Tag Archives: railroads

June ~ Election Year 1916

Woman making American Flag

Bloody warfare continues to envelop much of Europe, bringing with it a variety of political crises. The Arabs rise in revolt against the Turks. The Germans violate the rules of warfare. Both major political parties in the United States adopt political platforms which disappoint the hopes of women for a constitutional amendment establishing woman suffrage across the country. Intervention in Mexico creates an international incident.

June 1– Thursday–North Sea, near the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark– The second and final day of the naval battle finds that Britain lost 6,096 killed, 510 wounded and 14 ships sunk. Germany lost 2,551 killed, 507 wounded and 11 ships sunk. While a German victory, German submarines had withdrawn a day too soon. Britain retains control of the seas and the blockade of German ports will continue unabated.

June 2– Friday– Packard, Iowa– A passenger train derails at a bridge, killing at least 5 persons, injuring 20 others and initially leaving 15 others missing and presumed dead.


June 3– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– The National Defense Act of 1916 goes into effect. The act includes an expansion of the Army to 175,000 soldiers and the National Guard to 450,000 members, the creation of an Officers’ and an Enlisted Reserve Corps, and the creation of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. The President receives expanded authority to federalize the National Guard, with changes to the duration and the circumstances under which he can call it up. The Army can begin the creation of an aviation branch, and the federal government can ensure the immediate availability of wartime weapons and equipment by contracting in advance for production of gunpowder and other materiel.

June 3– Saturday– Danville, Illinois– The north bound Florida-Chicago Limited strikes an automobile, killing the driver and injuring the train’s engineer and fireman.

June 5– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Louis Brandeis is sworn in as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Brandeis, age 59, graduate of Harvard Law School, is a liberal lawyer who has made a name for himself in advocacy for women, industrial workers and other public interest causes. He is the first Jew to sit on the court. [Dies October 5, 1941.]


Justice Brandeis


June 5– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– The National Woman’s Party opens its convention at the Blackstone Theater. Maud Younger chairs the convention.

June 5– Monday– North Sea, near the Orkney Islands, Scotland– The HMS Hampshire strikes a German mine and sinks in 15 minutes, taking the lives of 643 of her crew along with British Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener and the six members of his staff. Kitchener, age 65, a famous military leader and colonial administrator, was on his way to a meeting with Russian military leaders.

June 5– Monday– Styr River east of Lutsk, Ukraine, the Russian Empire– Russian troops break through the Austrian lines, taking several thousand Austrian soldiers as prisoners and routing the Austrian troops.

June 6– Tuesday– Little Rock, Arkansas– In a period of less than 36 hours, beginning yesterday, twenty-four tornadoes sweep through the state, killing at least 76people, injuring hundreds of others and doing considerable damage.

June 7– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention opens at the Coliseum with 987 voting delegates in attendance.

June 7– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– The National Woman’s Party Convention closes having adopted a platform with only one plank: immediate passage of a constitutional amendment to enfranchise women.

June 7– Wednesday– Verdun, France– After bitter fighting the Germans take Fort Vaux. In the last week the Germans sustained 2700 casualties in this attack upon a position defended by less than 100 French soldiers.

June 7– Wednesday– Lutsk, Ukraine, the Russian Empire– Hard-pressed by attacking Russian forces, the Austrians abandon the city and retreat beyond the Styr River. The Russians have taken more than 30,000 Austrian prisoners and captured large amounts of ammunition, supplies and military vehicles.

June 7– Wednesday– Mecca, Arabia– Sherif Hussein Ibn Ali, Amir of Mecca and Keeper of the Holy Places of Islam, encouraged by the British, proclaims the independence of the Hejaz region of Arabia.


Sherif Hussein


June 8– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention adopts a platform which favors the establishment of a world court, maintaining neutrality with regard to the war in Europe, maintaining the Monroe Doctrine, restoration of peace in Mexico, continuation of the colonial status of the Philippines, protection of naturalized American citizens if they return to their country of origin for visitation or business, raising tariff rates, strengthening the army and the navy, federal control of the transportation system, an economical federal budget, conservation of natural resources, civil service reform, workplace protection of laborers and while favoring “the extension of the suffrage to women . . . recognizes the right of each state to settle this question for itself.” This dashes the hopes of women who favor a constitutional amendment. The platform blames the Wilson administration for all American problems.

June 9– Friday– Mecca, Arabia– Forces loyal to Sherif Hussein attack the Turkish garrison.

June 10– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican Nantional Convention closes, having nominated Charles Evans Hughes for president and Charles W Fairbanks for vice-president. It took three rounds of balloting to select Hughes who on the third ballot received 949.5 votes. Fairbanks easily won the vice-presidential position on the first ballot, receiving 863 votes. Hughes, age 54, native New Yorker, a lawyer, was governor of the State of New York from 1907 to 1910, and has served as an associate justice of the U S Supreme Court since October 10, 1910. He resigns his position on the court to run for president.

June 11– Sunday– New York City– Jean Webster, author of Daddy-Long-Legs (1912) and eight other novels, dies in childbirth at 39 years of age. Her baby daughter survives.


Jean Webster


June 11– Sunday– Rome, Italy– Facing mounting criticism because of ever increasing casualties, Prime Minister Antonio Salandra, age 62, resigns and Paolo Boselli, age 78, takes office.

June 13– Tuesday– Mecca, Arabia– The main Turkish garrison surrenders to the Arabs yet the Turks control two small forts on the city’s outskirts.

