Tag Archives: diarists

August 1 to 17 ~ Election Year 1864

Woman making American Flag

In the midst of his bid for re-election, President Lincoln must deal with divisions within his own party, hostility from those who favor peace, an opposition candidate who is a general in the Union Army, handling diplomacy, encouraging immigration and citizen peace initiatives. Quietly he considers the possibility of losing the election, while encouraging Generals Grant and Sherman and receiving a great victory from the Union Navy.

August 1– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President went yesterday to Fortress Monroe to meet General Grant, by prior arrangement, which made me distrust final operations at Petersburg, for if such were the fact, he could not well be absent.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 2– Tuesday– New York City– “Clement C. Clay, of Alabama, is one of the very meanest of those mean conspirators who helped Davis, Toombs & Co. to set up their Confederacy of Treason, Slavery and Crime. . . . Such are the actors in the farce, and we see at once, they are none of the common herd, the profanum vulgus, but of the genuine stock of Southern bragadocias; the bloviators of the Confederacy . . . . they have made a great mistake. It is not Mr. Lincoln, but the American people, who reject any terms of compromise whatever. The people and Congress will not allow the Administration to make any other terms than that the rebels shall return unconditionally to an obedience to the laws and Constitution of the United States. It is, therefore, a mere absurdity to be talking about their independence, or their separation intellectual condition, to have set up a rebellion on mere delusion, and think they can end it by proposing impossible terms. . . . The falling leaves of November will find the Confederacy in that decaying state which precedes its final fall and dissolution.” ~ New York Times.

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August 3– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received the letter which Your Majesty has been pleased to address to me, conveying the melancholy intelligence of the decease, on the 2nd of April last, of the Archduchess Hildegarde, wife of Your Majesty’s well beloved cousin, the Archduke Albrecht. I deeply sympathize in the grief with which this afflicting event has filled Your Majesty, and I pray Your Majesty to accept for yourself, and for Your Royal Family, my cordial condolence. May God have Your Majesty in his holy keeping.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria. This is one of four to European monarchs which Lincoln sends today.

August 3– Wednesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “All the wicked passions of the people seem to be left without restraint– such are some of the fruits of war. How often have I wished that I had with me all the warm advocates of this War to witness with me from day to day the sad effects of war, sufferings enough to melt the Heart.”~ Diary of William King

August 4– Thursday– New York City– In response to President Lincoln’s request for a day of prayer and fasting, many businesses close and many places of worship hold services. A number of churches take up special collections for the Sanitary Commission.

August 5– Friday– New York City– “A more studied outrage on the legislative authority of the people has never been perpetrated. Congress passed a bill; the President refused to approve it, and then by proclamation puts as much of it in force as he sees fit, and proposes to execute those parts by officers unknown to the laws of the United States and not subject to the confirmation of the Senate! The bill directed the appointment of provisional governors by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The President, after defeating such a law, proposes to appoint without law, and without the advice and consent of the Senate, military governors for the rebel States! He has already exercised this dictatorial usurpation in Louisiana, and he defeated the bill to prevent its limitation. . . .The President has greatly presumed on the forbearance which the supporters of his administration have so long practiced, in view of the arduous conflict in which we are engaged, and the reckless ferocity of our political opponents. But he must understand that our support is of a cause and not of a man; that the authority of Congress is paramount and must be respected; and that the whole body of the Union men of Congress will not submit to be impeached by him of rash and unconstitutional legislation; and if he wishes our support, he must confine himself to his executive duties ‘to obey and execute, not makes the laws’ to suppress by arms armed rebellion, and leave political reorganization to Congress. If the supporters of the government fail to insist on this, they become responsible for the usurpations which they fail to rebuke, and are justly liable to the indignation of the people, whose rights and security, committed to their keeping, they sacrifice. Let them consider the remedy for these usurpations, and, having found it, fearlessly execute it!” ~ an attack upon President Lincoln by Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis [known as the “Wade-Davis Manifesto”] which appears in today’s New York Tribune, the paper of Horace Greeley.

August 5– Friday– Mobile, Alabama– Union naval vessels under the command of Admiral Farragut storm past the Confederate forts, sink one Confederate warship and capture two others, thus sealing off the port and leaving the city open to land operations by Federal infantry. At the start of the assault when the lead Federal ship sinks, Farragut allegedly yells out to his crew, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

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Battle of Mobile Bay

 

August 6– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I remarked that I had seen the Wade and Winter Davis protest. He [President Lincoln] said, Well, let them wriggle, but it was strange that Greeley, whom they made their organ in publishing the protest, approved his course and therein differed from the protestants. The protest is violent and abusive of the President, who is denounced with malignity for what I deem the prudent and wise omission to sign a law prescribing how and in what way the Union shall be reconstructed. . . . In getting up this law it was as much an object of Mr. Winter Davis and some others to pull down the Administration as to reconstruct the Union. I think they had the former more directly in view than the latter. Davis’s conduct is not surprising, but I should not have expected that Wade, who has a good deal of patriotic feeling, common sense, and a strong, though coarse and vulgar, mind, would have lent himself to such a despicable assault on the President. There is, however, an infinity of party and personal intrigue just at this time. A Presidential election is approaching, and there are many aspirants, not only for Presidential but other honors or positions. H. Winter Davis has a good deal of talent but is rash and uncertain. There is scarcely a more ambitious man, and no one that cannot be more safely trusted. He is impulsive and mad and has been acute and contriving in this whole measure and has drawn Wade, who is ardent, and others into it.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 8– Monday– New York City– “Then as if this were not enough, the Political Caldron is seething as if it were much nitric acid in contact with boundless copper filings. There is fearful evolution of irritating offensive gas and Heaven only knows what compound will be generated by the furious reaction of which we now see only the beginning. Peace Democrats and McClellanites are blatant. McClellan, it’s said, will accept no nomination except on a war platform.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 8– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President, in a conversation with Blair and myself on the Wade and Davis protest, remarked that he had not, and probably should not read it. From what was said of it he had no desire to, could himself take no part in such a controversy as they seemed to wish to provoke. Perhaps he is right, provided he has some judicious friend to state to him what there is really substantial in the protest entitled to consideration without the vituperative asperity. The whole subject of what is called reconstruction is beset with difficulty, and while the executive has indicated one course and Congress another, a better and different one than either may be ultimately pursued. I think the President would have done well to advise with his whole Cabinet in the measures he has adopted, not only as to reconstruction or reestablishing the Union, but as to this particular bill and the proclamation he has issued in regard to it. When the Rebellion shall have been effectually suppressed, the Union government will be itself again, ‘re-union will speedily follow in the natural course of events,’ but there are those who do not wish or intend reunion on the principle of political equality of the States. Unless they can furnish the mode and terms, and for fear they may not be successful, various schemes are projected.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles

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Gideon Welles

 

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “You are requested to place to the credit of the Department of State the sum of $25,000 as appropriated in the seventh section of the Act entitled ‘An Act to encourage immigration,’ approved July 4, 1864.” ~ Directive from President Lincoln to the Secretary of the Treasury. [The amount would equal $389,000 in today’s money, using the Consumer Price Index.

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “News of Farragut’s having passed Forts Morgan and Gaines was received last night, and sent a thrill of joy through all true hearts. It is not, however, appreciated as it should be by the military.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 9– Tuesday– City Point, Virginia– “Your views about showing no despondency, but keeping the enemy, with his last man now in the field, constantly employed, are the same I have often expressed. We must win, if not defeated at home [in the upcoming election]. Every day exhausts the enemy at least a regiment, without any further population to draw from to replace it, exclusive of the losses in battle.” ~ Letter from Union General Ulysses S. Grant to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

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General Ulysses S Grant

 

August 12– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Thurlow Weed meets with President Lincoln and advises him that “reelection is an impossibility” because the President has angered the Radical Republicans who want harsher measures approved against the South for reconstruction after the war as well as conservative members of the party who worry about the increasing cost and increasing death toll.

August 13– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Had some talk with Senator Lot Morrill, who is a good deal excited, not to say alarmed. The slow progress of our armies, the mismanagement of military affairs exemplified in the recent raids, the factious and discontented spirit manifested by Wade, Winter Davis, and others, have generated a feeling of despondency in which he participates. Others express to me similar feelings. There is no doubt a wide discouragement prevails, from the causes adverted to, and others which have contributed. . . . The worst specimens of . . . wretched politicians are in New York City and State, though they are to be found everywhere. There is not an honest, fair-dealing Administration journal in New York City. A majority of them profess to be Administration, and yet it is without sincerity.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “There have been men base enough to propose to me to return to slavery the black warriors of Port Hudson and Olustee, and thus win the respect of the masters they fought. Should I do so, I should deserve to be damned in time and eternity. Come what will, I will keep my faith with friend and foe. My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am President, it shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy, and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion. Freedom has given us one hundred and fifty thousand [black] men, raised on Southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much it has subtracted from the enemy, and, instead of alienating the South, there are now evidences of a fraternal feeling growing up between our men and the rank and file of the rebel soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is not necessary to a restoration of the Union. I will abide the issue.” ~ President Lincoln in an interview with John T Mills.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D. C.– “From Mobile Bay the news continues favorable. Had Farragut’s preliminary dispatch of the 5th to-day. Have just written a congratulatory letter to him. ” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 16– Tuesday– New York City– “The great election of next November looks more and more obscure, dubious and muddled every day. Lincoln is drifting to the leeward. So much is certain. There is rumor of a move by our wire-pullers and secret unofficial governors to make him withdraw in favor of Chase, or somebody else, on whom the whole Republican party (if such a thing exists) can heartily unite. Fremont’s nomination is coldly received here, though it may find favor in Missouri.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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August 17– Wednesday– New York City– “Great complaints , even by the most loyal men, of the shortcomings and mistakes of government and the ‘Peace Democrats’ vocal and truculent in threats of vengeance on Black Republicans and Abolitionists and in talk about revolution and repudiation of the war debt– all which will do them no good.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 17– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have seen your despatch expressing your unwillingness to break your hold where you are. Neither am I willing. Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Ulysses S Grant.

