Tag Archives: Kansas

July ~ Election Year 1856

Woman making American Flag

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

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


her office sign


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

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

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

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


Senator Charles Sumner


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

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

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

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


George Templeton Strong


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Attorney Lincoln


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

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

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

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


violence in Kansas


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

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

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

June ~ Election Year 1856

Woman making American Flag

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

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


George Templeton Strong


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

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

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


Elizabeth Jarvis Colt & Samuel Colt


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

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


Reverend Samuel J May


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


James Buchanan


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

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

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


Caroline Hazard


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

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

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

smith & nixon hall

Smith & Nixon Hall


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


Musical Fund Hall


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

elizabeth marbury-01

Elizabeth Marbury


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

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


James C Fremont


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

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

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

bleeding kansas-93748

violence in Kansas


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

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

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

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

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

Much Has Been Done But Not All~October 1863~the 4th to the 8th

Much Has Been Done, but Not All. ~ General James Longstreet

The year’s fighting is far from over and casualties mount. General Longstreet encourages his troops. Walt Whitman receives financial support for his hospital visitation work. New York City and the visiting Russian fleet continue to enjoy each other. The situation in Mexico continues to boil. And the world continues to change.

October 4– Sunday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I was very glad to hear of the receipt of the check I sent you & to know that it had already begun to do some good. I like very much your plan of aiding chiefly those frequent cases of suffering among the poor & unfriended young men of whom I have myself seen so many in the hospitals. I am sure you must be doing infinite good to the bodies & souls of these poor youths so far away from all other sympathies & friendships, & who now just seek a friend & comforter as few are to them. The hospitals are too cold, too regardless of human feeling, treating our brave volunteers too much like more professional fighters not more like thinking & suffering men. It is bad policy, as well as inhumanity, to treat them so. The effects of the iron will of our hospitals is discouraging to the hearts of our men, & I fear it does more to prevent volunteer enlistments than all other causes. The difficulty of getting discharges & furloughs, even in cases clearly demanding such indulgence, is very great & seems to increase rather than to diminish. I wish some more humane rules could be established. I have tried to prevail upon those in authority to ameliorate the system, but without effect. I have received twenty dollars . . . but I retain it for a few days hoping to add more to it. Meanwhile I have sent your letter to our friend Miss Hannah E. Stevenson, (whom you may remember as an ardent worker in one of the Georgetown Hospitals,) who will read it to some of her friends. She informs me that her sister Mrs Charles P Curtis has written to you & sent aid for the boys. She was much interested in your account of them. It will give me great pleasure to hear from you again.” ~ Letter from Dr Le Baron Russell to Walt Whitman.

New York City committee on board the Russian flagship

New York City committee on board the Russian flagship

October 4– Sunday– New York City– “The Joint Committee of the Common Council on the reception and entertainment of our Russian guests met yesterday to arrange the preliminaries for the grand banquet to be given to the officers of the fleet. The Committee were in session two or three hours, but adjourned without fixing the time for the banquet, or deciding upon the place in which it is to be held. . . . The place for holding the banquet will probably be the Academy of Music, which will afford an opportunity for a larger number of our citizens, including ladies, to join in the festivities. As the Russian fleet will remain in our harbor for some time to come, there is no occasion for haste, in any of the means that may be adopted for the entertainment of its officers. . . . Meanwhile, the officers, as well as the crews of the squadron, are enjoying themselves in their own way in viewing the sights of the City, and partaking individually of the hospitalities of our citizens. Last evening, Admiral Lisovsky, accompanied by a number of the officers of the fleet, visited Niblo’s Theatre.” ~ The New York Times.