June 14– Wednesday– St. Louis, Missouri– The Democratic National Convention opens at the St. Louis Coliseum with 1,092 voting delegates in attendance.

June 15– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– President Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America.

June 15– Thursday– St Louis, Missouri– The Democratic National Convention adopts a platform which favors reasonably lower tariffs, “economic freedom” for “man of all ranks and advantages,” an army and navy prepared to deal with “any danger of hostile action which may unexpectedly arise,” the conduct of foreign affairs “to secure the peace of the world and the maintenance of national and individual rights,” intervention in Mexico until “the restoration of law and order,” conservation of natural resources, efforts “to render agriculture more profitable and country life more healthful,” a living wage for workers, the eight hour day, workers compensation, child labor laws, pensions for elderly and disabled workers, increasing to powers and functions of the Federal Bureau of Mines, “the elimination of loathsome disease” by federal efforts, changes in the rules of the U S Senate to “permit the prompt transaction of the Nation’s legislative business,” enforcement of civil service laws, self-government for the Philippines, reform of the federal prison system, and development of flood control of American waterways. The platform favors woman suffrage but, like that of the Republicans, leaves the matter to the states. It attacks the Republican party as “the refuge of the money trust.”

June 16– Friday– St. Louis, Missouri– The Democratic National Convention closes, having renominated President Wilson to run for a second term. Wilson is now age 59. His wife Ellen died in August, 1914, and in December, 1915, he married Edith Bolling Galt, 43 years of age.


Wilson campaign button


June 16– Friday– Paris, France– The Chamber of Deputies meets in secret session to discuss the on-going battle at Verdun which has raged since late February and cost a great number of French casualties. [Most likely French total casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are in excess of 180,000 by this time. However, neither France nor Germany have ever fully acknowledged the true extent of their losses in this battle which will continue until December 20, 1916.]

June 16– Friday– Jeddah, Arabia– Besieged by Arab forces and bombed by British airplanes and warships, the Turkish garrison of 1500 soldiers surrenders.

June 17– Saturday– the Italian Alps, Trentino Region– The Austrian offensive begun early in the year comes to halt as Austrian divisions are sent to fight the Russians. The campaign has cost the Austrians 5,000 dead, 23,00 wounded and 2,000 captured by the Italians. The Italians have suffered 12,000 killed and wounded and 40,000 captured by the Austrians.

June 18– Sunday– Arras, France– The first German ace, Max Immelmann, age 25, is shot down and killed by a British fighter plane. Immelmann had scored 15 kills.

June 21– Wednesday–Carrizal, Mexico– Attempting to push past 250 Mexican soldiers, a force of 100 American cavalry troopers become involved in a fire fight with the Mexicans. Among the Americans, 12 are killed, 11 wounded and 24 taken prisoners. The Mexicans lose about 35 killed and approximately 45 wounded.


June 21– Wednesday– Athens, Greece– In response to demands by Britain and France that Greece demobilize, dismiss police officials hostile to the Allies, and hold new elections, Prime Minister Skouloudis, age 77, resigns and his replacement, Alexander Zaimis, age 60, agrees to demobilization and replacement of certain police officials. Britain and France lift the naval blockade of Greek ports.

June 22– Thursday– Verdun, France– In clear violation of the 1899 and 1907 Hague international agreements, the Germans unleash phosgene gas against French positions.

June 22– Thursday– Karlsruhe, Germany– French airplanes bomb the city, killing 120 civilians and wounding 150 others.

June 23– Friday–near Verdun-sur-Meuse, France– Victor Chapman, age 26, the son of the author John Jay Chapman and a graduate of Harvard, flying with the Lafayette Escadrille becomes the first U.S. airman to be killed in action, shot down by a German fighter.


Victor Chapman


June 24– Saturday– Makunda, German East Africa [now Botswana]– British troops defeat a force of German troops and their African auxiliaries.

June 25– Sunday– St Petersburg, Russia– Tsar Nicholas II orders the drafting of 250,000 Muslims from Kazakhstan, Kirghiz and other provinces of the Russian Empire in central Asia, to serve as a labor force, despite the 1886 law established by his father Tsar Alexander III exempting these people from military service.

June 26– Monday– Washington, D.C.– A report prepared by Captain Lewis S Morey for General John Pershing demonstrating that the American commanding officer at Carrizal provoked the incident with the Mexican soldiers appears in newspapers here and around the country.

June 26– Monday– London, England– Roger Casement, age 51, Irish nationalist, poet, human rights investigator, and diplomat in Britain’s foreign service, goes on trial for treason for his role in the Easter Uprising. He has been stripped of his knighthood and other honors.


June 28– Wednesday– Mexico City, Mexico– General Venustiano Carranza orders the release of the American soldiers captured at Carrizal.

June 30– Friday– New York City– President Wilson addresses the New York Press Club.

Leaving A Track of Desolation Behing Him~ November 1864~19th and 20th

Leaving a Track of Desolation Behind Him ~ George Templeton Strong.

Northerners gloat and the people of Georgia moan as Sherman and his troops forage, burn, plunder and fight their way through the state. Sherman issues orders to control the vandalism but soldiers will continue to harass and rob civilians. Rebel prisoners write home from Federal prison camps. Northen papers comment on the Southern discussion about arming slaves for the Confederate cause. As evidence of increased Federal control President Lincoln lifts the blockade of several Southern ports.