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July ~ Election Year 1856

Woman making American Flag

In some places, people fear civil war. Kansas remains in turmoil and is a divisive political issue. Slavery is even more divisive. Lincoln takes an active role in Republican politics. Women are increasingly active and speaking out on issues.

July 1– Tuesday– Richmond, Indiana– “A short time ago, it was my privilege to spend a few days at Richmond [Indiana], and become personal acquainted with many whom I had known through the medium of the paper and private correspondence! And truly it makes the heart glad to mingle face to face with those with whom we have held pleasant correspondence for years, and realize in them friends true and devoted. It is especially cause of rejoicing to see so many women laboring earnestly for the right, the heart can feel its thankfulness, though the pen may not be able to express it. These faithful ones shall have their reward when the jubilee of freedom shall sound through the land—when the slave shall stand forth in his manhood —when woman can raise her unshackled arm, and use her unfettered mind—when the children of the redeemed inebriate shall ‘rise up and call him blessed’—then will they feel that they have not labored in vain; nor need they wait till then, for every day’s discharge of duty brings its reward. Perhaps it may be as interesting to other readers as it was to me, to learn that the Lily has a good circulation, and the subscribers pay punctually. This speaks well for its editor, and for the paper, as it is emphatically a woman’s paper, and paid for principally by laboring women.” ~ Letter from Mary F. Thomas to the editor of The Lily, a feminist newspaper founded by Amelia Bloomer in 1849. [Mary Thomas, 1816-1888, a pioneering woman in the practice of medicine, spent much energy in the causes of abolition, temperance, woman suffrage, and “everything that aimed to better the human race” as one of her medical colleagues noted.]

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her office sign

 

July 2– Wednesday– New York City– “Kansas battle beginning in the House [of Representatives in Washington]. Indications that [Stephen A] Douglas and others are scared by the storm their selfish folly has raised. . . . I hope . . . that the mischief may be so far repaired as to make a sectional contest unnecessary. . . . but can civil war between North and South be postponed twenty years longer? I fear we, or our children, have got to pass through a ruinous revolutionary period of conflict between two social systems before the policy of the U S A is finally settled. The struggle will be fearful when it comes, as it must sooner or later, for an amicable disunion and partition of territory is an impossibility.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 3– Thursday– Simsbury, Connecticut– Birth of Sarah Pratt McLean Greene, author. [Dies December 28, 1935.]

July 3– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– In Congress the House of Representatives passes a bill to admit Kansas as a free state; however, the Senate defeats the measure.

July 4– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”I am strong enough to send from my present retreat a brief expression of cordiality in the nominations made by the People’s Convention at Philadelphia, and also of the gladness with which I shall support them by voice and vote, with mind and heart. I have long honored Colonel Fremont, for his genius in geographical enterprise; for his eminent intelligence; for his manly fortitude; for his perfect integrity, and for his easy command of men, swaying to his own beneficent purposes even the savages of the forest, while Nature herself, in her winter fastnesses before his march. It is well at this moment, when a great Crime is instigated and sustained by the national Government, that such a man, with a courage which will not be questioned, and with a sensitiveness to right which will not sleep, should be summoned to grapple with the wrong-doers. And permit me to say that I find no force in the objection, that he has never been a politician.” ~ Letter from Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner appearing in today’s Liberator in which Sumner endorses the Republican ticket of Fremont and Dayton.

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Senator Charles Sumner

 

July 4– Friday– Princeton, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy, among others, speak at a rally in support of Fremont and the Republican ticket.

July 5– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “In the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, Fifth month 21st, 1856, the following Testimony against Slavery was unanimously adopted, viz.: ‘Once more, in obedience to the Apostolic injunction, Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them, we lift up our united voice against that gigantic system of robbery and wrong, American Slavery, by which nearly four millions of human beings, immortal children of God like ourselves, are reduced to a level with four-footed beasts, compelled to toil without wages, often scourged and lacerated by savage-hearted masters or overseers, separated from their dearest kindred and sold as chattels, and, what is far worse than any act of physical cruelty, deprived of the means of intellectual and moral culture, and doomed to gross ignorance and degradation, in a land calling itself Christian and boasting of its civilization, refinement and humanity! The bodily tortures endured by the slaves are indeed enough to awaken profound sympathy and excite an intense indignation; but, oh! how much more appalling is the violence done to those higher faculties, through which they are allied to God and made heirs to an immortal life!’” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard

July 7– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Pierce submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty with the Austrian Empire for the extradition of criminals.

July 8– Tuesday– New York City– “Political matters unchanged. We’re in a pretty uneasy and uncomfortable state, in which violent convulsion is possible at any moment; for example, there may well be some collision at Washington that would bring forward delegations from both North and South to support and uphold their respective representatives. The West is said to be decided that Kansas shall not be a slave state, if the physical power of the West can prevent it; so there may be civil war in these days.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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George Templeton Strong

 

July 10– Thursday– Springfield, Illinois– “I have just received your letter of yesterday; and I shall take the plan you suggest into serious consideration. I expect to go to Chicago about the 15th, and I will then confer with other friends upon the subject. A union of our strength, to be effected in some way, is indispensable to our carrying the State against Buchanan. The inherent obstacle to any plan of union, lies in the fact that of those Germans which we now have with us, large numbers will fall away, so soon as it is seen that their votes, cast with us, may possibly be used to elevate Mr. Fillmore. If this inherent difficulty were out of the way, one small improvement on your plan occurs to me. It is this. Let Fremont and Fillmore men unite on one entire ticket, with the understanding that that ticket, if elected, shall cast the vote of the State, for whichever of the two shall be known to have received the larger number of electoral votes, in the other states. This plan has two advantages. It carries the electoral vote of the State where it will do most good; and it also saves the waste vote, which, according to your plan would be lost, and would be equal to two in the general result. But there may be disadvantages also, which I have not thought of.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to James Berden.

July 11– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “In accordance with the invitation of the Managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and notwithstanding the unpropitious state of the weather, rain falling heavily during the time of assembling, a large number of persons came together at Framingham, to the morning of the anniversary of National Independence, to spend the day accordance with those sentiments of the people ought to feel, in view of the utter subjection of their National Government . . . and of the entire Union, to the ignominious service of the Slave Power which now rules the land.” ~ The Liberator.

July 12– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “The Anti-Slavery cause has at length, after a quarter of a century of labors, taken possession, in one form or another, of almost every mind in our American community. To men of great sympathies, it has shown the sufferings of the slave; to men of a profound sense of right, it has shown his wrongs; to men whose hope is in another life, it has shown him deprived of Bibles, and Sabbaths, and sanctuary privileges; to men whose hope is in this life, it has shown him deprived of education and the means of self-improvement and success. To patriots, it has shown their country’s shame and danger. To politicians, it has shown one of the most selfish and accursed interest devouring every true one. To Christians, it has shown their Redeemer crucified afresh in the persons of these the least of his brethren. To philanthropists, it has shown human nature degraded and ruined in the person of both master and slave, by the outrages of the one against the liberty of the other.” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard.

July 15– Tuesday– Richmond, Indiana– “When woman sees fit to take her true position, as the mother of the race, the equal of man, there must, of necessity, be an entire revolution in Church, State, and Family. This reform aims not merely to make a few new laws, to grant a few privileges, or to redress a few grievances, but it is indeed a new creation. Behold! the degraded slave of man, the victim of lust, fear, and priestcraft, stands forth in the full dignity of womanhood, self-reliant, conscious of her own dignity and strength, and rejoicing that in her redemption a nobler race of beings shall bless and beautify the earth.” ~ The Lily

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July 16– Wednesday– New York City– “It is clear that the ‘Black Republican’ party commends itself much to educated and intelligent people at the North.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 17– Thursday– Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania– Two trains collide, killing more than 60 people– many of them teenagers– and injuring about 100 others. It is the deadliest railroad accident in the world up to this time and remains one of the worst in the history of the United States. The conductor of one of the trains, feeling that the accident is his fault, commits suicide.

July 17– Thursday– Dixon, Illinois– A reporter describes Abraham Lincoln who speaks at a Republican rally. “He is about six feet high, crooked-legged, stoop shouldered, spare built, and anything but handsome in the face. It is plain that nature took but little trouble in fashioning his outer man . . . As a close observer and cogent reasoner, he has few equals and perhaps no superior in the world. His language is pure and respectful, he attacks no man’s character or motives, but fights with arguments. . . . He spoke full two hours and still the audience cried, ‘go on.’”

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Attorney Lincoln

 

July 19– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– A reporter describes Abraham Lincoln’s speech at a Republican rally here this evening. “He spoke in Dearborn Park, and was listened to by a very large audience. The speech was one that did him eminent credit, and which cannot fail to produce a telling effect upon the political sentiment of Chicago. The exposure of the fallaciousness of the position taken by Mr. Fillmore in his Albany speech was timely and effective; and his refutation of the charge of sectionalism, so flippantly made by the slavery-extensionists against the Republican party, was full and able. Every point he touched upon was elucidated by the clearness of his logic, and with his keen blade of satire he laid bare the revolting features of policy of the pseudo-Democracy.”

July 21– Monday– Waterloo, New York– Birth of Louise Blanchard Bethune, who will in October, 1881, become the first American woman to work as a professional architect. [Dies December 18, 1913.]

July 22– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Pierce submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty of commerce and friendship with Chile.

July 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The affairs of Kansas are still in a desperate state. The citizens get no protection from the United States Government. General P.H. Smith, who has recently been sent there, when asked by a deputation of citizens, who waited on him, for protection for their lives and property, replied that he had no authority to grant such protection. They must expect it only from the civil law; i.e. the law of the border ruffians, who rob and murder them.” ~ The Liberator.

