Tag Archives: diplomats

June ~ Election Year 1920

Woman making American Flag

The Republicans nominate a dark horse who likes women to whom he is not married. Henry Ford’s newspaper carries anti-Semitic articles. The Democratic National Convention opens at the end of the month. The propose Nineteenth Amendment is not yet ratified and the Republicans are not doing much do complete ratification.

June 1– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– United States Supreme Court rules that state referenda are not part of the federal constitutional amendment process.

June 1– Tuesday– Mexico City, Mexico– Adolfo de la Huerta becomes president of Mexico.


Adolfo de la Huerta


June 2– Wednesday– Dover, Delaware– The state legislature refuses to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

June 3– Thursday– New York City– The American Jewish Committee telegraphs automaker Henry Ford, age 58, protesting the anti-Semitic nature of the series entitled “The International Jew” which Ford has been running in the Dearborn [Michigan] Independent, a newspaper he owns.

June 5– Saturday– New York City– The Literary Digest poll puts Warren G. Harding eighth among Republican presidential candidates, below even Calvin Coolidge and William Howard Taft.

June 7– Monday– New York City– Harding visits his younger mistress, 23 year old Nan Britton.


Chicago Coliseum


June 8– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention opens at the Coliseum with 984 voting delegates present. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, age 70, delivers the keynote address.

June 11– Friday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention has adopted a platform which favors continuing intervention in Mexico, reduced taxation so as to not “needlessly repress enterprise and thrift,” protective tariffs, conservation of natural resources, exclusion of Asian immigrants, reducing the number and types of immigrants granted admission, denying free speech to aliens, the construction of highways, an end to lynching, quick ratification of the Woman Suffrage [Nineteenth] Amendment, enforcement of civil service laws, vocational and agricultural training, restriction of child labor and limitation on the hours of women working “in intensive industry,” no additional appropriations for disabled veterans, and which opposes the League of Nations, recognition of an Armenian state, and strikes by labor. It accuses the outgoing Wilson Administration of being unprepared for war and equally now unprepared for peace.

June 12– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention closes, having taken ten rounds of balloting to nominate Warren G Harding for President. The decision on Harding as the choice was literally made in the early hours of the morning in a smoke-filled hotel room by party leaders, including six senior U S Senators. Harding, a native of Ohio, is 54 years old, a journalist, businessman and a member of the U S Senate since 1915. In the primaries he won only 4.54% of the total votes cast. While privately a heavy drinker, he publicly supports prohibition, favors big business and high protective tariffs, opposes the League of Nations and voted against the nomination of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Married to Florence King De Wolfe, he has liaisons with two other women, one of whom– Nan Britton– bore his daughter in 1919.


June 12– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– “Ours is not only a fortunate people but a very common-sensical people, with vision high, but their feet on the earth, with belief in themselves and faith in God. Whether enemies threaten from without or menaces arise from within, there is some indefinable voice saying, ‘Have confidence in the Republic! America will go on!’ Here is a temple of liberty no storms may shake, here are the altars of freedom no passions shall destroy. It was American in conception, American in its building, it shall be American in the fulfillment. Sectional once, we are all American now, and we mean to be all Americans to all the world. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my countrymen all: I would not be my natural self if I did not utter my consciousness of my limited ability to meet your full expectations, or to realize the aspirations within my own breast, but I will gladly give all that is in me, all of heart, soul and mind and abiding love of country, to service in our common cause. I can only pray to the Omnipotent God that I may be as worthy in service as I know myself to be faithful in thought and purpose. One can not give more. Mindful of the vast responsibilities, I must be frankly humble, but I have that confidence in the consideration and support of all true Americans which makes me wholly unafraid. With an unalterable faith and in a hopeful spirit, with a hymn of service in my heart, I pledge fidelity to our country and to God, and accept the nominations of the Republican Party for the Presidency of the United States.” ~ Letter from Warren G Harding, accepting the Republican nomination.

June 13– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– Seymour Stedman, a lawyer, age 49, opens the campaign of the Socialist Party. He is the Party’s nominee for Vice-President. Eugene V Debs, the candidate for President, is in federal prison for speaking out against American entry into the European war in 1917.


Debs campaign button


June 20– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– Violence erupts between white and black people. Grover Cleveland Redding, a black man, is arrested on various charges, including murder.

June 21– Monday– Marion, Ohio– Alice Paul, feminist and suffrage activist, meets with Warren G Harding, the Republican nominee for President. [Paul, 1885-1977, a native of New Jersey, is a lawyer, feminist, activist and organizer, founder of the National Woman’s Party, and served time in jail for a 1917 protest in front of the White House.]

June 22– Tuesday– Marion, Ohio– The Harding campaign announces that its slogan is “Back to Normal.”

June 23– Wednesday– New York City– Charles F Murphy, age 62, political boss of Tammany Hall, is indicted along with five others on federal charges.

June 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– Governor Calvin Coolidge, age 48, Republican nominee for Vice-President, announces that he will not pressure Vermont and Connecticut to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

June 26– Saturday– Dearborn, Michigan– The Dearborn Independent, owned by Henry Ford, begins publication of another series of anti-Semitic articles.

June 27– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– Republican National Committee Chairman Will Hays meets privately with Carrie Fulton Phillips, a mistress of Warren G Harding. In return for annual payments from the Republican Party, Mrs Phillips agrees not to make public her love letters to and from Republican candidate Harding. [On July 29, 2014, approximately 1,000 pages of these letters are made public by the Library of Congress.] About Harding’s fondness for women Senator Boies Penrose Penrose, Republican from Pennsylvania, has said to other Republican leaders, “No worries about that! We’ll just throw a halo around his handsome head and everything will be all right.”


Carrie Fulton Phillips, one of Harding’s mistresses


June 27 – Sunday– Washington, D.C.– William Gibbs McAdoo, age 56 and married to Woodrow Wilson’s daughter, declares that he will accept the Democratic nomination for President if it is offered to him.

June 28– Monday– San Francisco, California– The Democratic National Convention opens in the Civic Auditorium with 1,091 voting delegates in attendance. It is the first time that a convention of either major party is held west of the Rocky Mountains. Almost 30% of the delegates arrive unpledged.


San Francisco Civic Auditorium


June 29– Tuesday– Albany, New York– Dudley Field Malone, age 38, graduate of Fordham Law School and a liberal activist, is nominated by New York State branch of the Farmer-Labor Party for governor of the state.

June 29– Tuesday– London, England–Edward M House, age 62, foreign affairs advisor to President Wilson, tells British reporters that Harding and the Republicans may lose the election due to overconfidence, that if the Nineteenth Amendment is soon ratified it will send fifteen to twenty million women into the pool of voters, the next administration will ratify the Versailles Treaty, and any Republican or Democratic public support for the independence of Ireland “certainly would be unpleasant to Great Britain.”


Edward M House


June 30– Wednesday– San Francisco, California– Franklin Delano Roosevelt places Al Smith in nomination for the Democratic standard bearer in the up-coming presidential race.

June 30– Wednesday– Jaffa, Palestine– British soldiers shoot and kill two Arab demonstrators.


Savannah Surrenders ~ December 1864 ~ 21st & 22nd

Savannah Surrenders

With Confederate troops gone, the mayor of Savannah surrenders the city to General Sherman and his Federal army. Many parts of Georgia continue to suffer from the ravages of Sherman’s march to the sea. Conditions in southern prison camps deteriorate. Cold weather and scarcities bother many, soldiers and civilians alike.


December 21– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Mr. Dillon yesterday received a letter from Lieutenant Melvin Richards, of Carlin’s battery, who was captured by the rebels on the Hunter raid and who has since been confined in different Southern prisons. . . . says the prisoners have nothing to eat but meal, rice and Sorghum which they are not even allowed to prepare to suit their tastes. . . . The prisoners have had no meat or lard or any animal food of any kind issued to them since October last. . . . Lieutenant Richards has never received any of the money sent him by his friends. He has received several letters but the money sent in them had been abstracted from the envelope. Captain Craig of the 1st West Virginia Infantry received a letter a short time ago which had been broken open and the money abstracted. The only way prisoners can get money is to have it secreted in a box, which may be done in various ways, one of the best of which is to knock the box apart at the end. Then bore a three-eighth hole with the grain of the wood, put in ten gold dollars, plug up and nail together, putting a drop of ink or some such significant mark on the spot.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 21– Wednesday– Moffett’s Creek Virginia– “Have not had a letter from you of later date than September 15th. Heard through J Hanger. Have looked long and anxiously for letters but disappointed until we have almost ceased to expect a letter, but know it is not your fault that we do not hear. Wrights, Beards & ourselves started a box to you. Hope will have received it. There was a suit of clothes apiece for you and H Wright, also some eatables. Aunt Lizzie had a ham to send but wasn’t room for it. Beards sent a box [of] tobacco and [a] pair [of] socks. Nothing of much interest transpiring. Friends of the boys well so far as I know. We are all in good health at present– pa suffered very much a couple of weeks from severe pain in breast could not rest at nights but is relieved of that now. How Houston died of wound received a few days before, sometime last month. Miss N Emerson was buried Monday. Mr Bill Steele and Miss Annie McNult are to be married to- morrow. Both nearly old enough for such a step. . . . Oh, how I wish you were here.” ~ Letter from Mary A. Smiley to her brother Thomas, a Confederate soldier.


December 21– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Intelligence of the death of Mr. Dayton, our Minister to France, creates some commotion among public men. The event was sudden and his loss will be felt. . . . I had a light and pleasant acquaintance with him when in the Senate some fifteen or eighteen years ago, and we had some correspondence and one or two interviews in the Fremont campaign in 1856, when he was pleased to compliment me, on comparing Connecticut and New Jersey, with having done much to place my own State in a right position. We met again in the spring of 1861. He was a dignified and gentlemanly representative, not a trained diplomat, and unfortunately not acquainted with the language of the French Court. A numerous progeny has arisen at once to succeed him. John Bigelow, consul at Paris, has been appointed Charge, and I doubt if any other person will be selected who is more fit.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

December 21– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Henry Richards, alias C. Smith, came into our lines on Monday and represented himself as a Yankee deserter. He was recognized and identified as a deserter from the 21st Mississippi Regiment. He was sent to the Castle. W. T. Jones, Company C, 17th Mississippi, was sent to the Castle yesterday from the Jackson hospital, charged with larceny.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

December 21– Wednesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “A wet stormy day and nothing going on to report. We are glad to stay in our huts and keep dry and warm.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 21– Wednesday– Savannah, Georgia– “The city of Savannah was last night evacuated by the Confederate military and is now entirely defenseless. As chief magistrate of the city I respectfully request your protection of the lives and private property of the citizens and of our women and children. Trusting that this appeal to your generosity and humanity may favorably influence your action, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant.” ~ Letter from Savannah Mayor R. D. Arnold to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. In his memoirs Sherman wrote, “General Hardee had crossed the Savannah River by a pontoon-bridge, carrying off his men and light artillery, blowing up his iron-clads and navy-yard, but leaving for us all the heavy guns, stores, cotton, railway-cars, steamboats, and an immense amount of public and private property.”

