Tag Archives: New York

Diabolical Designs of the Enemy~March 1864~4th to 7th

The Diabolical Designs of the Enemy ~ Richmond Examiner

Not only did the Federal raid fail and the dashing young Dahlgren die but papers found on his body indicate his orders were to assassinate President Jeff Davis and members of the Confederate Cabinet. The failed raid will stir controversy, debate and hard feelings for weeks. [The debate about the authenticity has continued. While it appears that Dahlgren did have such papers on his person, there is no certainty as to the authorship. Also, there is nothing that links these documents to President Lincoln or to Secretary of War Stanton. And if the intent was such an assassination, why a large scale cavalry raid instead of a secret mission entrusted to a small elite team? The truth may never be known.]

A prominent clergyman dies. The New York City fair to benefit the Sanitary Commission advances in preparation. A Union officer seeks to equip his cavalry soldiers with more fire power. More black soldiers enter the Federal ranks. The French will finally receive the Southern tobacco ordered before the war. Plenty of skirmishing takes place, ominous signs of things to come in the spring and summer.

March 4– Friday– San Francisco, California– Reverend Thomas Starr King, prominent Unitarian clergyman, author and lecturer, dies at age 39 of pneumonia. Eloquent and popular, he has raised over $1.2 million for the Sanitary Commission. John Greenleaf Whittier and Bret Harte will write poems to commemorate him.

Thomas Starr King

Thomas Starr King

March 5– Saturday– New York City– “The donations to the Metropolitan Fair are increasing daily. As the time for the exhibition lessens, the entire success of the enterprise becomes more apparent. The contribution of staples are exceedingly large. New Hampshire has donated a flock of sheep, and Connecticut all sorts of Yankee notions. The Fair grounds, covering an area equal to thirty-three City lots, nearly two acres in extent, will hardly be sufficient to accommodate the different States and Societies desiring to be separately represented. . . . . The contributions from Americans abroad, arriving by almost every ocean steamer, will probably be the most attractive feature of the exhibition. From Rome, Miss Charlotte Cushman sends a book of very valuable engravings of Canova’s statues. Mr Ives, of the same City, contributes a bust of Secretary Seward. Messrs. Castellani and D’estrada, two celebrated Roman jewelers, have sent splendid specimens of gold cloth and cameos.” ~ New York Times on the upcoming Sanitary Commission Fair in the city.

seal of Sanitary commission

March 5– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “On Thursday night some thief entered the room of Joseph Heckley, an old soldier, at the Monroe House and robbed him of $40 in money. The thief is unknown.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. [The amount would equal about $603 today, using the Consumer Price Index so it was quite a loss for this soldier.]

March 5– Saturday– near Washington, D.C.– “I have not had time to do much myself about the Spencers, but meeting Lieutenant Pinkham, I sent him to the Ordnance office to make the necessary inquiries– they say they have none to spare us, but that any arrangement we can make with the State of Massachusetts will be favorably endorsed at the Bureau. I shall be very glad if the Governor can see his way to let us have a supply; enough for the whole Regiment if possible– if not, at least enough for two squadrons. Perhaps it might be a good thing in other ways to have Massachusetts furnish the California Battalion with these arms; it would convince the men that there were some advantages in belonging to a Massachusetts regiment, however revolting it might be to their pride.” ~ Letter from Union Colonel Charles Russell Lowell to John Murray Forbes. [The Spencers to which he makes reference are the Spencer repeating rifle, first made available in 1860. A magazine-fed rifle, it can fire 20 rounds per minute as opposed to the standard issue muzzle-loader which can fire a maximum of 3 rounds per minute in the hands of a skilled soldier.]

Spencer rifle

Spencer rifle

March 5– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “News was brought in during the morning of the brilliant affair of a small body of Confederate cavalry under the command of Lieutenant Pollard, who had attacked a body of Yankee cavalry under the command of Colonel Dahlgren, killing their commander, taking 90 prisoners and 35 Negroes and 150 horses. . . . . The body of cavalry under Dahlgren’s command numbered some 300 or 400 . . . . The wretch who commanded them was the son of Commodore Dahlgren, of ordnance notoriety. It would have been well if the body of the land pirate had been gibbeted in chains on the spot where he fell. . . . . papers and memoranda were found on Dahlgren’s person, and contain the indisputable evidence of the diabolical designs of the enemy.” ~ Richmond Examiner.

March 5– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and pleasant, after a slight shower in the morning. The raid is considered at an end, and it has ended disastrously for the invaders. Some extraordinary memoranda were captured from the raiders, showing a diabolical purpose, and creating a profound sensation here. The cabinet have been in consultation many hours in regard to it, and I have reason to believe it is the present purpose to deal summarily with the captives taken with Dahlgren, but the ‘sober second thought’ will prevail, and they will not be executed, notwithstanding the thunders of the press. Retaliation for such outrages committed on others having been declined, the President and cabinet can hardly be expected to begin with such sanguinary punishments when their own lives are threatened. It would be an act liable to grave criticism. Nevertheless, Mr Secretary [of War, James] Seddon has written a letter to-day to General Lee, asking his views on a matter of such importance as the execution of some ninety men of Dahlgren’s immediate followers, not, as he says, to divide the responsibility, nor to effect a purpose, which has the sanction of the President, the cabinet, and General Bragg, but to have his views, and information as to what would probably be its effect on the army under his command. We shall soon know, I hope, what General Lee will have to say on the subject, and I am mistaken if he does not oppose it. If these men had been put to death in the heat of passion, on the field, it would have been justified, but it is too late now. Besides, General Lee’s son is a captive in the hands of the enemy, designated for retaliation whenever we shall execute any of their prisoners in our hands. It is cruelty to General Lee!” ~ Diary of John Jones.

Ulric Dahlgren

Ulric Dahlgren

March 5– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Libby. Up to a late hour yesterday, twenty-five more . . . [of Dahlgren’s] raiders were received at this prison. They had been picked up in different directions in straggling bodies of three or four.” ~ Richmond Sentinel

March 5– Saturday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “Nonconnah [creek] has fallen at last, and crowds of wagons are passing, loaded with provisions, in exchange for their cotton. Joanna and Cousin S. went to townthis morning. Mr. Wilson came early and staid until after dinner with us. Tate, Helen, Nannie & Decatur all spent the day sewing in my room, Decatur excepted of course from the sewing-we had a pleasant time. Only this morning I did wish I was a man. I never read a more insulting note in my life than Father received from Dr. Malone. I will not stain the page of my book writing of such a dog, and hope God will give me strength to forgive it– Cold Water and all streams below so high that we have no communication with Dixie-therefore have heard no news today. I would give anything if I could send the things I have for the poor soldiers-poor fellows, I know they need them-would to heaven I had money to get all I could bring through the lines. I finished my dress today, and made Laura a beautiful apron. 12 o’clock, no Beulah yet. Laura, Tippie Dora & I alone, they asleep.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

March 5– Saturday– Leet’s Tanyard, Georgia; Panther Springs, Tennessee; Yazoo City, Mississippi; Cherrystone Point, Virginia– Raids and fire fights.

March 6– Sunday– New York City– “Yesterday . . . . made my way with difficulty through the dense crowd that filled Union Square, for the first New York Negro Regiment was receiving its colors at the Union League Club House. It has been organized by aid of subscriptions got up in this club. A second regiment of black New Yorkers will soon be sent off under the same auspices. Our labors of a year ago have borne fruit. . . . . There were hearty cheering and clapping and waving of handkerchiefs, and I neither heard nor heard of any expression of sound, constitutional, conservative disapproval.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 6– Sunday– below Charlottesville, Virginia– “The morning we started from the valley it was raining. In the evening it sleeted awhile and then commenced snowing and continued snowing till after dark. We marched about 22 miles that day and camped on the Blue Ridge Mountains near the top. It was an awful time. The next day was a pretty day and we stopped before night in a good place. The next day we marched 25 miles and stopped after night on a steep hillside. That day we came through Charlottesville. A short time ago the Yanks made a raid above Charlottesville and burnt a bridge across the Rivana River, and we had it to wade. . . . . There was considerable excitement in the Brigade . . . in consequence of two young girls that were with some soldiers in the 49th Georgia. They were dressed in men’s clothes or rather in a soldier’s garb and were following the Brigade on foot. It was soon rumored all through the Brigade that they were of the fair sex and their face and hair also betrayed them, and everybody wanted to get a look at them. . . . . The yanks seem to be determined to trouble us all they can. We could have come a much shorter route from the Valley here if it had not been for them, as it was we had to wind all about and march much further and harder. When on their raid above Charlottesville they done much mischief. I am anxious to hear from you and my boy again. You must answer this as soon as you receive it, and give me all the news.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife, Amanda.

March 6– Sunday– Chattonooga, Tennessee– “One [R. V.] Richardson, claiming to have authority of the War Department to raise partisan rangers in Mississippi and West Tennessee, is accused of great oppression. If he has any authority, I respectfully recommend that it be withdrawn.” ~ Letter from Confederate General Joseph E Johnston to the War Department in Richmond, Virginia.

March 6– Sunday– North Edisto River, South Carolina; Columbus, Kentucky; Island #10, Mississippi River; Flint Creek, Arkansas; Snickersville, Virginia– Sorties, incursions and forays.

March 7– Monday– New York City– “Our latest ‘on to Richmond’ attempt has at least this cheerful feature – that our forces got nearer to the rebel Capital than any Union force has yet done in any of the numerous attempts upon it. . . . This purpose . . . it did not achieve. What it did accomplish will be found fully set forth. There can be no doubt that all the railroads that connect Lee’s army with the rebel capital have been rendered unserviceable for some time, and it would seem that an excellent opportunity was furnished General Meade to attack the army of Lee had the former felt himself strong enough for the work. We suppose he did not. Whether the expedition effected its main object or not, it effected a good deal, and it certainly furnished an excellent exercise for our daring troopers.” ~ New York Times on the Dahlgren raid.

March 7– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas by an Executive order of the 10th of November last, permission was given to export certain tobacco belonging to the French Government from insurgent territory, which tobacco was supposed to have been purchased and paid for prior to the 4th day of March, 1861; but whereas it was subsequently ascertained that a part at least of the said tobacco had been purchased subsequently to that date, which fact made it necessary to suspend the carrying into effect of the said order; but whereas, pursuant to mutual explanations, a satisfactory understanding upon the subject has now been reached, it is directed that the order aforesaid may be carried into effect, it being understood that the quantity of French tobacco so to be exported shall not exceed 7,000 hogsheads, and that it is the same tobacco respecting the exportation of which application was originally made by the French Government.” ~ Executive order issued by President Lincoln.

March 7– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends a letter of congratulations to Queen Victoria on birth of her grandson, Prince Albert Victor, born January 8th in London.

United States Colored Troops on parade

United States Colored Troops on parade

 

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The War Was Never More Popular~November 1863~13th to 18th

The War Was Never More Popular ~ Senator John Sherman

Plans are made for the dedication of a cemetery at Gettysburg. President Lincoln and others are well aware that next year is an election year. Walt Whitman comes home for a visit and a much needed rest. Soldiers write about food, the weather, God and dead comrades. The world continues to change.

November 13– Friday– Washington, D.C.– At the White House, President Lincoln meets with the new senator John Conness, age 42, Republican of California. Senator Conness presents Mr Lincoln with a cane once owned by one of Conness’s predecessors, the late David Broderick. Broderick, age 39, an outspoken anti-slavery Democrat was mortally wounded in a duel with a fellow politician in September, 1859. A newspaper account says, “The President . . . accepted the cane, and, with much emotion, replied that he never personally knew . . . Mr. Broderick, but he had always heard him spoken of as one sincerely devoted to the cause of human rights.” Mr Lincoln confides that his “proudest ambition . . . [is] to do something for the elevation of the condition of his fellow-man.”

Senator John Conness

Senator John Conness

November 13– Friday– Chicago, Illinois– “From Gettysburg. Consecration of the Soldiers’ Cemetery. The loyal citizens generally of all the States, and the charitable and benevolent associations, are most cordially invited to be present at the consecration of the Soldiers’ Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa, on Thursday, the 19th instant, and participate in the solemn exercises of the occasion. By order of the Governors of the several States interested. David Wills, Agent for A. G. Curtin, Governor of Pennsylvania, and acting specially for the other States.” ~ Chicago Tribune.

November 13– Friday– Iago Ferry, Tennessee– “As our Cook was washing today it fell on me to get dinners and I stayed in camp on account of having no shirt to change while the other was in the wash as a good cook would do. I had dinner ready for they boys when they returned about 2 o’clock P. M. I then put on a kettle with some water peeled and sliced about half a bushel of pumpkins and boiled for some time and seasoned with salt while this cooking operation was going on James was out and luckily for the times [found] part of a box of crackers which Co. B had thrown away for bad one out of which we gathered over a pack of good pieces which was still more welcome then the pumpkins supper being ready at the usual time consisting of stewed pumpkins and beef stake sliced of the shoulders of an ox and a little coffee. Such a feed we have not had for a month it is certainly worth noting down to be remembered our Appetites being keen and sharp forced us to eat until we were scarcely to role over and still we have! a supply on hand for tomorrow who would not rejoice in our circumstances. Our Wagons that left yesterday morning for Anderson cross roads has returned this evening without rations why they were turned and sent back I have not a learned. I can also understand that gen Morgan commanding our brigade has left the cross roads if that is so we will move soon.” ~ Diary of Union soldier John Hill Fergusson.

November 13– Friday– the Isle of Man– “On Saturday last, Messrs. Gibson, McDonald, and Arnold launched from their ship-building yard at North Ramsey, Isle of Man, an iron ship of the following dimensions: Length 202 feet, beam 35 feet, depth of hold 23 feet 6 inches. A large company assembled to witness the launch. At half-past twelve o’clock the ship glided off the stocks, and was named the Euterpe by Mrs. R. H. Brown, wife of one of the owners. After the launch the company adjourned to the spacious sail-loft of the establishment, where a luncheon was provided, to which about 60 persons sat down. . . . . The Euterpe is a full-rigged ship of 1246 tons register . . . . She is the property of Messrs. Wakefield, Nash, and Co., of Liverpool, and is fitted up in the most expensive style, no pains have been spared to make her a splendid specimen of naval architecture. Her spacious poop cabin is fitted with panels of polished walnut, with moldings of maple, and is exceedingly handsome. She is built entirely of iron, and her lofty tweendecks (seven feet high) render her specially adapted for troops or passengers.” ~ A report for the Liverpool Mercury.

November 13– Friday– Auckland, New Zealand– William C Wilson begins publication of the New Zealand Herald.

November 14– Saturday– Mansfield, Ohio– “On Tuesday next I start for Gettysburg to take part in the pageant of a dedication of the battle-field as a national cemetery. From thence I shall probably go to Washington, two weeks in advance of the session. The very first thing I mean to do is to press the enforcement of the draft. . . . I notice in some of the Southern papers that a hope is entertained that the draft cannot be enforced. This is idle. The war was never more popular than at this moment. The new call will fall lightly. Ohio must send thirty-five thousand . . . . There is no lack of men or of a determination to send them. The wonderful prosperity of all classes, especially of laborers, has a tendency to secure acquiescence in all measures demanded to carry on the war. We are only another example of a people growing rich in a great war. And this is not shown simply by inflated prices, but by increased production, new manufacturing establishments, new railroads, houses, etc. . . . Indeed, every branch of business is active and hopeful. This is not a mere temporary inflation caused by paper money, but is a steady progress, and almost entirely upon actual capital. The people are prospering and show their readiness to push on the war. Taxes are paid cheerfully, and the voluntary donations for our soldiers and their families are counted by thousands.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Gettysburg National Cemetery

Gettysburg National Cemetery

 November 14– Saturday– near the mouth of the Rio Grande River– The Confederate blockade runner Terista, carrying 298 bales of cotton and headed for European markets, is captured by the USS Granite.

November 14– Saturday– St Martens-Latem, Belgium– Birth of Leo Hendrik Baekeland, chemist and inventor. Born of poor and illiterate parents, he will earn a doctorate in science from the University of Ghent at age 21 and in 1889 emigrate to the United States where he will invent a good paper for photographic prints [which business he will sell in 1899 to George Eastman for a reported $750,000] and invent “Bakelite” in 1907-8. He is considered the founding father of the modern science of plastics.

Leo Hendrik Baekeland

Leo Hendrik Baekeland

 November 15– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “I had a pleasant trip that Monday from the start, & all through– clear & cool & no dust. I got home about 8 in evening, was up bright & early to the polls next morning &c. How well the election went in this state, you know. Here Brooklyn gave a stunning union vote, the biggest ever dreamed of here– Mayor, assemblymen, judges, all elected.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend Ellen M. O’Connor.

November 15– Sunday– near Hazel Run, Virginia– “Last night it rained, and as the weather is cold we are far from comfortable. . . . . I bought me a fine bay horse with a white mark on his face, and he can run like a deer. I call him Old Abe.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 15– Sunday– on the march toward Knoxville, Tennessee– “This is the Sabbath evening and I am very lonesome. I thought I could not pass off the lonely hours better than to be writing to you, as it seems like we can never talk to each other [except] only through the medium of writing. Little did I think when we were married that I must be so soon severed from my dear Molly, but it is the common lot of all to be disappointed and now, instead of being this holy Sabbath evening with my loving family where we could read the word of God together, I am away here in the east engaged in the destruction of my fellow men, but God knows my heart. I do not desire their hurt if they would part in peace. I long to see this war close but I confess that I can not see where it can ever end but I have always thought that God would provide a peace when he thinks best. I still think so, Molly. . . . . I would give the state of Georgia for a kiss [from] you and the children. Oh, God, how long shall I suffer in the flesh? I am yours without spot or blemish until death. ~ Letter from Confederate officer William Stilwell to his wife Molly.

November 15– Sunday– Copenhagen, Denmark– The death of King Frederick VII, childless at age 55, and the succession by his distant cousin Christian IX, age 45, marks the beginning of a new crisis between Denmark and Germany over Schleswig-Holstein.

Denmark's new king

Denmark’s new king

 November 16– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The burning or destroying of any property, or any of the products of the country, is a positive detriment to us and a loss to the United States Government; therefore it must be stopped. The burning of cotton-gins, cotton, and everything else, is strictly prohibited. Any of the troops detected in any of these depredations will have meted out to them the extreme penalty of the law, which, in case of burning, pillaging, or robbing, is death. This order will be read at the head of every regiment and battery of the command, and every officer is commanded to aid in carrying it out.” ~ Order of Union General Grenville Mellen Dodge.

 

November 16– Monday– Roswell, Georgia– “The death of your brother [Thomas Edward] . . . was a sad blow to me, but he fell on a noble cause: done with the trials of this life, & now happy forever in heaven. God above knows what will be the result of this unnatural war – we have justice on our side, but deserve sever chastisement for our sins as a nation: May we all repent of short comings on duty, and look to God for his blessings– otherwise everything dark and gloomy. Rather than submit to Yankee rule– trust the Confederacy will resist to the last: better loose everything, than our liberty. . . . There is no telling what General Bragg is after– it is said that Longstreet has gone [toward] East Tennessee to drive out Burnsides, & get supplies for the army; should Bragg fall back, this portion of our state would be overran by Vandals, & they would destroy every thing.” ~ Letter from Mr Barrington King, a prosperous businessman, to his son Confederate Colonel Barrington Simeral King.

November 16– Monday– Campbell’s Station, Tennessee– Union forces beat back a Confederate attack. Total casualties– killed, wounded, missing– are 400 for the Federals, 570 for the Confederates.

 

November 16– Monday– Paris, France– Louis-Rene Villerme, physician and economist who studied the health of prisoners and of child factory workers, dies at age 81

 

November 17– Tuesday– New York City– “Famine at Richmond seems a settled fact. . . . There is reason to believe that the famine is caused not so much by actual deficiency of hog and hominy as by the unwillingness of Virginia farmers to sell anything for which they must be paid in rebel paper. Want of lively faith in the value of rebel currency implies, of course, skepticism as to the ultimate triumph of the rebel cause.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

 

November 17– Tuesday– Brooklyn, New York– “I shall return Monday or Tuesday next. The weather here the last three days is very unpleasant, sloppy & thick. I was at the opera last night, Trovatore– very, very good singing & acting. I feel to devote myself more to the work of my life, which is making poems. I must bring out Drum Taps. I must be continually bringing out poems– now is the hey day. I shall range along the high plateau of my life & capacity for a few years now, & then swiftly descend. The life here in the cities, & the objects, &c of most, seem to me very flippant & shallow somehow since I returned this time. My New York boys are good, too good– if I staid here a month longer I should be killed with kindness. The great recompense of my journey here is to see my mother so well, & so bravely sailing on amid many troubles & discouragements like a noble old ship . . . . Charley, I think sometimes to be a woman is greater than to be a man, is more eligible to greatness, not the ostensible article, but the real one.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to Charles Eldridge.November 17– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– A group of citizens meet and plan a city-wide campaign to raise financial support for the families of soldiers.

 

The Act of Secession is Legally Nothing~November 1863~8th to 12th

The Act of Secession Is Legally Nothing ~ President Lincoln

President Lincoln denies the legality of the secession acts passed by southern states. He allows tobacco shipments to European powers who paid for it before the war began. Russian naval officers arrive in Washington. Soldiers write about fighting, wounds, furloughs, food, warm clothes of the lack of such things. Reverend Finney honors the wife of his predecessor. Slaves keep escaping. Labor unrest occurs in the coal fields of Pennsylvania. And the world continues to turn.

November 8– Sunday– Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria– Birth of Jean Raphael Adrien Rene Viviani, politician, who will briefly serve as Prime Minister of France from June, 1914 to October, 1915.

Viviani in 1914

Viviani in 1914

November 8–Sunday– St Petersburg, Russia– The U S Minister advises Washington that the Tsar views the reception given by Americans to the Russian navy as United States’ support for Russia against Britain, France and Austria.

November 9– Monday– Oberlin, Ohio– Reverend Charles G Finney writes to the editor of the Lorraine County News. “The enclosed notice of the life and death of our Christian sister, Mrs. President Mahan, I cut from the Adrian [Michigan] Daily Expositor, of Oct. 28. It will much gratify the numerous friends of President and Mrs. Mahan in this place, to see it in your paper. All who knew Mrs. M. can testify to the truthfulness of this notice. We, who have best known her, can bear the fullest testimony to her many excellent traits of character. She was indeed a most judicious wife and mother, and as a Christian lady she was always exemplary. All who knew them in this community, sympathize deeply with the President and his family in view of their irreparable loss. I must not indulge my feelings in dwelling upon the excellencies of Mrs. M.; nor, on the other hand, upon the great loss her family has sustained. . . . . I have received two letters from the President in regard to the death of his wife. He is, as we should all expect, greatly sustained by the grace of our Lord Jesus. His inward consolation abounds under his outward sore bereavement. God bless him and his bereaved children.” [Asa Mahan served as the first president of Oberlin College and resigned in a dispute with the faculty in the summer of 1850. Finney was selected as president in Mahan’s place. Mary Hartwell Dix Mahan married Asa in 1828 and bore him seven children. Their son Theodore was mortally wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December of 1862.]

Asa Mahan

Asa Mahan

November 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have always thought the act of secession is legally nothing, and needs no repealing. Turn the thought over in your mind, and see if in your own judgment, you can make any thing of it.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Benjamin Flanders, a special agent of the U S Treasury Department in New Orleans, concerning whether or not a vote is officially needed to repeal Louisiana’s act of secession from January, 1861.

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

November 9– Monday– Union Headquarters along the Rappahannock River, Virginia– “It was now late on this Sunday afternoon and the troops were massing, to bivouac. There seemed really no end of them; though but part of the army was there; yet I never saw it look so big, which is accounted for by the fact that the country is very open and rolling and we could see the whole of it quite swarming with blue coats. . . . We recrossed the Rappahannock at the railroad, and saw the fresh graves of the poor fellows who fell in the assault of the redoubt. The Rebel officers said it was the most gallant thing they had seen. Two regiments, the 6th Maine and 7th Wisconsin, just at sundown, as the light was fading, charged up a long, naked slope, in face of the fire of a brigade and of four cannon, and carried the works at the point of the bayonet. . . . . I think it no small praise to General Meade to say that his plans were so well laid out that our loss in all is but about 400. No useless slaughter, you see, though there was plenty of room for a blunder, as you would have known had you seen the lines of breastworks the fellows had; but we took part of them and scared them out of the rest.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his family.

November 10– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “In consideration of the peculiar circumstances and pursuant to the comity deemed to be due to friendly powers, any tobacco in the United States belonging to the government either of France, Austria, or any other state with which this country is at peace, and which tobacco was purchased and paid for by such government prior to the 4th day of March, 1861, may be exported from any port of the United States under the supervision and upon the responsibility of naval officers of such governments and in conformity to such regulations as may be presented by the Secretary of State of the United States, and not otherwise.” ~ Executive Order issued by President Lincoln.

Lincoln depicted in a patriotic political cartoon

Lincoln depicted in a patriotic political cartoon

November 10– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I do not know that I told you that both of my parents were dead but it is true and now Walt you will be a second Father to me wont you, for my love for you is hardly less than my love for my natural parent. I have never before met with a man that I could love as I do you still there is nothing strange about it for ‘to know you is to love you’ and how any person could know you and not love you is a wonder to me. Your letter found me still here and not yet ready to start home my Papers have not yet returned from headquarters. . . . I suppose you have heard that we received some 90 wounded men Sunday night a number of which were Rebels. Among the wounded were the Col and the Maj. of the 6th Wisconsin Regt. and quite a number of privates a great many of them were very badly wounded, more so than any lot I have seen come in, eight of them died while on the way. And now Dear Comrade I must bid you good by hoping you will enjoy your visit and when you return have a pleasant and safe journey be assured you will meet with a warm welcome from many in Armory Square. You will yet be rewarded for your kindness to the Soldiers.” ~ Letter from Elijah Douglass Fox to Walt Whitman. Whitman is at home in Brooklyn, New York, visiting his family. [For information about Whitman’s difficult family circumstances at the time, see The Better Angel: Walt Whitman in the Civil War by Roy Morris, pp 154 to 159.]

November 10– Tuesday– near Knoxville, Tennessee– “Molly, I notice that since I wrote you that I thought I would get a furlough this winter that you have been writing every time for me to come home. Now you must stop that as it is only makes me feel bad and I cannot get one now. I will get one as soon as I can. There is no one that wants a furlough worse than I do. I have not tried to write to John and it is so cold that I am trembling now.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier William Stilwell to his wife Molly.

November 11– Wednesday– near Morton’s Ford, Orange County, Virginia– “The Colonel was wounded through the right lung. He seemed to know that there was no chance for him to live. Our forces fell back that night after he was wounded so they had to move him to Gordonsville where he lived until last Thursday. . . . . I did not hear of the Colonel’s death until last night. Our Regiment is very sad about his death and besides we lost a good many others. The [loss] in our Regt is over hundred and fifty, most of them is taken prisoner. I hope God will give Miss Fannie and yourself strength to [bear] this sad news. For if we loved him who was no kin to him how much more must those that was so near to him. I shall have his Horse taken care of– you had better send Ransome [the Colonel’s slave] back after him and let him take him thru the country. The Colonel thought a good deal of his horse.” ~ Letter from Confederate Captain Gary Williams to Fannie Holmes’s husband, Dr. Allmond Holmes, describing the circumstances of Colonel William Sillers’ death. Fannie is the sister of William Sillers.

November 11– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Ran away from the subscriber, on the night of the 5th of this month, (November) near Charlotte Court House, Virginia, my three men Pompey, Miles, and George– Pompey is a black, fat, stout, short man, 27 years old, and was my cook. Miles is a slender and rather dedicate gingerbread-looking man, 38 years old, and if made to hold out his hand is very tremulous, and was my carriage driver. George is a stout, slouchy walking gingerbread looking fellow, 25 years old, and is a pretty good blacksmith and carpenter. As these Negroes ran off without any provocation whatever, it is presumed their object is to make their way to the Yankees. They were raised at Weston, on James river, and no doubt will endeavor to make their escape in that direction. I will pay a reward of $100 each for the apprehension and imprisonment of these Negroes so that I get them again, or will pay $100 each and their expenses if delivered to me at Charlotte C H, Virginia. John A Selden.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

 

runaway slaves

runaway slaves

November 11– Wednesday– outside Chattanooga, Tennessee– “Food &clothing are both pretty scarce with the Army now, & I fear we shall suffer for both before very long. In fact, we do to a limited extent now. We can buy nothing at all to eat, & all are very scarce of clothing, especially shoes, socks & blankets. There are a good many men in the Army now without the sign of a shoe on their feet, & I know of but few who can say they sleep warm; & if things do not get better, I know a great many will desert this winter, & some are now deserting. . . . . We have not drawn any meat of any kind since day before yesterday, & Sam is cooking some peas without any grease for dinner or supper, just as you choose to call it, for we only eat twice a day. I am nearly barefooted both for shoes & socks, but I think I will get shoes before long &, as for socks, I have no idea when I will get any, & I only have one pair, which are cotton & full of holes & heels & toes all gone.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John Farris to his wife Mary.

November 11– Wednesday– Paris, France– Birth of Paul Signac, neo-Impressionist painter and political anarchist.

Paul Signac

Paul Signac

November 12– Thursday– New York City– “In the coal region of Pennsylvania the strike is combined with organized resistence to the draft and has attained serious dimensions. . . . . in fact, a Copperhead insurrection that holds two or three counties. The insurgent strikers are mostly lewd fellows of the baser sort . . . committing all manner of murderous brutality.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

coal miners meeting

coal miners meeting

November 12– Thursday– Liberty, Virginia– “I get a plenty to eat. I do not eat all the rations I draw. We draw hard bread, pork, beef, beans, sugar, coffee, sometimes molasses and potatoes. There is no danger of anyone starving on that living. I have not drawed [sic] an over coat yet. I am in want of one very much. I expect to have one soon. I have a good warm blanket and a piece of tent, so I get along pretty well, only when I am on guard. Then I need an over coat. I think we shall soon be paid off, then you will get 60 dollars. I shall get enough to pay my passage home out of the 18 dollars. If you sell the wagon, don’t sell it less than 30 dollars. It is worth that if it is worth anything. I would like to keep it, but if you are short of money you better sell it.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Henry Butler to his wife Mary. [The $30 for the wagon would equal $566 in current dollars. However, the economic value of the wagon would equal about $6770 in today’s economy.]

One General Panorama of Grace & Beauty~November 1863~5th to 8th

One General Panorama of Grace and Beauty ~ New York Times

New York City holds a grand ball for the visiting Russian naval officers. Walt Whitman, visiting his family at home, enjoys the opera. General Lee’s rheumatism improves a bit despite chilly weather. Confederate General Bragg makes what will turn out to be a career-ending mistake, sending General Longstreet and his soldiers to attack Knoxville. Bragg under-estimates the Federal strength at Chattanooga and does not anticipate Grant’s intended attack. Soldiers write home about their experiences and concerns. And life around the world goes on.

war-tennessee

November 5– Thursday– Confederate headquarters along the Rappahannock, Virginia– “I think my rheumatism is better to-day. I have been through a great deal with comparatively little suffering. I have been wanting to review the cavalry for some time, and appointed to-day with fear and trembling. I had not been on horseback for five days previously and feared I should not get through. The governor was here and told me Mrs Letcher had seen you recently. I saw all my nephews looking very handsome . . . . While on the ground, a man rode up to me and said he was just from Alexandria and had been requested to give me a box, which he handed me, but did not know who sent it. It contained a handsome pair of gilt spurs. Good-night. May a kind heavenly Father guard you all.” ~ Letter from General Robert E Lee to his wife Mary. [John Letcher was governor of Virginia from 1860 to 1864. His wife was Susan Holt Letcher.]

November 5– Thursday– outside Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I start to-day for Tyner’s Station, and expect to get transportation to-morrow for Sweetwater. The weather is so bad, and I find myself so much occupied, that I shall not be able to see you to say good-by. When I heard the report around camp that I was to go into East Tennessee, I set to work at once to try and plan the means for making the move with security and the hope of great results. As every other move had been proposed to the general and rejected or put off until time had made them inconvenient, I came to the conclusion, as soon as the report reached me, that it was to be the fate of our army to wait until all good opportunities had passed, and then, in desperation, seize upon the least favorable movement. . . . Have you any maps that you can give or lend me? I shall need every thing of the kind. Do you know any reliable people, living near and east of Knoxville, from whom I might get information of the condition, strength, etc., of the enemy? I have written in such hurry and confusion of packing and striking camp (in the rain and on the head of an empty flour barrel) that I doubt if I have made myself understood.” ~ Confederate General James Longstreet to General Simon Buckner. Longstreet and Bragg dislike each other.

General James Longstreet

General James Longstreet

November 5– Thursday– Bloemfontein, Orange Free State– Johannes Brand, lawyer and politician, a month away from his 40th birthday, is elected the fourth president. He will take office in February of next year.

Johannes Brand, c1864

Johannes Brand, c1864

November 6– Friday– New York City– “The imperial City of the West crowned the hospitalities it has extended to its imperial guests from the East most worthily by the charming and brilliant festival which turned last night into brightest day in Irving-place. As a triumph of social art the Russian Ball will be remembered as long as any triumph of any kind can very well be in this land of things ‘a moment bright, then gone forever.’ A palace was improvised by bridging a street, and the locale being thus provided by the managers of the ball, the world of New-York provided the rest. A throng – which only in the extremest exigencies of the evening ever became a crowd – a throng of men presumably brave, and of women visibly fair, assembled in one general panorama of grace, and beauty, and spirit, the best elements of our New-York life, to do honor to the representatives of the one great Empire which, alone among the leading Powers of the earth, has frankly and cordially maintained its old relations of amity and good will with the Republic in these days of trial and endurance. If a political significance must be sought for in so bright and evanescent a show, the very head and front of it ‘hath this extent, no more.’ America prefers no judgment of favor or disfavor upon the internal policy of Russia, nor does she ask from Russia any judgment of favor or disfavor upon her own internal policy. We simply recognize with the warmth and frankness which become us, the justice, forbearance, courtesy and respect with which Russia has borne herself toward us from the outset of a struggle the burden and responsibility of which are ours, and ours alone. If there be a lesson in this – if it be true, as we believe that true it is, that the subjects of no other great European Power would now be welcomed to these shores as the sailors of Alexander have been – if to no others would we pipe, nor ask them with us to dance, it is simply that no others have cared to mourn with us in our mourning, nor have any others practiced toward us even the poor charity of a silent indifference. Nations, like men, have their sensibilities, their emotions, their impulses of gratitude or of revenge. That such sensibilities and such emotions exist in the people of the Union is simply another proof that the people of the Union are a nation. If the Russian Ball can carry fresh conviction of this fact to a single diplomatic brain beyond the seas, we shall have no objection to see so good a sermon drawn from so gay a song. Meanwhile, for the Russians and for New-York, the ball was simply a ball, and of all the balls where of Gotham shall in her chronicles preserve the rustling, gleaming, odorous remembrance, the most orderly, the most brilliant, the most completely worthy of those who gave and of those to whom it was given.” ~ New York Times.

November 6– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Governor Boreman has issued his proclamation, in accordance with the recommendation of the President of the United States, setting apart Thursday the 26th instant as a day of Thanksgiving. He concludes with this excellent suggestion. ‘And while we are rejoicing and other praises for the abundance with which we are blest, let us not forget to remember the poor and the needy, the widow and the orphan, whom the vicissitudes of life and the casualties of war have left in our midst unprovided for and unprotected.’” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer

November 6– Friday– Droop Mountain, Pocahontas County, West Virginia– Union forces defeat the Confederates in brief but violent battle, thus ending major Confederate operations in the state. Total dead, wounded and missing are 119 Federal and 275 Confederate.

November 7– Saturday– New York City– “Election turned out as I expected. The state repudiates Seymour by about thirty thousand majority. . . . . The Russian Ball Thursday night was well managed and successful. Ellie and I joined General Dix’s party at his house and went thereto in great glory, staff and all– half a dozen captivating creatures in epaulets– with nice Mrs Blake and Miss Kitty. I like all that family very much.” ~ Diary entry of George Templeton Strong.

dancing at the Russian Ball

dancing at the Russian Ball

November 7– Saturday– Rappahannock Station, Virginia– In a surprise foray Union forces capture 1,600 Confederate soldiers.

November 7– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Recent Fires. The out-houses of Mr. E. C. Pleasants, near Chimborazo Hospital, were set fire to on Thursday morning last, and destroyed. His residence caught [fire] several times, but was saved by the exertions of the neighbors. Some of the furniture which had been removed from the house was afterwards stolen, by some thief or thieves. The loss to Mr. P. will amount to $5,000. On Wednesday night, through the carelessness of a servant girl, the residence of Mr. Wm. P. Jones, on 8th street, was set on fire, but was fortunately discovered before much damage was done, although the furniture in one of the chambers was considerably charred.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

November 7– Saturday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Our company is on camp guard and Captain Meade is in command of the camp so that I have no regular duties to perform. I have been sent out twice in command of an escort to Government [wagon] trains to get wood. We go about three miles into the country. There are some Rebs prowling around there and have on one or two occasions captured the trains, but they have never showed themselves when I was along in command, how soon they will do so remains to be seen. They can calculate on a good lively fight before they gobble us for I have a particular aversion to . . . prisons and would about as soon be shot as captured by them. About all the difference is in one case you die instantly and in the other by degrees.” ~ Letter from Union officer Frank Guernsey to his wife Fanny.

November 8– Sunday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I received the other day from a ‘Breckinridge Democrat,’ now converted, the inclosed sum of twenty dollars, after he had read your letter. I have not lately made any requests of my friends for more thinking you perhaps were well supplied for the present. I shall be happy to hear from you again, & I think I can find more friends hereafter if you should need them. I send this by a check & I presume they will cash it for you at Willards [Hotel] where they know me.” ~ Letter from Dr. Le Baron Russell to Walt Whitman.

November 8– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “I went to the N Y Academy of Music, to the Italian opera. I suppose you know that is a performance, a play, all in music & singing, in the Italian language, very sweet & beautiful. There is a large company of singers & a large band, altogether two or three hundred. It is in a splendid great house, four or five tiers high, & a broad parqueted on the main floor. The opera here now has some of the greatest singers in the world– the principal lady singer (her name is Medori) has a voice that would make you hold your breath with wonder & delight, it is like a miracle– no mocking bird nor the clearest flute can begin with it– besides it is [a] very rich & strong voice & besides she is a tall & handsome lady, & her actions are so graceful as she moves about the stage, playing her part. . . . . my dear comrades, I will now tell you something about my own folks home here there is quite a lot of us– my father is not living [and] my dear mother is very well indeed for her age, which is 67– she is cheerful & hearty, & still does all her light housework & cooking. She never tires of hearing about the soldiers, & I sometimes think she is the greatest patriot I ever met, one of the old stock. I believe she would cheerfully give her life for the Union, if it would avail any thing and the last mouthful in the house to any union soldier that needed it– then I have a very excellent sister-in-law– she has two fine young ones so I am very happy in the women & family arrangements.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to friends at the Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D.C.

November 8– Sunday– south of Tallahassee, Florida– “I was glad to hear that you was all in good health when you wrote. I was glad also to hear that your Pa had made his trip to Tennessee and back home. I was glad to hear that he found the boys enjoying a reasonable portion of health. This leaves me in good health at present we have just returned off picket duty to our camps. A good many of our men got sick while we was out but the most of them are improving at present. I fear from the tone of your letter that you are in bad health or a getting so. You don’t however write that anything serious is the matter with you. If there is, you must write to me and let me know it. While we were out in picket camp I was posted at one time at a place called Shell point on the sea beach where I could see the blockading vessel and by the help of a glass I could see the men walking about on deck of her. I saw also a large number of salt works around on the beach. I saw a grate [sic] many curiosities that I could tell you about if I could see you that time or space will not admit of here. You must write soon. Give my love to all. I remain yours as ever until death.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Edmond Hardy Jones to his wife.

