Tag Archives: music

May ~ Election Year 1916


The world is in turmoil as the United States prepares to elect a president. Incumbent Woodrow Wilson faces challenges within his party, from Republicans and from several third parties. Most of Europe is being consumed by the Great War. Yet all is not quiet in Western Hemisphere as the United States sends troops into Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Americans express concern for peace and want to avoid involvement in the war. Britain quells rebellion in Ireland and executes Irish leaders.


Dublin’s General Post Office after the fighting


May 1– Monday– Dublin, Ireland–The Easter Rising collapses as Irish fighters, out-gunned by British forces either surrender or go into hiding. Sir John Maxwell, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces announces that all involved in the insurrection have surrendered. The dead include 82 Irish fighters, 126 British soldiers, 17 Irish police officers and 260 civilians.

May 1– Monday– The Hague, Netherlands– The German Counsel recruits a Dutch dancer and courtesan who uses the stage name Mata Hari, to serve as a spy for Germany. She has lived and worked in Paris since 1905 and has numerous friends and clients among French officials and officers.

May 3– Wednesday– New York City– The Socialist Labor Party of America concludes it five day national convention, having nominated Arthur Reimer, a Massachusetts lawyer, age 34 for president and issues its platform which calls upon working people to assume control of “industrial production.”


May 3– Wednesday– Verdun, France– The Germans begin an intense artillery bombardment of the French position known as Cote 304.

May 4– Thursday– Dublin, Ireland– British authorities execute Ned Daly, Willie Pearse, Michael O’Hanrahan and Joseph Plunkett for their roles in the Easter Rising.

May 5– Friday– Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic– Two companies of U S Marines land from the U.S.S. Prairie to protect the U.S. Legation and the U.S. Consulate, and to occupy Fort San Geronimo. Within hours, the Marines are reinforced with seven additional companies.

May 5– Friday– Berlin, Germany– In response to American protests, the German government pledges not to sink any more merchant ships without warning and to allow time for crew and passengers to abandon ship.

May 5– Friday– Verdun, France– German troops begin an assault against Cote 304.


tired French troops on Cote 304


May 7– Sunday– Waterbury, Connecticut– Mrs Ethel O’Neill and her sister Mrs Bedelia Griffen head to Washington, D.C., to call upon the State Department to have the British release their brother James Mark Sullivan whom the British government has charged with involvement in the Easter rising. [Sullivan, age 43, a lawyer born in Ireland, is a naturalized American citizen, was visiting family in Ireland and had a reputation for making anti-British public statements. He will be released by the British. He dies in Florida on August 15, 1935.]

May 8– Monday– Marathon, Texas– Units of United States cavalry set out to pursue Mexican raiders who attacked Texas towns.

May 8– Monday– Dublin, Ireland– British authorities execute Eamon Kent, Michael Mallin, Con Colbert and Sean Houston for their roles in the Easter Rising.


location where Irish prisoners were executed


May 8– Monday– Verdun, France– After three days of fierce fighting German troops capture Cote 304.

May 9– Tuesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– About 15,000 workers at Westinghouse Electric plants who went out on strike April 22, return to work without winning any improvements in wages and working conditions as the company threatens to fire them all. However, the union reports that about 2,000 machinists have left the region to find work elsewhere.

May 9– Tuesday– New Haven, Connecticut– Homer S Cummings, a member of the Democratic National Committee, declares that Republican critics of President Wilson place party ahead of the best interests of the country and while attacking the current administration have offered “no definite policy indicating what alternative course the Administration could have pursued which would have more completely accorded with the dignity and traditions of America.”

May 11– Thursday– London, England– During a debate in Parliament on the Irish crisis, John Dillon of the Irish Parliamentary Party calls on the British government to end the executions of the Easter Rising leaders.

May 13– Saturday– New Hartford, Connecticut– Clara Louise Kellogg, dramatic soprano who was a popular performer in both the United States and Europe from 1863 through 1881, dies from cancer at 73 years of age.


Clara Louise Kellogg


May 13– Saturday– London, England– The government orders the call-up of married men between the ages of 36 and 41 for military service.

May 13– Saturday– Luxeuil-les-Bains, France– The Escadrille Americaine, a/k/a the Lafayette Escadrille, American pilots fighting for the French, fly their first patrol.


pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille


May 14– Sunday– New York City– In today’s New York Times Dr Abbott Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, presents a lengthy article calling for educators to join others in building an international body of the League to Enforce Peace by utilizing arbitration, economic sanctions and an international tribunal to discourage nations from going to war. [Lowell, age 59, has been Harvard’s president since 1909. He is one of 7 children and his sisters are the poet Amy Lowell and the advocate of pre-natal care Elizabeth Lowell Putnam. He dies on January 6, 1943, ten years after leaving Harvard. On Lowell’s life and work, see Lawrence Lowell and His Revolution (1980) by Nathan M. Pusey. On the League to Enforce Peace, see Blocking New Wars (1918) by Herbert S Houston; The League to Enforce Peace (1944) by Ruhl J Bartlett; Development of the League of Nations Idea: Documents and Correspondence of Theodore Marburg (2003) edited by John H Latane.]

May 15– Monday– Waco, Texas– Jesse Washington, a teenaged black farmhand, is brutally lynched by a crowd of nearly 10,000 white people, for allegedly murdering his employer’s wife. He is mutilated, then hung and burned while photographs are taken and sold as souvenirs.

May 15– Monday– Trentino, Province, Italy– The Austrians launch a major offensive with a heavy artillery barrage which does severe damage to Italian positions.

May 16– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Speaking at the National Press Club President Wilson declares that the United States must remain out of the war in Europe so that it can, with other neutral nations, help build an impartial peace.

May 17– Wednesday– Limerick, Ireland– Thomas O’Dwyer, Roman Catholic Bishop, refuses a request to discipline two of his priests who expressed sympathies for the establishment of an Irish republic. He reminds British General Maxwell that the general has shown no mercy to those fighters who surrendered.

May 17– Wednesday– Rome, Italy– Sir Henry Howard, British Minister to the Vatican, reports that Pope Benedict XV has urged Germany to abandon submarine warfare.

May 18– Thursday– London, England– The Royal Commission established to inquire into the Easter Rising in Dublin, Ireland, begins hearings today.

May 19– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Wilson and his wife, Edith Bolling Wilson, head by train to North Carolina to visit several towns and cities, including Salisbury, Greensboro and Charlotte.

May 20– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– This issue of the Saturday Evening Post uses the first cover with a painting by a young artist named Norman Rockwell, age 22. The picture is entitled “Boy with Baby Carriage.”

May 20– Saturday– Charlotte, North Carolina– In a speech here President Wilson says that as the United States has learned and continues to learn “that it is made up out of all the nations of the world”, it can teach other countries how “this great cataclysm of European war” may “be turned into a coordination and cooperation of elements” which will make for “peace . . . accommodation and righteous judgment.”

wilson speaks from the back of a train-WGj

President Wilson prepares to speak from the back of a train


May 23– Tuesday– New York City– The sixth annual convention of the National Council of Settlements closes. Speaking at the luncheon Lillian D Wald warns against the rising spirit of militarism which threatens peace and can derail the social work of settlement houses. [On settlement houses generally, see Settlement Houses: Improving the Social Welfare of America’s Immigrants (2006) by Michael Friedman & Brett Friedman; American Settlement Houses and Progressive Social Reform: an Encyclopedia of the American Settlement Movement (1999) by Domenica M Barbuto; Settlement Houses and the Great Depression (1975) by Judith Ann Trolander; Children of the Settlement Houses (1998) by Caroline Arnold.

May 23– Tuesday– Vienna, Austria– The Austrian government is reviewing President Wilson’s speech of May 20th.

May 27– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “If it should ever be our privilege to suggest or initiate a movement for peace among the nations now at war, I am sure that the people of the United States would wish their Government to move along these lines: First, such a settlement with regard to their own immediate interests as the belligerents may agree upon. We have nothing material of any kind to ask for ourselves, and are quite aware that we are in no sense or degree parties to the present quarrel. Our interest is only in peace and its future guarantees. Second, an universal association of the nations to maintain the inviolate security of the highway of the seas for the common and unhindered use of all the nations of the world, and to prevent any war begun either contrary to treaty covenants or without warning and full submission of the causes to the opinion of the world,—a virtual guarantee of territorial integrity and political independence. But I did not come here, let me repeat, to discuss a program. I came only to avow a creed and give expression to the confidence I feel that the world is even now upon the eve of a great consummation, when some common force will be brought into existence which shall safeguard right as the first and most fundamental interest of all peoples and all governments, when coercion shall be summoned not to the service of political ambition or selfish hostility, but to the service of a common order, a common justice, and a common peace. God grant that the dawn of that day of frank dealing and of settled peace, concord, and cooperation may be near at hand!” ~ President Woodrow Wilson speaking to the First National Assembly of the League to Enforce Peace

May 30– Tuesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Giving a Memorial Day speech at G. A. R Post #1, John Wanamaker, age 78, businessman, civic and political figure, asserts that the United States, as a friend to all nations, is called to emancipate the world from the scourge of war.


John Wanamaker


May 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as FLAG DAY with special patriotic exercises, at which means shall be taken to give significant expression to our thoughtful love of America, our comprehension of the great mission of liberty and justice to which we have devoted ourselves as a people, our pride in the history and our enthusiasm for the political program of the nation, our determination to make it greater and purer with each generation, and our resolution to demonstrate to all the world its, vital union in sentiment and purpose, accepting only those as true compatriots who feel as we do the compulsion of this supreme allegiance. Let us on that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself,-a nation signally distinguished among all the nations of mankind for its clear, individual conception alike of its duties and its privileges, its obligations and its rights.” ~ Proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson.

May 31– Wednesday– London, England– In a letter to the Times of London, Lord Cromer asserts that the British government has no confidence in President Wilson’s ability to broker peace. “It is more than doubtful in spite of the very friendly feelings entertained toward America and Americans generally that the people of this country would under any circumstances welcome the idea that President Wilson should assume the role of mediator.”

May 31– Wednesday– North Sea, near the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark– British naval forces of 111 warships commence the first day of a two day battle with 99 warships of the German navy.


Say to the People That They Go Forward ~ February 1865 ~ 11th and 12th

Say to the People That They Go Forward ~ Henry Highland Garnet

Reverend Henry Highland Garnet

Reverend Henry Highland Garnet

For the first time a black man, a former slave, preaches a sermon in the U S Congress. In the South, President Davis encourages his generals to defeat Sherman who is making rapid advances through South Carolina. Others worry about the possibility of the fall of Richmond. Debate rages about using slaves in the Confederate armed forces. Concerned about supplies and safety, the Charleston Mercury suspends publication. In places, genteel social life continues and a Southern belle admires African American spirituals, noting that the slaves like them much more than traditional church hymns.


February 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Your telegrams of the 9th and 10th received. The indications suggest Charleston as the objective point and if you have supplies inside the works and General Beauregard has the hoped-for success in concentrating the army and in raising auxiliary forces in Georgia and South Carolina, the attempt of the enemy will, I hope, be reduced to operations on the sea front and be finally defeated.” ~ Message from President Davis to General Hardee in Charleston, South Carolina.

February 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and cold; froze hard last night. Yesterday a bill was introduced into both houses of Congress authorizing the enlistment of 200,000 slaves, with consent of their owners, which will probably be amended. Mr. Miles, as a test vote, moved the rejection of the bill; and the vote not to reject it was more than two to one, an indication that it will pass. The failure of the peace conference seems to have been made the occasion of inspiring renewed zeal and enthusiasm for the war in the United States, as well as here. So the carnival of blood will be a ‘success.’The enemy claim an advantage in the late battle on the south side of the James River. Sherman’s movements are still shrouded in mystery, and our generals seem to be waiting for a development of his intentions. Meantime he is getting nearer to Charleston, and cutting railroad communications between that city and the interior. The city is doomed, unless Hardee or Beauregard, or both, successfully take the initiative.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

mill destroyed by Sherman's troops

mill destroyed by Sherman’s troops

February 11– Saturday– Beaufort, South Carolina– “I am perhaps less able to give a general summary, than those who have seen the whole field at a distance, and have not had their attention absorbed by particular details and occurrences; but, as nearly as I can remember, about the 2nd of January four hundred refugees arrived in Beaufort, and were distributed among the plantations on Port Royal Island– about the 5th two hundred and fifty more came, very decrepit and feeble, and were sent immediately to Saint Helena Island. During the next week, perhaps five hundred more arrived; and by that time the movement of Sherman’s army to Beaufort had begun, and transportation could not be given to the Negroes. Nevertheless a few hundred got to Hilton Head Island, and were mostly distributed among the plantations there. Since Sherman’s army moved from Beaufort, five or six hundred more have come into Hilton Head Island from Savannah and from the main land north of Savannah, and about as many more from Sherman’s rear into Beaufort. There are at present, on those of the Sea Islands occupied by our forces, about four or five thousand refugees. The rest who lingered at Savannah, being about two or three thousand more: and probably in all, at least one thousand have died of disease and exposure.” ~ Report from James P. Blake to the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society.

February 11– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The progress of military events, which has occasioned so much public and private inconvenience and suffering, has not spared the newspaper interest. The interruption of railroad communication between Charleston and the interior produces a state of affairs which compels us, temporarily, to transfer the publication office of the Mercury elsewhere; and today’s paper will be our last issue, for the present, in the city of Charleston. It is due to our readers that they should be informed of the reasons which necessitate so important a step in the management of our journal. The interruption of the mails on the South Carolina Railroad practically cuts us off from the mass of our country readers, not only in this but all the adjoining States. We consider it highly desirable that the paper should reach this large class; and by the contemplated change we trust to accomplish that end. But a far more important consideration, and one which cannot be overlooked, is the question of our paper supply. Few of our readers have any idea of the enormous quantity of paper required for the daily consumption of our establishment. The paper mill upon which we depend for our supply is situated in Western North Carolina, and as things stand, for want of transportation, there is no chance of a continuance of that supply. So that we have the alternatives presented to us, of being obliged to discontinue the Mercury, for want of the material upon which to print it, or of removing, for a time, our publication office to another more convenient point. Justice to our subscribers, no less than our own preference, impels us to the latter course. For a few days, therefore, the issue of the Mercury will be suspended; but soon, we trust, it will revisit all our readers.” ~ Charleston Mercury

campaign map-6232

February 11– Saturday– Aiken, South Carolina; near Sugar Loaf, South Carolina; near Orangeburg, South Carolina– Hard skirmishing fails to stop Federal advances.

February 11– Saturday– Albany, Georgia– “Making visits all day. It takes a long time to return calls when people live so far apart and every mile or two we have to go out of our way to avoid high waters. Stokes Walton’s creek runs underground for several miles, so that when the waters are high we leave the main road and cross where it disappears underground. There is so much water now that the subterranean channel can’t hold it all, so it flows below and overflows above ground, making a two-storied stream. It is very broad and shallow at that place, and beautifully clear. It would be a charming place for a boating excursion because the water is not deep enough to drown anybody if they should fall overboard – but if the bottom should drop out of the road, as sometimes happens in this limestone country, where in the name of heaven would we go to? Sister and I spent the evening at Mrs. Robert Bacon’s [house]. The Camps, the Edwin Bacons, Captain Wynne, and Mrs. Westmoreland were there. . . . Mrs. Westmoreland says she gave Captain Sailes a letter of introduction to me, thinking I had gone back to Washington [Georgia– her home town]. He and John Garnett, one of our far-off Virginia cousins, have been transferred there.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.


February 12– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– The Electoral College meets and officials re-elects President Lincoln as President of the United States in accord with the popular vote of last November. It is Lincoln’s 56th birthday.

February 12– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “The nation has begun its exodus from worse than Egyptian bondage; and I beseech you that you say to the people that they go forward. With the assurance of God’s favor in all things done in obedience to his righteous will, and guided by day and by night by the pillars of cloud and fire, let us not pause until we have reached the other and safe side of the stormy and crimson sea. Let freemen and patriots mete out complete and equal justice to all men and thus prove to mankind the superiority of our democratic, republican government. Favored men, and honored of God as his instruments, speedily finish the work which he has given you to do. Emancipate, enfranchise, educate, and give the blessings of the gospel to every American citizen. . . . Then before us a path of prosperity will open, and upon us will descend the mercies and favors of God. Then shall the people of other countries, who are standing tiptoe on the shores of every ocean, earnestly looking to see the end of this amazing conflict, behold a Republic that is sufficiently strong to outlive the ruin and desolations of civil war, having the magnanimity to do justice to the poorest and weakest of her citizens. Thus shall we give to the world the form of a model Republic, founded on the principles of justice and humanity and Christianity, in which the burdens of war and the blessings of peace are equally borne and enjoyed by all.” ~ Sermon preached in the House of Representatives by Reverend Henry Highland Garnet, a former slave and now pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., making him the first African American to speak in the Capitol Building.

15th Street Presbyterian Church, circa 1899

15th Street Presbyterian Church, circa 1899

February 12– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright, windy, cold, and disagreeable. There was nothing new at the department this morning. Nothing from below; nothing from South Carolina. Perhaps communications are cut between this and Charleston. All are anxious to hear the result of the anticipated battle with Sherman, for somehow all know that the order to fight him was sent from Richmond more than a week ago. People’s thoughts very naturally now dwell upon the proximate future, and the alternatives likely to be presented in the event of the abandonment of Richmond, and consequently Virginia, by Lee’s army. Most of the male population would probably (if permitted) elect to remain at their homes, braving the fate that might await them. But the women are more patriotic, and would brave all in following the fortunes of the Confederate States Government. Is this because they do not participate in the hardships and dangers of the field? But many of our men are weary and worn, and languish for repose. These would probably remain quiescent on parole, submitting to the rule of the conqueror; but hoping still for foreign intervention or Confederate victories, and ultimate independence. Doubtless Lee could protract the war, and, by concentrating farther South, embarrass the enemy by compelling him to maintain a longer line of communication by land and by sea, and at the same time be enabled to fall upon him, as occasion might offer, in heavier force. No doubt many would fall out of the ranks, if Virginia were abandoned; but Lee could have an army of 100,000 effective men for years.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 12– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “No church service today near enough for me to attend so I remained in camp. Attended inspection, dress parade, etc. Last night a glee club from one of the Regiments near gave me a fine serenade. I am much favored by the musical talent of the Army. Well, it makes this life pleasant and even enjoyable and we are better men and soldiers for cultivating a taste for fine things.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 12– Sunday– near the North Edisto River, South Carolina– “A severe fight took place, which ended in the rout of the foe; two pontoon bridges were thrown across and about 6 o’clock the crossing commenced . . . . I remained at the bridge until near midnight, then rode out to camp. The concentration of the army at the bridge gave me an opportunity of seeing the captured horses and mules ridden by foragers, and it was with surprise I noted the great number already captured.” ~ Diary of a staff officer serving under Union General Oliver O. Howard.

slave religious service

slave religious service

February 12– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “Spring is already breaking in this heavenly climate, and the weather has been lovely to-day. The yellow jessamine buds begin to show their golden tips, forget-me-nots are peeping from under the wire grass, and the old cherry tree by the dairy is full of green leaves. Spring is so beautiful; I don’t wonder the spring poet breaks loose then. Our ‘piney woods’ don’t enjoy a very poetical reputation, but at this season they are the most beautiful place in the world to me. I went over to the quarter after dinner, to the ‘Praise House,’ to hear the Negroes sing, but most of them had gone to walk on the river bank, so I did not get a full choir. At their ‘praise meetings’ they go through with all sorts of motions in connection with their songs, but they won’t give way to their wildest gesticulations or engage in their sacred dances before white people, for fear of being laughed at. They didn’t get out of their seats while I was there, but whenever the ‘sperrit’ of the song moved them very much, would pat their feet and flap their arms and go through with a number of motions that reminded me of the game of ‘Old Dame Wiggins’ that we used to play when we were children. They call these native airs ‘little speritual songs,’ in contradistinction to the hymns that the preachers read to them in church, out of a book, and seem to enjoy them a great deal more. I mean to make a collection of these songs some day and keep them as a curiosity. The words are mostly endless repetitions, with a wild jumble of misfit Scriptural allusions, but the tunes are inspiring. They are mostly a sort of weird chant that makes me feel all out of myself when I hear it way in the night, too far off to catch the words. I wish I was musician enough to write down the melodies; they are worth preserving.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

This Insane Measure ~ January 1865 ~ 25th to 27th

This Insane Measure ~ Charleston Mercury

The major Charleston newspaper, which has increasing criticized President Jeff Davis, blasts the idea of arming slaves to serve in the ever decreasing ranks of the Confederate army. A Northern sympathizer in Savannah writes of her relief at Sherman’s capture of the city. A young Southern woman writes of the problems in the Andersonville prison camp and wonders why an immigrant would fight for the Union cause when his home country struggles for freedom. Abolitionists anticipate the success of their cause as the propose 13th Amendment advances. Walt and Jeff Whitman worry about family matters.


January 25– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “A New York paper publishes a private letter from a lady in Savannah, received in that city since the fall of Savannah. It shows who have been delighted at the arrival of the Yankees. The following is an extract: ‘Next door to me is quartered a portion of the Twentieth corps, New York Volunteers. They are so delighted to hear I am from New York that my kitchen is just filled all the time with them. Sarah takes great delight in making coffee for them, and doing for them what we can. I have a picket walking up and down before my door all day and night, to guard me, and they take the best care of me . . . . It is glorious, my dear sister, to be free once more and fell that I will soon be with you all, to stay just as long as I please. This morning I went to St. John’s Church. Mr. McRae preached. He did not read the prayer for the President of the United States, but will next Sunday. All the churches were open to-day, except Christ Church. The Bishop left. I hope it will be open on Sunday, for I shall take great pleasure in seeing a Union man in the pulpit. The Bishop sent off his assistant before he left. What fools some people have been! They will see their folly when too late, I fear. . . . I have so much to tell you all; I am nearly beside myself with joy. Last evening I sent General Sherman a Christmas present. May God bless him, for he has brought more joy to my heart than has been there for many a long day.’” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

January 25– Wednesday– Albany, Georgia– “Dined at Judge Vason’s, where there was a large company. He is very hospitable and his house is always full of people. Albert Bacon came in from Gum Pond and called in the afternoon, bringing letters, and the letters brought permission to remain in South-West Georgia as long as we please, the panic about Kilpatrick having died out. I would like to be at home now, if the journey were not such a hard one. Garnett and Mrs. Elzey are both there, and Mary Day is constantly expected. I have not seen Garnett for nearly three years. He has resigned his position on General Gardiner’s staff, and is going to take command of a battalion of ‘galvanized Yankees,’ with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. I don’t like the scheme. I have no faith in Yankees of any sort, especially these miserable turncoats that are ready to sell themselves to either side. There isn’t gold enough in existence to galvanize one of them into a respectable Confederate.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

January 26– Thursday– Brooklyn, New York– “Mother received your letter to-night– we were all very glad to hear that you arrived so nicely and were so well established. The enclosed two letters came to-day. I sent the box to dear brother George yesterday at noon directed just as you left word. I got some hoop iron and strapped the box up strong. I don’t suppose there can be anything wrong in sending it strapped in that way– do you suppose there is? I had in it a ham piece of smoked beef, can of milk (condensed), coffee, can of peaches, crackers, potatoes, salt and the clothes that he sent for. I think I will send him another next week or week after. We were all elated upon seeing the letters published yesterday about the exchange of prisoners. O I so hope they will make an exchange– can you not write something that will keep up the talk about the matter, sometimes little weights when they fall at the right moment turn the scale and accomplish great results Seems as if it would be worth almost a life time to help along such a thing as the general exchange of prisoners. So you have assumed the duties and honors of an officer of the government. Mother was wondering at tea to-night what you would have to do. . . . I suppose you have not yet had time to tell what the business is about but anyhow if it is only a comfortable berth without too much hard work, it will come in good. I hope you will have good health. I would suggest that you should not go it too strong in the Hospital way, for a while. I would draw it mild for a month or so. How does it seem to you to go back? I suppose it looks quite natural. I hope to be able to come and make you a visit soon– probably some time next month. Write to me Walt. I like to hear from you often.” ~ Letter from Jeff Whitman to his brother Walt.

January 26– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The project now agitated by the Jeff Davis devotees, and others carries away from common sense by their influence and the panic of the present situation to which their weakness has brought our affairs, is virtually the abolition of slavery, in order to put two hundred thousand Negroes in the army. These Negroes are to achieve the independence of white men. We have said the project is that of panic stricken men is desperate, destructive, utterly hopeless. . . . It was the opinion of Mr. [John C] Calhoun [1784– 1850], and is the opinion of the wisest statesmen that South Carolina has produced, that slavery is essential to the existence of a Republican Government. Remove this element of stability and conservatism, and you launch the Government into a mobocracy. We already see to what it has brought the Northern people, in spite of the conservative element of slavery in the South, heretofore acting as a balance wheel to their radical sentiments. And yet the Northern people had the vast and boundless territories of the West, that acted as a huge flood gate to their populace. Yet, in spite of both of these checks, where are they drifting? A few years more, when the territories are stocked by these herding brutes – with the conservative element of slavery removed – and where will they be? Where are they? Rushing straight into every radicalism, and every other ism – driving into revolution, dyed in blood, sinking into despotism – military rule – empire. . . . The project is utterly vain to waste words upon, without this first promise – general emancipation. But will even this insane measure make the matter better? Not one whit; but, on the contrary, much worse. For it is out of our power to keep up with the Yankee bids. What does the Yankee offer him in the ranks? A large belly full every day, a plenty of meat, grog, good clothes, shoes and physical comfort, and, at present, an apparently winning cause. What have we to offer him when we seize him and put him in our ranks? A lank belly, hard work, a plenty of bullets, scant clothing, and a cause so hard pressed as to require his help – a cause so rough that even white men, fighting for their homes, for their wives, and for their independence, fly from the ranks, and leave their standards and their comrades. Could a proposition be more absolutely absurd? The Negro will not fight in the cause, under these circumstances. Not one can be retained in the ranks, and will desert to the enemy. Placed in the line of battle, when pressed by heavy fire he will run, and break the line, and lose the day in consequence. Placed on guard on pickets, he can never be trusted. The counter-siege will be a farce, and he will lead the enemy into the camp. Out of the two hundred thousand muskets put into their hands, one hundred and fifty thousand at least will be presented by him to the enemy. You will only arm the enemy, and fill his ranks, ten for one. The whole project is insane, demoralizing, destructive, hopeless. The wall of panic, and the cry of despair resounds through every though connected with it. Away with the folly!” ~ Charleston Mercury.

Senator John C Calhoun, pro-slavery advocate

Senator John C Calhoun, pro-slavery advocate

January 26– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “While God has punished us terribly for our wickedness, and for the abuse of the institution [slavery] which He has committed to us, we do not believe that He purposes the destruction of that institution.” ~ The Christian Index.

January 26– Thursday– Collector, New South Wales, Australia– The infamous Bushrangers Ben Hall, Johnny Gilbert and John Dunn hold up Kimberley’s Inn in the town. Dunn shoots and kills the local police officer, Constable Samuel Nelson.

Ben Hall, notorious Australian outlaw

Ben Hall, notorious Australian outlaw

January 27– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “It was expected that thy presence would open this rememberable movement– the first of the kind– in our city. It was with the deepened pain we learned that illness prevented thy comings and a profound sympathy went out from that meeting and many a fervent prayer for they speedy recovery. The substitution of our revered friend George Thompson was warmly appreciated. It was generous in thee, and magnanimous in him. His very soul seemed electrified with the sight of white and colored people mingled together in so much earnest of purpose. It was a splendid oration. His reference to your early and long-continued friendship, and his searching examination into the difficulties that surround our country, were happily and feelingly referred to. The climax of his oration was in bringing the matter to our very threshold. ‘Begin at home!’ he said,’make diligent haste to fit yourselves for universal freedom.’ . . . Mr. Thompson spoke for nearly two hours, and seemed almost overcome. Indeed, upon his arrival at my house, I noticed he was much fatigued, He is very weary with his constant labors. We must take care of him; he needs rest. . . . The colored people arc making laudable efforts, and must succeed in gaining that recognition and equality which are their birth-right and their salvation, and the salvation of our nation.” ~ Letter from Alfred H. Love of Philadelphia to William Lloyd Garrison, reprinted in The Liberator.

George Thompson, British abolitionist

George Thompson, British abolitionist

January 27– Friday– Albany, Georgia– “While going our rounds in the morning, we found a very important person in Peter Louis, a paroled Yankee prisoner, in the employ of Captain Bonham. The captain keeps him out of the stockade, feeds and clothes him, and in return, reaps the benefit of his skill. Peter is a French Yankee, a shoemaker by trade, and makes as beautiful shoes as I ever saw imported from France. My heart quite softened towards him when I saw his handiwork, and little Mrs. Sims was so overcome that she gave him a huge slice of her Confederate fruit cake. I talked French with him, which pleased him greatly, and Mett and I engaged him to make us each a pair of shoes. I will feel like a lady once more, with good shoes on my feet. I expect the poor Yank is glad to get away from Anderson on any terms. Although matters have improved somewhat with the cool weather, the tales that are told of the condition of things there last summer are appalling. Mrs. Brisbane heard all about it from Father Hamilton, a Roman Catholic priest from Macon, who has been working like a good Samaritan in those dens of filth and misery. It is a shame to us Protestants that we have let a Roman Catholic get so far ahead of us in this work of charity and mercy. Mrs. Brisbane says Father Hamilton told her that during the summer the wretched prisoners burrowed in the ground like moles to protect themselves from the sun. It was not safe to give them material to build shanties as they might use it for clubs to overcome the guard. These underground huts, he said, were alive with vermin and stank like charnel houses. Many of the prisoners were stark naked, having not so much as a shirt to their backs. He told a pitiful story of a Pole who had no garment but a shirt, and to make it cover him the better, he put his legs into the sleeves and tied the tail round his neck. The others guyed him so on his appearance, and the poor wretch was so disheartened by suffering, that one day he deliberately stepped over the deadline and stood there till the guard was forced to shoot him. But what I can’t understand is that a Pole, of all people in the world, should come over here and try to take away our liberty when his own country is in the hands of oppressors. One would think that the Poles, of all nations in the world, ought to sympathize with a people fighting for their liberties. Father Hamilton said that at one time the prisoners died at the rate of 150 a day, and he saw some of them die on the ground without a rag to lie on or a garment to cover them. Dysentery was the most fatal disease, and as they lay on the ground in their own excrements, the smell was so horrible that the good father says he was often obliged to rush from their presence to get a breath of pure air. It is dreadful. My heart aches for the poor wretches, Yankees though they are, and I am afraid God will suffer some terrible retribution to fall upon us for letting such things happen. If the Yankees ever should come to South-West Georgia, and go to Anderson and see the graves there, God have mercy on the land! And yet, what can we do? The Yankees themselves are really more to blame than we, for they won’t exchange these prisoners, and our poor, hard-pressed Confederacy has not the means to provide for them, when our own soldiers are starving in the field. Oh, what a horrible thing war is when stripped of all its ‘pomp and circumstance’!” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Andersonville prison

Andersonville prison

January 27– Friday– Genoa, Italy– Giuseppe Rocca, master violin maker, dies at 56 years of age.

Emancipation of the Working Classes~October 1864~24th to 29th

Emancipation of the Working Classes ~ Karl Marx

The German exile Karl Marx delivers a stirring speech to a leftist gathering in London, England. Immigrant conscripts are arrested in Richmond for trying to evade military service. A Georgia woman tells her sweetheart how much she treasures his letters. A Virginia woman informs her brother of the deaths of friends. Another updates her husband on family and community news. A hospitalized soldier writes of his desire to vote in upcoming presidential election. The radical Wendell Phillips encourages abolitionists to keep the pressure on Lincoln for the total elimination of slavery. Canada moves toward confederation.

CW graves-3

October 24– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “An inquest was held on Saturday, on the body of James J. Brooke, the little boy, eight years old, who was shot by Williamm Bohannon, one of the nurses at Seabrook’s Hospital. We have before given the facts of the murder. A witness before the Coroner testified that the child was not more than five feet from Bohannon when the latter shot him. The jury rendered in their verdict that the child had come to his death by a gunshot wound, inflicted by Bohannon. The murderer will be examined before the Mayor this morning.” ~ Richmond Daily Whig.

October 24– Monday– London, England– “If the emancipation of the working classes requires their fraternal concurrence, how are they to fulfill that great mission with a foreign policy in pursuit of criminal designs, playing upon national prejudices, and squandering in piratical wars the people’s blood and treasure? It was not the wisdom of the ruling classes, but the heroic resistance to their criminal folly by the working classes of England, that saved the west of Europe from plunging headlong into an infamous crusade for the perpetuation and propagation of slavery on the other side of the Atlantic. The shameless approval, mock sympathy, or idiotic indifference with which the upper classes of Europe have witnessed the mountain fortress of the Caucasus falling a prey to, and heroic Poland being assassinated by Russia: the immense and unresisted encroachments of that barbarous power, whose head is in St. Petersburg, and whose hands are in every cabinet of Europe, have taught the working classes the duty to master themselves the mysteries of international politics; to watch the diplomatic acts of their respective governments; to counteract them, if necessary, by all means in their power; when unable to prevent, to combine in simultaneous denunciations, and to vindicate the simple laws or morals and justice, which ought to govern the relations of private individuals, as the rules paramount of the intercourse of nations. The fight for such a foreign policy forms part of the general struggle for the emancipation of the working classes. Proletarians of all countries, unite!” ~ Speech by Karl Marx to the International Working Men’s Association.

Engels & Marx with Marx's daughters

Engels & Marx with Marx’s daughters

October 25– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Daniel O’Donnell, Patrick Grant, John Doyle, A. Mehegan, P. Farley and F. Curran, Irishmen and conscripts, were yesterday morning picked up by General Garey’s scouts on the Williamsburg road, near Boar Swamp, ten miles below the city. The party were evidently attempting to make their way to the enemy’s lines. They were all detailed conscripts, who have recently been ordered to go to their commands in the field. They have been committed to the Castle. O’Donnell is a plumber and gas-fitter, doing business on Broad street, above Ninth. He being put hors de combat, the city is, we believe, without an accomplished gas-fitter.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

October 25– Tuesday– Dooly County, Georgia– “Nothing affords me greater pleasure than a perusal of your letters. I hope the time is not far distant when we shall see each other. I do really think you ought to be permitted to visit Georgia this winter. Two years is a long time to be kept from home enduring so many hardships, sufferings and dangers. I haven’t a word of news to write concerning the two armies, in this state. Hood, though, is certainly in Sherman’s rear, and doing much damage.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer.

October 25– Tuesday– Kaluga, Russia– Birth of Alexander Gretchaninov, composer. [Dies January 3, 1956.]

Alexander Gretchaninov, 1911

Alexander Gretchaninov, 1911

October 26– Wednesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– Two men are arrested for having robbed Martin Feely, a city councilman, of $4500 yesterday.

October 26– Wednesday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia– “I seat myself this morning to write you the limited page. Received a letter dated 12 September last week. All are well this morning. Hope you also are in health and tolerable comfort. I have sad news to inform you of. Your friend Sergeant Ben Hupp was killed last Wednesday [the] 19th at Cedars Creek. ‘Twas a great shock to me to hear of it and I judge will be much more so to you who was an (almost) inseparable companion. Seems as if death has come nearer to you than ever before. We can’t help but feel his death. Not more than 3 weeks since he was at home and now dead. Can scarce believe it’s true. Ought not this to be sufficient to rouse you to reflection? Yes and God grant we may not be hardened by this, his Providence. Mrs Hupp only yesterday eve received a letter from Baylor informing her of the circumstances the first she knew of it. . . . Hope you will get home before winter– if not can we send from here any thing for your comfort or will you be allowed to receive.” ~ Letter from Mary A. Smiley to her brother Thomas Smiley.

freshly buried dead soldiers

freshly buried dead soldiers

October 26– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “At the Mayor’s Court: William Bohannon, charged with murdering a boy named James J. Brooke, on Friday afternoon last, was sent before the Hustings Court for examination. His counsel, A. J. Crane, Esq., expects to prove that the accused is irresponsible for his actions, on account of mental deficiency.” ~ Richmond Daily Whig.

October 27– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Yesterday about noon, as the Camp Lee train was coming down the Fredericksburg railroad, Broad street, a number of boys, white and black, as usual, jumped on to steal a ride. As the train passed Third Street one of the boys, a free Negro named Harris, about fourteen years old, from some cause fell from the position he had taken in rear of the tender. The passenger coach wheels passed directly over his head, crushing his skull horribly and killing him instantly. Accidents of this kind are constantly occurring on this road, but the warnings seem to be utterly lost on the boys, who, we believe, would, in spite of the efforts of the railroad officers to keep them off, continue to jump on the train if a dozen of them were killed a day.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

October 27– Thursday– outside of Atlanta, Georgia– “At 10 ½ o’clock some 30 Yankees rode up. Took Phillip’s wagon and two horses, all our meal and flour, one keg of syrup and several articles from the house that I do not know of, one bushel [of] grain, the last we had. They stayed some 15 or 20 minutes and put back over the river. They also took John E’s saddlebags and a large tin cup.” ~ Diary of a local farmer.

cavalry raid

cavalry raid

October 27– Thursday– Quebec City, Quebec, Canada– The conference on confederation ends and the delegates return to their provinces to submit to the various provincial legislatures the “Seventy-Two Resolutions” which they have adopted.

October 28– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “As for the common world, . . . the Governors and Senators, whose voices are loudest in this canvass, their dissent does not surprise me. It took them twenty years to find out that the Abolitionists were no fanatics, and to join us in 1861. I cheerfully give them ten years more to see, not men like trees walking, but clearly, the whole meaning of this issue and its needs. Day dawns gradually from twilight to noon, for all who keep their eyes open; for those who will open their eyes wide enough only to take in a party platform or candidate, it remains always twilight. Reform cries always, ‘No danger in opening your eyes wide!’ Lincoln will obey the strongest. Only agitation will keep us the strongest, or show him that we are so. Agitate! agitate! now, in the harvest time, when every ear in the nation is open, when hearts and minds are malleable! Indeed, gentlemen, this course is our only safety. Remember the pregnant words of Macaulay, ‘The true secret of the power of agitators is the obstinacy of Government. Liberal governments make moderate citizens.’ Mr. Lincoln, in 1848, when he opposed the Mexican war, dared to tell Polk and his party that it was the duty of a good citizen to distinguish, in such times, between the President and the Country. . . . Gentlemen, I will cheerfully support any man for the Presidency whom I believe honest, capable, and resolved to end this war so as ‘to form a more perfect union,’ to ‘insure domestic tranquility’ forever, ‘to establish justice’ for all men of every race, and ‘to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity meaning by ourselves every one born under the flag, and every one who takes refuge beneath it. Against every other man I mean to agitate, till I bayonet him and his party into justice.” ~ a recent speech by Wendell Phillips, quoted in today’s edition of The Liberator.

Wendell Phillips

Wendell Phillips

October 28– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The election yesterday passed off without the occurrence of any of the serious disturbances which too often attend such occasions. We heard of one or two little skirmishes in different parts of the city but none of them attained the dignity of an ‘engagement.’ Not a little ill-feeling was created by ‘challengers’ at some of the precincts who insisted that every foreigner offering to vote should exhibit his naturalization papers. In one instance an old gentleman who proposed to vote the Union ticket was challenged. He was requested to produce his papers. He could not do so, having mislaid them. He was naturalized forty years ago and has been voting ever since, but in consequence of not being able to find his papers he could not voteyesterday. There were other cases of similar hardship that came to our knowledge. Quite a number of Copperheads refused to take the oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of West Virginia, as provided by law, and therefore were not allowed to vote. The great majority of those to whom the oath was presented, however, took it, but with a wry face, and deposited their votes.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

October 28– Friday– Moffett’s Creek, Virginia– “I received your letter on Tuesday evening and was glad to hear that you were well & I hope when these few lines reach you may still be enjoying good health. I would have written yesterday but there was no one to take the letter to the Post Office, as there was no one at home but myself until it was too late. Alex is staying with us now he came down the same day you left so we are doing better than we expected. We heard some very bad news yesterday heard that Mr Hupp was killed last Wednesday shot just below the eye and never knew what hurt him. Becca and Sister were over last Friday night– Becca is going down to Churchville next week for the cloth and wants me to go down to Aunt Sallies– she will have a buggy and thinks it will be a good opportunity for me. I expect to go over to the meeting tomorrow or next day. next time you write let me know whether Davis is there or not & how he is getting along. There was two burials at New Providence last Sabbath– Miss Eliza Beard and Mr Culton’s child. We are all well. when you write again direct to Greenville as I expect to be over at Pa’s. I believe I have told all the news. As Mag is waiting I will have to close. I hope you will get home soon. May God watch over and protect you is the prayer of your devoted Wife.” ~ Letter from Ginnie Ott to her husband Enos.

CW graves

October 29– Saturday– McDougall Hospital, New York City– “I am still here but am fit to go [to] the Regiment at any moment. The sooner the better. All soldiers here living in Michigan, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, New Jersey and New York soldiers living west of Albany, were transferred or furloughed. It is reported here that Pennsylvania troops are to stay here and vote. I don’t know how it is. There was no agent around yet, to give us tickets. Five sixth of the men won’t vote if kept here, since men from other states were transferred. The Doctors say that they have no order for us yet and don’t know if one will come for us or not. The Ohio troops are in the same fix. I expect we will be kept here and not get a chance to vote. To day every man in the Hospital was Vaccinated. There is now about three hundred men here since the rest were transferred. Out of the 300 men here not fifty votes will be poled if they are kept here. Can’t you send me a blank filled up, all but signed, so that I can send it home and still vote? If I don’t get it nothing will be lost. Don’t write to me until you hear further from me, but send a blank or something so that I can vote, as soon as you receive this. From three to eight die every day here. I am well.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Henry C. Metzger to his father in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

I Can Better Serve the Nation in Its Need~August 1864~the 18th & 19th

I Can Better Serve the Nation in its Need ~ President Lincoln.

Advisors and friends warn the President that he cannot win reelection. The New York Times attacks his critics. Lincoln meets with the radical abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Grant cuts one of Lee’s supply lines and takes a hard line on prisoner exchanges. Once again authorities discover two women serving in the Federal army. A friend writes to Whitman, longing for news. Hard times and hard fighting in many places.

campaign flyer

campaign flyer

August 18– Thursday– Little Compton, Rhode Island– “I had really begun to wonder why you had so wholly forgotten me. Not one line to me have you written since leaving Washington, and now that I am away from there I have to wait for news of you in this long, roundabout way. After seeing you every day, & so much of you those last days when you were sick, it seems doubly strange not to have had a word from you. You will not think me foolish if I tell you that it hurt me a little, will you? You know what a foolish, absurd person I am, where I love anyone as I do you, and knowing this, and now I having confessed, you will pardon. . . . I am so glad that there is some hope of your book coming out soon. I long to see it. Just think, Walt, of my being a lion down here on your account, because it is known that I have the honor of your acquaintance. Such is the fact, & I was made to talk two entire evenings about you– it is so funny, some time I will tell you all about it. The bathing here is good, & the ocean– oh! so good. I board at a farm house, & keep as you do early hours– up at 6 or earlier & to bed at 9. I have been here two weeks, & am so brown that I could easily pass for a good ‘contraband’ [fugitive slave], I nearly live out doors. The rocks tempt me, & there I sit & see the waves & foam dash up over them, & it breaks into fine spray, & is so beautiful. I never loved the sea so much, & I though before I loved it more than any thing. How I wish you were here! It would cure you Walt, & how much I should like it. . . . Mr. Howells tells me he has seen your mother, & he is enthusiastic about her. Thinks her such a grand old lady as one sees only once in a lifetime. . . . Have you seen a pretty little poem by Juliette H. Beach called Claire? It was published in the Leader I judge, & I saw it copied; from it, I infer that she has a new baby, a girl.” ~ Letter from Ellen M. O’Connor to Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

August 18– Tuesday– New York City– “The National Intelligencer notices our strictures upon the recent manifesto, and the general political temper, of Messrs. Wade and Davis not to controvert them, but to claim that they apply with equal force to the Administration in its conduct of the war. We denounced what we deem the ultra radicalism and barbarism which have characterized the action of these gentlemen ever since the war began. The Intelligencer says that inasmuch ‘as they have previously uttered no complaint against the Administration,’ their theory of the war must be presumed to be that of the Administration itself. This is a non sequitur. Even if the fact alleged were true, the inference of the Intelligencer would not follow. They may have been restrained from complaining of the Administration at an earlier day, by many other motives than a full concurrence in its policy. They may have expected or desired office under it, and therefore kept silent. They may have lived and labored in the hope of inducing or forcing the President, sooner or later, to accept their dictation, and therefore have forborne earlier denunciation. Or, their sense of duty and responsibility to the country– their desire to quell the rebellion and save the Union– may have restrained them from openly assailing the Government by which alone that vast and imperative work can be accomplished. These motives might possibly have kept them still– if they had kept to themselves the discontent which has at last broken out in the fierce and intemperate manifesto with which they have lately delighted the breast of every rebel and Copperhead in the land. But as a matter of fact, of which we think the Intelligencer cannot be unaware, neither of these gentlemen has for a long time past concealed his complaints of the President. Both have more than once expressed their utter and complete discontent with the theory on which the Administration has conducted the war. Both have urged, publicly and privately, upon the President and upon Congress, a policy of confiscation, of subjugation, of extermination much more sweeping and summary than either has seen fit thus far to adopt.” ~ New York Times.

August 18– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I beg of you, as citizens of this great Republic, not to let your minds be carried off from the great work we have before us. This struggle is too large for you to be diverted from it by any small matter. When you return to your homes, rise up to the height of a generation of men worthy of a free government, and we will carry out the great work we have commenced. I return to you my sincere thanks, soldiers, for the honor you have done me this afternoon.” ~ Remarks of President Lincoln to Union soldiers from Ohio who are returning home.


August 18– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Leonard Swett meets with President Lincoln, cautioning him that it is doubtful that he can win reelection and suggesting that Lincoln withdraw his acceptance of the nomination. He informs the President that elements of the Republican Party plan to hold a another convention in September and nominate someone else. Lincoln refuses, telling Swett, “I confess that I desire to be reelected.” Later in the day, Lincoln tells another visitor, “I have the common pride of humanity to wish my past four years administration endorsed; and besides I honestly believe that I can better serve the nation in its need and peril than any new man could possibly do.” [Swett, 1825– 1899, a lawyer from Illinois, has been a confidant and friend of Lincoln for many years.]

August 18– Thursday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “I have only time to write a word to say that I am well, and that I this morning send you by Express $405.00 I send a note with the Express package. Please write as soon as you get the money.” ~ Letter from George Whitman to his mother Louisa. [The $405 to his mother would equal $6190 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

August 18– Thursday– City Point, Virginia– Despite pleas from Federal inmates at the Andersonville, Georgia, prison to reestablish large scale prisoner of war exchanges with the Confederacy, General Ulysses S. Grant refuses a Southern offer for a large scale prisoner exchange, worrying that released Confederate soldiers would be used to re-enforce the resistance against General Sherman in Georgia. Grant also remains determined the black Union soldiers held prisoner must be exchanged man-for-man, a position which the South refuses to accept. The Confederacy needs the manpower and feeding so many Federal prisoners drains their increasingly limited resources.

General Grant on horseback

General Grant on horseback

August 18– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Edward C. Elmore and Henry R. Pollard were before the Mayor, yesterday, to answer the charge of ‘being about to break the peace by engaging in a duel with deadly weapons.’ Messrs. Pollard and Elmore had been arrested on the previous evening, when the former was admitted to bail, for his appearance before the Mayor yesterday, and the latter committed to jail, the privileges of bail being refused.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

August 18– Thursday– along the Weldon Railroad, Virginia– In an effort to cut the supply lines for Petersburg and Richmond, Federal troops occupy a mile-long stretch of the vital railroad in hard, costly fighting.

August 18~ Thursday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Two females dressed in Federal uniform were brought to the Irving Block from the front on Tuesday [16th]. They were arrested in the camps of the 21st Missouri Infantry, in which they were serving, one as a drummer and the other as teamster, under the names of Charley Davis and William Morris. The drummer’s real name is Jane Short. Previous to joining the 21st Missouri, she served for over a year as private in the 6th Illinois cavalry; into which regiment she enlisted from Shawneetown, Illinois, where she resided before the war. She was at the battle of Shiloh, and was there wounded in the hand by a musket ball. After recovering she rejoined her regiment and participated in various conflicts, until prostrated by sickness and sent to the hospital, which led to her discharge. She then came to Memphis and lived, she does not say how for several months, when pining for the excitement of glorious war again, she joined the band of the 21st Missouri, in which she performed excellent service on the base drum until the time of her arrest. In appearance she is thick set, full-faced, has short hair of a light color, and blue eyes. In uniform one would never suspect her to be a woman; she looks much like an unsophisticated country lad of twenty years and earnest modesty. Lou Morris, alias Bill Morris, the younger of the two, is much better looking than her companion, seems more active and sprightly, and, consequently, less modest. She formerly resided in St. Louis, from which place she enlisted in the ‘Red Rovers’ of the 10th Missouri cavalry, eighteen months since, and served nine months, passing unhurt through several engagements. She then deserted and coming to Memphis, lived as a woman until meeting with Jane short, with whom she started of the wars again, as teamster in the 2nd Missouri Infantry. They were never acquainted before meeting at a hotel in this city. They claim that they have not revealed their sex, nor was it discovered by any of their comrades since they entered the service, and that their enlistment was promoted by patriotic motives only. They wanted to do a small share towards ‘licking therebs’ as Lou said. The cause of their arrest, Lou informed me, was that Jane became frightened at the report that the regiment was to be sent out, with others, to meet [Confederate General] Forrest, and revealed their sex to one of the officers, who reported them at headquarters, when they were sent to the Provost Marshal of the right wing of the 16th Army Corps, and thence to Memphis. Lou said she was not frightened, and intends to join another regiment if she gets a chance. Jane is content to return to the paths of peace again. Lou, when dressed in uniform, looks as little like a woman as her companions, and presented the appearance of a hardy boy of eighteen. They are much tanned by exposure. It is the intention of the authorities to sent to their homes, if they have any.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.


August 18– Thursday– Cobb County, Georgia– “It is very warm this morning– for 3 days past the days & nights have been very warm. . . . I and the Chaplain (Griffith) made Mr. Shepard a long visit this afternoon, heard no news, only someone had managed to get into his Bed Room during the day, & stolen his Razors– it requires very close watching to guard against robberies these days. Soldiers straggling, scouts, & bad citizens about roam over the Country committing depredations.” ~ Diary of William King.

August 18– Thursday– Monza, Italy– Birth of Matilda Cesira, a/k/a Gemma Bellincioni, operatic soprano, one of the most famous of the late 19th century. [Dies April 23, 1950.]

Gemma Bellincioni

Gemma Bellincioni

August 19– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with the abolitionist Frederick Douglass at the White House. They discuss ways to help slaves escape and how to increase black enlistment in the army and navy.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

August 19– Friday– along the Weldon Railroad, Virginia– Confederate soldiers attempt to retake control of the railroad line.

August 19– Friday– Cobb County, Georgia– “I heard yesterday that from some cause Mr. Benedict has been sent from the place with his family over the Lines, I have not been able to learn the cause. This morning . . . on my walk . . . I found 4 Wagons from the country, some having come 15 miles with vegetables, fruit & chickens, which they had brought in to exchange for Bread & Meat, but they had been stopped there by the pickets, saying they had positive orders to allow no one to go farther into town, and the soldiers were around them to buy, but as they had nothing but money, while they wanted provisions in exchange; they intended to return home with their little supplies. I advised them to wait a while, as I understood Dr. Miller (the Chief Physician at the Military Institute) had sent to town to get permission for them to pass to the Hospital, it is an unwise arrangement, as it will discourage the country people from bringing in their little supplies, so much needed by the town people and Hospitals. In the afternoon my friend the Chaplain (Griffin) took a long & pleasant walk of about 2 miles off for exercise, he is a very agreeable companion of much good sense & piety. I will miss him much when he leaves. I learn the difficulty of Mr. Benedict was he was detected in trying to send Letters through . . . some person who told him he was going to pass South without permission. I would have thought Mr. B. would have better understood duties of a good citizen as we all are, to have done so.” ~ Diary of William King.

We Had Each Band & Drum Corp Play John Brown’s Body~August 1864~the 8th to 10th

We Had Each Band and Drum Corps Play John Brown’s Body ~ Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

While chasing Confederate General Early, Federal troops march through a part of West Virginia rife with Southern sympathizers and do what they can to antagonize “rebel loyalists.” A Union general enjoys have his troopers chase and kill Confederate guerillas and has an ardent abolitionist officer find employment for slaves escaping into the Federal lines. Sherman orders relentless bombardment of Atlanta. In Ontario a writer encourages Canadians to avoid the poison of Southern secession. Confederate soldiers wonder and worry about their friends and families. Sectarian violence causes Queen Victoria to send troops into Ireland.


August 8– Monday– Tullahoma, Tennessee– “My most important enjoyment is sending out after guerillas that are committing depredations in the country. I have one Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry here that are splendid guerilla hunters. They are well acquainted with the country and there is a deadly hatred between them and the guerillas, caused by out rages committed by the latter upon the families or friends of the former. The most of my Tennessee troops are refugees who have been driven from their homes, and all have wrongs to avenge so they take no prisoners. This suits me exactly and they know it so I never see any guerrilla prisoners and frequently hear of them being killed and see their horses and arms. A great many Negroes both male and female run away from their masters and come here and at other points along the Rail Road and hire to Quarter Masters, rail road repairers and wood contractors and I have daily application from them to send for their children that they could not get away with them and they are afraid to go back for them. I have turned this branch of the business over to Colonel Dunn. He is an abolitionist and takes pains to give all the help he can to those poor creatures in getting their families together.” ~ Letter from Union General Robert H Milroy to his wife Mary.

Union General Robert H Milroy

Union General Robert H Milroy

August 8– Monday– outside of Atlanta, Georgia– “Orders for to-morrow, August 9: All the [artillery] batteries that can reach the buildings of Atlanta will fire steadily on the town to-morrow, using during the day about fifty rounds per gun, shell and solid shot. General Schofield will, during the cannonading, completely envelop the enemy’s strength and position on his left flank.” ~ General William T. Sherman

August 8– Monday– Mobile, Alabama– Confederate Fort Gaines surrenders to Union besiegers.

August 8– Monday– Fairfax Station, Virginia; Salem, Kentucky; La Fayette, Tennessee– Skirmishes.

August 8– Monday– Belfast, Ireland–Rioting erupts between Protestants and Catholics and continues for the next eleven days. Queen Victoria authorizes the use of 3,000 regular troops to restore order.

August 9– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times reports that early last month a meeting in Geneva of Swiss businessmen and political leaders expressed support for President Lincoln and his steps to abolish slavery. Upon invitation from the presiding chairman the American Counsel Charles Upton was given the floor and said, “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the noble sentiments and the friendship you express for my Government.”

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “News of Farragut’s having passed Forts Morgan and Gaines was received last night, and sent a thrill of joy through all true hearts. It is not, however, appreciated as it should be by the military. The President, I was sorry, spoke of it as important because it would tend to relieve Sherman. This is the narrow view of General Halleck, whom I tried to induce to make a joint demonstration against Mobile one year ago. He has done nothing new and only speaks of the naval achievement as a step for the army. While I regard the acts and opinions of Halleck as of little worth, I regret that from constant daily intercourse he should be able to imbue the President at times with false and erroneous notions. Halleck never awarded honest credit to the Navy ; the President never knowingly deprived them of any merit. Yet I have mentioned the result.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Union ships attacking Confederate forts at Mobile Bay

Union ships attacking Confederate forts at Mobile Bay

August 9–Tuesday– City Point, Virginia– This place serves as the Federal supply depot and communications center for the siege of Petersburg. Two Confederate saboteurs place a bomb on a Union transport vessel. The noon-time explosion kills 43 people, injures 126 others, and does severe property damage, even showering debris on General Grant as he sits in front of his tent.

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

Union General Ulysses S Grant

Union General Ulysses S Grant

August 9– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Well Mother I think that is talk enough about fighting for this time. Things with us are going the same as ever, we have not been paid yet, but we expect the pay master in the course of a day or two. . . . I should like very much also for Walt to send me one of his new books as soon as it is published. Jeff asked me in a letter a short time ago, if there was any chance for a fellow (in case he was drafted) to get a substitute from the men of our who are discharged at the expiration of their term of service. None of the men who have been through this Campaign, will listen to Re-enlisting at present they all think they have had soldiering enough and its no use talking to them until they have been home a month or two, then probably a good many of them will change their minds.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

August 9– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Eliza, the last thing I have heard from home was that there was a regiment of Yankees stationed there in the store house, that is with their headquarters in it. A man by the name of Bowman told us he was in sight of the house and saw them. I am very uneasy about you, but I hope they will not hurt you nor take all you have to eat. I hope you will treat them so as to be treated well. I don’t want you to try to wheedle in with them, only treat them with the respect that is due an enemy. Don’t deny that I am in the war for they think more of a man that will fight for his country than one that won’t.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife in Georgia.

August 9– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “During the afternoon I had some conversation with Major Carter, being the first of any length I have had with him, there seemed to be so little congeniality between him & myself either in mind or spirits, that I have had but little intercourse with him, contrary to my course with all the other officers who have been here– in this interview I found him to be a fair set off against our fire eating disunion men at the South. With him as with them, governed by passion and not by reason; he considered all the Citizens at the South rebels, and as such had forfeited all their rights to life, liberty and property, and not only had the government a right to do with them as it pleased, but the individual soldiers had also the right to appropriate to their own use all they could find of Rebel property which would contribute to their comfort & gratification, the depredations committed by his Regiment exhibits some of the fruits of his opinions & feelings. It affords me much gratification however to record the fact, that this case of Major Carter is the first instance I have yet found of such opinions & feelings in officer or private, after a free and extensive intercourse with the Federal Army for more than 6 weeks, and this single exception can have but little influence in affecting my very favorable opinion I have had occasion to form of the sound sense, good feelings & good conduct of the officers & privates of the Federal Army.” ~ Diary of William King.

Federal siege artillery

Federal siege artillery

August 9– Tuesday– outside of Atlanta, Georgia– “The rebel pickets have been firing into our camp today very disagreeably. One excellent man was dangerously wounded . . . this morning. This constant firing, when not really fighting, is the greatest annoyance of this campaign, and the losses it involves are so painful. This poor boy this morning seemed to feel it so deeply . . . . In a pitched battle, we have so much to occupy us, but here in camp it is horrible to see our men wounded.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

August 9–Tuesday– St Catherines, Ontario, Canada– “The Southern Confederacy has turned out some precious guerrillas, skedaddlers, freebooters, pirates, highwaymen and chivalric scoundrels, the chief of which, in our estimation, is Captain Semmes, of the late ‘piratical rover,’ the Alabama; and nothing but the deep depravity of the human heart would induce any man to become his ‘apologist’ and ‘admirer,’ or cause such number of the arrogant aristocrats of the Old World to applaud and approve of his treacherous, trickery, willful waste and damnable destruction of two hundred ships, meat, merchandise, material and men, in times of peace, as he has done– and would now be doing but for Captain Winslow– for the past two or three years on the high seas, and in both hemispheres. . . . Canadians! As the Northern States are your next door neighbors and friends, and always will be, let this American civil strife issue as it may; and as we have got to be their neighbors always, from the contiguity of the two peoples, and as the South is far removed from us, I beseech of you don’t be bamboozled and fooled by these Southern schemers in our midst, for they plot and meditate us mischief, as well as their own Government, continually. Listen not to their plausible tales, for they are as full of deception and hypocrisy as an egg is full of meat; tell them this is the ‘Land of the free and the home of the slave;’ that you are content, and that they are welcome here only just so long as they behave well, speak well, think well, and no longer! Take in none of their poison; drink in none of their treason, and swallow down none of their secession stuff and damnable doctrines; but do justly toward the North, love mercy and walk humbly with your God!” ~ Letter from Oliver Seymour Phelps to the New York Times. [For forty years before the Civil War St Catherines has publicly and willingly welcomed fugitive slaves from the American South.]

Salem Chapel of the British Methodist Episcopal Church, which received fugitive slaves

Salem Chapel of the British Methodist Episcopal Church, which received fugitive slaves

August 9– Tuesday– Warsaw, Poland– Birth of Roman Stanislaw Dmowski, politician. [Dies January 2, 1939.]

August 10– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Mrs. A. Wilhelm, M.D. of Philadelphia, delivered a lecture at Washington Hall on Monday evening on ‘the Past, Present and Future of our country.’ The proceeds were devoted to the Ladies’ Aid Society. The lecture was an exceedingly interesting one, and all who heard it were highly pleased and deeply impressed with its stirring truth and fine sentiment.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

August 10– Wednesday– near Charles Town, West Virginia– “We left Harpers Ferry this morning and marched to this camp passing through Charles Town. This is the place where John Brown was hung and we had each band and drum corps play ‘John Brown’s Body’ . . . as we passed through the streets of the town. The men joined in singing the hymn much to the disgust of the people. I saw at Harpers Ferry the engine house where John Brown was captured and at Charles Town the spot where his execution took place.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

typical women's bonnet of the period

typical women’s bonnet of the period

August 10– Wednesday– near Winchester, Virginia– “We went across the Potomac on Friday – took around by way of Sharpsburg, to near Hagerstown & came back via Williamsport – got 150 beeves, 2000 bushels of corn, a large lot of leather &c, drove away the Yankee cavalry – killed 4 & captured 8 of them & we had one man wounded & Saturday came back across the Potomac & on to our old camp. I got you a bonnet pattern, sent for it &, did not get the one I wanted – but you can see if it pleases you when it gets home – I got two neck ribbons for the girls– could only find one bright colored one – I enclose them & 2 skeins of silk & a yard of elastic cord & a paper of needles – I will send 2 spools of white cotton thread & one of black thread – all I could find – such little articles are very scarce & dear – & there are calls innumerable for them . . . . I will get you what I can of your list – I wrote you what I sent in the box – it will soon get home & I enclose a few items that I have now I am delighted that the ribbon pleased you – for my taste is not good. Glad Anne is improving. She shall have the red ribbon for it.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

I Find It Worse Than I Calculated~June 1864~11th to 14th

I Find it Worse than I Calculated~ Walt Whitman

Whitman feels so ill that he stops his hospital visitations for a period of time. Black soldiers garrison key posts but the army finds it difficult to recruit doctors for black units. Fighting and hard times go on and on. Some Southerners hope that Lincoln will be defeated and peace will come. The abolition of slavery by constitutional amendment becomes an increasingly political issue.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

June 11– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “There is very little from the army that is decisive or satisfactory. Constant fighting is going on, killing without any battle. The bodies of our brave men, slain or mutilated, are brought daily to Washington by hundreds. Some repulse we have had beyond what is spoken of, I have no doubt. But our army holds on with firmness, and persistency, and courage– being constantly reinforced.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “We have heard to-day that Lincoln was nominated for re-election at Baltimore on the 7th instant, and gold rose to $1 96. Fremont is now pledged to run also, thus dividing the Republican party, and giving an opportunity for the Democrats to elect a President. If we can only subsist till then, we may have peace, and must have independence at all events. But there is discontent, in the Army of the West, with General Johnston, and in the East with Bragg, and among the croakers with the President.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

June 11– Saturday– Lexington, Virginia–Federal troops vandalize and burn much of the Virginia Military Institute.

Virginia Military Institute, 1863

Virginia Military Institute, 1863

June 11– Saturday– somewhere north of Marietta, Georgia– “Although we have had orders to be ready to march every morning for the last three days, and we are ready, always ready, we have not yet moved. Part of our army has moved forward, but not far. . . . It is . . . raining, raining, one continual pour. It commenced on the 2nd of June, and every day since we have had showers. The roads have become so heavy, our supply train can hardly move. We have to be very economical of our supplies of rations; the railroad however has been fully repaired; we heard the whistle of the locomotive yesterday, and suppose Alley will run trains of provisions through to Acworth at once. The enemy is in position not far from us, but while this weather continues, it will be impossible to do much.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

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

CSS Alabama

CSS Alabama

June 11– Saturday– Munich, Germany– Birth of Richard Strauss, composer and conductor. [Dies September 8, 1949].

Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss

June 12– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “Have been suffering the past week from a strain in my side. No letter yet from the North and no passport. The prospect is that we must stay another year.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

June 13– Monday– Arcade, New York– Birth of Dwight B. Waldo, educator, historian and first president of Western Michigan University. [Dies October 29, 1939.]

Dwight B Waldo

Dwight B Waldo

June 13– Monday– Poughkeepsie, New York– A young wife and mother kills her little girls, ages 7 and 2, then takes her own life.

 June 13– Monday– New York City– “Among the most gratifying developments of the Baltimore Convention was the unanimity exhibited in favor of a Constitutional amendment making a universal and perpetual end of Slavery. There was a time when such a proposition could not have been pressed without a great risk of making serious, if not fatal, discord in the Union party. We ourselves deprecated its premature agitation. Always recognizing that the unity of the Union party is the prime necessity, we have always been disposed to keep in the background all questions of minor concern calculated to breed strife. The progress of events was far more potent to settle them than any controversy could be. Experience has long since demonstrated that public opinion is shaped mainly by the inaudible and invisible teachings of the war, rather than by any appeals, however urgent, or by any arguments, however forcible. So far as regards this subject of Slavery, it has been plain enough from the outset that the public mind was detaching itself from its old moorings, and yielding more and more to the Anti-slavery current. This, in fact, was a moral necessity. The rebellion sprang so directly from Slavery, and was so closely connected with Slavery in all of its objects and policies, that it was not possible to make war against the rebellion with a whole heart, and yet remain well affected toward Slavery.” ~ New York Times.

 June 13– Monday– New York City– “It’s a blessed sign that Richmond papers seem in a special fit or orgasm of rage, fury, spite, brag and insolent indecency just now. The extracts we get from Southern newspapers seldom fail to be significant. They illustrate or indicate the mental and moral tone that slave-holding has given to our Southern aristocracy, falsely so-called.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

 June 13– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit herewith, for consideration with a view to ratification, a convention between the United States of America and the United Colombian States, signed by the plenipotentiaries of the contracting powers on the 10th February last, providing for a revival of the joint commission on claims under the convention of 10th September, 1857, with New Granada.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.

June 13– Monday– Richmond, Virginia— “Parties having letters, or small packages of clothing or refreshments for the Tredegar or Departmental battalions, can have them sent out to camp by leaving them at the residence of Major William E. Tanner, on 3rd street, between Canal and Byrd streets, this morning by twelve o’clock.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

black soldiers on garrison duty in the South

black soldiers on garrison duty in the South

June 14– Tuesday– New York City– “The forts erected at the important points on the river are nearly all garrisoned by blacks – artillery regiments raised for the purpose, say at Paducah and Columbus, Kentucky, Memphis, Tennessee, Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi, and most of the works around New-Orleans. Experience proves that they manage heavy guns very well. Their fighting qualities have also been fully tested a number of times, and I am yet to hear of the first case where they did not fully stand up to their work. I passed over the ground where the First Louisiana made the gallant charge at Port Hudson, by far the stronger part of the rebel works. The wonder is that so many made their escape at Milliken’s Bend, where I had three incomplete regiments, one without arms until the day previous to the attack, greatly superior numbers of rebels charged furiously up to the very breast-works. The Negroes met the enemy on the ramparts, and both sides freely used the bayonet – a most rare occurrence in warfare, as one or the other party gives way before coming in contact with steel. The rebels were defeated with heavy loss. The bridge at Moscow, on the line of railroad from Memphis to Corinth, was defended by one small regiment of blacks. A cavalry attack of three times their number was made, the blacks defeating them in the three charges made by the rebels. They fought them three hours, till our cavalry came up, when the defeat was made complete, many of the rebel dead being left on the field. A cavalry force of three hundred and fifty attacked three hundred rebel cavalry near the Big Black, with signal success, a number of prisoners being taken and marched to Vicksburg.” ~ Letter from Union General Lorenzo Thomas to the War Department, published in the New York Times.

June14– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “I am not feeling very well these days– the doctors have told me not to come inside the hospitals for the present. I send there by a friend every day, I send things & aid to some cases I know, & hear from there also, but I do not go myself at present– it is probable that the hospital poison has affected my system, & I find it worse than I calculated. I have spells of faintness & very bad feeling in my head, fullness & pain & besides sore throat; my boarding place, 502 Pennsylvania avenue, is a miserable place, very bad air. But I shall feel better soon, I know– the doctors say it will pass over– they have long told me I was going in too strong– some days I think it has all gone & I feel well again, but in a few hours I have a spell again.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

June14– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– The Surgeon General’s Office advises Secretary of War Stanton that they cannot find enough doctors and orderlies to serve black regiments.

June 14– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I am as you will see at Staunton receiving a slight wound on last Saturday in our big cavalry fight at Trevillian an account of which you have probably seen in the papers. I rec’d the wound during a charge from some of the blue rascals who had dismounted in the woods on the left of the road down which we were pursuing the running cowards as fast as our horses could go. As we passed, these fellows dismounted on the left of the road, they fired a volley into us and a ball grazed my right shoulder making a sore little wound a half inch wide & two inches long. I can’t write any more now my darling Mother as it is my right shoulder & I feel badly having had headache all day.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Barrington King to his mother.

June 14– Tuesday– Henrico County, Virginia– “We are near the memorable spot of Malvern Hill, the first spot where I ever seen an enemy in battle array. Here lies the remains of departed heroes with nothing to cover their bones from the heavens above. Many a loving and affectionate husband, father, or brother’s bones lie exposed and trodden under foot, here too lies the skeletons of our enemies, thousands upon thousands, all over the fields and woods side by side enemy lie. When we behold these things we are constrained to say, Oh, God is man that thou are mindful of him or the son of men that there visited him, man in his animal estate is worst than the best of the field. I have been quite unwell with dysentery for more than a week but have not quit the field. I feel much better this morning. We have had fighting every day more or less since I last wrote you though we have no heavy engagement. The enemy is moving and several days may pass ere we meet again. It is thought they are going to the south side of James River. That will be southeast of Richmond. I think the war must have an end this year, one way or another. God grant that it may come and our independence with it.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W.A. Stilwell to his wife.

Patriotism Enough~May 1864~13th to 15th

Patriotism Enough ~Nashville Press

Yet another patriotic woman is discovered serving and fighting while dressed as a man. Hard fighting takes place in Virginia and in Georgia. Conditions at Asndersonville prison worsen. Lincoln praises the service of the Methodists. A Richmond resident wonders about the loyalty of black people to the Confederate cause. Soldiers write home about griefs, fighting and their concerns for loved ones.

General Grant's supply base

General Grant’s supply base

May 13– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Mary Ellen Wise, the bold soldier boy that turned out to be a woman, will leave this city to-day for her home in Huntington county, Indiana. She has been in the army nearly two years, has been in six battles and many skirmishes, has carried her musket and punished hard tack like a veteran. She gave us a little outline of her history, saying she would be eighteen next February. She enlisted in April, 1861, in consequence of a home made unpleasant by a step-mother and joined Co. I, 34th Indiana, in which company she had a brother. With the regiment she went to Pittsburg Landing, took part in the battle of Shiloh, was on Corinth’s bloody field, but escaped unhurt there, to be severely wounded at Stone’s river by a musket ball in the side. From there by hospital boat to Louisville, when she had her sex discovered the first time the wound was dressed. After weary months of pain, she was once more well and was sent home; but she, feeling it was no home, staid only a week in the neighborhood, and went to Indianapolis, where she re-enlisted Co. A, 65th Indiana. On her way here with the regiment she was recognized [by] one of the train guard, who saw her in the hospital at Louisville, and she was arrested by the military conductor and sent to Colonel Horne, provost marshal. She says she likes to be a soldier first-rate, and went in because she loved the Union and was anxious to fight for it. This girl, erratic as her course may have been, has patriotism enough to put to shame the deeds of some of the so-called Union men. Browned with sun and wind, with hair worn boy’s fashion, and in uniform, there is nothing much to betray her sex except the head.” ~ Nashville Press.

May 13– Friday– Resaca, Georgia– A major battle begins between General Sherman’s Federal troops and General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates.

Battle of Resaca

Battle of Resaca

May 13– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– The number of Federal prisoners has increased to18,000, guarded by only 1,200 soldiers. Yet today Secretary of War James Seddon transfers several Confederate regiments from Camp Sumter to combat duty in the Atlanta area, to prepare for its defense against the advancing forces of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman but weakening the security of Andersonville.

May 14– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Gentlemen, In response to your address, allow me to attest the accuracy of its historical statements, indorse the sentiments it expresses, and thank you in the nation’s name for the sure promise it gives. Nobly sustained, as the Government has been, by all the churches, I would utter nothing which might in the least appear invidious against any. Yet without this, it may fairly be said, that the Methodist Episcopal Church, not less devoted than the best, is by its greatest numbers the most important of all. It is no fault in others that the Methodist Church sends more soldiers to the field, more nurses to the hospitals, and more prayers to Heaven than– any other. God bless the Methodist Church Bless all the churches; and blessed be God, who in this our great trial giveth us the churches.” ~ Response by President Lincoln to a visit by a Methodist delegation.

May 14– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “General J. E. B. Stuart, who died on Thursday night from a wound received in the battle Yellow Tavern on Wednesday night, was buried from St. James’ (Episcopal) Church, last evening at five o’clock. The funeral services were performed by the Rev. Joshua Peterkin, Pastor of St. James’ Church. . . . The President, the members of both Houses of Congress, and a large number of the civil and military officers of the Government were in attendance, and followed the body to the grave, in Hollywood Cemetery.” ~ Richmond Whig.

May 14– Saturday– near Haxford’s Landing, Virginia– “After two weeks marching & fighting I find an opportunity of sending you a letter. I am and have been well & hope you are still enjoying good health. Our cavalry has had a fight nearly every day since my last. . . . The rebs sent in a large force of infantry & had us surrounded, but the boys whipped the rebs badly and we passed on arriving at the James River where we will get rations & forage & be under the protection of the gunboats. What next I don’t know.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Samuel M. Potter to his wife Cynthia.

May 14– Saturday– Memphis, Tennessee– “There has never, perhaps, within the history of our city, been such an immense amount of business transacted as within the past week. The advent of General Order No. 3, was the signal for a general rush through the lines to take advantage of the few days prior to the closing of commercial intercourse between Memphis and the Confederacy. Throughout the day immense caravans, consisting of teams, and every conceivable description of vehicles, wended their way into the city, the crowds on the streets and in the stores, were immense. Our merchants have reaped a rich harvest, many of the most extensive houses having daily sold from $7,000 to $10,000 worth of goods. The office of the Local Special Agent has been besieged by people eager to secure permits to carry out their supplies, and for several days past it has been necessary to station guards at the door to keep them from taking the office by storm. To-day, being the last day of grace, the city will no doubt present, if possible, a more exciting spectacle than any during the week. Tomorrow, those whose lots are cast with the Confederacy, will bid adieu to Memphis for, in all probability– ‘three years or during the war.’ Then will be murmured sad and affectionate farewells, and that ‘good old word good-bye,’ will be whispered in many quarters. Those who know on which side their bread is buttered, will remain on the ‘fat’ side of the lines. During the past year our merchants have amassed fortunes from the trade through the lines, and every day ushered into being new establishments to compete for the immense amount of money thrown into the lap of our thriving young city. But this princely era has vanished like a beautiful dream, and with it the fond hopes of those so lately in pursuit of the ‘mighty dollar.’ A fishing excursion has been proposed by some wag, to continue through the summer.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

 May 14–Saturday– Wilson’s Landing, Louisiana–Black Union soldiers under General Butler’s command capture the river crossing here.

banner of 22nd U S Colored Troops

banner of 22nd U S Colored Troops

May 15– Sunday– New York City– “A day of public thanksgiving for national victory . . . . Not much news. Sheridan (who is he?) Is reported to have made a most brilliant raid in Lee’s rear, tearing up miles of railroad, burning bridges, retaking prisoners, and destroying . . . stores that Lee cannot well afford to lose. . . . Also, that very valiant rebel, J. E. B. Stuart, is said to be killed.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

May 15– Sunday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of Eleanor Everest Freer, composer and philanthropist. Her compositions will include 11 operas and over 150 songs. She will found the American Opera Society of Chicago. [Dies December 13, 1942.]

Eleanor E Freer

Eleanor E Freer

May 15– Sunday– Columbus, Ohio– “I am inexpressibly grieved and shocked at the intelligence of my mother’s death. . . . It cannot be other than a source of poignant regret and pain to me that I was not permitted to minister to her in her last illness. Hard fate that separated all the children from their mother’s deathbed, especially to the boys and myself who have nursed her through the years she has been an invalid! I am glad to feel that you ‘mourn as one not without hope.’ It is easy to render many dispensations of Providence bearable when one’s reason can calmly contemplate them in all their aspects. Perhaps I ought to have acquired such a state of mind, perhaps I have in some respects. This affliction is more trying than any I have yet experienced.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry McDaniel to his wife Hester. Captured at Gettysburg he is in a Federal prison-camp here.

 May 15– Sunday– New Market, Virginia– Confederate troops stop a Federal advance up the Shenandoah Valley in a fierce fight. Confederate losses– dead, wounded, missing– total 577; the Union losses amount to 831.

Battle of New Market

Battle of New Market

May 15– Sunday– Belle Plains, Virginia– “I take the pleasure to drop a few lines to let you know that I am well yet hoping that you are the same– further I let you know that we left our Camp . . . on the 2nd of May and the next day we crossed the [Rapidan] river and that day the Battle commenced and was kept up until the 13th when we left the front with . . . eight thousand Prisoners and took them Back to this place. This is the greatest lot of rebs I ever saw. There was eight days hard fighting while I was in the front but I had good luck this time I was not in the fight– this time I am in the dismounted Battalion– we have no horses and were kept as rear guard– this was the hardest fighting I ever heard and the loss is great on both sides but I heard that their loss is greater than ours– we are now encamped near Bell Plain landing where our boats are landing with our provisions.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Peter Boyer to his father, Peter Boyer Sr.

May 15– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Most of the able-bodied Negro men, both free and slave, have been taken away– in the field as teamsters, or digging on the fortifications. Yet those that remain may sometimes be seen at the street corners looking, some wistfully, some in dread, in the direction of the enemy. There is but little fear of an insurrection, though no doubt the enemy would be welcomed by many of the Negroes, both free and slave.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

May 15– Sunday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “No doubt you have heard much about the battle which has been raging here for twelve days with more or less ferocity. I will not attempt to give you anything like a detail of the fight now. We left Camps on the 4th instant and have been at it ever since and still see no end. We have whipped the yankees badly, but our loss is heavy. Never has such fighting been known before. They have locked bayonets time and again and fought with the butts of their guns. The fighting first commenced some distance from here, but Grant fell back down the river and we have been at it here for several days. We are behind good breastworks awaiting the attack, or rather the Brigade is, but we Sharpshooters are holding the front all the time. Night before last, I never lay down all night, or slept a wink except nodding a little. Last night I slept all night. Tonight is my time to be on again all night. We have a skirmish often sometimes while it is as dark as pitch.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

May 15– Sunday– Spotsylvania, Virginia– “We are cheered today by the news from the Valley but saddened, deeply saddened by the death of General J. E. Stuart – one of the noblest spirits in the Confederacy – peace to his ashes, his memory is embalmed in the hearts of his countrymen – for he has done noble service for us – he has gone to join our noble army of sainted heroes above, Jackson, Ashby & hundred upon hundreds more. Heaven console his wife & defend her & his babes– how little I thought I witnessed their last farewell when I saw them part at Orange Court House the day I first came back to camp. General Daniels has died too, a noble North Carolinian. Heaven has been merciful to us in enabling us to keep back the past that came like an army of locusts, but what a sacrifice have we made to propitiate the favor. I suppose we shall have to fight Grant again & perhaps not far from here, but I have an abiding confidence in our ability to cope with him, by Divine assistance.” ~ .” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

Battle of Rescaca

Battle of Rescaca

May 15– Sunday– Resaca, Georgia– The battle which began on Friday concludes as General Johnston withdraws. Total Federal casualties– dead, wounded, missing– amount to 2,747 and a total of approximately 2,800 for the Confederacy.

Breaking Barriers~75 Years of Wild Women

This April marks the 75th anniversary of the women’s magazine Glamour. The magazine published a list in its April issue of 75 women they picked as “a highly selective list of bad-ass U.S. barrier-breakers who changed the world for all of us.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

From their list I would select, in no particular order: 1) Hattie McDaniel, 2) Dorothea Lange, 3) Georgia O’Keffee, 4) Margaret Sanger, 5) Billie Holiday, 6) Eleanor Roosevelt, 7) Dolores Huerta, 8) Hedy Lamarr, 9) Flannery O’Connor, 10) Audrey Hepburn, 11) Serena Williams, 12) Rosa Parks, 13) Harper Lee, 14) Wilma Rudolph, 15) Rita Moreno, 16) Rachel Carson, 17) Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, 18) Julia Child, 19) Aretha Franklin, 20) Betty Friedan, 21) Katherine Graham, 22) Carol Burnett, 23) Maya Angelou, 24) Carole King, 25) Shirley Chisholm, 26) Diana Ross, 27) Toni Morrison, 28) Gloria Steinem, 29) Billie Jean King, 30) Sandra Day O’Connor, 31) Maya Lin, 32) Sally Ride, 33) Geraldine Ferraro, 34) Dolly Parton, 35) Oprah Winfrey, 36) Wilma Mankiller, 37) Meryl Streep, 38) Florence Griffith Joyner, 39) Katherine Hepburn, 40) Mary Lou Retton, 41) Anita Hill, 42) Madeleine Albright, 43) Barbara Streisand, 44) Nancy Pelosi, 45) Hillary Clinton, 46) Barbara Walters, and 47) Michelle Obama.

Helen Prejean

Helen Prejean

To round out my own 75 women list of American agitators, trouble-makers and pioneers in the last 75 years, I would add: 48) Dorothy Day, 49) Bernice Johnson Reagon, 50) Barbara Mikulski, 51) Fannie Lou Hamer, 52) Jeanette Rankin, 53) Bella Abzug, 54) Marian Wright Edelman, 55) Frances Perkins, 56) Janis Joplin, 57) Mary Ritter Beard, 58) Zora Neale Hurston, 59) Josephine Baker, 60) Emily Greene Balch, 61) Joan Chittister, 62) Constance Baker Motley, 63) bell hooks, 64) Joan Baez, 65) Helen Prejean, 66) Peace Pilgrim, 67) Gerda Lerner, 68) Margarethe Cammermeyer, 69) Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 70) Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, 71) Jo Carol LaFleur 72) Joan Didion 73) Blanche Wiesen Cook, 74) Lillian Faderman, 75) Mary Beth Tinker.

Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper

And if I took my list to 100 women who shook things up in the last 75 years, I would add 76) Florence Allen, 77) Jessie Daniel Ames, 78) Hannah Arendt, 79) Charlotta Spears Bass, 80) Ella Reeve Bloor, 81) Susan Epperson, 82) Anna Julia Cooper, 83) Lavinia Lloyd Dock, 84) Jessie Redmon Fauset, 85) Alice Hamilton, 86) Dorothy Kenyon, 87) Daisy Lampkin, 88) Gypsy Rose Lee, 89) Lucy Randolph Mason, 90) Dorothy Parker, 91) Jane Hodgson, 92) Ethel Rosenberg, 93) Rose Schneiderman, 94) Vida Scudder, 95) Mary Church Terrell, 96) Barbara Elfbrandt, 97) Alberta Hunter, 98) Odetta, 99) Daisy Bates, 100) Whoopi Goldberg.

Obviously this list is my personal one and could grow much longer. And if I were to include more American history and then add world history, the list might well become unmanageable. I encourage you to try making your own list. What American women within the last 75 years have been game-changers for you?

A Rebuke to Reappearing Tyranny~April 1859~1st to 12th

A Rebuke to Reappearing Tyranny ~ Abraham Lincoln

Attorney Lincoln, his eyes on the 1860 presidential election, sends his regrets to Boston for not attending the Jefferson Day dinner. Other signs of the issues dividing the nation appear like spring flowers. Radical John Brown is raising funds. An alleged fugitive slave is arrested in Pennsylvania and found not to have been a slave, much to the disgust of Southerners. In Ohio the first of the Oberlin-Wellington rescuers goes on trial. Some Northern newspapers lambast Southern dominance of the Democratic Party. War brews in Europe. The United States extends diplomatic recognition to liberal reformers in Mexico. British forces capture a rebel leader in India. The world turns.

April1– Friday– Concord, Massachusetts– John Brown gives a public speech in the Town Hall as part of his campaign to raise financial support for his antislavery work but gives no public hint of his plans to start a slave revolt.

John Brown

John Brown

April 1– Friday– Frederick, Maryland– “As for yourself Dear Edward let me say, that before you enter upon the public service of your country, I long to see you enlisted in the service of Him, by ‘whom Kings reign & princes rule.’ This is the best preparation for such a trying, responsible work. A letter from Lizzie just after yours, told us of your visit to them, & how much gratified they were. I am very sorry you had so much trouble to find them.” ~ Letter from a female friend to Edward McPherson of Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

April 1– Friday– southeastern coast of Spain– The Count de Montemolin, a claimant to the Spanish throne of Queen Isabella II, lands with 3,600 soldiers and begins a march toward the city of Valencia. [Unfortunately for the Count, neither he nor any of his staff had told the soldiers of their mission and when they discover its purpose they will immediately declare themselves loyal subjects of the Queen and arrest their leaders, including the Count. Isabella, age 28, will show mercy and deport her cousin, the Count.]

April 1– Friday– South Indian Ocean– The Indian Ocean, an Australian clipper ship carrying gold and passengers from Melbourne, Australia, to Liverpool, England, hits an iceberg, losing two of her masts. The captain and a dozen members of the crew abandon ship and take to the lifeboats but the second officer and the remainder of the crew refuse to give up the ship. [More than five weeks later, the vessel, the second officer, his loyal crew, his forty passengers and 25,070 ounces of gold will arrive safely at the port of Valparaiso, Chile. The men who took to the boats will never be seen or heard of again and presumed lost at sea.]

April 2– Saturday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– At the Saturday morning market a U.S. Marshal arrests Daniel Dangerfield, claiming that he is a fugitive slave escaped from the ownership of Elizabeth Simpson of Athensville, Virginia. News of the arrest spreads quickly through the town and marshals send him to Philadelphia this evening to avoid demonstrations or attempts to free him. In Philadelphia he immediately appears before the Fugitive Slave Commissioner who holds the case over until Monday.

April 4– Monday– New York City– In the finale of their performance at Mechanics Hall Bryant’s Minstrels, a group of white singers who perform in blackface, debut a song called “Dixie” by Daniel Emmett (1815-1904), a Northerner, born in Ohio. [He had written the song some weeks earlier. It becomes an instant hit and Emmett will soon sell the rights to the song for $500, which would equal $14,500 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

Daniel Emmett performing in blackface, c.1860

Daniel Emmett performing in blackface, c.1860


April 4– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Proceedings begin in the matter of the alleged fugitive slave Daniel Dangerfield. A crowd numbering in the thousands gathers outside the court. In the courtroom, spectators include Lucretia Mott and Passmore Williamson. George Earle and J Miller McKim defend Dangerfield, arguing that this is a case of mistaken identity.

April 4– Monday– Washington D.C.– The trial of New York Congressman Daniel Sickles for the murder of District Attorney Philip Barton Key opens in the Washington court of Judge T. H. Crawford. Sickles’ defense team includes Attorney James T. Brady of New York and Attorney Edwin Stanton, originally from Ohio, who has practiced in Washington since 1856. [Brady, age 44, is an extremely successful lawyer who in criminal cases has won acquittals for over 40 clients and had only 1 convicted. Stanton, age 44, will serve as Lincoln’s Secretary of War.]

April 5– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The state legislature passes a law requiring milk inspections throughout the state by appointed milk inspectors to enforce the nation’s first such action.

April 5– Tuesday– Cleveland, Ohio– The trial of Simeon Bushnell, a white man, opens in federal court. He is on trial for violating the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 by helping escaped slave John Price escape from his captors in Wellington, Ohio the previous September. [Price, also known as Little John, was being returned to slavery in Kentucky but a group of students and faculty from Oberlin College, together with local citizens, had acted before he could be put on the train at Wellington. Price was freed, hidden, and helped in his successful flight to Canada. A federal grand jury indicted 37 people for breaches of the Fugitive Slave Law, including John Mercer Langston, and his brother Charles, both black graduates of Oberlin. All the defendants have refused to post bail, thus imposing expense and inconvenience on the United States and generating increasing public sympathy. Also, Bushnell and Langston have managed to have kidnaping charges filed in an Ohio court against the four men who snatched John Price. See, History of the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue by Jacob R Shipherd (1859; reprint 1969) and The Town That Started the Civil War by Nat Brandt (1990).]

the Oberlin Rescuers in front of the jail, Cleveland, Ohio, April 1859

the Oberlin Rescuers in front of the jail, Cleveland, Ohio, April 1859

April 6– Wednesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Fugitive Slave Commissioner finds that Daniel Dangerfield is not an escaped slave and releases him to return to Harrisburg. Before he leaves a jubilant anti-slavery crowd parades Dangerfield around the city in triumph, much to the disgust of Southern observers and newspapers.

April 6– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– “Your kind note inviting me to attend a festival in Boston, on the 28th instant, in honor of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, was duly received. My engagements are such that I cannot attend. Bearing in mind that about seventy years ago two great political parties were first formed in this country, that Thomas Jefferson was the head of one of them and Boston the headquarters of the other, it is both curious and interesting that those supposed to descend politically from the party opposed to Jefferson should now be celebrating his birthday in their own original seat of empire, while those claiming political descent from him have nearly ceased to breathe his name everywhere. Remembering, too, that the Jefferson party was formed upon its supposed superior devotion to the personal rights of men, holding the rights of property to be secondary only, and greatly inferior, and assuming that the so-called Democracy of to-day are the Jefferson, and their opponents the anti-Jefferson, party, it will be equally interesting to note how completely the two have changed hands as to the principle upon which they were originally supposed to be divided. The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man’s right of property; Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar. I remember being once much amused at seeing two partially intoxicated men engaged in a fight with their great-coats on, which fight, after a long and rather harmless contest, ended in each having fought himself out of his own coat and into that of the other. If the two leading parties of this day are really identical with the two in the days of Jefferson and Adams, they have performed the same feat as the two drunken men. . . . All honor to Jefferson to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a mere revolutionary document an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there that to-day and in all coming days it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to H. L. Pierce and others.

Abraham Lincoln, attorney-at-law

Abraham Lincoln, attorney-at-law

April 6– Wednesday– near Neath, South Wales, Great Britain– At the Mair Colliery, the working of a new shaft breaches a wall that releases into the mine several hundred thousand gallons of water accumulated from old workings over the years. With the whole mine flooding rapidly, frantic efforts are made to bring the eighty-one workers and their pit-ponies to the surface. Fifty-five men and two ponies escape; however, twenty-six other men and all the other animals drown.

April 7– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– “The proverb which says that It never Rains but it Pours, was never more strikingly illustrated than on Monday and Tuesday last, when the Republican victories in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Springfield, and the State of Connecticut, came crowding each other over the wires. The example of New Hampshire seems to have infected the whole country. . . . The whole hocus pocus of the Democratic platform has come down in a heap– Popular Sovereignty, Dred Scott, Cuba Stealing, Slave Trade, and the whole fabric of fraud and falsehood. To every sagacious observer of political events and the current popular opinion, it must be evident that nothing but the grossest incapacity and mismanagement can prevent a Republican triumph in the nation in 1860. The campaign has in one sense already begun. Each general election is looked upon as indicative of the result of the great battle next year, and the contestants everywhere make their appeals on the basis of that strife. To this point in the latter half of Mr. Buchanan’s term, the success of the Republican cause has been complete and uninterrupted. Whatever may be predicted upon present majorities, coupled with thorough organization and a righteous cause, may be set down to the account of Republicanism in the approaching Presidential contest. Who does not say that Freedom shall achieve a conclusive triumph in 1860?” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

April 7– Thursday– Vera Cruz, Mexico– Robert Milligan McLane presents his credentials to Benito Juarez thereby conferring United States recognition upon the Liberal government, much to the chagrin of the Conservatives under General Miramon.

April 8– Friday– Probnitz, Moravia– Birth of Edmund Husserl, philosopher and founder of the school of philosophy known as phenomenology. [Dies April 27, 1938.]

Edmund Husserl, in 1900

Edmund Husserl, in 1900

April 8– Friday– Paron forest, north central India– After more than a year of effort and aided by an informer turncoat, the British capture Tatya Tope. [Ram Chandra Pandurang Tope, age 45, better known to his enemies as Tatya Tope, or Tantia Topee, was a civilian adviser to Nana Sahib, one of the early leaders of the Indian Rebellion which began in May, 1857. As the fighting progressed Tope developed into a brilliant guerrilla leader, always one step ahead of his British pursuers and with a powerful capacity to rebound after defeat. He was active for twenty-three months, long after all other resistance was quelled. See generally, Indian Uprising of 1857-8: Prisons, Prisoners and Rebellion by Clare Anderson (2007); The Indian Mutiny by John Harris (2001); The Indian Mutiny of 1857– Military History from Primary Sources by G B Malleson & B Carruthers (2013).]

April 9– Saturday– Vienna, Austria– The Austrian Empire mobilizes in response to the war preparations of Piedmont-Sardinia.

April 12– Tuesday– Detroit, Michigan– Michael Phelan of New York defeats John Seereiter of Detroit in a billiards match billed as the world championship and wins a prize of $50,000. [The prize would equal $1,450,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

April 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Lord Lyons, Her Britannic Majesty’s new Minister to the United States, presents his credentials to President Buchanan. Lord Lyons, a/k/a Richard Bickerton Pernell, arrived in Washington to replace the retiring Lord Napier. [At age 41, the career diplomat is undertaking his first major assignment in what be in total fifty years of service to the British Foreign Office. He will leave Washington in the spring of 1865 and will later spend twenty years as minister to Paris.]