General Sherman

General Sherman

December 21– Wednesday– Savannah, Georgia– “To the Citizens of Savannah: By the fortunes of war we pass today under the authority of the Federal military forces. The evacuation of Savannah by the Confederate army, which took place last night, left the gates to the city open, and General Sherman, with his army will, no doubt, to-day take possession. The Mayor and Common Counsel leave under a flag of truce this morning, for the headquarters of General Sherman, to offer the surrender of the city, and ask terms of capitulation by which private property and citizens may be respected. We desire to counsel obedience and all proper respect on the part of our citizens, and to express the belief that their property and persons will be respected by our military ruler. The fear expressed by many that General Sherman will repeat the order of expulsion from their homes which he enforced against the citizens of Atlanta, we think to be without foundation. He assigned his reason in that case as a military necessity, it was a question of food. He could not supply his army and the citizens with food, and he stated that he must have full and sole occupation. But in our case food can be abundantly supplied for both army and civilians. We would not be understood as even intimating that we are to be fed at the cost of the Federal Government, but that food can be easily obtained in all probability, by all who can afford to pay in the Federal currency. It behooves all to keep within their homes until General Sherman shall have organized a provost system and such police as will insure safety in persons as well as property. Let our conduct be such as to win the admiration of a magnanimous foe, and give no ground for complaint or harsh treatment on the part of him who will for an indefinite period hold possession of our city. In our city there are, as in other communities, a large proportion of poor and needy families, who, in the present situation of affairs, brought about by the privations of war, will be thrown upon the bounty of their more fortunate neighbors. Deal with them kindly, exercise your philanthropy and benevolence, and let the heart of the unfortunate not be deserted by your friendly aid.” ~ front page of the Savannah Republican.

December 21– Wednesday– Ballynure, County Antrimi, Ireland– Birth of James Whiteside Mc Cay, who will become a Lieutenant General in the Australian Army, and a member of the Australian Parliament. [Dies October 1, 1930.]

December 22– Thursday– New York City– “Shakespeare uses words as nobody but Beethoven has ever used musical notes, conveying the most intense impressions in the most accountable way. . . . Details come in of Sherman’s grand adagio movement through Georgia, and most interesting they are. That seems to have been among the best and boldest conceptions of the war and to have been most triumphantly executed. Savannah is fully invested now by land and water. Rebel newspapers have not the least misgivings as to safety of that city.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 22– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We have received a note from several members of Carlin’s Battery, now stationed at Fort Boreman, Parkersburg, requesting us to state for the information of friends in this city who may desire to visit the boys about Christmas, that they intend to give a grand ball on the evening of the 23rd.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 22– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and cold. We have nothing from below. From Wilmington, we learn there is much commotion to resist the armada launched against that port. General Lee is sending troops via the Danville Road in that direction. The wire has been cut between this and Gordonsville, by the scouts of the raiders launched in that direction. We breakfast, dine, and sup on horrors now, and digest them all quite sullenly. I am invited to a turkey dinner to-day (at Mr. Waterhouse’s), and have some hesitation in accepting it at a time like this. Ought I to go? He is a skilled artisan and has made money, and no doubt the turkey is destined to be eaten by somebody. . . . There were some commissaries and quartermasters present, who are supposed to have stolen much from the government, and desire to exchange the currency they have ruined for imperishable wealth [exchanging almost worthless Confederate paper money for gold and silver]. They, too, will run away the first opportunity. The sun shines brightly this beautiful cold day; but all is dark in Congress. The Tennessee members say Hood’s army is destroyed, that he will not get 1000 men out of the State, for the Tennesseans, Kentuckians, etc. refuse to retire farther south, but straggle and scatter to their homes, where they will remain. I am told we have but a thin curtain of pickets on the north side of the James River, between us and 15,000 Negro troops.” ~ Diary of John Jones.


December 22– Thursday– near Duck River, Tennessee– “I have come through so far all safe. I was in the charge the two first days in front of Nashville. All the boys came out safe that went down from out section. It has been raining and snowing ever since we left Nashville and has been very hard traveling. It is very cold here now. We are waiting to get across the river.We may cross today and go to Columbia about two miles from here. We have taken many prisoners and pieces of artillery. I don’t know how many. I suppose you know more about it than I do as we have not had any mail for several days. Our brigade captured six pieces of artillery [on] the first charge and I helped to haul them off the field. I will send my fine shirt by first mail. I fixed it up to send the day before we left Nashville but did not get to send it out. I will write again as soon as I can get the chance. I have to write this laying on my belly and am getting very cold so no more this time. Take care of yourself and the babies. Kiss them for me.” ~ Letter from Union soldier John C. Seibert to his wife Rachel.

December 22– Thursday– Covington, Georgia– “Tuesday, the nineteenth of the month, I attended Floyd Glass’s [daughter’s] wedding. She was married in the morning to Lieutenant Doroughty. She expected to have been married the week after the Yankees came, but her groom was not able to get here. Some of the Yankees found out in some way that she was to have been married, and annoyed her considerably by telling her that they had taken her sweetheart prisoner; that when he got off the train at the Circle they took him and, some said, shot him. The Yankees found Mrs. Glass’s china and glassware that she had buried in a box, broke it all up, and then sent her word that she would set no more fine tables. They also got Mrs. Perry’s silver.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

This Administration Will Not Be Re-elected~August 1864~22nd & 23rd

This Administration Will Not Be Re-elected~President Lincoln.

In a dark mood, a pessimistic Lincoln drafts a secret memorandum pledging to support his successor who will not be able to save the Union. Publicly he encourages soldiers to press for victory. A Southern woman with four children learns that she is a widow. Another Southern woman worries that a slave revolt will be worse than an invasion by Yankees. A free black man is imprisoned in Richmond for the crime of serving as a scout for Federal troops. Yet another woman, born in the North, finally finds a way to her birthplace but leaves the South with deep regret. A Yankee soldier writes home about receiving his dead brother’s personal effects. Appalled by various wars in the last ten years, a group of Europeans sign the First Geneva Convention, an attempt to mitigate bellicose atrocities, and thereby sanction the activities of the International Red Cross.


August 22– Monday– New York City– “Grant has made a new move, extending his left and occupying the Weldon Railroad. Lee was compelled to come out and attack. Sharp fighting. Results rather mixed in quality. We have lost heavily, but seem to hold our new position, a position it much concerns Lee to recover if he can.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 22– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I suppose you are going home to see your families and friends. For the services you have done in this great struggle in which we are engaged, I present you sincere thanks for myself and the country. I almost always feel inclined, when I say anything to soldiers, to impress upon them, in a few brief remarks, the importance of success in this contest. It is not merely for the day, but for all time to come, that we should perpetuate for our children’s children that great and free government which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours. I happen, temporarily, to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has. It is in order that each one of you may have, through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field, and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise, and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life with all its desirable human aspirations–it is for this that the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthrights– not only for one, but for two or three years, if necessary. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.” ~ Remarks of President Lincoln to the 166th Ohio Regiment.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

August 22– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Mr. Fessenden returned yesterday– a long absence for such a period as this. The course pursued at the Treasury Department in withholding money from the naval contractors for months after it is due is reprehensible and injurious in the highest degree to the public credit. Mr. F. is not responsible for this wrong. It was the work of Chase, who, in order to retire his interest-bearing notes, seized the money which legitimately belonged to the naval contractors to the amount of $12,000,000. As a consequence we shall lose some of our best contractors, who feel there is bad faith and no dependence on the government.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [The $12 million would equal $184 million today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

August 22– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Francis J. Blake, of the Maryland Line, was on yesterday sent to Castle Thunder on the charge of being a spy and holding treasonable correspondence with the enemy. Peter Curry, a free Negro, sent down from Lynchburg, was committed on the charge of voluntarily piloting [Union General David] Hunter in Amherst county.” ~ Richmond Whig.

August 22– Monday– Petersburg, Virginia– “It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the death of your gallant husband E. H. Jones, who fell in the engagement near Deep Bottom on the 16th instant. In him we have lost a dear comrade, a true and noble soldier and one that did his whole duty cheerfully. He fell at his post endeavoring to repel a charge made by the enemy. He remained in the trenches after they had been abandoned by the greater part of his comrades and fell by a shot that caused instant death. He is buried near the spot he fell. I will take charge of his effects as soon as I can find some one to testify to them, and either send them to you, or make any disposition of them you may advise. My personal and immediate attention will be given to any information or service you may desire. I feel a deep and earnest sympathy for you in your great affliction, and hope ‘God who doeth all things well’ may comfort and console you.” ~ Letter from Confederate Lieutenant T. M. Beasley to Susan Jones of Box Springs, Georgia. [Susan and Edmond Jones married in 1857 or 1858 and she finds herself a widow with four children under 6 years of age. She will live another 36 years.]

typical outfit of Civil War widows

typical outfit of Civil War widows

August 22– Monday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Last evening 3[Union] soldiers rode up to get shelter from the very heavy Rain, & remained with me until 10 o’clock before they could leave, they would have remained all night, but feared their Horses would be stolen . . . they were very sensible men, & very anxious for this War to close, & asked if there was no way of closing it, but by but by wantonly killing off each other when there was so little ill feelings between the soldiers & private citizens, they like all others hated the poor Negro & said for their good they could never be placed in a more favorable condition than we now have them, but like all others they said the whole country would go to ruin if the Union was not restored.” ~ Diary of William King.

August 22– Monday– McIntosh County, Georgia– “The policemen of this county have recently traced out a deeply laid plan of insurrection by the Negroes, not only of this county but of the adjoining counties of Georgia and Florida. They have held their meetings and have organized their company and were soon to begin their horrid work of murdering our men, women and children. But thanks to an all-wise providence it has been found out and checked for the present. The leaders of this band of Negroes belong to my husband, Mr. Mitchell Jones who is now in the service at Atlanta in response to your last call. The police of this county is very small in comparison to the Negroes. The authorities have whipped these Negroes severely, and I have requested them to keep in custody the Negroes that belong to Mr. Jones until I could try and get him a detail for a short time. Such is a true statement of the facts that now exist here. I believe I would rather fall into the hands of the Yankees than the Negroes. Of the two I believe they have more humanity.” ~ Letter from a Mrs Jones to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown.