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violence in Kansas

 

July 26– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “We doubt whether the North has yet spirit enough revived from the paralytic lethargy into which she had been cast by slavery for so many years to throw off even the shadow of the body of that sin which touches her. It takes a long time for a constitution so depraved and debauched as her’s to recover stamina enough even for so partial a recovery as that. And we are not sure that it would be of any hope to the Slave that the Republican party should prevail. We think that, as long as the Union is to be maintained as the Chief Good, and the sacrifices we have seen offered up to it for the past few years are still to smoke on its altars, it is of no particular consequence whether the High Priest be named Fremont or Buchanan. Our hope lies in the Anti-Slavery Spirit which must give this movement whatever success it can have or hope for, and which we do not believe will die of defeat! We think it is in much greater danger of dying of success. So, while we refuse to join the Republican party, and while we have but small hope from it, directly, if it succeed, we see in the emotions from which it springs and in the passions which must needs be aroused in its progress, signs of returning health and symptoms of a possible recovery. It is not the End. We fear it is very far from it. But it is the Beginning of the End, and as such it is regarded with the instinct of tyrants by the common enemy of us all.” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard.

July 28– Monday– Springfield, Illinois– “I very cheerfully give you my opinion as to the prospects of the Presidential election in this state & Indiana; premising that I am a Fremont man, so that you can make due allowance for my partiality. I have no doubt, then, that the opposition to Buchanan, are the majority in both these states; but, that opposition being divided between Fremont & Fillmore, places both states in some danger. I think the danger is not great in Indiana; but some greater here. The Fillmore men have no power in either state, beyond dividing strength, and thereby bettering the chances of Buchanan. They know this; and I still hope the bulk of them will think better than to throw away their votes for such an object.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Artemas Hale.

July 30– Wednesday– Norwich, Connecticut– Birth of Julia Henrietta Gulliver, philosopher, author, educator and president of Rockford [Illinois] College from 1902 to 1919. [Dies July 25, 1940.]

June ~ Election Year 1864

Woman making American Flag

The Republican Party splits and a rival faction supports John C Fremont for president while the mainline Republicans nominate Lincoln for re-election and approves a platform which the President likes, including a proposal for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. Within Lincoln’s cabinet, his Secretary of the Navy comments on the President’s gentle attitude toward the Confederate leaders and the Treasury Secretary resigns. War news from Virginia and from Georgia is not particularly encouraging but at sea the Union Navy wins a major victory. Black soldiers prove their worth while a racist Confederate general denies the atrocity at Fort Pillow.

June 1– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “We have to-day the results of a meeting of strange odds and ends of parties, and factions, and disappointed and aspiring individuals at Cleveland. Fremont is nominated as their candidate for President and John Cochrane for Vice-President. The gathering had the nomination of Fremont in view, though other objects were professed. . . . This war is extraordinary in all its aspects and phases, and no man was prepared to meet them. It is much easier for the censorious and factious to complain than to do right. I have often thought that greater severity might well be exercised, and yet it would tend to barbarism. No traitor has been hung. I doubt if there will be, but an example should be made of some of the leaders, for present and for future good. They may, if taken, be imprisoned or driven into exile, but neither would be lasting. Parties would form for their relief, and ultimately succeed in restoring the worst of them to their homes and the privileges they originally enjoyed. Death is the proper penalty and atonement, and will be enduringly beneficent in its influence. There was, moreover, an aristocratic purpose in this Rebellion. An aristocracy of blood and wealth was to have been established. Consequently a contrary effect would work benignantly. Were a few of the leaders to be stripped of their possessions, and their property confiscated, their families impoverished, the result would be salutary in the future. But I apprehend there will be very gentle measures in closing up the Rebellion. The authors of the enormous evils that have been inflicted will go unpunished, or will be but slightly punished.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 1– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “A little nearer each day, and each day the cannons are heard more distinctly. Sherman flanks and fortifies, and Johnston falls back. . . . But a short distance from my house the militia are stationed. They are composed mostly of men past the conscript age, who had a right to expect exemption from camp life. Many of them, too, have opposed this war from the beginning and have passed through the fires of treason unscathed in soul.” ~ Diary of Cyrena Stone, a Union sympathizer.

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General Sherman

 

June 2– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– “There is intense anxiety in relation to the Army of the Potomac. Great confidence is felt in Grant, but the immense slaughter of our brave men chills and sickens us all. The hospitals are crowded with the thousands of mutilated and dying heroes who have poured out their blood for the Union cause. Lee has returned to the vicinity of Richmond, overpowered by numbers, beaten but hardly defeated.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, . . . . I do not feel as first rate as usual. . . . I believe I am homesick, something new for me, then I have seen all the horrors of soldier’s life & not been kept up by its excitement– it is awful to see so much, & not be able to relieve it.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

June 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “For several days the delegates to the National Convention have been coming in. Had a call from several. Met a number at the President’s. All favor the President. There is a spirit of discontent among the Members of Congress, stirred up, I think, by the Treasury Department. Chase has his flings and insinuations against the President’s policy, or want of policy. Nothing suits him.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 4– Saturday– New York City– “The moderate tone of all his [Grant’s] despatches is a most favorable sign. It indicates that he is a man of business and work, that he knows the worth of facts and of results accomplished, and the importance of results not yet attained, and that he cares little for talk or telling bulletins. I begin to rate Grant very high.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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General Grant

 

June 4– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “There has been continued fighting, though represented as not very important. Still there is heavy loss, but we are becoming accustomed to the sacrifice. Grant has not great regard for human life.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 7– Tuesday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Republican Party adopts a campaign platform which includes resolutions “to do everything in our power to aid the Government in quelling by force of arms the Rebellion now raging against its authority, and in bringing to the punishment due to their crimes the Rebels and traitors arrayed against it . . . . That as slavery was the cause, and now constitutes the strength of this Rebellion, and as it must be, always and everywhere, hostile to the principles of Republican Government, justice and the National safety demand its utter and complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic; and that, while we uphold and maintain the acts and proclamations by which the Government, in its own defense, has aimed a deathblow at this gigantic evil, we are in favor, furthermore, of such an amendment to the Constitution, to be made by the people in conformity with its provisions, as shall terminate and forever prohibit the existence of Slavery”; benefits for disabled veterans and provision for widows and orphans of deceased soldiers; “that the Government owes to all men employed in its armies, without regard to distinction of color, the full protection of the laws of war—and that any violation of these laws, or of the usages of civilized nations in time of war, by the Rebels now in arms, should be made the subject of prompt and full redress;” to encourage immigration; to encourage speedy construction of a railroad to the Pacific coast and to do all necessary to discourage European efforts to re-establish monarchy in the Americas, a provision aimed at French intervention in Mexico.

June 8– Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland–In its convention, the Republican Party, on the fourth ballot, nominates President Lincoln for president and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee for vice-president.

June 9– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– “I will neither conceal my gratification nor restrain the expression of my gratitude that the Union people, through their convention, in their continued effort to save and advance the nation, have deemed me not unworthy to remain in my present position.” ~ President Lincoln’s reply to the committee recommending nomination.

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President Lincoln

 

June 10– Friday– Cold Harbor, Virginia– “May God forgive the men who brought about this war. I fear I shall yet hate them.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 10– Friday– Atlanta, Georgia– “Fast day again! Stores are closed and all business suspended. . . . From over the hills, the cannons boom, boom, and in the skies above there are mighty thunderings, the rumblings of God’s chariot wheels.”~ Diary of Cyrena Stone, who is a Union sympathizer.

June 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “We have heard to-day that Lincoln was nominated for re-election at Baltimore on the 7th instant . . . . Fremont is now pledged to run also, thus dividing the Republican party, and giving an opportunity for the Democrats to elect a President. If we can only subsist till then, we may have peace, and must have independence at all events.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

June 11– Saturday– Cherbourg, France–The Confederate warship Alabama arrives for refitting. The U S vice-counsel protests to the French government for allowing the ship to enter the harbor and sends notice to the U S warship Kearsage in an English port.

June 13– Monday– New York City– “Among the most gratifying developments of the Baltimore Convention was the unanimity exhibited in favor of a Constitutional amendment making a universal and perpetual end of Slavery. . . . The rebellion sprang so directly from Slavery, and was so closely connected with Slavery in all of its objects and policies, that it was not possible to make war against the rebellion with a whole heart, and yet remain well affected toward Slavery.” ~ New York Times.

June 14– Tuesday– Off the coast of Cherbourg, France– The U.S.S. Kearsarge arrives and prepares to engage C. S. S. Alabama as soon as the rebels leave the port and enter international waters.

June 15–Wednesday– Petersburg, Virginia–Black Union soldiers, attacking under heavy fire, overwhelm a Confederate position called Fort Walker, a Confederate artillery position of nine canon with infantry support. During the attack, the Confederates yell taunts at the black soldiers. When the Union force takes the position, they shoot all the Confederates, even those attempting to surrender. The Union men yell “Remember Fort Pillow!” Over 200 Confederate soldiers die.

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African American Union soldiers

 

June 16– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “War at the best is terrible, and this of ours in its magnitude and duration is one of the most terrible the world has ever known. . . . It has caused mourning among us until the heavens may almost be said to be hung in black. And yet it continues. . . . When is this war to end? I do not wish to name the day when it will end, lest the end should not come at the given time. We accepted this war, and did not begin it. We accepted it for an object, and when that object is accomplished the war will end, and I hope to God that it will never end until that object is accomplished. We are going through with our task, so far as I am concerned, if it takes us three years longer.” ~ Speech by President Lincoln at the Philadelphia Sanitary Fair.

