– “Seeing by our papers that you have accepted an invitation to deliver the address at our State fair at Milwaukee, the last of this month – Our City Republican Club have instructed me to write and see if you would stop at our place on your return home from the fair, and address the Citizens of old Rock County, on the great political issues which now absorbs the public mind in the Northwest. It is their desire that you should open the Campaign here, if your engagements would permit – You can come from Milwaukee to our place by Rail Road and from here to Freeport or Belvidere by R. R.” ~ Letter from M. A. Northrop to Abraham Lincoln.

September 14– Wednesday– Constantinople, Turkey– Fire which began on the 10th and destroyed over a thousand structures is finally brought under control.

September 15– Thursday– Elizabethtown, New Jersey– In its third day today, the New Jersey State Fair draws a record crowd of around 30,000 people. Programs and displays include equestrian races, a ploughing contest, horse taming, quilting, baking, leather working and other crafts.

September 15– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The D. R. Duffield & Co advertises the most fashionable hoop skirts for ladies. For example, skirts with 22 hoops and a bustle for $4.50, skirts with 16 hoops and a bustle for $3.00, skirts with 13 hoops and a bustle for $2.50 and skirts with 11 hoops and a bustle for $2.95. [The price range in today’s dollars would run from $130 to $72.30, using the Consumer Price Index.]

evening dress-Godeys' Ladies Book, September, 1859

evening dress-Godeys’ Ladies Book, September, 1859

September 15– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The Honorable Gerrit Smith has issued a circular letter . . . . He takes the occasion to set forth at some length his views of the [political] parties of the day, and to declare that he has no faith in any of them. He seems to look upon the Republican party as being but little better than those which openly profess to uphold Slavery; and he sees no prospect of emancipation except in insurrection, and he regards insurrection as ‘a terrible remedy for a terrible wrong.’” ~ National Era. [Gerrit Smith, 1797–1874, is a wealthy New Yorker, an outspoken radical abolitionist, social reformer and philanthropist.]

September 15– Thursday– Mobile, Alabama– The region is struck by the fifth hurricane of the season, the third one in this month.

September 15– Thursday– London, England– Isambard Kingdom Brunel, an engineer, dies at age 53, ten days after he suffered a stroke. [The most famous engineer of his day, he revolutionized the digging of tunnels, pioneering the machinery used to this day; built a hundred bridges over the most daunting obstacles; laid a thousand miles of railway track; and brought ship-building into the modern era with his all-metal, propeller-driven, steam ships, the Great Britain and the Great Eastern.]

Isamfard Brunel, engineer extraordinaire

Isambard Brunel, engineer extraordinaire

September 16– Friday– Columbus, Ohio– “The chief danger to this purpose of the Republican party is not just now the revival of the African slave trade, or the passage of a Congressional slave code, or the declaring of a second Dred Scott decision, making slavery lawful in all the States. These are not pressing us just now. They are not quite ready yet. The authors of these measures know that we are too strong for them; but they will be upon us in due time, and we will be grappling with them hand to hand, if they are not now headed off. They are not now the chief danger to the purpose of the Republican organization; but the most imminent danger that now threatens that purpose is that insidious Douglas Popular Sovereignty. This is the miner and sapper. While it does not propose to revive the African slave trade, nor to pass a slave code, nor to make a second Dred Scott decision, it is preparing us for the onslaught and charge of these ultimate enemies when they shall be ready to come on and the word of command for them to advance shall be given. I say this Douglas Popular Sovereignty– for there is a broad distinction, as I now understand it, between that article and a genuine popular sovereignty.” ~ Speech by Abraham Lincoln

September 16– Friday– San Francisco, California– Senator David C. Broderick, age 39, dies of his wound received in his duel with David S. Terry. [The hot-headed Terry will die by gunfire on August 14, 1889, when he attacks U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field at a California railway station over a court case and is killed by the U.S. Marshal serving as Field’s bodyguard.]

David C Broderick

David C Broderick

September 16– Friday– the East African rift– British explorer, missionary and anti-slavery activist Dr. David Livingstone, age 46, becomes the first known European to see Lake Nyasa, also called Lake Malawi.

September 17– Saturday– Boston, Massachusetts– With great and imposing ceremonies that include an oration from Edward Everett, the new bronze statue of Daniel Webster (1782–1852) is dedicated on the grounds of the state capitol, facing Beacon Hill. The sculptor, Hiram Powers, age 54, receives $10,000 for his work. [His fee would equal $289,000 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

Statue of Daniel Webster despised by abolitionists

Statue of Daniel Webster despised by abolitionists

September 17– Saturday– Buffalo, New York– “A Convention of self-styled reformers has been sitting in this city for two days past, comprising the leading abolitionists, spiritualists, free-lovers, infidels, fanatics, and women’s rights men and women’s rights men and women of the country. The Convention closes its session to-morrow (Sunday) and the public generally will experience a feeling of relief when the city is rid of these reformers.” ~ A reporter’s article for the New York Times.

