Tag Archives: daily life of soldiers

Aiding Soldiers ~ March 1865 ~ 30th to 31st

Aiding Soldiers

black preacher

black preacher

It seems that slaves are not as happy and satisfied as their masters claimed. They are escaping in droves to Union lines, helping Confederate soldiers to desert and Yankees escaping from Southern prisons back to Federal positions. A modicum of Southern social life continues yet many from each side feel that the end draws near.

March 30– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Alexander, slave of William B. Randolph, of Henrico county, was sent to the city yesterday by General Longstreet, and committed to Castle Thunder, upon the charge of aiding soldiers to desert to the enemy from the Confederate services.” ~ Richmond Sentinel

March 30– Thursday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I have endured this life for nearly four years and I sometimes think that I enjoy it. Great events are to happen in a few days and I want to be there to see the end. The end of the war will be the end of slavery and then our land will be the ‘Land of the free.’” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

March 30– Thursday– City Point, Virginia– “I begin to feel that I ought to be at home and yet I dislike to leave without seeing nearer to the end of General Grant’s present movement. He has now been out since yesterday morning and although he has not been diverted from his program no considerable effort has yet been produced so far as we know here. Last night at 10.15 P. M. when it was dark as a rainy night without a moon could be, a furious cannonade soon joined in by a heavy musketry fire opened near Petersburg and lasted about two hours. The sound was very distinct here as also were the flashes of the guns up the clouds. It seemed to me a great battle, but the older hands here scarcely noticed it and sure enough this morning it was found that very little had been done.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

March 30– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– The state legislature has authorized the use of militia on horseback to stop the escape of slaves to Union lines.

March 30– Thursday– Presov, Austrian Empire [now in Slovakia]– Oleksandr Dukhnovych, priest, writer, educator and social activist, dies at age 61.

Oleksandr Dukhnovich

Oleksandr Dukhnovich

March 31– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Negroes would always assist the fugitives [Union soldiers escaping from Confederate prisons]; give them food, and pilot them to the best routes. They said that their masters generally offered them $25 reward to betray a Yankee. In spite of this tempting reward, they acted the part of the Good Samaritan in all cases. ‘They are,’ say the officers, ‘as true as steel in all cases.’ Captain Timpson says, while waiting at the banks of the Saluda River, pursued by a pack of hounds, the chivalry mounted on horseback, to the number of fifteen or twenty, armed with shot-guns, pursuing them, the slaves on the opposite shore hearing the baying of the hounds, one of them pushed into a boat, and rowed rapidly across. He knew from the sound of the dogs that they were in pursuit of some Yankee fugitives. The barking of the hounds grew louder and nearer, and the officers feared they would be overtaken and devoured before the boat could reach the shore. The faithful Negro pulled for dear life, took the officers into this boat, and bore them in safety beyond the reach of the men-hunters and their natural allies the bloodhounds, at the risk of his own life. He piloted the officers around the pickets, who were lying in wait for them, by which means they escaped. The slaves said: ‘Our masters curse you all the day, but we pray for you every night.’” ~ The Liberator.

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March 31– Friday– New York City– “Sherman’s officers say that their campaign was made possible by the order of the rebel government that corn be planted instead of cotton. . . . They marched through a land of groaning corn cribs and granaries, and their men and their animals entered Savannah in better flesh than when they left Atlanta.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 31– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Raining; rained all night. My health improving, but prudence requires me to still keep within the house. The reports of terrific fighting near Petersburg on Wednesday evening have not been confirmed. Although General Lee’s dispatch shows they were not quite without foundation, I have no doubt there was a false alarm on both sides, and a large amount of ammunition vainly expended. . . .We are sinking our gun-boats at Chaffin’s Bluff, to obstruct the passage of the enemy’s fleet, expected soon to advance.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 31– Friday– Albany, Georgia– “Mrs. Callaway gave a large dining, and I wore a pretty new style of head dress Cousin Bessie told me how to make, that was very becoming. It is a small square, about as big as my two hands, made of a piece of black and white lace that ran the blockade, and nobody else has anything like it. One point comes over the forehead, just where the hair is parted, and the opposite one rests on top of the chignon behind, with a bow and ends of white illusion. It has the effect of a Queen of Scots cap, and is very stylish. The dining was rather pleasant. Kate Callaway’s father, Mr. Furlow, was there, with his youngest daughter, Nellie, who is lovely. As we were coming home we passed by a place where the woods were on fire, and were nearly suffocated by the smoke. It was so dense that we could not see across the road. On coming round to the windward of the conflagration it was grand. The smoke and cinders were blown away from us, but we felt the heat of the flames and heard their roaring in the distance. The volumes of red-hot smoke that went up were of every hue, according to the materials burning and the light reflected on them. Some were lurid yellow, orange, red, some a beautiful violet, others lilac, pink, purple or gray, while the very fat lightwood sent up columns of jet-black. The figures of the Negroes, as they flitted about piling up brush heaps and watching the fire on the outskirts of the clearing, reminded me of old-fashioned pictures of the lower regions.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Dr Anandi Gopal Joshi

Dr Anandi Gopal Joshi

March 31– Friday– Kalyan, India– Birth of Anandi Gopal Joshi, who will become in March, 1886, the first South Asian woman to earn a degree as a physician of Western style medicine and probably the first Hindu woman to come to the United States. [Dies February 26, 1887, shortly after her return to India.]

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I Make No Plans For The Future ~ March 1865 ~ 28th to 30th

I Make No Plans for the Future

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Much gloom pervades Southern civilians and soldiers, mourning dead family and friends.

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March 28– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “While I was gone the Regiment got into a severe fight. It was on the 25th and like to have all got killed or captured. The loss of the Regiment is 6 killed, 25 wounded, 118 captured. From what I can gather about the fight is this. Above here in front of Petersburg our forces attacked the yanks taking a number of prisoners and a good portion of their works. To retaliate they attacked our picket line, in front of this place capturing many but never got to our main line, and in trying to reestablish our picket line our Regiment got so badly cut up and failed to do it that day which was the 25th. Yesterday they reestablished the line with little loss. All is quiet now again but it is sad and heart sickening to look at our Regiment now. It seems that Providence ordained that I should miss it, or else I might now have been captured or killed. I feel sad and lonesome now, all my mess is gone, and I am alone again, but I can get along about that. The weather is pleasant now but it is uncertain about its continuing so long.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

March 28– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “You must let me off with a few lines to-night, because I have some little packing yet to do and would like a good modicum of slumber; for to-morrow we are up and moving betimes in light order. I do not look for any grand action from this (taking the liberty of guessing where I am in the dark). I fancy a heavy infantry force will move to our left and rear, to mask and protect a great movement of cavalry with Sheridan at its head, directed at the South Side Rail Roadand other communications; all of which the enemy must be fully aware of; but I don’t think he can have one half our force in cavalry. The amount of fighting will depend on the moves of the enemy ; but I do not ever expect to see more than one such field-day as we used to have in the ever memorable campaign of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania perhaps not even one. Meantime I will not recklessly run against bullets. It isn’t my style; not exactly.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his wife Elizabeth.

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March 28– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “Misses Caro and Lou Bacon spent the day with us, but I could not enjoy their visit for thinking of the poor boy, Anderson [a slave youth], who has been sent to jail. He implored me to beg ‘missis’ to forgive him, and I couldn’t help taking his part, though I know he deserved punishment. He refused to obey the overseer, and ran away four times. A soldier caught him and brought him in this morning with his hands tied behind him. Such sights sicken me, and I couldn’t help crying when I saw the poor wretch, though I know discipline is necessary, especially in these turbulent times, and sister is sending him to jail more as an example to the others than to hurt him. She has sent strict orders to the sheriff not to be too severe with him, but there is no telling what brutal men who never had any Negroes of their own will do; they don’t know how to feel for the poor creatures.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 29– Wednesday– New York City– “I almost hope this war may last till it becomes a war of extermination. Southrons who could endure the knowledge that human creatures were undergoing this torture [the treatment of Union prisoners in Confederate prison camps] within their own borders, and who did not actively protest against it, deserve to be killed.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 29– Wednesday– Petersburg, Virginia– Union General Grant begins a pincer-like operation in an attempt to prevent Confederate General Lee from evacuating the area.

cabin at City Point used as General Grant's headquarters

cabin at City Point used as General Grant’s headquarters

March 29– Wednesday– Headquarters of Confederate General Johnston, North Carolina– “I thought My duty as the friend & bother officer of your deceased husband to write you, giving the particulars of his death. Colonel King Returned to the Command from the Hospital at Charlotte, N.C. (where he had been for a few days with slight illness) on the 9th instant. On the morning of the 10th our brigade was ordered to charge the camp of the Yankee General Kilpatrick. The Cobb Legion under Colonel King led the charge which was entirely Successful until the enemy rallied & the Cobb Legion again charged the Yankee Battery in which charge the Colonel Received a mortal wound while most gallantly leading his men in the fight. When I first met him he was speechless therefore, I did not hear his last words. I learned from those who were very near him at the time that his last Remark was, (Say to My wife I die willingly defending My country). I trust Madam that you will accept My Sincere Sympathy in your great very great bereavement. You have lost a Kind good husband, I a true & tried friend, and our common country a staunch & noble patriot. I trust Madam that you May have the fortitude to bear your loss as becomes the wife of So brave & noble a man. Again I tender you My heart felt Sympathies.” ~ Letter from a fellow officer to Bessie King, the widow of Barrington Simeral King.