June 17– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “From statements that have been made to me by colored soldiers who were eye-witnesses, it would seem that the massacre of Fort Pillow had been reproduced at the late affair at Brice’s Cross-Roads. . . . If true and not disavowed they must lead to consequences hereafter fearful to contemplate. . . . If it is contemplated by the Confederate Government to murder all colored troops that may by the chance of war fall into their hands, as was the case at Fort Pillow, it is but fair that it should be freely and frankly avowed. Within the last six weeks I have on two occasions sent colored troops into the field from this point. In the expectation that the Confederate Government would disavow the action of the commanding general at the Fort Pillow massacre I have forborne to issue any instructions to the colored troops as to the course they should pursue toward Confederate soldiers that might fall into their hands; but seeing no disavowal on the part of the Confederate Government, but on the contrary laudations from the entire Southern press of the perpetrators of the massacre, I may safely presume that indiscriminate slaughter is to be the fate of colored troops that fall into your hands; but I am not willing to leave a matter of such grave import and involving consequences so fearful to inference, and I have therefore thought it proper to address you this, believing that you will be able to indicate the policy that the Confederate Government intends to pursue hereafter on this question. . . . Up to this time no troops have fought more gallantly and none have conducted themselves with greater propriety. They have fully vindicated their right (so long denied) to be treated as men. . . . For the government of the colored troops under my command I would thank you to inform me, with as little delay as possible, if it is your intention or the intention of the Confederate Government to murder colored soldiers that may fall into your hands, or treat them as prisoners of war and subject to be exchanged as other prisoners.” ~ Letter from Union General Cadwaller Colden Washburn to Confederate General Stephen Dill Lee.

June 19– Sunday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “A division of colored soldiers charged . . . but were driven back. They fought well and left many dead on the field. . . . yesterday’s work convinced me that they will fight. So Hurrah for the colored troops.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 19– Sunday– Off the coast of Cherbourg, France–During a battle in international waters, the U S. S. Kearsage sinks the C. S. S. Alabama. However, an English yacht, Deerhound, rescues the captain of the Alabama, causing the U S Minister Charles Francis Adams to file a protest with Her Majesty’s Government. A large crowd on the shore watches the hour long battle.

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sinking of the C S S Alabama

 

June 20– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President in his intense anxiety has made up his mind to visit General Grant at his headquarters, and left this p.m. at five.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 22– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman, feeling totally exhausted and sick, leaves the city to return to Brooklyn, New York, for some rest and recovery.

June 22– Wednesday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “Yesterday President Lincoln paid us a visit. I did not see him, as I was at the front.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 23– Thursday– Tupelo, Mississippi– “I regard your letter [of June 17] as discourteous to the commanding officer of this department, and grossly insulting to myself. You seek by implied threats to intimidate him, and assume the privilege of denouncing me as a murderer and as guilty of the wholesale slaughter of the garrison at Fort Pillow, and found your assertions upon the ex parte testimony of your friends, the enemies of myself and country. I shall not enter into the discussion, therefore, of any of the questions involved nor undertake any refutation of the charges made by you against myself; nevertheless, as a matter of personal privilege alone, I unhesitatingly say that they are unfounded and unwarranted by the facts. But whether these charges are true or false, they, with the question you ask as to whether Negro troops when captured will be recognized and treated as prisoners of war, subject to exchange, &c., are matters which the Government of the United States and Confederate States are to decide and adjust, not their subordinate officers. I regard captured Negroes as I do other captured property and not as captured soldiers, but as to how regarded by my Government and the disposition which has been and will hereafter be made of them, I respectfully refer you through the proper channel to the authorities at Richmond. It is not the policy nor the interest of the South to destroy the Negro– on the contrary, to preserve and protect him– and all who have surrendered to us have received kind and humane treatment.” ~ Letter from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to Union General Cadwaller Colden Washburn.

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massacre of black soldiers at Fort Pillow

 

June 24– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The President was in very good spirits at the Cabinet. His journey has done him good, physically, and strengthened him mentally and inspired confidence in the General and army.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 25– Saturday– Brooklyn, New York– “I write just a line to let you know I got home all safe. I do not feel very well yet, but expect to, or begin to, pretty soon. I send my love to you & Nelly & to Charles Eldridge.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D. O’Connor in Washington, D.C.

June 26– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “How long this kind of war will continue no one knows, but I hope it will stop soon, a great many of our men are becoming sick and broken down. One side or the other will have to stop pretty soon or each army will be very much reduced.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee, Maggie Cone.

June 27– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Your letter of the 14th instant, formally notifying me that I have been nominated by the convention you represent for the Presidency of the United States for four years from the 4th of March next, has been received. The nomination is gratefully accepted, as the resolutions of the convention, called the platform, are heartily approved. . . . I am especially gratified that the soldier and seaman were not forgotten by the convention, as they forever must and will be remembered by the grateful country for whose salvation they devote their lives.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln formally accepting his nomination.

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Gideon Welles

 

June 30– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “All were surprised to-day with the resignation of Secretary Chase and the nomination of Governor David Tod as his successor. I knew nothing of it till the fact was told me by Senator Doolittle, who came to see and advise with me, supposing I knew something of the circumstances. But I was wholly ignorant. . . . It is given out that a disagreement between himself and the President in relation to the appointment of Assistant Treasurer at New York was the cause of his leaving. I think likely that was the occasion of his tendering his resignation, and I have little doubt he was greatly surprised that it was accepted. He may not admit this, but it is none the less true, I apprehend. Yet there were some circumstances to favor his going– there is a financial gulf ahead.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June ~ Election Year 1856

Woman making American Flag

The Democratic and the Republican parties hold their conventions and adopt their platforms. Talk about the dissolution of the country is heard, debate about slavery continues and civil war rages in Kansas, which worries some Northern women. Black people adopt a wait-and-see attitude about the candidates. New York lawyer and diarist George Templeton Strong is unimpressed by the Democratic candidate but worries that a Republican victory is a decade away. Cotton is key to the American economy.

June 1– Sunday– New York City– “The idea of dissolution and division is intolerable. Union is a necessity. Schism is ruin to both fragments of the nation. Do not our preponderance in material wealth, intelligence, and every element of political power enable us to assert that union must and shall exist, that there shall be no decomposition, that we will maintain the Union against Southern folly?” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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George Templeton Strong

 

June 2– Monday– Cincinnati, Ohio– The Democratic National Convention opens at the Smith & Nixon Hall.

June 3– Tuesday– New York City– “Nominating convention of the Democracy parturient at Cincinnati and in puerperal convulsion. It may bring forth Pierce, Douglas, Buchanan, or somebody else, as our Southern rulers shall determine, and I doubt if the north be even yet sufficiently irritated to unite in defeating their nominee.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 4– Wednesday– Cincinnati, Ohio– The platform of the Democratic Party, in its key parts, asserts that the Federal government cannot carry on internal improvements, cannot interfere with slavery, should encourage immigration, fully enforce all the provisions of the Compromise of 1850, particularly the Fugitive Slave Act, support “progressive free trade throughout the world” and make every possible effort “to insure our ascendency in the Gulf of Mexico.”

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Elizabeth Jarvis Colt & Samuel Colt

 

June 5– Thursday– Hartford, Connecticut– Inventor and industrialist Samuel Colt, age 41, weds Elizabeth Hart Jarvis, age 29, the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman. Their wedding cake is six feet high and decorated with fondant pistols and rifles. [When her husband dies in early 1862, Elizabeth will run the company until retiring in 1901. Upon her death on August 23, 1905, much of her wealth is bequeathed to various arts and charitable organizations.]

June 6– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”The Fugitive Slave Law and its Victims. This is the title of No. 18 of the series of Anti-Slavery Tracts. It has been prepared with the utmost carefulness and great labor by [Reverend] Samuel May, Jr, the General Agent of the Massachusetts Anti– Slavery Society, a copy of which every one, desirous of knowing what have been the operations of the Fugitive Slave Law, ‘that enactment of hell,’ should posses. It is a terrible record, which the people of this country should never allow to sleep in oblivion, until the disgraceful and bloody system of slavery is swept from our land, and with it, all Compromise Bills, all Constitutional Guarantees to Slavery, all Fugitive Slave Laws. It makes 48 pages, small type, and is sold at cost price– 5 cents single; 50 cents per dozen; $4 per hundred. For sale at the Anti-Slavery Office, 21 Cornhill.” ~ The Liberator. [Samuel J May, age 58, is a Unitarian minister, a graduate of Harvard and of Cambridge, a conductor on the underground railroad to help fugitive slaves escape to freedom, an advocate of peace, woman’s rights, and efficient public education, and pastors a Unitarian congregation in Syracuse, New York since 1845. He is an important influence upon his niece, Louisa May Alcott. On his life and work, see his own Some Recollections of Our Antislavery Conflict (1869) as well as Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871 (1991) by Donald Yacovone; The Jerry Rescue: the Fugitive Slave Law, Northern Rights, and the American Sectional Crisis (2016) by Angela F. Murphy.]

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Reverend Samuel J May

 

June 6– Friday– Cincinnati, Ohio– The Democratic Convention concludes with James Buchanan the nominee after 17 rounds of balloting, supporters of President Pierce having early thrown their support to Senator Stephen A Douglas of Illinois. However, Douglas withdraws on the 16th ballot.Buchanan is a native of Pennsylvania, age65, a graduate of Dickinson College, an unmarried lawyer, wealthy with a personal fortune estimated at $300,000 [$8,640,000 in today’s money, using the Consumer Price Index], has served in both houses of Congress as well as in several diplomatic posts, sees the duty of the Federal government to protect the existence of slavery and joins Southerners in believing that abolitionist material may spur a slave insurrection. [On Buchanan, see James Buchanan and the Political Crisis of the 1850s (1996) edited by Michael J. Birkner.]

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James Buchanan

 

June 8– Sunday– New York City– “It ought to be remembered that slavery, which lies at the bottom of Southern institutions, society, and property, which enables the Southern gentleman to buy comforts for his wife and food for his children, on which Southern girls marry, and families depend, and which is interwoven with and supports the whole fabric of Southern life, is condemned as a wrong and a sin by the whole civilized world. . . . The South has all the culture, civilization, intelligence, and progress of the nineteenth century against it, unanimous in declaring that it lives on oppression and robbery.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 9– Monday– Iowa City, Iowa – About 495 Mormon believers begin their journey heading west for Salt Lake City, Utah, carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts. They are mostly European immigrants too poor to afford horses or oxen. Twenty will die during this trip but the others arrive safely in Salt Lake City on Friday, September 26.