October 4– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “Your letter reached me this forenoon with the $30 for my dear boys, for very dear they have become to me, wounded & sick here in the government hospitals. As it happens I find myself rapidly making acknowledgment of your welcome letter & contribution from the midst of those it was sent to aid & best by a sample of actual hospital life on the spot, & of my own goings around the last two or three hours. As I write I sit in a large pretty well-fill’d ward by the cot of a lad of 18 belonging to Company M, 2nd N Y cavalry, wounded three weeks ago to-day at Culpepper, hit by fragment of a shell in the leg below the knee, a large part of the calf of the leg is torn away, (it killed his horse) still no bones broken, but a pretty large ugly wound. I have been writing to his mother . . . . Although so young he has been in many fights & tells me shrewdly about them, but only when I ask him. He is a cheerful good-natured child [who] has to lie in bed . . . I bring him things, he says little or nothing in the way of thanks, is a country boy, always smiles & brightens much when I appear, looks straight in my face & never at what I may have in my hand for him. I mention him for a specimen as he is within reach of my hand & I can see that his eyes have been steadily fixed on me from his cot ever since I began to write this letter. There are some 25 or 30 wards, barracks, tents, &c in this hospital. This is ward C, has beds for 60 patients, they are mostly full, most of the other principal wards about the same, so you see a U S general hospital here is quite an establishment, this has a regular police, armed sentries at the gates & in the passages &c & a great staff of surgeons, cadets, women & men nurses &c &c. I come here pretty regularly because this hospital receives I think the worst cases & is one of the least visited.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to Margaret S. Curtis in response to hers of October 1st.

typical ward of a Civil War hospital

typical ward of a Civil War hospital

October 4– Sunday– Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada– Birth of Peter Veniot, businessman, newspaper owner, and politician who will serve as the Premier of New Brunswick from 1923 to 1925.

October 5– Monday– New York City– Admiral David Farragut of the U S Navy visits the Russian ships anchored in the harbor. The Russians express their pleasure with the visit.

October 5– Monday– Brooklyn, New York– The Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road begins operations. [This is now the oldest right-of-way on the New York City Subway, the largest rapid transit system in the United States and one of the largest in the world.]

October 5– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Rev. Alexander Campbell. – This distinguished gentleman preached yesterday to a full house in the Disciple’s church, Centre Wheeling. Although quite advanced in old age, being upwards of seventy-five, he retains a great deal of those wonderful powers of mind that have made him famous as a theologian throughout the world. He seldom any more leaves his quiet home at Bethany, being too feeble to travel any great distance. We learn, however, that he still employs himself in his literary labors as editor of the Harbinger and President of the College, as ardently, and almost as laboriously, as ever. His many friends here and elsewhere will be glad to know that his health is such as to permit him to make a visit even this far from home.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer. [Born in Ireland in 1788, Campbell is one of the founders of the Disciples of Christ as well as president and founder of Bethany College which is about 25 miles from Wheeling.]


Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell

October 5– Richmond, Virginia– “Soldiers! Much has been done, but not all. The fruits of your splendid victory are to be enjoyed. Tennessee and Kentucky, with their rolling fields and smiling valleys, are to be reclaimed to freedom and independence. You are to be the agent of their deliverance, and your task requires the same heroic fortitude, patience, and courage, always shown by you in the trying past. Your General looks to you for renewed exertions.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch quotes the address given by General James Longstreet to his troops after the battle of Chickamauga.

October 5– Monday– In Tennessee at Blue Springs, Murfreesborough, Readyville and at Stones River railroad bridge– Skirmishing as both sides maneuver. Confederate raiding parties strike both at Shelbyville and at Christiana as well.

October 5– Monday– Tilburg, the Netherlands– The railway station opens with service now available to Breda, the Netherlands.

October 6– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I took from Dr. Russell your letter to Mr. Redpath, to stir some warm hearts to aid you in your blessed work among our sick and wounded boys. My sister, Mrs. Charles P. Curtis, has already written you. Her husband’s words and her own, your touching words coined into gold or greenbacks. I inclose you to-day thirty dollars, the result of an application to my friends, the Misses Wigglesworth.” ~ Letter from Hannah E Stevenson to Walt Whitman. [Anne and Mary Wigglesworth were friends of Hannah Stevenson’s and patrons of various benevolent organizations in Boston. Mary will die in 1882 and Anne in 1891. See the Boston Evening Transcript, August 29, 1882, and January 6, 1891.]

October 6– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Senator Charles Sumner writes to John Bright in England warning that British intervention the American civil war could give Russia an excuse to begin naval operations against British and French ships or operations in Mexico against the French. [Bright, a month away from his 52nd birthday, is a Quaker and Radical who at this time is serving his 20th year in the House of Commons. An eloquent orator, he has spoken against American slavery and in support of the Lincoln Administration.]