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March 29– Wednesday– Augusta, Georgia– “At times I feel as I was drifting on, on, ever onward to be at last dashed against some rock and I shut my eyes– almost wish it was over, the shock encountered and I prepared to know what destiny awaits me. I am tired, oh so tired, of this war. I feel the restraint of the blockade and as port after port becomes blockaded, I feel shut up, pent up and am irresistibly reminded of the old story of the iron shroud contracting more and more each hour, each moment. I may perhaps be glad hereafter that I have lived through this war but now the height of my ambition is to be quiet, to have no distracting cares, the time to read, leisure to think and write and study. Country, glory, and patriotism are great things but to the bereaved hearts of Mrs. Stovall and Mrs. Clayton, each moaning for the death of their first born, what bitter mockery there must be in the words. Thus it is I strive to get away, to forget in reading or in writing or in talking the ever present, the one absorbing theme of war and thus it is thrust upon me. I make no plans for the future.” ~ Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas.

March 30– Thursday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I take this opportunity of thanking you for the excellent selection of tracts you sent me. I have read many of them and think them excellent. The soldiers appear glad to get them. I hope they will be read by many and be the means of doing good. I always request those to whom I give tracts to give them to others when they have read them. I have some of them yet perhaps as many as I may be able to distribute for a month that will depend very much on the movements of the army near us. I again ask the favor of another bundle when it may be convenient for you to send them. I send you $400 which I place at your disposal to be used in the way you think will do most good. There is one thing I must tell you. Some of our returned prisoners complain of the treatment they met with in Richmond. They say they came there destitute of money and could procure nothing to eat without it. If this is true it is discouraging to our soldiers who have suffered so much in Yankee prisons to meet with such neglect at home. I suppose Government has made provision for our prisoners But it may be through some neglect some are left to suffer. If you are situated so near the Landing as to have an opportunity of observing our prisoners and see such, please relieve them. We are now looking for some of our Providence and Shemariah boys– T Smiley, H Wright, of Beard, F Meatcheon. If you should see any of the above named destitute please furnish them with the means of procuring such things as they need. If you have not funds in your hands at the time they may come and you expend any thing for their comfort, Let me know and I will refund it. I do not wish you to keep this money waiting to see if they will need it But use it in any way you wish for doing good.” ~ Letter from Mr E. Martin to Reverend H. Brown.

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March 30– Thursday– Headquarters First Army Corps, Virginia– “Your letter expressing the views of the commander-in-chief in reference to the policy to be pursued in raising Negro troops is received. I am apprehensive that we shall have applications and evidence enough to take from us more men than we can well spare at this critical moment in our affairs. It seems to me that any person who has the influence to raise a company or a regiment by going home could do so as well by letters to his friends at home. If I am right in this opinion, an order announcing that the officers of the companies and regiments of colored troops would be appointed from the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates on duty with our armies would have the effect of bringing back more absentees than we should lose by making the appointments. If we may judge of our future success in getting up new organizations by the past, we may rely upon it that many will furnish the necessary evidence, and go home and there remain for eight and ten and twelve months. I think it would be well to publish a general order, explaining more clearly the policy indicated in your letter, in order that a better general understanding may exist amongst the parties who may desire to furnish evidence of their ability to get up new organizations. Otherwise I may adopt rules which would not be as favorable to the officers and men of this command as those of other commands.” ~ Letter from Confederate General James Longstreet to Colonel W. H. Taylor.

Extreme Peril At This Moment ~ March 1865 ~ 26th to 28th

Extreme Peril at this Moment

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Civilians and soldiers alike express great concern for the Confederacy. President Lincoln orders a special salute as the Stars and Stripes once again flies over Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. He meets with his two best generals to plan a quick conclusion to the war. George Templeton Strong mocks England for “playing nice” now that it appears the Union shall prevail.

March 26– Sunday– City Point, Virginia– In a public display of temper, Mary Lincoln, who has accompanied her husband on the trip, loudly criticizes her husband for his courtesy to Julia Grant, wife of General Ulysses Grant, and to Mary Ord, wife of General Edward Ord. [John Hay and John Nicolay, President Lincoln’s secretaries, consistently refer privately to Mary Lincoln as “the Hellcat.”]

Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

March 26– Sunday– Goldsborough, North Carolina– “I have the honor to submit a brief report of the operations of the medical department . . . during the campaign commencing with the departure of the army from Pocotaligo and ending in the occupation of the town of Goldsborough. It was not without anxiety that I looked forward to the development of this campaign. The season of the year, the character of the country, and the personal hostility of the citizens all rendered it extremely probable that sickness and large losses would test to the utmost the resources of the medical department of the army. The result of the campaign and the comparatively small loss of life from disease or the efforts of the enemy is a source of gratification. The army left Pocotaligo unencumbered with sick or wounded, all such cases being left in the U.S. general hospitals at Savannah and Beaufort. Full supplies were drawn and were replenished at Columbia, S.C. Notwithstanding the bad weather, bad roads, and the necessary exposure of the campaign, the ratio per 1,000 of men unfit for duty during the campaign has been but 49.26. At no time have we been seriously pressed for accommodation for our sick and wounded. After the affair at Rivers’ Bridge, S. C., we were enabled to send to the rear many of the sick and wounded on hand, and again at Fayetteville, N. C., 150 were sent by transports to Wilmington, N. C. The country has furnished a large abundance of nutritious food, and the appearance of the men does not indicate suffering on that account. The hardships of the march have wearied them, and a period of rest is imperatively needed. The heaviest engagement of the campaign fortunately occurred so near the termination of the march as to give us no inconvenience in the removal of the wounded. Our loss in wounded on that occasion was 263. Provision has been made for the sick and wounded in this town until such time as they can be safely removed to general hospitals. . . . It is unnecessary for me to say more for the medical staff of the army than that all duties pertaining to it have been discharged with the usual promptitude, cheerfulness, and fidelity.” ~ Report from Union Dr. D. L. Huntington, Acting Medical Director, to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

field hospital

field hospital

March 26– Sunday– along the Atlantic coast, heading to City Point, Virginia–”The railroad was finished yesterday into Goldsboro and I came down to Newbern and Morehead City and am now in a fleet blockade runner on my way to meet General Grant at City Point to confer on some points, when I shall forthwith go back to Goldsboro and get ready for another campaign. There is no doubt we have got the Rebels in a tight place and must not let them have time to make new plans. They abandoned all their cities to get men enough to whip me but did not succeed. They may unite Johnston and Lee, when if they make the further mistake of holding on to Richmond, I can easily take Raleigh and the Roanoke, when Richmond will be of little use to them. If Lee lets go of Richmond the people of Virginia will give up.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

March 27– Monday– New York City– “Poor, mean, shabby, fallen, old England restores us the tribute of her shop-keeper’s civility and compliments the moment she discerns that we may win our unpromising lawsuit after al.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

George Templeton Strong

George Templeton Strong

March 27– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Ordered, first. That at the hour of noon on the 14th day of April, 1865, General Anderson will raise and plant upon the ruins of Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, the same United States flag which floated over the battlements of that fort during the rebel assault, and which was lowered and saluted by him and the small force of his command when the works were evacuated on the 14th day of April, 1861. Second. That the flag, when raised, be saluted by one hundred guns from Fort Sumter and by a national salute from every fort and rebel battery that fired upon Fort Sumter. Third. That suitable ceremonies be had upon the occasion, under the direction of General William T. Sherman, whose military operations compelled the rebels to evacuate Charleston, or, in his absence, under the charge of General Q. A. Gillmore, commanding the department. Among the ceremonies will be the delivery of a public address by the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. Fourth. That the naval forces at Charleston and their commander on that station be invited to participate in the ceremonies of the occasion.” ~ Executive order from President Lincoln.

March 27– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “About 10 or twelve days ago I was taken quite sick with severe cold and fever, and one of the hardest chills on 19th instant I ever had in my life. On 20th our Regiment received marching orders and the Surgeon sent me here. I had no more chills and am nearly well now. I shall return to my Regiment tomorrow. I do not know where they are but suppose they are not far from Petersburg. The war news is highly encouraging, and our troops are in the best of spirits. Johnson has checked Sherman in his wild career, twice, and Lee captured a few days ago a considerable portion of the Yankee works in front of Petersburg with a large number of prisoners. The Negro troops have been called out. I have seen two companies. I hope it will work well. I will close up. Tell Henry [his son] I have his cup yet, and that I want to see him mighty bad. May God bless you all. Pray for me.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

a salute to fallen comrades

a salute to fallen comrades

March 27– Monday– Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, Virginia– “I deeply regret to announce the death of Another beloved Brother [Barrington Simeral King] in this cruel war. I enclose you the telegram. It has been some time in reaching me in Consequence of the [telegraph] wires being down. I wrote Bessie [Barrington’s widow] immediately on Seeing the two reports both official, one reporting that he was Killed. & the other wounded hoping that the latter would prove the correct news in the end, but alas, it is not so. & the Sad and Severe stroke has fallen upon us again. I write you to get you to See poor Bessy and break the Sad, Sad, news to her. I have felt for her much in her anxiety and suspense, but more, far more, in her sad bereavement. May our Heavenly Father support her in this dark hour.” ~ Letter from one of the King brothers to his uncle in Roswell, Georgia.