June 10– Tuesday– Peace Dale, Rhode Island– Birth of Caroline Hazard, author, and president of Wellesley College from 1899 to 1910. [Dies March 19, 1945.]

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Caroline Hazard

 

June 12– Thursday– New York City– The North American Party Convention, composed of delegates who walked out of the American Party National Convention back in February, opens in the Apollo Rooms.

June 13– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The National Democratic Convention, last week, at Cincinnati, on the seventeenth ballot, unanimously agreed upon James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, as the Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States. On the third ballot, John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, was selected as the Democratic candidate for the Vice Presidency. The Convention endorsed filibustering and border ruffianism, in full. In spirit and purpose, it was an infernal conclave, and ‘hell from beneath’ was moved to ecstasy at its coming.” ~ The Liberator.

June 14– Saturday– New York City– “Smith and Nixon’s Hall, used by the Democratic Convention, is situated on Fourth street, Cincinnati, in a very central position as regards both the hotels and business of the city, and is placed on the ground floor, some eighty or ninety feet back from the street, (which prevents an exterior view being given,) thus securing great convenience of access, security in case of fire, and freedom from outside ‘noise and confusion.. It is seated with arms-chairs below and pews above, and seats comfortably over two thousand persons.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

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Smith & Nixon Hall

 

June 17– Tuesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Republican National Convention opens in the Musical Fund Hall. This is the first national convention of the new party which was formed only two years ago. About 600 delegates are present, representing primarily the Northern states and the border states of Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky. Virginia is represented but no other Southern states have delegates present.

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Musical Fund Hall

 

June 18– Wednesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Republican Party adopts a platform which declares: “This Convention of Delegates, assembled in pursuance of a call addressed to the people of the United States, without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; to the policy of the present Administration; to the extension of Slavery into Free Territory; in favor of the admission of Kansas as a Free State; of restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson; and for the purpose of presenting candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President, do . . . . Resolve: That . . . we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons under its exclusive jurisdiction; that, as our Republican fathers . . . had abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, . . . it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in the Territories of the United States by positive legislation, prohibiting its existence or extension therein. . . . That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign powers over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism– Polygamy, and Slavery. . . . That . . . the dearest Constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudulently and violently taken from them. Their Territory has been invaded by an armed force; . . . . the offenders have been allowed to go unpunished; That all these things have been done with the knowledge, sanction, and procurement of the present National Administration . . . . Resolve, That Kansas should be immediately admitted as a state of this Union, with her present Free Constitution . . . . Resolve, That the highwayman’s plea, that ‘might makes right,’ embodied in the Ostend Circular [to seize Cuba by military force], was in every respect unworthy of American diplomacy, and would bring shame and dishonor . . . . Resolve, That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean by the most central and practicable route is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country, and that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction . . . . Resolve, That appropriations by Congress for the improvement of rivers and harbors, of a national character, required for the accommodation and security of our existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligation of the Government to protect the lives and property of its citizens. Resolve, That we invite the affiliation and cooperation of the men of all parties, however differing from us in other respects, in support of the principles herein declared; and believing that the spirit of our institutions as well as the Constitution of our country, guarantees liberty of conscience and equality of rights among citizens, we oppose all legislation impairing their security.”

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Elizabeth Marbury

 

June 19– Thursday– New York City– Birth of Elizabeth Marbury, author, theatrical agent and Democratic Party activist. [Dies January 22, 1933.]

June 19– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Republican National Convention concludes with John C Fremont of California having secured the nomination on the 2nd round of balloting. Fremont, the son of a French emigre, was born in Savannah, Georgia, is 43 years old, has earned a reputation as a soldier and explorer, particularly for his role in seizing California from Mexico during the war of 1846. His marriage in October, 1841, to Jessie Benton, the daughter of Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, has given Fremont connections to money and politics. He served as one of the first two U S senators from California when it became a state and he has a reputation as an opponent of slavery. [The literature on Fremont and his wife is extensive; an interested reader can start with the following: John C Fremont, Western Pathfinder (1953) by Sanford Tousey; John C Fremont and the Republican Party (1930) by Ruhl J Bartlett; The Origin and Early History of the Republican Party (1906) by William Barnes; Fremont, the West’s Greatest Adventurer (1928) by Allan Nevins; Recollections of Elizabeth Benton Fremont, Daughter of the Pathfinder General John C Fremont and Jessie Benton Fremont, His Wife (1912) by Elizabeth Benton Fremont.]

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James C Fremont

 

June 20– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “In answer to this call, quite a number of men and women met at 10, this forenoon. A Mrs Hibbard was chosen President, and several women Vice Presidents and Secretaries. Committees were appointed, and the Convention organized by appointing women to perform the work of the Convention. Two men, just escaped from the murderous hands of the Border Ruffians, were present, and addressed the meeting. The President made an interesting introductory address, appealing to the women of the State to come to the help of their outraged brothers and sisters in Kansas, and their two millions outraged sisters in a slavery worse than death. They propose to form a State Society, to aid their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers, in the present struggle. The excitement is deep and powerful all over northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Three hundred men are now on their way through Iowa to the scene of conflict. A spirit of deep and bitter revenge is rising in the hearts of the people. The fugitives from the bowie-knives and rifles of the BorderRuffians, led on by Pierce and Co., are traversing all over this region, and their appeals sink deep into the heart. The clergy are beginning to see the legitimate and necessary fruits of their bitter and persevering opposition to anti-slavery, and their direct, Bible-support of slavery, But the end is not yet.” ~ Letter to William Lloyd Garrison from Henry C Wight, dated June 10th from Chicago, and printed in today’s issue of The Liberator.

June 20– Friday– New York City– Frustrated by the lack of cooperation from the Republican Party, the North American Party concludes their convention and nominates Fremont for President and Governor William F Johnston of Pennsylvania for Vice President, in expectation that William L Dayton, the Republican candidate, will withdraw in favor of Johnston.

June 21– Saturday– New York City– “The latest accounts from Kansas state that the free State forces had burned the town of Bernard, destroying from twelve to fifteen thousand dollars worth of property. The town of Franklin was captured by the abolitionists on the morning of the 4th instant after a desperate fight, in which three pro-slavery men were killed. Marshal Donaldson and four men were killed at Hickory Point on the 3rd instant. All these reports, however, require confirmation. Governor Shannon issued a proclamation on the 4th instant, ordering all the unauthorized military companies to disperse, and warning outside parties to keep away from the Territory, as he had sufficient force to enforce the laws and protect the citizens. We continue to receive dispatches from Kansas, which, although very contradictory, and evidently exaggerated, prove the existence of civil war there with all its attendant horrors. We await the receipt of our correspondence for an exposition of the true state of affairs.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

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violence in Kansas

 

June 23– Monday– New York City– “Fremont promises to run pretty well. Fillmore in town; nobody cares much.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [Millard Fillmore is the former president who was nominated by the American Party back in February. The Whig Party to which Fillmore belonged at his election in 1848 has basically dissolved.]

June 25– Wednesday– New York City– “Ten years hence there will be some Fremont who can make it worth one’s while to hurrah for him, but you my unknown vociferous friends and fellow-citizens, are premature. You don’t perceive that ‘the Republican party’ is a mere squirm and wriggle of the insulted North, a brief spasm of pain under pressure and nothing more.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 26– Thursday– New York City– “Fremont meeting last night very imposing in character and numbers. The new Republican Party calls out many who have long eschewed politics. It will probably sweep this state and nearly all the Northern states.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 27– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”A large and highly respectable meeting of the colored citizens of Buffalo was held at the East Presbyterian Church, in that city, on Sunday evening, . . . and the following resolutions, after the delivery of several spirited speeches, were unanimously adopted: Resolved, That we the colored citizens of the city of Buffalo, in view of the enormous wrongs and outrages which are continually being heaped upon us, and the continued aggression of the Slave Power upon our rights, feel called upon to unite our efforts for the overthrow of slavery, as far as possible, where it now exists, and also for the purpose of resisting its further spread into Territory now free. Resolved, That we owe allegiance to no party, but now, as heretofore, declare in favor of principle in preference to party, and as such in the coming political campaign we feel bound to support such men as we shall honestly believe to be the exponents of such principles as shall vouchsafe to every man, irrespective of color or condition, his God-given and inalienable rights.” ~ The Liberator.

June 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Export records reveal that the last twelve months have established new highs for the exportation of American raw cotton, 1.351 billion pounds valued at $128,000,000 or 9.4 cents per pound. [The value in today’s dollars would be $3,690,000,000 using the Consumer Price Index.]

June ~Election Year 1852

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The two major parties hold their conventions, select their candidates and decide on their platforms. While these parties uphold the status quo on slavery and call for enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, others are deeply concerned about the end of slavery and some consider a third party option. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel continues to deeply rankle the slave-holding South. Agitation by women continues. A giant of American politics dies.

June 1– Tuesday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Democratic National Convention opens at the Maryland Institute.

June 1– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action thereon, eighteen treaties negotiated with Indian tribes in California, as described in the accompanying letter of the Secretary of the Interior, dated the 22nd ultimo, with a copy of the report of the superintendent of Indian affairs for the State of California and other correspondence in relation thereto.” ~ Message from President Millard Fillmore to the Senate.