October 6– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “Mother, I am writing this in Major Hapgood’s office as usual. I am all alone to-day. Major is still absent, unwell, & the clerk is away somewhere. O how pleasant it is here, the weather I mean, & other things too for that matter. I still occupy my little room 394 L street, get my own breakfast there, had good tea this morning, & some nice biscuit, (yesterday morning & day before had peaches cut up). My friends the O’Connors that I wrote about re-commenced cooking the 1st of this month, (they have been as usual in summer taking their meals at a family hotel near by.) Saturday they sent for me to breakfast & Sunday I eat dinner with them, very good dinner, roast beef, lima beans, good potatoes &c. They are truly friends to me. I still get my dinner at a restaurant usually. I have a very good plain dinner, which is the only meal of any account I make during the day, but it is just as well, for I would be in danger of getting fat on the least encouragement, & I have no ambition that way.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

 October 6– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– In the evening, President Lincoln, Secretary of State Seward and their families attend a performance of Shakespeare’s Othello on stage at Grover’s Theater.

October 6– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “I read to-day an interesting report from one of our secret agents– Mr A Superviele– of his diplomatic operations in Mexico, which convinces me that the French authorities there favor the Confederate States cause, and anticipate closer relations before long. When he parted with Almonte, the latter assured him that his sympathies were with the South, and that if he held any position in the new government (which he does now) he might say to President Davis that his influence would be exerted for the recognition of our independence.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

October 6– Tuesday– Baxter Springs, Kansas– William C. Quantrill and his raiders massacre about 100 black Union soldiers.

October 6– Tuesday– Off the coast of Texas–U S warships capture a British blockade runner.

October 7– Wednesday– Bristow Station, Virginia– “Our new Chaplain is Rev John D Beugless, formerly pastor of the Pawtuxet Baptist Church. . . . Many of the soldiers are good Christian men but need some one to guide them. I feel greatly rejoiced over the prospect for the future.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

October 7– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– Union General Grant orders that all cotton and other crops belonging to persons in armed rebellion against the United States are to be seized.


infantry fighting

infantry fighting

October 7– Wednesday– Hazel River, Virginia; Warsaw, Missouri; Ferry’s Ford, Arkansas; Summit Point, West Virginia; Utz’s Ford, Virginia; Charles Town, West Virginia; Evening Shade, Arkansas; Mitchell’s Ford, Virginia– Skirmishes, ambushes, raids and fire fights.

 October 8– Thursday– Rochester, New York– Birth of Edythe Chapman, a star of the stage and of silent films. She will make her first film at age 51 in 1914 and her last at age 67 in 1930 and three dozen more in between.

Edythe Chapman

Edythe Chapman


The Spot is Too Lovely for War~August 1863~the 23rd to 27th

The Spot Is Too Lovely for War ~ Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

The extreme bloodshed of earlier in the summer continues to effect changes and human costs. Soldiers continue to miss their loved ones. Presidents continue to deal with problems. And the wide world continues turning.

August 23– Sunday– Mamaroneck, New York– Emily Bradley Neal Haven, author and magazine editor, dies of tuberculosis at age 35, a month after birthing her fifth child. [She submitted her first published story under the pen name “Alice G Lee” and in 1846 took Alice as her first name. She published 14 books and numerous articles and stories during her life. Two volumes will be published posthumously.]

Amelie Rives

Amelie Rives

August 23– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– Birth of Amelie Louise Rives, the oldest of three daughters born to Sarah MacMurdo Rives and Alfred Rives. [As a novelist she will write 25 novels, one of the first American authors to be influenced by the developments in psychiatry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She will cause a stir in 1895 by divorcing her husband John Armstrong Chanler and the next year will marry the renowned painter Prince Pierre Troubetzkoy.]

August 23– Sunday– Charleston, South Carolina– After firing more than 5000 shells at Fort Sumter and Fort Wagner, the Union artillery concludes the bombardment today. Sumter has one canon capable of returning fire. Both forts are now masses of rubble.

August 24– Monday– New York City– The wealthy abolitionist Francis George Shaw writes to Union General Quincy Adams Gillmore, who is in command of operations in South Carolina. “I take the liberty to address you because I am informed that efforts are to be made to recover the body of my son, Colonel Shaw of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, which was buried at Fort Wagner. My object in writing is to say that such efforts are not authorized by me or any of my family, and that they are not approved by us. We hold that a soldier’s most appropriate burial-place is on the field where he has fallen. I shall therefore be much obliged, General, if in case the matter is brought to your cognizance, you will forbid the desecration of my son’s grave, and prevent the disturbance of his remains or those buried with him.”