Sherman's troops marching through Georgia

Sherman’s troops marching through Georgia

November 19– Saturday– New York City– “It has been semi-officially announced from Richmond that Jeff Davis and his Confederate rulers have determined upon the desperate expedient of arming and drilling, for the spring campaign, the formidable auxiliary force of 300,000 able-bodied slaves. They are to be bought over to this extraordinary service of fighting for slavery by the offer to each man of the boon of his personal freedom, with the promise of 50 acres of land at the close of the war. The masters concerned, for the loss of their valuable slave property, are to be indemnified in ‘Confederate Scrip.’ This is the scheme. To the dispassionate and intelligent reader, it may seem incredible and preposterous, beyond all bounds of belief; but it is seriously discussed and advocated by the Richmond journals and many of the leading Southern politicians, from Virginia to Louisiana. They contend that the thing is feasible and advisable; that Southern independence is worth even the sacrifice demanded, and that the gift of his individual freedom and 50 acres of land will secure their black soldier against all the temptations of the Yankees. Absurd, ludicrous, insane and suicidal, therefore, as this project may appear, under the lights of experience and the reasoning of common sense, we are constrained to treat it as a movement seriously contemplated by that remarkable philanthropist and champion of liberty, Jeff Davis. We are the more disposed to this treatment with his confession before us that, with Richmond invested by General Grant, and the imminent danger, and with Georgia and all the States below threatened with subjugation by General Sherman, two-thirds of the white soldiers of ‘the Confederacy’ are deserters or ‘absent without leave,’ while none of the remaining whites at home are capable of bearing arms. . . . It will fail at both ends. The slaves cannot be spared from the hoe, and cannot be trusted with the bayonet. The masters having sacrificed everything else to protect their institution of slavery, will not sacrifice their slaves to protract the vain struggle of Davis to save himself ‘in this last ditch.’ We are rather inclined to consider the agitation of this scheme at Richmond as an ingenious method of announcing to the slaveholders concerned that their cause is gone, and that Davis would like to have their influence in favor of giving up ‘the Confederacy’ in disgust.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly.

November 19– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of George Barbier, stage and film actor who will make more than 35 films. [Dies July 19, 1945.]

George Barbier

George Barbier

November 19– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas by my proclamation of the 19th of April, 1861, it was declared that the ports of certain States, including those of Norfolk, in the State of Virginia, Fernandina and Pensacola, in the State of Florida, were, for reasons therein set forth, intended to be placed under blockade; and Whereas the said ports were subsequently blockaded accordingly, but having for some time past been in the military possession of the United States, it is deemed advisable that they should be opened to domestic and foreign commerce. Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, pursuant to the authority in me vested by the fifth section of the act of Congress approved on the 13th of July, 1861, entitled ‘An act further to provide for the collection of duties on imports, and for other purposes,’do hereby declare that the blockade of the said ports of Norfolk, Fernandina, and Pensacola shall so far cease and determine, from and after the 1st day of December next, that commercial intercourse with those ports, except as to persons, things, and information contraband of war, may from that time be carried on, subject to the laws of the United States, to the limitations and in pursuance of the regulations which may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, and to such military and naval regulations as are now in force or may hereafter be found necessary.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

November 19– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Let every man fly to arms! Remove your Negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”~ Telegram from Georgia’s delegation to the Confederate Congress to the people of Georgia.

marching through Georgia

marching through Georgia

November 19– Saturday– Covington, Georgia– “I walked to the gate. There they came filing up. I hastened back to my frightened servants [slaves] and told them that they had better hide, and then went back to the gate to claim protection and a guard. But like demons they rush in! My yards are full. To my smoke-house, my dairy, pantry, kitchen, and cellar, like famished wolves they come, breaking locks and whatever is in their way. The thousand pounds of meat in my smoke-house is gone in a twinkling, my flour, my meat, my lard, butter, eggs, pickles of various kinds– both in vinegar and brine– wine, jars, and jugs are all gone. My eighteen fat turkeys, my hens, chickens, and fowls, my young pigs, are shot down in my yard and hunted as if they were rebels themselves. Utterly powerless I ran out and appealed to the guard. ‘I cannot help you, Madam; it is orders.’ As I stood there, from my lot I saw driven, first, old Dutch, my dear old buggy horse, who has carried my beloved husband so many miles, and who would so quietly wait at the block for him to mount and dismount, and who at last drew him to his grave; then came old Mary, my brood mare, who for years had been too old and stiff for work, with her three-year-old colt, my two-year-old mule, and her last little baby colt. There they go! There go my mules, my sheep, and, worse than all, my boys [slaves]! Alas! little did I think while trying to save my house from plunder and fire that they were forcing my boys from home at the point of the bayonet. . . . Thanks to my God, the cotton [bales] only burned over, and then went out. Shall I ever forget the deliverance? To-night, when the greater part of the army had passed, it came up very windy and cold. My room was full, nearly, with the Negroes and their bedding. They were afraid to go out, for my women could not step out of the door without an insult from the Yankee soldiers. They lay down on the floor; Sadai got down and under the same cover with Sally, while I sat up all night, watching every moment for the flames to burst out from some of my buildings. . . . I could not close my eyes, but kept walking to and fro, watching the fires in the distance and dreading the approaching day, which, I feared, as they had not all passed, would be but a continuation of horrors.” ~ Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge.