September 17– Saturday– San Francisco, California– “At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these United States; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of February next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, andthereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.” ~ Proclamation issued by Joshua Norton, a man approximately 39 years old, a bankrupt merchant, apparently mentally unstable, claiming to Norton the First, Emperor of the United States. [Norton will become a popular figure in the city, not only tolerated but encouraged in his eccentric dress and conduct. When he dies on January 8, 1880, about 10,000 people will pay their respects. See, the Emperor of the United States and Other Magnificent British Eccentrics by Catherine Caufield (1981); Emperor Norton, Life and Experiences of a Notable Character in San Francisco, 1849–1880 by Albert Dressler (1927); A Rush of Dreamers: Being the Remarkable Story of Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico by John Cech (1997).]

Joshua Norton, self-proclaimed emperor

Joshua Norton, self-proclaimed emperor

September 17– Saturday– Montreal, Quebec, Canada– Birth of Frank Dawson Adams, geologist and educator. [Dies December 26, 1942.]

September 18– Sunday– Easton, Massachusetts– Birth of John L. Bates, governor of Massachusetts from 1903 to 1905. [Dies June 8, 1946.]

September 18– Sunday– Indiana, Pennsylvania– Birth of Lincoln Loy McCandless, industrialist, politician and rancher. [Dies October 5, 1940.]

September 19– Monday– Somerville, Massachusetts– Birth of John Franklin Jameson, historian. [Dies September 28, 1937.]

September 19– Monday– Indianapolis, Indiana– Attorney Abraham Lincoln addresses an evening meeting at Masonic Hall.

September 20– Tuesday– Lowell, Massachusetts– “Honorable Galusha A. Grow and Honorable Schuyler Colfax are in Minnesota. They were the principal speakers at a mass meeting in St Paul last evening, in the theatre. Just as Mr Colfax was drawing his remarks to a close, and while yet the theatre was densely crowded, there was an alarm of fire. The cry was at once taken up, and soon the words ‘the theatre is on fire!’ went up from all parts of the house. A smoke was seen issuing from the rear part of the stage and immediately there was a hurrying for the door. The words, however, that there was ‘no danger,’ ‘plenty of time,’&c., &c., prevented any confusion, but the audience moved hurriedly and safely out of the door. A few of the more fearful, however, took the short cut and jumped out of the windows. The flames burst up through the rear end of the stage floor and ignited the scenery, and very soon the Thespian temple was all a blaze. In ten minutes from the time the fire was discovered, the whole building was in ruins. How the fire originated is involved in mystery, but from the fact that it was first discovered in the extreme rear end of the building, under the stage, where no fire could accidentally have been dropped, is clear proof that it was the work of an incendiary.” ~ Lowell Citizen & News.

September 20– Tuesday– New York City– The elderly General Winfield Scott, age 73, hero of the war with Mexico a decade ago, leaves on a steamer bound for the northwest Pacific coastal island of San Juan. President Buchanan has charged him with representing the United States in a territorial dispute with the British, known as the ‘Pig War’ from its advent in an argument between Canadians and Americans over a pig, that had threatened to escalate into a unwanted military clash. [The impetuous Captain George Pickett, age 34, of the U S Army had almost provoked a shooting war some weeks ago. Cooler heads such as General Scott will eventually prevail and the area will finally be partitioned between Great Britain and the United States in the 1871 Treaty of Washington.]

General Winfield Scott

General Winfield Scott

September 20– Tuesday– Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory– Captain John F Reynolds observes his 39th birthday. [Reynolds will quickly advance once the Civil War begins and become a general in the Union army. He will be killed in the fighting at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863.]

September 21– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– “This is my first opportunity to express to you my great regret at not meeting you personally while in Ohio. However, you were at work in the cause, and that, after all, was better. It is useless for me to say to you (and yet I cannot refrain from saying it) that you must not let your approaching election in Ohio so result as to give encouragement to Douglasism. That ism is all which now stands in the way of an early and complete success of Republicanism; and nothing would help it or hurt us so much as for Ohio to go over or falter just now. You must, one and all, put yours souls into the effort.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Salmon P Chase.

September 21– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– “We commend to any of our readers who have been bitten by the absurd notion that Mr. Douglas has any concern for the extension and perpetuation of free institutions, the perusal of that portion of Mr. Lincoln’s Cincinnati speech which we publish to-day. If it does not cure them of the heresy into which they have fallen there is no hope for the relief of stupidity like theirs. The gods would war against it in vain.” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

Such Wicked Instument as the Federal Army~September 1864~26th to 28th

Such Wicked Instrument as the Federal Army ~ Sally Wendel Fentress.