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Frederick Douglass

 

June 3– Thursday– Rochester, New York– “The wire-pullers of each of the great political parties are successful in proportion to their accuracy in calculating the amount of villainy which will be tolerated by the good, and the amount of virtue which will be supported by the bad part of society. In selecting a candidate, they aim to present a character in which is blended a sufficient semblance of virtue to win the support of the nominally good, with an amount of wickedness, which will be sure to satisfy the unprincipled, selfish and oppressive part of the community. Thus, the lowest element in the national character, becomes predominant in all our Presidential elections; and so it will forever be until the principles of the Liberty Party shall prevail in this land. That faithful, brave and uncompromising little party will not consent to support any man for civil office who is not for a perfectly just and righteous government. To this platform, all, who would not incur the guilt and shame of prostituting their suffrage to the base and inhuman purposes of tyrants, should rally.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper

June 5– Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Democratic National Convention closes, having nominated Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire for President and William R. King, age 66, of Alabama for Vice President on the 49th round of balloting. Pierce, age 47, is a lawyer and politician who served nine years in Congress, with a reputation of being an ardent nationalist, and pro-slavery with strong sympathy for the South. King, born in North Carolina, is a lawyer, has lived in Alabama since 1818, served in the United States Senate and in the diplomatic corps. He is a close friend of James Buchanan from Pennsylvania and as Buchanan failed to win the nomination for President, party leaders arranged for King to receive the Vice President nomination as a peace-making move to Buchanan. The party’s platform declares in key sections that “the constitution does not confer upon the general government the power to commence and carry on a general system of internal improvements . . . . the liberal principles embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, and sanctioned in the constitution, which make ours the land of liberty and the asylum of the oppressed of every nation, have ever been cardinal principles in the democratic faith; and every attempt to abridge the privilege of becoming citizens and the owners of the soil among us ought to be resisted with the same spirit that swept the Alien and Sedition laws from our statute-books . . . . Congress has no power under the constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States, and that such States are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs not prohibited by the constitution; that all efforts of the abolitionists or others made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences; and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend of our political institutions. . . . the foregoing proposition covers, and was intended to embrace, the whole subject of slavery agitation in Congress; and therefore the Democratic Party of the Union, standing on this national platform, will abide by and adhere to a faithful execution of the acts known as the compromise measures settled by the last Congress– ‘the act for reclaiming fugitives from service or labor’ included; which act, being designed to carry out an express provision of the constitution, cannot, with fidelity thereto be repealed nor so changed as to destroy or impair its efficiency. . . . the Democratic Party will resist all attempts at renewing, in congress or out of it, the agitation of the slavery question, under whatever shape or color the attempt may be made. . . . the war with Mexico, upon all the principles of patriotism and the laws of nations was a just and necessary war on our part, in which every American citizen should have shown himself on the side of his country, and neither morally nor physically, by word or deed, have given ‘aid and comfort to the enemy.’” [On the history of the Democratic Party, see: The History of the Democratic Party (2007) by Heather Lehr Wagner; The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854 (1967) by Roy F Nichols; The Young America Movement and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, 1828-1861 (2007) by Yonatan Eyal.]

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Democratic Poster 1852

 

June 7– Monday– New York City– “After some forty-odd labor pains in the shape of balloting, the Democratic Convention has brought forth its candidate: Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, with William Rufus King for Vice-President. Nobody knows much of Franklin Pierce, except that he is a decent sort of man in private life.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 10– Thursday– Rochester, New York–”Will you give notice that the Free Soil National Convention for nominating candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, will be held at Cleveland, Ohio, on the first Wednesday in August next.The time cannot, under the instructions of a majority of the committee, be fixed before harvest, and it would be doing great wrong to fix a day during the hurry of that season. The day named is, therefore, the earliest, under all circumstances, that could be appointed, and the place designated by the committee is very easy of access, at that season, of the year, since all the delegates can leave home, spend two days at the Convention, and return the same week. The regular call, in full, will be prepared and issued hereafter. We hope editors friendly to the liberty and prosperity of the people and country, will aid in circulating the notice. Samuel Lewis, Chairman.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper

June 11– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “At the session of the Universal Reform Society composed in part of the leading Universalist ministers, the following resolution was offered: ‘Resolved, That we view with deep concern the present attitude of our country on the subject of slavery, believing as we do, that earnest efforts must be made for the overthrow of slavery, or the just judgment of God will descend on our land; and seeing, with great pain, a disposition on the part of those called statesmen to patch up compromises, which Merely hide but cannot cure the evil, we feel called on as Christians to testify against the unrighteousness of slavery, and to request our fellow Christians of every sect, to unite with us in striving to breakdown that loathsome institution.’” ~ The Liberator.

William-Lloyd-Garrison-02

William Lloyd Garrison

 

June 11– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a report from the Secretary of State, on the subject of the disorders on the Rio Grande frontier, and recommend the legislation which it suggests, in order that the duties and obligations of this Government occasioned thereby may be more effectually discharged and the peace and security of the inhabitants of the United States in that quarter more efficiently maintained.” ~ Message to Congress from President Fillmore.

June 12– Saturday– New Orleans, Louisiana– Taking note that a Southern writer is preparing a novel to contrast with Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “he had better write a history of Uncle Tag, Rag and Bobtail’s Cabin at the North, illustrating it with women fishing out drift wood from the ice of the river for fires; children eating with hogs out of offal barrels; emaciated corpses of fathers and mothers unshrouded, but ready for the grave, with starvation written on their sunken brows; young women, reduced by necessity to crime, leading a life of shame and vice, and giving birth to diseased and suffering children, whose little ray of life quickly expires amid the noxious atmosphere of sin and woe by which they are surrounded. Or all these groups might be placed in one picture, and to complete the whole, a likeness given of Mrs. Stowe, treading gingerly along upon her tiptoes, not noticing one of these most miserable objects at her own doors, but her eyes fixed upon distant ‘Africa,’ and her plaintive voice bemoaning the fate of the stout, fat, healthy Negroes and Negresses of the South, who are not only in an infinitely superior condition to the white poor of the North, but who, we dare say, are quite as well fed and a deal happier than Mrs. Stowe herself.” ~ Daily Picayune.

Harriet_Beecher_Stowe_c1852

Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852

 

June 17– Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Whig Party National Convention opens.

June 18– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”The third Woman’s Rights Convention of Ohio has just closed its session. It was . . . numerously attended, there being a fair representation of men as well as women; for though the object of these and similar meetings is to secure woman her rights as an member of the human family, neither speaking nor membership was here confined to the one sex, but all who had sentiments to utter in reference to the object of the Convention—whether for or against it—were invited to speak with freedom, and those who wished to aid the movement to sit as members, without distinction of sex. All honorable classes of society were represented, from the so-called highest to The so-called lowest. The seamstress who works for her twenty-five cents a day, the daughters of the farmer, fresh from the dairy and the kitchen, the wives of the laborer, the physician, the lawyer, the banker, the legislator, and the minister, were all there—all interested in one common cause, and desirous that every right God gave to woman should be fully recognized by the laws and usages of society, that every faculty He has bestowed upon her should have ample room for its proper development. Is this asking too much? And yet this is the sum and substance of the Woman’s Rights Reform—a movement which fools ridicule, and find easier to than meet with argument.” ~ The Liberator.

June 18– Friday–Baltimore, Maryland– On its second day the Whig convention adopts a platform which asserts in its key parts that the Fugitive Slave Act ought to be fully enforced, states’ rights will be protected, citizens must obey the constitution and the laws made under it [a reprimand to those involved anti-slavery activity, particularly those performing acts of civil disobedience], the government must avoid “all entangling alliances with foreign countries”, and the federal government properly has authority to improve and repair harbors and rivers as “such improvements are necessary for the common defense, and . . . the facility of commerce with foreign nations, or among the States.”

June 20– Sunday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Whig National Convention concludes, having nominated General Winfield Scott, age 66, a lawyer and career military man of New Jersey for President and William A Graham, age 48, a lawyer and politician of North Carolina for Vice President on the 53rd round of balloting. After a rather fractious convention, General Scott’s supporters have taken away the hopes of President Fillmore for renomination and dashed the hopes of Massachusetts’ Daniel Webster, now 70 years of age. [On the history of the Whig Party, see: The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (1999) by Michael F Holt; Henry Clay and the Whig Party (1936) by George Rawlings Poage.]

whig poster-scott-graham

Whig campaign poster

 

June 22– Tuesday– New York City– “Scott is the nominee at last . . . . His chance of election, I think, is small. . . . The Whigs here receive the nomination coolly. Several have said they won’t vote at all.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 24–Thursday– New York City–In today’s Tribune, Horace Greeley declares that he and his newspaper will not “keep silent about Slavery, nor acquiesce in fugitive slave hunting.”

June 26– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Fillmore requests that the Senate take action to approve a treaty between the United States and Mexico regarding the extradition of fugitives. He notes that the matter has been pending since he took office in March, 1849.

June 27– Sunday– New York City– “Scott is going to run better than I thought at first. The struggle will be close enough to be interesting.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 29– Tuesday– Walden Pond, Massachusetts– “In my experience nothing is so opposed to poetry – not crime – as business. It is a negation of life.” ~ Journal of Henry David Thoreau.

June 29–Tuesday – Washington, D. C–Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky dies at 75 years of age. President Fillmore orders all federal government offices to be closed for the remainder of the day.

Henry_Clay-headshot

Henry Clay

 

June 29– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln presides a meeting to arrange a tribute to Henry Clay.

Murder Most Foul ~ April 14 and 15, 1865

Murder Most Foul!

assassination2

As I have studied over the course of almost three decades the roots and causes of the Civil War, the people and events of that fratricidal conflict, and the people and events of the decades after the war, I am more and more convinced that the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln was the most evil and heinous crime in American history. By killing the President, John Wilkes Booth did grievous harm to the United States as a whole and the South in particular. Had Lincoln lived to complete his second term he would have led the country on a far better path, as outlined in his passionate Second Inaugural, than Andrew Johnson did. His absence hurt the reconciliation between North and South and left open the door to many wrongs against African Americans. In my mind Booth is far and away the worst criminal in American history. If Dante’s Inferno exists, Booth would be one of history’s greatest traitors being chewed eternally in the mouth of Satan. Herein follows a description from an eye witness to the tragedy.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

From the diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:

“‘I had,’ the President remarked, ‘this strange dream again last night, and we shall, judging from the past, have great news very soon. I think it must be from Sherman. My thoughts are in that direction, as are most of yours.”

I write this conversation three days after it occurred, in consequence of what took place Friday night, and but for which the mention of this dream would probably have never been noted. Great events did, indeed, follow, for within a few hours the good and gentle, as well as truly great, man who narrated his dream closed forever his earthly career.