August 22– Monday– Camden County, Georgia– “We have been startled at last by the appearance of a [Union] gunboat. The pickets ran in great terror. The Negroes were sent over to Major Bailey’s. Mr. Fisher drove a cart load of trunks into the woods and then stationed himself where he could watch the doings of the enemy. Mrs. Linn, Sybil and myself were left to receive them. Mrs. Linn with her two children seated themselves on the front steps. Soon eight men came up and immediately surrounded the house, and inquired for Richardson. He fortunately had left that morning for Savannah. They could not take Mrs. Linn’s word but searched the house. Sybil ran down thinking that Mrs. Linn might be frightened, and met six more at the gate. The result was that we were taken by the Gunboat with only a few moments warning, and sent North.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

August 22– Monday– Charles Town, West Virginia; Canton, Kentucky; Roaring Springs, Kentucky; Yell County, Arkansas; Cove Point, Maryland– Altercations, skirmishes and brawls.

August 22– Monday– Geneva, Switzerland– A number of European states sign the First Geneva Convention. They include Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Spain and Switzerland. The Convention provides for: the immunity from capture and destruction of all establishments for the treatment of wounded and sick soldiers, the impartial reception and treatment of all combatants, the protection of civilians providing aid to the wounded, and the recognition of the Red Cross symbol as a means of identifying persons and equipment covered by the agreement. [The Convention will be revised and expanded by additional agreements in 1899, 1906, 1929 and 1949. There are currently 64 articles under the Geneva Convention and 194 governments are signatories.]

original document of the First Geneva Convention

original document of the First Geneva Convention

August 23– Tuesday– Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia– “I am detailed at Brigade Head Quarters . . . I won’t haft to go near a fight as long as I will be here, perhaps I will be here all summer just according to circumstances. I had a letter from the Hospital steward where William died at the U.S.A. Hospital stating William wanted him to send his watch to me, but, as they was going to send his valise & saber & revolvers home he thought it best to send the watch along with them, you tell Mother to Keep the watch until I get Home, I also gave William a Revolver, a large Remington Revolver, his own Revolver is silver mounted, you will also keep the one I gave him till I get Home, and his saber and Revolver you will hang up in his room in memory of our Dear beloved Brother, as his sword has done his duty. I send forty Dollars to you as I wrote to [you] before, you will receive it from Fuller in Scranton. I am well and in good spirits.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Josiah Bloss to his sister.

widows in a graveyard

widows in a graveyard

August 23– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward.” ~ Secret memorandum drafted by President Lincoln which he asks the members of his Cabinet to sign without reading it.

August 23– Tuesday– “Received dispatches to-day from Admiral Farragut confirming intelligence received several days since through Rebel sources. The official account confirms my own previous impressions in regard to operations. Secretary [of War Edwin] Stanton in one of his bulletins represented that Fort Gaines had surrendered to General Granger and the army. It is shown that the proposition of Colonel Anderson, who commanded the fort, was to surrender to the fleet after the monitors had made an assault, that Admiral Farragut consulted with General Granger, that the terms were dictated from the squadron, that Colonel Anderson and Major Brown went on board the Admiral’s vessel when the arrangement was consummated, etc. Why should the Secretary of War try to deprive an officer like Farragut and the naval force of what is honestly their due? It is only one of many like occurrences during the War. I do not recollect a single instance of generous award to the Navy by Stanton.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Union Admiral Farragut

Union Admiral Farragut

August 23– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “Freddy [his son] & I are well and get along quite well– he amuses himself in riding the horses & a little mule here. We have written you several letters lately. I sent you an Irish girl down to do your work, but I suppose she did not go straight on as the Yankees were advancing up the Valley at the time & no doubt she was stopped at the lines. She went with Mr C Stump who promised to send her to you so soon as practicable. I think she will suit you. I wrote by her. If you are willing to come out I will bring you out now. I most think you had better move out and let our property run chances. they can’t destroy the land & I don’t think the other property can be much hurt and if it does it can’t be so much loss, at least not to be compared with this life we now live. Freddy is often wishing you here. I think to stay here would be much better than for me to be there as here I can make some money & live peaceably Whilst to be there I would not be allowed to do business & constantly in dread of being & perhaps would be arrested and confined in prison which would keep you Constantly in dread &c &c. And upon the whole I rather think we had better live comfortably together whilst we do live & let the property go, or at least run chances.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester. [She has remained at that home in Berkeley County, West Virginia, in the eastern panhandle of the state, an area which is now filled with Federal troops.]

We Must Serve Our Country & Be Contented~May 1864~2nd to 4th

We Must Serve Our Country and Be Contented ~ a Union soldier

General Grant starts his vast army in motion and will keep moving, fighting, besieging, fighting, moving and fighting until April, 1865. The road to Appomattox begins. Soldiers remember good days and write about duty and hard fighting. Lincoln asks his Cabinet for recommendations about dealing with the Fort Pillow atrocity. More fugitive slaves steam into Union lines. A report comes from London about British-American relations.

period dresses 212
May 2– Monday– Greenbrier County, Virginia– “Oh the bright sunshine of one’s school days. How well do I remember the many happy hours, I have spent on just such mornings as this – when soft, balmy breath of this youth of the year, was calling the little flowers, & the green grass from out the earth again. How I longed for school hour to come in the morning, when I could hasten away, to the sound of familiar voices, & the sight of familiar faces from whom one night seemed long to be separated. But those days are gone. The kind voices, & bright smiles, that once greeted me, I no longer see or hear. When I was free & happy but now I am living that life which I once looked forward to with pleasure. I see & feel the coldness and selfishness of the world, & in the solitude of my heart I look round, & in the vast concourse of human beings, I can see not one to whom I can pour out my sorrows or receive the answering sigh of sympathy. . . . [This evening] I found about a dozen ladies in camp, they were such hard looking cases, though, that I was afraid to go close to them. I think from the way they crowded around the band when it began to play, that some of them never had been from home before. When we shall leave this camp, I am not able to say, we hear a thousand different rumors about going, but so far they have all turned out to be false.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James R. McCutchan to his cousin Rachel Ann McCutchan.

May 2– Monday– Orange County, Virginia– “I was at Montpelier, rather noted as being the burial place of President Madison. Like most places in Virginia, it has felt the influence of this ravaging war; but still it is a most beautiful place. I enjoyed myself finely in going over its extensive grounds. The mansion is situated upon a pretty high place, and the view in front is most enchanting. Far away to the North may be seen the Blue Ridge Mountains rising in majestic beauty. When we look in other directions, the scenery is indeed beautiful, varied by hill and vale seasoning, with cattle and the beauties of spring. I think it by far, the most beautiful place I have seen in Virginia. On our return a terrible storm arose, giving us all a good ducking, which by the way, was not very well for me. When I arrived in camp, what was my surprise to find my tent blown down, and my blankets perfectly saturation with rain.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee, Maggie Cone.

Montpelier~home of James Madison

Montpelier~home of James Madison

May 2– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Dr. Mary E. Walker. This disgusting production of Yankee land was marched from Castle Thunder to Dr. Winder’s office Saturday morning, to the very great amusement of crowds of Negroes, male and female, and many white boys. We did not hear the object of her visit to headquarters, but presume it had something to do with her being sent North. She is still dressed in male attire, which begins to look the worse for wear.” ~ Richmond Whig.

Dr Mary E Walker wearing her Medal of Honor

Dr Mary E Walker wearing her Medal of Honor

May 2– Monday– St Louis, Missouri– Birth of Alice Bertha Kroeger [dies October 31, 1909], first daughter and second child of Adolph and Eliza Curren Kroeger. She will become a librarian, author, lecturerer, advocate for suffrage, organizer and first director of the school of library science at Drexel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

May 2– Monday– Well’s Plantation, Louisiana; Bolivar, Tennessee; Wilson’s Landing, Louisiana; Bee Creek, Missouri; Tunnel Hill, Georgia; Newport, Virginia; Bayou Pierre, Louisiana; Ringgold Gap, Georgia– Brawls, armed scraps and firefights.

May 3– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “At the Cabinet-meeting the President requested each member to give him an opinion as to what course the Government should pursue in relation to the recent massacre at Fort Pillow. The committee from Congress who have visited the scene returned yesterday and will soon report. All the reported horrors are said to be verified. The President wishes to be prepared to act as soon as the subject is brought to his notice officially, and hence Cabinet advice in advance. The subject is one of great responsibility and great embarrassment, especially before we are in possession of the facts and evidence of the committee. There must be something in these terrible reports, but I distrust Congressional committees. They exaggerate.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 3– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We learn that Captain A. V. Barringer, Chief Commissary of Subsistence for this Department, was captured by the rebels on the road between Martinsburg and Winchester last Friday. The Captain was riding along alone in a buggy, going to Winchester to see General Sigel, when a small scouting party of rebels pounced upon him and made him a prisoner. They robbed him of $300 in greenbacks, stole his valuable gold watch, and were making off with his body, when the rebels were overtaken by a squad of Union soldiers. A skirmish took place, during which Captain Barringer made his escape, and reached Cumberland in safety on Sunday morning.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. [The $300 would equal $4590 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

May 3– Tuesday– Fortress Monroe, Hampton, Virginia– “Look where you will over the wide field of battle, there stands prominently in the foreground one object which not all the pomps and pageantries of war, or the thousand evils which follow in its train, can more than temporarily shut from view. That object is the Negro. Streaming into our lines wherever the armies of the Union have tapped the Southern seaboard or occupied inland places, the enfranchised blacks present themselves to the military Commander as facts demanding immediate recognition. These people must be dealt with, and probably to Generals in the field there has been no source of such infinite perplexity as the precise and best method of disposing of them. How to make their labor most available to the Government; how to shelter the homeless and provide for the destitute; in short, how best, in the disturbed condition of affairs immediately surrounding them, to give them a fair start in the direction of that self-dependence which is imposed, by their new relations and rights, are questions of serious importance which are constantly recurring.” ~ correspondent for the New York Times.

slaves fleeing to Union lines

slaves fleeing to Union lines

May 3– Tuesday– near Nashville, Tennessee– “We must serve our Country and be Contented although it is hard to be Contented. Pa, I wish that I was at home to help you to farm this summer then next fall I would not mind leaving in the army. John Ambrister and I are together he is like some near relation he is the best fellow to be out with in the world he is studier than he was at home. It is getting late and I must bring my few line to a close by saying write soon & nothing more.” ~ Letter from Union soldier R. L. Houston to his parents in Michigan.

May 3– Tuesday– Chickamauga, Georgia– “We are on Chickamauga Creek, about twelve miles south of Chattanooga, part of the Battle of Chickamauga was fought here. A portion of the road we passed over yesterday is covered with skeletons of horses, and every tree bears the mark of the battle, many strong trunks were broken down by artillery fire, many graves too attest the deadliness of the conflict.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C Winkler to his wife.

May 3– Tuesday– Bulltown, West Virginia; Olive Branch, Louisiana; Red Clay, Georgia; Richland Creek, Arkansas; Bayous Redwood, Louisiana; Catoosa Springs, Georgia– Encounters, brawls and scuffles.

May 4– Wednesday– New York City– The New York Times reports on a dinner meeting in London, England, on April 15th to promote telegraph communication between Great Britain and the United States. Charles Francis Adams, American Minister to the Court of St James, said, “I think that the best way to keep England and the United States in harmony, is to establish the Atlantic Telegraph, which will be one of the most memorable events in history, for everything that tends to bring the two nations closer together will have the effect, I am sure, of perpetuating harmony between them. From the little observation I have made since I came here, one thing has struck me more than anything else, and that is the existence of prejudices on both sides of the Atlantic which require for their removal only a little more familiarity between the two peoples.” In response, John Bright, a member of Parliament friendly to the United States and the Union cause as well as a fervent opponent of slavery, replied, “What can be more contemptible than a feeling of jealousy of the great nation we ourselves have planted on the other side of the Atlantic, in the face of all we are taught in history to value as great and glorious? We have achieved whatever glory is involved in carrying that which is good in this country to a higher point than any other country in history ever attained. We have lately heard a great deal of the advantages of an universal language; but when I look upon the United States, with a population of thirty millions of people, with peace restored, with Government reestablished, with schools and classes enough for the general and religious education of the people, I feel that in the short space of ten years that population will grow to such a degree that even in the lifetime of our children we shall have the English language spoken by one hundred millions of free people.” [Charles Francis Adams, age 56, grandson of John & Abigail Adams, son of John Quincy & Louisa Adams, has served as United States minister to Britain, a post held previously by both his father and grandfather, since the beginning of the Lincoln Administration. His good personal relationship with Lord John Russell, Her Majesty’s Foreign Minister, has tempered English resentment against anti-British sentiment in some of Lincoln’s Cabinet and in some members of the U S Congress, such as Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. Yet he skillfully upholds American policy, successfully counter-balancing English aristocratic and commercial support for the Confederacy. John Bright, age 52, a liberal Quaker and out-spoken opponent of slavery, has served in the House of Commons since 1843 and will continue to hold a seat there until his death in 1889.]

John Bright, Quaker member of Parliament

John Bright, Quaker member of Parliament

May 4– Wednesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– At the Methodist General Convention one church leader advocates inclusion of African American believers in the same regional conferences as white believers. His speech is received in luke-warm fashion. More enthusiasm is given to the church leader who suggests that the United States take over Mexico and give the land to black people.

May 4– Wednesday– Morgantown, West Virginia– A group of Confederate soldiers break into the jail and free a rebel sympathizer accused of horse stealing.

May 4– Wednesday– north of the Rapidan River, Virginia– General Grant’s Federal forces move out, thus beginning the road to Appomattox.

General Grant

General Grant

May 4– Wednesday– somewhere near Chancellorsville, Virginia– “I was in a pretty hard fight yesterday morning, but I did not get hurt. We are away up here above Fredericksburg somewhere, I do not know where. We have whipped the Yankees badly so far. We are expecting to fight again every minute. They moved our Brigade this morning about three miles. We came, throwed up breastworks and are waiting the approach of the enemy. We drove the Yanks from their breastworks yesterday, and run them a mile.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

May 4– Wednesday– Carroll County, Tennessee– “I am quite unwell, pain in my breast and head, bad cough, considerable matter from my lungs. I am confident over half the people of this section are thieves and robbers—that is the males. I have been robbed heavily, especially in the way of work horses and mules. I am sorry to have to say it, but it is so. . . . I don’t mean the robbers are all on one side. There are robbers on both sides as pretext. This section has suffered much the worst from the Federal Robbers, Dr. Smith’s gang, Captain Holt’s company and Harris’ men. I learn that Captain Parkersons, Colonel Hezzers, Captain Pens and Captain Gooch’s Rebel Companies have done considerable damage to the citizens in some sections,” ~ Diary of Williamson Younger.

May 4– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– Howell Cobb, in command of the Georgia Reserves, conducts an inspection of the prison-camp and recommends that the stockade be enlarged and fortified.


Weather is Cold~January 1864~the 6th to 9th

Weather Is Cold~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes

It is a hard winter. Soldiers of both armies note the hard winter in Virginia. Women of both sides make food and clothing for their soldiers. Great scarcity flourishes in many parts of the Confederacy and the Richmond government worries about its finances and ponders having to deal with Lincoln. The Confederacy attempts to reach out to the French in Mexico. President Lincoln reaches out to the new Danish king. Gideon Welles ponders political history. A major Northen newspaper calls for equal pay for black soldiers in the Union army.

January 6– Wednesday– camp of the Army of Northern Virginia– “My general health is good but I suffered almost beyond endurance last night with a tooth ache and Neuralgia. This morning by time, I put out to Camp went to the Doctor and had it pulled out. . . . . I have a good pair of shoes, a good blanket and a good overcoat and I hope will not suffer much. It is cold now. There is a little snow on the ground now. We had a pretty heavy snow a few days ago. I saw some men skating on the pond with skates today, the first I ever saw.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.


January 6– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “We understand that the ladies of the Union Station Methodist (Reverend George H. Ray’s) Church, visited the Howard Grove Hospital, with about $1,00 worth of provisions, when several hundred sick and wounded soldiers sat down to a sumptuous dinner on New Year’s day.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

January 6– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– Dealing with the Confederacy’s increasingly difficult financial situation, “Mr. Wright, of Texas, moved that the House go into secret session, with a view to renew the consideration of the special order– the bill reported from the special Committee on Currency. On this motion Mr. Lyons, of Virginia, called the ayes and noes, which were ordered, and resulted [in] ayes 50, noes 23. . . . The House then went into secret session on the Currency bill, and the doors were closed.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

January 7– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Assuring you of my deep sympathy at the death of your august Cousin, who like his predecessors was the constant & steady friend of the United States, I beg leave to offer to Your Majesty my sincere and hearty congratulations upon your accession to the throne, with my best wishes, that your reign may be happy and glorious to yourself, and prosperous to your realm. Permit me also to assure Your Majesty of my constant and earnest desire to maintain the amity and good correspondence which has always subsisted and still prevails between the two nations and that nothing shall ever be omitted on my part to cultivate and promote towards your Majesty the friendly relations always, entertained & cherished by this Government in its relations with his late Majesty and so I recommend your Majesty to the protection of the Almighty.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to the new Danish King Christian IX.

January 7– Thursday– Indianapolis, Indiana– Caleb B Smith, lawyer and Congressman who served as Secretary of the Interior from March 5, 1861 to December 31, 1862, dies at age 55 of a stroke.

January 7– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– The Confederate government sends General William Preston as an envoy to Emperor Maximilian of Mexico with secret orders to ignite an incident between U S and French troops along the Rio Grande and to negotiate a treaty of friendship and commerce between the Emperor and the Confederacy. [Preston (1816– 1887), Harvard educated lawyer, soldier and former Congressman from Kentucky, will make it to Europe but will not succeed in meeting with Maximilian or any of the European rulers who support the French intervention in Mexico.]

William Preston

William Preston

January 7– Thursday– Brandy Station, Virginia– “The weather is cold, and the ground is covered with snow. The thermometer this morning was only 8 above zero.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

January 7– Thursday– Camden County, Georgia– “Sybil made arrangements with Mr. Lynn for moving the machinery out the new mill to save it from the enemy. It is proposed to move it back into the woods, and cover it. There has been great destruction of property here by the pickets as well as the enemy. Instead of a protection they are a great injury; and nuisance– not one raised a finger to save any property from the fire, and no person has been near us. We are in a desolated region. Should the enemy burn us out we know not where to go. ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’ We can see the kind hand of Providence extended over us. Gussie has joined Captain Beaddick’s Company, and appears pleased at the idea of standing guard. He and Fred will be at home some days. We eagerly watch for the mail to see if there are any indications of peace– but all is black as midnight. They are bound to fight to the bitter end and bitter enough it will be. Sybil has sent about the country to get some syrup but none is to be had. It brings from five to ten dollars a gallon and sugar $3.00 per lb. It is hard to sweeten at that rate. Confederate money is very lightly esteemed. Fred thinks it hard to live on pork and hominy but we shall be quite thankful if we can have enough of that.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher. [According to the census of 1860, 68.6% of the population of the county are black slaves. By this time somewhere between 700 and 1,000 have escaped.]

January 8– Friday– New York City– “Thackeray is dead! It is an historical event. His Snob Papers and Vanity Fair and (probably) Esmond will live long. Only Tennyson, Dickens and Carlyle are left in England to produce anything likely to be remembered fifty years hence, and I think carlyle has survived his faculty for production.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 8– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Confined At Wheeling: Mary Jane Green, Braxton county, Virginia, May, 1862; destroying telegraph wire. Mary Jane Prater, Cincinnati, Ohio, December 27, 1862; wearing soldier’s clothes.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

January 8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “At Seward’s last night, who gave a party to the scientific men of the Academy now here. The Cabinet, heads of the foreign missions, the learned gentlemen and the committees on foreign relations of the two houses were present, with a goodly number of ladies. Agassiz, Silliman, Professors Story and Caswell, etc., etc., were present. . . . . Both the President and Seward consider Clay and Webster to have been hard and selfish leaders, whose private personal ambition had contributed to the ruin of their party. The people of New England were proud of the great mind of Webster, his great intellect, but he had no magnetism, there was not intense personal devotion for him such as manifested itself for Clay. For years the Whig cause consisted in adulation of these two men, rather than in support of any well-established principles.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles

January8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Madam: Learning that you who have passed the eighty-fourth year of life, have given to the soldiers, some three hundred pairs of stockings, knitted by yourself, I wish to offer you my thanks. Will you also convey my thanks to those young ladies who have done so much in feeding our soldiers while passing through your city?” ~ Thank you note from President Lincoln to Mrs Esther Stockton, the widow of a minister, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [Note: in the usage of the period “stockings” meant hosiery in general, whether for women or men or children.]

January 8– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “It is with Lincoln alone that we would confer, and his own partisans at the North avow unequivocally that his purpose, in his message and proclamation, was to shut out all hope that he could ever treat with us on any terms. If we break up our Government, dissolve the Confederacy, disband our armies, emancipate our slaves, take an oath of allegiance binding ourselves to obedience to him and disloyalty to our own States, he pro poses to pardon us, and not to plunder us of anything more than the property already stolen from us, and such slaves as still remain. In order to render his proposals so insulting as to secure their objection, he joins to them a promise to support with his army one-tenth of the people of any State who will attempt to set up a Government over the other nine-tenths, thus seeking to sow discord and suspicion among the people of the several States, and to excite them to civil war in furtherance of his ends. I know well it would be impossible to get your people, if they possessed full knowledge of these facts, to consent that proposals should now be made by us to those who control the Government at Washington. Your own well-known devotion to the great cause of liberty and independence, to which we have all committed whatever we have of earthly possessions, would induce you to take the lead in repelling the bare thought of submission to the enemy. Yet peace on other terms is impossible. To obtain the sole terms to which you or I could listen, this struggle must continue until the enemy is beaten out of his vain confidence in our subjugation. Then, and not till then, will it be possible to treat of peace. Till then, all tender of terms to the enemy will be received as proof that we are ready for submission, and will encourage him in the atrocious warfare which he is now waging.” ~ Letter from President Jeff Davis to Governor Zebulon Vance of North Carolina, regarding efforts to negotiate a peace settlement.

January 8– Friday– Hannibal, Missouri– Birth of Mary Kenney O’Sullivan [dies January 18, 1943], the third of the four children of Michael and Mary Kelly Kenney. She will become a labor organizer, suffragist, activist in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, co-founder of the National Women’s Trade Union League and from 1914 to 1934 a factory inspector for the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industries.

Mary Kenney O'Sullivan

Mary Kenney O’Sullivan

January 8– Friday– Frogmore Estate, near Windsor Castle, England– Birth of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale [dies January 14, 1892]. He is the eldest of the six children of Edward, the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra, the fifth grandchild of Queen Victoria and from birth to death next in line to the throne after his father.

January 9– Saturday– New York City– “Now that, in obedience to the demands of national common-sense, colored men are enrolled as soldiers, every citizen ought to insist that they shall have exactly the same treatment, chance, and pay as other soldiers. Hitherto they have been paid, under a general law regulating the labor of contrabands, ten dollars a month. This sum was offered to the freemen of the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, the first colored regiment raised in the Free States, and they declined it. The State of Massachusetts then resolved to pay the soldiers the difference, and Major Sturgis was sent with the money to Morris Island. But they declined that. Was this unreasonable upon their part? Let us see. These men, free citizens of the United States, were enlisted in Massachusetts under the express written guarantee of the Secretary of War to the Governor of Massachusetts that they were to stand exactly upon the same footing with all other soldiers. Every body who knows the feelings of the Secretary of War in this matter knows that such was his wish. With that solemn assurance the men were mustered in, and have proved themselves as heroic and docile and patient as soldiers can be. And they simply decline any thing less than bare justice. They do not mutiny. They make no trouble whatever. They say simply that the United States Government pledged its honor, and they will wait the fulfillment of the pledge. Is this unreasonable? Would any white regiment do otherwise? And have we a right to require of men, whom we are so ready to call less than men, more than our own average manhood? The remedy is immediate and thorough. Instead of wasting time in abusing men who merely claim what we all confess that we owe, let us urge upon Congress the passage of a law to pay these soldiers of the Union army exactly what other soldiers are paid. For if we reproach those who ask the same wages that others get for the same service, what shall we say of ourselves who hesitate for a moment in agreeing to the demand? The Secretary of War has recommended the passage of the necessary law. Is it unreasonable in the soldiers concerned quietly to await its passage?” ~ Harpers Weekly.



The New Year, 1863 Turns Into 1864

The New Year, 1863 Turns Into 1864

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

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

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

Lincoln seated in the White House, 1863

Lincoln seated in the White House, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alfred Stieglitz, 1902

Alfred Stieglitz, 1902

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mother Bickerdyke, c.1890s

Mother Bickerdyke, c.1890s

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

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

New Year's Day 1864

New Year’s Day 1864

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

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


Judged by Our Own Peers~December, 1863~26th to 30th

Judged by Our Own Peers~ General Sherman

Lincoln is praised by Harper’s Weekly and thanked by the Russian government. The Sherman brothers exchange letters on political and military affairs. Whitman hears from his brother and from a good friend. Reverend Finney deals with finances. George Templeton Strong remains anti-British. Fighting and hard times continue in the Confederacy. The world continues to turn.


December 26– Saturday– New York City– “The President has been often accused of tardily following instead of leading public opinion. But it is his great merit that he early saw this to be a war in which the people must save themselves. If they were unequal to the task, a popular government was a failure. And therefore he has sought only to be the executive magistrate of their will, which he has divined with more sagacity than any public man in our history. It is that sagacity which now admonishes him to put into clear and simple form the settlement to which the national common-sense irresistibly tends. He has done it. Not as an advocate, or partisan, or fanatic, but with the same wisdom and passionless equity which has marked his official career from the moment he commended himself to the prayers of his old friends and neighbors at Springfield, and set forth to undertake as vast a duty as was ever committed to man.” ~ Harper’s Weekly.

December 26– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln has an audience with Baron de Stoeckl, to receive the thanks of Imperial Russian government for reception given Russian navy. [Although Eduard de Stoeckl holds himself out as “Baron” he is not of noble Russian birth. His father was an Austrian diplomat and his mother the daughter of a Russian diplomatic translator or “dragoman.” At this time he is 52 years old. His wife is an American, Elizabeth Howard, whom he married in 1856. He will later negotiate the sale of Alaska to the United States.]

December 27– Sunday– Albion, Illinois– Birth of Louis Lincoln Emmerson, who will serve as governor of Illinois from 1929 to 1933.

December 27– Sunday– Columbia, South Carolina– Maria Martin, age 67, a nature painter and associate of John James Audubon, dies. When her sister died in 1848, she married her brother-in-law, John Bachman, pastor of a Lutheran church. Audubon described her work as one of “superior talents, [which] assists us greatly.”

Maria Martin Bachman

Maria Martin Bachman

December 27– Sunday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “The fates seem determined that we shall be stripped of everything we possess. Oh! when I see the ruin around me, and think of our wasted time and home, and know that thousands among us have lost dear ones of the home circle, as well as property,– words cannot express the bitterness of my soul towards those who have plunged our people into this needless and unnatural war. Everyday my whole head and soul cry out—‘will it never, never end?’” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

December 27– Sunday– Grisson’s Bridge, Tennessee– Here and at four other locations in the state there are hard-fought skirmishes.

December 28– Monday– Copake, Columbia County, New York– “My last letter to you was dated from Springfield Mass. I went home on Saturday and had an opportunity to come up here and make some surveys for an Iron Company. I shall probably be kept here all this week and possibly part of next. . . . . Well, Walt here I am about 110 miles from New York, up in the Harlem and New York R. R. just on the edge of the state of Massachusetts, among a mass of high mountains and deep valleys. The night is one of the wildest that I ever remember, the wind is blowing a gale, the snow and sleet and rain by turns come plashing against the windows. I am boarding at an old fashioned country house . . . as comfortable quarters as I ever enjoyed– good living, good fire– good rooms and good bed– clever old Dutch-fashioned American people. I’ve just been drinking some good cider and eating some fine apples. Everything thing is as comfortable and country like.” ~ Letter from Jeff Whitman to his brother Walt.

December 28– Monday– General Lee’s headquarters, Virginia– “I have the honor to make application for Thirty days Leave of absence to visit my home in Georgia. It is over one year since I was last at home. I have during the past summer with the consent & approbation of the War Department had imported from England machinery of an important character for the purpose of manufacturing ‘card clothing’ for Cotton & woolen mills, of which all the mills of the Confederacy are much in need. The machines are not in operation, my personal attention being necessary to put them in full & successful operation, thereby advancing the interest of our whole country, as well as personal. By the Act of Congress, I could be exempted from all military duty, to remain at home & superintend said machines. But my first & greatest duty is for my country, and all I ask, is to allowed the above time now that I may be able to serve my own interest as well as my country’s.” ~ Request for leave submitted by Confederate Colonel Barrington Simeral King.

December 28– Monday– along the Hiwassee River, Meigs County, Tennessee– “A citizen named Trotter, came into our camp. He was an old man, and professed to be loyal. I interrogated him on the tobacco question. He replied, ‘The crop has been mitey poor fur a year or two. I don’t use terbacker myself, but my wife used to chaw it; but the frost has been a nippen of it fur a year or two, and it is so poor she has quit chawen ontirely.’ . . . . While we were encamped . . . a Union man, near seventy years old, was murdered by guerrillas. Not long before, a young lady, the daughter of a Methodist minister, was robbed and murdered near the same place. Murders and robberies are as common occurrences in that portion of Tennessee as marriages in Ohio, and excite about as little attention. Horse stealing is not considered an offense.” ~ Diary of Union General John Beatty.

John Beatty

John Beatty

December 29– Tuesday– Oberlin, Ohio– “Yours of the 24th is received. I suppose I understand the nature of the business in which you and my son are engaged. I see no objection to it in either a legal or moral point of view. Dr Wright of your city, owes me in the neighborhood of $1000, including the unpaid interest. I understand he is ready to pay it. I believe you hold the note. I have been endeavoring to lay by enough to render me comfortable should I live to be old. I am now in my 72nd year. I wish to so invest the little I have as to make it pay me ten percent punctually and annually and in such a way that by giving one or two years notice I or my heirs, can, if necessary withdraw the Capital from the concern. I wish to do this without assuming any risk or responsibility in regard to the management or the debts of the concern. My son tells me, as you do in this letter, that this can be done and that you and he will be amply paid for your labor and expense in managing the business. If you will draw up and execute an instrument that will put it in the right shape and send it to me, if it suits my views, I will forward it to my son for his hand and seal.” ~ Letter from Reverend Charles G Finney to G. W. Washburn. [Finney will live until August 1875. The $1000 debt would equal $18,900 today, based upon the Consumer Price Index.]

Reverend Finney

Reverend Finney

December 29– Tuesday– Lancaster, Ohio– “I wish you would introduce a bill in Congress increasing the number of cadets on this basis one from each congressional district per annum. . . . . Last summer we were called on to recommend candidates, and I was amazed to find so many worthy applicants. All who came forward for examination preferred West Point to a commission. The great want of the army is good subordinate officers. The army is a good school, but West Point is better. It is useless to deny that a special preliminary education is necessary to the military officers, and the cheapest school is now at West Point and is susceptible of infinite increase. . . . . Of course property-holding classes South deplore the devastation that marks the progress of their own and our armies, but the South is no longer consulted. The Army of the Confederacy is the South, and they still hope to worry us out. The moment we relax, they gain strength and confidence. We must hammer away and show such resistance, such bottom that even that slender hope will fail them.” ~ Letter from General William Tecumseh Sherman to his brother, Senator John Sherman. [General Sherman, on a short leave, comes home to find his brother, the senator, in New York. The general graduated from West Point in 1840. His roommate was George Thomas, now also a Union general.]

December 29– Tuesday– Mossy Creek, Jefferson County, Tennessee– In a battle that lasts about eight hours, Union forces turn back an attack by a Confederate force of about 2,000 soldiers. Federal losses total 151; Confederate losses amount to approximately 500.

December 29– Tuesday– Birmingham, England– “Learning by the last arrival from New York that [our] Government have built a fort on the site of a blast-furnace belonging to me at Chattanooga, Tennessee, situated on the bluff at the river’s bank in the town, I have taken the liberty to call your attention to a fact that is not generally known and which accidentally came to my knowledge. The site of the furnace or the fort is a bluff which rises about 80 to 100 feet perpendicularly from the river. In the face of this bluff, near high-water mark and accessible from the river, is a cavern, which I am told extends under the bluff and through the ridge for upward of 1 mile. This cavern has been the resort of fugitive slaves. It has occurred to me that as the army has been there but a short time the officers in command may not know of its existence. Judging from what I know of the position I have thought it might be a matter of some importance to you to be made aware of the fact. Whether it could be used as a mine to destroy the works over it your officers are betterable to judge than I am, but as this bluff commands the ferry, the river for some distance, and the town of Chattanooga, and the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, and in view of the scarcity of water in the town, it may safely be called the key of the position. And as the position is ranked as a ‘decisive strategical point of the highest order’ . . . I have taken the liberty to address you this letter.” ~ Letter from James Henderson to the War Department in Washington, D.C.

December 30– Wednesday– New York City– “Southern correspondents of British newspapers begin to write darkly and despondingly [sic] of the prospects of a slave-holding, woman-flogging Secessia, so dear to the gentry and the traders of Britain. In spite of myself, I feel more and more bitter against England every day for the moral support her ruling classes have given this atrocious rebellion . . . . as if I were to discover that one of my most intimate and trusted friends was a humbug and a scoundrel.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 30– Wednesday– Somerville, Massachusetts– “I found I could get nothing but promises from the booksellers for the present, so I sent you today a package of such books as I could pick from my own shelves, together with some newspapers– a variety in which I hope you will find a few things to suit your purpose. . . . . I can send you more newspapers– and perhaps more books– in a few days, if you wish for another bundle.” ~ Letter from John T. Trowbridge to Walt Whitman.

December 30– Wednesday– Lancaster, Ohio– “We must all be judged by our own peers, stand or fall by their verdict. I know I stand very high with the army, and feel no concern on that score. To-day I can do more with Admiral Porter or the Generals than any general officer out West except Grant, and with him I am as a second self. We are personal and official friends.” ~ General William Tecumseh Sherman to his brother Senator John Sherman.

General Sherman

General Sherman

December 30– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “It will not be long ere many of the Yankee prisoners, now in confinement on Belle Isle, will have an opportunity of breathing the salubrious air farther South, the Government having made selection of a spot in Georgia, near Andersonville, Sumtar county, for their reception and safe-keeping, their present place of confinement being rather over-crowded. The location is on the Southwestern railroad, between Oglethorpe and Americus, where no difficulty will be encountered in supplying their wants.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.


Uncle Abe is the Most Popular Man in America~December 1863~the 8th to 11th

Uncle Abe Is the Most Popular Man in America ~ George Templeton Strong

President Lincoln offers amnesty to all in rebellion who freely take an oath of allegiance to the United States. He extends congratulations to General Grant for the recent success in Tennessee. Concern about the French intervention in Mexico reaches man different quarters. Russian naval officers are wined and dined in Washington. Women in Memphis try to provide for the poor. Nashville has no more coal. People in Wheeling are concerned about the families of soldiers. Soldiers wonder about winter quarters. A terrible fire destroys a church in Chile. And the world goes– babies born, old folks die.


December 8– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction which offers a full pardon to any and all Southerners who participated in the rebellion provided such persons take a “prescribed oath” of loyalty. He adds, “And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that any provision which may be adopted by such State government in relation to the freed people of such State which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education, and which may yet be consistent as a temporary arrangement with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class, will not be objected to by the National Executive. . . . . And, still further, that this proclamation is intended to present the people of the States wherein the national authority has been suspended and loyal State governments have been subverted a mode in and by which the national authority and loyal State governments may be reestablished within said States or in any of them; and while the mode presented is the best the Executive can suggest, with his present impressions, it must not be understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable.”

December 8– Tuesday– “Understanding that your lodgment at Chattanooga and Knoxville is now secure, I wish to tender you and all under your command my more than thanks, my profoundest gratitude for the skill, courage, and perseverance with which you and they, over so great difficulties, have effected that important object. God bless you all.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to General Grant.

General Grant

General Grant

December 8– Tuesday– Guatemala City, Guatemala– U S Minister to the country, Elisha Crosby, reports to Secretary of State Seward that the Guatemalan government will not recognize the monarchy in Mexico unless the United States does.

December 8– Tuesday– Santiago, Chile– The Church of the Company of Jesus, located in the downtown, is crowded with worshipers, mostly women and children, observing a feast day of the Virgin Mary when shortly before 7 o’clock in the evening a gas lamp at the top of the main altar ignites some of the fabrics adorning the walls. The fire spreads quickly from there onto the wooden roof. The attendees panic while trying to leave the burning building. Between 2,000 and 3,000 people perish in the fire, many burned beyond recognition, in a city that has about 100,000 inhabitants. Entire families are wiped out. The building is a total loss.

December 9– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Dissatisfied with several design proposals from the mint director, Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase recommends the words “In God We Trust” be added to the design of the new one, two and three-penny coins.

December 9– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Received and entertained fifty Russian officers, the Cabinet, foreign ministers, and the officers of our own Navy who were in Washington, and all professed to be, and I think were, gratified. It was a question whether some of the legations would attend, but I believe all were present at our party.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Russian naval officers

Russian naval officers

December 9– Wednesday– Camp Pittman near London, Kentucky– “I have just received a letter from Jeff, of Dec 3rd bringing the sorrowful news of the death of Brother Andrew. I was somewhat prepared for the worst, by Walt’s letter of Dec 1st but I still had strong hopes, that he would recover, and until I received Walt’s letter, I had no idea that Andrew was in any immediate danger. . . . Mother I do hope that you will bear up with your troubles, and not make yourself sick by worrying. . . . Mother you see by this that we have moved from Crab Orchard, we came on here last week, this place is 38 miles from Crab Orchard, in the direction of Cumberland Gap. How long we will remain here, of course we don’t know, but there is strong talk of our being ordered home to re organize and as nearly all of our men are anxious to re-enlist in the veteran Corps, I think that the chances are that we will be ordered home before many weeks. I sent you $150.00 by Addam’s Express a few days ago.” ~ Letter of George Whitman to Louisa, his mother.

December 9– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Ladies Union Benevolent Association. This excellent and very popular society gives a free reception this evening, to which all friends are cordially invited. We are happy to state that this charitable institution has procured the hall of the No. 3 [fire] engine house,on the corner of Adams and Second streets, which are fitted up in a style both useful and conformable to the members andothers desiring to visit them. The object of this association is, first, the promotion of the social circle, and, to give the proper value to society, as it should and ought to be; to aid the poor and indigent, who have been thrown on the world through their love of country, and otherwise aid all those who are worthy of help from this association. The officers, under whose management the ‘Ladies’ Union’ is conducted, are well and favorably known; being ornaments to our first society. The following ladies are the presiding officers for the presentterm: Mrs. Cooper, President; Mrs. Tagg, Vice-President; Mrs. C. C. Smith, Secretary Mrs. Cobb, Treasurer; Mesdames Beeman, Walcot and Boyle, Directresses. We understand that it is the intention of the ladies to have the affair during the Christmas holidays, the proceeds of which will be handed to the poor of our city. They propose also to give several concerts for the same charitable purposes.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

December 9– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “Notice. The Athens Manufacturing Co. having taken twenty-five thousand pair of pants to dye for the Government, they will not be able to dye any more yarns or garments for our customers. R. L. A. Bloomfield, Agent.” ~ The Southern Banner

December 10– Thursday– New York City– Irish-born Charles C. Ingham, portrait painter and one of the founders of the New York National Academy of Design in 1826, dies at age 67. He was 20 years old when he and his family came to the United States. Among his best known works are his portraits of the Marquis de Lafayette and of New York Governor DeWitt Clinton.

December 10– Thursday– Montpelier, Virginia– “The old fellow here says he wants us to stay as long as the Army stays here and we may spend the winter here. . . . . This has once been a grand and noble place and many traits of its grandeur can be seen yet, but since the war it has been taken but little care of and the beauty of the place, such as the fancy garden, yards &c is almost entirely neglected. The dwelling is situated on a beautiful eminence and commands a grand view of the mountains and the country scenery around. It has been erected more than a hundred years and is built of pure granite. It is a very large house and has about 20 rooms in all. The grave yard is quite interesting to look at. Madison, with many of the family, is buried there. It is enclosed and belongs to the State of Virginia. The monument over the grave of Madison is about 20 feet high and is of plain granite, nothing showy about it.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

December 10– Thursday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– “The general commanding takes this opportunity of returning his sincere thanks and congratulations to the brave armies of the Cumberland, the Ohio, the Tennessee, and their comrades from the Potomac, for the recent splendid and decisive successes achieved over the enemy. . . . . By your noble heroism and determined courage you have most effectually defeated the plans of the enemy for regaining possession of the States of Kentucky and Tennessee. You have secured positions from which no rebellious power can drive or dislodge you. For all this the general commanding thanks you collectively and individually. The loyal people of the United States thank and bless you. Their hopes and prayers for your success against this unholy rebellion are with you daily. Their faith in you will not be in vain. Their hopes will not be blasted. Their prayers to Almighty God will be answered.” ~ General Orders, #9 from Union General Ulysses S Grant.

December 10– Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The gas-works, having exhausted the supply of coal in the city, Nashville last night was without a solitary gas jet. The gas-works have suspended operations and our city will be in a state of darkness until a supply of coal reaches us. In the meantime our denizens will have to go back to first principles and use candles and lamp-oil.” ~ Nashville Daily Press.

December 10– Thursday– Sacramento, California– Wealthy businessman Leland Stanford, age 39, Republican, the 8th Governor of California, finishes his two year term and is succeeded by former Congressman Frederick Low, age 35, also a Republican. [Stanford as governor had kept California safely within the Union. He will invest his talents in making a great deal of money in railroads and will serve in the United States Senate from 1885 to 1893. Low will serve as United States Minister to China from 1869 to 1874.]

Leland Stanford

Leland Stanford

December 10– Thursday– London, England– “I suppose from your unbroken silence that you cannot have received any of my letters. . . . . How anxiously I look for letters from home it would be impossible for me to tell you. All the accounts come through the Yankee press– Just now we have the news of Bragg’s disastrous defeat and falling back from Lookout Mountain– with loss of 60 pieces of artillery small arms &c and 8000 prisoners – I give a wide margin to this for the usual exaggeration. But the effect is most depressing. . . . . My friend you know not the importance of sending correct information, which can be used so as to counteract the Yankee accounts. I believe that all classes here except the Abolitionists sympathize with us and are only held back from recognizing us for fear of war with the United States. The invasion of Canada is the great bugbear. Remove this and all will flow smoothly. I am myself sanguine of the events of the next few months. The Mexican question is so intimately connected with our own that the one is a sequence of the other.” ~ Report from Confederate agent Rose Greenhow to Colonel Alexander Boteler, former Virginia Congressman and now serving as an aide to Confederate General Jeb Stuart in Virginia.

December 11– Friday– New York City– Anne Hall, a painter of miniatures, dies of heart disease at her sister’s home at age 71. In 1833 she had become the first woman to be a full member of the National Academy of Design.