Union troops destroying a stretch of railroad track

Union troops destroying a stretch of railroad track

November 19– Saturday– past Covington, Georgia– “Last night I read to him [General Sherman] Alexander H. Stephen’s [native Georgian and vice-president of the Confederacy] most remarkable letter to Senator Sumner of Louisiana sent by A. H.S. to the Augusta Constitutionalist, in which wereceived it. The General was greatly interested, but made few or no comments. I remarked on A. H.S.’s idea that separation would secure permanent peace, and his talk about the ultimate, absolute sovereignty of the States. Said the General, ‘Stephens is crazy on the States Rights question. This war is on our part a war against anarchy. I wish they were separated from us and a foreign Government would whale on ‘em all the time.’ By 11 or 12 o’clock we reached Newborn. The men are foraging and straggling, I an sorry to say, a good deal. At and near every farmhouse we hear constant shooting of pigs and chickens. I remarked to the General something about the straggling. He answered, ‘I have been three years fighting stragglers, and they are harder to conquer than the enemy.’” ~ Diary of Henry Hitchcock.

November 20– Sunday– New York City– “Reports from Sherman, more or less authentic (probably less), place him seventy miles south of Atlanta on the 14th, and ‘advancing toward the Savannah River,’ eating his way, living on the country, and leaving a track of desolation behind him. May God prosper his march and help and comfort the homes which right and justice, whose minister he is, oblige him to lay waste! It is sad to think of the misery rebellion has brought upon Rebeldom . . . . But the nation should execute justice on the guilty all the more sternly because their crime has inflicted so much suffering on the innocent.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 20– Sunday– Point Lookout, Maryland– “I take my pen this Sabbath morning to drop a few lines to inform you that I am in good health and Praying that this may find you and all the family enjoying the same blessing. My health has been good since [becoming] a prisoner but am deprived of many comforts that we once enjoyed but I trust this cruel war will soon come to a close so we could enjoy our selves as the past. The health of the camp is good at present. The Officers in charge here spare no pains in promoting the health and comfort of the prisoners. Our rations are of a good quality. Some complain that they don’t get enough but I think it is a enough. . . . As we are limited to a half sheet [of] note paper I must close.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Jesse Rolston to his wife Mary.

November 20– Sunday– Johnson Island, Ohio– “I hope the agreement between the two governments in reference to supplies of clothing, food, etc., may be put into successful operation. As it may not reach us soon, I wish my friends in Georgia to take advantage of any opportunity to send me per flag of truce from Savannah or Charleston some flour, bacon, dried fruit, peas, or any other staple food that can be conveniently shipped. I leave the details of quantity, quality, and shipment to you. Dennis S. has written to his mother to the same effect. We are permitted to receive express packages containing provisions from the South.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry Mc Daniel to his father.

prison camp at Johnson Island

prison camp at Johnson Island

November 20– Sunday– near Kernstown, Virginia– “Still raining and I fear the grand review by General Sheridan which is down for tomorrow will have to be postponed. I have an invitation to dine at at Brigade Headquarters on Thanksgiving Day.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

November 20– Sunday– near New Market, Virginia– “It is with pleasure that I take this opportunity to drop you a few lines to let you now how I am at this time– thank the Lord I enjoy good health have been well ever since left home except a cold– I have had right bad cold for some time other ways I have been hearty– hoping this may find you all well. I hoped to have gotten a letter from you before now but have not I wrote you the ninth of this month. Suppose you did not get it. Since that time we have had a hard march down the valley– we were near Winchester– expected to have a fight but it turned out other wise – we are now in Camp where we was when I last wrote – my feet became very sore on the march but are now well again, this is rainy wet weather here this is the Sabbath day – things are quite still here today. . . . I invited Several of my Company to eat with me they said that the woman that made that Butter and Bread knowed how to do it. You have no idea how such things are appreciated in camp – the men found that I had butter they would have take all I had in a short time if I would have let them. You sent more butter than I thought I could use so I Spared one of the roll. Sold two pound of it and loaned the rest out – thought it would come good some time. I let the men have it at 7 Dollars per pound – it was selling at ten Dollars in camp but I thought it was to much for Soldiers to pay . . . . hoping to hear from you soon – I will close – my Prayer is that the Lord will bless you and take care of you all and save us all in heaven at last.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John P. Dull to his wife Ginny.

November 20– Sunday– in the field, General Sherman’s Headquarters, Georgia– “1). The discharge of fire-arms by foragers and others has become an evil which must be stopped. Many men have already been wounded and a waste of ammunition incurred which we cannot afford. However no firing will be permitted under any circumstances. Animals and fowls must be caught, not shot. . . . 3). One pack-animal may be allowed to each company and so many to brigade and division headquarters as division commanders may think proper. All animals taken from the country are the property of the Government, and must be turned over to the quartermasters. All surplus draft animals must be used to strengthen the wagon trains. Indiscriminate mounting of unauthorized men cannot be allowed. Every commanding officer is responsible that no unauthorized man under him is mounted.” ~ Orders from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Sherman's field headquarters

Sherman’s field headquarters

The Victory of Sheridan Has A Party-Political Influence~September 1864~21st to 23rd

The Victory of Sheridan Has a Party-Political Influence. ~ Gideon Welles.