I had retired to bed about half past-ten on the evening of the 14th of April, and was just getting asleep when Mrs. Welles, my wife, said some one was at our door. Sitting up in bed, I heard a voice twice call to John, my son, whose sleeping-room was on the second floor directly over the front entrance. I arose at once and raised a window, when my messenger, James Smith, called to me that Mr. Lincoln, the President, had been shot, and said Secretary Seward and his son, Assistant Secretary Frederick Seward, were assassinated. James was much alarmed and excited. I told him his story was very incoherent and improbable, that he was associating men who were not together and liable to attack at the same time. ‘Where,’I inquired, ‘was the President when shot?’ James said he was at Ford’s Theatre on 10th Street. ‘Well,’ said I, ‘Secretary Seward is an invalid in bed in his house yonder on 15th Street.’ James said he had been there, stopped in at the house to make inquiry before alarming me.

Lincoln's rocking chair in which he sat at the theater

Lincoln’s rocking chair in which he sat at the theater

I immediately dressed myself, and, against the earnest remonstrance and appeals of my wife, went directly to Mr. Seward’s, whose residence was on the east side of the square, mine being on the north. James accompanied me. As we were crossing 15th Street, I saw four or five men in earnest consultation, standing under the lamp on the corner by St. John’s Church. Before I had got half across the street, the lamp was suddenly extinguished and the knot of persons rapidly dispersed. For a moment and but a moment I was disconcerted to find myself in darkness, but, recollecting that it was late and about time for the moon to rise, I proceeded on, not having lost five steps, merely making a pause without stopping. Hurrying forward into 15th Street, I found it pretty full of people, especially so near the residence of Secretary Seward, where there were many soldiers as well as citizens already gathered. Entering the house, I found the lower hall and office full of persons, and among them most of the foreign legations, all anxiously inquiring what truth there was in the horrible rumors afloat. I replied that my object was to ascertain the facts. Proceeding through the hall to the stairs, I found one, and I think two, of the servants there holding the crowd in check. The servants were frightened and appeared relieved to see me. I hastily asked what truth there was in the story that an assassin or assassins had entered the house and assaulted the Secretary. They said it was true, and that Mr. Frederick was also badly injured. They wished me to go up, but no others. At the head of the first stairs I met the elder Mrs. Seward, who was scarcely able to speak but desired me to proceed up to Mr. Seward’s room. I met Mrs. Frederick Seward on the third story, who, although in extreme distress, was, under the circumstances, exceedingly composed. I asked for the Secretary’s room, which she pointed out, the southwest room. As I entered, I met Miss Fanny Seward, with whom I exchanged a single word, and proceeded to the foot of the bed. Dr. Verdi and, I think, two others were there. The bed was saturated with blood. The Secretary was lying on his back, the upper part of his head covered by a cloth, which extended down over his eyes. His mouth was open, the lower jaw dropping down. I exchanged a few whispered words with Dr. Verdi. Secretary Stanton, who came after but almost simultaneously with me, made inquiries in a louder tone till admonished by a word from one of the physicians. We almost immediately withdrew and went into the adjoining front room, where lay Frederick Seward. His eyes were open but he did not move them, nor a limb, nor did he speak. Doctor White, who was in attendance, told me he was unconscious and more dangerously injured than his father.

Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War

Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War

As we descended the stairs, I asked Stanton what he had heard in regard to the President that was reliable. He said the President was shot at Ford’s Theatre, that he had seen a man who was present and witnessed the occurrence. I said I would go immediately to the White House. Stanton told me the President was not there but was at the theatre. ‘Then,’ said I, ‘let us go immediately there.’He said that was his intention, and asked me, if I had not a carriage, to go with him. In the lower hall we met General Meigs,  whom he requested to take charge of the house, and to clear out all who did not belong there. General Meigs begged Stanton not to go down to 10th Street; others also remonstrated against our going. Stanton, I thought, hesitated. Hurrying forward, I remarked that I should go immediately, and I thought it his duty also. He said he should certainly go, but the remonstrants increased and gathered round him. I said we were wasting time, and, pressing through the crowd, entered the carriage and urged Stanton, who was detained by others after he had placed his foot on the step. I was impatient. Stanton, as soon as he had seated himself, turned round, rose partly, and said the carriage was not his. I said that was no objection. He invited Meigs to go with us, and Judge Cartter of the Supreme Court mounted with the driver. At this moment Major Eckert rode up on horseback beside the carriage and protested vehemently against Stanton’s going to 10th Street; said he had just come from there, that there were thousands of people of all sorts there, and he considered it very unsafe for the Secretary of War to expose himself. I replied that I knew not where he would be more safe, and that the duty of both of us was to attend the President immediately. Stanton concurred. Meigs called to some soldiers to go with us, and there was one on each side of the carriage. The streets were full of people. Not only the sidewalk but the carriage-way was to some extent occupied, all or nearly all hurrying towards 10th Street. When we entered that street we found it pretty closely packed.

The President had been carried across the street from the theatre, to the house of a Mr. Peterson. We entered by ascending a flight of steps above the basement and passing through a long hall to the rear, where the President lay extended on a bed, breathing heavily. Several surgeons were present, at least six, I should think more. Among them I was glad to observe Dr. Hall, who, however, soon left. I inquired of Dr. Hall, as I entered, the true condition of the President. He replied the President was dead to all intents, although he might live three hours or perhaps longer.

Lincoln on his death bed

Lincoln on his death bed

The giant sufferer lay extended diagonally across the bed, which was not long enough for him. He had been stripped of his clothes. His large arms, which were occasionally exposed, were of a size which one would scarce have expected from his spare appearance. His slow, full respiration lifted the clothes with each breath that he took. His features were calm and striking. I had never seen them appear to better advantage than for the first hour, perhaps, that I was there. After that, his right eye began to swell and that part of his face became discolored.

Senator Sumner was there, I think, when I entered. If not he came in soon after, as did Speaker Colfax, Mr. Secretary McCulloch, and the other members of the Cabinet, with the exception of Mr. Seward. A double guard was stationed at the door and on the sidewalk, to repress the crowd, which was of course highly excited and anxious. The room was small and overcrowded. The surgeons and members of the Cabinet were as many as should have been in the room, but there were many more, and the hall and other rooms in the front or main house were full. One of these rooms was occupied by Mrs. Lincoln and her attendants, with Miss Harris. Mrs. Dixon and Mrs. Kinney came to her about twelve o’clock. About once an hour Mrs. Lincoln would repair to the bedside of her dying husband and with lamentation and tears remain until overcome by emotion.

[April 15.] A door which opened upon a porch or gallery, and also the windows, were kept open for fresh air. The night was dark, cloudy, and damp, and about six it began to rain. I remained in the room until then without sitting or leaving it, when, there being a vacant chair which some one left at the foot of the bed, I occupied it for nearly two hours, listening to the heavy groans, and witnessing the wasting life of the good and great man who was expiring before me.

About 6 a.m. I experienced a feeling of faintness and for the first time after entering the room, a little past eleven, I left it and the house, and took a short walk in the open air. It was a dark and gloomy morning, and rain set in before I returned to the house, some fifteen minutes [later]. Large groups of people were gathered every few rods, all anxious and solicitous. Some one or more from each group stepped forward as I passed, to inquire into the condition of the President, and to ask if there was no hope. Intense grief was on every countenance when I replied that the President could survive but a short time. The colored people especially – and there were at this time more of them, perhaps, than of whites – were overwhelmed with grief.

Ford's Theater draped in black the next day

Ford’s Theater draped in black the next day

Returning to the house, I seated myself in the back parlor, where the Attorney-General and others had been engaged in taking evidence concerning the assassination. Stanton, and Speed, and Usher were there, the latter asleep on the bed. There were three or four others also in the room. While I did not feel inclined to sleep, as many did, I was somewhat indisposed. I had been so for several days. The excitement and bad atmosphere from the crowded rooms oppressed me physically.

A little before seven, I went into the room where the dying President was rapidly drawing near the closing moments. His wife soon after made her last visit to him. The death-struggle had begun. Robert, his son, stood with several others at the head of the bed. He bore himself well, but on two occasions gave way to overpowering grief and sobbed aloud, turning his head and leaning on the shoulder of Senator Sumner. The respiration of the President became suspended at intervals, and at last entirely ceased at twenty-two minutes past seven.

A prayer followed from Dr. Gurley; and the Cabinet, with the exception of Mr. Seward and Mr. McCulloch, immediately thereafter assembled in the back parlor, from which all other persons were excluded, and there signed a letter which was prepared by Attorney-General Speed to the Vice-President, informing him of the event, and that the government devolved upon him.”

President Andrew Johnson

President Andrew Johnson

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

Extreme Peril at this Moment

petersburg siege images

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.

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.]

You Are to Press to the Utmost ~ March 1865 ~ 2nd to 3rd

You Are to Press to the Utmost

General Grant

General Grant

As the capital prepares for Lincoln’s second inauguration, the President instructs General Grant to press hard against General Lee and to have no discussion except about terms of surrender. Southern soldiers and civilians worry about the state of affairs. Northerners in Boston honor African American history. Walt Whitman has returned to caring for wounded soldiers.

field-hospital

March 2– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Had a houseful of visitors to witness the inauguration. Speaker Colfax is grouty because Mrs. Welles has not called on his mother– a piece of etiquette which Seward says is proper.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

March 2– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Raining. No well-authenticated news; but by many it is believed Staunton is in the hands of the enemy, and Lynchburg menaced. Nevertheless, the government is sending a portion of the archives and stores to Lynchburg! The clergymen are at work begging supplies for the soldiers; and they say the holding of Richmond and the success of the cause depend upon the success of their efforts, the government being null! A large per cent of these preachers is of Northern birth– and some of them may possibly betray the cause if they deem it desperate. This is the history of such men in the South so far. But the President trusts them, and we must trust the President.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

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March 2– Thursday– in the forests of North Carolina– “I will write again today, although I feel almost certain my letters will never reach you. My anxiety to hear from you is getting more & more great & my mind more & more troubled. I try to make myself believe that you are all well & happy in the old home. But fears & doubts will arise & make me feel unhappy, & my being inactive & confined to the house, has a tendency to make me feel gloomy low spirited & very homesick. The Yankees are unable to move on account of the mud it having rained more or less for 6 days & is still drizzling, dark clouds hanging low with prospects of more rain. The roads are in terrible condition.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington King to his wife Bessie.