December 11– Friday– New York City– “Uncle Abe is the most popular man in America today. The firmness, honesty, and sagacity of the ‘gorilla despot’ may be recognized by the rebels themselves sooner than we expect, and the weight of his personal character may do a great deal toward restoration of our national unity.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 11– Friday– Dover, Delaware– Birth of Annie Jump Cannon, only daughter and oldest of three children born to Wilson Lee and Mary Elizabeth Jump Canon. She will study physics and astronomy at Wellesley College and will work in the observatory at Harvard for forty-five years, gathering an unsurpassed collection of astronomical data and publish a significant number of articles and papers. She will actively campaign for woman suffrage, be an active member of Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party and receive an honorary doctoral degree from Oxford.

Annie Jump Cannon c.1922

Annie Jump Cannon c.1922

December 11– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Soldiers’ Relief Meeting. Only a few persons assembled at the Court House last evening. . . . . Several persons stated that comparatively large sums had been subscribed which had not as yet been paid in. Mr. Holliday from the first ward stated a citizen of that ward had just given him a check for $250. It was stated that an estimate had been made that it would require about six hundred dollars per week to supply the needy families with the necessaries of life, to say nothing of clothing, of which many children stood badly in need. It was understood that there would be a meeting on Monday evening next.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer.


Solidarity of the Nation~December, 1863~the 1st to the 4th

Solidarity of the Nation~ Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass speaks of his vision for a nation reborn. A Baptist clergyman writes of the abuses of the slave system and its corrupting influence on American politics. The dome of the Capitol Building is completed at last, a sign of hope to some. Even as the year heads into its final month there is plenty of fighting and the tide shifts in Tennessee. A sick rebel spy is deported. One of Walt Whitman’s brothers dies. Some worry about excessive consumption of alcohol. The Russian Minister to the United States writes disparagingly of American democracy. And apart from war in American the world goes on.

Reverend Francis Wayland

Reverend Francis Wayland

December– Boston, Massachusetts– “If slaves are not chattels, they are human beings, with brains and muscles,– brains at least intelligent enough to comprehend the stake they have in this controversy, and muscles strong enough to do good service in the cause of constitutional liberty and republican institutions. Is it wise to reject their offered assistance? Will not our foes have good cause to despise our folly, if we leave in their hands this most efficient element of their power? . . . . And again, while you object to the enlistment of Negroes, you are unwilling that any member of your family should leave your household and expose himself to the many hazards of war. Now is it not too plain for argument, that every Negro who is enrolled in our army prevents, by just that unit, the necessity of sending one Northern soldier into the field? But will the slaves consent to enlist? Let the thousands who have forced their way to Union camps . . . tracked by blood-hounds, and by their inhuman oppressors more savage than blood-hounds, answer the insulting inquiry. Are they brave? Will they fight for the cause which they have dared so many dangers to espouse? I point you to the bloody records of Vicksburg, Milliken’s Bend, Port Hudson, and Fort Wagner; I appeal to the testimony of every Union officer under whom black soldiers have fought, as the most fitting reply to such questions. . . . . Blush for your own unmanly and ungenerous prejudices, and ask yourself whether future history will not pronounce the black man, morally, not only your equal, but your superior, when it is found recorded, that, denied the rights of citizenship, long proscribed, persecuted, and enslaved, he was yet willing, and even eager, to save the life of your brother on the battle-field, and to preserve you in the peaceable enjoyment of your property at home. Is the efficient aid of such men to be rejected? Is their noble self-sacrifice to be slighted? . . . . It is precisely because the awful and too long unavenged sufferings of the slave must be inevitable, while Slavery exists, that these questions must sooner or later be asked and answered, and that your political upholding of such a system becomes a monstrous crime against humanity. After all, my dear Andrew, why are you so sensitive on the subject of Slavery? You certainly can have no personal interest in the peculiar and patriarchal institution. . . . . You have lived to see the Dagon before which you and your friends have for so many years cheerfully prostrated yourselves fall to the ground, and lie a helpless, hopeless ruin on the very threshold of the temple where it lately stood defiant and dominant.” ~ From “Letter to a Peace Democrat” by Francis Wayland Jr in this month’s issue of the Atlantic. [Wayland (1796 to 1865) was a Baptist clergyman, educator, author, advocate of community libraries and the president of Brown University in Rhode Island for 28 years. At the time of this article he is retired from the ministry but remains active in civic affairs.]

December 1– Tuesday– Lancaster, Pennsylvania– “Pickpockets: At the recent dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, a great number of persons had their pockets picked. Forty empty pocket books were found the next day, at Hanover Junction.” ~ Lancaster Intelligencer.

December 1– Tuesday– Prospect, Tennessee– “It has been a most unfortunate blow for the rebels losing the control of this portion of Tennessee. We are well supplied with all kinds of Fresh Meat and Corn Meal. We have a Steam Bakery and get soft Wheaten bread about three times a week. What we want most is Salt, Candles, Soap, letters and Newspapers. I do not know anything that has happened since we came here as I have only seen two papers since our arrival. We have heard there has been a great victory near Chattanooga, but we know nothing of the particulars although we are in the same state and belong to the same Army.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Cadman to his family.

December 1– Tuesday– Maynardville, Tennessee; Benton, Arkansas; Cedar Point, North Carolina; Jonesville, Virginia; Salyersville, Kentucky; Ripley, Mississippi; harbor at Charleston, South Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Devall’s Bluff, Arkansas; Jenning’s Farm, Virginia; Jackson, Kentucky; Pulaski, Tennessee; Mount Sterling, Kentucky– Artillery bombardments, skirmishes, ambushes, fire-fights, brawls and armed clashes make folks wonder if the year’s fighting will ever end.

December 1– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Suffering from a bout of typhoid fever, Confederate spy Belle Boyd is deported to Richmond.

Belle Boyd

Belle Boyd

December 1– Tuesday– Christchurch, New Zealand– Opening of first steam-operated passenger railway in the country.

December 2– Wednesday– Andover, New Hampshire– Jane Means Appleton Pierce, wife of former President Franklin Pierce, dies at age 57 from consumption. Since leaving Washington in 1857 when her husband’s term expired, she has grown more and more withdrawn and focused on her two dead young sons, Frank, who died in 1844 of disease at age 4, and Benny, who was killed in a train accident in 1853 at age 12.

Jane Pierce

Jane Pierce

December 2– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Under the supervision of architect Thomas Ustick Walter, age 59,the dome of the Capitol Building is capped with the placement of the Statue of Freedom, completing the structure. [The work had begun in the fall of 1855. Walter had carefully unified the work of the three previous architects who had worked on the Capitol Building. President Lincoln refused to let the war delay the completion. The casting of the statute at the factory of a Mr Clark Mills in suburban D. C., was supervised by Philip Reid, a former slave and master craftsman, about 42 or 43 years old. The statute cost $23,796.23 to make. In today’s dollars, without adjusting for cost of materials, it would cost approximately $449,000 to make, based upon the Consumer Price Index.]

the figure on top of the Capitol Dome, Washington, D.C.

the figure on top of the Capitol Dome, Washington, D.C.

December 2– Wednesday– McGregor, Iowa– Birth of Charles Ringling, one of the seven sons of August and Marie Salome Juliar Rungeling. He and four of his brothers will establish what will become known as the Ringling Brothers Circus and in 1907 they will acquire Barnum & Bailey for a purchase price of $410,000. [That would equal $10.3 million today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

December 2– Wednesday– Dalton, Georgia– Confederate General Braxton Bragg relinquishes his command to General William Hardee.

December 2– Wednesday– Omaha, Nebraska–The official ground breaking for the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad takes place.

December 3– Thursday– Brooklyn, New York– “I have just telegraphed to you that Andrew was dead. Poor boy he died much easier than one would have supposed. I do hope to God you will come on. I have been with him . . . almost all the time since you left. . . . . Andrew was very desirous of having us all around him when he died. The poor boy seemed to think that would take nearly all the horror of it away. If you will come on I will try and give you the passage money. Mother and the rest take it very hard. I hope to get an answer by telegraph.” ~ Letter from Jeff Whitman to his brother Walt. [Andrew Whitman, age 36, had been ill for some time.]

December 3– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “It has been a long time since our readers have heard of a temperance meeting. The subject of temperance was abandoned by its advocates some years ago, after having labored earnestly and faithfully, though vainly, to effect the needed reforms. Particularly since the rebellion has the question remained undisturbed. The discussion of the matter of a prohibitory liquor law until the public sentiment of the State shall have been prepared for it. Rev. Mr. Barnes, Senator Young, Dr. T. H. Logan, Delegate Wheat, and others, spoke upon the subject, in favor and against the passage of a prohibitory liquor law at this time. The meeting was unquestionably in favor of some kind of a liquor law, the only difference of opinion being in regard to the time the law should go into effect. It was finally resolved to continue the agitation of the subject, with a view of preparing public sentiment for such a law as the one now before the Legislature.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer

December 3– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Your note with $20 from a friend, (formerly a Breckenridge democrat) came safe. Doctor, I have been away for a few days, but have now returned to remain here certainly for the winter & ensuing spring, & probably for two or three years. I feel much possessed with the wounded & sick soldiers– they have taken a powerful hold of me, & I am very happy among them– it is perhaps the greatest interchange of magnetism human relations are capable of. I have told you how young & how American they mostly are– so on my own account I shall continue as a missionary among them as sure as I live– I shall continue for years– tell your friend that his money is being distributed as money or what little purchase I find appropriate for the men of all states– I reject none of course– not rebel wounded nor blacks, nor any when I find them suffering & dying. Doctor to the other friends that assisted me in Boston & to yourself, I send my regards & love.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to Dr. Le Baron Russell.

December 3– Thursday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “We moved to this camp . . . . I do not understand the late movements, but I presume General Meade does.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 3– Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Miss Maxwell of Davidson County is authorized to keep a shot-gun and pistols for protection of herself and property.” ~ Executive order from Union military governor Andrew Johnson.

December 3– Thursday– Knoxville, Tennessee– Confederate forces under General Longstreet begin a withdrawal to Greeneville.

December 4– Friday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “We have outlived the old Union. We had outlived it long before the rebellion came to tell us– I mean the Union, under the old pro-slavery interpretation of it– and had become ashamed of it. The South hated it with our anti-slavery interpretation, and the North hated it with the Southern interpretation of its requirements. . . . . the better part of the people . . . shuddered at the idea of so sacrilegious a crime. They had already become utterly disgusted with the idea of playing the part of bloodhounds for the slave-masters, watch-dogs for the plantations. They had come to detest the principle upon which the Slave States had a larger representation in Congress than the Free States. They had already come to think that the little finger of dear old John Brown was worth more to the world than all the slaveholders in Virginia put together. What business, then, have we to fight for the old Union? We are not fighting for it. We are fighting for something incomparably better than the old Union. We are fighting for unity; unity of idea, unity of sentiment, unity of object, unity of institutions, in which there shall be no North, no South, no East, no West, no black, no white, but a solidarity of the nation, making every slave free, and every free man a voter.” ~ Speech by Frederick Douglass delivered at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

December 4– Friday– Washington, D.C.–The Russian Minister, Baron de Stoeckl, reports to the Tsar’s government that the number of problems in the United States come from “the rising streams of radicalism and universal suffrage . . . the influx of socialists and anarchists from Europe . . . . What can be expected from a country where men of humble origins are elevated to the highest positions?”