August 24– Monday– New Orleans, Louisiana– Sarah Morgan takes note of a friend’s wounds. “A letter from Captain Bradford to Miriam. My poor Adonis, that I used to ridicule so unmercifully, what misfortunes have befallen him! He writes that during the siege at Port Hudson he had the top of his ear shot off (wonder if he lost any of that beautiful golden fleece~his hair?), and had the cap of his knee removed by a shell, besides a third wound he does not specify. Fortunately he is with kind friends.”

August 24– Monday– Pozega, Slovenia– Birth of Dragutin Lerman, an explorer who will make four trips to Africa between 1882 and 1896. On his first he will accompany the American Henry Stanley; his others will be under the auspices of King Leopold II of Belgium.

August 25– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues an executive order reopening the port of New Orleans to incoming and outgoing vessels subject to supervision by the military governor.

August 25– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa. “I have seen now so much horrors that befall men, (so bad & such suffering & mutilations, &c that the poor men can defy their fate to do any thing more or any harder misfortune or worse agony) that I sometimes think I have grown callous– but, no, I don’t think it is that, but nothing of ordinary misfortune seems as it used to, & death itself has lost all its terrors. I have seen so many cases in which it was so welcome & such a relief. Mother, you must just resign yourself to things that occur– but I hardly think it is necessary to give you any charge about it, for I think you have done so for many years, & stood it all with good courage.”

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

August 25– Beverly Ford, Virginia– Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin writes to his wife Fanny, whom he misses. “How lonely it is! Here I am in a new place– a new tent– new surroundings– new duties– I feel like one making his debut. I have left the noble 20th [Maine Regiment] having been assigned by General Griffin to the command of this Brigade which he says is a ‘permanency’ for a long time, that is. This makes me virtually a Brigadier General but I feel badly to leave the 20th and shall be glad when I can return to it. I have a pleasant staff and shall get routed in a few days. . . . How the rain falls on the tent roof! Like the glorious nights before. Only now you can hear the roar at the falls close by and in full night by day. The spot is too lovely for war and for me alone.” [Chamberlin will not be officially made a brigadier general until June, 1864 when he is recovering from a nearly fatal wound.]

August 25– Tuesday– St Louis, Missouri–Federal authorities order all persons in a four county area to leave their homes unless they can prove their loyalty to the Federal government. Union soldiers begin a systematic destruction of houses and farms belonging to suspected Confederate sympathizers.

August 26– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to James C Conkling. “You say that you will not fight to free Negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively, to save the Union. I issued the proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time then for you to declare you will not fight to free Negroes. I thought that in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the Negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistance to you. Do you think differently? I thought that whatever Negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you? But Negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do anything for us if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us they must be prompted by the strongest motive, even the promise of freedom. And the promise, being made, must be kept.” [Conkling, age 47, a lawyer and politician in Illinois, had asked the President to attend to a large pro-Union rally; believing that he could not spare the time away from his duties, Lincoln wrote this letter and asked Conkling to read it to the gathering. In a private note to his friend Conkling, Lincoln writes, “You are one of the best public readers. I have but one suggestion– read it very slowly. And now God bless you, and all good Union men.]

James C Conkling

James C Conkling

August 26– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– Clerk John Jones notes the shortage of fighters. “General Beauregard telegraphs for a detail of 50 seamen for his iron-clads, which he intends shall support Sumter, if, as he anticipates, the enemy should make a sudden attempt to seize it– or rather its debris– where he still has some guns, still under our flag. None of his vessels have full crews. This paper was referred to the Secretary of the Navy, and he returned it with an emphatic negative, saying that the War Department had failed to make details from the army to the navy, in accordance with an act of Congress, and hence none of our war steamers had full crews.”

August 27– Thursday– Reed’s Bridge, Arkansas; Mount Pleasant, Mississippi; Carter County, Kentucky; Elk River, West Virginia; Clark’s Neck, Kentucky; Glenville, West Virginia; Little Washington, Virginia; Ball’s Mill, West Virginia; Edward’s Ferry, Maryland; Weaverville, Virginia– Fire fights and skirmishes take a toll.

August 27– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to General Schofield in St. Louis, Missouri, about the savage destruction of Lawrence, Kansas. “I have just received the despatch which follows, from two very influential citizens of Kansas . . . . The severe blow they have received naturally enough makes them intemperate even without there being any just cause for blame. Please do your utmost to give them future security and to punish their invaders.”

August 27– Thursday– Warrenton, Virginia– Union General John Buford submits a detailed report about his division’s operations at Gettysburg. He concludes by writing, “The zeal, bravery, and good behavior of the officers and men on the night of June 30, and during July 1, was commendable in the extreme. A heavy task was before us; we were equal to it, and shall all remember with pride that at Gettysburg we did our country much service. July 2, the division became engaged with the enemy’s sharpshooters on our left, and held its own until relieved by Gen. Sickles’ corps, after which it moved to Taneytown, and bivouacked for the night.”

General John Buford

General John Buford

August 27– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– The Richmond Sentinel notes that “General Robert E. Lee is in the city on a short visit. He looks to be in excellent health, nor at least fatigued by his recent arduous campaign.”

August 27– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia–“The disasters in Mississippi were both great and unexpected to me. I had thought that the troops sent to the State, added to those already there, made a force large enough to accomplish the destruction of Grant’s army. That no such result followed may have been the effect of mismanagement, or it may have been that it was unattainable. An investigation of the causes of the failure is now in progress; though, as the misfortunes have already come upon us, it would afford me but little satisfaction to know that they resulted from bad Generalship and were not inevitable. Recent events near their own homes have been calculated to produce in some minds the feeling of gloom . . . . But I have not yet seen cause to waver in the conviction to which I have frequently given expression, that, if our people now show as much fortitude as we are entitled to expect from those who display such conspicuous gallantry in the field, we shall certainly beat the enemy and secure our independence. . . . The recital of your losses during the war pains me. But the firmness with which you bear them– and the zeal in the country’s behalf which characterizes you and all the members of your family, are what I had expected – as well as the loyalty & true-heartedness of the women of the land, upon which you remark.” ~ Letter from President Davis to James Howry.

The Questions Are of Vast Magnitude~August 17th to 22nd

The Questions Are of Vast Magnitude~Gideon Welles

President Lincoln reveals his favorites among the works of Shakespeare. Members of his Cabinet discuss reconstruction after the war. The draft, enforced by the presence of Federal troops, resumes in New York City. Confederate-held forts Wagner and Sumter in Charleston harbor endure heavy bombardment. Raiders in Kansas commit atrocities. Throughout the country the incidents and accidents of a nation in the midst of civil war continue.

August 17– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to James Hackett.” For one of my age I have seen very little of the drama. The first presentation of Falstaff I ever saw was yours here, last winter or spring. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay is to say, as I truly can, I am very anxious to see it again. Some of Shakespeare’s plays I have never read, while others I have gone over perhaps as frequently as any un-professional reader. Among the latter are Lear, Richard III., Henry VIII., Hamlet, and especially Macbeth. I think nothing equals Macbeth. It is wonderful. Unlike you gentlemen of the profession, I think the soliloquy in Hamlet commencing ‘Oh, my offense is rank,’ surpasses that commencing ‘To be or not to be.’ But pardon this small attempt at criticism. I should like to hear you pronounce the opening speech of Richard III. Will you not soon visit Washington again? If you do, please call and let me make your personal acquaintance.” [Hackett, age 63, from New York City, has gained fame by, among other roles, portraying Falstaff in Shakespeare’s plays. Earlier in this year he published a book about Shakespeare’s plays and various actors who performed them. He sent a complimentary copy to the President.]

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

August 17– Monday– Monongalia, West Virginia– Three women dressed in men’s clothing and assisted by a 14 year old boy, capture three suspected Confederate sympathizers and turn them over to Federal authorities.

August 17– Monday– Charleston, South Carolina– As Federal forces renew their efforts against the city, gunboats and artillery fire 938 rounds into Fort Wagner and Fort Sumter.

August 17– Monday– Lagro, Indiana– Birth of Geneva Grace Stratton, a/k/a Gene Stratton-Porter, author and naturalist, the 12th child of Mary and Mark Stratton. By the time of her death in 1924, her nineteen published books will have sold almost 9 million copies.

Gene Stratton-Porter

Gene Stratton-Porter

August 18– Tuesday– Barre, Massachusetts– Mary Babbitt writes on behalf of her brother Caleb Babbitt to Walt Whitman. “My brother wishes me to inform you of the state of his health, also of his journey home he arrived home last week Wednesday very much exhausted & he was obliged to take to his bed from which he has not yet got up. He has put off writing every day thinking the next day he would be able to write himself. He often speaks of you telling of your kindness during his sickness there, and wishes he could see you.”

August 18– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– On her way to see other friends, Charlotte Forten Grimke arrives from Pennsylvania via New York City. “Mr Pierce and Mr [Francis] Shaw met me at the Station. The latter has a good, noble face, but very sad.” [Francis Shaw is the grieving father of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw.]

August 18– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman writes to his mother Louisa about his plans. “Mother, I want to see you & all very much. As I wish to be here at the opening of Congress, & during the winter, I have an idea I will try to come home for a month, but I don’t know when. I want to see the young ones & Mat & Jeff & every body.” [The next session of Congress will convene on December 7th, 1863].

August 18– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “A Benevolent Action. In these times of extortion, it is refreshing to hear of any one’s doing a good deed, and it is with pleasure that we record the fact that General Joseph R Anderson, of the Tredegar [Iron] works, has recently purchased a large quantity of wheat, sent it to the mills of this city to be converted into flour, and is to let his employees have it at cost price. Such an example is worthy of imitation, and we trust all our large employers will do likewise, and thereby aid to bring down [the cost of] this necessary of life.”– The Richmond Sentinel.

August 18– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– For a second day Union artillery and gunboats bombard Fort Wagner and Fort Sumter.

August 18– Tuesday– Nasville, Tennessee– The Nashville Daily Press reports an accident. “A wagon and team, in charge of George W Bell, an employee of Lieutenant Irvin, yesterday knocked down and ran over a woman on the Public Square. The team was been driven at headlong speed, and the wagon tongue struck the woman on the temple, felling her to the ground, and then two of the wheels passed over her body. Miraculous enough, she was neither killed or seriously hurt, but it was not because of a want of recklessness on the part of the teamster. The woman was taken to the hospital of the Eighteenth Michigan, and after her wounds were carefully dressed she walked home. Bell was quickly arrested and sent to the Penitentiary.”

August 18– Tuesday– Saint Louis, Missouri–Union General Thomas Ewing issues orders freeing slaves of any Missourians actively involved with the Confederate Army.

August 19– Wednesday– New York City–Federal troops help to maintain order as the draft resumes.

August 19– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Count Nicholas Giorgi, newly appointed minister to the United States from the Empire of Austria, presents his credentials to President Lincoln.

August 19– Wednesday– Charleston, South Carolina– For the third day in a row, Federal heavy artillery pounds Fort Wagner and Fort Sumter.

August 19– Wednesday– Blackwater Creek, Missouri– About 350 men under the command of William Quantrill leave for a raid on Kansas. Quantrill, age 26, Ohio-born and a former school teacher, calls himself a general, having deserted Confederate General Sterling Price’s command in order to form his guerrilla band which includes Jesse and Frank James as well as Jim, John, Bob and Cole Younger who will gain fame after the war as outlaws.



August 20– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– Once again Union gun boats and canon shell Fort Wagner and Fort Sumter for most of the day.

August 20– Thursday– Memphis, Tennessee– The Union Army command issues a directive regarding horses. “The practice of shipping horses and mules from the several posts of this command in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky to the North having been found to encourage a system of robbery and stealing, both from the Government and the citizens, must be put a stop to. Hereafter no such shipments to private individuals will be permitted, except in cases of property purchased from sales by quartermasters and provost-marshals, for which proper vouchers will be given.”

August 21– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends an urgent telegram to General George Meade.”At this late moment I am appealed to in behalf of William Thompson of Company K, Third Maryland Volunteers, in Twelfth Army Corps, said to be at Kelly’s Ford, under sentence to be shot to-day as a deserter. He is represented to me to be very young, with symptoms of insanity. Please postpone the execution till further order.”

August 21– Friday– Orange Courthouse, Virginia– Confederate soldier Jedediah Hotchkiss writes to his brother Nelson. “Our men are being nicely clothed and shod and will soon present a nice appearance; a uniformed army. The Commissariat of our army is in fine condition too and today the soldiers had roasting ears issued to them, a barrel to the hundred men, and that much is to be issued daily while the roasting ears season lasts. There is enough to eat. The bugbear of starvation has fled; the enemy has cruelly said that they would starve us and Heaven answered them with blessing our land with abundance. We fasted until a 6 P.M. dinner. We had roasting ears, tomatoes, potatoes, good light rolls, and beefsteak, a good enough dinner for any one and so fare the soldiers now while we are resting, and it is well it is so for the times of privation always come when marching and fighting begin, as begin it must, although there are no signs now of any movements and a profound quiet reigns everywhere, the enemy having retired further away. I hope you succeeded in getting in something to eat and do not have to buy at the horrid prices now prevailing. A change must come before long in some way, no one knows how, but it is sure to come.”

August 21– Friday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– Union forces reach the Tennessee River opposite the city and Federal artillery begins shelling the town. The bombardment catches many soldiers and civilians by surprise as many are in church observing a day of prayer and fasting. The cannoneers sink two steamers docked at the landing and raise concerns about another Vicksburg-type siege among the Confederates. The shelling will continue periodically over the next two weeks, .

August 21– Friday– Lawrence, Kansas–Confederate raiders, numbering about 350, under William Quantrill attack the town in supposed retaliation for a Union raid on Osceola, Missouri. They kill 164 civilians, mostly men and boys, and destroy many buildings. The guerrillas suffer about 40 killed and wounded. After holding the town several hours, they withdraw.

the massacre at Lawrence Kansas

the massacre at Lawrence Kansas

August 22– Saturday– New York City– George Templeton Strong notes the resumption of the draft. “Troops continue to arrive here from Meade’s army . . . . We have already more than enough to ensure the execution of the draft in this city.”

August 22– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles describes his conversation with Salmon P Chase. Chase, age 55, a former member of the Free Soil Party and former governor of Ohio, known for his strong opposition to slavery, is serving as Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury. “Mr. Chase called and took me this evening for a two hours’ ride. We went past Kalorama north, crossed Rock Creek near the Stone Mill, thence over the hills to Tenallytown, and returned through Georgetown. The principal topic of conversation, and the obvious purpose of this drive was a consultation on the slavery question, and what in common parlance is called the reconstruction of the Union with the incidents. After sounding me without getting definite and satisfactory answers, he frankly avowed his own policy and determination. It is unconditional and immediate emancipation in all the Rebel States, no retrograde from the Proclamation of Emancipation, no recognition of a Rebel State as a part of the Union, or any terms with it except on the extinction, wholly, at once, and forever, of slavery. I neither adopted nor rejected his emphatic tests, for such he evidently meant them. The questions are of vast magnitude, and have great attending difficulties.”

Salmon P Chase

Salmon P Chase

August 22– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– For the sixth consecutive day, Union guns blaze away at Fort Wagner and Fort Sumter. Wagner is covered with sand from the impact of exploding shells. Only four Confederate canon remain operable in Fort Sumter.

August 22– Saturday– Murfreesboro, Tennessee– Union Sergeant Charles Alley takes note of Southern culture. “This last week things have been changing here considerably. Numbers of market wagons come in daily and the people no matter how much they may hate the Yankees appear still quite willing to turn an honest penny selling them the products of their farms at exorbitant rates. They only charge $2 per bushel for potatoes, 75 cents for a single watermelon, 50 cents per pound for butter, 20 cents per quart for milk sweet, but they sometimes charge only that price for buttermilk, and double that for sweet and everything else in proportion. Yesterday a wagon stopped just opposite our camp with watermelons. The wagon was driven by a slave, a stout lusty fellow. He handed out the melons to the buyers. The buyers paid the money to the female owner of the teamster, who was seated in a buggy, which was driven by a female slave. ‘There’ thought I is slavery illustrated in one phase any how, takes three persons to do the work of one. Another curious point– ‘The Yankees’ say these chivalrous owners of the souls and bodies of men, ‘are come in here to burn, desolate and reduce to a desert our beautiful country, to slay our men with the sword, to ravish our women and have our little ones to perish,’ and then to show how much they believe their own lying assertions they go off, stay away, lie round in the woods and murder Yankees; and leave their women to buy from, sell to and get gain from these same Yankees and trust that they will be honorably dealt with and do not trust in vain neither. Ah, slavery, what a demoralizer art thou. Surely he was not far wrong that first denounced thee as the sum of all villains. May heaven grant the morning shall soon dawn that shall find no trace of thee in the length and breadth of our large and goodly land.”