Fremont’s withdrawal from the presidential race and Sheridan’s victories in the Shenandoah Valley begin to spell success for Lincoln’s reelection Hard fighting continues in that Valley. Train accidents, common in the time period, occur with unfortunate regularity. At the time injured workers usually fall into poverty as workers compensation does not yet exist nor do unemployment benefits. Sherman’s expulsion of the citizens of Atlanta continues. Fashionable women consider clothes for the new season.

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

Atlanta refugees in boxcars

September 21– Wednesday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Presidential question has in effect been entered upon in such a way that the union of the Republican party has become a paramount necessity. The policy of the Democratic party signifies either separation, or reestablishment with Slavery. The Chicago platform is simply separation. General Mc Clellan’s letter of acceptance is reestablishment with Slavery. The Republican candidate on the contrary is pledged to the reestablishment of the Union without Slavery; and, however hesitating his policy may be, the pressure of his party will, we may hope, force him to it. Between these issues, I think, no man of the Liberal party can remain in doubt; and I believe I am consistent with my antecedents in withdrawing, not to aid in the triumphs of Mr. Lincoln, but to do my part toward preventing the election of the Democratic candidate. In respect to Mr. Lincoln, I continue to hold exactly the sentiments contained in my letter of acceptance. I consider that his Administration has been politically, militarily and financially, a failure, and that its necessary continuance is a cause of regret for the country. . . . But in the uncertain condition of affairs leading men were not found willing to make public a dissatisfaction and condemnation which could have rendered Mr. Lincoln’s nomination impossible; and their continued silence and support established for him a character among the people which leaves now no choice. United, the Republican party is reasonably sure of success; divided, the result of the Presidential election is, at the least, doubtful.” ~ Letter from General John C Fremont to a committee of political leaders.

September 21– Wednesday– New York City– “Sheridan seems doing much to help our defense. His victory of the 19th grows bigger and higher as we learn more about it and about his way of following it up. It was a hard-fought battle, decided at last by a heavy cavalry charge. That is a new feature in our battles, I think. Another new feature is that he seems to be pushing the retreating army vigorously, even as Blucher after Waterloo, and was when last heard from near Strasburg, thirty miles from his original position. No victorious army, rebel or national, has heretofore made what seemed a prompt effort to secure the fruits of victory by pressing on the heels of its losing adversary.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

third battle of Winchester

third battle of Winchester

September 21– Wednesday– Washington, D. C.– “The victory of Sheridan has a party-political influence. It is not gratifying to the opponents of the Administration. Some who want to rejoice in it feel it difficult to do so, because they are conscious that it strengthens the Administration, to which they are opposed. The partisan feeling begins to show itself strongly among men of whom it was not expected. . . . Some attempt is made by the Richmond papers to help the cause of McClellan by an affectation of dread of his superior military attainments and abilities and his greater zeal for the Union. The effort is so bald, so manifestly intended for their sympathizing friends, that no one can be deceived by it. There was a time when such stuff had a market in the North, but that time has gone by.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 21– Wednesday– en route to Richmond, Virginia– “Since my last we have left the valley and are now en route for Richmond or some other point south. I suppose Grant is making a great arrangement to take Richmond and General Lee getting ready to meet him. God defend the right. Iforgot to say that I was complimented very highly for my conduct in the cavalry fight the other day. I was laughing most all the time and cheering on the boys sometimes from fifty to seventy-five yards in front of the brigade on my horse. I hope you will not scold me dear Molly, for if I fall in this war let me die like a soldier and let my name illustrate the blood of my veins.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer W A Stilwell to his wife Molly.

cavalry battle

cavalry battle

September 21– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Would it not be desirable to teach music systematically in our public schools by the employment of a competent teacher? In St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, and nearly all other large cities, special music teachers are employed for the schools, and their labors not only communicate a very desirable accomplishment, but aid materially in the maintenance of school discipline. If the increased expense of employing a special music teacher would be objectionable, then specific attention to music as a branch of study might be required under the direction of our present excellent teachers. Perhaps the introduction of music in connection of Dio Lewis’ Light Gymnastics, for two or three hours a week or more, might be advantageous.” ~ Memphis Bulletin

September 22– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Early in the morning two trains collide. None of the passengers are injured. However, both locomotives are damaged and the engineer and greaser in one of the engines are scalded by escaping steam from the broken boiler.

period railroad accident

period railroad accident

September 22– Thursday– Fisher’s Hill, Virginia– General Jubal Early’s Confederates lose another battle to a larger Federal force. Total Confederate casualties– killed, wounded, missing– amount to 1235; Union losses amount to 528.

September 22– Thursday– near Strasburg, Virginia– “We have had stirring times since we have been in Camp– we got to camp 8 miles below Winchester last Friday evening– on Monday morning we met the enemy near Bruce Town– they came up on 3 sides and nearly cut us off before we could get out they commenced firing on us from 3 sides– we had to fall back– a good many of the brigade were wounded – [the] 2 young Shepherds were wounded one of them I think mortally– John N. Wheat was badly wounded in the shoulder but I don’t think it is dangerous– I brought him off the field– after riding a piece we overtook Fielden Templeton who came with us– as soon as we found the doctor he dismounted to have his wound dressed but the Yanks pressed us so hard we had to mount and double quick– John got very sick– I was afraid he would faint and fall off if he had the yanks would of gotten him for they were in sight of us– after we passed through Winchester I thought he was safe we traveled nearly all night to keep ahead of the army then could hardly do it for John was not able to ride fast– the army fell back to Fishers Hill– that night we got about 1 ½ miles above– Tuesday morning I turned back and joined the command– I hope John will have luck to reach home safe– when you write please let me know how he is. Risk Shewy must be captured– his horse was shot in the leg we have not heard from him nor [his] horse.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James R. McCutchan to his cousin Rachel Ann McCutchan.

September 22– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I send this as an explanation to you, and to do justice to the Secretary of War. I was induced, upon pressing application, to authorize the agents of one of the districts of Pennsylvania to recruit in one of the prison depots in Illinois; and the thing went so far before it came to the knowledge of the Secretary that, in my judgment, it could not be abandoned without greater evil than would follow its going through. I did not know at the time that you had protested against that class of thing being done; and I now say that while this particular job must be completed, no other of the sort will be authorized, without an understanding with you, if at all. The Secretary of War is wholly free of any part in this blunder.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to General Grant.

September 22– Thursday– Rockbridge County, Virginia– “I was taken down with fever at New Market about the middle of August and sent to Staunton for treatment. Two weeks ago I was sufficiently recovered to come to this place. I am now well and will return to duty in a few days. Mary is with us. Her health is still very delicate. She read your letter of July 28th & answered it at once. This week I received your letter of July 14th. I am endeavoring to carry out your request but doubt my ability to accomplish anything. I have written to General Wise invoking his aid & hope it will be more potent than my efforts. Some of your friends have been killed since your capture, though I believe none with whom you were very intimate. Colonel Lang & Thornhill were killed below Winchester week before last. Poor Lang we shall miss him greatly.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John D Imboden to his brother Frank.

September 22– Thursday– Atlanta, Georgia– Approximately 3500 people have left the city headed into other parts of the Confederacy. A similar number have taken General Sherman’s offer to move somewhere in the North, some going as far as New York City.

wagon train of refugees

wagon train of refugees

September 22– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– “Friends are drawn together in adversity. . . . Our cause is not lost. Sherman cannot keep up his long line of communication, and retreat, sooner or later, he must. . . . Let no one despond.” ~ Speech by Confederate President Jeff Davis to a group of Georgia refugees.

September 22– Thursday– Augusta, Georgia– “Was it ominous that I should find my pen split when I took it up to write tonight? In these troublous times how superstitious we become. Shall I dare hope that this new Journal which I am commencing will record Peace, an independent Southern Confederacy? Truly the skies are gloomy and the heavy storm appears ready to discharge its thunders in our very midst. Yet how calm, how indifferent we are, we laugh, we smile, we talk, we jest, just as tho no enemy were at our door. And yet the idea has several times suggested itself to me that someday I would have to aid in earning my own support. We have made no arrangement whatever for such a contingency. Gold has increased in value and we have not a dollar and yet I am hopeful of the success of our cause, the ultimate success of our Confederacy, while I do not think it improbable that we will lose our fortunes before that final success is achieved.” ~ Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas.

September 23– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– A locomotive on the Boston and Eastern Railroad explodes at the Ipswich Depot, killing the fireman and severely injuring the engineer.

fall fashions of 1864

fall fashions of 1864

September 23– Friday– New York City– “The opening of Fall fashions has been signalized by a larger display of novelties this season than we remember to have seen for several years. Bonnets have undergone a total revolution; extraordinary innovations have been introduced into garments for outside wear, while in dress and ornamental fabrics, many quite new and elegant designs and combinations have made their appearance for the first time in this country. Prices, of course, rule high, but this is to be expected in ‘war times,’ and as labor is plenty, wages good, and business active, few object to the advanced rates. Bonnets which were formerly sold for ten dollars are now sold for thirty, but this seemed to make little difference to the crowd which, as usual, attended the semi-annual exhibition. Possibly fewer bonnets were sold, but certainly a much larger quantity of materials were purchased. Many ladies seeking to economize by exercising their ingenuity, and taste in the making up of their own head-gear. . . . Winter cloaks have hardly as yet made their appearance, but it is already understood that the tight-fitting paletot, with or without a cape, will be one of the most prominent styles. Round cloaks are also in vogue, made in velvet, beaver or plush, and trimmed in the first instance with flat braids and hanging buttons, and in the second with heavy chenille fringe. . . . Gored dresses have been reviving this fall, and are made to a considerable extent in poplins, in heavy ribbed silks, and in moire antique. In black poplin, they are sometimes corded down the seams with thick crimson, or gold colored silk, and the same idea carried into the trimming of the waist and sleeves. The skirt is always laid in large single fox plaits, and hangs very long behind. . . . For early Fall wear grey dresses, trimmed with black taffetas, stitched on with the sewing machine, in effective designs, are in excellent taste – flat trimmings having largely taken the place of fluting, ruches, and the line. Low bodies are made altogether for evening dresses, with Grecian folds, when the material is thin, and long wide scarf of the material at the back, edged with quilting of tulle, or ribbon, and floating nearly to the bottom of the skirt. In thicker materials, the body is made low and square, cut off sharply upon the hips, and descends in long tails behind. One of the new and pretty French lace capes, with a volant, may be worn with these waists, or a tucked or puffed Pompadour chemisette.” ~ New York Times.

outerwear-fall, 1864

outerwear-fall, 1864

The Trails and Troubles of Their Acts~July 1864~15th to 18th

The Trials and Troubles Of Their Acts ~ William King

In Georgia citizens such as William King suffer and Confederate General Johnston is replaced. General Pickett becomes a proud father. Greeley’s peace efforts fail. A crossdressed woman coming from a tete-a-tete is arrested. Lincoln calls for more troops and encourages Grant and Sherman.