The Ship Rides Safe & Sound~October 1863~25th to 27th

The Ship Rides Safe & Sound ~ Walt Whitman

Whitman praises President Lincoln while the President begins considering standing for re-election next year. Soldiers write home. Black Union soldiers prove once again their combat readiness. Visiting Russian naval officers enjoy Niagra Falls. Southern socialite Mary Chesnut entertains Confederate officers. Two northern women raise a lot of money for the Sanitary Commission.

Seal of the U S Sanitary Commission

Seal of the U S Sanitary Commission

October 25– Sunday– Niagra Falls, New York– “They spent all day yesterday, from breakfast till dark, ‘doing’ the Falls, and there are few places of interest that were not visited by every officer of the fleet. They were allowed free passes everywhere . . . . The Russians . . . give the American side the preference . . . . They have spent their money very freely, however, for curiosities, and their presence here so late in the year, when the ‘season’ was thought to be over, has been a perfect godsend to the venders of these articles. All of them seem bound to have a plentiful supply of mementoes of their visit to this memorable place. It speaks well for their taste and judgment that their most liberal purchases are of stereoscopic views of the Falls and the scenery round about. Their visit here will terminate to-morrow morning. A special train will be in readiness at 8 1/2 o’clock to take them to Buffalo, where they will stop three hours. From Buffalo they will take a special train to Elmira, where they will stop over night, and arrive in New York on Tuesday. Thus far the excursion has been a great success, and the Russians unanimously vote it the most acceptable treat they have received since their arrival in America.” ~ A reporter for the New York Times describes the visit to the Falls by the Russian naval officers whose ships are anchored in the harbor at New York City.

visiting Russian naval officers

visiting Russian naval officers

October 25– Sunday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Fannie I wish you could just look in on me this evening and see how pleasantly I am situated I think perhaps you would want to be a soldier too, our tent is about nine feet by eighteen, on one side of the tent and near the center is a good brick fireplace in which a good cheerful fire is burning; directly opposite at a small table strewed with papers two or three ink stands, two books a looking glass, clothes, brush, match box, etc. is the subscriber happy as a lark and feeling first rate generally, my bed is a very useful article of furniture but not very ornamental stands in the back part of the tent covered with warm woolen blankets, don’t you wish you were a soldier so you could enjoy all these luxuries and comforts. We have built winter quarters for our men and the prospect is good for our staying here all winter, though there are rumors of our leaving here soon, I don’t credit them and shall not until the order for march comes then perhaps I may be persuaded to believe it. We are so comfortably situated now that I should rather dislike going into the field and leaving here just as we have got everything so nicely fixed for winter, but I am ready to go anywhere they have a mind to send us.” ~ Letter from Union officer Frank Guernsey to his wife Fannie.

October 25– Sunday– Pine Bluff, Arkansas– Early in the morning a company of Union cavalry, including black soldiers of the 5th Kansas Cavalry, head toward Princeton, Alabama. Soon they run into an advancing Confederate infantry division. After an exchange of fire, the Confederate commander advances under a flag of truce and demands surrender. The Federal troops refuse to surrender and slowly retreat back into Pine Bluff. About 300 freed slaves have rolled cotton bales out of the warehouses for barricades to protect the courthouse square and they join the dismounted cavalry troopers, taking positions to defend the town. After failing to take the square by a frontal assault, the Confederates attempt to set fire to the cotton bales to force out the Union soldiers but fail. The Confederate soldiers retire, leaving Pine Bluff under the control of the Federals. Casualties are 75 in total for the Union force and 40 total for the Confederate division. The Federal defenders, including the slaves, total about 850 fighters, and successfully hold off about 2,000 Confederate attackers.

22nd Regiment United States Colored Troops

22nd Regiment United States Colored Troops

October 26– Monday– Elmira, New York– “Before leaving Niagara Falls, this morning, the officers of the Russian fleet went down in a body from the Cataract House to the stairs leading to the ferry at the foot of the American Falls, where a photographic view of the entire party was taken, with the cataract in the background. It was a beautiful and cloudless morning, and, for the first time since the guests have been at the falls, a brilliant-hued rain bow shot forth from the mists of the cataract, and mounting the early sunbeams, pointed upward, like a painted horn, to the sky. The artist succeeded in getting an excellent negative, and the Russians are delighted at the prospect of having such a splendid souvenir of their visit to Niagara to transmit to their friends at home. . . . The party arrived a Elmira at 4 1/2 P.M., where they were received by a large concourse of citizens and escorted to the Brainerd House, which was decorated with Russian flags, and on the balcony of which a brass band played patriotic airs while the guests marched into the doorway. Some ten or fifteen invited guests, mostly officers of the Erie Railroad, accompanied the Russians from Buffalo to Elmira.” ~ A reporter for the New York Times.

October 26– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Thanks to both you and our friend Campbell for your kind words and intentions. A second term would be a great honor and a great labor, which, together, perhaps I would not decline if tendered.” ~ Confidential letter from Abraham Lincoln to Elihu Benjamin Washburne. [Washburne, 47 years old, is serving in Congress as a U S Representative from Illinois. He is a close friend of Lincoln as well as General Ulysses Grant. He has sounded out the President on running for re-election in the upcoming presidential race in 1864.]

Elihu Washburne

Elihu Washburne

October 26– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The prospect of passing the Winter in the North is less agreeable than probable. Not that I have an apprehension of a want of ordinary comforts; it is the isolation from home. My wound is doing well. I am now permitted to walk a few steps daily, and in consequence, I am slowly regaining strength. My general health is good as might be expected. The authorities of the Hospital are kind and attentive to our wants and comfort; the accommodations are ample and excellent. Virginia is visible across the Potomac.” ~ Letter from Confederate Major Henry Mc Daniel to his wife Hester in Georgia. Mc Daniel was wounded and captured at Gettysburg in July.

October 26– Monday– near Cleveland, Tennessee– “Our folks are very busy hauling in our corn. We will have plenty of corn, potatoes, tallow, pumpkins, and nearly enough meat to do us another year if we can only keep it from the soldiers. How thankful we should be for our blessings. The soldiers are ruining Uncle Caswell, taking his corn, burning his rails and killing his hogs.” ~ Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.

October 26– Monday– Sacramento, California– The first rails are laid for construction of the Central Pacific Railroad.

October 27– Tuesday– New York City– “The well-known conduct of Governor Seymour during the riot fully sustains this view. His action was not, as his warmest friend must admit, that of the Governor of a community, attempting to preserve it from anarchy and rapine, but rather of the chief of a gang of ill-used and oppressed men, whose wrongs more than half-justified their crimes. We feel for the sensitiveness of the Democratic Presses as to these New-York riots. They certainly do present to the popular mind the most awful, as well as the most natural, culmination to the Copperhead principles. They have been a very unfortunate circumstance for the Peace Democracy in the West.” ~ The New York Times continues to blame the Democratic Party in general and the peace advocates (“Copperheads”) in particular for the July riots in New York City.

October 27– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “Well, dear Mother, how the time passes away– to think it will soon be a year I have been away– it has passed away very swiftly somehow to me. O what things I have witnessed during that time. I shall never forget them & the war is not settled yet, & one does not see any thing at all certain about the settlement yet, but I have finally got for good I think into the feeling that our triumph is assured, whether it be sooner or whether it be later, or whatever roundabout way we are led there, & I find I don’t change that conviction from any reverses we meet, or any delays or government blunders– there are blunders enough, heaven knows, but I am thankful things have gone on as well for us as they have– thankful the ship rides safe & sound at all– then I have finally made up my mind that Mr Lincoln has done as good as a human man could do. I still think him a pretty big President. I realize here in Washington that it has been a big thing to have just kept the United States from being thrown down & having its throat cut & now I have no doubt it will throw down secession & cut its throat & I have not had any doubt since Gettysburg.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother, Louisa.

lincoln_rockingchair

October 27– Tuesday– near Warrenton, Virginia– “Still in camp. I hardly think that our Regiment will reenlist. While several of the officers (I for one) favor it, the men as a rule want to go home when their time expires. As one half must enlist again before they will send us home, I have no hope of going. It is growing cold very fast, and although our Regiment is in stone huts we find it difficult to keep warm.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

October 27– Tuesday– near Columbia, South Carolina– “Young Wade Hampton has been here for a few days, a guest of our nearest neighbor and cousin, Phil Stockton. Wade, without being the beauty or the athlete that his brother Preston is, is such a nice boy. We lent him horses, and ended by giving him a small party. What was lacking in company was made up for by the excellence of old Colonel Chesnut’s ancient Madeira and champagne. If everything in the Confederacy were only as truly good as the old Colonel’s wine-cellars! Then we had a salad and a jelly cake. General Joe Johnston is so careful of his aides that Wade has never yet seen a battle. Says he has always happened to be sent afar off when the fighting comes. He does not seem too grateful for this, and means to be transferred to his father’s command. He says, ‘No man exposes himself more recklessly to danger than General Johnston, and no one strives harder to keep others out of it.’ But the business of this war is to save the country, and a commander must risk his men’s lives to do it.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Livermore

Mary Livermore

October 27– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– Organized by Mary Livermore and Jane Hoge of the U S Sanitary Commission, the first “sanitary fair” opens to raise money to buy medical supplies, clothes and other necessities for wounded and sick Union soldiers. The price of admission is 75 cents and visitors can purchase donated items such as clothes, toys, artwork, musical instruments, books and other such things. Mary Livermore, age 42 at the time, Massachusetts-born, is an educator, writer, abolitionist and activist. Her friend Jane Hoge, Pennsylvania-born, age 52, bore 13 children and is a worker for children and destitute widows. Both have been active in the business of the Sanitary Commission since the war began. [Over the next two weeks 5,000 people will come through the gates. The fair will raise $100,000 of which $3000 will come from the sale of the original draft of the Emancipation Proclamation which President Lincoln has donated. After the war, both women will remain active in various causes and both will write first-hand accounts of their war-time experiences. In today’s dollars the cost of admission would equal $14.10 and the proceeds would equal $1,890,000]

 

A Book That Would Please Women~October 1863~20th to 24th

A Book That Would Please Women~ Walt Whitman

Whitman tries to find a publisher for a new book, one which will please women. The days are busy ones for women. Two are arrested in Tennessee for the crime of dressing as men. One is killed in West Virginia by a train accident. Some try to raise money for their church. Others petition President Lincoln for total emancipation of all slaves. An actress enthralls George Templeton Strong.

Lee and Meade probe each other, looking for a weak place to mount an offensive. Confederate raiders create havoc in Missouri. Black troops cause a stir in Maryland. General Grant makes plans. Visiting Russian naval officers tour New York state. A representative of Venezuela seeks to buy a military vessel in the United States.

honor-brave-1500

October 20– Tuesday– South Norwalk, Connecticut– “I improve the present time to write a few lines to you to thank you for the kindness you have shown towards our afflicted son I feel that we can’t thank you half enough for the interest you have Manifested toward him our Dear boy but you have out heart felt thanks for what you have Done for him and us as parents to James and we humble hope the lord will reward you for it and May you in the hour of need find the Same friend you have been to James and I have no Doubt but what you will. our blessed Savior Says whosoever shall give a cup of cold water to any one Shall not lose his reward therefore I know the lord will reward you for all the kindness you have Showed our Son and to others I Dare Say for those that are kind to one is kind to More.” ~ Letter from John and Margaret Stilwell to Walt Whitman.

October 20– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with Dr Thomas C Durant, age 43, a financier and railroad promoter, to discuss surveying the Great Plains and expansion of railroads in the west.

Thomas C Durant

Thomas C Durant

October 20– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Quantrell and other bold raiders in Missouri have collected some thousands of desperate men, and killed several regiments of the enemy. They have burned a number oftowns (Union), and taken the large town of Boonville. These are the men against whom Kansas Abolitionists have sworn vengeance– no quarter is to be granted them. I suspect they are granting no quarter!” ~ Diary of government clerk John Jones.

October 21– Wednesday– New York City– “The officers of the Russian fleet will start on their excursion to Niagara Falls to-morrow morning. The excursion has been gotten up under the joint auspices of the Hudson River Steamboat Company and the New-York Central and Erie Railroad Companies. All the officers of the fleet, numbering 100 and over, will join in the excursion, and they will be accompanied only by the Committee representing the Railroads and a few invited guests.” ~ New York Times.

October 21– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “A delegation is here saying that our armed colored troops are at many, if not all, the landings on the Patuxent River, and by their presence with arms in their hands are frightening quiet people and producing great confusion. Have they been sent there by any order, and if so, for what reason?” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Schenck, in Baltimore, Maryland.

October 21– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “My idea is a book of the time, worthy the time– something considerably beyond mere hospital sketches– a book for sale perhaps in a larger American market– the premises or skeleton memoranda of incidents, persons, places, sights, the past year (mostly jotted down either on the spot or in the spirit of seeing or hearing what is narrated) (I left New York early last December, & have been around in the front or here ever since)– full of interest I surely think– in some respects somewhat a combination in handling of the Old French Memoires, & my own personality (things seen through my eyes, & what my vision brings)– a book full enough of mosaic, but all fused to one comprehensive thing . . . . I have much to say of the hospitals, the immense national hospitals– in them too most radical changes of premises are demanded (the air, the spirit of a thing is every thing, the details follow & adjust themselves). I have many hospital incidents, [that] will take with the general reader– I ventilate my general democracy with details very largely & with reference to the future– bringing in persons, the President, Seward, Congress, the Capitol, Washington City, many of the actors of the drama . . . . I think it a book that would please women. I should expect it to be popular with the trade. Of course I propose the affair to you publisherially [sic] as something to invest in, to make out of (for both of us)– I take it [that] it would be a very handsome speculation. Only it is to be done while the thing is warm, namely at once. I have been & am in the midst of these things, I feel myself full of them, & I know the people generally now are too (far more than they know,) & would readily absorb & understand my memoranda. Wherefore let us make & publish the book, & out with it so as to have it for sale by middle or 20th of November.” ~ Letter of Walt Whitman to James Redpath.

James Redpath

James Redpath

October 21– Wednesday– near Warrenton, Virginia– “The people here seemed somewhat surprised to see us return. The game between Meade and Lee seems to me like a game of checkers, and Meade has had the last move. We do not know where the Rebel Army is, but I suppose General Meade does, and that is sufficient.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

October 21– Wednesday– Tennessee– “Jane Ann Rhodes and Josephine Barry were charged with appearing on the streets in male attire, and two men, a wagon master and another, were charged with complicity in their misconduct. It appeared from the evidence that the girls had accompanied the two men from Washington, and that they traveled with the army as assistants or Government employees. The girls were fined $5 each, and ordered to the workhouse, while the men were fined $50 each. Their names are R. L. Fowler and Frank Ward.” ~ Nashville Dispatch.

October 22– Thursday– New York City– “Tonight at the Academy of Music with Ellie, General Dix’s handsome, buxom, bouncing daughter Miss Kitty, Jem Ruggles, George Anthon, and Johnny. We had Mrs Little’s box. Macbeth for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission, with Charlotte Cushman and [Edwin] Booth; a strong cast. Immensely crowded house. . . . The performance excellent. The sleep-walking particularly intense; indeed Charlotte Cushman is the best Lady Macbeth I ever saw– beyond all comparison. Macbeth died very game.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [Charlotte Cushman (1816 to 1876) had a stellar career performing Shakespeare, even playing Romeo to her sister Susan performing as Juliet, and had two romantic relationships with other prominent women.]

Charlotte Cushman as Romeo & her sister Susan as Juliet

Charlotte Cushman as Romeo & her sister Susan as Juliet

October 22– Thursday– Albany, New York– The visiting Russian naval officers spend the evening here and have a brief meeting with Governor Seymour.

October 22– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Members of the New School Presbyterian Synod call upon President Lincoln to assure him of their loyalty. In his impromptu remarks the President declares it is his duty to maintain liberty and religion and he can only do his duty by the assistance of God and the means which God has supplied, of which the reverend gentlemen around him were noble examples. “If God be with us, we will succeed; if not, we will fail.”

October 22– Thursday– North West Frontier Province, the border area between the Emirate of Afghanistan and the British controlled Punjab Province– A British reconnaissance patrol is attacked by some Bunerwal tribesman.

October 23– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “One again, here is the petition, sponsored by the Loyal Women of The Republic, through their National Association, calling upon the Congress to enact emancipation of all persons of African descent held in involuntary servitude.” ~ The Liberator

October 23– Friday– Niagra Falls, New York– The visiting Russian naval officers arrive by train to do some sight-seeing at the Falls.

Niagara Falls, c.1862

Niagara Falls, c.1862

 October 23– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “This exhibition for some cause has been poorly attended. We cannot attribute the lack of interest in this praiseworthy movement of the Christian ladies of your community, to anything other than ignorance on the part of citizens of the existence of such a thing as Baptist Fairs. Indeed, we were told by Mrs. Grant, one of the principal leaders in this most benevolent enterprise, that many of the citizens had told her when interrogated, why they did not patronize the Fair, they knew nothing of it. Besides the weather, since the opening of it, has been most inclement and the impossibility of procuring any music may also have worked against it. Now, we wish it distinctly understood, by every reader of the Bulletin, not only that there is such an institution as the Baptist Ladies’ Fair, but that is so far as the collections and articles on exhibition are concerned, a decided success. We have visited many fairs in our life, but have yet to see one that will excel this in beauty of selection or variety. The tasteful arrangement and splendid decorations are a great credit on the heads of the tables. Wednesday evening, the commencement of the Fair, it was impossible to procure any music, the weather was unfavorable, the attendance slim, and the consequence was that but about $100 were realized– barely enough to pay expenses. Thursday evening, owing to the inclement of the weather, the attendance was but tolerable, the music promised did not come, and though the visitors were unusually liberal, the ladies realized but about $200. Tomorrow– Saturday evening– a Colonel of one of the regiments stationed in the city, proposes to have at the Hall one of our splendid brass bands, and Mr. Conway hopes to be able to present new and interesting attractions. The object is a benevolent one to support the past of the church, Mr. G. W. Lancaster, and to liquidate an outstanding debt on the church. We invite our citizens to attend to-night, and show by their presence here that they feel an interest in the cause of Christianity. This denomination have suffered severely since the war by the loss of three churches—one burned on Beal street– one demolished at Fort Pickering– and one is occupied as a hospital, leaving only this one in the city.” ~ Memphis Bulletin.

October 23– Friday– North Wales, Great Britain– The Festiniog Railway introduces steam locomotives into general service.

 train

October 24– Saturday– Ritchietown, West Virginia– “A most terrible accident occurred . . . near the house of Mr. J. B. Ford, which resulted in the instant death of Mrs. Crane, wife of the Auditor of West Virginia. The engineer of the express for the east; as the train neared the point indicated, observed a lady walking in close proximity to the track and called to her to get out of the way. There are two or three tracks . . . near the point, and it is supposed she became confused and alarmed, and instead of getting out of the way, fell . . . upon the main track. . . . For two hours after the accident the body was not identified, but it was finally recognized as that of Mrs. Crane. An inquest was held upon the body and a verdict rendered in accordance with the above statements.” ~ The Wheeling Intelligencer.

October 24– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant, enclosing a translation of a note addressed to you by Mr. Bruzual, in which he speaks of an intention of buying a steamer in this country for the government of Venezuela, of which he is the representative, and in connection with which you ask if I am aware of any objection to the arming of the steamer in the manner indicated in Mr. Bruzual’s dispatch. I am not sufficiently informed of the condition of affairs in Venezuela to express an opinion upon the subject of your inquiry. The subject is one of extreme delicacy, and should, and I doubt not will, be duly considered by the Department of State, especially in view of occurrences transpiring abroad affecting our own country. . . . The request of Mr. Bruzual appears to be, under the circumstances, one of extraordinary and unusual character, and such as, had the application been made by that gentleman to this Department, would not have been granted. He is not, it seems, accredited, by reason of the unsettled condition of affairs in Venezuela, and yet it is proposed he shall have extended to him the unusual favor of a public officer in obtaining an armed vessel. Excuse me for suggesting doubts as to the policy of this step, but they are such that I have declined the responsibility, and placed the letter exclusively on your request, so that you can present or withhold it, as in your judgment, with a full knowledge of the facts and my doubts, may seem best.” ~ Letter from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to Secretary of State William Seward.

 

General Grant

General Grant

October 24– Saturday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– General Ulysses Grant makes a personal inspection of the Federal defenses and orders the creation of a supply route via Brown’s Ferry on the Tennessee River, a route more defensible than the one used to this point.

 

 

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

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

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

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

New York City committee on board the Russian flagship

New York City committee on board the Russian flagship

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

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

typical ward of a Civil War hospital

typical ward of a Civil War hospital

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

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

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

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

 

Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

infantry fighting

infantry fighting

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

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

Edythe Chapman

Edythe Chapman

 

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

The Spot Is Too Lovely for War ~ Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

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

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

Amelie Rives

Amelie Rives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin

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

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

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

James C Conkling

James C Conkling

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

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

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

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

General John Buford

General John Buford

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

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

Two Hostile & Irreconcilable Systems of Society~July 1863~the 8th to the 11th

Two Hostile and Irreconcilable Systems of Society ~ George Templeton Strong

In a prophetic voice, George Templeton Strong writes of the war’s historical significance. The deaths of soldiers haunt Walt Whitman and Mary Chesnut. The abolitionist Gerritt Smith declares that European powers need to keep their noses out and hands off of America’s struggle. The major European powers still face an unsettled situation in Poland. General Lee offers to resign but President Davis refuses to allow him. President Lincoln meets face-to-face with Frederick Douglass and encourages General Grant. Grant allows military authorities to read the mails passing through areas under his command. [Editor’s query: Hhhmm! Wonder what Grant would think about the military necessity of reading citizens’ private e-mails. Mayhap some things do not change.]

August 8– Saturday– Locust Grove, New York– Birth of Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey, ornithologist and nature writer. She will author fourteen books and her writing is considered to be among the best ornithological writing. She will be active in social welfare issues as well, campaigning against child labor, and on behalf of housing, education and recreation for poor youth.

Florence Merriam Bailey c.1904

Florence Merriam Bailey c.1904

August 8– Saturday– Orange Courthouse, Virginia– General Lee offers his resignation to President Jefferson Davis. “I have been prompted by these reflections more than once, since my return from Pennsylvania, to propose to your Excellency the propriety of selecting another commander for this army. I have seen and heard of expressions of discontent in the public journals at the result of the expedition. I do not know how far this feeling extends in the army. My brother officers have been too kind to report it, and so far the troops have been too generous to exhibit it. It is fair, however, to suppose that it does exist, and success is so necessary to us that nothing should be risked to secure it. I therefore, in all sincerity, request your Excellency to take measures to supply my place. I do this with the more earnestness because no one is more aware than my self of my inability for the duties of my position. I cannot even accomplish what I myself desire. How can I fulfil the expectations of others? In addition, I sensibly feel the growing failure of my bodily strength. I have not yet recovered from the attack I experienced the past spring. I am becoming more and more incapable of exertion, and am thus prevented from making the personal examinations and giving the personal supervision to the operations in the field which I feel to be necessary. I am so dull that in making use of the eyes of others I am frequently misled. Everything, therefore, points to the advantages to be derived from a new commander, and I the more anxiously urge the matter upon your Excellency, from my belief that a younger and abler man than myself can readily be obtained. I know that he will have as gallant and brave an army as ever existed to second his efforts, and it would be the happiest day of my life to see at its head a worthy leader ; one that would accomplish more than I could perform, and all that I have wished. I hope your Excellency will attribute my request to the true reason, the desire to serve my country, and to do all in my power to insure the success of her righteous cause.”

August 8– Saturday– St Anns, Nova Scotia, Canada– Angus MacAskill, known as Giant MacAskill, a circus performer who stands 7′ 9″ tall, dies at age 38 of “brain fever.”

Angus MacAskill

Angus MacAskill

August 9– Sunday– Byberry, Pennsylvania– Charlotte Forten Grimke makes music with a friend. “Bessie W came up yesterday afternoon, bringing sunshine with her. She certainly is a charming most refreshing girl. We spent the morning at the piano playing ‘Roll Jordan’ and other songs of the freed people.”

August 9– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to General Grant. “General Thomas has gone again to the Mississippi Valley, with the view of raising colored troops. I have no reason to doubt that you are doing what you reasonably can upon the same subject. I believe it is a resource which if vigorously applied now will soon close the contest. It works doubly, weakening the enemy and strengthening us. We were not fully ripe for it until the river was opened. Now, I think at least one hundred thousand can and ought to be rapidly organized along its shores, relieving all white troops to serve elsewhere. Mr. Dana understands you as believing that the Emancipation Proclamation has helped some in your military operations. I am very glad if this is so.”

August 9– Sunday– Orange Courthouse, Virginia– Confederate soldier Richard Brooks writes to his wife. “I could not wish for any better living than when we had as we was going on an after we got through Maryland an into Pennsylvania as far as we went but after we turned back this way again we all have suffered very much ever since for something to eat. We have not had more than half enough to eat since we turned back. . . . My Dear I do hope the war will soon close for I do want to see you an the Children the worst I ever had in my life.”

August 9– Sunday– McMinnville, Tennessee– Lucy Virginia French takes note in her journal of political changes. “As to our political prospects they are in status quo. Tennessee is gone to the Confederacy I suppose, and in my present frame of mind and state of health, I must confess I feel unpatriotic enough not to care a continental about it any way if I could only be well, and quiet for a little while. . . . We were told today that all the ‘rebel girls’ in McMinnville have been made to take the oath, a great triumph for old Armstrong and his crew. Mollie Armstrong has procured the Federal uniform—a blue riding dress and rides around with the Yankees, as she used to do with Morgan’s men. I suppose this would be the end of her Southernism—it was too intense to last long!”

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

August 10– Monday– dateline: Warsaw, Poland– The New York Times reports that the leaders of the Polish revolution have demanded as part of a cease-fire that “All persons under arrest shall be at once liberated; all pursuit on political grounds shall equally cease; all exiles shall return to their country” and “A permanent international commission shall be established in the country for the purpose of seeing the armistice rigorously put in execution.” They “assure the mediating Powers [Great Britain, France and the Austrian Empire] that the engagements that may be contracted on these grounds will be faithfully observed by the Poles.”

August 10– Monday– Washington, D.C.–President Lincoln meets with Frederick Douglass. They discuss a variety of topics including the treatment and pay of black soldiers in the U. S. Army.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

August 10– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman writes a letter of condolence to Mr. and Mrs. S. B. Haskell, the parents of Erastus Haskell of the 141st New York Infantry. “I write to you this letter, because I would do something at least in his memory; his fate was a hard one, to die so. He is one of the thousands of our unknown American young men in the ranks about whom there is no record or fame, no fuss made about their dying so unknown, but I find in them the real precious & royal ones of this land, giving themselves up, aye even their young & precious lives, in their country’s cause.”

August 10– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– Mary Chesnut relates a strange experience. “To-day I had a letter from my sister, who wrote to inquire about her old playmate, friend, and lover, Boykin McCaa. . . . . To tell the truth, she writes, ‘in these last dreadful years, with . . . everything dismal, anxious, and disquieting, I had almost forgotten Boykin’s existence, but he came here last night; he stood by my bedside and spoke to me kindly and affectionately, as if we had just parted. I said, holding out my hand, Boykin, you are very pale. He answered, I have come to tell you good-by, and then seized both my hands. His own hands were as cold and hard as ice ; they froze the marrow of my bones. I screamed again and again until my whole household came rushing in, and then came the Negroes from the yard, all wakened by my piercing shrieks. This may have been a dream, but it haunts me. Some one sent me an old paper with an account of his wounds and his recovery, but I know he is dead.’ ‘Stop !’ said my husband at this point, and then he read from that day’s Examiner these words: ‘Captain Burwell Boykin McCaa found dead upon the battle-field leading a cavalry charge at the head of his company. He was shot through the head.’”

chestp

August 10– Monday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– General Grant issues regulations regarding mail going to or coming from states in the Confederacy. “The establishing of mails within the insurrectionary States of this department being for the exclusive benefit of the military authorities and those connected therewith, the following regulations are established and will be observed, until otherwise ordered, by all persons employed in their transmission, at all military posts south of Memphis, Tennessee: 1. Postmasters will transmit no letters but those coming from designated military authorities, nor deliver any received at their respective offices to citizens or civilians, excepting through the same channels. 2. Mails will be made up at department, corps, division, and post headquarters, and by all provost-marshals, quartermasters, and commissaries, sent regularly to the post offices by them, and promptly forwarded by the post inspector of each post. 3. The military authorities above designated will forward no letters from any citizen in any insurrectionary State in this department, without first examining the same and marking their approval thereon.”

August 11– Tuesday– Albany, New York– In a speech Gerrit Smith, 66 years old, abolitionist, politician and philanthropist, declares, “We must also insist that, during the prosecution of this war, all other nations must let us alone. Ours is a family quarrel with which there must be no outside interference. We will tolerate neither intervention nor mediation. The one we shall pronounce impertinence, and the other we shall construe into war. I have said we must insist on the unconditional submission of the rebels. Our opposition to the rebels must also be unconditional.”

August 11– Tuesday– New York City– George Templeton Strong writes prophetically about the war. “We hardly appreciate, even yet, the magnitude of this war, the issues that depend on its result, the importance of the chapter in the world’s history that we are helping to write. . . . It is the struggle of two hostile and irreconcilable systems of society for the rule of this continent. . . . I think that Grant and Rosecrans, Lee and Stonewall Jackson . . . will be more conspicuous and better known to students of history A.D. 1963 than . . . Napoleon, Frederick [the Great], Wellington . . . not as greater generals, but as fighting on a larger field and in a greater cause than any of them. So will our great-great-grandchildren look back on them a century hence, whatever be the result.”

August 11– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– President Davis refuses General Lee’s offer to resign. “Where am I to find that new commander who is to possess the greater ability which you believe to be required ? I do not doubt the readiness with which you would give way to one who could accomplish all that you have wished, and you will do me the justice to believe that, if Providence should kindly offer such a person for our use, I would not hesitate to avail of his services. My sight is not sufficiently penetrating to discover such hidden merit, if it exists, and I have but used to you the language of sober earnestness, when I have impressed upon you the propriety of avoiding all unnecessary exposure to danger, because I felt your country could not bear to lose you. To ask me to substitute you by someone in my judgment more fit to command, or who would possess more of the confidence of the army, or of reflecting men in the country, is to demand an impossibility. It only remains for me to hope that you will take all possible care of yourself, that your health and strength may be entirely restored, and that the Lord will preserve you for the important duties devolved upon you in the struggle of our suffering country for the independence of which we have engaged in war to maintain.”

P G Doumergue, c.1924

P G Doumergue, c.1924

August 11– Tuesday– Algues-Vives, France– Birth of Pierre Paul Henri Gaston Doumergue, who will serve as Prime Minister of France from December, 1913 to June, 1914 and again for ten months in 1934.

Another Solemn Epoch of Human Progress~August 1863~the 4th to the 7th

Another Solemn Epoch of Human Progress~Giuseppe Garibaldi

Garibaldi, the Italian revolutionary hero, praises President Lincoln. Lincoln himself encourages emancipation in Louisiana and defends the draft. The abolitionist editor Garrison encourages his eldest son, praises the soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts and denounces the rioters of New York City. Gideon Welles despises a British ship builder. New Yorker George Templeton Strong wants to assign Southern politicians to hot places in hell. The new state of West Virginia selects senators. (This is before the adoption of the 17th Amendment to the U S Constitution so senators are chosen by governors and state legislators, not direct election by the voters.) Theater audiences in Wheeling have a reputation.

August 4– Tuesday– New York City– George Templeton Strong expresses himself. “Only news is the death of that notable scoundrel, W L Yancey . . . . The gallows don’t always get its due in the this world, but the Devil commonly gets his in the next; and if men are to be judged by the quantity of mischief they have done . . . deliberate authors of Civil War deserve a hot corner of Tophet.” [William Yancey, from Alabama, one of the Southern politicians known as “Fire-Eaters”, an agitator for secession, a racist supporter of slavery and its unlimited expansion, had died at age 48 on July 27th. Many abolitionists shared Strong’s opinion. “Tophet” is a Hebrew word used to refer to a place of punishment, generally hell.]

August 4– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones expresses his hopes and concerns in the pages of his diary. “Our people are thirsting for another victory; and may expect too much. Confederate notes are now given for gold at the rate of $12 or $15 for $1. Flour is $40 per barrel; bacon, $1.75 per pound; coal, $25 per cart-load; and good wood, $30 per cord. Butter is selling at $3 per pound, etc. etc. Nevertheless, most men look for relief in the foreign complications the United States are falling into. England will not prohibit the selling of steamers to the Confederate States, and the United States say it shall not be done; and France has taken possession of Mexico, erecting it into an Empire, upon the throne of which will be seated some European ruler. We think recognition of our government is not far behind these events; when we shall have powerful navies to open the blockade. We are used to wounds and death; but can hardly bear starvation and nakedness.” [By this time Confederate currency is significantly declining in value. Comparing these prices in Yankee dollars, the $40 barrel of flour would equal about $750 today; the $25 worth of coal, about $472 current dollars.]

August 4– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– The Richmond Sentinel takes note of local changes made by the war. “The Hermitage Fair Grounds. Since the occupation of this place by the military, it has undergone quite a changed appearance. The fencing has been nearly all removed, and the desolating effects of war are visible on all sides. Let us hope that the day is not far distant when, in the enjoyment of the blessings of peace and independence, we may again witness the assembling of thousands of the beautiful daughters and sturdy farmers of Virginia, at this once attractive spot.”

August 4– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– The West Virginia Legislature selects Waitman Willey, age 51, of Morgantown, and Peter Van Winkle, age 54, of Parkersburg, as West Virginia’s first United States Senators.

Senator Peter Van Winkle

Senator Peter Van Winkle

August 5– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to General Banks in New Orleans about politics in Louisiana. “I would be glad for her [Louisiana] to make a new constitution, recognizing the emancipation proclamation, and adopting emancipation in those parts of the State to which the proclamation does not apply. And while she is at it, I think it would not be objectionable for her to adopt some practical system by which the two races could gradually live themselves out of their old relation to each other, and both come out better prepared for the new. Education for young blacks should be included in the plan. After all, the power or element of ‘contract’ may be sufficient for this probationary period, and by its simplicity and flexibility may be the better. As an antislavery man, I have a motive to desire emancipation which proslavery men do not have but even they have strong enough reason tothus place themselves again under the shield of the Union, and to thus perpetually hedge against the recurrence of the scenes through which we are now passing. . . . For my own part, I think I shall not, in any event, retract the emancipation proclamation: nor, as executive, ever return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by any of the acts of Congress.”

August 6– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– Abolitionist and pacifist William Lloyd Garrison writes to his eldest son, George Thompson Garrison who has joined the 55th Massachusetts Regiment. “I have nothing but praise to give you that you have been faithful to your highest convictions, and taking your life in your hands, are willing to lay it down, even like the brave Colonel Shaw and his associates, if need be, in the cause of freedom, and for the suppression of slavery and the rebellion. True, I could have wished you could ascend to what I believe a higher plane of moral heroism and a nobler method of self-sacrifice; but as you are true to yourself, I am glad of your fidelity, and proud of our willingness to run any risk in a cause that is undeniably just and good.”

August 6– Thursday– London, England– Birth of Francis Sydney Marvin, historian and educator.

August 6– Thursday– Caprera, Italy– The Italian revolutionary hero Garibaldi writes to President Lincoln. “In the midst of your titanic struggle, permit me, as another among the free children of Columbus, to send you a word of greeting and admiration for the great work you have begun. Posterity will call you the great emancipator, a more enviable title than any crown could be, and greater than any merely mundane treasure, You are a true heir of the teaching given us by Christ and by John Brown. If an entire race of human beings, subjugated into slavery by human egoism, has been restored to human dignity, to civilization and human love, this is by your doing and at the price of the most noble lives in America. It is America, the same country which taught liberty to our forefathers, which now opens another solemn epoch of human progress. And while your tremendous courage astonishes the world, we are sadly reminded how this old Europe, which also can boast a great cause of liberty to fight for, has not found the mind or heart to equal you.”

 

Garibaldi, c 1866

Garibaldi, c 1866

August 7– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–In today’s issue of The Liberator, Garrison reprints President Lincoln’s order insuring that there should be “no distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies.” Garrison notes with satisfaction the provision for retaliation upon Confederate prisoners if any black soldiers are executed. About the attack upon Fort Wagner and the riots in New York, the paper says: “The 54th Massachusetts, by the admission of all who witnessed their heroic conduct at the storming of Fort Wagner, have added one more argument to sustain the policy of raising Negro regiments, and furnished one more practical contradiction to the slanders of the enemies of the policy. We trust, for the honor of human nature, that there is not a person in the loyal States, if we except the brutes, ruffians and assassins of New York mob, who can read the accounts of the assault, without feeling his prejudices insensibly giving away before such examples of fortitude and daring, and without being impressed anew with the unfathomable baseness of the miscreants in New York City, who wreaked every outrage on the defenseless brethren of such soldiers, and who, recreants themselves to their country’s call, were furious at the idea that men whose skins were black should presume to be patriots and heroes. The crimes perpetrated in New York against the Negro were palliated by some disloyal journals on the ground that they were a natural reaction against the attempt of the Administration to raise the blacks above their natural level. It was highly presumptuous in the Negro to wish to die for the nation, and therefore it was to be expected that whites should instantly proceed to burn black tenements and murder black citizens! We wonder if the white gentlemen of Five Points, Corlaers Hook and Mackerelville, even now consider the 54th Massachusetts as up to their level.”

Garrison

Garrison

 August 7– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman to Hugo Fritsch. “Well, Hugo, I am still as much as ever, indeed more, in the great military hospitals here. Every day or night I spend four, five, or six hours, among my sick, wounded, prostrate boys. It is fascinating, sad, & with varied fortune of course. Some of my boys get well, some die. After I finish this letter . . . I shall give the latter part of the afternoon & some hours of the night to Armory Square Hospital, a large establishment & one I find most calling on my sympathies & ministrations. I am welcomed by the surgeons as by the soldiers– very grateful to me. You must remember that these government hospitals are not filled as with human debris like the old established city hospitals, New York, &c., but mostly [with] these good-born American young men, appealing to me most profoundly, good stock, often mere boys, full of sweetness & heroism– often they seem very near to me, even as my own children or younger brothers.”

 

August 7– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln responds to New York Governor Seymour’s request that the President suspend the draft. “I do not object to abide a decision of the United States Supreme Court, or of the judges thereof, on the constitutionality of the draft law. In fact, I should be willing to facilitate the obtaining of it. But I cannot consent to lose the time while it is being obtained. We are contending with an enemy who, as I understand, drives every able-bodied man he can reach into his ranks, very much as a butcher drives bullocks into the slaughter-pen. No time is wasted, no argument is used. This produces an army which will soon turn upon our now victorious soldiers already in the field, if they shall not be sustained by recruits as they should be. It produces an army with a rapidity not to be matched on our side if we first waste time to re-experiment with the volunteer system, already deemed by Congress, and palpably, in fact, so far exhausted as to be inadequate; and then more time to obtain a court decision as to whether a law is constitutional, which requires a part of those not now in the service to go to the aid of those who are already in it; and still more time to determine with absolute certainty that we get those who are to go in the precisely legal proportion to those who are not to go. My purpose is to be in my action just and constitutional, and yet practical, in performing the important duty with which I am charged, of maintaining the unity and the free principles of our common country.”

New York Governor Horation Seymour

New York Governor Horation Seymour

August 7– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Navy Secretary Gideon Welles describes the ship builder John Laird as “an unmitigated liar and hypocrite. Professing to be an antislavery man from principle and an earnest friend of the Union, he and his firm have for money been engaged in the service of the slaveholders to break up our Union.”

August 7– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “With show folks of all sorts the people of Wheeling have the reputation of being the most boisterous and disorderly at public exhibitions, of any people in the country. Every exhibition, no matter of what character, is sure to be greeted by shouts and whistles and rude demonstrations of disorder. Since the theatre opened at Washington Hall the management has been terribly annoyed by a class of persons who appear to attend the performances on purpose to create a tumult and annoy the performers and the better portion of the audiences.”~Wheeling Intelligencer