While Southerners lament Sherman’s wickedness, his process of forcing civilians out of Atlanta moves ahead. He advises President Lincoln of his situation. Plenty of fighting takes place throughout the South. North and South vibrate with political activity. Consideration of possible Canadian federation makes the news in the United States. European radicals form the International Workingmen’s Association which, in several forms and spin-offs, will be a political force for the next half century.

September 26– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– “We took a stroll in the vicinity of the Chattanooga depot yesterday morning, and witnessed some interesting sights. About twenty box cars filled with refugees, principally from the late confederate city of Atlanta, were upon the track, awaiting orders to proceed further northward. Each car appeared to contain a separate family, and many of the occupants did not wear the wretched aspect one would suppose, after making such a lengthy journey with such limited accommodations. A large portion of them were children, the apparent ages of many of whom would seem to indicate that all the able-bodied male population of the South had not abandoned the peace and quiet of family joys for the field of Mars. Some appeared to have been in comfortable circumstances, and they appeared to like the change.” ~ Nashville Daily Times and True Union.

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

September 26– Monday– Port Republic, Virginia; Weyer’s Cave, Virginia; Brown’s Gap, Virginia; Roswell, Georgia; Vache Grass, Arkansas; Osage Mission, Kansas; Richland Creek, Tennessee; Arcadia Valley, Missouri; Shut-in-Gap, Missouri; Ironton, Missouri– Brawls, altercations, raids, and minor engagements.

September 27– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Hallett & Davis piano factory on East Newton Street is entirely destroyed by fire. The loss is close to $250,000. About 200 pianos, in various states of construction, are lost. [The loss would amount to $3,820,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

September 27– Tuesday– New York City– “A rigid economy on the part of housekeepers at this crisis in the gold market, would bring about a wonderful revolution in the general provision business, before the dawn of another Sunday morning. The fall in gold may stagger the dealers to some perceptible degree. But in order to strike a blow at the petty trade combination which they shall really feel, economy, rigid and systematic, is the grand requirement of the time. Most families could do with half the quantity of butter they consume, and feel as well as look the better for the abstinence. The same applies – although in a less degree – to heavy joints of meats which are often allowed to go to waste. Let economy be the order– if only to see how the experiment will work.” ~ New York Times.

hairstyle & ornaments~ Godey's Lady's Book ~ September 1864

hairstyle & ornaments~ Godey’s Lady’s Book ~ September 1864

September 27– Tuesday– Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania– “I take this opportunity to write to you to let you know how I am. I am well and my wound is Almost healed up and I hope that these few lines will find you well. I received your letter and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well. I haven’t got transferred to New York yet I tried to when I was at home but I could not. So I had to come back here. the Doctor ask me when I came back if I did not want my discharge. I told him that I would rather be transferred to New York and if I could not that I would like to have my discharge, he said that he would get me transferred or give me my discharge. I walk with crutches yet. Thomas Flood is well and is ward master of this ward. I think [it] likely that I shall go home. Some time this month there was an order in the paper that we was all A’goin’ to be Sent home to vote.” ~ Letter from Union soldier James S. Stilwell to Walt Whitman.

September 27– Tuesday– Winchester, Virginia– “At Newtown a Negro told me that [Confederate Colonel John] Mosby and some of his men were in town and would attack us as we passed through. I caught a citizen and sent him to Colonel Mosby with my compliments and told him to get out of town or I would burn it. The citizen asked me if I had orders to burn the town. I told him we would have the fire and get the order afterwards. The Rebels left, and we could see them on the hills but not near enough to fight. . . . One lady invited me into her house and gave me a good lunch. Two young ladies present turned their chairs and sat facing the wall but this did not take my appetite away. I dined at a house near Kernstown and then returned to Winchester, arriving late in the afternoon. . . . I passed last evening with some young ladies in the city and today I am invited to dine with one of the residents. I hope we shall be allowed to spend the winter in Winchester, for it is great fun. One young girl told me that when the Union and Rebel troops were fighting in front of her house, she ran out on the front steps in her excitement. She also said when she saw the Union flag she cried for joy.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

September 27– Tuesday– Centralia, Missouri– A small Confederate force attacks the town, killing 24 Union soldiers in the town and another 116 in an ambush. The Confederates burn parts of the town.

September 28– Wednesday– New York City– “The preliminary conferences of the delegates appointed to discuss the question of a Federative Union of the Provinces, have closed. Meetings of a more or less formal character have been held at the capital towns of the three Maritime Colonies, and the leading delegates who have been entertained at a public banquet in Halifax have partially broken the seal of silence heretofore imposed upon their deliberations. The sum of the revelation then is, that the scheme of Union, so far as it has been canvassed, is found to be practicable. The members present at the various conferences are united in their opinion as to the desirability of a Union, which, while it shall leave each Province a certain control in all matters of local concern, shall yet subordinate the whole to a strong central governing body. The general feeling is in favor of a federal system which shall designate the specific powers, functions and responsibilities of the local governing bodies; leaving all else to the absolute control of the central body – our system inverted, as it were, in this essential feature. The whole scheme, however, is only yet conceived in the crudest form. Another meeting of the delegates will be held at Quebec, to consider something like a common basis of action for reference to the Legislature of each separate Province as they now stand. During the coming sessions of the Colonial Parliaments, the business of Federation will be dealt with in detail; and probably several sessions will be consumed in its discussion, before a final decision is reached. The important announcement has been made by Sir Richard Graves Macdonnell, the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, that he has instructions from the Imperial authorities in England to give all the official aid and encouragement in his power to the proposed scheme of federation. And we find that at the Halifax banquet Admiral Sir James Hope, speaking, as he said, from an intimate knowledge of the state of public feeling in England is thus reported, on the question of ultimate independence for the confederated Colonies: ‘Rest well assured that your aspirations for nationality will find nothing else than a cordial response among us.’ . . . . And it is this question of ultimately cutting loose from the monarchical system that will be found to be the great source of sectional division and strife. The purest monarchists in this hemisphere to-day are the descendants of the French noblesse of Lower Canada. All their traditions go back beyond the imperial and revolutionary era. The edicts of the Kings of France are their law; the customs of the monarchical era are still their rule. And from these it will be an almost hopeless task to undertake to wean them by any specious promise of independence.” ~ New York Times.

delegates to the Canadian Charlottetown Conference

delegates to the Canadian Charlottetown Conference

September 28– Wednesday– New York City– “The Journal of Commerce takes upon itself to deny our statement that when the news of Sheridan’s victory was posted on its bulletin, the crowd that gathered round cheered for President Lincoln. We are not surprised at this, for the fact is a hard one for the Copperheads to get over. Certainly no one in the crowd thought of cheering for McClellan. But we allege again that the crowd did cheer for President Lincoln, and if the Journal desires it the fact can easily be established by affidavit.” ~ New York Times.

September 28– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– President Jeff Davis approves the request of General John Bell Hood to relieve native Georgian General William J. Hardee of duty with Hood’s army. Hardee, who does not get along well with Hood, accepts an assignment to command the troops along Georgia’s Atlantic coast. [There he will encounter Sherman and his army again in December.]

September 28– Wednesday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “Since my last date I have entered into an arduous task that of school teaching. Aunt Anne requiring an assistant, I agreed to assist her in the mornings, Ida in the afternoons. Have heard a report of the capture of Athens, Alabama, by General Forrest. Rumor says that he captured 30 pieces of artillery besides 1300 prisoners. Ma has been attacked with Erysipelas [skin disease causing raised red patches on the face and legs] again. Has not been well since her first attack and is now very sick. I think that she despairs of her life but the Doctor seems to have no fears. Ma has so much depending on her that she, in her hurry and anxiety to get well, injured herself more materially than she otherwise would do. Oh, what if the Great God should see fit to take her! What a helpless family she would leave! Since the Federal invasion our property has been ruined and stolen. Three brothers in the Army, nothing to live upon. Good God! shall we be reduced from ease and affluence to abject poverty! We can collect no debts that have long since been due, therefore we are so helpless it is truly hard, very hard to say ‘Thy will be done.’ O When will the cruel, cruel war cease. How long shall we be outraged and humiliated by our heavenly Parent through such wicked instrument as the Federal Army.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

September 28– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I have positive knowledge that Jeff Davis made a speech at Macon on the 22nd which I mailed to General Halleck yesterday. It was bitter against Johnston & Governor Brown. The militia is on furlough. Brown is at Milledgeville trying to get a legislature to meet next month but he is afraid to act unless in concert with other Governors. Judge Wright of Rome has been here and Messrs Hill and Nelson former members of our Congress are also here now and will go to meet Wright at Rome and then go back to Madison and Milledgeville. Great efforts are being made to re-enforce Hood’s army and to break up my Railroads, and I should have at once a good reserve force at Nashville. It would have a bad effect if I were to be forced to send back any material part of my army to guard roads so as to weaken me to an extent that I could not act offensively if the occasion calls for it.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to President Lincoln.

September 28– Wednesday– London, England– A varied assortment of leftists and radicals from England, Ireland, France, Germany, Poland and Italy meet at St Martin’s Hall. They form the International Workingmen’s Association [a/k/a The First International, which will function in various states of turmoil until 1876].

delegates to the First International

delegates to the First International

September 28– Wednesday– Cambridge, England– Birth of Barry Dell Pain, journalist, poet and author. [Dies May 5, 1928].

Barry Pain--1891

Barry Pain–1891

Just Heard of Your Great Victory~September 1864~18th to 20th

Just Heard of Your Great Victory~ President Lincoln.

For the third time in the war, Confederate and Union soldiers fight at Winchester, Virginia, with the Federal troops proving victorious. President Lincoln expresses his please to General Sheridan. This victory along with those of Admiral Farragut and General Sherman and the withdrawal of Fremont from the race for president have vastly improved Lincoln’s chances of winning reelection. Politics draws much attention in many places, from West Virginia to Georgia and Indiana. George Templeton Strong enjoys the new Central Park in New York City. Black soldiers with good marksmanship make Confederate guerrillas flee. A desperate Southern woman sells one of her best dresses and laments that she is paid in Confederate money. A Confederate soldier has an erotic dream of his wife. A discharged soldier writes to Walt Whitman.

campaign poster showing Lincoln concerned for widows

campaign poster showing Lincoln concerned for widows

September 18– Sunday– Detroit, Michigan– “I once more take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you. And if I don’t get an answer to this I shall never write again. I have never rec’d a line from you since I left Washington. I am at present attending the Commercial College here in Detroit. It is a good institution if I can judge by the Book Keepers here in the City that have been through the course. I have been here about five weeks now and think it will take about four or five weeks longer. I think I can keep Books in any business that may be brought on the carpet. Now Mr Whitman if you could get me a situation as Book Keeper or Clerk in the Paymaster department or some other good place if you will I will pay you any price you’ve a mind to ask. Detroit is a very pleasant City. They have two or three Theaters going now. I was to one of them last evening they Played The Country Cousin. Miss Laura Keen’s Company from N.Y. City have been here for the last week last night was the last night. I presume you have seen her lots of times. No more until I receive a letter from you.” ~ Letter from Justus F. Boyd to Walt Whitman.

September 18– Sunday– Shenandoah Valley, Virginia– Union General Phil Sheridan, with more than 40,000 troops, learns that Confederate General Jubal Early, with 12,000 soldiers, is dangerously spread out. Sheridan decides to mount a major offensive against Winchester, Virginia, in the hope of beating Early’s force piecemeal.

General Phil Sheridan

General Phil Sheridan

September 18– Sunday– in camp with General Hood, somewhere in Georgia– “It is with a good deal of pleasure that I begin to write you these few lines after doing so much cooking today. You don’t know half of what I think of you all the time. I keeps dreaming of you a good deal. Now, my dear Dot, I am a-going to tell my awful dream last night. I ain’t been myself since. I dreamed I was with you, Dot, and we was on the bed. I had covered you two or three times, and we joyed ourselves tarnal [a lot]. Well, now, my dear Dot, I believe I’d got you in a baby way, for I’d puke every morning before breakfast.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife.

September 18– Sunday– Bath, England– A scheduled debate between Richard Burton, soldier and explorer, age 43, and John Speke on the topic of the source of the Nile River is canceled because of Speke’s recent death.

Sir Richard Burton, 1864

Sir Richard Burton, 1864

September 18– Sunday– Sanmu, Chiba, Japan– Birth of Ito Sachio, poet and novelist. [Dies July 30, 1913.]

Ito Sachio

Ito Sachio

September 19– Monday– New York City– “General Sherman has surpassed all the newspaper correspondents as a military writer. He is not as picturesque, nor as effective, in a popular point of view, as some of the gentlemen connected with journalism; but for conciseness, perspicacity and comprehensiveness, with brevity, he is a perfect model. The congratulatory order which he issued to his army at Atlanta, on the 8th instant, is a superb example of this. In less than a page of an ordinary duodecimo book, he surveys the grand four months’ campaign which opened by the march from Chattanooga and was consummated by the fall of Atalanta.” ~ New York Times.

September 19– Monday– New York City– “Walked through Central Park yesterday afternoon with George C Anthon. The lower park is finished now, all but the trees, which have twenty years of work before them yet, and it is certainly most attractive and creditable. The structures– bridges, and so on– are all god, some of them very good. Strange of all these various, elaborate structures not one should be an absolute monstrosity.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 19– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A meeting was held on Saturday evening at the Union Campaign Club Rooms, corner of Market and Quincy streets. A. W. Campbell, president called the Club to order, and in doing so took occasion to remark that the apparent indifference of the Union people was in some degree accounted for by the fact that we had no enemy to fight. Our enemies are embarrassed; they have no electoral organization in this State, and it appears as if they intended to allow the election to go by default. But we should be on our guard. We may be surprised at the polls as we have been before. We should act as if we had a well recognized foe to fight and poll just as large a vote as possible. We have already lost ground by our neglect to turn out and poll our full vote. When we pull a small vote our enemies conclude that we are demoralized. The political status of a county or congressional district is no idle matter at a time like this. We have a party in the country that is building its hopes upon a probable disaster to the Union arms, and it is just as important that men should go into political organizations for the preservation of the Union as it is that men should go to the front. We must not allow the moral supplies of the army to be cut off.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer.