Shohola Train Wreck

Shohola Train Wreck

July 15– Friday– near Sholola, Pennsylvania– A train loaded with Confederate prisoners collides with a coal train, killing 44 prisoners, 17 guards and 4 railroad workers as well as injuring 109 others of 955 aboard

July 15– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “We had some talk at Cabinet-meeting to-day on the Rebel invasion. The President wants to believe there was a large force, and yet evidently his private convictions are otherwise. But the military leaders, the War Office, have insisted there was a large force. We have done nothing, and it is more gratifying to our self-pride to believe there were many of them, especially as we are likely to let them off with considerable plunder scot-free.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 15– Friday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Our servants [slaves] are all getting on well, I having but little for them to do, they are enabled to make money by washing and mending for the [Yankee] soldiers. I today heard of the sad condition of Mr. and Mrs. Greenlee Butler, they had remained within the Lines of Judge Irvine’s place, he was very feeble, and they in common with all their neighbors had been robbed of all their provisions and nearly everything else. . . . the sufferings from the depredations of the robbers is very great. Many who were well supplied for months and some for a year, have been compelled to come to town and perform day work for a living . . . . Large numbers of families are quitting the county, and going to the North to seek a support for themselves and families– such are the consequences of a needless war on domestic comfort and the prosperity of a county.” ~ Diary of William King.

July 15– Friday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I have made General Johnston two visits, and been received courteously and kindly. He has not sought my advice, and it was not volunteered. I cannot learn that he has any more plan for the future than he has had in the past. It is expected that he will await the enemy on a line some three miles from here, and the impression prevails that he is now more inclined to fight. The morale of our army is still reported good.” ~ Telegram from Confederate General Braxton Bragg to President Jefferson Davis.

July 15– Friday– Columbus, Mississippi– “Our dispatches from the front are very encouraging – Forrest is fighting the Enemy near Tupelo – nothing decisive, but we have repulsed them in every attempt to fight us. God grant our Army may be crowned with glory and success – protect my dear Brother and friends from all danger. The news from Virginia is glorious, God grant it may be true, our forces in three miles of Washington City, and shelling the City. Oh heaven, smile upon our poor, desolated South, brighten the hearthstones of our sad and lonely homes – drive our enemy back, take them in peace, we do not wish them any harm, but oh! grant our Sunny land Victory and peace, bless my dear old Father and spare him to us, for the days when our dear boys will once more bless our homes with their presence.”~ Diary of Belle Edmondson.

July 15– Friday– Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada– Birth of Franklin Knight Lane. [The family will move to California in 1871. He will become a news reporter, lawyer and Democratic politician, serving on the Interstate Commerce Commission from 1906 to 1913 and as Secretary of the Interior from 1913 to 1920. Dies May 18, 1921.]

Franklin Knight Lane

Franklin Knight Lane

July 15– Friday– London, England– Birth of Marie Susan Etherington, a/k/a Dame Marie Tempest, D.B. E, singer, stage and film actress. [Dies October 15, 1942.]

Dame Marie Tempest, 1886

Dame Marie Tempest, 1886

July 16– Saturday– Atlantic Ocean– The first hurricane of the season begins, well east of the coast of Georgia, and rages for the next two days, with winds reaching a peak intensity of 80 mph. It will dissipate in the ocean miles away from the coast of Nova Scotia.

July 16– Saturday– Nashville, Tennessee– “About three o’clock on Thursday night last (14th ) the police arrested a suspicious looking character, who afterwards proved to be a woman dressed in male attire. An investigation into the affair established the fact that she had but recently come to this city on a visit, and meeting a Lieutenant, a friend of her husband and family, a promenade and a disguise was suggested by the officer, which was acceded to by Mrs._____. She was returning to her boarding house when arrested, and, as might be expected, exhibited much uneasiness of mind, when being escorted to the police headquarters. The Lieutenant shortly afterwards made his appearance and deposited a sufficient sum for security, thus saving her from lodging the rest of the night in the workhouse.” ~ Nashville Daily Press.

July 17– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “In your dispatch of yesterday to General Sherman, I find the following, to wit: ‘I shall make a desperate effort to get a position here, which will hold the enemy without the necessity of so many men.’ Pressed as we are by lapse of time I am glad to hear you say this; and yet I do hope you may find a way that the effort shall not be desperate in the sense of great loss of life.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Grant.

July 17– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “God bless you, little Mother of our boy bless and keep you. Heaven in all its glory shine upon you; Eden’s flowers bloom eternal for you. Almost with every breath since the message came, relieving my anxiety and telling me that my darling lived and that a little baby had been born to us, I have been a baby myself. Though I have known all these months that from across Love’s enchanted land this little child was on its way to our twin souls, now that God’s promise is fulfilled and it has come, I can’t believe it. As I think of it I feel the stir of Paradise in my senses, and my spirit goes up in thankfulness to God for this, His highest and best the one perfect flower in the garden of life Love.” ~ Letter from Confederate General George Pickett to his wife Sallie Ann on the birth of their son George.