March 27– Monday– City Point, Virginia– President Lincoln meets with General Grant, General Sherman and Admiral Porter aboard the River Queen.

the River Queen

the River Queen

March 27– Monday– Albany, Georgia– “Went to call on the Callaways, Mallarys, and Dahlgrens. The general and his wife were just starting out to make calls when we drove up, so we went along together. The roads are so perfectly abominable that it is no pleasure to go anywhere. At one place the water was half a foot deep in the bottom of the carriage, and we had to ride with our feet cocked up on the seats to keep them dry. Some of the ponds were so deep as almost to swim the mules, and others were boggy. We stopped at the post office on our way home and found a letter from Mec urging us to come over to Cuthbert right away.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 28– Tuesday– Headquarters First Army Corps, Virginia– “Your telegram asking if we can spare General Pickett’s division as a supporting force to our cavalry is received. I suggested that it should be sent on that service because I was apprehensive that our railroad would be in danger of being broken up behind us, leaving us without supplies sufficient to hold Richmond until our communications south could be re-established, or in case Sheridan went to North Carolina, his mounted force would be too formidable for that of General Johnston’s, and that General Johnston would be in great danger if we shall not reinforce him. I do not think that we can well spare the division. But I think that we would choose a lesser risk by sparing it in case Sheridan’s cavalry makes either of these moves contemplated than we would by holding him here to await the result of these operations. The enemy seems now to count upon taking Richmond by raiding upon our lines of communication, and not by attacking our lines of work. I think, therefore, we should endeavor to put a force in the field that can contend against that of the enemy. If Grant sends off his cavalry, he can hardly intend to make any general move of his main army until its return. In every aspect of affairs, so far as I am advised, I think that the greater danger is from keeping too close within our trenches. If we can remain where we are independently of the railroad, and if General Johnston would be safe with such a force as Sheridan’s operating against him, in addition to Sherman’s, we had better keep the division here. You know much more about all those points than I do, and are much better able to decide upon them. My supply train is in from Northern Neck, and starts back to-morrow for other provisions. If there is any impropriety in sending it back, please telegraph me as soon as you receive this, that I may recall it. We have about one hundred thousand pounds of meat near Dublin and eighteen thousand at New Boston. The C. S. complains that the railroad agents will not ship the meat unless it is boxed. This cannot always be done. If you can in any way aid us in this matter, we shall do very well for some time to come.” ~ Message from Confederate General James Longstreet to General Robert E Lee.

March 28– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and sunshine; but little wind. Too ill to go to the department, and I get nothing new except what I read in the papers. Some of the editorials are very equivocal, and have a squint toward reconstruction. The President, and one of his Aids, Colonel Lubbock, ex-Governor of Texas, rode by my house, going toward Camp Lee. If driven from this side the Mississippi, no doubt the President would retire into Texas. And Lee must gain a victory soon, or his communications will be likely to be interrupted. Richmond and Virginia are probably in extreme peril at this moment.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

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

A Many-sided Field-day

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

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

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

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

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

President Benito Juarez

President Benito Juarez

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

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

General Longstreet

General Longstreet

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

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

interior section of Fort Stedman

interior section of Fort Stedman

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

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

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

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

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

General Lee

General Lee

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

My Army Is Dirty, Ragged and Saucy ~ March 1865 ~ 22nd to 24th

My Army Is Dirty, Ragged and Saucy

General Sherman

General Sherman

General Sherman boasts in a letter to his wife. His boast is justified. As he pushes up from North Carolina, he and Grant move closer to catching Lee’s dwindling Confederate force in a powerful vice. As part of list ditch measures, the Confederacy tries to rapidly mobilize black soldiers. Radical abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, whose newspaper antagonized the South and poked the consciences of the North for decades, announces that his paper will cease publication. It is the end of an era.

1850_Liberator_HammattBillings_design

March 22– Wednesday– Albany, Georgia– “Up very early and drove to the depot with Mecca. Mr. Godfrey was there and proposed that we should go as far as Smithville with her, and let him drive me out home in the afternoon, but the roads are so bad and the weather so uncertain that I thought I had better go back with sister. The journey was the worst we have made yet. We bogged at one place and had to wade through the mud while Aby helped the mules to pull the carriage over. At Wright’s Creek we found a crowd of soldiers and countrymen on the bank, and they told us the creek was too high to cross. Some of them were exchanged prisoners impatient to get home, and they had determined to swim over. They stood on the bank with bare legs, ready to strip off and plunge in the moment our backs were turned. I couldn’t help being amused at the nonchalance with which one burly fellow pulled off his stockings and commenced playing with his toes while talking to us. Another, wishing to call sister’s attention to the water-mark, grabbed her by the arm and led her down the bank, saying: ‘See this here stick here, where the water has already begun to fall, an hit’ll fall a heap rapider the next hour or two.’ They meant no harm. These are unceremonious times, when social distinctions are forgotten and the raggedest rebel that tramps the road in his country’s service is entitled to more honor than a king. We stood on the bank a long time, talking with the poor fellows and listening to their adventures. There was one old man standing on the shore, gazing across as wistfully as Moses might have looked towards the promised land. He could not swim, but his home was over there, and he had made up his mind to plunge in and try to cross at any risk. The soldiers saluted him with a few rough jokes, and then showed their real metal by mounting him on the back of the strongest of them, who waded in with his burden, while two others swam along on each side to give help in case of accident. Sister and I thought at first of getting General Dahlgren to send us across in his pleasure boat, but soon gave up the idea and concluded to stay at the Mallarys till the creek became fordable, for we knew it would fall as rapidly as it had risen. We bid our soldier friends good-by, and drove away to the Mallarys, where we spent a pleasant day and night. General and Mrs. Dahlgren called after dinner and said that we ought to have stopped with them. Mrs. Dahlgren is a beautiful woman, and only twenty-two years old, while her husband is over sixty. He is a pompous old fellow and entertained us by telling how his influence made General Joseph E. Johnston commander-in-chief of the Army of Tennessee; how Hood lost Atlanta by not following his advice; how he was the real inventor of the Dahlgren gun, which is generally attributed to his brother, the Yankee admiral , and so on.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

March 23– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The President has gone to the front, partly to get rid of the throng that is pressing upon him, though there are speculations of a different character. He makes his office much more laborious than he should. Does not generalize and takes upon himself questions that properly belong to the Departments, often causing derangement and irregularity. The more he yields, the greater the pressure upon him. It has now become such that he is compelled to flee. There is no doubt he is much worn down ; besides he wishes the War terminated, and, to this end, that severe terms shall not be exacted of the Rebels.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

March 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “4. The enlistment of colored persons under this act will be made upon printed forms, to be furnished for the purpose, similar to those established for the regular service. They will be executed in duplicate, one copy to be returned to this office for file. No slave will be accepted as a recruit unless with his own consent and with the approbation of his master by a written instrument conferring, as far as he may, the rights of a freedman, and which will be filed with the superintendent. The enlistments will be made for the war, and the effect of the enlistment will be to place the slave in the military service conformably to this act. The recruits will be organized at the camps in squads and companies, and will be subject to the order of the General-in-Chief under the second section of this act. 5. The superintendent in each State will cause a report to be made on the first Monday of every month showing the expenses of the previous month, the number of recruits at the various depots in the State, the number that has been sent away, and the destination of each. His report will show the names of all the slaves recruited, with their age, description, and the names of their masters. One copy will be sent to the General-in-Chief and one to the adjutant and Inspector General. 6. The appointment of officers to the companies to be formed of the recruits aforesaid will be made by the President. 7. To facilitate the raising of volunteer companies, officers recruiting therefor are authorized to muster their men into service as soon as enrolled. As soon as enrolled and mustered, the men will be sent, with descriptive lists, to the depots of rendezvous, at which they will be instructed until assigned for service in the field. When the organization of any company remains incomplete at the expiration of the time specified for its organization, the companies or detachments already mustered into service will be assigned to other organizations at the discretion of the General-in-Chief.” ~ Directive for the enlistment of black soldiers issued by Inspector General Cooper.

images-02

March 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Yesterday afternoon the Camps Winder and Jackson battalion paraded on the Capitol Square. In the battalion were two companies of Negroes (not uniformed), which were made up from the Negroes employed about the hospitals. They are not, we believe, in the Confederate military service. In marked contrast to the appearance of these Negroes was that of a squad of Major Turner’s colored troops, neatly uniformed, and showing a good soldierly carriage. These regulars had gone up to look at their colored brethren. Volunteering would be much encouraged by the parade of Major Turner’s men, which will, we hope, soon take place.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