March 2– Thursday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “I was just telling Puss [a slave] to go back and stay with her mother [a slave called Mammy], when Bruno [a dog] began to bark and growl savagely– we heard a noise too, like a scream. . . . In a moment we heard it again and she ran to the door– as she opened it, I heard thru the driving and beating of the storm a wild ‘Hello!’At the same instant Mammy emerged from the darkness exclaiming ‘it’s somebody– it’s soldiers– they’re hollering hello! G_d d__n you! Hello!’ She was frightened and I told Puss to run back with her. I was here with the children, Carolina was asleep. In a half minute I could see whenever the lightning flashed several horsemen riding around the house and soon came the usual routine of oaths accompanied with ‘Where’s the man of the house? We want meat– hand us out some hams, quick here.’ . . . . I thought they were all about to rush in. They rode up to the porch when I said ‘You can’t do that– if I had provisions I would be willing to give it to you– but I have not– and this day received a strong protection from the commanding officer here, who orders all this command not only to protect but to defend me and my property [as] is necessary. Go on quietly to town and you will be provided with something to eat there.’ ‘D__n it and who’s to give it to us?’ ‘Your commander, of course.’ . . . . I could say no more– the rain drove into my face. I saw they had left the porch. I shut the door and locked it with trembling hands. I sank into a chair by the stairs, shaking all over. I rubbed my hands and tried my best to keep it off but it would come– one of those hard nervous chills. Every moment I expected to hear them come against the door or to hear some fuss down at the [slave] cabin where I thought they had gone. I got to the wardrobe, swallowed some brandy and then sat down on my bed. . . . The wretches did not return but I was tormented all the while not knowing what they might be at down at the cabin.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

soldiers plundering a local farm

soldiers plundering a local farm

March 2– Thursday– Blue Spring, Georgia– “We left Pine Bluff at eleven o’clock and reached the Blue Spring in time for lunch. Albert Bacon and Jimmy Chiles were there to meet us. Hang a petticoat on a bean pole and carry it where you will, Jimmy will follow. The river is so high that its muddy waters have backed up into the spring and destroyed its beauty, but we enjoyed the glorious flowers that bloom around it, and saw some brilliant birds of a kind that were new to me. Mr. Bacon said he would kill one and give me to trim my hat.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Reverend Volkner's grave

Reverend Volkner’s grave

March 2– Thursday– Opotiki, New Zealand– Carl Sylvius Volkner, a German-born Christian missionary, age 45, is hanged and decapitated by Maori traditional religionists.

March 3– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”Notice. The martyrdom of Crispus Attucks (March 5th, 1770) will be commemorated on Tuesday Evening, March 7th, at the Meionaon, (Tremont Temple). The eloquent counselor and orator, John M. Langston, Esq., of Oberlin, will deliver an address on ‘The Colored American as a Soldier,’ and the distinguished and eloquent poet and speaker, Mrs. Frances Watkins Haper, of Baltimore, on ‘The Mission of the War.’ Exercises to be accompanied with appropriate music. For particulars, see bills of the day. Tickets, 25 cents each, to be obtained of R. F. Wallcut, Anti-Slavery office, 221 Washington Street, and at the door, or of William C. Nell.” ~ The Liberator. [On Crispus Attucks, see Chapter 2 of Landmarks of African American History by James Horton (2005); on John M Langston, see John Mercer Langston and the Fight for Black Freedom, 1829– 65 by William Cheek and Aimee Lee Cheek (1989).]

John Mercer Langston

John Mercer Langston

March 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln signs into law legislation establishing the Freedman’s Bureau to provide education and advancement for freed slaves.

March 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The city quite full of people. General Halleck has apprehensions that there may be mischief. Thinks precautions should be taken. Advises that the navy yard should be closed. I do not participate in these fears, and yet I will not say it is not prudent to guard against contingencies. At the Cabinet-meeting to-day, the President gave formal notice that he proposed inviting McCulloch to the [position of Secretary of the] Treasury early next week. He said that . . . in regard to the other gentlemen of the Cabinet, he wished none of them to resign, at least for the present, for he contemplated no changes.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

March 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference with General Lee unless it be for the capitulation of General Lee’s army, or on some minor and purely military matter. He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer upon any political question. Such questions the President holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or conventions. Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military advantages.” ~ Telegram from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to Union General Ulysses S. Grant.

General Lee

General Lee

March 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Your letter has reached me– my best thanks for your contribution to the wounded & sick, & shall be applied in most needy cases. You speak of seeing Dr. Russell– has he not rec’d a N. Y. Times of two months since containing a sketch of my Visits to Hospitals? I thought one had been sent him. If he has not had one I should like to send one to him. The paragraph in the Gazette by Mr Shillaber is very kind. I do not wish you to send me any of the papers. Nothing new or special with me. I believe I told you I was working a few hours a day, a sufficiently remunerative desk in Indian office. I spend a couple of hours day or evening in the hospitals.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to John Townsend Trowbridge.

March 3– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Raining and cold. . . . Thank God, I have some 300 pounds of flour and half that amount of meal–bread rations for my family, seven in number, for more than two months! I have but 7-1/2 pounds of meat; but we can live without it, as we have often done. I have a bushel of peas also, and coal and wood for a month. This is a guarantee against immediate starvation, should the famine become more rigorous, upon which we may felicitate ourselves. Our nominal income has been increased; amounting now to some $16,000 in [Confederate] paper– less than $300 in specie [gold or silver coin]. . . . It is rumored that [Confederate] General [Jubal] Early has been beaten again at Waynesborough, and that the enemy have reached Charlottesville for the first time. Thus it seems our downward career continues. We must have a victory soon, else Virginia is irretrievably lost. . . . It is said they are fighting at Gordonsville; whether or not the enemy have Charlottesville is therefore uncertain. I presume it is an advance of [Union General Phil] Sheridan’s cavalry whom our troops have engaged at Gordonsville.”~ Diary of John Jones.

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March 3– Friday– in the forests of North Carolina– “I am rejoiced to hear there is a regular mail communication opened yesterday between this place and Georgia. The command has been in a fight lately [and] two of my old company were killed – Shaw living near Roswell was one, the other Mahaffey of Gwinnett. If possible let Mrs. Shaw know. They were killed in a charge on Sherman’s wagons three days ago. I can’t hear the particulars. You will see in the papers a correspondence between Sherman & General Hampton about killing Sherman’s foragers. None are taken prisoners but all killed. I am afraid my darling wife that I will not be able to get any furlough this spring, as long as the campaign continues active I will not apply, as I will be needed with the command.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington King to his wife Bessie.

March 3– Friday– Macon, Georgia– “I am informed that the Government of the United States, will permit cotton to be shipped through the blockade, to be sold North and the proceeds applied to the relief of our suffering prisoners confined in their prisons. I also learn, that other States have taken action in this matter for the relief of their suffering sons. None have done their duty more faithfully than the Georgia troops, and while we provide for the wants of those under arms and their families, we should not forget those who languish in foreign confinement. I, therefore, recommend an appropriation sufficient to purchase one thousand bales of cotton to be shipped to New York and sold, and the proceeds applied to their relief. And I further recommend that the Governor be authorized to appoint a proper agent to go to New York, and see to the sale of the cotton and the proper application of the fund.” ~ Message from Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown to the state senate.

planter's mansion

planter’s mansion

March 3– Friday– Gopher Hill, Georgia– “Up at daybreak, and on the train, ready to leave Albany. Albert and Jimmy were there, of course, besides a number of Albany people who had come to see us off – a great compliment at that heathenish hour. We got off at Wooten’s Station, only twelve miles from Albany. Flora and Captain Rust were there to meet us with conveyances for Gopher Hill. It is worth the journey from Pine Bluff to Gopher Hill just to travel over the road between there and Wooten’s. It runs nearly all the way through swamps alive with the beauty and fragrance of spring. . . . . On each side of the avenue leading to the house is a small lake, and about two miles back in the plantation, a large one on which Flora has a row-boat. She has a beautiful pony named Fleet, that is the counterpart of our own dear little Dixie. Colonel Maxwell has a great many fine horses and all sorts of conveyances, which are at the service of his guests. He is one of the most aristocratic-looking old gentlemen I ever saw. In manners, appearance, and disposition, he is strikingly like Brother Troup, except that the colonel is very large and commanding, while Brother Troup is small and dapper. He is very handsome – next to Bishop Elliot, one of the finest specimens of Southern manhood I ever saw. It is one of the cases where blood will tell, for he has the best of Georgia in his veins, or to go back further, the best in old Scotland itself. Though over sixty years old, he has never been out of the State, and is as full of whims and prejudices as the traditional old country squire that we read about in English novels. His present wife, Flora’s stepmother, is much younger than he, very gay and witty, and escapes all worry by taking a humorous view of him and his crotchets. He and Flora idolize each other, and she is the only person that can do anything with him, and not always even she, when he once gets his head fast set.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 3– Friday– Kharkin, Ukraine– Birth of Alexander Gustav Adolfovich Winkler, composer, pianist and educator. [Dies August 6, 1935.]

HSBC headquarters, 1901

HSBC headquarters, 1901

March 3– Friday– Hong Kong, China– Opening of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the founding member of the HSBC Group.

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

Sherman Is Proving Himself a Great General ~ Gideon Welles

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

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

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

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

fourteenth-massachusetts-volunteers

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

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

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

civilians fleeing before Sherman's advance

civilians fleeing before Sherman’s advance

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

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

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

Cattle Drinking by Troyon

Cattle Drinking by Troyon

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

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

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

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

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

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

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

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

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

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

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

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews