Tag Archives: Georgia campaign

July ~ Election Year 1864

patriotic cartoon~Lincoln-flag

President Lincoln keeps busy dealing with political opposition, inaction in Congress and problems with his Cabinet. Journalist and activist Horace Greeley fails in his personal effort to negotiate peace with the Confederacy. General Grant’s siege of Richmond/Petersburg area continues while General Sherman makes slow, steady progress in capturing Atlanta.

July 1– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “At most any other time, the repeal by Congress of the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850 would be the theme of general comment. But it comes now as a matter of course. The signature of the President, perfectly certain, is now all that is needed to make the repeal a law.” ~ The Liberator.

July 1–Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln appoints William Pitt Fessenden, Senator from Maine, as Secretary of the Treasury. Fessenden, age 57, a lawyer, politician and financier, has served in the Senate since 1854. [He will serve only until March 3, 1865, when he will return to the Senate, having restored the U S Treasury to a relatively sound condition. Lincoln describes him as “a Radical without the petulant and vicious fretfulness of many Radicals.” He dies in Portland, Maine on September 8, 1869, five weeks before his 63rd birthday.]

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July 2–Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “The last business day of the session, and many of the Members have gone home already. Much is done and omitted to be done during the last hours of Congress. Members do wrong in abandoning their post at these important periods, and no one who does it should be trusted. I am told by the members of our naval committees that all naval matters are rightly done up in the two houses, but I discredit it. Some matters will be lost, and hurried legislation is always attended with errors.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 6th ultimo, requesting information upon the subject of the African slave trade, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers by which it was accompanied.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.

July 5– Tuesday– New York City– Editor Horace Greeley, age 53, a critic of President Lincoln and advocating peace with the South, receives a letter from friends in Canada, asserting that Confederate representatives are available to discuss peace terms. Greeley in turn urges Lincoln to negotiate.

Horace-Greeley

Horace Greeley

 

July 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Telegrams this a.m. inform us that the pirate Alabama was sunk on the 19th of June off Cherbourg by the steamer Kearsarge, Commodore Winslow, after a fight of one hour and a half. Informed the President and Cabinet of the tidings, which was a matter of general congratulation and rejoicing. . . . The President appeared more constrained and formal than usual.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws, do hereby declare that in my judgment the public safety especially requires that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, so proclaimed in the said proclamation of the 15th of September, 1863, be made effectual and be duly enforced in and throughout the said State of Kentucky, and that martial law be for the present established therein. I do therefore hereby require of the military officers in the said State that the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus be effectually suspended within the said State, according to the aforesaid proclamation, and that martial law be established therein, to take effect from the date of this proclamation, the said suspension and establishment of martial law to continue until this proclamation shall be revoked or modified, but not beyond the period when the said rebellion shall have been suppressed or come to an end. And I do hereby require and command as well all military officers as all civil officers and authorities existing or found within the said State of Kentucky to take notice of this proclamation and to give full effect to the same. The martial law herein proclaimed and the things in that respect herein ordered will not be deemed or taken to interfere with the holding of lawful elections, or with the proceedings of the constitutional legislature of Kentucky, or with the administration of justice in the courts of law existing therein between citizens of the United States in suits or proceedings which do not affect the military operations or the constituted authorities of the Government of the United States.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

July 5– Tuesday– Roswell, Georgia– Federal cavalry under the command of General Kenner Garrard arrives to find the bridge across the Chattahoochee River had been burned by withdrawing Confederate soldiers. Garrard orders his troopers to commence burning all the mills and industrial buildings in town. According to his report, one of the cotton mills destroyed today contained over one million dollars worth of machinery and employed four-hundred workers.

July 6– Wednesday– Washington, D. C.– “Received dispatches to-day from Captain Winslow of the Kearsarge relative to sinking the Alabama. Wrote congratulatory letter. There is great rejoicing throughout the country over this success, which is universally and justly conceded a triumph over England as well as over the Rebels. . . . Our large smooth-bore guns, the Dahlgrens, have been ridiculed and denounced by the enemies of the Navy Department, but the swift destruction of the Alabama is now imputed to the great guns which tore her in pieces.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

USS_Kearsarge_(1861)

USS Kearsarge

 

July 7– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, cordially concurring with the Congress of the United States in the penitential and pious sentiments expressed in the aforesaid resolution and heartily approving of the devotional design and purpose thereof, do hereby appoint the first Thursday of August next to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of national humiliation and prayer.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln

July 8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln vetoes the Wade-Davis reconstruction bill.

July 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “If you can find any person, anywhere, professing to have any proposition of Jefferson Davis in writing, for peace, embracing the restoration of the Union and abandonment of slavery, whatever else it embraces, say to him he may come to me with you; and that if he really brings such proposition, he shall at the least have safe conduct with the paper (and without publicity, if he chooses) to the point where you shall have to meet him. The same if there be two or more persons.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Horace Greeley.

July 12– Washington, D.C.– “I suppose you received my letter of the 9th. I have just received yours . . . and am disappointed by it. I was not expecting you to send me a letter, but to bring me a man, or men.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Horace Greeley.

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July 12– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “What sufferings have been occasioned by this sad, useless war– how much happier would we all be had not the political demagogues North and South been permitted to force this war upon a happy, prosperous people.” ~ Diary of William King.

July 15– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The passage of the bill by Congress which takes from the States formally declared to be in rebellion the right to participate in the next Presidential election will reduce the votes in the electoral college to be chosen next November to two hundred and forty-one. The States thus excluded are Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida– eleven in all, comprising eighty-nine electoral votes, were they in a condition to cast them. Three territories have been authorized to form State governments, but none of them will have time to do so in season to vote at the next Presidential election, and one of them (Nebraska) has already declined this tender of the privilege of becoming a State.” ~ The Liberator.

July 18– Monday– Niagra Falls, New York– Horace Greeley arrives to attempt peace negotiations.

July 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln calls for a half million more volunteers, in large part because of the large number of casualties suffered in Virginia and Georgia.

July 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with James R. Gilmore to discuss peace. Gilmore, age 42, a Massachusetts-born businessman, had made a secret trip, with Lincoln’s permission, to meet with President Davis in Richmond. However, he reports that the Confederacy demands recognition of its independence and the continuance of slavery. After the meeting Lincoln issues this announcement: “Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole Union, and the abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and with an authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States, will be received and considered by the Executive Government of the United States, and will be met by liberal terms on other substantial and collateral points; and the bearer or bearers thereof shall have safe conduct both ways.” This effectively ends Horace Greeley’s efforts at peace talks.

July 22– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Copperheads seem to neglect a great argument which might be used against Mr. Lincoln. It is from a recent speech of Hon. J. L. M. Curry, the Secession leader of Alabama. ‘Should Lincoln be re-elected,’ says Mr. Curry, ‘our fond hopes will be dashed to the ground.’ This is an argument the Copperheads neglect to use.” ~ The Liberator.

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July 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “At the Cabinet-meeting the President read his correspondence with Horace Greeley on the subject of peace propositions from George Saunders and others at Niagara Falls. The President has acquitted himself very well– if he was to engage in the matter at all– but I am sorry that he permits himself, in this irregular way, to be induced to engage in correspondence with irresponsible parties like Saunders and Clay or scheming busybodies like Greeley. . . . Greeley is one of those who has done and is doing great harm and injustice in this matter. In this instance he was evidently anxious to thrust himself forward as an actor, and yet when once engaged he began to be alarmed; he failed to honestly and frankly communicate the President’s first letters, as was his duty, but sent a letter of his own, which was not true and correct, and found himself involved in the meshes of his own frail net.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 23– Saturday– New York City– “I will not let myself doubt the final issue. What further humiliation and disaster, public and private, we must suffer before we reach the end, God only knows; but this shabbiest and basest of rebellions cannot be destined to triumph.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 24– Sunday– Mansfield, Ohio– “We all feel that upon Grant and you, and the armies under your command, the fate of this country depends. If you are successful, it is ardently hoped that peace may soon follow with a restored union. If you fail, the wisest can hope for nothing but a long train of disasters and the strife of factious.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman.

July 26– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “We expect to await your program for further changes and promotions in your army. My profoundest thanks to you and your whole army for the present campaign so far.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

July 28– Thursday– Lowell, Massachusetts– “As to our situation here, you are doubtless well informed. My own feeling has always been confident, and it is now hopeful. If Mr. Lincoln is re-chosen, I think the war will soon be over. If not, there will be attempts at negotiation, during which the rebels will recover breath, and then war again with more chances in their favor. Just now everything looks well. The real campaign is clearly in Georgia, and Grant has skillfully turned all eyes to Virginia by taking the command there in person. Sherman is a very able man, in dead earnest, and with a more powerful army than that of Virginia. It is true that the mercantile classes are longing for peace, but I believe the people are more firm than ever. So far as I can see, the opposition to Mr. Lincoln is both selfish and factious, but it is much in favor of the right side that the Democratic party have literally not so much as a single plank of principle to float on, and the sea runs high. They don’t know what they are in favor of – hardly what they think it safe to be against. And I doubt if they will gain much by going into an election on negatives. I attach some importance to the peace negotiation at Niagara (ludicrous as it was) as an indication of despair on the part of the rebels . . . . Don’t be alarmed about Washington. The noise made about it by the Copperheads is enough to show there is nothing dangerous in any rebel movements in that direction. I have no doubt that Washington is as safe as Vienna. What the Fremont defection may accomplish I can’t say, but I have little fear from it. Its strength lies solely among our German Radicals, the most impracticable of mankind. If our population had been as homogeneous as during the Revolutionary war, our troubles would have been over in a year. All our foreign trading population have no fatherland but the till, and have done their best to destroy our credit. All our snobs, too, are Secesh.” ~ Letter from James Russell Lowell to his friend John Lothrop Motley, American Minister to the Austrian Empire.

James_Russell_Lowell_-_1855

James Russell Lowell

 

July 29– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “‘A Bridge from Slavery to Freedom’ is the title of an able speech (printed in pamphlet form) delivered by Honorable Charles Sumner, in the United States Senate, on the bill to establish a Bureau of Freedmen, June 13th, 14th and 15th, 1864.” ~ The Liberator.

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Your Opinion About Our Present Situation ~ February 1865~ 13th and 14th

Your Opinion about Our Present Situation

Federal cavalry moving through South Carolina swamp

Federal cavalry moving through South Carolina swamp

Many southerners worry and wonder about the future yet cling to hope for independence. Those separated by the war miss each other and hope for a time of being together. Debate about the use of slaves in the army continues. Mere months after the event Sherman’s march to the sea is becoming the stuff of legend in the North and increasing bitterness in the South. While keeping his eyes and ears upon the progress of the war, President Lincoln considers international relations and the care of the increasing number of war orphans.

awaiting the letter carrier

awaiting the letter carrier

February 13– Monday– Staunton, Virginia– “I have no directions to give about our matters. You have been managing so long & so well that it is not necessary for me to direct at least whilst absent– do the best you can & as you may desire. I hope it will not be long until we will be together. I am sorely tired of this life & hope soon for a change. Can’t you pay me a visit? so soon as the weather gets warmer try it. Many ladies are paying visits to their friends here & why can’t you? it would be worth about a Million to me for to see you land here some evening by stage [coach]. If you can’t come all the way can’t you come part way & I will meet you. Try & let me hear from you on this subject. . . . The people seem to be fired up with new zeal & determination in their cause & seem willing to exhaust all means now. Some public meeting proclaim & pledge their property, their honor & their lives for the maintenance & defense of their liberties. Doubtless the spring campaign will be [a] desperate & bloody one– the people seem to be all fired with determination to conquer or die.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

February 13– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a copy of a despatch of the 12th ultimo addressed to the Secretary of State by the Minister Resident of the United States at Stockholm, relating to an International Exhibition to be held at Bergen, in Norway, during the coming summer. The expediency of any legislation upon the subject is submitted for your consideration.” and “I transmit to Congress a copy of a note of the 2nd instant addressed to the Secretary of State by the Commander J. C. de Figaniere e Morai, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Most Faithful Majesty the King of Portugal, calling attention to a proposed International Exhibition at the City of Oporto, to be opened in August next, and inviting contributions thereto of the products of American manufactures and industry. The expediency of any legislation upon the subject is submitted for your consideration.” ~ Messages from President Lincoln to Congress regarding upcoming exhibitions in Europe.

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February 13– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Coldest morning of the winter. My exposure to the cold wind yesterday, when returning from the department, caused an attack of indigestion, and I have suffered much this morning from disordered stomach and bowels. From Northern papers we learn that General Grant’s demonstration last week was a very formidable effort to reach the South Side Railroad, and was, as yet, a decided failure. . . . There will be more fighting yet before Richmond is abandoned, probably such a carnival of blood as will make the world start in horror.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 13– Monday– northeastern Georgia– “From all I can learn, there is a bad chance to get through to my Command and if I get through I will have to walk over a hundred miles. It is useless for me to try to carry all them socks and I have left then here with Gus, who will send them out to you and you can distribute them. Cheer up and may God bless you and my darling boy.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda as struggles to return to Petersburg, Virginia after being home on leave.

Washington, Georgia, historic home

Washington, Georgia, historic home

February 13– Monday– Albany, Georgia– “Letters from home. Our house is full of company, as it always is, only more so. All the Morgans are there, and Mary Day, and the Gairdners from Augusta, besides a host of what one might call transients, if father was keeping a hotel – friends, acquaintances, and strangers whom the tide of war has stranded in little Washington [Georgia]. Mrs. Gairdner’s husband was an officer in the English army at Waterloo, and a schoolmate of Lord Byron, and her sons are brave Confederates – which is better than anything else. Mary Day had typhoid fever in Augusta. She is too weak to make the journey from Mayfield to Macon, and all non-combatants have been ordered to leave Augusta, so mother invited her to Haywood. Oh, that dear old home! I know it is sweeter than ever now, with all those delightful people gathered there. One good thing the war has done among many evils; it has brought us into contact with so many pleasant people we should never have known otherwise. I know it must be charming to have all those nice army officers around, and I do want to go back, but it is so nice here, too, that we have decided to stay a little longer. Father says that this is the best place for us now that Kilpatrick’s [Federal cavalry] raiders are out of the way. I wish I could be in both places at once. They write us that little Washington has gotten to be the great thoroughfare of the Confederacy now, since Sherman has cut the South Carolina R.R. and the only line of communication between Virginia and this part of the country, from which the army draws its supplies, is through there and Abbeville. This was the old stage route before there were any railroads, and our first ‘rebel’ president [George Washington] traveled over it in returning from his Southern tour nearly three-quarters of a century ago, when he spent a night with Colonel Alison in Washington [Georgia]. It was a different thing being a rebel in those days and now. I wonder the Yankees don’t remember they were rebels once, themselves.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews. [Washington, Georgia, home town of Ms Andrews, was incorporated in 1780 and named after George Washington. It serves as the county seat of Wilkes County. Its population today is 4,134.]

group of Civil War orphans

group of Civil War orphans

February 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with Elizabeth E. Hutter. Mrs Hutter is the wife of Edwin Hutter, a former newspaper owner and editor and, since 1850, pastor of St Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Philadelphia. Elizabeth has spearheaded efforts to build the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Institute to provide care for the orphaned children of Union fighters killed during the war. The building is about to open and she meets with the President to discuss the establishment of a network of similar orphanages in other states.

Elizabeth Hutter

Elizabeth Hutter

February 14– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “As if it were not enough humiliation that Sherman had made a triumphful procession through the State of Georgia, the New York Times expresses its contemptuous opinion of the people thereof for permitting him to do it. That paper says that the most remarkable and significant revelation made by Sherman’s march through Georgia was not, perhaps, the internal weakness of the Confederacy; but the entire absence of desperation on the part of that portion of the population which remains at home. ‘If,’ says the Times, ‘the war were felt by them to be a National war, in the sense in which this phrase is ordinarily understood, a war in which everything that men hold dear was at stake, and in which death was preferable to submission, it is impossible to believe that their resistance to Sherman’s progress would have been so feeble. . . . Almost in our own day, both the Russians and Tyrolese have opposed just such obstacles to the progress of French armies of invasion, as the Georgians were asked to oppose to that of Sherman. They either rose en masse in their front, “bushwhacked” them along every mile of the road, from behind every rock and tree and fence, or else converted their line of march into a howling waste, and left them no better fruits of victory than desolated fields and charred ruins. In Georgia, on the contrary, it appears well ascertained that the great majority of the inhabitants staid quietly at home, and awaited the invader’s approach in respectable quiet. So far from destroying their property in order to deprive him of the means of subsistence, they did not even drive off their mules, horses or cattle, though this would have been one of the easiest and most obvious modes of damaging him. In fact, it is hard to see that any Georgian farmers, except those who joined the militia, made the smallest personal sacrifice in aid of the Confederacy, at the most important juncture in its history, and when they were most earnestly and solemnly entreated to make every sacrifice, by the men who are supposed to have, and who ought to have, if the concern were a sound one, their fullest confidence. There is only one interpretation that can be put on this extraordinary apathy, and that is, that confidence in the success of the rebellion no longer exists anywhere outside of the official class and the army, if it exist there. The Governors of States who write the flaming appeals whenever our raiders make their appearance, are, of course, as members of the oligarchy, closely allied in sentiment, as well as in interest, with the Confederate leaders; but it appears, of late, plain that the farmers who have so far escaped the net of the conscription, either have grown tired of the contest or despair of success, and that their great aim now is not to serve the rebellion, but to avoid sharing its fortunes.’ If all that were true,– and we leave it to the fellow-citizens of those heroic Georgia troops who have illustrated so many battle-fields to hurl back the accusation,– Lincoln has stepped in to supply to all the people of this country a motive of ‘desperation’ which cannot fail to arouse the most sluggish and exasperate the most pacific. If they have not believed their own orators, their own newspapers, and their own governors, perhaps they will believe him when he tells them that slavery is abolished, and that they can only be allowed to approach his footstool as suppliants suing for mercy. If, after all this, they fall behind Russians, Tyrolese, and every other invaded nation of ancient and modern times, and look passively on the progress through their country of a conquering army, we shall concede that the Times knows them better than we do, and that provincial vassalage to a Yankee despotism would be no degradation.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

Atlanta, Georgia, in flames

Atlanta, Georgia, in flames

February 14– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “What is your opinion about our present situation? It appears gloomy enough, but I hope and think we will yet be independent. Our only hope is to fight until we conquer a peace. There is none in negotiations, state conventions or interventions. It is on the fortitude, courage and patriotism of our soldiers we must depend, and as we have few of them in comparison to the enemy, we should foster and protect them as much as possible. This is only to be done by putting men of heart and feeling in command, like Johnston who can feel for the suffering of the private soldiery and appreciate the life of a man. I regard the Negro as the prime cause of our separation from the old Union, and it is humiliating to have to surrender one of our greatest institutions, both for the prosperity of our country and protection and civilization of the black race, to popular opinion of other nations. Yet, I think this will have to be done, sooner or later, and I believe Congress is of the same opinion. If so, why not make the Negro useful to us in achieving our independence? We can put 100,000 in service and discipline them so they will do good fighting.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.

February 14– Tuesday– northeastern Georgia– “My heart is heavy. I think of you and Henry all the time, and often want to get off to myself and take a big cry, to relieve the burden from my heart. Poor little Henry, he followed me up to his Grandma’s that morning and I told him good-by again, and he halloed ‘goodby Pa’ after I had got in the buggy and started. It nearly broke my heart. May God protect him and you is my humble prayer. From what I can gather I think I can flank Augusta by going by Washington [Georgia] and walking 60 miles across South Carolina. I earnestly hope that we may yet meet again and spend many happy days together.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

valentines-day

Abolitionism, Fanaticism & Vandalism ~ January, 1865 ~ 13th to 15th

Abolitionism, Fanaticism and Vandalism ~ Charleston Mercury

abolitionist image used in letters, flyers & newspapers

abolitionist image used in letters, flyers & newspapers

A Charleston newspaper rants about the Northern agenda while the major abolitionist newspaper in the North supports a pioneering work in medicine for women. Federal forces assault the fort guarding Wilmington, North Carolina, thereby closing the last open Southern port city. Tennessee abolishes slavery within the state. General Sherman advises his wife of his intent to launch a new campaign. Politics simmers, North and South.

Dr Maria E Zakrzewska, founder of New England Hospital for Women and Children

Dr Maria E Zakrzewska, founder of New England Hospital for Women and Children

January 13– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The New England Hospital for Women and Children in now established at No. 14 Warren Street, Boston. Its object is to furnish to the women of New England the ministration of their own sex, and such and peculiar care as are, in many cases, essential to successful treatment. The opinions of some of our physicians, and the fact that patients are often sent to us from the Massachusetts General Hospital, prove the need for a Hospital for the separate treatment of women. It is no longer a question whether women can become successful physicians; and public sentiment demands that women who desire it shall have the advise of their own sex. The commodious house, No. 14 Warren Street, and three smaller houses on Planet Street connected therewith, have recently been purchased for the sum of $20,000, of which $13,500 have been already raised. This is a valuable property, admirably adapted to our need, and has already enabled us greatly to extend the benefits of the Hospital. We still owe upon the properly $6,500, and we need about $4,000 to finish and fit the buildings for use. We therefore appeal, with confidence to a generous community for the sum of $10,000. During the last year, 127 patients have been admitted to the Hospital, 120 have been visited at their own homes, and 1977 have been treated in the Dispensary. About one-half the patients in the Hospital were from the various towns in New England. It is, therefore, not to Boston alone that we look for the means of carrying on the work, but to the kind-hearted throughout New England. Thousands of women in our cities and large towns have no homes in which to find refuge in sickness. Thousands of the abject poor live in damp cellars, or unfurnished, crowded, attics. Unfit habitations in health, what must they be in sickness? The wives of brave men, who have nobly laid down their lives in battle, appeal to us. Gladly we do for the soldier– shall we no also provide for those dearer to him than his own life? Give us, then, a portion of the abundance with which God has blessed you, to be used for the comfort of the suffering and the needy; and accept the assurance that whatever you may entrust to us small be dispensed with the most rigid economy.” ~ The Liberator.

New England Hospital for Women & Children

New England Hospital for Women & Children

January 13– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Yours asking leave to come to Washington is received. You have been summoned by the Committee on the Conduct of the War to attend here, which, of course, you will do.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Union General Ben Butler.

January 13– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Mr. Hill, of Georgia, offered a resolution, which was agreed to, that the Finance Committee be instructed to inquire what legislation is necessary for therelief of tax-payers residing in districts occupied or overrun by the enemy; and what legislation may be expedient for the relief of agriculturists who have been unable to comply with their bonds, required by the act of February 17, 1864, by reason of the depredations of the enemy, or by reason of the subsequent exaction of military service by the State or Confederate authorities since the execution of their bonds.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

January 13– Friday– Fort Fisher, North Carolina– A Federal fleet of 59 vessels with 627 guns, commended by Admiral Porter, begins bombardment of the fort at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. While the cannonading goes on, small boats land 8,000 Union troops between the fort and the city of Wilmington.

January 13– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The [Tennessee state constitutional] convention composed of more than 500 delegates from all parts of he State have unanimously adopted an amendment to the constitution forever abolishing slavery in this State and denying the power of the Legislature passing new law creating property in man. Thank God that the tyrant’s rod has been broken. This amendment is to be submitted to the people for ratification on the birthday of the Father of his Country [George Washington, February 22nd], when, without some reverse of arms, the State will be redeemed and the foul blot of slavery erased from her escutcheon. I hope that Tennessee will not be included in the bill now before Congress and be made an exception if the bill passes. All is now working well, and if Tennessee is now let alone will soon resume all functions of a State according to the genius and theory of the Government.” ~ Message from Andrew Johnson, Military Governor and Vice President-elect, to President Lincoln.

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson

January 13– Friday– near Albany, Georgia– “The newspapers bring accounts of terrible floods all over the country. Three bridges are washed away on the Montgomery & West Point R.R., so that settles the question of going to Montgomery for the present. Our fears about the Yankees are quieted, too, there being none this side of the Altamaha, and the swamps impassable.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 14– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “The week has been one of interesting incidents, incessant occupation. Admiral Farragut came a week since and called on me. After half an hour or more of conversation on affairs connected with his command, the capture of Mobile, and matters generally, I went with him to the President. In the evening, he, with Mrs. Farragut and Captain Drayton, spent the evening with us. . . . [Secretary of State] Seward fears him [General Ben Butler]. There is no love between them, and yet Seward would prefer to avoid a conflict. Butler has the reckless audacity attributed to the worst revolutionists of France, in the worst of times, but is deficient in personal courage. He is a suitable idol for Greeley, a profound philanthropist, being the opposite of Greeley in almost everything except love of notoriety. ” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Ben Butler, 1870

Ben Butler, 1870

January 14– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and cool. The news that Goldsborough, North Carolina, had been taken is not confirmed. Nor have we intelligence of the renewal of the assault on Fort Fisher– but no one doubts it. . . . If Richmond be relinquished, it ought to be by convention and capitulation, getting the best possible terms for the citizens; and not by evacuation, leaving them at the mercy of the invaders. Will our authorities think of this? Doubtful.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

January 14– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The Wilmington Journal asks our people, all of them, to watch closely the insidious course of the enemy in towns which fall under the power of his arms. In Savannah he walks as softly as the tiger creeping on his prey. He shows only the velvet paw. The cruel claws are hidden, presently, however, to be revealed. In a few days or a few weeks, adds the Journal, orders will be issued, commanding all, even women and children, to take an oath – not simply of neutrality, not a parol not to fight against the United States, but an oath of allegiance, not alone to the Constitution of the United States, but to the unconstitutional laws which have been passed by an abolition Congress, and to the very proclamations in delegation of all law, which have been promulgated by the sovereign will and pleasure of Abraham Lincoln, or leave within a specified time, naked and destitute. If any do forswear themselves by taking an oath to support and approve abolitionism, fanaticism and vandalism, they will find themselves required, if able-bodied, to submit to the Lincoln draft – to fight against their country – their principles – their people, and their God. Let none be fooled by specious promises – let none be lulled by the siren songs of the foe, who only seeks to deceive that they may the sooner and the more surely trample upon his victims, who will find themselves despised by the very foes who have deceived them – haunted by their own consciences, and cut off from honorable association with those who have endured to the end.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 14– Saturday– near Albany, Georgia– Father keeps on writing for us to come home [to Washington, Georgia.]. Brother Troup says he can send us across the country from Macon in a government wagon, with Mr. Forline for an escort, if the rains will ever cease; but we can’t go now on account of the bad roads and the floods up the country. Bridges are washed away in every direction, and the water courses impassable.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 15– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “Yours announcing ordinance of emancipation received. Thanks to the convention and to you. When do you expect to be here? Would be glad to have your suggestion as to supplying your place of military governor.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Andrew Johnson.

capture of Fort Fisher

capture of Fort Fisher

January 15– Sunday– outside Wilmington, North Carolina– Federal forces launch a two-pronged assault on Confederate Fort Fisher which falls into Union hands by late evening. The victory ends Wilmington’s usefulness as a port. The Federals do not bother to assault the city, satisfied with leaving the Confederacy without any major seaport to receive blockade runners or foreign vessels.

January 15– Sunday– near Albany, Georgia– “Went to church at Mt. Enon with Albert Bacon, and saw everybody. It was pleasant to meet old friends, but I could not help thinking of poor Annie Chiles’s grave at the church door. One missing in a quiet country neighborhood like this makes a great gap. This was the Sunday for Dr. Hillyer to preach to the Negroes and administer the communion to them. They kept awake and looked very much edified while the singing was going on, but most of them slept through the sermon. The women were decked out in all their Sunday finery and looked so picturesque and happy. It is a pity that this glorious old plantation life should ever have to come to an end. Albert Bacon dined with us and we spent the afternoon planning for a picnic at Mrs. Henry Bacon’s lake on Tuesday or Wednesday. The dear old lake! I want to see it again before its shores are desecrated by Yankee feet. I wish sister would hurry home, on account of the servants. We can’t take control over them, and they won’t do anything except just what they please. As soon as she had gone, Mr. Ballou, the overseer, took himself off and only returned late this evening. Harriet, Mrs. Green Butler’s maid, is the most trifling of the lot, but I can stand anything from her because she refused to go off with the Yankees when Mrs. Butler had her in Marietta last summer. Her mother went, and tried to persuade Harriet to go, too, but she said: ‘I loves Miss Julia a heap better n I do you’ and remained faithful. Sister keeps her here because Mrs. Butler is a refugee and without a home herself.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 15– Sunday– Savannah, Georgia– “I will surely be off in the course of this week, and you will hear of me only through Richmond [newspapers] for two months. You have got used to it now and will not be concerned though I think the chances of getting killed on this trip about even. If South Carolina lets me pass across without desperate fighting, her fame is gone forever. . . .I would not be surprised if I would involve our government with England. I have taken all the cotton as prize of war, thirty thousand bales, equal to thirteen millions of dollars, much of which is claimed by English merchants. I disregard their consular certificates on the ground that this cotton has been notoriously employed to buy cartridges and arms and piratical ships, and was collected here for that very purpose. Our own merchants are equally culpable. They buy cotton in advance and take the chances of capture.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

Ellen Sherman

Ellen Sherman

January 15– Sunday– near Asker, Norway– Birth of Finn Blakstad, farmer and politician. [Dies January 24, 1941.]

Finn Blakstad, 1922

Finn Blakstad, 1922

How I Hate Yankees ~ January 1865~ the 8th to 12th

How I Hate Yankees ~ Eliza Frances Andrews.

cavalry battle images

Anger and resentment simmer in Georgia. Many people are concerned not only with sick and wounded soldiers but also with the increasing number of permanently disabled veterans. The Charleston newspaper continues to criticize President Jeff Davis. Whitman prepares to return to Washington where a paying job awaits him. In Oberlin, Ohio, religious enthusiasm continues as it does in many places during the war. The Lincoln Administration investigates General Sherman’s treatment of freed slaves.

January 8– Sunday– near Macon, Georgia– “I wish to ask you what is to become of such men as I that is disabled and cannot get what is due them from the government. I cannot work for a living with one hand. Times is so no one won’t hire a overseer. And I wish to know what I am to do, if I can look to Georgia for help or have I got to turn out in the world. These times are [hard], after fighting in this cruel war until I was ruined for life, when I had nothing in the world to fight for but myself, without parents or relation or property of any kind, though I considered it my duty to fight for the country, and I did so until I was disabled. Since that time it looks like the world has forsaken me and cares not for a man no longer than he is able for the battlefield. I hope you will adopt some plan that I may draw what is due me or some plan that I may get some clothing without turning out in the world a beggar or being sent to the poor house. I will close, hoping that you will consider my condition and let me hear from you soon.” ~ Letter from a disabled Confederate soldier to Georgia Governor Joseph Brown.

veteran who lost both arms

veteran who lost both arms

January 8– Sunday– Dooly County, Georgia– “Sure enough Sherman has reached the coast. I believe he can go any where he pleases. Some predict that he will take Augusta next. I hope this letter will go through first. I’m about to despair of our ever gaining our independence. We have had so many reverses of late. I still think this spring, the struggle will be decided. Let our fate be what it may, I want to see it. I wish the suspense to be done away with.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé, Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer.

Alva Benjamin Spencer

Alva Benjamin Spencer

January 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit herewith the letter of the Secretary of War, with accompanying report of the Adjutant-General, in reply to the resolution of the House of Representatives dated December 7, 1864, requesting me ‘to communicate to the House the report made by Colonel Thomas M. Key of an interview between himself and General Howell Cobb on the 14th day of June, 1862, on the bank of the Chickahominy, on the subject of the exchange of prisoners of war.’” ~ Message from President Lincoln to Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

January 9– Monday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The Confederacy at this moment is in much the condition of a man who, having more than once got his enemy under him, with his knee up on his breast, and his hand upon his throat, is, while in the act of dealing him his death blow, assailed from behind by one whom he had supposed to be his best friend, whilst the enemy is released from his grasp for the third or fourth time. Staggering upon his legs from repeated blows from behind, confronting his released and enraged antagonist– weakened in strength, shaken in nerve, sick at heart – his efforts all vain, his skill all vain, his success all vain, exhausted by his long struggle, stunned by the fore blows, reeling he still bears up and endeavors to summon back his ebbing energies. If conquered, he falls not by the force of the enemy in front, but by the unlooked for blows from behind. Yet, had he expected this foul play, could he at any time by one effort have felled this puny creature in his rear. Even yet he might free himself of his presence, and, retreating slowly before his antagonist in front, gradually collect his strength and hurl him back to the ground. Will he do it? or will he suffer himself to perish by this foul play?” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 10– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, in accordance with the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, do hereby declare and proclaim that the port of St. Albans, in the State of Vermont, is and shall be entitled to all the privileges in regard to the exportation of merchandise in bond to the British North American Provinces [Canada] adjoining the United States which are extended to the ports enumerated in the seventh section of act of Congress of the 3rd of March, 1845, aforesaid, from and after the date of this proclamation.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

President Jeff Davis, Confederate States of America

President Jeff Davis, Confederate States of America

January 10– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We turn our eyes to Richmond, and the contrast [with Washington] is appalling, sickening to the heart. In the Cabinet, and in Congress, in the conduct of foreign affairs, in the military service, from the commanding generals to quartermaster clerks, everywhere there reigns a pandemonium of imbecility, laxity, weakness, failure. Not that there are not many brave and able men in the army. We have an abundance of both. But that they are so circumscribed and controlled as to produce weakness throughout. In the beginning of the war, when we had the basis upon which to have established a firm, solid financial system, all efforts were vain, all counsel vain, to have anything done with a view to a fixed, financial system. . . . It is there [in the military] where the fuming passions of Executive petty tyranny strike most directly at the heart of the Confederacy, by a corrupt and unscrupulous exercise of delegated power, in proscribing and ejecting from position, or forcing entirely out of the service, the very foremost military men in America; whilst men notoriously incompetent are made the pivots of our destinies. Nor are these remarks applicable alone to the leaders of armies; but on every side we see petty favorites lifted up to promotions and pushed into positions of importance whilst men of magnificent gallantry and accomplished minds are suffered to fight on in the ranks, or to fall in some position of inferior command. Political tools are rewarded with commissions as Brigadier and Major Generals, whilst their friends, relations and acquaintances generally fill up the lower grades of promotion. Not soldiers to lead armies are sought, but creatures to whine at the foot of the Executive; or else, honest, but incompetent men are made use of, as sticks to lay over the heads of some personal pet hatred. As an inevitable consequence, laxity and inefficiency prevails everywhere in the army. Imbeciles and good-for-naughts hold high commissions and low commissions – there is no responsibility anywhere – no discipline is enforced – men straggle and desert – even officers do the same. But favorites cannot be shot, or cashiered, and it would not do for ‘Uncle Jeff’ to make himself unpopular with the men, by allowing the penalties of military law to be executed.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 11– Wednesday– Bergen County, New Jersey– “My Father & Mother are smart considering their age– they are still keeping House. George has been out here since last May– he is stout– he has done considerable work for me and we have had some nice rides going to the Political meetings last fall and we have elected our Man and I hope and pray he will with God’s help settle this trouble before long. Walter I am sorry to inform you that I never got the paper you sent me and I think you better come out here yourself and give us the particulars yourself – we would be very happy to see you, we all send our best respects to you and all your friends. You will see my pen and ink are both poor and myself a poor writer so I will close by wishing you a happy New Year.” ~ Letter from Herman Storms to his friend Walt Whitman.

January 11– Wednesday– Oberlin, Ohio–”The Religious Interest manifested during the Fall Term, attending the earnest labors of President [Charles] Finney still continues, as is evidenced by the number who united with the First Church on last Sabbath. Eighteen new members were added– a good beginning for the new year. The Young People’s Meeting on Monday evening is always crowded now, and we may hope that much good is being done.” ~ Lorain County News.

January 11– Wednesday– Savannah, Georgia– Secretary of War Edwin Stanton arrives to meet with Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, not over military matters but rather in response to concerns expressed by others about Sherman’s treatment of freed slaves. Word had reached the North that during the march to the sea, a Union general, J. C. Davis, had caused the death of hundreds of freed slaves at Ebenezer Creek, when he ordered a pontoon bridge removed before the former slaves following his army could cross the creek. Few could swim, but rather than be left behind, many jumped in the water and drowned while trying to make to the other side. Also, it was rumor claimed that many of those left behind had been killed by Confederate cavalry. Stanton, a staunch abolitionist, decided to come personally to investigate. He first holds a meeting with Sherman and a group of twenty black ministers. Next, Stanton asks about enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. Then, he asks Sherman to step out of the room while he asks the ministers about Sherman’s actions toward black people. They voice support for Sherman, describing him as “a friend and a gentleman” in his treatment of black people. Stanton calls Sherman back into the room to ask about the Ebenezer Creek tragedy. Sherman replies that the incident has been blown out of proportion. No black refugees were turned back, and General Davis had removed the bridge because he needed to carry it with him. General Sherman knows of no freed slaves killed by the Confederate cavalry. Whether Stanton is convinced or not, he ends his investigation.

Edwin Stanton

Edwin Stanton

January 12– Thursday– Bridgeville Delaware– “It is with the greatest pleasure that I seat myself to give you a few lines to let you know that your most welcome letter came safe to hand and you don’t know how glad I was to hear from you– I often thought of you and could not hear what had become of you. You stated in yours that you hoped that I had not forgotten you. I never will forget you so long as life should last. Uncle I have got very near well. The wound in my chest has got nearly well. I am so that I can go about and do light duty. Also my arm is getting along nicely but there is some slight pain yet but none to stop me from writing such a kind and affectionate friend as you have been to me. May God bless you forever– I can’t find words to tell you the love there is in me for you. I hope you & I may live to meet again on this earth if not I hope we shall meet in the world where there is no more parting.” ~ Letter from William H. Millis to his friend Walt Whitman.

January 12– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Upon reporting at this Department and passing a satisfactory examination you will be appointed to a First Class Clerkship at a compensation of twelve hundred dollars per annum.” ~ Letter from Mr William T. Otto, U. S. Department of the Interior, to Walt Whitman. [The salary would equal $17,700 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 12– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “[Georgia] Governor Brown has furloughed the new regiment recently organized at Macon. A correspondent of the Enquirer, writing on the 19th ultimo, says: The Governor reviewed our regiment at half-past 11 o’clock, and afterwards made us a short, but pointed, speech. I will now attempt to give a synopsis of his remarks for want of space. He sends all of us home on and after to-morrow. There was not a wet eye visible in the entire regiment. The Governor, it is thought, made many a vote by that little speech. He said we could go home now, but would remain subject to another call when the State required our services in the field. He hoped it would not be soon, however. All delinquents are to be tried by a military court-martial, to sit in Macon; and, if found guilty, the pains and penalties of desertion will be visited upon them. He complimented the Georgia militia, and said he had been assured by a distinguished Confederate general that they fought and won the bloody battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina; that the enemy’s loss there was fully one thousand; that he counted on the field one hundred dead Negroes and whites. We are to keep our organization intact, our powder dry, and to respond promptly whenever a call is made.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

Union army doctors

Union army doctors

January 12– Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee– “On the 30th of December, 1864, Surgeon Brinton, superintendent of hospitals at Nashville, was directed to make use of such of the rebel surgeons as he might require in the treatment of the rebel wounded, being informed at the same time that, previous to putting them on duty, it was absolutely necessary for them to be put upon their written parole by the provost-marshal-general Department of the Cumberland. From all this it may be observed that everything was done in order to have the rebels properly cared for, both as sick men and prisoners of war. As soon as the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad shall be opened every wounded rebel in our possession whose life will not be endangered by so doing will be brought to Nashville, and not only those in the hospitals but those, too, who are scattered in the farm-houses through the country.” ~ Report from Dr George E. Cooper, U. S. Army, Medical Director.

January 12– Thursday– near Albany, Georgia– “I have a letter from Tolie; she is living in Montgomery, supremely happy, of course, as a bride should be. She was sadly disappointed at my absence from the wedding. The city is very gay, she says, and everybody inquiring about me and wanting me to come. If I wasn’t afraid the Yankees might cut me off from home and sister, too, I would pick up and go now. Yankee, Yankee, is the one detestable word always ringing in Southern ears. If all the words of hatred in every language under heaven were lumped together into one huge epithet of detestation, they could not tell how I hate Yankees. They thwart all my plans, murder my friends, and make my life miserable.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

A Superb Little Fellow ~ January 1865 ~ 6th to 8th

A Superb Little Fellow ~ John Townsend Trowbridge

A New England writer and a Georgia soldier find hope and comfort in their little boys. A reader hopes for the quick end to slavery as debate on a constitutional amendment begins afresh in Congress. Siege continues at Petersburg. A Yankee general issues harsh orders to deal with raiders. A prominent Southern newspaper holds out hope for railroad development and criticizes the failures of the army and the government at Richmond.

cavalry-05-images

January 6– Friday– Somerville, Massachusetts– “I have been thinking much of you lately & wondering where you were (for I heard some time since that you had left Washington), when the N.Y. Times came, with your long & interesting communication. I do not yet, from reading that, understand very well where you are, & I send this at a venture. If this reaches you, please let me know your address, & I will try to send you something to help along your good work. I sent you, some time last summer, by private hands, a copy of Great Expectations & two dollars in money, but could never learn that they reached you: did they? How are you now? A great change has taken place in my life since I saw you. My dearest friend has left me, leaving in her place a little boy, now eleven months old. A superb little fellow (although I say it); & in him I have great comfort. I went three times to find Dr. LeBarren Russell, with your note in my hand, but failing each time, I gave him up. I am not trying to withdraw from the arena of popular literature; only the necessity of coining a livelihood has kept me in it so long. I feel that, if I live frugally sincerely, and do not use up my mental energies in rapid writing I may be able to do something excellent. I am about getting out a volume of poems, or, as you would say, prettinesses.” ~ Letter from John Townsend Trowbridge to his friend Walt Whitman. [Trowbridge, 1827 – 1916, became a popular author. His wife Cornelia, to whom he had been married less than four years, died in March, 1864, shortly after birthing their son.]

John Townsend Trowbridge

John Townsend Trowbridge

January 6– Friday– New York City– “The land it [Sherman’s march to the sea] traversed was flourishing with milk and honey and all manner of good things. Hence, I deduced . . . a doubt whether the farmers and planters of Georgia, whose barnyards, pigpens, and storerooms unwillingly issued all these delicacies, are likely to feel much love for national soldiers, or for the Union, in the name whereof their homesteads have thus been harried. But the grip of Richmond officials may have been bad or even worse.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 6– Friday– Brooklyn, New York– “I see I have said I consider Drum-Taps superior to Leaves of Grass. I probably mean as a piece of wit, & from the more simple & winning nature of the subject, & also because I have in it only succeeded to my satisfaction in removing all superfluity from it, verbal superfluity I mean. I delight to make a poem where I feel clear that not a word but is indispensable part thereof & of my meaning. Still Leaves of Grass is dear to me, always dearest to me, as my first born, as daughter of my life’s first hopes, doubts, & the putting in form of those days’ efforts & aspirations– true, I see now, with some things in it I should not put in if I were to write now, but yet I shall certainly let them stand, even if but for proofs of phases passed away. Mother & all home are well as usual. Not a word for over three months from my brother George– the probabilities are most gloomy. I see the Howells now & then. I am well, but need to leave here– need a change.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D. O’Connor.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

January 6– Friday– Washington, D.C.– In the House of Representatives, Congressman James Ashley, Republican from Ohio, introduces the proposed Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. It had previously passed the Senate but had been defeated in the House. In his speech he declares that it is Christian duty to abolish slavery. James Brooks, Democrat from New York, speaks against the measure, saying that abolition of slavery is not the only object of the war and the proposed amendment is unnecessary.

Congressman James Ashley

Congressman James Ashley

January 6– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and thawing. No war news – but it is known Sherman’s army is not quiet, and must soon be heard from in spite of the interdict of the government.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

January 6– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The railroad, which is now in progress of construction, bids fair to become of more importance to the Confederate States than any other since the completion of the Piedmont road, which has, beyond all question, saved Richmond from capture by the enemy, as it would have been almost entirely isolated from the balance of the Confederacy by an interruption of the communication of the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad by Grant’s army. . . . Two thousand hands could complete the road in six months, or four thousand in three months; and when the vast importance of the road is taken into consideration, we do not think the authorities should hesitate for a moment to place at the command of the Company every resource requisite for its earliest possible completion. There are slaves in the country whose services can be had, and, we learn, an ample supply of provisions in the counties lying between here and Columbia. The South Carolina Legislature should at once adopt such measures as will insure the Company provisions and other necessaries for as many employers as may be required to complete the road in as short a period as possible.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

seal of Sanitary commission

January 6– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “M. H. Way of the U. S. Christian Commission in Memphis reported that in 1864 it issued to U. S. troops:15 blankets, 350 bed ticks, 12,849 shirts, 943 quilts, 3,459 pillows, 6,000 pairs of drawers, 2,600 pillow cases, 1,353 sheets, 402 dressing gowns, 219 coats and vests, 4,303 towels and 683 pairs of socks, 156 pairs of slippers, 632 fans, 298 mosquito bars, 7,665 lbs of bandages, 1,829 cans fruit, 1,240 lbs. concentrated beef, 833 lbs dried beef, 245 ½ lbs dried fruit, 1,856 lbs. butter, 954 dozen eggs,1,856 bottles wine and spirits, 3,319 cases concentrated milk, 30,179 gallons pickles, 7,051 gallons sauerkraut, 3,312 bushels potatoes, 4,203 bushels onions, 563 gallons of ale, 355 bush green apples, 3,605 lbs. farinaceous articles, 34,190 lbs. soda crackers, 1,993 lbs. crushed sugar, 2,243 lbs. corn meal, 613 lbs green tea, 88 ½ lbs. cod fish, 400 bottles relishes, 40 reams writing paper, 20,000 envelopes. At northern prices this amounted to over $100,000. Additionally, at ‘[the] Soldiers’ Lodge on the bluffs. . . during. . . November and December1864,’ 8,865 meals were served to disabled, furloughed and discharged soldiers going home.”~ Memphis Bulletin.

January 7– Saturday– East Westmoreland, New Hampshire– “Enclosed, please find $4.00 for the Liberator for one year more, hoping there will be no necessity for the Liberator after the progress, its mission will have been well and faithfully fulfilled. Then they its worthy, and indefatigable, and venerated Editor, after so many years of unceasing warfare in vindication of human rights, be enabled to say with good old Simeon, ‘Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.’ I wish to be kept on your list of subscribers until the Liberator and Slavery shall both cease to be. I owe too much to the old pioneer sheet to abandon it now, just as it is nearly ready to publish the victory won. I do not share with those who seem some what alienated, because of the expression of your honest convictions in regard to the reelection of Abraham Lincoln. I am sorry to see that any should be thus influenced. God bless the Editor of the Liberator! as millions, yet in the future, will rise up to bless his memory.” ~ Letter from Jehiel Claflin to William Lloyd Garrison.

1850_Liberator_HammattBillings_design

January 7– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a copy of two treaties between the United States and Belgium, for the extinguishment of the Scheldt dues, etc., . . . and I recommend an appropriation to carry into effect the provision thereof relative to the payment of the proportion of the United States toward the capitalization of the said dues.” ~ Message from President Lincoln.

January 7– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Our boy must be of considerable size by this time. He is nearly four years old now. I want to see him with his jeans suit on with pockets in his britches, and a hat on, and see him run and jump. The later part of next year he will be old enough to start school– I want you to start him as soon as you can when he gets old enough and keep him going whether there is any chance to pay for it or not. There seems to be a general despondency, at this time throughout the Confederacy. I am truly sorry to see this and sometimes I wish I could instill my feelings on this subject in every man, woman and child in the Southern Confederacy. It is natural for some to grumble all the time while many others hearing so much grumbling and despondent chatter have not the spirit to rise above this, but fall under the influence and conclude that we are gone up. And we have had some reverses and bad Generalship, with a prospect of a continuance of the war which makes some good men croak and have the blues, and study over it till they conclude that we are about gone up, and they have their influence. But a large number are yet left who have resolved to die rather than submit to Yankee Rule, and never; never give it up. If croakers would but consider a moment the consequence of subjugation they would certainly talk different. Pen cannot describe nor tongue tell the degradation and suffering of our people if we ever submit.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda

Confederate soldiers says good-bye to his wife & children

Confederate soldiers says good-bye to his wife & children

January 7– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The dispirited condition of some of our armies; the disorganization that prevails in more than one of its corps; the thinness of the ranks produced by these causes; the dissatisfaction which reigns in certain sections among the people, produced by the almost invariable mismanagement of our arms and the maladministration of affairs by the Executive, are causes which have clouded the hopes of the most steadfast men in the country. No thinking man can do otherwise than look with apprehension upon the present aspect of our affairs. In the midst of this condition of things, nothing is so essentially important on the part of our legislators, and indeed, on the part of all thinking influential men, that a steadfast self collection and the use of a calm, unshaken scrutiny into the causes of our disasters, and a stern application of the remedies necessary to their eradication. . . . Because inefficiency is allowed to pervade every branch of the service; because favoritism dictates who shall command our armies; because tools are sought, and not competency; because hatreds rule, and the best and bravest are proscribed; because laxity prevails everywhere; because discipline is not required, and, where it is attempted to be enforced, the effort is checked by Executive weakness and egotism and love of popularity, whilst the service is disgraced and the cause brought to the brink of ruin by officers who cannot be shot, and cannot be cashiered.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 7– Saturday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Eighth. You will burn the houses of the following named persons, take any of the articles named above that they may have, together with all forage grains belonging to them that you can bring away which may be useful to the U. S. government for military purposes or otherwise and will give no receipt of any kind whatsoever.[Seven names are included in this section] Ninth. The following person will be shot in addition to suffering in the manner prescribed in Paragraph # 8. [Four names appear in this section of the order.]Tenth. The following named persons have committed murder and if caught will be hung to the first tree in front of their door and be allowed to hang there for an indefinite period. You will assure yourself that they are dead before leaving them also if their residence they will be stripped of everything as per the above instructions and then burned [Four names appear in this section of the order].” ~ Orders from Union General Robert H Milroy to deal with a number of alleged Confederate bushwhackers and guerrillas.

Confederate guerrilas

Confederate guerrilas

January 8– Sunday– Johnson’s Island, Ohio– “It seems that communication with the South by Flags of Truce has been resumed. We are anxiously awaiting the first mail after a deprivation for months. May I not hope that your dear handwriting will greet my eye? More than half a year has elapsed since I have heard directly from you. Do not be uneasy about my health and comfort. Providence has dealt kindly by me. I will not suffer more than I can cheerfully and patiently endure. I have been quite uneasy about you and yours. May God bless and preserve you!” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry McDaniel to his sweetheart Hester Felker.

January 8– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I forgot to tell you about our New Year’s dinner. We got it on the 4th instant, I believe. It was nearly a failure. I got a little piece of turkey and two small pieces of meat and about four good mouthfuls of light bread. It was too large an undertaking to try to give the whole army such a dinner. I am sorry you are making me a coat and heartily wish you had used the cloth for Henry [their son] and yourself. Do not make me anymore. I want you to have it for I can draw here and you have a hard task to cloth yourself and family without me. I am so sorry.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

January 8– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “The Brigade band are now in front of my quarters giving me a serenade. We have had a splendid day but not much of a Sabbath. After inspecting the troops I took a long ride. The Rebels in our front are quiet, and we enjoy life after a fashion.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Loyal Citizens ~ January 1865 ~ the 2nd to the 4th

Loyal Citizens

North and South, people show loyalty in various ways. Black people in Boston celebrate emancipation. Business people in Tennessee request the lifting of trade restrictions so loyal commerce may flourish. Lincoln receives black citizens at the White House. Sherman prepares to advance the Union cause into South Carolina. A rumor says leaders in Savannah affirmed loyalty to the Federal government. A diarist in Richmond is thankful for loyal clergy, even if they were born in the North. A Southern paper calls for better management of the Confederate military and curtailment of desertions. Questions arise about whether Southern soldiers have a greater duty to their home state or to the Confederacy.

black women nurses

black women nurses

January 2– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The black people of the city hold a celebration to mark the second anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

January 2– Monday– New York City– “On New Year’s Day duty from eleven til near five . . . . I think New Year’s Day visiting has been rather less generally attended to this year than usual. The streets were bad for pedestrians and a hack cost thirty dollars. . . . I think the Southern Confederacy is destroyed. It may or may not save itself from subjection by arming its Negroes. But if it do thereby sustain itself in existence for a time, it abolishes the institution for which it rebelled and will soon begin to wonder for what it is fighting.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [The $30 cab ride would equal $443 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “This is the day for official interchange, yesterday being Sunday. Was at the Executive Mansion precisely at twelve, as requested, with Mrs. Welles, the first Cabinet officer to arrive, I believe, although the others were there within ten minutes. Many of the foreign ministers and their suites were there, probably all. Some of them came in advance. Remained over half an hour and returned home. Received until 4 p.m. The day is one which the people seem to enjoy, and one which they want. A little more system at the President’s would improve matters.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

January 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Because the start of the year fell on a Sunday, today is the day for the usual New Year’s White House reception. Beginning at noon, Abraham and Mary Lincoln receive Cabinet members, various generals, the diplomatic corps, and the justices of the Supreme Court. Beginning at 1 o’clock they begin to receive the general public, including members of Congress. Over 5,000 people line up to greet the President and Mrs Lincoln. For the first time the crowd includes many black people whom the President heartily welcomes, much to the disgust of some white people.

January 2– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The campaign of Sherman, early in the spring, from Vicksburg to the Alabama line, with the purpose of taking Mobile and Selma, having failed, that officer was transferred to Chattanooga to take command there. He began to move against General Johnston early in June. That officer fell back from one position to another until he had reached Atlanta, fighting on the retreat several severe battles, in which, while he lost only nine thousand men, he inflicted upon the enemy, according to their own statements, a loss of fifty-five thousand. Here, to the great regret of the whole country, and of none so much as the army he commanded, he was relieved by General Hood. This General, after fighting a bloody and indecisive action, was eventually defeated by Sherman at Jonesboro and fell back in the direction of Macon. Subsequently, he got in the rear of Sherman and marched into Tennessee, where, after a hard-won victory at Franklin, he was defeated before Nashville by Thomas. We have the results of that defeat only from the Yankees. We shall, therefore, not state them here. In the meantime, Sherman, finding himself unopposed, marched, almost without resistance, through Georgia and took Savannah.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

battle of Nashville

battle of Nashville

January 2– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The salaries of the clergymen have been raised by their congregations to $10,000 and $12,000. I hear that Dr. Woodbridge received a Christmas gift from his people of upwards of $4000, besides seven barrels of flour, etc. He owns his own house, his own servants [slaves], stocks, etc. Most of these fortunate ministers are natives of the North, but true to the Southern cause, so far as we know. God knows I am glad to hear of anyone, and especially a minister, being made comfortable.” ~ Diary of John Jones. [The $10,000 would equal $148,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 2– Monday– somewhere in southeast South Carolina– “Marched at 7 A. M. and after waiting at the dock in the city [Savannah, Georgia] until noon, when we went on board of a small transport ( The Planter) and had a pleasant boat ride among the point of Green Island. In about an hour landed on the shores of . . . [South] Carolina, the birthplace of secession. While the Planter returned for the rest of the Brigade, we improved the time in cooking and eating a dinner of rice and coffee. About 3 o’clock the rest of the Brigade arrived and we took up our formation, we came to a pine forest and after proceeding in, a little ways, we came to the camp of the ( I think) 4th Infantry which had preceded us in invading the air lands of [South Carolina] two days before.” ~ Diary of Union officer George Jones.

January 2– Monday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Your petitioners, loyal citizens of Memphis, desirous to mitigate the sufferings of our people and to rekindle in their hearts their former ‘love of country’, and thus add a moral victory to the brilliant successes that have recently crowned the efforts of our armies, deem it not only our privilege but duty to remonstrate against any unnecessary hardships being imposed upon them, and respectfully but urgently pray that the present orders closing the lines against the loyal residents of West Tennessee be revoked.” ~ Petition from several business owners to Union military leaders, requesting the lifting of trade restriction.

January 2– Monday– Savannah, Georgia– “I herewith inclose to you a copy of a project which I have this morning, in strict confidence, discussed with my immediate commanders. I shall need, however, larger supplies of stores, especially grain. I will inclose to you, with this, letters from General Easton, quartermaster, and Colonel Beckwith, commissary of subsistence, setting forth what will be required, and trust you will forward them to Washington with you sanction, so that the necessary steps may be taken at once to enable me to carry out this plan on time. I wrote you very fully on the 24th, and have nothing to add. Every thing here is quiet, and if I can get the necessary supplies in our wagons, shall be ready to start at the time indicated in my project (January 15th). But, until those supplies are in hand, I can do nothing; after they are, I shall be ready to move with great rapidity. I have heard of the affair at Cape Fear. . . . My report of recent operations is nearly ready, and will be sent you in a day or two, as soon as some further subordinate reports come in.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to General Ulysses S Grant, on Sherman’s plan to move into South Carolina.

Sherman entering Savannah

Sherman entering Savannah

January 2– Monday– Shannon County, Missouri– Federal troops scour the area, hunting for bushwhackers.

January 3– Tuesday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “As I do not know where a letter will reach you, I send this under cover to Aunt Sanders with the request to read and forward it. The long cessation of Flags of Truce has rendered us very anxious to hear from home. The Winter thus far has been favorable, and we are besides better prepared to withstand its rigors than we were last winter. Egbert has received an outfit of clothing and, though he thinks the climate very cold, he is cheerful and thinks he will be comfortable. I contrived to send him a small sum of money a day or two ago. Ira is doubtless at home. I can sympathize in your joy at his return, and ardently hope that no untoward circumstances may have defeated his release. Could Egbert be sent South, I might rest content in prison many months longer. Meantime, have all efforts to effect my exchange proven fruitless?” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his father.

January 3– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “It is snowing hard and it looks like a severe storm, which if it continues will interfere with our plans for tomorrow.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

January 3– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Calm and quiet; indications of snow. By a communication sent to Congress, by the President, it is ascertained that 500,000 pairs shoes, 8,000,000 pounds bacon, 2,000,000 pounds saltpeter, 50 cannon, etc. etc., have been imported since October 1st, 1864. When the enemy’s fleet threatened Wilmington, the brokers here (who have bribed the conscript officers) bought up all the coffee and sugar in the city. They raised the price of the former from $15 to $45 per pound, and the latter to $15, from $10. An application has been made to Mr. Secretary Seddon to order the impressment of it all, at schedule prices, which he will be sure not to do. Congress paid their respects to the President yesterday, by waiting upon him in a body.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

newspaper map of Savannah harbor

newspaper map of Savannah harbor

January 3– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “Remedies are sought for the discouraging effects of repeated mismanagement in the employment of our military resources – in the plans of campaign chosen in Richmond, and the officers appointed to execute them. Remedies are sought for the effects of a systematic failure to exercise discipline and execute military law towards deserters from our armies. Nobody doubts there being men enough in these Confederate States to carry on this war to a successful termination, if the men can be got out, kept out, and properly fought. But men who ought to be in the army, and others who ought to go into the army at this time, are at home, and not in the army. Patent follies and their disastrous consequences have brought despondency upon the people, and license has thinned the ranks of the defenders of the country. Instead of aiming at radical changes in the causes of the effects under which we suffer and are endangered, men are found who propose the mad remedy of driving our quiet Negro producers into the war, and forcing them to fight. They are to understand that the Yankees are getting the upper hand of us, and that their time of immunity from war is over; they are to choose between fighting with us the weaker party, or with the stronger party, our enemy. They are to fight for slavery (or their individual freedom) on our side, or on the side of our enemy for total and general emancipation of their families, race and people allured by all the fancied luxuries of nothing to do. Independent of law, independent of principle, independent of our institutions, the proposition appears to us as desperate in its absurdity as it is the reckless of everything else. Can Congress find no remedy for the incompetency and mismanagement which is riding us down to ruin. That is the evil from which we must and can escape.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 4– Wednesday– New York City– “I have since learned that you called at the ‘De Soto’ immediately after I had left. I remained there till 6:30 P.M. & thinking that you were prevented calling by another engagement, I left for home. I would be happy to meet you at any time you may be pleased to appoint. In company with Captain Holbrook I invited a gentleman, who has a relative– a prisoner of war at Camp Chase, Ohio. He is desirous of obtaining the name of some Captains, an order to obtain his exchange, by securing the release of the Captains. Your brother’s name was given & the party promised to act upon it immediately. I can say nothing of its results.” ~ Letter from David F. Wright to Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

January 4– Wednesday– New York City– “News from Savannah, possibly of first-rate importance. Its Mayor and sundry civic notables seem to have been prominent at a public meeting that passed resolutions declaring that community subject to the laws of the United States, praising General Sherman, deploring further war, averring that bygones should be bygones, and calling on the governor of Georgia to convoke a convention that shall restore his state to her lawful and constitutional relations with the Union! Did this meeting represent any respectable minority of Savannites? Or was it got up by Sherman? If genuine, it is an event of first order.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

released Union prisoners celebrate

released Union prisoners celebrate

We Now Clearly See the Beginning of the End ~ December 1864 ~ 28th to 30th

We Now See Clearly the Beginning of the End ~ Henry Hitchcock

Rebels and Yankees see a shortened life for the Confederacy. Yet a Richmond newspaper asserts the loyalty of slaves and sees hope in the Confederate use of black soldiers. West Virginia papers talk about law and order. A friend encourages Whitman to return to Washington. Abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison ponder the future of freed people.

raids by guerrillas

raids by guerrillas

December 28– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Some half dozen of the scoundrels who have lately been robbing and plundering the peaceable citizens of Marion and Harrison counties, have lately been arrested, brought to the city and committed to the Atheneum. Among the number is one James H. Nay, a deserter from Company K, 9th West Virginia Infantry. He is said to have lately distinguished himself as a great thief and guerrilla since he deserted from the Union army, and it is thought likely that a little hanging will be applied to him in case he shall be found guilty. Another one of the gang is William Coon, who was here once before as a prisoner and who escaped from the guard while on the way to Camp Chase.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 28– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Men fight at the bidding of incentives of many kinds, and their valor is called forth in proportion as their incentives are strong or weak. Array an army of Southern slaves against an army of Federal Negroes, as the South proposes, and which will have the strongest incentive to fight? Certainly the Southern slaves. . . . So far, we have only viewed the different interests which prevail on the respective sides. But there is another influence at work upon the Southern slave tending to make him play the part of a faithful soldier to the rebellion. It is that relation, affection and sympathy between himself and master. Its existence was once generally discredited in the North, in spite of manifold proofs; but the war has furnished too many notorious incidents of the devotion of a majority of the slaves to allow it longer to be doubted. Thousands of slaves follow their masters, be they in the ranks or at the head of armies, through the dangers of the battle field, and many have laid down their lives as the price of the temerity dictated by their love. During [General Jubal] Early’s last invasion of Maryland, General McCausland owed his life to the valor of his faithful body servant, who came to the rescue of his master when hard pressed by Averill’s troops, and relieved him by seriously wounding the Federal captain at the head of the attacking party. General McCausland is represented as the roughest of Virginia’s cavaliers– yet he binds the heart of his lowly slave by the ties of affection that cannot be stifled by the dangers of battle. There are many such masters and slaves in the South.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

problems of rebel women in Virginia as depicted in Harpers Weekly

problems of rebel women in Virginia as depicted in Harpers Weekly

December 29– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained all night; spitting snow this morning. Although General Bragg announces that the enemy’s fleet has disappeared off Wilmington, still the despondency which has seized the croakers remains. It has probably sailed against Charleston, to co-operate with Sherman. . . . Most people believe Charleston will fall next, to be followed by a sweep of the entire sea-board; and grave men fear that the impetus thus given the invader cannot be checked or resisted.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

December 29– Thursday– Savannah, Georgia– “There is nothing very new to add. Indications daily increase of the tremendous moral effect our campaign has had and will have in Georgia in ‘knocking out the underpinning’ of the C.S.A. . . . while I do not think the war likely to end within a year from this as some do, I do think we now see clearly ‘the beginning of the end.’ And our General [Sherman] is the man who under God will bring it.” ~ Letter from Union officer Henry Hitchcock to Mary, his wife.

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator

December 30– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The abolition of slavery in this country is the release of a population as large as that of all New England from a tyranny which crashed all the rights and claims of human nature at a blow; which left to its victims nothing but the capacity to suffer, and the sole duty to be as submissive to their pretended owners as though they were created to, be ‘yoked with the brute and fettered to the soil.’ For them there was no home, no parental or filial relationship, no freedom of locomotion, no right to think or speak, no scope for conscience or the fear of God, no development of those faculties, and powers which take hold of immortal life, no moral culture, no educational improvement, no protection against even the most atrocious wrongs, no incentive to industry but the lash, no power of accumulation, no thrift, no prompting to invention or enterprise, no art, no science, no philosophy, no literature, no aspiration to be good or great. Their emancipation, therefore, meets them just where slavery leaves them– in need of everything that pertains to their physical, intellectual, and moral condition. Here, then, is opened an immense field, for philanthropic and missionary effort; and it is gratifying to perceive a disposition widely felt to cultivate it, both by individuals and associations. No doubt the charities of the benevolent, in this direction, will be sometimes abused, through the selfishness or in competency of some who enter this field; hence, too much caution cannot be exercised by those who are asked to contribute for so laudable an object. As a friend remarks, ‘The term freedman is now a word to conjure with,’ and therefore is there a special liability to be imposed upon by self-seeking adventurers or proselyting sectarists. As far as our knowledge extends, we regard the various Freedmen’s Associations now in operation as trustworthy mediums, and deserving of general encouragement in proportion to the catholic spirit in which they are organized, without reference to theological differences of opinion. We trust they will be vigilant and discriminating in the employment of teachers and agents, and endeavor to penetrate into the motives of those who apply for such situations; for if the animating spirit be simply to find employment or to get pecuniary gain, the moral and educational experiment will be neither successful nor creditable.” ~ The Liberator.

December 30– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “At this time we find it difficult to write anything out of the usual line of every day transactions, which, with us, consists principally in scouting after ‘Johnny Rebs at home’ on extended furloughs, leaves of absence, special and general details, and all the various modes and devices by which a thoroughly worn out and a badly used reb can fabricate and avail himself of to get home, to see his friends and replenish his wardrobe, the latter, to judge from appearances, being the greater inducement. In fact, to judge from the appearance of a ‘fresh arrival’ from Dixie, it would seem that the Southern Confederacy, or what is left of it, is made up of gray or muddy-colored jackets, all of which have seen much service – as none come without them, and few with anything else. This season of the year being favorable for the business, they are caught about as fast as they come in. Many having a wholesome fear of the State Scouts [state militia], and an antipathy to visiting Camp Chase [a prison camp] at this unseasonable time of the year, have availed themselves of President Lincoln’s Proclamation, came in, surrendered up their arms, and taken the oath of fidelity to that Government that they have been trying to break down, which leaves the county of Braxton with fewer armed rebels in it now than there has been since the war commenced, and should we be furnished in future from the General Government the protection we now have – which consists of a sufficient force near to stop or check all large raids through this county, and which we are justly entitled to, we can within ourselves and by Spring put a final stop to horse stealing, bushwhacking, and all the different unlawful and barbarous callings that have been practiced so long and successfully in this and similarly situated localities. All we ask is an extension of our present admirably arranged State organization.” ~ Letter from a Union soldier in Braxton, County, West Virginia, to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

guerrilla robbers

guerrilla robbers

December 30– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “I have been constantly hoping to have you here again and now begin to see something more than a glimmer of fruition. Ashton has spoken (at my instigation) to Mr. Otto the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior in your behalf, and Mr. Otto says that if you will write a letter of application to the Secretary of the Interior, he will endeavor to put you in. Now, dear Walt, do this without delay. The object of your writing the letter is to get a specimen of your hand. Pick out, then, a good pen and write as fairly as you can a letter formally applying for a clerkship. Then enclose a copy of this letter to Ashton, so that he can follow it on to the Secretary. The first letter you will, of course, mail to the Secretary direct. Do this as soon as you can. We shall fetch it this time. I have every confidence that you will get a good and an easy berth, a regular income, &c., leaving you time to attend to the soldiers, to your poems, &c– in a word, what Archimedes wanted, a place on which to rest the lever. I shall wait anxiously to hear that you have sent on the letters. Have been thinking of you constantly for months and have been doing everything I could to secure you a foothold here. . . . I write this letter at intervals between the press of office work, which has driven upon me in spasms today, but pretty severely when it did come. Any incoherence in it, you may refer to the obfuscated state which such hurryings [sic] have induced in me. Farewell, dear Walt. I hope to hear from you very soon. We are all tolerably well at home.” ~ Letter from William D. O’Connor to his friend Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

December 30– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Augusta Chronicle publishes some particulars of the evacuation of Savannah, derived from one who left the city the night before our troops. It says: ‘When he left the city on Monday, several hundred families were without anything to eat. Provisions were exceedingly scarce. During the past week several assaults were made on our lines, but were repulsed signally. Our works around the city were very strong, and the place, in all probability, would have been held had it not been for the fall of Fort Mc Allister. The usual garrison of Fort Mc Allister numbered about one hundred and twenty five men. A day or two before it fell, however, about six hundred more troops were sent to their aid. By its fall we lost between seven and eight hundred men. . . . After Sherman captured the fort he communicated with the fleet and procured a bountiful supply of ammunition – an article which he was deprived of by Providence in Atlanta. Sherman also transferred the heavy guns from Fort Mc Allister to a position from which he could shell the city in case he wished to. No demand was made for the surrender of the city until Saturday. On that day he demanded the unconditional surrender of the city. General Beauregard, in substance, informed him that he knew the way to the city and could take it if he was able. General Beauregard left the city on Sunday. The residents of Savannah did not expect that the city would be captured. They were totally unprepared for such a result. But very few of them succeeded in getting away. Those who did were obliged to leave most of their effects behind. The best order was maintained throughout the siege. All the whiskey was locked up. The stills were all seized by the authorities. The four local companies were assigned to police duty and kept law-breakers quiet. One or two small fires occurred, but little property, however, was damaged. All the rice on the plantations in the vicinity of the city fell into the hands of the Yankees. . . . A large portion of the Central railroad cars were sent down the Savannah and Gulf railroad before that line was interrupted. Both of the printing offices in the city fell into the hands of the Yankees. Both editors left before the capitulation. A gentleman from Savannah says that some of our troops, when leaving, broke open stores and helped themselves to everything they saw, carrying away what they fancied and wantonly destroying much property they could not remove.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

Union General George Thomas, victor at Nashville

Union General George Thomas, victor at Nashville

December 30– Friday– Pulaski, Tennessee– “As the enemy is now entirely driven out of the State of Tennessee, I would respectfully suggest that immediate measures be taken for the reorganization of the civil government of the State, as it is desirable, it possible, to place as force of the army beyond the borders of the State and as close to the enemy as we can, and I should be very happy to be assured that I could leave the State in the hands of the citizens. All should certainly now feel that the establishment of rebel authority in the State of Tennessee is hopeless, and their own interests should induce them to return to their allegiance to the United States, and restore peace to their State without any further quibbling.” ~ Letter from Union General George Thomas to Andrew Johnson

Many Thanks for Your Christmas Gift ~ December 1864 ~ 26th and 27th

Many Thanks for Your Christmas Gift ~ President Lincoln

CW graves-3

Lincoln sends thanks to Sherman for the generous gift at Christmas. Sherman makes plans. George Templeton Strong takes note of Northern joy. The governor of West Virginia encourages citizens to take action against rebel bandits. In Richmond there is talk of making General Lee a dictator and arming thousands of slaves, all in desperate attempts to save the Confederacy.

December 26– Monday– New York City– “Great news today, official and indubitable. Savannah surrendered to Sherman last Wednesday . . . . the city is reclaimed and occupied by the national army. Its people seems quite resigned to the change and we have secured a new and most valuable water-base for operations on the Gulf States and on South Carolina. . . . So much for Sherman’s desperate enforced retreat to the coast and for the braying and bragging . . . of all rebel newspapers. . . . They out-lie any Northern paper I know.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

George Templeton Strong

George Templeton Strong

December 26– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We invite the attention of our readers to the terse and vigorous address of Governor Boreman, which appears in our advertising columns this morning. To the people of the interior counties infested by gangs of robbers and murderers it has an especial interest. The Governor recommends that the citizens form organizations among themselves for the purpose of exterminating, or otherwise ridding their sections of these outlaws. He promises to furnish arms and ammunition to all squads and companies organized for this purpose. This is the true policy. The citizens can do this work better than the military. Let them shoot down every scoundrel known to be guilty, and we shall soon see an end of this devilish work. It will only need then that restitution be made off of the home rebels who have been harboring and encouraging these bandits, for losses already sustained. We would be glad to see the Commander of this Department issue such an order.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 26– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift, the capture of Savannah. When you were about leaving Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that ‘nothing risked, nothing gained,’ I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honor is yours; for I believe none of us went further than to acquiesce. And taking the work of General Thomas into the counting, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success. Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantages, but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of the [of] whole Hood’s army, it brings those who sat in darkness to see a great light. But what next? I suppose it will be safer if I leave General Grant and yourself to decide. Please make my grateful acknowledgments to your whole army, officers and men.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Abraham_Lincoln_O-55,_1861-crop

December 26– Monday– Savannah, Georgia– “We have an order to move to the north side of the river tomorrow, there to camp for the present; that will take us into South Carolina, that hot-bed of secession. If the people of that state had been listeners to the conversations of officers and soldiers here lately, they would know that their doom is no enviable one. It seems to be a favorite contemplation with all, how they will plunder upon getting into South Carolina. I think General Sherman will take his army into the interior of that state before long. It is a good plan. Soldiers like sweet potatoes and young pork, varied with poultry, much better than lean beef and hard tack. It is cheaper also for the United States. Then there are some railroads there too, that ought to be fixed. I think we will operate some this winter without very hard work, and what is still better, won’t be cut off from communication. I have read the President’s Message and Secretary Fessenden’s Report today. The latter is a very interesting document; I have never studied finances at all, but it becomes a subject of great interest now. The weather is like summer. We are commencing our daily drills again.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

General Sherman

General Sherman

December 26– Monday– Savannah, Georgia– “The city of Savannah and surrounding country will be held as a military post, and adapted to future military uses, but, as it contains a population of some twenty thousand people, who must be provided for, and as other citizens may come, it is proper to lay down certain general principles, that all within its military jurisdiction may understand their relative duties and obligations. 1. During war, the military is superior to civil authority, and, where interests clash, the civil must give way; yet, where there is no conflict, every encouragement should be given to well-disposed and peaceful inhabitants to resume their usual pursuits. Families should be disturbed as little as possible in their residences, and tradesman allowed the free use of their shops, tools, etc.; churches, schools, and all places of amusement and recreation, should be encouraged, and streets and roads made perfectly safe to persons in their pursuits. Passes should not be exacted within the line of outer pickets, but if any person shall abuse these privileges by communicating with the enemy, or doing any act of hostility to the Government of the United States, he or she will be punished with the utmost vigor of the law. Commerce with the outer world will be resumed to an extent commensurate with the wants of the citizens, governed by the restrictions and rules of the Treasury Department. 2. The chief quartermaster and commissary of the army may give suitable employment to the people, white and black, or transport them to such points as they may choose where employment can be had; and may extend temporary relief in the way of provisions and vacant houses to the worthy and needy, until such time as they can help themselves. They will select first the buildings for the necessary uses of the army; next, a sufficient number of stores, to be turned over to the Treasury agent for trade-stores. All vacant storehouses or dwellings, and all buildings belonging to absent rebels, will be construed and used as belonging to the United States, until such time as their titles can be settled by the courts of the United States. 3. The Mayor and City Council of Savannah will continue to exercise their functions, and will, in concert with the commanding officer of the post and the chief-quartermaster, see that the fire-companies are kept in organization, the streets cleaned and lighted, and keep up a good understanding between the citizens and soldiers. They will ascertain and report to the chief commissary of subsistence, as soon as possible, the names and number of worthy families that need assistance and support. The mayor will forthwith give public notice that the time has come when all must choose their course, viz. remain within our lines, and conduct themselves as good citizens, or depart in peace. He will ascertain the names of all who choose to leave Savannah, and report their names and residence to the chief-quartermaster, that measures may be taken to transport them beyond our lines. 4. Not more than two newspapers will be published in Savannah; their editors and proprietors will be held to the strictest accountability, and will be punished severely, in person and property, for any libelous publication, mischievous matter, premature news, exaggerated statements, or any comments whatever upon the acts of the constituted authorities; they will be held accountable for such articles, even though copies from other papers.” ~ Orders from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Federal cavalry officers

Federal cavalry officers

December 27– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your note of the twentieth of December, conveying the announcement that the Trustees of the College of New Jersey had conferred upon me the degree of Doctor of Laws. The assurance conveyed by this high compliment, that the course of the Government which I represent, has received the approval of a body of gentlemen of such character and intelligence, in this time of public trial, is most grateful to me. Thoughtful men must feel that the fate of civilization upon this continent is involved in the issue of our contest. Among the most gratifying proofs of this conviction is the hearty devotion everywhere exhibited by our schools and colleges to the national cause. I am most thankful if my labors have seemed to conduct to the preservation of those institutions, under which alone we can expect good government and in its train sound learning, and the progress of the liberal arts.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Dr. John Maclean

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

December 27– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “A night of rain– morning of fog and gloom. At last we have an account of the evacuation of Savannah. Also of the beginning of the assault on Port Fisher and Caswell below Wilmington, with painful apprehensions of the result; for the enemy have landed troops above the former fort, and found no adequate force to meet them, thanks to the policy of the government in allowing the property holders to escape the toils and dangers of the field, while the poor, who have nothing tangible to fight for, are thrust to the front, where many desert. Our condition is also largely attributable to the management of the Bureau of Conscription . . . . It is reported that Sherman is marching south of Savannah, on some new enterprise; probably a detachment merely to destroy the railroad. An expedition is attacking, or about to attack, Mobile. All our possessions on the coast seem to be the special objects of attack this winter. If Wilmington falls, ‘Richmond next,’ is the prevalent supposition. The brokers are offering $50 Confederate States notes for $1 of gold. Men are silent, and some dejected. It is unquestionably the darkest period we have yet experienced. Intervention on the part of European powers is the only hope of many. Failing that, no doubt a Negro army will be organized– and it might be too late! And yet, with such a preponderance of numbers and material against us, the wonder is that we have not lost all the sea-board before this. I long since supposed the country would be penetrated and overrun in most of its ports, during the second or third year of the war. If the government would foster a spirit of patriotism, the country would always rise again, after these invasions, like the water of the sea plowed by ships of war. But the government must not crush the spirit of the people relied upon for defense, and the rich must fight side by side with the poor, or the poor will abandon the rich, and that will be an abandonment of the cause. It is said General Lee is to be invested with dictatorial powers, so far as our armies are concerned. This will inspire new confidence. He is represented as being in favor of employing Negro troops.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

Fourth Christmas in the Army ~ December 1864 ~ 24th and 25th

Fourth Christmas in the Army ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Union officer Rhodes observes his fourth Christmas while giving all for the Union and wonders if it will be the last. Gideon Welles believes the rebellion is drawing to an end. Some Marylanders sees the end of slavery as a blessing. An officer sends George Whitman’s things to the family while George remains a prisoner. In Tennessee and especially in parts of Georgia residents sadly due without things to celebrate Christmas.

General Sherman reviews his cavalry

General Sherman reviews his cavalry

December 24– Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland– “The abolition of slavery in Maryland is attended with the good results the friends of emancipation expected. A steady stream of emigrants from our sister States, particularly Pennsylvania, is pouring in upon Us, now that ‘free labor’ has become a settled fact. In every county of the State, large sales of land have taken place during the past two months, and the purchasers are men who intend to settle to our midst, and who do not purchase for the sake of speculation. The worn-out and half-tilled tracts of the large slaveholder, in the hands of farmers who till their grounds by free labor who encourage free schools, and all the accompaniments of free institutions will soon place Maryland in the position among the free States that she should have occupied long ago.” ~ Baltimore American.

December 24– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Called on the President to commute the punishment of a person condemned to be hung. He at once assented. Is always disposed to mitigate punishment, and to grant favors. Sometimes this is a weakness. As a matter of duty and friendship I mentioned to him the case of Laura Jones, a young lady who was residing in Richmond and there engaged to be married but came up three years ago to attend her sick mother and had been unable to pass through the lines and return. I briefly stated her case and handed a letter from her to Mrs. Welles that he might read. It was a touching appeal from the poor girl, who says truly the years of her youth are passing away. I knew if the President read the letter, Laura would get the pass. I therefore only mentioned some of the general facts. He at once said he would give her a pass. I told him her sympathies were with the Secessionists, and it would be better he should read her own statement. But he declined and said he would let her go; the war had depopulated the country and prevented marriages enough, and if he could do a kindness of this sort he was disposed to, unless I advised otherwise. He wrote a pass and handed [it to] me.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

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December 24– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “There was no case of interest before the Mayor yesterday. The case of C. M. Rex, charged with stealing nitre from the Government, was, after being partially heard, continued. Rex alleges that he bought the nitre and other parties were in Court who had bought on the streets a similar article, but it was well established that it had been originally stolen from the laboratory. Four small white vagabonds, the oldest of whom was not more than twelve years old, were committed to jail for stealing iron from the Old Dominion Iron Works.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

December 24– Saturday– Memphis, Tennessee– “I am now on the Mississippi a short distance above the fort, guarding a boat loaded with cotton which is under arrest. We have been here on the boat about two weeks but think we will be released in a few days and then I think we will go on a march to intercept [Confederate General] Hood– he is retreating from Nashville– some saying he is coming to Memphis. I wish he would. There was twenty five thousand calvary & infantry left here last week. I think they went toward Nashville. To day is a fine day but Thursday was pretty cold. This morning I seen a little ice floating down. The river is raising fast– lots of wood & all kind of things floating down. . . . They are now shelling the rebs across from where we are we can see them plain from here. The shells hum when they cross but [I] can’t see them– if it was night we could see them. I must now close as I must relieve the man that has been on guard.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Jacob Miller to his brother George.

Union soldiers celebrate Christmas in camp

Union soldiers celebrate Christmas in camp

December 24– Saturday– Maury County, Tennessee– “[Union] General John Croxton’s headquarters is in our house, with his whole brigade camped all over our yard, lots, lane and everywhere they can get near enough a fence to keep them in wood. With reluctance the General Ordered the provost guard to station out their guards all around the house, but it only gave the guards a better opportunity for marauding than the common soldiers, and they made the best of it. They took all the apples out of the cellar. They broke the weatherboarding off the house for fires, burnt the yard fences, went in our smoke house and took the meat. They cooked the last old gobbler and all the chickens over a fire in the yard. . . . There is great tribulation in the country, stealing horses, mules, hogs, breaking in houses. The soldiers are very insulting and impose on everybody, stealing and encouraging the blacks to steal and do every manner of rascality. Nothing is safe, no help is anywhere for our unfortunate condition. All, all that we have is nearly gone. How will we live? What will we eat? I wish there was a river of fire a mile wide between the North and the South that would burn with unquenchable fury forever more and that it could never be passed to the endless ages of eternity by any living creature. Is there no hope for this dying land? Tomorrow is Christmas day, a bitter one for us, black or white. A grey fox ran under the kitchen walk. I shot it for dinner. We have a little parched corn.” ~ Diary of Nimrod Porter.

December 24– Saturday– Andersonville, Georgia– About 3500 Union prisoners of war previously transferred from Andersonville prison to Camp Lawton near Millen, Georgia, then to another military prison in Thomasville, are returned to Andersonville by order of Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard, because Millen and Thomasville are no longer secure from Union cavalry raids.

December 24– Saturday– Covington, Georgia– “This has usually been a very busy day with me, preparing for Christmas not only for my own tables, but for gifts for my servants [slaves]. Now how changed! No confectionery, cakes, or pies can I have. We are all sad; no loud, jovial laugh from our boys is heard. Christmas Eve, which has ever been gaily celebrated here, which has witnessed the popping of fire-crackers [the Southern custom of celebrating Christmas with fireworks] and the hanging up of stockings, is an occasion now of sadness and gloom. I have nothing even to put in Sadai’s stocking, which hangs so invitingly for Santa Claus. How disappointed she will be in the morning, though I have explained to her why he cannot come. Poor children! Why must the innocent suffer with the guilty?” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

Christmas morning in New York City

Christmas morning in New York City

December 24– Saturday– near Albany, Georgia– “About three miles from Sparta we struck the ‘Burnt Country,’ as it is well named by the natives, and then I could better understand the wrath and desperation of these poor people. I almost felt as if I should like to hang a Yankee myself. There was hardly a fence left standing all the way from Sparta to Gordon. The fields were trampled down and the road was lined with carcasses of horses, hogs, and cattle that the invaders, unable either to consume or to carry away with them, had wantonly shot down to starve out the people and prevent them from making their crops. The stench in some places was unbearable; every few hundred yards we had to hold our noses or stop them with the cologne Mrs. Elzey had given us, and it proved a great boon. The dwellings that were standing all showed signs of pillage, and on every plantation we saw the charred remains of the gin-house and packing-screw, while here and there, lone chimney-stacks, ‘Sherman’s Sentinels,’ told of homes laid in ashes. The infamous wretches! I couldn’t wonder now that these poor people should want to put a rope round the neck of every red-handed ‘devil of them’ they could lay their hands on. Hay ricks and fodder stacks were demolished, corn cribs were empty, and every bale of cotton that could be found was burnt by the savages. I saw no grain of any sort, except little patches they had spilled when feeding their horses and which there was not even a chicken left in the country to eat. A bag of oats might have lain anywhere along the road without danger from the beasts of the field, though I cannot say it would have been safe from the assaults of hungry man. Crowds of [Confederate] soldiers were tramping over the road in both directions; it was like traveling through the streets of a populous town all day. They were mostly on foot, and I saw numbers seated on the roadside greedily eating raw turnips, meat skins, parched corn – anything they could find, even picking up the loose grains that Sherman’s horses had left. I felt tempted to stop and empty the contents of our provision baskets into their laps, but the dreadful accounts that were given of the state of the country before us, made prudence get the better of our generosity.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

December 24– Saturday– Savannah, Georgia– “We cleaned our quarters. Each person planted a Christmas tree in front of his tent.” ~ Diary of Fredrick C. Winkler.

December 24– Saturday– Pest, Hungary– Demeter Laccataris, Austro-Hungarian portrait painter of Greek origin, dies at 66 years of age.

December 25– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “Have intelligence this evening of the capture of Savannah. Hardee fled with his forces. The Rebellion is drawing to a close. These operations in the heart of the Rebel region are destroying their self-confidence, and there are symptoms of extreme dissatisfaction among them.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

December 25– Sunday– Augusta County, Virginia– “On the 25th day of December 1864 I Bind my Self my heir & to the Sum of fifty dollars it being the Balance due to Mrs. Polly W. Roberts for the hire of a Servant Henry [a slave]. Said Servant was hired by an exchange of Steers the Said Hotchkiss is to give to Mrs Roberts the above fifty dollars & also the Hide from the Steers that I got from them when I killed them & I also furnish the Said Henry with the used articles of clothing except the Blanket.” ~ Contractual agreement between Nelson H. Hotchkiss and Polly W. Roberts.

December 25– Sunday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia– “Miss Ann R McNutt was married last Thursday to William Steel. . . . Henry hasn’t bailed much hay – the weather has been so cold he can hardly bale atal– he has about 5 acres of corn to gather yet the weather has been so that they couldn’t work at the corn as it is snowed up. The snow is so hard it will take some time for it to melt as it has a crust on it– the snow would bar up wagon and Horses. Yesterday it thawed a little but is cloudy today. It has been good sleighing. Henry took the girls to Mrs Strains in the sleigh. Well I must close– this is enough for to be written on Sunday. I wanted it to go down tomorrow. Charlotte sends her love to you– write soon.” ~ Letter from Margaret Ott to her brother Enos.

December 25– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Your kind letter came to hand in due time. And as this is Christmas night and I [am] alone in my Shanty will improve it in writing You although there is not much new to write. Yet I will make the Endeavor. I have been away all day as this is a day that all . . . Should be free and having an invitation out to Eat roast Turkey of course accepted it and had a very nice time yet I think had I been in New York or Brooklyn that I would enjoyed My-Self much better and Shall be glad to get back there once more as a citizen for to go there on a leave of absence is only an aggravation as the time is always So Short that one cannot hardly turn before he has to come back. . . . I heard that there had been a Commission issued as Lieutenant Colonel to Some outsider, I don’t know how true it is, Yet I think it is a Shame to run over all of our Officers that are now Prisoners of War Who have Served and fought in the regiment Since the Organization and for my part I Shall resign if what I hear is true. So You need not be Surprised if You hear that Your humble Servant has put in his Unconditional Surrender, and retires to Private life. We have Sent Your Brother George’s large Trunk home to Your Mother’s Address by Express So if you have not already received it You Can look out for it.” ~ Letter from Union officer William E. Babcock to Walt Whitman.

Harper's Weekly portrays Lincoln with the true Christmas spirit, inviting all to Christmas dinner

Harper’s Weekly portrays Lincoln with the true Christmas spirit, inviting all to Christmas dinner

December 25– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “This is the birthday of our Saviour, but we have paid little attention to it in a religious way. . . . It does not seem much like Sunday or Christmas, for the men are hauling logs to build huts. This is a work of necessity, for the quarters we have been using are not warm enough. This is my fourth Christmas in the Army. I wonder if it will be my last.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 25– Sunday– Warren County, Tennessee– “Tonight I have but one thought—the cause of the South has gone down. The news all around us is evident of the fact. For my part I freely acknowledge that I can see no brightness now for the Confederacy. Hood has been beaten at Nashville and is now endeavoring to get out of the state, and Sherman’s rapid [march] through Georgia has been successful. He being now at Savannah if he has not possession of the city. . . . Yesterday Martha and myself worked the love long day making cakes, molasses candy, egg nog etc. for the children must have something. I felt it a drag, all the time —I did it from necessity. The children saw their odd cake elephants, horses, birds, old women etc. while in the process of cooking, and therefore they would not do for the nice white stockings that were put up to tempt good Santa Claus. I never was so put to it to get up something for the stockings, but I had a set of tiny coffee cups and saucers and some other little affairs which they had never seen, or forgotten—these I filled up the little girls with, and put in the boys, paper, pen, pencils, and some greenback [U S dollars]. They all seemed highly pleased, and enjoyed [all that] their good old pensioner used to bestow upon them. Oh! God give us peace, peace on any terms! It may be weak, but if so, Heaven forgive us! We have borne the strain so long. I took down my prayer-book and read the service of Christmas Church, with our good Bishop or Dr. Page officiating—-to recall the wreaths and emblems, to fill my soul once more with the melodious flood of the organ—the grand Te Deum—the exulting Gloria—ah! how vain! how vain! I could have wept but my tears are few nowadays, and their springs lie deep, deep. I had the same feeling today that I had when poor Captain Spurlock was brought home dead from the slopes of Stone River. It is a strange feeling—with a depth of sadness ‘too deep for easing tears.’ Oh! Will this strife ever be ended, or will I never be able to get out of it? Mollie came yesterday to spend her Christmas with us—I was very glad she came. Tho it is not at all like the old days—yet I wanted to have her with us. She has seen some merry Christmas days in the Forest [family] Home—will she ever see another as gay? No! I cannot hope it. We did not hear the news of Hood’s retreat until this evening—when Malone came over and told it. He has slept here every night since his fright by those bushwhackers. I do not think him in any danger from them now, but his wife is ill, and insists upon his not remaining at home at night, and I have told him he ought by all means do as she wishes.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

December 25– Sunday– Covington, Georgia– “Sadai [her daughter] jumped out of bed very early this morning to feel in her stocking. She could not believe but that there would be something in it. Finding nothing, she crept back into bed, pulled the cover over her face, and I soon heard her sobbing. . . . I pulled the cover over my face and was soon mingling my tears with Sadai’s.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

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

Christmas Gift for President Lincoln

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

Fort McAllister outside Savannah

Fort McAllister outside Savannah

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

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

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

Henry Clarke Wright, radical abolitionist

Henry Clarke Wright, radical abolitionist

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

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

Emancipation Proclamation painting by Carpenter

Emancipation Proclamation painting by Carpenter

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

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

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

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

James Bronterre O'Brien

James Bronterre O’Brien

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

Princess Zorka

Princess Zorka

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