March 23– Thursday– Goldsboro, North Carolina– “I wrote you from Fayetteville. On our way thence the enemy struck our left flank and I turned on him and after three days maneuvering and fighting defeated him and drove him off towards Raleigh. The fight was near Bentonsville, 20 miles from here on the south side of the Neuse in the direction of Smithfield. I got here to-day and all the army will be in by to-morrow. Thus have I brought the army from Savannah in good order, beaten the enemy wherever he attempted to oppose our progress, and made junction with Schofield and Terry from Newbern and Wilmington on the 21st, one day later than I had appointed before leaving Savannah. It is far more difficult and important than the Savannah march. Besides the immediate results we have forced the Rebels to abandon the whole sea coast. . . . I have no doubt that you will be sufficiently gratified to know that I have eminently succeeded in this last venture, and will trust to luck that in the next still more hazardous I will be again favored. I don’t believe anything has tended more to break the pride of the South than my steady persistent progress. My army is dirty, ragged and saucy. I have promised them rest, clothing and food, but the railroads have not been completed as I expected and I fear we may be troubled thereby. I am just informed that the telegraph line is finished from the sea to this place, so our lines of communication will be shortened. Strange to say we are all in fine health and condition, only a little blackened by the pine smoke of our camp fires. I would like to march this army through New York just as it appears today, with its wagons, pack mules, cattle, Negroes and bummers, and I think they would make a more attractive show than your [Sanitary] fair.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

Ellen Sherman

Ellen Sherman

March 24– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “It is true that we have concluded to discontinue the Liberator at the close of the present year, which will complete its Thirty-fifth volume. As we commenced its publication for the express purpose of effecting the extinction of slavery, and as that sublime event has been consummated by a constitutional decree of the nation, so that henceforth no salve is to beheld within the domains of the American Union, it seems to us historically fitting that the Liberator should simply cover the whole period of the struggle, and terminate with it. Unless, therefore, something should occur beyond our present belief or anticipation to make it necessary to change our decision, we shall not prolong the existence of the paper beyond this Year of Jubilee; and have instructed our General Agent to take no subscription for a longer period. This is not the occasion for us to say all that such a conclusion naturally suggests. Let it be deferred till the time is at hand. On many accounts, we shall regret to discontinue a paper which has cost us so much of trial and fiery persecution, experienced so many vicissitudes, wrought out such results, afforded us such opportunities to test the spirit of the age, attracted to its support such pure-minded and noble spirits, and absorbed the larger portion of our earthly life. But this will not necessarily sunder our connection with the press, nor prevent our publishing another journal, under a new title, and for other reformatory purposes. Whether we shall retire altogether, or commence anew in the manner suggested, we leave it for Divine Providence to determine. If nearly forty years of editorial service (begun when we were only twenty years of age) have made it ‘as second nature,’ and if we should feel out of our element divorced from that service, still, with advancing years, we confess that, ‘though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak;’ and that something of repose and seclusion is coveted by us, in order to recuperate both mind and body. Yet let not those whose cause we espoused when all was dark and desperate, and the whole weight of the nation was brought to crush us– in whose behalf we have periled all that is dear to man, through a whole generation of conflict– whose chains are now happily broken, whose reproach is fast passing away, and whose future is now one of glorious promise– imagine, for one moment, that we shall ever grow weary in maintaining their rights, or consent to any abatement of their claims to ‘liberty, equality, fraternity.’ We have always made, and shall continue to make, their case our own. It was not on account of their complexion that we gave them our sympathy and advocacy, but because they were members of one great human family, endowed by their Creator with the same attributes and prerogatives, and destined to the same immortality as all other races; and, therefore, their enslavement was a blow struck at the liberties of mankind. We claimed for them, at the outset, all of justice and fair-dealing; and we have never since claimed anything less. . . . They can firmly demand whatever is yet wrongfully withheld from them, and still be neither factious nor insolent. They can protest against bring victimized in any direction on account of their complexion, and yet be filled with thanksgiving that such mighty changes have taken place in their favor in so short a time. There is now, very generally, a deep sympathy and a warm-hearted interest in their condition as a people; and a growing purpose to make, as far as practicable, atonement for the past, and to give security for the future. What contributions are made, what labors put forth, what means of enlightenment provided, what sacrifices offered, in behalf of the millions who are coming out of the Southern house of bondage! Is not all this as wonderful as it is cause for joy and gratitude? Let there be no revulsion in this tide of benevolent feeling caused by any unseemly behavior or unreasonable fault-finding; but let it be rejoicingly taken at its flood, and accepted as the harbinger of complete enfranchisement at no distant day.” ~ The Liberator.

William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

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

Wind up Matters about Richmond

Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina

Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina

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

CW arms

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

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

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

Anna Held, circa 1902

Anna Held, circa 1902

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

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

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

General Grant

General Grant

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

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

General Longstreet

General Longstreet

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

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

Group of Samurai, circa 1860

Group of Samurai, circa 1860

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

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

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

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

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

Everything Is Giving Way to the Union Forces ~ March 1865 ~ 15th to 18th

Everything Is Giving Way to the Union Forces.

Federal troops in the Carolinas

Federal troops in the Carolinas

Gideon Welles notes the progress of the Federal armies. The eloquence of President Lincoln draws some favorable comment. Representatives of women working in factories meet the President. In Richmond, President Davis chides the Confederate congress.

March 15– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Every one likes a compliment. Thank you for yours on my little notification speech and on the recent inaugural address. I expect the latter to wear as well as perhaps better than– anything I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told, and, as whatever of humiliation there is in it falls most directly on myself, I thought others might afford for me to tell it.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Thurlow Weed.

Thurlow Weed

Thurlow Weed

March 15– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Having thus fully placed before you the information requisite to enable you to judge of the state of the country, the dangers to which we are exposed, and the measures of legislation needed for averting them, it remains for me but to invoke your attention to the consideration of those means by which, above all others, we may hope to escape the calamities that would result from our failure. Prominent, above all others, is the necessity for earnest and cordial co-operation between all departments of government, State and Confederate, and all eminent citizens throughout the Confederacy. To you especially, as Senators and Representatives, do the people look for encouragement and counsel. To your action, not only in legislative halls, but in your homes, will their eyes be turned for the example of what is befitting men who, by willing sacrifices on the altar of freedom, show that they are worthy to enjoy its blessings. I feel full confidence that you will concur with me in the conviction that your public duties will not be ended when you shall have closed the legislative labors of the session, but that your voice will be heard cheering and encouraging the people to that persistent fortitude which they have hitherto displayed, and animating them by the manifestation of that serene confidence which, in moments of public danger, is the distinctive characteristic of the patriot, who derives courage from his devotion to his country’s destiny, and is thus enabled to inspire the like courage in others. Thus united in a common and holy cause, rising above all selfish considerations, rendering all our means and faculties tributary to the country’s welfare, let us bow submissively to the Divine will, and reverently invoke the blessing of our Heavenly Father, that as He protected and guided our sires when struggling in a similar cause, so He will enable us to guard safely our altars and our firesides, and maintain inviolate the political rights which we inherited.” ~ Message from President Davis to Congress, reprinted in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch.

Henry Wirz, commandant at Andersonville prison

Henry Wirz, commandant at Andersonville prison

March 15– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– Captain Henry Wirz, commandant of the Andersonville prison camp, begins preparing Union prisoners for exchange.

March 15 – Wednesday– Prestbury, Cheshire, England– Birth of Edith Maude Eaton, aka Sui Sin Far, journalist and author. She is born to an English father and a Chinese mother. [Dies April 7, 1914.]

Edith Maude Eaton

Edith Maude Eaton

March 16– Thursday– Averasborough, North Carolina– In a desperate attempt to slow the Federal advance, a force of 5400 Confederate troops tangle with 26,000 Union soldiers but after several hours of fighting are forced to withdraw. Total casualties– killed, wounded, missing– are 682 Federals and 865 Confederates. Union column endured only minimal delays.

March 16– Thursday– Queenstown, Ireland– Birth of Patsy Donovan, major league baseball player between 1890 and 1907 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St Louis Cardinals, and later a manager. [Dies December 25, 1953].

factory workers

factory workers

March 17– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “A committee of ladies representing fourteen thousand working women of Philadelphia, who are employed by government contractors, recently waited on President Lincoln to represent the needs of the suffering women. The President sent for the Acting Quarter-master General Thomas, told him the story he had heard, and then said: ‘I shall consider myself personally obliged it you can hereafter manage the supplies of contract work for the government made up by women, so as to give them remunerative wages for their labor.’ It is highly creditable, alike to the President’s head and heart, that he has thought fit to give his personal influence, in the manner above described, to help on a much needed reform, and relieve some of the suffering resulting from the injustice of the community to the working women. When the thing to be done is both right and expedient, and the neglect or delay of officials to perform it is favored by a widely existing popular prejudice, injuriously affecting vast numbers of people, it is all the more important that the man who chances to wield that influence which the President’s office bestows should take the trouble of putting it in action to do the right or undo the wrong. Abraham Lincoln has shown, by the act of mingled justice and kindness above described, that he recognizes this method of action, and this sort of exercise of personal influence, as right and proper.” ~ The Liberator.

at the machines

at the machines

March 17– Friday– Berwick, Pennsylvania– A large fire destroys the shops of the Jackson and Woodin Manufacturing Company.

