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The Great Charter~June 15, 1215

The Great Charter

King John I signs the Great Charter

King John I signs the Great Charter

On this date in 1215 England’s King John I made peace with contentious nobles by signing the Magna Carta or Great Charter. John was the fifth and youngest son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He had none of the political skill of his father and certainly none of the intelligence of his brilliant mother. He ascended the throne of the death of his older brother, King Richard, the Lion-Hearted. As I used to tell my students, King John was in every way as nasty a piece of work as portrayed in the Robin Hood legends and then some.

Circa 1150, Eleanor of Aquitaine (c.1122 - 1204), the wife of King Louis VII of France and later of Henry II of England. One of her sons by Henry was Richard the Lionheart. Original Artwork: Taken from the carving on her tomb at Fontevrault. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Circa 1150, Eleanor of Aquitaine (c.1122 – 1204)

King John declared the Magna Carta invalid in September of 1216, barely a month before his own death and fighting with the nobles– both Norman and Saxon– continued. When John died his young son, Henry, needed the support of the nobility to keep the throne, and so Henry’s guardian issued an edited version of the Magna Carta. The adult King Henry III re-issued a final version of the Magna Carta in 1225, though it did not officially become law until 1295.While most of the rights in the Magna Carta, like the protections against unreasonable taxes and fees, had already been established by the Charter of Liberties, and others had been established by previous monarchs (John’s father, Henry II, had established a fairly decent system of trial by jury), the Magna Carta included one significant provision that had never been put into law before– the Council of Barons. This turned the Magna Carta from a list of intentions and promises, like the Charter of Liberties, into a document that could actually be enforced on the king. The Magna Carta meant that the king’s power was no longer completely absolute; however, the monarch continued to exercise great power until additional changes took place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, giving shape to the English monarchy as we know it today.

monument at Runnymede

monument at Runnymede

What did the Great Charter actually say and do?

The Magna Carta prevented the king from levying taxes without his nobles’ permission, except in a few special situations, and from demanding goods or services without payment from his free subjects. It also limited the power of the barons to levy taxes on their own feudal subjects, and protected debtors from having their land seized to pay their debts, except as a last resort.

The Magna Carta protected the widows and heirs of nobles from having to pay unreasonable fees to receive their inheritances, and ensured that they would receive enough money to live on even if their husbands or fathers died in debt, as well as making the royal officials who managed the estates of underage heirs accountable for how the estates were run. It also limited the power of the king to force the widows and children of barons to marry, a power King John had abused for his own profit.

The Magna Carta set up permanent courts for different kinds of cases, and forced royal officials who accused someone of a crime to produce witnesses to prove their case. It protected free men from fines that would ruin them or that were out of proportion to their crime, and protected nobles from being fined except by the rest of the nobility. On the other hand, the Magna Carta also established that priests could be fined under the same rules as lay people. It established protection for free men from being arrested or punished in any way unless the punishment has been agreed by a jury of their equals or decreed by law.

One of the most important steps the Magna Carta took was the establishment of a council of twenty-five barons to enforce the rights it granted. The Council of Barons had the right to challenge the king if he or any of his officials violated any of the provisions of the Magna Carta, and if the king refused to make reparations, the council could force him to comply by seizing his royal property. The council was not elected by the people. When members died or left, the remaining members chose noblemen to replace them but by setting up a group of subjects with the power to hold the king to account, and to punish him if he failed to abide by the law, the Magna Carta paved the way for the later creation of Parliament, beginning around 1295.

tomb of King John I

tomb of King John I

We must remember that the Great Charter was created by nobles and a king not interested in civil rights but only in reaching a bargain to avoid civil war. Its purpose was to protect the nobility from the King. It did nothing for the peasant. It offered nothing for the Jews, the Scots or the Irish, or any foreigners living in or conducting business in England.

Yet it had long-reaching effects in establishing constitutional government in Great Britain and in the United States.

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So Many of My Friends Falling ~ February 1865 ~ the 9th and 10th

So Many of My Friends Falling ~ Alva Benjamin Spencer

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Hard times in the Confederacy. Sherman is cutting his way through South Carolina. Supplies running short. The size of the army so reduced that General Lee goes on record supporting the enlistment of black slaves in large numbers. Southern newspapers call out for resistance. There is discussion– North and South– about the failed peace initiative.

Sherman marching through South Carolina

Sherman marching through South Carolina

February 9– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Sherman has not neglected, in his military march, to ‘garrison the press.’ The Savannah Republican, an old and long established journal of that city, has been manned and officered by an Abolition detachment. . . . We are glad to learn that the new organ of Sherman is compelled to rely wholly on the Yankee soldiers and sailors for patronage, the sales to citizens being, at present, very small. This shows that, in spite of representations to the contrary, the great mass of the people of Savannah . . . have no sympathy with the invaders. The Republican indeed, admits as much, but it is by no means despondent. It will ‘require time to teach the rabid rebels of Savannah their fatal error.’ The manner of conveying this instruction is not clearly indicated, but, from the example of New Orleans and other Confederate cities in Yankee possession, we can readily imagine the process of enlightening darkened understandings. Insult, degradation, stoning and plunder, will open their eyes to the beauties of abolition philanthropy; or, if they still continue incredulous, banish them by wholesale and seize their houses and effects. The ‘fatal error’ of the Confederate people is to imagine that they have any right to exist on the planet. When they are converted from that mortal heresy, and renounce it with their dying breath, they may expect to escape from Yankee persecution.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

February 9– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “We have nothing from Charleston for several days. No doubt preparations are being made for its evacuation. The stores will be brought here for Lee’s army. What will be the price of gold then?” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 9– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– “When the Yankee nation elected Abraham Lincoln on the avowed basis of abolition, they proclaimed their future intentions with regard to us and our institutions. They made up the issue between the sections and severed the Union. When they seized Fort Sumter and returned to give it up to us, to whom it rightly belonged, they closed the issue for war and shut the book of peace. The contest engaged in was on either sides for Union or for disunion – for one General Government, or two separate General Governments, over the two separate sections. For four years this war was waged with fierce endeavor on both sides. But now, just at this point, and just at this time, the 1st chapter of the war has closed its red pages. . . . For the second time the issues have all been made up – and for the second time the books have been closed. The United States Government have just abolished slavery, by an act of Congress, throughout the entire length and breadth of the land now under their authority, or hereafter to come under their authority. . . . Everybody knows now where we stand – utter and complete subjugation and abolition; or fight on to the death, or to glorious independence, with the preservation of our rights and individual liberties.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

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February 9– Thursday– Walker’s Plantation, South Carolina– “Marched to Walker’s plantation; distance, ten miles. Here we remained . . . while the troops were completing the destruction of the railroad.” ~ Diary of a staff officer under Union General Oliver O. Howard.

February 9– Thursday– Albany Georgia– “We are in Albany – Mett, Mrs. Meals, and I – on our way to Americus, where I am going to consult Cousin Bolling Pope about my eyes. They have been troubling me ever since I had measles. We had hardly got our hats off when Jim Chiles came panting up the steps. He had seen the carriage pass through town and must run round at once to see if a sudden notion had struck us to go home. After tea came Captain Hobbs, the Welshes, and a Mr. Green, of Columbus, to spend the evening. Mrs. Welsh gives a large party next Thursday night, to which we are invited, and she also wants me to stay over and take part in some theatricals for the benefit of the hospitals, but I have had enough of worrying with amateur theatricals for the present.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

February 9– Thursday– London, England– Birth of Beatrice Stella Tanner who will become a famous actress known as Mrs Patrick Campbell. [Dies April 9, 1940.]

Beatrice Tanner a/k/a Mrs Patrick Campbell

Beatrice Tanner a/k/a Mrs Patrick Campbell

February 10– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– Today’s issue of The Liberator reprints the text of the Thirteenth Amendment and lists every member of the House of Representatives by name, state and political party, indicating whether he voted for or against the amendment. The issue also reports the following: “Another Marked Event in American History! The admission of John S. Rock, Esq., a talented and much respected lawyer of Boston, to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States.” [Rock, 1825 – 1866, a free-born black man was an educator, physician and abolitionist activist as well as a lawyer. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts moved for Rock’s admission to practice before the Supreme Court on February 1st thus making Rock the first African American lawyer to be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court. For a biography, see The Supreme Court Bar’s First Black Member by Clarence G. Contee (1975), in the electronic archives of the Supreme Court Historical Society.]

John S Rock

John S Rock

February 10– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “On Wednesday evening Mrs. Welles held a levee, which always disarranges. The season has thus far been one of gaiety. Parties have been numerous. Late hours I do not like, but I have a greater dislike to late dinners. The dinner parties of Washington are to be deprecated always by those who regard health. The President has communicated his movements tending to peace. Jeff Davis has published the letter of Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell. They do not materially differ. The prospect of peace does not seem nearer than before the interview took place, yet I trust we are approximating the much desired result. There are ultras among us who do not favor the cessation of hostilities except on terms and conditions which make that event remote. A few leading radicals are inimical to the Administration, and oppose all measures of the Administration which are likely to effect an immediate peace. They are determined that the States in rebellion shall not resume their position in the Union except on new terms and conditions independent of those in the proposed Constitutional Amendment. Wade in the Senate and Winter Davis in the House are leading spirits in this disturbing movement. It is the positive element, violent without much regard to Constitutional or State rights, or any other rights indeed, except such as they may themselves define or dictate. Not much was done to-day at the Cabinet. Some discussion of general matters.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

February 10– Friday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “The weather is fine today and as warm as spring. We are enjoying it after the snow and ice of a few days ago. I am very well and happy as a man ought to be.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 10– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “It does indeed make me feel sad to see so many of my friends falling around me. Oh for something to stop this destructive conflict. The ‘Peace Commissioners’ have returned, telling us ‘the argument is exhausted, let us stand by our arms.’ They were permitted to go no nearer Washington than Fortress Monroe, at which place they were met by inhuman Lincoln, and the subtle intriguer Seward. Nothing was accomplished, save our Commissioners being told they were rebel traitors. Thus endeth the Peace question, ‘peace to its ashes.’I hope no sensationist will again revive it. I think we all can now see what is the character of our enemies. We can do nothing but await the time when we shall be more powerful than they. To insure such an event, we have to put forth every energy, in the field and at home. The people must encourage the army and all will be well. We have virtually commenced a new war. It does look gloomy; but contrast independence with submission or subjugation. Let every man’s motto be ‘Liberty or death,’ and independence is ours. None are more desirous to obtain peace than I. I have an object to attain to, which would make me forget all the many, many hardships I’ve undergone and render me the happiest among men. If we could gain anything by reconstruction, I would willingly give my consent; but we all know that instead of gaining, we would lose everything.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

Alva Benjamin Spencer

Alva Benjamin Spencer

February 10– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and cold. . . . Sherman has got to the railroad near Branchville, and cut communications with Augusta. At the meeting [of Congress], yesterday, Mr. Hunter presided, sure enough; and made a carefully prepared patriotic speech. There was no other alternative. And Mr. Benjamin, being a member of the cabinet, made a significant and most extraordinary speech. He said the white fighting men were exhausted, and that black men must recruit the army– and it must be done at once; that General Lee had informed him he must abandon Richmond, if not soon reinforced, and that Negroes would answer. The States must send them, Congress having no authority. Virginia must lead, and send 20,000 to the trenches in twenty days. Let the Negroes volunteer, and be emancipated. It was the only way to save the slaves– the women and children. He also said all [planters and farmers] who had cotton, tobacco, corn, meat, etc. must give them to the government, not sell them.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 10– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We desire to call the attention of our readers in all parts of the State to the important mission of Captain Julian Mitchel, under the authority of the Governor of the State. His mission is to save food from the hands of the enemy, for the use of the State. It is a matter of the greatest importance in two aspects. First, it is essential, in order to delay, or to check altogether, Sherman’s march into the interior, that all food should be moved from in front of him. He must march across a waste. Not a pound of corn, rice or peas, or a bushel of potatoes must be left on his line of march, or anywhere, that he can get it, beyond the absolute necessities of those who cannot move. This fact all property owners in the State should understand at once. And this order every military man should be required strictly to enforce to the letter. Secondly, it is important that whilst cutting off all supplies from Sherman, so far as the produce of this State is concerned, we should not starve ourselves. This is Captain Mitchel’s mission. In all regions of the country threatened by the enemy, he is to gather up for the use of the State all the provisions except those absolutely requisite for the sustenance of those who are compelled by necessity to remain at home – old men, and cripples, women and children. It is a mission of incalculable importance, if properly enforced and thoroughly carried out.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

February 10– Friday– Albany Georgia– “We had to get up very early to catch the seven o’clock train to Americus. Jim met us at the depot, though there were so many of our acquaintances on board that we had no special need of an escort. Mr. George Lawton sat by me all the way from Smithville to Americus, and insisted on our paying his family a visit before leaving South-West Georgia. I wish I could go, for he lives near father’s old Tallassee plantation where I had such happy times in my childhood; but if we were to accept all the invitations that come to us, we would never get back home again. We reached Americus at ten and went straight to Cousin Bolling’s hospital. He was not there, but Dr. Howard, his assistant, told us he was in the village and would be at the office in a few minutes. All along the streets, as we were making our way from the depot to the hospital, we could recognize his patients going about with patches and shades and blue spectacles over their eyes, and some of them had blue or green veils on. We didn’t care to wait at the hospital in all that crowd of men, so we started out to visit the shops, intending to return later and meet Cousin Bolling. We had gone only a few steps when we saw him coming toward us. His first words were the announcement that he was married! I couldn’t believe him at first, and thought he was joking. Then he insisted that we should go home with him and see our new cousin. We felt doubtful about displaying our patched up Confederate traveling suits before a brand new bride from beyond the blockade, with trunk loads of new things, but curiosity got the better of us, and so we agreed to go home with him. He is occupying Colonel Maxwell’s house while the family are on the plantation in Lee county. When we reached the house with Cousin Bolling, Mrs. Pope – or ‘Cousin Bessie,’ as she says we must call her now– made us feel easy by sending for us to come to her bedroom, as there was no fire in the parlor, and she would not make company of us. She was a Mrs. Ayres, before her marriage to Cousin Bolling, a young widow from Memphis, Tennessee, and very prominent in society there. She is quite handsome, and, having just come from beyond the lines, her beautiful dresses were a revelation to us dowdy Confederates, and made me feel like a plucked peacock. Her hair was arranged in three rolls over the top of the head, on each side of the part, in the style called ‘cats, rats, and mice,’ on account of the different size of the rolls, the top one being the largest. It was very stylish. I wish my hair was long enough to dress that way, for I am getting very tired of frizzes; they are so much trouble, and always will come out in wet weather. We were so much interested that we stayed at Cousin Bolling’s too long and had to run nearly all the way back to the depot in order to catch our train. On the cars I met the very last man I would have expected to see in this part of the world – my Boston friend, Mr. Adams. He said he was on his way to take charge of a Presbyterian church in Eufaula, Alabama. He had on a broadcloth coat and a stovepipe hat, which are so unlike anything worn by our Confederate men that I felt uncomfortably conspicuous while he was with me. I am almost ashamed, nowadays, to be seen with any man not in uniform, though Mr. Adams, being a Northern man and a minister, could not, of course, be expected to go into the army. I believe he is sincere in his Southern sympathies, but his Yankee manners and lingo ‘sorter riles’ me, as the darkies say, in spite of reason and common sense. He talked religion all the way to Smithville, and parted with some pretty sentiment about the ‘sunbeam I had thrown across his path.’ I don’t enjoy that sort of talk from men; I like dash and flash and fire in talk, as in action. We reached Albany at four o’clock, and after a little visit to Mrs. Sims, started home, where we arrived soon after dark, without any adventure except being nearly drowned in the ford at Wright’s Creek.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

coatee dress, 1865

coatee dress, 1865

February 10–Friday– Columbus, Ohio– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 10– Friday– Jefferson City, Missouri– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 10– Friday– Lombardy, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Richard Gardiner Willis, politician and leader of the Conservative Party. [Dies February 24, 1929.]

Richard Gardiner Willis

Richard Gardiner Willis

Busy Tearing Up the Railroad ~ February 1865 ~ the 6th to 8th

Busy Tearing up the Railroad ~ a Union officer

skirmishing in South Carolina

skirmishing in South Carolina

While the governor of South Carolina calls on all citizens to resist the Yankee, Federal troops are busy destroying railroads and burning cotton, just as they did marching through Georgia months ago. While Delaware, a slave-holding state which remained in the Union, rejects the Thirteenth Amendment, five other states ratify it. Snow falls up and down the east coast. Secretary Welles again describes a dysfunctional Congress driven only by party politics– just as today’s Congress. Lincoln sends a thank you letter to William Lloyd Garrison. An obscure Catholic monk presents pioneering scientific research.

February 6– Monday– Jefferson City, Missouri– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 6– Monday– London, England– Isabella Mary Mayson Beeton, cook and author of a popular book on household management, dies at 28 years of age.

Isabella Beeton

Isabella Beeton

February 6– Monday– Antrim, Ireland– Birth of Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin, astronomer and educator. [Dies September 20, 1939.]

February 6– Monday– Kristiansand, Norway– Birth of William Martin Nygaard, publisher and politician. [Dies December 19, 1952.]

February 7– Tuesday– Augusta, Maine– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

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February 7– Tuesday– Brooklyn, New York– “We are now having quite a snow storm– it looks as if it would be quite deep. I am rather sorry to see it for it looks hard for the soldiers. I feel disappointed in regard to the peace talks. I was in hopes that we have had war enough. It seems almost impossible that the south can keep up the fight much longer– however I think the president showed a great deal of cuteness in going down to see them and if he only told them that the Union was all he asked [he showed] more statesmanship than I ever gave him credit for. I see that a great many here have not yet given up the idea but what there is something more to come– the desire for a peace on the basis of the Union alone seems so far as I can see meets with universal applause. Well Walt so you have gone to keeping house have you? You must be careful or you will get sick again. I fear you do not live well. I think the great cause of good health is good eating. Keep up the supply of good things. Do you have about the same experience in the Hospitals as you used to? were the men glad to see you back? were any remaining that you used to visit? if so I know they were glad to see you– and it must seem like old times for you to go among them. Do you see many of the friends that you used to know then? I suppose you visit the Hospitals once a day– are there as many in them as there used to be? I hope not– tis so long since we have had any very large battles that I should suppose the Hospitals were not full.” ~ Letter from Jeff Whitman to his brother Walt.

February 7– Tuesday– Dover, Delaware– The legislature rejects the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have your kind letter of the 21st of January, and can only beg that you will pardon the seeming slight occasioned by my constant engagements. When I received the spirited and admirable painting, ‘Waiting for the Hour,’ I directed my Secretary not to acknowledge its arrival at once, preferring to make my personal acknowledgment of the tender kindness of the donors; and waiting for some leisure hour, I have committed the discourtesy of not replying at all. I hope you will believe that my thanks, though late, are most cordial, and I request that you will convey to them to those associated with you in this flattered and generous gift.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to William Lloyd Garrison.

Waiting for the Hour, a gift to President Lincoln

Waiting for the Hour, a gift to President Lincoln

February 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Very little before the Cabinet. The President, when I entered the room, was reading with much enjoyment certain portions of Petroleum V. Nasby to Dennison and Speed. The book is a broad burlesque on modern Democratic party men. Fessenden, who came in just after me, evidently thought it hardly a proper subject for the occasion, and the President hastily dropped it. . . . Strange how men in prominent positions will, for mere party, stoop to help the erring and the guilty. It is a species of moral treason. J. P. Hale is, as usual, loud-mouthed and insolent in the Senate, belying, perverting, misstating, and misrepresenting the Navy Department. The poor fellow has but few more days in the Senate, and is making the most of them for his hate.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

February 7– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “This morning when I awoke I found as did all the troops that I was covered with snow and ice. It had snowed during the night and then turned to rain which froze as it fell. I never felt more uncomfortable in my life and we started fires to try and dry our clothing.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 7– Tuesday– Hatcher’s Run, Virginia– In the third and final day of hard fighting, Federal forces defeat Confederate troops, creating an encirclement around Petersburg and Richmond which extends 37 miles, leaving General Lee’s 46,000 soldiers short on supplies and facing General Grant’s 125,000 troops who are well supplied. For this three day battle, Union casualties– dead, wounded, missing– total 1512 while total Confederate losses amount to approximately 1160.

February 7– Tuesday– Topeka, Kansas– The state legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

Governor Andrew Magrath of South Carolina

Governor Andrew Magrath of South Carolina

February 7– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The doubt has been dispelled. The truth is made manifest; and the startling conviction is now forced upon all. The invasion of the State has been commenced, our people driven from their homes; their property plundered and destroyed; the torch and the sword displayed, as the fate to which they are destined! The threats of an insolent foe are to be carried into execution, unless that foe is checked and beaten back. I call now upon the people of South Carolina to rise up and defend, at once, their own rights and the honor of their State. . . . Remove your property from the reach of the enemy; carry what you can to a place of safety; then quickly rally and return to the field. What you cannot carry, destroy. Whatever you leave that will be of use to your foe, what he will not need, that will he destroy. Indulge no sickly hope that you will be spared by submission; terror will but whet his revenge. Think not that your property will be respected, and afterward recovered. No such feeling prompts him. You leave it but to support and sustain him; you save it but to help him on his course. Destroy what you cannot remove. . . . You have led the way in those acts which united the people of your sister States in this confederation of States, and their secession from the Government of the United States. You first fired the gun at the flag of the United States, and caused that flag to be lowered at your command. As yet, you have suffered less than any other people. You have spoken words of defiance – let your acts be equally significant. In your sister States, with the people of those States, you have a common sympathy in the determination to be free, and in your hatred of the foe; you will not falter in that strong sympathy which is derived from a common suffering. . . . Rise, then, with the truth before you, that the cause in which you are to arm is the cause of Justice and of Right! Strike, with the belief strong in your hearts, that the cause of Justice and of Right is the cause which a Power superior to the hosts seeking to oppress you will not suffer to be overthrown. And even upon the soil of the State in which this monstrous tyranny was first defied, let it meet the fate it deserves, while imperishable honor will be awarded those who contributed to that great consummation, in which humanity will rejoice.” ~ Message from Governor Andrew Gordon Magrath to the people of South Carolina, published in today’s Charleston Mercury.

February 7– Tuesday– Bamberg, South Carolina– “Marched into Bamberg; five miles. This was a once thriving town on the Charleston and Augusta Railroad. The Fifteenth Corps was busy tearing up the railroad; as we entered the last train to Charleston passed about 4 o’clock that morning. In Bamberg we found an immense quantity of cotton, which was burned.” ~ Diary of a staff officer under Union General Oliver O. Howard.

typical of the South Carolina railroads destroyed by Federal Troops

typical of the South Carolina railroads destroyed by Federal Troops

February 8– Wednesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Massachusetts legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 8– Wednesday– New York City– “Not so clear but that the Hampton Roads Conference has done good after all by silencing or converting Peace Democrats. . . . Opposition papers . . . say in substance, more or less distinctly, ‘Since the South refuses to negotiate about peace, except on the basis of recognition and disunion, there is nothing left but to fight it out.’ Strange they have been so long in coming to that conclusion.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

February 8– Wednesday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– The Pennsylvania legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 8– Wednesday– Johnson’s Island, Ohio– “I am forced to reiterate the familiar cry – no letter. It is a consolation to know that a portion of my letters reach you. But I look daily for the batch of old missives that have been detained by the way. Letters from Aunt Mary, Ira and Carrie Sanders have been received. The information those contained relieved my anxiety about affairs at home. The suspense had been unutterably painful. On every Wednesday night there is held a small prayer-meeting in my room. The old familiar songs are sung, the loved [ones] at home are remembered in prayers of men familiar with every experience of grim-visaged war. There are none on earth I love better. Monroe was before me; the dear old church hard by my grandmother’s home, the other scarcely less dear from kindred associations, those whom I have so often met within their sacred walls. I have abiding faith that I shall one day meet them as of old.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his sweetheart Hester C. Felker.

Henry McDaniel

Henry McDaniel

February 8– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I am called on by the House of Representatives to give an account of my interview with Messrs. Stephens, Hunter & Campbell; and it is very desirable to me to put in your despatch of February 1st to the Secretary of War, in which among other things you say ‘I fear now their going back without any expression from any one in authority will have a bad influence.’ I think the despatch does you credit while I do not see that it can embarrass you. May I use it?” ~ Private message from President Lincoln to General Grant.

February 8– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained all day yesterday– slush– bright this morning and cool– ground still covered with snow. It is reported by General Lee that the losses on both sides on Monday were light, but the enemy have established themselves on Hatcher’s Run, and intrenched; still menacing the South Side Railroad. It is also said fighting was going on yesterday afternoon, when the dreadful snow and sleet were enough to subdue an army! We have nothing from Charleston or Branchville, but the wires are said to be working to Augusta.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 8– Jacksonville, Florida– “The military force is so small here now, that the rebels are giving us some annoyance. Dickinson’s band of cavalry, about two hundred strong, is in this vicinity, and have recently captured several small parties of our soldiers, amounting, in all, to over a hundred men. Our Schools are in a flourishing condition; we have an average attendance of one hundred and sixty. I have organized a sewing-school – the children bringing such work as they have – and we teach them to mend, and patch, and the older ones to cat by patterns, which we prepare for them. It is an interesting sight to see my sewing school; and the delight of the smaller ones, who are being initiated into the mysteries of making rag babies, is comical to see. It is the best I can do, we have so little to do with besides. I have great faith in the knowledge which comes to children through their dolls. Last Saturday, I visited thirty-seven different families, white and black, in town. I wish I could give you some idea of the difference between the two– equally poor, equally dirty and destitute! The whites, have a hopeless, listless appearance; and no words of encouragement or cheer seem to reach them. They do not hesitate to beg, and are full of complaints. There is no elasticity in them; with the blacks, it is just the opposite: they are cheerful, willing to work, do not beg or complain, and are far more hopeful objects to labor for.” ~ Report from Esther H. Hawks to the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society.

Dr Esther H Hawks

Dr Esther H Hawks

February 8– Thursday– Brunn, Moravia, Austrian Empire– Gregor Mendel, age 43, a Catholic friar, presents his first paper on plant genetics to the Nature Research Society.

Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel

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

Christmas Gift for President Lincoln

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

Fort McAllister outside Savannah

Fort McAllister outside Savannah

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

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

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

Henry Clarke Wright, radical abolitionist

Henry Clarke Wright, radical abolitionist

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

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

Emancipation Proclamation painting by Carpenter

Emancipation Proclamation painting by Carpenter

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

imagesA4VIJY6M

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

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

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

James Bronterre O'Brien

James Bronterre O’Brien

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

Princess Zorka

Princess Zorka

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

Concern Felt About Sherman ~ December 1864~ 8th and 9th

Concern Felt about Sherman ~ George Templeton Strong.

General Sherman

General Sherman

North and South, people wonder what has become of General Sherman and his troops. A desultory stalemate continues in the siege of Petersburg. A Union general authorizes Maryland citizens to take action against guerrillas and outlaws. A Boston preacher calls upon people to aid former slaves build new lives in freedom. The Pope condemns the “inventions of innovators.”

December 8– Thursday– New York City– “A windy night and growing colder after a cold day. Much concern felt about Sherman. His failure would be a fearful calamity. Even Richmond papers seem not certainly to know what has become of him. Perhaps he will never be heard of again, like King Arthur . . . . He should be very near the coast by this time, unless he has come utterly to grief.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

Union siege artillery outside Petersburg

Union siege artillery outside Petersburg

December 8– Thursday– New York City– “In the armies of the Potomac and the James [at Petersburg, Virginia] the picket firing, which is still kept up, and the occasional exchanges between the opposing batteries, are all that disturb the quiet. On Monday there was some artillery firing by the Ninth corps guns and the rebels opposite and between the Monitors and the Howlett House battery, but without causing any casualties on the Union side. The Tenth and Eighteenth corps have been consolidated, and are known as the Twenty-fourth corps, of which General Ord has assumed command. The corps of colored troops, under General Weitzel, is numerically designated the Twenty-fifth. General Meade presented medals of honor to a number of non-commissioned officers and privates of the Second corps on Tuesday. No intercourse whatever with the enemy or exchange of newspapers is now allowed in either army, under severe penalties. . . . The city of Detroit [Michigan] is again greatly excited by anticipations of a raid on it from Canada by rebels who are said to be now perfecting their organization. The civil and military authorities of the city are making every preparation to receive the raiders. Extra police have been placed on duty, and arrangements are making for the enrolment and arming of the militia.” ~ New York Herald.

Dictator_at_Petersburg

December 8– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “McMullen and Baker, the two members of the 2nd West Virginia Cavalry, who were committed to the Atheneum several days ago for assaulting a Mustering officer at the Custom House, were yesterday released from confinement at the request of the officer, who withdrew the charges.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

December 8– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “We received no news from Sherman on yesterday. At our last advices, he was believed to be moving towards the coast, and our troops were concentrating to obstruct his route. We are glad to see from the Augusta papers that the railroad companies in Georgia are going to work vigorously to reconstruct and repair their railroads. The Central railroad is already running from Macon nearly to Gordon. The Atlanta and West Point road will be in running order in a month, and the Georgia road, from Augusta to Atlanta in forty days. Latest accounts, received last night, state that Sherman is moving in two columns down the Ogechee river, one column on either side.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

December 8– Thursday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Your letter is the latest I have heard of that did come through. I suppose it got to Augusta before Sherman cut the railroad. I feel in great hopes now that no Yankees will invade our county. I have eagerly gathered all the news from Georgia I could to find out Sherman’s course. We get nothing scarcely but rumors but from all I can learn he is making his course east of Macon, and I hope, as I said before, that he pass our section unmolested. But I will fear great concern till I hear direct from you again. We had a change of the monotony of camp life last Sunday. An old gentleman named R. O. Davidson delivered an address on the invention of a bird of Art. He says he made an artificial bird to go by steam through the air that can carry a man to guide it and a number of shells which the man can drop on the Yankees as he passed over them which will soon kill and scare them all away. He first applied to the Government for aid but was refused and he now appeals to private contributions. At the close of his address the boys contributed $116.00 to assist him in forwarding his designs. He proposes to make five hundred of these birds to follow one behind the other, he is taking the lead and to drop bomb shells on yanks wherever found. Quite an idea if he can only succeed and who knows but what he will. Of course it is ridiculed to a great extent, also the idea of steam cars [railroad trains], telegraphic wires and all other great inventions, laughed at at first.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to Amanda, his wife.

December 8– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– In another effort to create problems in the rear of General Sherman’s march toward Savannah, all white men in Fulton County between the ages of 16 and 55 are ordered to report to the city hall for military duty.

marching toward Savannah

marching toward Savannah

December 8– Thursday– on the march in Georgia– “Twenty-third day out. Roads today heavy sand and both yesterday and today very bad at swampy places and creek crossings – same thing in fact, for all the creeks seem to spread into swamps. Stopped at house of Reverend Mr. Heidt– fifty-four years old, Methodist, very well off, barns, etc, full of all sorts of forage when we came. Fluent talker, pretty shrewd, but foolish enough to argue with General [Sherman] about importance of cotton; General down on cotton.” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock,

December 8– Thursday– Ebenezer Creek, Georgia; near Bryan Court House, Georgia; Hatcher’s Run, Virginia; Tuscumbia, Missouri– Engagements and encounters.

December 8– Thursday– Ballintemple, County Cork, Ireland– George Boole, mathematician, inventor of Boolean algebra, philosopher and logician, dies at 49 years of age.

George Boole

George Boole

December 8– Thursday– London, England– James Clerk Maxwell presents his paper “A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field” to the Royal Society, treating light as an electromagnetic wave and presenting Maxwell’s equations.

December 8– Thursday– Fere-en-Tardenois, Aisne, France– Birth of Camille Claudel, sculptor and graphic artist. [Dies October 19, 1943.]

Camille Claudel

Camille Claudel

December 8– Thursday– Rome, Italy– Pope Pius IX condemns theological liberalism as an error, asserts the supremacy of Roman Catholic Church over civil society and condemns rationalism and socialism. “For, teaching and professing the most fatal error of ‘Communism and Socialism,’ they assert that ‘domestic society or the family derives the whole principle of its existence from the civil law alone; and, consequently, that on civil law alone depend all rights of parents over their children, and especially that of providing for education.’ By which impious opinions and machinations these most deceitful men chiefly aim at this result, viz., that the salutary teaching and influence of the Catholic Church may be entirely banished from the instruction and education of youth, and that the tender and flexible minds of young men may be infected and depraved by every most pernicious error and vice. For all who have endeavored to throw into confusion things both sacred and secular, and to subvert the right order of society, and to abolish all rights, human and divine, have always (as we above hinted) devoted all their nefarious schemes, devices and efforts, to deceiving and depraving incautious youth and have placed all their hope in its corruption. For which reason they never cease by every wicked method to assail the clergy, both secular and regular, from whom (as the surest monuments of history conspicuously attest), so many great advantages have abundantly flowed to Christianity, civilization and literature, and to proclaim that ‘the clergy, as being hostile to the true and beneficial advance of science and civilization, should be removed from the whole charge and duty of instructing and educating youth.’ Others meanwhile, reviving the wicked and so often condemned inventions of innovators, dare with signal impudence to subject to the will of the civil authority the supreme authority of the Church and of this Apostolic See given to her by Christ Himself, and to deny all those rights of the same Church and See which concern matters of the external order.” ~ the encyclical Quanta Cura [Condemning Current Errors]

Pope Pius IX

Pope Pius IX

December 9– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Rev. Mr. Banvard, in his sermon on Thanksgiving day, which was on topics for the times said: The present condition of the colored race in this country, as well as of those in their father-land, is impressively described in that simple yet sublime conception of Anne Whitney in her statute of Africa, now on exhibition in Boston. It is the form, in colossal proportions, of a female with subdued African features, in the act of rising from her couch. She has risen sufficiently to lean upon one elbow, whilst with her other hand she shades her eyes as she endeavors to look in the distance before her, and catch the first rays of the coming dawn. She is awakening to a new, day and looking forward with mingled feelings of curiosity, and hope, endeavoring to penetrate the future. It is a grand embodiment of majesty, strength, anticipation, hopefulness, and a readiness to meet the events which the future may reveal. It is an appropriate and majestic symbol of Africa awaking to a new career, and is equally truthful and fitting as an emblem of Africa in our country as in her. She is arising from a long and terrible night. The day dawns. The morning star of hope shines serenely upon the brow of heaven. Africa has caught its cheering rays. She begins to stir. She rouses herself from her long night of, ignorance, suffering and bondage. She looks before and around her to see what the unusual portents of the times reveal, and she is preparing herself for the future which awaits her. For a long time has her hand been stretched out in supplication to her God; and now there is put into it the alphabet and the Bible, the musket and the banner of freedom, and she is learning to use them all. The question is asked, and will be repeated with increasing emphasis for years to come, what is our duty toward the colored race in this country? I answer, that during the painful period of their transition from slavery to freedom, which to them is necessarily a period of nakedness and hunger, want and wretchedness, the government and the people should unite to provide them with shelter, clothing and food, until they can make arrangements to provide for themselves. Furnish them also with labor and the elements of education. Send them teachers and books; and when they shall have reached a settled, normal condition, then don’t interfere with them. Let them alone; give them a fair chance, and let them carve out their own fortune, and we may be assured that as a general thing they will be amply able to support themselves.” ~ The Liberator.

"Our Countrymen in Chains"

“Our Countrymen in Chains”

December 9– Friday– New York City– “No positive intelligence from Sherman. Rebel newspapers report that he has been badly defeated at this point– repulsed with heavy loss at that point. His march is a failure. . . . There must be Southerners capable of believing such stuff, or it would not have been written.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

December 9– Friday– Cumberland, Maryland– “As the borders of this department are infested with small disreputable bands of men, who in civil times, would be called horse thieves and murderers, but who dignify themselves with the title of guerrillas, claiming to belong to the service of the so-called Confederate States, and are following their unlawful calling under the cover and guise of either army, seeking protection within the mountains when pursued – it becomes necessary that some measures be taken by citizens living within this department, and whose property is so threatened, for their own protection. Citizens are called upon to organize for the destruction of all bands of these villains, who have no just claim to the protection of any government, and all possible assistance for their destruction will be given them. Such men, banded together for purposes of plunder and dishonorable personal advantages, are unworthy of, and should receive, no quarter, and when taken, any disposition that may be deemed necessary by the captors themselves toward their persons will be fully upheld and justified. It is impossible to hunt down and destroy these parties by large military organizations, while citizen residents – able at all times to know of their whereabouts – may speedily organize for their destruction. Citizens living within this department must protect themselves in the same manner as in civil times, when over-run by these plundering, marauding and thieving bands, and rise with a determination to rid themselves of them at once, and for all, resting upon the assurance that all the assistance possible will be given them by the department commander.” ~ Orders from Union General Crook.

We Have High Hopes~October 1864~the 3rd to 6th

We Have High Hopes ~ Marion Hill Fitzpatrick.

Southern soldiers, civilians and President Jeff Davis remain optimistic and encourage others that Sherman’s army can be driven from Georgia. Federal troops ravage the Shenandoah Valley. Plenty of fighting continues in many places. An arrest will lead to an important Supreme Court case. All the while the world goes on.

damage in Atlanta

damage in Atlanta

October 3– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Mr. W. W. Sharp, a refugee from Atlanta arrived in this city on Saturday. General Sherman sent those of the people of Atlanta who could establish their loyalty, North, and those who made no pretensions to loyalty were sent South. Mr. Sharp says that the rebels have their last man in the army. He has seen old men at work in the trenches who were so feeble that they could not get out without assistance. One of the councilmen who, together with the Mayor of Atlanta, sent a petition to General Sherman asking him to reconsider his order banishing the people from the town, came as far North as Louisville in company with Mr. Sharp. When the war broke out the councilman was worth a half a million in money. Now he is an almost destitute condition possessed of only a little money than was necessary to bring himself and family North.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer.

October 3– Monday– Mt Sidney, Virginia– “The Yankees are now near Harrisonburg, but I hope they will not be there long. They did but little damage in Augusta county; burned a few barns and mills in the lower end of the county, but in Rockingham they have done a vast amount of damage, burning mills, barns, wheat and hay stacks, and robbing houses. . . . They are all well at home. Got a good deal frightened about the Yankees. What are you doing and all the family? I should be delighted to see you all, but see no chance now. I have only been three days at home since March. My love to all. Write me soon.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his brother Nelson.

October 3– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “We regret to learn that Lewis E. Harvie, Esq., President of the Danville [rail] road, met with a serious accident on Saturday evening last. He was on his way to the city on a hand car, and when near Manchester came in collision with the up passenger train, by which the hand car was thrown from the track, and Mr. Harvie had his thigh broken and received other injuries. Prompt medical treatment was afforded him, and we trust he may soon recover from his injuries.” ~ Richmond Sentinel.

October 3– Monday– Columbia, South Carolina– General Hood now has his eye “fixed upon a point far beyond that where he was assailed by the enemy. . . . And if but a half, nay one-fourth, of the men to whom the service has a right, will give him their strength, I see no chance for Sherman to escape from a defeat or a disgraceful retreat.”~ Speech by President Jeff Davis.

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis

October 3– Monday– Dooly County, Georgia– “I believe the people have fully recovered now from the discouraging effects produced by the fall of Atlanta. I don’t hear any advocate reconstruction. All seem to be, since seeing General Hood’s communication to Sherman, and hearing President Davis’ speech in Macon on his visit to General Hood’s headquarters, more determined than ever if possible, not to be subjugated. I’m unable to enlighten you with any new incidents from our army, or allow me, to call it, merely the Georgia army. I don’t like to claim it as ours so long as it meets with so many reverses. You say ‘You are proud to belong to General Lee’s army.’I’ve heard the same expression from many who belonged to that army and I agree with you that you ought to consider it an honor. In my last [letter], I think I said it was thought General Bragg would supercede Hood, it should have been Beauregard, although he hasn’t done so yet, but many think it probable.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiance Alva Benjamin Spencer.

October 3– Monday– near Kennesaw, Georgia; Miller’s Station, Missouri; Morganza, Louisiana; Mount Elba, Arkansas; Mount Jackson, Virginia; North River, Virginia– Raids, demonstrations and skirmishes.

October 4– Tuesday– Mooers Forks, New York– Birth of Eliza Kellas, the first daughter and second child of Alexander and Elizabeth Perry Kellas. She will become an educator, in 1911 the principal of the Emma Willard School [formerly Troy Female Seminary] and in 1916 the president of the Russell Sage College of Practical Arts, holding joint appointments until 1928. [Dies April 10, 1943].

Eliza Kellas

Eliza Kellas

October 4– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “John M. Phillips was arrested on Saturday evening upon sworn evidence that he had yelled for Jeff Davis and not for cheering for McClellan, as has been stated by a newspaper of this city. Singularly enough, Phillips, though a rank rebel, is not a McClellan man. He has been in the rebel army and has taken the oath of allegiance before the Federal Court and given bond for his good behavior. We learn that he will be held for trial by a Military Commission for a violation of his oath.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer.

October 4– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “But little at the Cabinet of special importance. Governor Dennison, the new Postmaster-General, for the first time took his seat.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles. [Ohio-born William Dennison, now approaching his 49th birthday, is a lawyer, businessman, banker and politician, one of the founders of the Republican Party and served as governor of Ohio from 1860 to 1862. He chaired the Republican National Convention in Baltimore which nominated Lincoln for reelection. His appointment to replace Montgomery Blair is both a reward and insurance of certain segments of Republican voters. Dennison dies June 15, 1882.]

William Dennison

William Dennison

October 4– Tuesday– Winchester, Virginia– “I met a lady a days since who has had three brothers killed and one maimed for life since the war began. She is still bitter and desires to have the war go on.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

October 4– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “There is no fighting going on now. They fought last Thursday, Friday & Saturday. The Yanks still hold a small portion of our works on each wing, which it will be hard to recapture now and I do not think will be tried anymore. Our loss is said to be very light. The enemy’s loss is reported to be heavy. The spirits of the army are reviving now, though they have never been at a low ebb. We have checked Grant in all his grand movements on Richmond, inflicted severe loss on him, and we have high hopes that with the aid of Forrest in the rear that Hood will be enabled to drive Sherman from Georgia soil. I look for trouble from Sherman’s raids as it seems there is a large gap left open for him but I will hope for the best.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

October 4– Tuesday– Acworth, Georgia; Moon’s Station, Georgia; near Lost Mountain, Georgia; near Richwoods, Missouri; near Memphis, Tennessee; White’s Station, Tennessee; near Bayou Sara, Louisiana– Harrying, incursions and forays.

October 5– Wednesday– Huntington, Indiana– Lambdin P Milligan, age 52, a lawyer opposed to the war and involved with the pro-Southern group Knights of the Golden Circle, is arrested by Federal military authorities on charges of conspiracy, inciting insurrection and giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. [He will eventually be freed by a decision of the U S Supreme Court, ex parte Milligan, 71US2 (1866).]

Lambdin P Milligan

Lambdin P Milligan

October 5– Wednesday– near Mt Crawford, Virginia– “I have reveille about one hour before day-break, am always awake, but never get up now, unless there are Rebs round. Did you see the new moon last night within a quarter of an inch of the evening star, and turning her back on him ? They must have been close together an hour before I could see them ; for an hour after, they were still less than an inch apart. They looked very strangely calm and peaceful and almost reproachful in the West last night, with the whole North and East, far and near, lighted up by burning barns and houses. Lieutenant Meigs was shot by a guerrilla, and by order [of General Sheridan] the village of Dayton and everything for several miles around was burned. I am very glad my Brigade had no hand in it. Though if it will help end bushwhacking, I approve it, and I would cheerfully assist in making this whole Valley a desert from Staunton north-ward, for that would have, I am sure, an important effect on the campaign of the Spring, but in partial burnings I see less justice and less propriety. I was sorry enough the other day that my Brigade should have had a part in the hanging and shooting of some of Mosby’s men who were taken, I believe that some punishment was deserved, but I hardly think we were within the laws of war, and any violation of them opens the door for all sorts of barbarity, it was all by order of the Division Commander, however. The war in this part of the country is becoming very unpleasant to an officer’s feelings. . . .I think that we shall move soon. As we are foraging our horses entirely upon the country, we have to move frequently, but lately we have done a little too much of it. This is a very scrubby letter and written before breakfast, too. I do wish this war was over! Never mind. I’m doing all I can to end it.” ~ Letter from Union officer Charles Russell Lowell to his wife Josephine.

October 5– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The inmates of Stuart Hospital, formerly the old Fair Grounds, were thrown into a state of excitement yesterday by a desperate encounter which took place there between two men, one of whom was named D. B. Craddock. The unknown picked up a chair and struck Craddock over the head, whereupon, he drew a knife and inflicted a wound in the bowels of the other, which is likely to prove fatal. Subsequently, Craddock was arrested, and committed to Castle Thunder to await an examination by court martial.” ~ Richmond Whig.

October 5– Wednesday– Allatoona, Georgia– In hard fighting, Federal forces repel a Confederate attack. Total casualties– dead, wounded, missing– amount to 706 for the Union troops and 799 for the Confederate attackers. [The battle inspires the hymn “Hold the Fort, For We Are Coming” by Phillip Paul Bliss (1838– 1876).]

October 5– Wednesday– New Hope Church, Georgia; Thompson’s Creek, Louisiana; near St Francisville, Louisiana; Saint Charles, Louisiana; Atchafalaya, Louisiana; along the Osage River, Missouri– Bitter skirmishing.

October 5– Wednesday– Bensancon, France– Birth of Louis Jean Lumiere, pioneer movie maker. [Dies June 6, 1948.]

the Lumiere brothers, cinema pioneers

the Lumiere brothers, cinema pioneers

October 5– Wednesday– Marggrabona, East Prussia [now part of Poland]– Birth of Arthur Zimmerman, who will serve as Germany’s Foreign Secretary from November, 1916 to August, 1917. [Dies June 6, 1940.]

October 5– Wednesday– Calcutta, India– A cyclone kills approximately 70,000 people and destroys much of the city.

October 6– Thursday– New York City– “Read . . . The Trial . . . by the admirable Miss Charlotte Yonge . . . . This is the best thing the lady has written for a long while. . . . I am ashamed of being so much gratified by this little kind voice from sordid old England.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [Yonge, 1823– 1901, will publish 160 works between 1848 and her death.]

Charlotte Yonge

Charlotte Yonge

October 6– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Admiral Porter has arrived from Cairo and proceeds to-morrow to Hampton Roads to take command of the North Atlantic Squadron. It is with reluctance that he comes into this transfer, but yet he breathes not an objection. I should not have mentioned the circumstance but for the fact that many put a false construction upon it. He will have a difficult task to perform and not the thanks he will deserve, I fear, if successful, but curses if he fails.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

October 6– Thursday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I set myself this morning to let you know that I am well at present and I hope these lines will find you all well. I was out on picket on Sunday night and Monday and I seen lots of rebels [from] where we stand picket . . . . we ain’t in very much danger. Hally, I would like to se you and the little ones but I Don’t suppose that I will for awhile but I want you to send me your likeness . . . . Hally I dream about home nearly every night. I dream that I was talking to you . . . . I can set in my tent and see the steeples in Petersburg. See them very plain. We have moved about 5 miles from the camp that we was at when I wrote to you before. There was a man shot in our regiment. He was shot by one of his own men. He was on picket and he went to relieve him and he halted him and he did not stop.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Sylvester McElheney to his wife Harriet.

October 6– Thursday– Brock’s Gap, Virginia; Kingsport, Tennessee; Florence, Alabama; Cole County, Missouri– Raids and melees.

She Died on this Day

She Died on this Day

Duchess Sophie

Duchess Sophie

I think more of her than of her husband. She was 46 years of age and days away from her fourteenth wedding anniversary on July 1st. She came from the lesser nobility and at the time of her marriage had to swear that she would not become empress when her husband ascended the throne as emperor as well as giving up any claims to the throne by her children. Her dying husband held her bleeding body in that automobile in the streets of Sarajevo and begged, “Don’t die! Stay alive for our children.” But Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg did die on June 28, 1914. Her daughter Sophie (1901– 1990), her son Maximillian (1902– 1962) and her son Ernest (1904– 1954) outlived her.

Sophie with her husband and two older children

Sophie with her husband and two older children

Leave Military Matters to Us~April 1864~1st to 4th

Leave Military Matters to Us~General William Tecumseh Sherman.

April will be a hard and bitter month for some, a successful month for others. General Sherman snarls at a newspaper editor. The women in New York City handling the Sanitary Fair have to deal with incompetent and bossy men. Gideon Welles complains about party politics. Boston suffers a major destructive fire. The New York Times encourages immigration by skilled workers. Food shortages afflict soldiers and civilians in the Confederacy. Rebel soldiers are accused of using women as shields.

General William Tecumseh Sherman

General William Tecumseh Sherman

April– Boston, Massachusetts– This month’s issue of the Atlantic contains poems by John Greenleaf Whittier and James Russell Lowell, stories by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mary Abigail Dodge [under her nom deplume Gail Hamilton] and essays by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr and J T Trowbridge, among other items.

April 1– Friday– New York City– “During the fight at Paducah [Kentucky, on March 25th], the rebels took Mrs Hammond from the hospital and murdered her. Mrs Hamilton, Mrs Howard, Mrs Eagan and Mrs McChorg were also taken to the front, placed between the two fires, and kept there an hour. Their dresses were perforated with bullets. While the rebel flag of truce was moving forward, the rebels disposed their forces for action. Our men had ceased firing for fear that the women would be killed. A man has been arrested on the steamer Anderson, having in his possession the freshly-taken scalp of a white man, supposed to have belonged to one of our soldiers. Several persons have been arrested as spies. Among them are two women.” ~ New York Times.

April 1– Friday– New York City– “Dreary weather. . . . We are in collision with the ‘Gentlemen’s Committee of the Metropolitan Fair.’ They were appointed as auxiliaries to the ladies . . . . But they have seen fit to thwart, snub, insult, and override the ladies’ committee in the most disgusting, offensive, and low-bred way. Their general course has been snobbish and stupid. They have shown want of manners and of appreciation of the magnitude of the undertaking.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

New York Metropolitan Fair for the Sanitary Commission

New York Metropolitan Fair for the Sanitary Commission

April 1– Friday– New York City– “It is greatly to be regretted that there is not some organization, either governmental or private, on a scale sufficiently large, and composed of persons sufficiently prominent in character and standing to give it credit and influence abroad, to aid in promoting the immigration from Europe of skilled workers. We are receiving immense numbers of unskilled laborers, invaluable, no doubt, for agricultural and other purposes, but all branches of industry are suffering severely, and likely to suffer still more, from the want of mechanics and artisans. There are thousands of such, both in England and on the Continent, in a half-starving condition, who would be only too glad to get over here if they got a chance. The most desperate efforts are being made by the Secessionist Press, and persons working in the Secessionist interest, to prevent emigration to America, by the circulation of the grossest misrepresentations as to the condition of the country, and the effect of the war on the laboring classes.” ~ New York Times.

April 1– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “There was nothing of special interest to-day in the Cabinet. Stanton was not present, nor was Blair. Chase calls for largely additional taxes, which I have no doubt are necessary. There should have been heavier taxes the last two years,– at least double what have been collected. Undoubtedly demagogues will try to prevent this necessary measure for party ends, but I believe the good sense and intelligence of the people will prevail over the debasing abuse of party.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

April 1– Friday– 60 miles from Greenville, Tennessee– “It has been snowing all the time an the weather very cold an the roads was in the worst fix you ever saw. It has been mud and water to our knees nearly all the way. We are now in about one mile of the line of Virginia. My Dear we are getting almost nothing to eat now we draw what they call three days rations out at a time an then eat at one time an we then have to do without the remainder of those three days unless we steal it from a citizen which we do to keep from starving. Bread is the worst to get.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Richard Henry Brooks to his wife.

April 1– Friday– Andersonville, Georgia– By this time Union military prisoners confined at Camp Sumter include residents of every state north and south, immigrants from many European countries, African Americans and Native Americans, all who served in the Union army.

Andersonville_Prison

April 1– Friday– Arkadelphia, Arkansas; Plymouth, North Carolina; Bloomfield, Missouri; St John’s River, Florida; Fitzhugh’s Woods, Arkansas– Skirmishes, raids and mayhem. Federal troops are on the move along the Pearl River in Louisiana and around Palatka, Florida.

April 1– Friday– Heiloo, Netherlands– Birth of Marie Jungius, advocate for women and children, who will become the first director of the National Bureau of Women’s Work and co-founder of the National Exhibition of Women’s Work in The Hague in 1898. [Dies December 22, 1908.]

Marie Jungius

Marie Jungius

April 2– Saturday– New York City– “If this fair be wound up without any memorable calamity and catastrophe, I shall be thankful. . . . . The war languishes. People naturally turn their thoughts therefore to questions of finance, taxation, and prices . . . . I believe General Grant is working in his new place . . . purging the Army of the Potomac of disaffected McClellanists in high command and bringing its morale into training for hard work in its next campaign against ‘Lee’s Miserables.’” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

April 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Ordered, That the Executive order of September 4, 1863, in relation to the exportation of live stock from the United States, be so extended as to prohibit the exportation of all classes of salted provisions from any part of the United States to any foreign port, except that meats cured, salted, or packed in any State or Territory bordering on the Pacific Ocean may be exported from any port of such State or Territory.” ~ Executive order signed by President Lincoln, in an effort to prevent blockade runners from acquiring such meat for the Confederacy in European markets.

 April 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln, and Mrs. Grant attend a performance of Faust at Grover’s Theatre.

April 2– Saturday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The papers also contain a message from Knoxville giving my movements, and gives a message from Parson Brownlow to the effect that the rebels will certainly invade Kentucky by Pound Gap. Tell Parson Brownlow that he must leave military matters to us, and that he must not chronicle my movements or those of any military body. If he confines his efforts to his own sphere of action he will do himself more credit and his country more good.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to Union General Schofield. [Brownlow publishes a newspaper in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sherman intensely dislikes him and all newspaper reporters.]

General Sherman on the front page of Harpers Weekly

General Sherman on the front page of Harpers Weekly

April 2– Saturday– Cleveland, Tennessee; Grossetete Bayou, Louisiana; Okolona, Arkansas; Cedar Creek, Florida; Crump’s Hill, Louisiana; Wolf Creek, Arkansas; Cape Lookout, North Carolina– Raids, fire fights, ambushes and melees.

April 3– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “I seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines may find you all in good health. We still picket along the Rapidan we has some very rough weather last month on the 22nd the snow fell about 11 inches deep here. We had a good deal of rain to boot on the 30th the Rapidan was very high it was level with the dam. . . . Furloughs have been out down one out of a hundred goes now. . . . All quiet along the Rapidan today . . . . write soon.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Adam W Kersh to his brother George P Kersh.

April 3– Sunday– Orange County, Virginia– “You are a witch to guess at my wants sure, for the ham of meat and $10.00 was the very thing I was needing and I am glad to get them. Also the gloves, suspenders, patches and thread and tobacco, all of which I received safely and now return my thanks to you for them. . . . The things you sent are much the best and I treasure them because they came from you. My health is excellent at this time and I am getting on finely. . . . Write soon and write me a long letter all about my boy and everything of the kind.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

April 3– Sunday– Shelby County, Tennessee– “I spent the morning in Father’s big chair, reading. I read the book of Romans, Father returned but had no news. We have not heard from Forrest since he crossed the Cumberland at Eddyville. God grant us success throughout the State, and return my Brother safe to us once again. I spent the morning alone . . . why do I thus complain. A hard storm of rain and wind is raging. Laura learning her lesson. Bettie did not come tonight. Father of mercy give me hope, brighten my life, oh! give me a companion, or my mind is lost. Thy will, not mine oh! Lord be done.” ~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

April 3– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “By economizing the pig lasted us eight days. Now we are again without meat and on short allowance. Last night Mr. Fisher caught in a trap rice birds enough for supper. They are very small and without butter or pork to season are not very rich eating, but everything eatable is worth saving. The pigs are all poor and slab sided, look half starved. They cannot fatten on rough rice, it is miserable food, the horses refuse it. . . . [Home] fills my waking thoughts, a snug comfortable kitchen (a thing unknown here) freedom from fleas and thousands of poisonous insects, good inviting food, such as we had been accustomed to having until this war broke out– and freedom– sweet freedom.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 3– Sunday– Grand Ecore, Louisiana; Raleigh, Tennessee; Clinton, Mississippi; Ducktown Road, Georgia; Elkin’s Ferry, Missouri; Clarksville, Arkansas; Cypress Swamp, Tennessee– Affairs, brawls, wrangling and clash of arms.

April 4– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– “Last night, about 12 o’clock, fire was discovered in a closet under the second flight of stairs in the Masonic Fraternity’s Building on the corner of Tremont and Boylston streets. The building was a mammoth brick structure, composed of six stories, three of which were occupied as the Winthrop House, and the upper three as Freemason Halls. Shortly after the first alarm was given, the Fire Department was on hand and began operations, but the great height of the building prevented the efficient work which otherwise would have stopped the conflagration at the outset. Owing to these obstacles the fire soon attained great headway, and raged with exceeding fierceness. The upper part of the building was soon one lurid mass of flame, and a second alarm was sounded a little before 1 o’clock. . . . It is estimated that $100,000 will not cover the losses to the masonic order in furniture and paintings alone. The building, for which they originally paid $106,000, had been so improved as to make its value $156,000, a large portion of which is insured. The fire raged with unabated fierceness from 12 o’clock till 3 o’clock this morning. The roof fell in shortly after 1 o’clock, and the floors of the three upper stories fell within two hours. During this period about half of the highest wall on Boylston-street fell into the street with a tremendous crash, filling up the avenue and projecting bricks through the windows on the opposite side.” ~ Boston Transcript. [The $156,000 value would equal $2.35 million today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

April 4– Monday– New York City– “Went at ten A.M. to the fair buildings in Fourteenth Street and spent a couple of hours there. The spectacle was interesting but fatiguing to the spectator. A vast crowd of well–dressed men and women– our ‘best people’– were working their fingers to the bone, arranging and sorting material, directing decorative operations, receiving, acknowledging, unpacking, and distributing to their appropriate departments contributions from the four quarters of the earth. It was the busiest human ant-hill I ever saw. . . . The ceremony of ‘inaugurating’ the fair went off well. . . . The he-committee is made up of louts and cubs and of a powerless minority of decent, well-bred men. . . . [No] place was assigned to the ladies of the executive committee, to their intense mortification. Mrs Astor, Mrs Belmont, Ellie [his wife], Mrs Lane, and others were almost tearful about it; while that indomitable Mrs John Sherwood and that iron-clad little Miss Catherine Nash . . . were not in the least tearful but rather tended toward grimness.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

We Shall Be Far Better Organized for 1860~January 1859~15th to 31st

We Shall Be Far Better Organized for 1860 ~ Abraham Lincoln

Things appear calm enough but next year’s election is in the minds of many including a prominent lawyer from Illinois.

January 15– Saturday– Wonewoc, Wisconsin– Birth of Elmore Yocum Sarles. He will become a banker, businessman and politician who will serve as governor of North Dakota from 1905 to 1907. [Dies on February 14, 1929].

January 15– Saturday– London, England– Originally chartered in December, 1856, the National Portrait Gallery first opens to the public in its temporary building on Great George Street in London. George Scharf serves as its first curator. [The Gallery will move to South Kensington in March 1870 and then in 1896 to its current site in St. Martin’s Place.]

 

National Portrait Gallery in London at its current location

National Portrait Gallery in London at its current location

January 16– Sunday– Massachusetts– “P. M.– to Walden and thence via Cassandra Ponds to Fair Haven and down river. There is still a good deal of ice on the north sides of woods and in and about the sheltered swamps. As we go southwestward through the Cassandra hollows toward the declining sun, they look successively, both by their form and color, like burnished silvery shields in the midst of which we walked, looking toward the sun. The whole surface of the snow the country over, and of the ice, as yesterday, is rough, as if composed of hailstones half melted together. This being the case, I noticed yesterday, when walking on the river, that where there was little or no snow and this rough surface was accordingly dark, you might have thought that the ice was covered with cinders, from the innumerable black points reflecting the dark water.” ~ Diary of Henry David Thoreau.

 

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

January 17– Monday– Bucharest, the Balkans– Wallachia and Moldavia are united by Alexander John Cuza, age 39, under the name Romania.

January 18– Tuesday– Indianapolis, Indiana– The Indiana State Temperance Convention drafts a petition to the state legislature for an amendment to the state constitution which would ban the sale of liquor.

January 19– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– In the Illinois Supreme Court, Attorney Abraham Lincoln represents the Illinois Central Railroad in six suits in which railroad is the defendant.

January 19– Wednesday– Toronto, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Alice Eastwood, one of the three children of Colin and Eliza Jane Gowdey Eastwood. She will become an educator and botanist, authoring several books, including A Handbook of the Trees of California (1905), and over 300 articles. [She will die in San Francisco on October 30, 1953.]

January 20– Thursday– New York City– “According to the newspapers, there are symptoms premonitory of a European muss. The majesty of France has personally snubbed the Austrian Ambassador, and the pent-up elements of trouble in Padua and Milan and Italy in general seem simmering with special energy.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 20– Thursday– Mossy Creek, Virginia– “Unless circumstances or some clever woman turns my course I expect . . . to set off for Kentucky in a week or ten days, for the purpose of making a final tour among old grand mama’s Eve’s fair descendants, to ascertain whether or not indeed this individual can gather up the scattered fragments of his heart’s affections so as to concentrate them upon some one whose charms & attractions ((personal & social)) shall be sufficient to lead me right up to Hymen’s altar!! The truth is every day’s experience like the atmosphere around is pressing me with the conviction that it is not good & never was designed to be, for man to be alone!! that his living is but a mere animal existence floating upon the surface of things . . . . I have just lingered on the borders of single-wretchedness long enough to discover that there is not in her wide [unclear] one single oasis on which my eyes or my hopes might rest, and therefore I announce to you, to all the world & the rest of mankind, but rather more of woman kind, that ere long I design to shake the very dust of celibacy off my understandings & take up my line of march gladly & joyously for ‘That land of mixed delight///Where Bachelors nowhere tarry///Where Hymen’s says dispel the night///And lead me on to marry!!!!’” ~ Letter from B. Estill to his friend John McCue.

January 20– Thursday– Berlin, Prussia– Bettina Brentano, novelist, composer, arts patron and social activist, dies at age 73. She bore seven children to her late husband, Achim von Armin (1781– 1831).

January 21– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– In the Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison defends Theodore Parker and Henry Ward Beecher who have recently been assailed in the conservative press for their stands on reform issues, particularly speaking against slavery. Parker had been called an “infidel” and Beecher accused of being “unorthodox” by pro-slavery journalists. Garrison also reports that a memorial signed by William Cooper Nell, had been brought before the state legislature, asking for the vindication and protection of the rights of colored citizens. Representative Spofford, of Newburyport rose to protest the consideration of the petition. “I rise to protest, at this early stage of the session, against the introduction of this agitating question of slavery . . . there is nothing to be gained by the petition; nothing whatever is asked.” He moved that a vote be taken by yeas and nays, “in order that the people of the Commonwealth may know who the Representatives are who are disposed to continue, throughout the session, constant and useless agitation of the slavery question.” [Nell, a free born black man, age 42, is an abolitionist activist, conductor on the Underground Railroad, journalist and historian.]

January 21– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “I have this day transmitted to the Senate a digest of the statistics of manufactures, according to the returns of the Seventh Census [1850], prepared under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with a provision contained in the first section of an act of Congress approved June 12, 1858, entitled ‘An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the Government for the year ending the 30th of June, 1859.’ The magnitude of the work has prevented the preparation of another copy.” ~ Special message of President Buchanan to the House of Representatives.

January 21– Friday– Coshocton Ohio– About ten o’clock at night, several armed men overpower the County Treasurer who was working late in his office. They tie him up, open the safe and successfully escape with approximately $20,000, about $4000 of it in gold. [The $4000 in gold would have been about 211 troy ounces which would be worth about $331,000 in today’s market. The $16,000 in cash would equal $456,000 today, calculated on the Consumer Price Index.] 

January 22– Saturday– Hanover, the German States– At the piano himself, Johannes Brahms, age 25, performs his First Piano Concerto in D Minor, Opus 15. The audience is polite but obviously not enthusiastic.

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms

 

January 23– Sunday– Memphis, Tennessee– “The President . . . does not approve of the Pension Bill which recently passed the House [of Representatives] , but believes that the admission of the principle it involves would open the door to such unlimited claims as to bankrupt the Government. It is hardly likely that the bill will pass the Senate.” ~ Memphis Appeal.

January 23– Sunday– Port-au-Prince, Haiti– After a successful insurrection against Faustin Elie Souloque, the self-styled Emperor Faustin I, who has ruled since 1849, Nicholas Fabre Geffrard is sworn in as president of Haiti. [He will rule until being sent into exile in 1867.]

January 23– Sunday– Hawaiian Islands– A significant volcanic eruption begins on the big island of Hawaii with a spectacular spray of lava from the north top of Mount Mauna Loa. There is no accompanying earthquake and no casualties reported but the lava spurts to a height of 300 feet. [This continues for several days and the lava flows for several weeks.]

January 24– Monday– New York City– The New York Times reports that the ship Laurens, seized by Federal officers last Thursday at New London, Connecticut, had clearly been refitted for use in the African slave trade while under the guise of being a whaling ship.

January 25– Tuesday– London, England– The Caledonia Society holds a banquet to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. Festivals are held in every Scottish town and Scots around the world host dinners and special celebrations. All the festivities end with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.”

January 25– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois– In the evening, the Concert Hall is the scene of a celebration marking the 100th birthday of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. The organizers had promoted the event as an evening of “toasts, sentiments and songs.” A newspaper report declares that the “supper was splendid and abundant, and was well attended. The toasts offered on this occasion were most appropriate, and were responded to by some of the most talented men of the state, among whom were, Abraham Lincoln . . . and others.”

January 26– Wednesday– Asuncion, Paraguay– United States Commissioner James B. Bowlin presents his credentials to President Carlos Antonio Lopez in preparation for negotiations on a treaty of friendship and commerce between the two countries.

January 27– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society convenes for its twenty-seventh annual meeting at the Mercantile Hall. Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison are among the key speakers.

January 27– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– In Congress, Speaker of the House James Orr, age36, of South Carolina and Congressman James Hughes, age 35, of Indiana, both Democrats and both retiring from Congress after this session, argue on the floor of the House, exchanging language that a reporter calls “racy, vigorous, and original.” In a burst of anger, Orr challenges Hughes to meet outside to settle their differences. However colleagues with cooler heads prevail and apologies are exchanged. This is the latest in a series of acrimonious exchanges that have occurred between members of the Thirty-Fifth Congress. [During the Civil War, Orr will serve as a senator in the Confederate government and will become a Republican after the war. Hughes will change political parties in 1860.]

January 27– Thursday– Berlin, Prussia– At three o’clock in the afternoon Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and wife of Prince Frederick William of Prussia, gives birth to her first child, William. [The boy will become the Crown Prince in 1861 and eventually reign as Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany from 1888 till 1918.]

 

Victoria, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria

Victoria, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria

January 28– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– William Hickling Prescott, age 62, one of America’s most famous historians, dies two hours after suffering a stroke in the library at his Beacon Hill home. Almost blind since his college years at Harvard, he has produced remarkable works on the history and literature of Spain, especially as they concerned the New World at the time of Ferdinand and Isabella. His three-volume Conquest of Mexico gained him great fame and prestige. [The town of Prescott, Arizona will be named for him.]

 

January 28– Friday– along the coast of Virginia– The steamer North Carolina on its way from Norfolk to Baltimore, Maryland, catches fire and completely burns. Two people are killed. Everyone else escapes harm.

 

January 28– Friday– Olympia, Washington Territory– The city is incorporated.

 

January 29– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “When you can find leisure, write me your present impressions of Douglas’ movements. Our friends here from different parts of the State, in and out of the Legislature, are united, resolute, and determined; and I think it is almost certain that we shall be far better organized for 1860 than ever before.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull.

 

January 29– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit a report from the Secretary of War, with the accompanying documents, recommending the repayment to [British colonial] Governor [Sir James] Douglas, of Vancouver Island, of the sum of $7,000, advanced by him to Governor [Isaac Ingalls] Stevens, of Washington Territory, which was applied to the purchase of ammunition and subsistence stores for the forces of the United States in time of need and at a critical period of the late Indian war in that Territory. As this advance was made by Governor Douglas out of his own private means and from friendly motives toward the United States, I recommend that an appropriation may be made for its immediate payment, with interest.” ~ Message to Congress from President Buchanan. [That $7000 loaned by a British official out of his own pocket would equal $199,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index. The purchasing power would buy the about the same as $2.52 million today.]

 

January 29– Saturday– Lynchburg, Virginia– “It strikes me . . . that is a wealthy section of country, and that a paper could succeed well there. If we succeed in getting the subscribers, I am in hopes we will be able to remunerate you in some way for your kindness in taking such an interest in the enterprise. If you say so, I will send my son-in-law there next Court-day, and get you and your friends to make a strong pull and we will have an office there, and I believe your citizens will support it liberally. Of course your Clerks, Lawyers, Merchants &C., would do all they could to keep it up. 500 subscribers to begin with would establish the paper on a firm footing. I have all the material, and all of it paid for. I think a neutral paper would succeed better than a political one, but

I am Whig to the core.” ~ Letter from A. Waddill to J. H. McCue regarding the development of a new newspaper.

 

January 30– Sunday– Island of Hawaii– Lava from the volcanic eruption of a week ago reaches the Pacific Ocean, forty miles from the mountain.

 

January 30– Sunday– Turin, Italy– Prince Napoleon Joseph Charles, age 37, a cousin of French Emperor Napoleon III, marries Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy, age 15, daughter of King Victor Emmanuel II of Peidmont-Sardinia. Many people comment that this union further signals the growing alliance between France and the Italians who favor a united Italy. [The couple will have three children but will separate in 1870.]

January 31– Monday– “John Cloud has been arrested as concerned in the robbery of the Coshocton Treasury [on Friday, January 21st]. We have spoken of the arrest of George Bell at Columbus, and the telegraph notices the arrest of a man at Dayton and one at Eaton.” ~ Cleveland Herald .

The Progress of Events~January 1864~24th to 28th

The Progress of Events ~ Reverend D Paul

A Northern preacher exhorts his congregation to support the war and the total abolition of slavery, which he describes as “a giant, God-dishonoring crime.” A Southern newspaper mocks Mr Lincoln and claims that he wants to place “the Negro . . . astride of the white man.” A strange situation occurs at a Southern college for women named after an English abolitionist.” Scattered fighting continues. Scarcity and other problems plague the Confederacy and the broader world continues to turn.

 secondgreatawakening

January 24– Sunday– Mansfield, Ohio– “Now, my dear friends permit me, simply as your pastor, to say, with all earnestness, that I have no sympathy with political preachers, and no disposition to drag mere party politics into the pulpit. But when a moral question becomes a question at issue between political parties, that fact does not, and shall not close my mouth. If in opposing what I believe to be a giant, God-dishonoring crime, I oppose a political party, so be it. If any political party shall array itself against the principles which I have vowed to maintain, and which I believe to be in accordance with the word of God, I will pay my vow to God, even if I should stand accused of political preaching. If in so doing I should be compelled to part with those whose friendship I value, and whose kindness I have experienced I shall be filled with grief, but not torn with remorse. But need there be any parting ? Are there any here who would prefer a political party to the church of God ? If you forsake the communion of this church on account of its opposition to slavery, in all this free north where will you find a more congenial home? Would you cling to an institution whose death doom God has written in letters of fire and blood ? Would you re-fasten the shackles on limbs from which they have been broken by the fortunes of war ? Would you hurl back to chains and slavery those who, side by side with the nation’s nobles, have met in the shock of battle, and driven back, the traitorous foe? Would you, if you could, arrest the progress of events which promise, though with toil and suffering now, to leave to coming generations a constitution and a union, without that institution which had risen in power and influence, and the audacity of crime, until, like a spire tipped tower it pierced the clouds of Jehovah’s wrath, calling down their scathing lightening on the heritage our fathers left us? We are persuaded better things of you!” ~ A sermon preached in the United Presbyterian church by the pastor, Reverend D Paul.

January 24– Sunday– Paris, France– Birth of Marguerite Durand [dies March 16, 1936], actress, journalist, suffrage activist, labor organizer and feminist leader. [In 1897 she will found the feminist daily La Fronde, staffed completely by women. “Feminism owes a great deal to my blonde hair” she will write in 1903.]

Marguerite Durand

Marguerite Durand

January 25– Monday– La Grange, Tennessee; Mount Pleasant, Mississippi; Bainbridge Ferry, Alabama; Sulphur Springs, Arkansas; Bayou Grand, Florida– Skirmishes, ambushes, fire fights and mayhem.

January 25– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The municipal regulations failing to keep the city effectually policed, it is hereby ordered, for the preservation of the health and lives of the citizens, and of the troops on duty at this place, that the occupant of every house daily sweep or scrape clean the pavement or sidewalk in front of his building. This will be done daily before 9 o’clock A. M. On stated days, hereafter to be announced, each occupant will clean to the middle of the street in front of his premises, collecting the sweepings into piles, to be carried away by Government wagons. For any neglect of this regulation, a fine double that enforced by the municipal ordinance will be imposed by the Provost Marshal; and if not paid at his office within one week from notice, will be levied by sale at public auction of goods sufficient to realize the sum.” ~ Order issued by Union General R. S. Granger.

January 25– Monday– Pozega, Slavonia– Birth of Julije Kempf (dies June 6, 1934), Croatian historian and author.

January 26– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “The supervisors of the several counties of the State are hereby authorized, from time to time during the war, to borrow money in their corporate names, for such time and on such terms as may be agreed upon, for the purpose of providing for the support and relief of the families of living and deceased soldiers of their respective counties.” ~ Enactment of the state legislature.

January 26– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “[Secretary of War Edwin] Stanton tells some curious matters of Jeff Davis, derived from Davis’s servant, who escaped from Richmond. The servant was a slave, born on Davis’ plantation. Mrs. Davis struck him three times in the face, and took him by the hair to beat his head against the wall. At night the slave fled and after some difficulty got within our lines. He is, Stanton says, very intelligent for a slave and gives an interesting inside view of Rebel trials and suffering. It should be taken, perhaps, with some allowance.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

January 26– Tuesday– Camden County, Georgia– “Mr Fisher and myself went to see Mrs. Alberti . . . . We stayed over night . . . had a cup of real coffee and tea with sugar and milk, and biscuit and butter. Our ride was about 23 miles and all the way through pine woods. Now and then a house to cheer the sight. We were upset once by the breaking of a rein, the buggy was turned completely over and left in the gutter. We fortunately were near a house where we procured help. The spinning wheel was going briskly– the women were hard at work trying to clothe the family while the men were in the army. They were indifferent as to the termination of the war if it would only end that they might be kept from starvation. We stopped at Dr. Mitchell’s. Mrs. Mitchell put on an old cloak to hide her rags and says they are experiencing great destitution. We have frequent applications from people far and near for clothing. So far as we can ascertain people seem certain that the confederacy is short lived; that this year must terminate the war. Confederate money is almost valueless. Worth only five cents on the dollar. Dr. Mitchell prepared for me a bottle of cough mixture and a few powders– charged $8.00. Sent in Sybil’s bill, a little short of $300 for eight or nine visits– and refuses confederate money. Julia writes that she will soon visit us and bring some necessary articles.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

January 26– Tuesday– Mellby, Sweden– Otto Lindblad, musician and composer of Sweden’s royal anthem, dies at 55 years of age.

Otoo Lindblad

Otoo Lindblad

January 27– Wednesday– Cambridge, Massachusetts– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Henry Dana, Jr, and Professor J. Peter Lesley (prominent geologist and educator) are elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

January 27– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln instructs Union General Frederick Steele in Arkansas that the state’s civil authorities could be allowed to remain in charge of state government without the appointment of an interim military governor. However, the new government must maintain the abolition of slavery.

January 27– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Oh! what a grand, what a successful hit was made for Puritanism in polities and religion, and for the whole tribe of shoddy when the Negro got astride of the white man, what a grand thing it was that the people were so easily gulled by those tricksters, those gamblers in human life, who are now riding roughshod over the prostrate form of popular freedom, sweeping away the bulwarks raised by the great men of the revolution around the Temple of Liberty. But we have already dwelt too long on this last decide of the American Autocrat, and must hasten to a conclusion . . . . The amnesty which is offered to the Confederates under a certain rank . . . is too absurd to be worthy of even a passing notice. . . . . The Southern people are fighting in a just cause, as they are fighting against usurpation, and confiscation, and for freedom and State rights. They are fighting to preserve their land against the fate of Ireland and Poland. They are fighting against a power that has trampled every principle of law and constitutional authority under foot. They are fighting for their homes, for their dearest rights. They are now fighting the battles of the Revolution over again; and if they fail, then the history of Ireland will be repeated on their own soil . . . . there is no man possessing a sense of justice, and who is not impelled to silence by the dread of a penalty which has fallen upon many for exercising the right of free speech, who will not acknowledge that the cause of the South is to-day the cause of Liberty against Despotism. If any man wants a proof of this, he will find it in the last message of the Washington Autocrat.” ~ Richmond Dispatch criticizes President Lincoln’s offer of amnesty.

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January 27– Wednesday– Fair Garden, Tennessee– In a fight that lasts most of the day, Federal troops beat a Confederate force. However, the Federals are forced to withdraw at nightfall as they are fatigued and low on ammunition. Total Union casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are 100 and 165 for the Confederates.

January 27– Wednesday– Columbia, Tennessee– James Andrews, the mayor, is arrested for killing a Federal soldier and mortally wounding another during a confrontation at his place of business.

January 27– Wednesday– Munich, Germany– Leo von Klenze, prominent neoclassicist architect as well as a painter and writer, dies, weeks away from his 80th birthday.

Mary Sharp College

Mary Sharp College

January 28– Thursday– Winchester, Tennessee– “I addressed you yesterday by Telegraph informing you that a Negro man by name of Marcus Combs now living in Nashville came to my house yesterday accompanied by some soldiers who belong to the command of Colonel James S. Selfridgeof the 46th Pennsylvania Volunteers and demanded a Negro girl belonging to me, aged 13 years. This Negro Marcus Combs claims to be the father of the girl. This Negro man Marcus formerly belong to me and the community demanded of me to sell him out of the place for theft & other misconduct which would have put a free man into our penitentiary. Such is the character of the Negro. Now he brings a verbal order from you to the Colonel Selfridge commanding the post at Dechard Depot (so the Colonel informs me that the girl is to be delivered up to him) and I assure you, that I am a good loyal Citizen of Tennessee, having taken the oath of allegiance at the earliest day possible for me, and received a Guarantee of Protection signed by yourself & Major General Rosecrans, for all my property both real & personal. Now with this statement of facts before you I would most respectfully petition you to inform me either by mail or Telegraph immediately (for the case is very urgent) whether the Negro girl is protected by the papers I hold? Whether Colonel Selfridge has a right to take the property from me without given me a voucher for the same as he is commanded to do by yourself & General Rosecrans in the protection papers given to me at the time I took the oath of allegiance?” ~ Letter from Zuinglius C. Graves, President of Mary Sharp College to Andrew Johnson, military governor of Tennessee.[Graves (1816 – 1902) was born in Vermont and licensed as a Baptist preacher around 1833 or 1834. He became the first president of Mary Sharp College in 1850. Ironically the school was named after a niece of the British abolitionist Granville Sharp (1735 – 1813). Mary Sharp herself was an ardent abolitionist, active in campaigns to abolish the Atlantic slave trade. Graves, a supporter of the system of slavery, envisioned a college and created a curriculum designed to provide for women the “same knowledge, literary, scientific and classical, that had been for so many generations the peculiar and cherished heritage of the other sex; that the sister should be placed on an equality with the brother, for the development and unfolding of all the qualities of her mind, thus making her what she was designed to be by her Creator, a thinking, reflecting, reasoning being, capable of comparing and judging for herself, and dependent upon none other for her free, unbiased opinion.” The college will close in 1896 due to financial problems.]