Eduard de Stoeckl

Eduard de Stoeckl

December 4– Friday– Kingston, Tennessee; Niobrara, Nebraska; Loudon, Tennessee; Meadow Bluff, West Virginia; La Fayette, Tennessee; Ripley, Mississippi– Skirmishes and plenty of shooting.


December 4– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– Federal artillery and ships complete seven consecutive days of bombarding Fort Sumter, having lobbed more than 1300 rounds into already badly damaged remains of the structure.


December 4– Friday– London, England– James Duffield Harding, landscape painter and lithographer, dies at age 65.


More Toward Universal Freedom~October 1863~the 16th to 19th

More Toward Universal Freedom~ New York Times

The New York Times evaluates the nature of the war and contrasts the goals of the Confederacy with those of the Union. President Lincoln calls for 300,000 more volunteers. General Grant receives command of all Federal forces in the west. Soldiers and civilians write about conditions in camp and at home. The wife of a black soldier is exploited by white men. Political tensions involving Russia, Poland, France, Mexico, Great Britain and the United States continue to simmer and lead to rumors of new wars. And the world continues to turn as a new generation of history makers are born.


October 16– Friday– Camp Nelson, Kentucky– “There is scarcely any sickness in the Regiment now, as our camp is very dry and healthy and is kept perfectly clean. I don’t hear any talk of our leaving here, so I think the chances are that we will stay here some time. I am just as comfortable here as can be, I have first rate grub, a good stove, plenty of wood, and everything nice. . . . The election last Tuesday in Ohio was a grand victory for our side; don’t you Yorkers feel a little ashamed about your election last Fall, when you see how other states treat such chaps as Seymour & Vallandigham? Jeff, how is it that you never write to a fellow now a days, I’ve a good mind to get mad at all of you. Mattie what’s the news at your house, have you got lots of good things put away for the winter? I make lots of reckoning, of good dinners with you, if I come home this winter. Mother don’t neglect to write as soon as you get this, and let me know all the particulars of your affairs.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother and family in Brooklyn, New York.

October 16– Friday– near Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I have been looking for Father but no word of him. Now if he has not started tell him not to start now. The bridges between here and Atlanta are well washed away and General Bragg will not allow any citizen to come up. He had better wait some two weeks before he comes. I want him to bring me something good to eat and please send me a pair of pants and a shirt. I had a shirt stolen from me a few days ago, also please send me a towel. I am in good health. I have got me a Yankee horse, he was wounded in the fight in the foot. I think I can cure him. He won’t cost me but very little. I told the man I got him from if I cured I would pay him twenty-five dollars. He is a young horse four years old and, [if] I get him well, will be worth eight hundred or a thousand dollars.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier William Stilwell to his wife Molly in Georgia.

October 16– Friday– Birmingham, England– Birth of Austen Chamberlain, the second child and eldest son of Joseph Chamberlain and Harriet Kendrick Chamberlain. His mother dies giving birth to him. He will hold a number of cabinet level posts in the British government and in 1925 will share the Nobel Peace Prize along with American Charles G Dawes.

Sir Austen Chamberlin

Sir Austen Chamberlin

October 17– Saturday– New York City– Harper’s Weekly declares that Russian friendliness to the Lincoln administration is justly upsetting France and Great Britain and opines that “an alliance with the Czar . . . may prove an epoch of no mean importance in history.”

October 17– Saturday– Washington, New Jersey– Birth of Louisa Boyd Yeomans King, author, lecturer and pioneer of the garden club movement. The third of the five children of Alfred and Elizabeth Blythe Yeomans, she will write twelve books about gardening as well as numerous magazine articles.

Louisa Boyd Yeoman King

Louisa Boyd Yeoman King

October 17– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas the term of service of a part of the volunteer forces of the United States will expire during the coming year; and Whereas, in addition to the men raised by the present draft, it is deemed expedient to call out 300,000 volunteers to serve for three years or the war, not, however. exceeding three years. Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy thereof and of the militia of the several States when called into actual service, do issue this my proclamation, calling upon the governors of the different States to raise and have enlisted into the United States service for the various companies and regiments in the field from their respective States their quotas of 300,000 men. I further proclaim that all volunteers thus called out and duly enlisted shall receive advance pay, premium, and bounty, as heretofore communicated to the governors of States by the War Department through the Provost-Marshal-General’s Office by special letters.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

October 17– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– In the evening, President Lincoln, his wife Mary, their son Tad, and Lincoln’s secretary William Stoddard attend a benefit performance of William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. Theater owner Leonard Grover stages the play which stars James Wallack as Macbeth, Charlotte Cushman as Lady Macbeth, and Edward Davenport as Macduff. The Washington Evening Star reports that the Lincoln party “occupied the lower stage boxes to the right.” The benefit garners over $2,000 for the Sanitary Commission and “Mr. Grover. . . gave the use of the entire resources of his establishment for this benefit, (including the services of two stars at his own expense,) and Miss Cushman generously contributed her valuable aid to the same object.” [The $2,000 would equal $37,700 today.]

October 17– Saturday– Louisville, Kentucky– General Grant meets with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Stanton gives Grant orders creating the Military Division of the Mississippi which Grant himself is to command, replacing General Rosecrans with General Thomas, and General Sherman to have command of operations in Tennessee. Thomas and Sherman are to operate under Grant’s command.

General Grant

General Grant

October 17– Saturday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “I have commenced making myself a calico dress overcasting collar and cuffs. Ma says she is not going to make anymore common clothes for me. If I don’t make them then I will have to do without. She seems determined to make me learn how to sew. The Negroes all say that while there is a book on the place ‘Miss Sallie ain’t gwine to sew.’ They say that it is not because I am such a lover of books but because I don’t want to sew, which I expect is about half true as I dislike sewing very much indeed. But one consolation is that Ma says that sewing to all beginners is irksome.” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

October 17– Saturday– London, England– “One thing is clearly apparent. It is that England has a healthy dread of war with America. English statesmen see nothing so disastrous. Consequently, Mr. Laird’s iron-clads are now, it is said, under charge of royal marines, and there is no fear of their leaving the Mersey until another effort has been made to hold them by law, or to make a law that will hold them. . . . As to France, there are no present signs of hasty movement. There seems now little doubt that the new Emperor, as he has been formally saluted, will go to Mexico in February or March. The presence of the new Empress, it is thought, will be better than an army of 40,000 men. All these matters will be pushed forward with the obstinacy of Napoleon and of France – of the man who is not accustomed to abandon his projects, and of the nation that overcame that same invincible obstacle in Algeria. But, must this of necessity lead to war between France and America? If the Monroe Doctrine be adhered to, yes; if it be abandoned, no. Napoleon has no occasion to become the ally of the South, unless threatened with war by the North. If so threatened on account of his occupation of Mexico and establishment of a monarchy there, he will naturally seek to strengthen himself by an alliance with any Power or any parties, that will aid him in carrying out his place of empire and aggrandizement. . . . The Queen of England has attended the uncovering of a statue of the late Prince Consort at Aberdeen.” ~ Dispatch sent by a reporter to the New York Times.

October 18– Sunday– New York City– “Our fathers fought in the Revolution for freedom. That was the sign by which they must conquer. That was emblazoned amid the glories of the banner under which they fought. And feeling this great truth pulsating in their every heart-beat, they could not but look kindly upon the effort of any slave to make himself a freeman among freemen, by offering his life as readily as they were offering theirs for their common country. But with the rebels it is the reverse. They have set Slavery as the foundation-stone of their Government. They have plunged into rebellion and crime of all sorts in defense of Slavery. The liberty which they claim to be fighting for is a liberty to enslave others. They declare their Confederacy to be ‘a God-sent missionary’ to teach ‘Slavery, Subordination and Government.’ We, on the other hand, fight on different conditions. All the logic of the struggle leads us more and more toward universal freedom. Every dollar spent, every drop of blood shed, is an argument in this direction, and leaves behind an influence which leads us to take a bolder stand and more decided measures for freedom to each and to all. The bravery of the black man has already silenced the opposition to these regiments.” ~ New York Times on “The Negro Soldier Question.”

October 18– Sunday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– Union General Thomas, now in command of the defense of the city, responds to General Grant’s orders not to withdraw by wiring that “We will hold the town till we starve.”

General George Thomas

General George Thomas

October 19– Monday– New York City– “There has been a great deal of speculation concerning the purpose for which vessels-of-war of each of the three greatest Powers of Europe were in our harbor. The public, we believe, generally settled down into the belief that the English happened here; that the Russians had come to our Atlantic coast for safety in event of war between [Russian Tsar] Alexander and [French Emperor] Napoleon; but nothing intelligible could be suggested regarding the French, unless, like the English, their coming was an accident.” ~ The New York Times.

 October 19– Monday– near Grand Ridge, Illinois– Birth of John Huston Finley, the first of the four children of Lydia Margaret McCombs Finley and James Gibson Finley. An educator and author, Finley will serve as president of the City College of New York [1903 to 1913], New York State Commissioner of Education and from 1921 until his death in 1940 as an editor at the New York Times.

John Huston Finley

John Huston Finley

October 19– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The bearer Maria, Colored woman recently belonging to William Cartright, residing about eight miles on the Murfreesboro Pike has represented her case to me as one a peculiar hardship and ill usage. According to her statement her husband is a colored soldier in the regular service of the government, that while living with in the lines of this post her owner came and managed to steal her child away and convey it to his residence, being desirous of obtaining her clothes, and her other children, who trusted the word of a Tennessee soldier who offered for five dollars to convey her safely to the residence of her master, obtain her children and clothing and insure her safe return within the lines, but this was a trap, as she alleges by which for the sum of thirty dollars the soldier or individual so presenting himself had agreed to deliver he up to her master, who no sooner had her in his power than he locked her up for four days and inflicted upon her a most cruel beating, the marks of which she now carries on her person. A cruel beating was also inflicted on one of the children whose marks and scars was seen by one of the soldiers of the 129 Illinois Regiment. She now hopes to obtain from your excellency the necessary authority and help to obtain her clothing and two children. I have no doubt of the entire truthfulness of her statement, and I feel sure Governor that your well known regard for righteousness and your sympathy for the weak and oppressed will prompt you to do what may be within your power to redress the wrongs from the suppliant who will present you with this humble document.” ~ Letter from Thomas Cotton, Chaplain, 129th Regiment Illinois Volunteers, to Governor Andrew Johnson.