March 17– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “It will be but a very few words that I shall undertake to say. I was born in Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and lived in Illinois; and now I am here, where it is my business to care equally for the good people of all the States. I am glad to see an Indiana regiment on this day able to present the captured flag to the Governor of Indiana. I am not disposed, in saying this, to make a distinction between the States, for all have done equally well. There are but few views or aspects of this great war upon which I have not said or written something whereby my own opinions might be known. But there is one– the recent attempt of our erring brethren, as they are sometimes called, to employ the Negro to fight for them. I have neither written nor made a speech on that subject, because that was their business, not mine, and if I had a wish on the subject, I had not the power to introduce it, or make it effective. The great question with them was whether the Negro, being put into the army, will fight for them. I do not know, and therefore cannot decide. They ought to know better than me. I have in my lifetime heard many arguments why the Negroes ought to be slaves; but if they fight for those who would keep them in slavery, it will be a better argument than any I have yet heard. He who will fight for that, ought to be a slave. They have concluded, at last, to take one out of four of the slaves and put them in the army, and that one out of the four who will fight to keep the others in slavery, ought to be a slave himself, unless he is killed in a fight. While I have often said that all men ought to be free, yet would I allow those colored persons to be slaves who want to be, and next to them those white people who argue in favor of making other people slaves. I am in favor of giving an appointment to such white men to try it on for these slaves. I will say one thing in regard to the Negroes being employed to fight for them. I do know he cannot fight and stay at home and make bread too. And as one is about as important as the other to them, I don’t care which they do. I am rather in favor of having them try them as soldiers. They lack one vote of doing that, and I wish I could send my vote over the river so that I might cast it in favor of allowing the Negro to fight. But they cannot fight and work both. We must now see the bottom of the enemy’s resources. They will stand out as long as they can, and if the Negro will fight for them they must allow him to fight. They have drawn upon their last branch of resources, and we can now see the bottom. I am glad to see the end so near at hand.” ~ Speech by President Lincoln to an Indiana Regiment of soldiers.

March 17– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas reliable information has been received that hostile Indians within the limits of the United States have been furnished with arms and munitions of war by persons dwelling in conterminous foreign territory, and are thereby enabled to prosecute their savage warfare upon the exposed and sparse settlements of the frontier. Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim and direct that all persons detected in that nefarious traffic shall be arrested and tried by court-martial at the nearest military post, and if convicted shall receive the punishment due to their deserts.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

March 17– Friday– Mobile, Alabama– A force of 32,000 Federal troops is moving against the city which is defended by a garrison of 2800 Confederate soldiers.

Patrick Joseph Sullivan

Patrick Joseph Sullivan

March 17– Friday– County Cork, Ireland– Birth of Patrick Joseph Sullivan, who will serve as mayor of Casper, Wyoming, 1897-98, and Republican member of the United States Senate from Wyoming, 1929-30. [Dies April 8, 1935.]

March 18– Saturday– New York City– “The Second Inauguration of President Lincoln. . . . In many respects it is the most emphatic ceremonial in the history of our republic, since it solemnly pledges the nation in the face of the world to restore the Union whatever the cost may be. Notwithstanding the showers of rain that fell the attendance was immense, and the procession of great magnitude and state. It formed on 16th street, near Pennsylvania avenue, shortly before eleven, and directly after commenced moving towards the Capitol. The military escort consisted of two regiments of the Invalid Corps, a squadron of cavalry, a battery of artillery, four companies of colored troops, and several bands of music. The line of march was decorated with flags, and the windows along the route were crowded with spectators, who manifested the utmost enthusiasm. The streets, however, were in a miserable condition, consequent on the rain of the morning, which slackened about eight o’clock, and entirely ceased about eleven. The procession was over a mile in length. The President was in the Capitol busily engaged in signing bills. A few minutes before twelve the official procession began to file into the Senate Chamber. . . . The appearance of Mr. Lincoln was the signal for a tremendous outburst of enthusiastic cheers. When this tumult subsided, the President stepped forward and delivered his inaugural address. At the conclusion of these proceedings the procession was reformed, and the President was escorted to the White House. It is estimated that over 30,000 persons were present, notwithstanding the depth of mud in which they were obliged to stand.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly.

Lincoln takes the oath of office

Lincoln takes the oath of office

March 18– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “The news from the army continues favorable, and it seems impossible for the Rebel leaders to continue much longer to hold out. Everything is giving way to the Union forces. The currency is getting into better shape, but there will be still tremendous struggles and revulsions before its sound restoration can be accomplished.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Additional Forces to Repel Invasion ~ March 1865 ~ 12th to 14th

Additional Forces to Repel Invasion

Federal troops

Federal troops

After much intense debate, the Confederate Congress passes, by an extremely narrow margin, a bill to use slaves as soldiers. President Davis immediately signs the measure into law. But citizens of Richmond are nervous. Sherman’s Federal troops seem unstoppable in North Carolina. Gideon Welles relates a story of the early days of the rebellion. Lincoln takes steps to punish those who assisted the Confederacy with trade or commerce of any sort.

regiment of United States Colored Troops (USCT)

regiment of United States Colored Troops (USCT)

March 12– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and frosty. About one o’clock last night, there wasan alarm, supposed to be the approach of the enemy from the West– Sheridan’s cavalry– and the tocsin sounded until daylight. It was a calm moonlight night, without a cloud in the sky. Couriers reported that the enemy were at the outer fortifications, and had burned Ben Green’s house. Corse’s brigade and one or two batteries passed through the city in the direction of the menaced point; and all the local organizations were ordered to march early in the morning. Mr. Secretary Mallory and Postmaster-General Reagan were in the saddle; and rumor says the President and the remainder of the cabinet had their horses saddled in readiness for flight. About a year ago we had Dahlgren’s raid, and it was then announced that the purpose was to burn the city and put to death the President, the cabinet, and other prominent leaders of the ‘rebellion.’ Perhaps our leaders had some apprehension of the fate prepared for them on that occasion, and may have concerted a plan of escape.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 12– Sunday– Lincolnton, North Carolina– “Better to-day. A long, long weary day in grief has passed away. I suppose General Chesnut [her husband] is some where but where? that is the question. Only once has he visited this sad spot, which holds, he says, all that he cares for on earth. Unless he comes or writes soon I will cease, or try to cease, this wearisome looking, looking, looking for him.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

March 12– Sunday–Fayetteville, North Carolina– “We reached this place yesterday in good health and condition. We have had bad roads and weather but made good progress, and have achieved all I aimed to accomplish. Our main columns came through Columbia and Cheraw, South Carolina. We have had no general battle, and only skirmishes on the skirts of the army. The enemy gave ground when I moved in force. The importance of this march exceeds that from Atlanta to Savannah. South Carolina has had a visit from the West that will cure her of her pride and boasting. I sent couriers to Wilmington and a tugboat got up this morning, and I will start her back at 6 p. m. with despatches to Grant, the Secretary of War, and all my subordinate commanders. I do not intend to go to the sea shore, but will move on. I have no doubt you have all been uneasy on our account, but barring bad weather and mud we have had no trouble. . . .The same brags and boasts are kept up, but when I reach the path where the lion crouched I find him slinking away. My army is in the same condition as before, and seems to possess abiding confidence in its officers. It would amuse you to hear their comments on me as I ride along the ranks, but I hope you will hear the jokes and fun of war at a fitter time for amusement. Now it is too serious. I think we are bringing matters to an issue. Johnston is restored to the supreme command and will unite the forces hitherto scattered and fight me about Raleigh or Goldsboro. Lee may reinforce him from Richmond, but if he attempts that Grant will pitch in. I can whip Joe Johnston unless his men fight better than they have since I left Savannah. As I rode into Columbia crowds gathered round me, composed of refugees and many [Union] officers who had escaped their prison guards [from a prison camp] and hid themselves. . . . I expect to stay here a few days in hopes to receive some bread and shoes from Wilmington. The river is now high and easily navigated, and had I time I should have no trouble in getting supplies up, but time is so important that I must ‘Forward.’” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

General Sherman

General Sherman

March 12– Sunday– the Gulf of Mexico– A U S warship captures a British vessel attempting to run the blockade.

March 13– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Rear-Admiral Porter spent the evening at my house. Among other things he detailed what he saw and knew of Jeff Davis and others in the early days of the Rebellion. He was, he admits, and as I was aware, on intimate terms with Davis and Mrs. Davis, and had been so for some years. On the evening after reception of the news that South Carolina passed the secession ordinance he called at Davis’s house. A number of Secession leaders, he says, were there. It was a rainy, disagreeable evening, but Mrs. Davis came down stairs bonneted and prepared to go out. She caught him and congratulated him on the glorious news. South Carolina had declared herself out of the Union, which was to be broken up. She was going to see the President, Buchanan, and congratulate him. Wanted to be the first to communicate the intelligence to him. Porter told her the weather and roads were such she could not walk, and, one of the Members of Congress having come in a hack, he, Porter, took it and accompanied her. On the way he inquired why she should feel so much elated. She said she wanted to get rid of the old government ; that they would have a monarchy South, and gentlemen to fill official positions. This, he found, was the most earnest sentiment, not only of herself but others. Returning in the carriage to Davis’s house, he found that the crowd of gentlemen was just preparing to follow Mrs. Davis to call on the President and interchange congratulations. They all spoke of Buchanan, he says, as being with them in sentiment, and Porter believes him to have been one of the most guilty in that nefarious business; that he encouraged the active conspirators in his intercourse with them, if he did not openly approve them before the world.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

March 13– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That, in order to provide additional forces to repel invasion, maintain the rightful possession of the Confederate States, secure their independence, and preserve their institutions, the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to ask for and accept from the owners of slaves, the services of such number of able-bodied Negro men as he may deem expedient, for and during the war, to perform military service in whatever capacity he may direct. 2. That the General-in-Chief be authorized to organize the said slaves into companies, battalions, regiments, and brigades, under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of War may prescribe, and to be commanded by such officers as the President may appoint. 3. That while employed in the service the said troops shall receive the same rations, clothing, and compensation as are allowed to other troops in the same branch of the service. 4. That if, under the previous sections of this act, the President shall not be able to raise a sufficient number of troops to prosecute the war successfully and maintain the sovereignty of the States and the independence of the Confederate States, then he is hereby authorized to call on each State, whenever he thinks it expedient, for her quota of 300,000 troops, in addition to those subject to military service under existing laws, or so many thereof as the President may deem necessary to be raised from such classes of the population, irrespective of color, in each State, as the proper authorities thereof may determine: Provided, That not more than twenty-five per cent of the male slaves between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, in any State, shall be called for under the provisions of this act. 5. That nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize a change in the relation which the said slaves shall bear toward their owners, except by consent of the owners and of the States in which they may reside, and in pursuance of the laws thereof.” ~ Legislation passed today and promptly signed by President Davis.

President Davis

President Davis

March 13– Monday– Albany, Georgia– “Mett, Mecca, and I took a long drive to look at some new muslin dress goods that we heard a countryman down towards Camilla had for sale. They were very cheap – only twenty dollars a yard. Mett and I each bought a dress and would have got more if Mrs. Settles, the man’s wife, would have sold them. How they came to let these two go so cheap I can’t imagine. I felt as if I were cheating the woman when I paid her 500 dollars in Confederate money for 20 yards of fairly good lawn. We stopped at Gum Pond on the way back and paid a visit. Albert Bacon gave me a beautiful red-bird that he shot for me to trim my hat with.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The President was some indisposed and in bed, but not seriously ill. The members met in his bedroom. Seward had a paper for excluding blockade- runners and persons in complicity with the Rebels from the country.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

March 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The President directs that all persons who now are or hereafter shall be found within the United States who have been engaged in holding intercourse or trade with the insurgents by sea, if they are citizens of the United States or domiciled aliens, shall be arrested and held as prisoners of war until the war shall close, subject, nevertheless, to prosecution, trial, and conviction for any offense committed by them as spies or otherwise against the laws of war. The President further directs that all nonresident foreigners who now are or hereafter shall be found in the United States, and who have been or shall have been engaged in violating the blockade of the insurgent ports, shall leave the United States within twelve days from the publication of this order, or from their subsequent arrival in the United States, if on the Atlantic side, and forty days if on the Pacific side, of the country; and such persons shall not return to the United States during the continuance of the war. Provost-marshals and marshals of the United States will arrest and commit to military custody all such offenders as shall disregard this order, whether they have passports or not, and they will be detained in such custody until the end of the war, or until discharged by subsequent orders of the President.” ~ Executive Order from President Lincoln.

Lincoln with his secretaries

Lincoln with his secretaries

March 14– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and pleasant, but indications of change. The papers contain no news from the armies, near or remote. But there was some alarm in the upper portion of the city about 9 P.M. last night, from a signal seen (appended to a balloon) just over the western horizon. It was stationary for ten minutes, a blood-red light, seen through a hazy atmosphere. I thought it was Mars, but my eldest daughter, a better astronomer than I, said it was neither the time nor place for it to be visible. The air was still, and the dismal barking of the dogs conjured up the most direful portents. All my neighbors supposed it to be a signal from Sheridan to Grant, and that the city would certainly be attacked before morning. It was only a camp signal of one of our own detachments awaiting the approach of Sheridan. . . . General Lee sends to the department this morning a copy of a fierce letter from Lord John Russell, British Secretary of State, to our commissioners abroad, demanding a discontinuance of expeditions fitted out in Canada, and the building and equipping of cruisers in British ports. It says such practices must cease, for they are not only in violation of British law, but calculated to foment war between Great Britain and the United States, which Lord John is very much averse to. The communication is sent to Washington, D. C., and thence forwarded by Mr. Seward to General Grant, who sends it by flag of truce to General Lee. Great Britain gives us a kick while the Federal generals are pounding us.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

General Lee

General Lee

March 14– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Find everybody excited with orders to move. Well, I am ready, and may God give us victory.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

March 14– Tuesday– Fayetteville, North Carolina– For the third consecutive day Federal troops destroy any and all machinery and buildings deemed useful to the Confederate war effort.

March 14– Tuesday– Knoxville, Tennessee– “Woke up at Cleveland, just before day & got on top of [the railroad] car to see the country. Very fertile– poorly cultivated. Plow with one horse for corn. Think I never saw better soil. People seem to be poor. Here is the first part of the South were I have found villages. We pushed through many pretty little places. First place– country where I have seen Union people in the South. They are all out at the doors waving handkerchiefs & cheering. Some times we’d see a dozen at one house. Crossed the Tenn on a bridge at Loudon. The people seem to have the spirit of old Brownlow. Came into Knoxville about 4 o’clock [P. M. ] A beautiful place. Larger than I expected. I never saw a more strongly fortified place. Marched us out about two miles at night and ordered us to camp. Ah I shall remember this evening. It commenced raining as we started. I thought I should drop down before we got there. Wasn’t long till we had a shelter & were in bed soundly sleeping after a good supper.” ~ Diary of Union soldier Arthur Calvin Mellette.

They Shall Be Pardoned ~ March 1865 ~ the 11th

They Shall Be Pardoned

Federal troops

Federal troops

President Lincoln offers amnesty to all deserters who return to their units within the next sixty days. Desertion is less of a problem by this time for the Federal forces than for the Confederacy. The advantages of Federal strength are coming fully to bear. Grant and his generals have almost 1,000,000 men under arms. Lee and his generals have barely 100,000 present for duty. Grant’s headquarters at City Point looks like a small city with tons of weapons, ammunition and food arriving each day. Federal troops are on the move almost everywhere in the Confederacy. An abolitionist expresses concern about slavery in Brazil. However, slavery there will not be completely abolished until 1888 and not until 1897 on the island of Zanzibar in East Africa.

Federal supply train

Federal supply train

March 11– Saturday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I have just received a letter from . . . a leading member of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, requesting that I should send him immediately all the works pertaining to slavery that I can collect before the sailing of the English steamer from New York on the 24th of March. This last an addition to other requests of a similar character made me, when at Rio de Janeiro last autumn, by various eminent Brazilians, one of them a high official. Certain Brazilian statesmen have looked upon our struggle with Intense Interest; for while their own slavery will, by their own laws on the subject, doubtless become extinct in twenty years, yet there are a great many leading minds who desire to take measures for the extinction of bondage for the 2,000,000 slaves(there were, In 1860, 3,000,000 slaves) before a half decade shall have gone by, M.,le Chevalier Lisbon, the late Brazilian Minister to the United States, told Professor Agassiz last spring that In Brazil they were looking forward to emancipation, and the only question was, how was It to be done!” ~ Letter from Reverend J. C. Fletcher to the editor of the Boston Journal.

Brazilian slaves, 1876

Brazilian slaves, 1876

March 11– Saturday– New York City– “If there is one question of taste upon which all the world– the world of men, we mean– will agree, it is that of girls. The word is here used very tenderly, knowing that it carries with it a roughness, an aroma of the pale faced, scant clothed and badly paid worker; of the weary eyed stitcher, laboring deep into the night for the pittance that will keep soul and body in one. It is these only, perhaps, that will admit to the title, not the gay butterflies who flit upon Broadway in fine weather, and yawn away the hours in bed, and yet they are none the less of the same mold– and girls. Let us appeal to the professors if there can be any more beautiful study in nature than a beautiful girl between fifteen and twenty. She is an instrument giving out to the lightest touch the most exquisite harmony; she is a chameleon, capable of the most wondrous changes, a volume of never ending interest. What can be of more worthy seeking than the friendship of a young girl, and yet how few seek it really with a view to big-brotherhood. Not that a big brother is always a desirable possession for a young girl, simply because big brothers, endued with worldly selfishness, do not think it often worth while to sacrifice some of the attentions they pay to others, and bestow them upon sisters, who should have their perpetual care and watchfulness. It is well for a girl who has a big brother that has sense enough to see this, and to know how to really care for his sister; in such case she need have no fear of passing through perils and temptations that must otherwise beset her. If he possesses this sense, he can be her guardian and teach her where to be wary without being prudish, or in any way sacrificing her propriety. How little is this charge understood even by parents. How false is the mother’s boast who declares that the daughter she is just turning out upon the world is innocent, and that she does not even understand the meaning of an immoral word or act. Do we boast that we send a soldier forth to battle unarmed and untaught as to the enemy’s tactics or lines of approach? The safety of a girl depends upon her being taught the source of danger and the consequences of allowing it to overcome her. What safety is there for a mother who will throw herself upon the honor of men, or upon the protection which the law has provided for her daughter? What happiness ever grew out of a marriage enforced?” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly.