September 19– Monday– Winchester, Virginia–For the third time in the war, Confederate and Union forces engage in battle here. Confederates under General Jubal Early are beaten back in a savage fight with General Phil Sheridan’s Federals. Total Federal casualties– dead, wounded, missing– number 4,018; total Confederate casualties are 3,921. The casualties are barely 10% of Sheridan’s force but Early’s losses are 25% of his army.

third battle of Winchester

third battle of Winchester

September 19– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The State election of Indiana occurs on the 11th of October, and the loss of it to the friends of the Government would go far towards losing the whole Union cause. The bad effect upon the November election, and especially the giving the State government to those who will oppose the war in every possible way, are too much to risk if it can be avoided. The draft proceeds, notwithstanding its strong tendency to lose us the State. Indiana is the only important State voting in October whose soldiers cannot vote in the field. Anything you can safely do to let her soldiers or any part of them go home and vote at the State election will be greatly in point. They need not remain for the Presidential election, but may return to you at once. This is in no sense an order, but is merely intended to impress you with the importance to the Army itself of your doing all you safely can, yourself being the judge of what you can safely do.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

September 19– Monday– Columbia, South Carolina– “My pink silk dress I have sold for $600, to be paid for in instalments, two hundred a month for three months. And I sell my eggs and butter from home for two hundred dollars a month. Does it not sound well four hundred dollars a month regularly. But in what? In Confederate money. Helas!” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

September 19– Monday– Cabin Creek, Indian Territory [now Oklahoma]– Confederate troops capture 202 supply wagons, 5 ambulances, 40 horses and 1253 mules, supplies desperately needed by the South.

September 19– Monday– near Windsor, Ontario, Canada– A desperate plot by a handful of Confederate operatives to raid the prison camp on Johnson’s Island, Ohio, on Lake Erie and free the Confederate prisoners, falls apart. The men flee in different directions; however, John Yates Beall, the leader, determines to try other espionage against the North.

September 20– Tuesday– New York City– “”Fall weather cannot be finer than this. . . . Hurrah for Sheridan and Sherman! If Grant can but do as well as his lieutenants have done, the rebellion will be played out before November. The military value of this victory is great but it is worth still more as influencing the political campaign and contributing to the determination of the fearful issue that campaign is to decide: nationality or anarchy.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 20– Tuesday– “Intelligence reaches us this morning that Sheridan has achieved a great victory over Early in the valley of the Shenandoah, after much hard fighting. This will do much to encourage and stimulate all Union-loving men, and will be ominous to [Confederate General Robert E.] Lee.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Have just heard of your great victory. God bless you all, officers and men. Strongly inclined to come up and See you.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Union General Phil Sheridan.

September 20– Tuesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “‘Old Robertson’ is famous for good whisky and bad guerrillas. On last Tuesday a party of five bushwhackers caught a young man near Springfield, and robbed him of all his valuables. Colonel Downey, of the United States Colored Troops, stationed at Springfield, heard of the robbery and immediately sent out a squad of his men, who came upon the guerrillas about ten miles from Springfield, towards the Kentucky line. The colored chivalry immediately opened fire on the rebels, and stiffened three of them as cold as a lump of ice. The other two, squealing with fright, looked over their shoulders, and with hair standing on end, eyes as wide as saucers, cheeks as pale as their dirty shirts, and chattering teeth, fled as if the everlasting devil was after them. The guerrillas made as good time as ever a Tennessee race-horse did. Of course the soldiers had to give up the chase, as there was no use trying to compete with Jeff Davis’s chivalry in a foot-race.” ~ Nashville Daily Times and True Union.

black cavalry troopers

black cavalry troopers

September 20– Tuesday– Middletown, Virginia; Strasburg, Virginia; Cedarville, Virginia; Cartersville, Georgia; Ponder’s Mill, Missouri; Keytesville, Missouri– Clashes, encounters and pitched battles.

Labor Together for the General Welfare~September 1864~7th to 9th

Labor Together for the General Welfare ~ Henry Highland Garnet.

A former slave calls for a convention of black leaders to plan for the future. Canadian politicians consider confederation. McClellan accepts the Democratic nomination. Grant evaluates Confederate strength. Sherman plans for the future of Atlanta. Welles evaluates the political significance of the success of Farragut and Sherman.

widows in cemetary images

September 7– Wednesday– Augusta, Georgia– “Important events since I last made entries in my diary. Atlanta has been besieged by Sherman, the commander of the Yankee Army, for many weeks. Hood, the Confederate commander, evacuated the place at night of the 1st. Some fighting before the evacuation in which the Confederates were defeated and many killed and wounded on both sides. The retreat was successful via McDonough to Griffin, where our army now is. George, Sims, Gilmer and Elbert [his sons] were in the retreat. This defeat has changed our prospects and makes this a dark day of the war. We have had considerable fighting about Petersburg, Virginia. We sustain ourselves better at all points than in Georgia.” ~ Diary of John Banks.

September 7– Wednesday– Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada– “The conference of delegates from the several provinces to consider the expediency of uniting under one Government and Legislature certain portions or the whole of British North America, has continued its deliberations here since the 1st of September. The conference meets every morning at 10 and adjourns at 3 P.M. The delegates enjoy in the evening the hospitalities of the citizens of Charlottetown. The proceedings of the conference are kept entirely secret. Not a whisper of what has been going on from day to day in the Parliament buildings has reached the public. But from the apparent cordiality among the delegates and the confidence with which they publicly assert the great advantages of confederation to all the provinces, it is assumed, and I suspect correctly assumed, that the original proposal of the maritime provinces is likely to be merged in the larger scheme of a confederation of all British North America. It was rumored this morning, that the Canadian gentlemen had their closing interview with the delegates from the maritime provinces yesterday, having made all the progress in the negotiation that could be made in an unofficial manner. It is also stated that the maritime delegates meet to-day finally, to determine whether to go on with their original plan, or to drop it and adopt the Canadian scheme.” ~ Dispatch from a reporter to the New York Times.

delegates to the Charlottetown Conference

delegates to the Charlottetown Conference

September 8– Thursday– Orange, New Jersey– “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, informing me of my nomination by the Democratic National Convention, recently held at Chicago, as their candidate at the next election for President of the United States. It is unnecessary for me to say to you that this nomination comes to me unsought. I am happy to know that when the nomination was made, the record of my public life was kept in view. . . . The existence of more than one Government over the region which once owned our flag is incompatible with the peace, the power, and the happiness of the people. The preservation of our Union was the sole avowed object for which the war was commenced. It should have been conducted for that object only and in accordance with those principles which I took occasion to declare in active service. Thus conducted, the work of reconciliation would have been easy, and we might have reaped the benefits of our many victories on land and sea. . . . A vast majority of our people, whether in the army and navy or at home, would, as I would, hail with unbounded joy the permanent restoration of peace, on the basis of the Union under the Constitution without the effusion of another drop of blood. But no peace can be permanent without union. . . . Believing that the views here expressed are those of the Convention and the people you represent, I accept the nomination. I realize the weight of the responsibility to be borne, should the people ratify your choice. Conscious of my own weakness, I can only seek fervently the guidance of the Ruler of the Universe, and, relying on His all-powerful aid, do my best to restore union and peace to a suffering people, and to establish and guard their liberties and rights.” ~ Letter from George B. McClellan to the Democratic National Committee, accepting the nomination.

McClellan campaign poster

McClellan campaign poster

September 8– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– “We must concede to our enemy that he met these efforts patiently and skillfully, but at last he made the mistake we had waited for so long, and sent his cavalry to our rear, far beyond the reach of recall. Instantly our cavalry was on his only remaining road, and we followed quickly with our principal army, and Atlanta fell into our possession as the fruit of well-concerted measures, backed by a brave and confident army. This completed the grand task which had been assigned us by our Government.” ~ Congratulatory message from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his soldiers.

September 8– Thursday– Mobile, Alabama– Federal forces destroy the salt works at Salt House Point.

September 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Fellow-Citizens: The present state of our country, together with the claims of humanity and universal freedom, and the favorable development of the Providence of God, pointing to the liberation and enfranchisement of our race, demand of us to be united in council, labor and faith. The nation and the age have adjudged that the extinction of slavery is necessary to the preservation of liberty and republicanism, and that the existence of the Government itself if contingent upon the total overthrow of the slaveholders’ oligarch and the annihilation of the despotism which is inseparably connected with it. Brethren, the present time is immeasurably more favorable than any other period in our history to unite and act for our own most vital interests. If we are to live and grow, and prove ourselves to be equal to the exigencies of the times, we must meet in council, and labor together for the general welfare of the people. Sound morality must be encouraged; education must be promoted; temperance and frugality must be exemplified, and industry, and thrift, and everything that pertains to well-ordered and dignified life, must be exhibited to the nation and the world. Therefore, the strong men of our people, the faithful and the true, are invited to meet in a National Convention, for the advancement of these objects and principles, on Tuesday, the 4th day of October, A.D. 1864, at 7 o’clock P.M.. (place will be named at an early day,) in the city of New York.” ~ Call for a national convention, signed by Henry Highland Garnet and a number of other prominent African Americans, appearing in today’s issue of The Liberator. [Garnet (1815– 1882) escaped from slavery in Maryland as a youth, is an abolitionist, educator and minister and at this time serves as pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.]

Henry Highland Garnet

Henry Highland Garnet

September 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “A large and enthusiastic meeting was held to celebrate the recent victories of the Union army at Atlanta and Mobile. Speakers include Governor Andrew, Senators Wilson and Sumner, and there is discussion of how negotiations for peace might best proceed.” ~ The Liberator.

September 9– Friday– New York City– “McClellan’s letter of acceptance is in the morning papers. Will it help much? It is made up of platitudes floating in mucilage, without a single plain word against treason and rebellion. It has no ring of true metal, and no suggestion of magnetic power in word, phrase, or thought. . . . Now that Atlanta has fallen, rebel newspapers discover that it was not worth holding and declare that Sherman’s occupation of it is quite a blow top the Federal cause and equivalent to a rebel victory. Nothing is so characteristic of Southerners as brag (self-assertion, tall talking, and loud lying).” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

September 9– Friday– New York City– “The rebels have now in their ranks their last man. The little boys and old men are guarding prisoners, guarding railroad bridges, and forming a good part of their garrisons or intrenched positions. A man lost by them cannot be replaced. They have robbed the cradle and the grave equally to get their present force. Beside what they lose in frequent skirmishes and battles, they are now losing from desertions and other causes at least one regiment per day. With this drain upon them, the end is not far distant, if we will only be true to ourselves. Their only hope now is in a divided North. This might give them reinforcements from Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri, while it would weaken us. With the draft quietly enforced, the enemy would become despondent, and would make but little resistance. I have no doubt but the enemy are exceedingly anxious to hold out until after the Presidential election. They have many hopes from its effects. They hope a counter-revolution. They hope the election of the peace candidate. In fact, like Micawber, they hope for something to ‘turn up.’ Our peace friends, if they expect peace from separation, are much mistaken. It would be but the beginning of war, with thousands of Northern men joining the South because of our disgrace in allowing separation. To have ‘peace on any terms,’ the South would demand the restoration of their slaves already freed; they would demand indemnity for losses sustained, and they would demand a treaty which would make the North slave-hunters for the South; they would demand pay for the restoration of every slave escaped to the North.” ~ Letter from Union General Ulysses S Grant to Elihu B Washburne, Republican Congressman from Illinois and a strong supporter of President Lincoln, quoted in today’s New York Times.

September 9– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The success of Sherman at Atlanta, following on that of Farragut at Mobile, has very much discomposed the opposition. They had planned for a great and onward demonstration for their candidate and platform, but our naval and army successes have embarrassed them exceedingly. General McClellan, in his letter of acceptance, has sent out a different and much more creditable and patriotic set of principles than the convention which nominated him; but the two are wholly irreconcilable. It will be impossible for Vallandigham, Wood, Tom Seymour, Long, Brooks, and men of that stripe to support McClellan without an utter abandonment of all pretensions to consistency or principle. Yet some of that class will be likely to adhere to him, while those who are sincere will not. But the letter will be likely to secure him more friends than he will lose by it.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

September 9– Friday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Much excitement in town . . . that the inhabitants of Atlanta have been ordered to leave the place in a few days, either to go North or South, and the same order is apprehended will be issued here; unless the order in Atlanta arises, as is surmised by some in consequence of so many citizens having remained there, as not to afford unoccupied houses enough for Hospitals & officers uses. I cannot well credit the rumor, as the Federal Army has expressed surprise at the folly of the people in abandoning their Homes as their Army approaches; if such be their feelings they cannot be willing to force off those who do remain; & yet the course they are pursuing of refusing to sell provisions & clothing to those who remain & who have been robbed of everything, tends to the same result. War seems to be like party politics, a complete game of lying, deception is strategy. Honesty in War & Politics is deemed and treated as poor Policy.” ~ Diary of William King.

September 9– Friday– Atlanta, Georgia– ” Your dispatch is received. Even sutlers must be prohibited from coming to Atlanta. I will as soon as the railroad is open make arrangements for opening and supplying three stores, one at Atlanta, one at Decatur, and one at East Point, and allow them jointly one [railroad] car a day. Telegraph all parties to push [Confederate General] Wheeler and his bands to the death. Now is the time to strike hard, and to wipe out all guerrilla bands. Show them no mercy. I will exchange with [Confederate General John Bell] Hood about 2,000 prisoners that I have in hand. Our success has been very complete, and I want to make it thorough from the Ohio River to Atlanta, so that we may use Atlanta hereafter as a base.” ~ Message from General William Tecumseh Sherman to General Henry W. Slocum.

General Henry W Slocum

General Henry W Slocum