young woman at work in a mill

young woman at work in a mill

March 11– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas the twenty-first section of the act of Congress approved on the 3rd instant, entitled ‘An act to amend the several acts heretofore passed to provide for the enrolling and calling out the national forces and for other purposes,’ requires ‘that, in addition to the other lawful penalties of the crime of desertion from the military or naval service, all persons who have deserted the military or naval service of the United States who shall not return to said service or report themselves to a provost-marshal within sixty days after the proclamation hereinafter mentioned shall be deemed and taken to have voluntarily relinquished and forfeited their rights of citizenship and their rights to become citizens, and such deserters shall be forever incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under the United States or of exercising any rights of citizens thereof; and all persons who shall hereafter desert the military or naval service, and all persons who, being duly enrolled, shall depart the jurisdiction of the district in which he is enrolled or go beyond the limits of the United States with intent to avoid any draft into the military or naval service duly ordered, shall be liable to the penalties of this section. And the President is hereby authorized and required forthwith on the passage of this act, to issue his proclamation setting forth the provisions of this section, in which proclamation the President is requested to notify all deserters returning within sixty days as aforesaid that they shall be pardoned on condition of returning to their regiments and companies or to such other organizations as they may be assigned to until they shall have served for a period of time equal to their original term of enlistment.’ Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln. President of the United States, do issue this my proclamation, as required by said act, ordering and requiting all deserters to return to their proper posts; and I do hereby notify them that all deserters who shall, within sixty days from the date of this proclamation, viz, on or before the 10th day of May, 1865, return to service or report themselves to a provost-marshal shall be pardoned, on condition that they return to their regiments and companies or to such other organizations as they may be assigned to and serve the remainder of their original terms of enlistment and in addition thereto a period equal to the time lost by desertion.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

March 11– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Today I made a visit to City Point, going and coming on the railroad. . . . City Point is now a city indeed. Several large buildings have been erected and the James River is full of vessels.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

delivering supplies at City Point, Virginia

delivering supplies at City Point, Virginia

March 11– Saturday– Fayetteville, North Carolina– Federal troops under General Sherman occupy the city.

March 11– Saturday– Albany, Georgia– “Played euchre and wrote letters all the morning. Captain Rust gave me a pretty tucking-comb which he had carved himself, out of maple wood. We had an early dinner and reached Wooten’s at least half an hour before the train was due. At the depot in Albany, Albert Bacon, Joe Godfrey, Mr. Baldwin, and General Graves were waiting for us. We drove by the post office to get the mail, and there half a dozen others surrounded the carriage and took the reins from Uncle Aby so that he could not drive away. The people in the street laughed as they went by to see them buzzing round the carriage like bees, and presently Jim Chiles found Mary Leila Powers and Mrs. Bell and brought them up to add to the hubbub. Poor old Aby despaired of ever getting us out of town, and when at last we started down the street, we had not gone a hundred yards when I saw a young officer in a captain’s uniform running after us and we came to another halt. It turned out to be Wallace Brumby. He says that he left Washington [Georgia] two weeks ago, and is water-bound here, on his way to Florida, where some of his men are straggling about, if they haven’t been swallowed up by the freshets that have disorganized everything. He promised to stop at Pine Bluff on his way down, and give us the news. Then Uncle Aby grew desperate, and seeing another squad of officers coming up to join Captain Brumby, whipped up his horses and drove off without further ceremony. He was right to hurry, for the roads are so flooded that we had to travel 20 miles to get home. Everything is under water. In some places the front wheels were entirely submerged and we had to stand on the seats to keep our feet dry. It was nine o’clock before we reached home, and Mrs. Butler and Mrs. Meals had become so uneasy that they were about to send a man on horseback to see what had become of us. I found letters from home waiting for us, with permission [from her father] to go to Chunnennuggee or anywhere else we want to. Communication between here and Washington is so interrupted that I don’t suppose they have heard yet of the reported raid into Florida, and all our writing back and forth is at cross purposes. The latest news is that the Yankees have whipped our forces at Tallahassee, but the waters are so high and communication so uncertain that one never knows what to believe. At any rate, I shall not run till I hear that the enemy are at Thomasville.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 11– Saturday– Newberne, Mississippi– “I have only received one letter from since I came here and that was the one from Father of 20th. But I presume that you have certainly written since, and as the mail boat from the North is due here to-day I can only hope that with its arrival good news from home it will bring. The weather here has been exceedingly changeable. The rain will fall in torrents all night, and in the morning the ‘God of day’ will rise in all the splendor of the July morning with such intense heat that one would think that underclothes must be laid aside until the stormy winds of November again sets in. And before night comes rain again set in. But owing to the sandy soil the water soaks away in a very short time.” ~ Letter from union soldier William E. Tolbert to his sister Emma Tolbert.

Robert Hermann Schomburgh

Robert Hermann Schomburgh

March 11– Saturday– Berlin, Germany– Robert Hermann Schomburgk, explorer, dies at age 60.

Prayer for Our Poor Country ~ March 1865 ~ 9th to 10th

Prayer for Our Poor Country

slave market

slave market

Southerners keep a day of prayer and fasting for the sake of the Confederacy. Georgia seems less and less cooperative with the Confederacy. It seems that desertion has become a major problem for General Lee’s forces. Items from a slave market are displayed in Boston. [The abolitionist and Quaker poet Whittier refers to them as “symbols of the Anti Christ.”]

chains used on slaves

chains used on slaves

March 9– Thursday– Montpelier, Vermont – The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

March 9– Thursday– Amesbury, Massachusetts– “I rejoice heartily to hear of thy arrival in Boston with the relics of the Great Barbarism– the auction-block of the human flesh-market of South Carolina, worn with weary feet and steeped in tears!– the lock of the accursed prison-house!– the letters over its gates of despair! It is as if Dante had torn the dreadful inscription, ‘Hope enters not here!’ from the doors of Hell, and borne it away with him to the upper world. It was well done on thy part. Let these infernal hieroglyphics and symbols of the worship of the Anti Christ be carefully preserved. Lay them side by side with the racks of the Inquisition and the keys of the Bastille. Let them tell the generations to come of that most hideous form of human depravity which, priding Itself on Its evangelical purity, and with the name of Christ on its lips, bought and sold the image of God, and subjected body and soul to the base uses of lust and avarice. Let them be a wonder and a warning to all time. I fear I may not be able to be at the meeting for presentation to morrow. But I know that such men as Governor Andrew and William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips will say the fitting word for Massachusetts and for Freedom on the occasion. Absent I shall rejoice with you, and thank God that I have lived to see the opening of the prison-doors.” ~ Letter from John Greenleaf Whittier to Charles Carleton Coffin. [Coffin, 1823– 1896, Massachusetts-born, has served as a war correspondent since the start of the war. He obtained the referenced items from the slave market in Charleston, South Carolina, after it fell to Federal troops, and brought them to Boston. Whittier is 57 years old at this time, continuing to deal with some health problems.]

Charles Carleton Coffin

Charles Carleton Coffin

March 9– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained all night; clearing away this morning. Warm. Nothing positive from Sherman, Grant, or Sheridan. . . . Yesterday the Senate passed the Negro troops bill . . . . The enemy did capture or destroy the tobacco sent to Fredericksburg bythe speculators to exchange for bacon– and 31 [railroad] cars were burned. No one regrets this, so far as the speculators are concerned. Letters from North Carolina state that the country is swarming with deserters . . . . It is stated that there are 800 in Randolph County, committing depredations on the rich farmers, etc.; and that the quartermaster and commissary stores at Greensborough [North Carolina] are threatened.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

bull whip used on slaves

bull whip used on slaves

March 9– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “Let the Conscript Act be repealed, as you have wisely resolved it should be, let us return to the principles upon which we entered the contest, and let the whole country, with the spirit of freedom, which animated them in 1861, rally around our glorious leaders, Lee, Johnston, and Beauregard, who should be untrammeled by Presidential interference in the management of military campaigns, and we shall again triumph in battle, and roll back the dark cloud of despondency, which has so long darkened our horizon, and blighted our hopes. Georgia has done her whole duty, from the commencement of the struggle. She has furnished more than her quota of troops, clothed them when naked in Confederate service, and provided subsistence for their families at home. Official reports show, that she has lost more men, and paid more tax, than any State in the Confederacy. However much she may be misrepresented, and the motives of those who have conducted her counsels, and administered her Government, may be maligned, by artful and designing politicians, both she, and her public servants, may proudly point to the sacrifices made, and the results achieved, as the highest evidence of loyalty to the cause. I now appeal, doubtless, with your concurrence, to Georgians, at home and in the field, while they demand the correction of abuses, and maintain in sunshine and in shade, the old land marks of State Sovereignty and republican liberty, against foes without and within, never to permit her proud banner to trail in the dust, nor the cause to suffer, on account of their failure to strike, with heroic valor, in the thickest of the fight, till freedom is won and Constitutional liberty firmly established.” ~ Message from Georgia governor Joseph E Brown to the state legislature.

spring outfit 1865

spring outfit 1865

March 9– Thursday– Gopher Hill, Georgia– “Mrs. Warren gave a dinner party to which all the people from Gopher Hill and a good many from Albany were invited, but very few attended on account of the weather. It poured down rain all day, and in the afternoon there was a furious storm; but Mrs. Maxwell is always in for a frolic, so we left home at eleven, between showers, and got to the Warrens’ just before the storm burst. General Graves, Mr. Baldwin, Joe Godfrey, Albert Bacon, and Jim Chiles were the only ones there besides Mrs. Maxwell and her guests. There is a fine lake in front of Mr. Warren’s house, but the weather gave us no opportunity for rowing. We dined at six, and it was so dark when we rose from the table that we had to start for home at once. Mrs. Warren insisted on our staying all night, but there was company invited to spend the evening at Gopher Hill, so off we went in the rain. We took a new road to avoid some bad mud holes in the old one, and as a matter of course, lost our way in the numerous blind roads that cross each other in every direction through the pine woods, and which are all just alike except that they lead to different places – or to no place at all. The night was very dark and it rained furiously, though the wind had lulled. The glare of the lightning was blinding and terrific peals of thunder rang through the woods. Every few yards there were trees blown across the road, and the Negro Mr. Warren had sent to guide us would have to grope about in the dark, hunting for some way around them. At last he confessed that he had lost his way, and then I fell back in a corner of the phaeton and began to say my prayers. As there was nothing else to do, we concluded to follow the blind path we were in, hoping it would lead somewhere. It did lead us with a vengeance, through ponds and bogs and dismal swamps where the frogs filled our ears with unearthly noises. But all things have an end, even piney woods byroads, and at last we came out upon a broad smooth highway, which the guide recognized as the one he was looking for. Our troubles were now over, and in a short time we were back at Gopher Hill. Though it was very late, we began to dance and enjoy ourselves in a fashion, but everybody seemed to be more or less out of humor, for before we went to bed, I was made the confidante of four lovers’ quarrels.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 10– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “At the late special meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society commemorative of Edward Everett, the Rev. R.S. Waterston read the following interesting communication from Mr. Whittier, who, only a few weeks previous, had been associated as colleague with Mr. Everett in the Electoral College of this State. Mr. Waterston introduced the letter with the words of Dr. Channing, who said of Mr. Whittier more than a quarter of a century ago, ‘His poetry bursts from the soul with the fire and energy of an ancient prophet, and his noble simplicity of character is the delight of all who know him.’ . . . ‘When I last met him, as my colleague in the Electoral College of Massachusetts, his look of health and vigor seemed to promise us many years of his wisdom and usefulness. On greeting him I felt impelled to express my admiration and grateful appreciation of his patriotic labors, and I shall never forget how readily and gracefully he turned attention from himself to the great cause in which we had a common interest, and expressed his thankfulness that he had still a country to serve. To keep green the memory of such a man is at once a privilege and a duty. That stainless life of seventy years is a priceless legacy. His hands were pure. The shadow of suspicion never fell on him. If he erred in his opinions (and that he did so, he had the Christian grace and courage to own), no selfish interest weighed in the scale of his judgment against truth.’” ~ The Liberator.

Edward Everett

Edward Everett

March 10– Friday– New York City– “The rebel hosts continue to be seriously drained by desertion. Not less than fifty deserters have taken refuge within Grant’s lines every day for many weeks past, and their average number is probably nearer one hundred than fifty. . . . All tell the same story of compulsory service, hardships, failure of pay and of clothing and of rations, and of general despondency.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 10– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Raining and cold. This is the day appointed by the government for prayer, fasting, etc.; and the departments, shops, etc. are closed. The people, notwithstanding the bad weather, pretty generally proceeded to the churches, which will be open morning, noon, and night, for it is a solemn occasion, and thousands will supplicate Almighty God to be pleased to look upon us with compassion, and aid us, in this hour of extremity, to resist the endeavors of our enemies to reduce us to bondage.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 10– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I have but a few minutes in which to write and I’m writing by a very dim fire light. I don’t expect you can read it but I will write a few lines. I wrote toyou some few days since . . . . I don’t suppose you will ever get them. We are now on the line between the James & the Appomattox rivers. We occupy the position formerly held by Picket’s Division. We are very well situated. Although we can see the Yanks (about a thousand yards off) we do not expect an engagement. We may, however, be subject to a shelling occasionally. I will try and take care of myself. My light is about out so I must close. Love to all.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

March 10– Friday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “What think you we did yesterday? We had a ‘Matinee Musicale,’ at the Chapel of the 50th New York Engineers. Nothing but high-toned amusements, now-a-day, you will perceive. In truth I was very glad to go to it, as good music always gives me pleasure. The band was the noted one of the New Jersey brigade, and consisted of over thirty pieces. . . . There was a large assemblage of the fashion and nobility of the environs of Petersburg, though most of the first families of Virginia were unavoidably detained in the city. We had a batch of ladies, who, by the way, seem suddenly to have gone mad on visiting this army. No petticoat is allowed to stay within our lines, but they run up from City Point and return in the afternoon. Poor little Mrs. Webb accompanied the General to our monkish encampment and tried, in a winning way, to hint to General Meade that she ought to remain a day or two; but the Chief, though of a tender disposition towards the opposite sex, hath a god higher than a hooped skirt, to wit, orders, and his hooked nose became as a polite bit of flint unto any such propositions. And so, poor little Mrs. Webb, afore said, had to bid her Andrew adieu.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his wife Elizabeth.

Theodore Lyman

Theodore Lyman

March 10– Friday– Lincolnton, North Carolina– “Went to church crying to Ellen, ‘It is Lent, we must fast and pray.’ When I came home my good fairy, Colonel Childs, had been here bringing rice and potatoes, and promising flour. He is a trump. He pulled out his pocket-book and offered to be my banker. He stood there on the street, Miss Middleton and Isabella witnessing the generous action, and straight out offered me money. ‘No, put up that,’ said I. ‘I am not a beggar, and I never will be; to die is so much easier.’ Alas, after that flourish of trumpets, when he came with a sack of flour, I accepted it gratefully. I receive things I can not pay for, but money is different. There I draw a line, imaginary perhaps. Once before the same thing happened. Our letters of credit came slowly in 1845, when we went unexpectedly to Europe and our letters [of credit] were to follow us. I was a poor little, inoffensive bride, and a British officer, who guessed our embarrassment, for we did not tell him (he came over with us on the ship), asked my husband to draw on his banker until the letters of credit should arrive. It was a nice thing for a stranger to do.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

March 10– Friday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “To-day was the day appointed by our President [Jefferson Davis] as a day of fasting and prayer. I for one observed it, though perhaps not with the right spirit. All the animosity which formerly existed (but which we had hoped had completely died out) between the Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches seems with the last few days to have been revived. Everybody is talking of the church some think one some the other. Everybody is commenting on a book which the Episcopalian Minister is circulating by the name of ‘A Presbyterian Minister in search of The Church’ which our pastor pronounced (also any good sensed person) a collection of falsehoods to deceive the ignorant. There is a class of young ladies who intend being confirmed, and this book is given preparatory to confirmation. How wrong to cultivate feeling so injurious to the cause of Christ and so unchristian like in their bearing, instead of cultivating feelings of goodwill toward all men in imitation of our gentle Jesus. The apple of discord has now been thrown among us. Father is divided against Son, Mother against daughter, all ties of Christian affection completely and perhaps forever surrendered. . . . Yankees reported in eight miles of town this morning. At LaGrange this evening, also at Salisbury, I believe.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

civil-war-fashion-Paris-March 1865

March 10– Friday– Gopher Hill, Georgia– “A day of public fasting and prayer for our poor country, but there was little of either done at Gopher Hill. We had a late breakfast after our night’s dissipation, and soon after, Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Bacon came over and played cards till dinner-time. After dinner the gentlemen proposed a row on the lake, but Mrs. Maxwell and I were the only ones that had fasted and we wouldn’t indulge in a frolic, and the others said they were afraid they might be drowned for their sins if they ventured on the water, so we drove to the station instead. We were too late to meet the train, but heard plenty of news. A tornado passed over the Flat Pond plantation yesterday, destroying every house on it and killing fifteen Negroes; a schoolhouse was blown down and several children killed; on one plantation all the poultry was drowned, and two calves blown away and never came down again! So much for marvels. But the whole country between Wooten’s and Gopher Hill is really flooded. One bridge that we crossed was entirely under water and seemed ready to give way and go down stream at any moment. Jimmy caught a gopher in the road on our way home, and we saw rows of them sitting on logs in the swamps, as if they were having a prayer-meeting.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 10– Friday– Beijing, China– Birth of Tan Sitong, politician and reformist leader. [Executed by the imperial government September 28, 1898.]