Sallie Corbell Pickett

Sallie Corbell Pickett

July 17– Sunday– Cobb County, Georgia– “How little could our disunion friends have conceived of the trials and troubles their acts were to bring upon a happy and prosperous people– most of them fleeing away from their Homes. [Union] Colonel Bishop informed me this morning that there would be preaching in the Presbyterian Church by a member of the [Northern] Christian Association, I told him I would attend but feeling a little unwell and not liking to be too long away from Home on Sunday, I returned without attending Church, this making 6 Sabbaths since I have attended Church; God grant that peace may soon be restored to our afflicted country.” ~ Diary of William King.

Union artillery outside of Atlanta

Union artillery outside of Atlanta

July 17– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– Confederate General Joseph Johnston receives notice from President Jeff Davis that Davis no longer has confidence in him and is replacing him with General John Bell Hood in order to turn back the advance of Union General Sherman. Davis writes “as you failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of Atlanta . . . you are hereby relieved from the command.”

July 17– Sunday– Parker’s Ford, Virginia; Vining’s Station, Georgia; Herring Creek, Virginia; Ray County, Missouri; Davison’s Ford, Louisiana– Onslaughts, forays and assaults.

July 17– Sunday– Spa, Belgium– Dirk D. Curtius, lawyer, opponent of monarchy and liberal politician, dies at age 71.

Dirk D Curtius

Dirk D Curtius

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

July 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do issue this my call for 500,000 volunteers for the military service: Provided, nevertheless, That this call shall be reduced by all credits which may be established under section 8 of the aforesaid act on account of persons who have entered the naval service during the present rebellion and by credits for men furnished to the military service in excess of calls heretofore made. Volunteers will be accepted under this call for one, two, or three years, as they may elect, and will be entitled to the bounty provided by the law for the period of service for which they enlist. And I hereby proclaim, order, and direct that immediately after the 5th day of September, 1864, being fifty days from the date of this call, a draft for troops to serve for one year shall be had in every town, township, ward of a city, precinct, or election district, or county not so subdivided, to fill the quota which shall be assigned to it under this call or any part thereof which may be unfilled by volunteers on the said 5th day of September, 1864.” ~ Proclamation of President Lincoln calling for a half million more volunteers, in large part because of the large number of casualties suffered in Virginia and Georgia.

July 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have seen your despatches objecting to agents of Northern States opening recruiting stations near your camps. An act of Congress authorizes this, giving the appointment of agents to the States, and not to the Executive Government. It is not for the War Department, or myself, to restrain or modify the law, in its execution, further than actual necessity may require. To be candid, I was for the passage of the law, not apprehending at the time that it would produce such inconvenience to the armies in the field as you now cause me to fear. Many of the States were very anxious for it, and I hoped that, with their State bounties, and active exertions, they would get out substantial additions to our colored forces, which, unlike white recruits, help us where they come from, as well as where they go to. I still hope advantage from the law; and being a law, it must be treated as such by all of us. We here will do what we consistently can to save you from difficulties arising out of it. May I ask, therefore, that you will give your hearty co-operation.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

General Sherman

General Sherman

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

Pleasing in Her Address and Modest in Her Manner~November 1863~the 1st to 5th

Pleasing in Her Address and Modest in Her Manner ~ General Robert E Lee.

General Lee praises the courage and resourcefulness of Southern women. Many of his soldiers are cold, poorly clothed and meagerly fed. The New York Times brags about Union soldiers. Northern states are putting large numbers of soldiers into the field on many fronts. Colonel Chamberlain writes a passionate love letter to his wife. A wounded soldier bemoans his state to Walt Whitman. While there is some fighting in Louisiana and South Carolina, it is in Tennessee that the cauldron is on the boil for major fighting before the year’s end. Planners extend a last minute invitation to President Lincoln to speak at the dedication of the new national cemetery at Gettysburg. New York City hosts a grand ball for its Russian visitors. Labor troubles erupt in the Pennsylvania coal region. And the world goes on.

Union soldiers

Union soldiers


November 1– Sunday– New York City– “The bounty and pay of the American soldier is something so astounding to the European, that we are forced to wonder that we have not had a double influx of able-bodied emigrants to make what to many of them would be a fortune in the three years of their service. It will, however, have the effect of showing foreign nations that it will be useless to land armies upon this Continent.” ~ New York Times

period dresses 212

November 1– Sunday– Confederate Headquarters along the Rappahannock River, Virginia– “I had a visit from a soldier’s wife to-day, who was on a visit with her husband. She was from Abbeville district, S. C. Said she had not seen her husband for more than two years, and, as he had written to her for clothes, she herself thought she would bring them on. It was the first time she had traveled by railroad, but she got along very well by herself. She brought an entire suit of her own manufacture for her husband. She spun the yarn and made the clothes herself. She clad her three young children in the same way, and had on a beautiful pair of gloves she had made for herself. Her children she had left with her sister. She said she had been here a week and must return to-morrow, and thought she could not go back without seeing me. Her husband accompanied her to my tent, in his nice gray suit. She was very pleasing in her address and modest in her manner, and was clad in a nice, new alpaca. I am certain she could not have made that. . . . She, in fact, was an admirable woman. Said she was willing to give up everything she had in the world to attain our independence, and the only complaint she made of the conduct of our enemies was their arming our servants against us. Her greatest difficulty was to procure shoes. She made them for herself and children of cloth with leather soles. She sat with me about ten minutes and took her leave– another mark of sense– and made no request for herself or husband. I wrote you about my wants in my former letter. My rheumatism I hope is a little better, but I have had to-day, and indeed always have, much pain. I trust it will pass away.” ~ Letter from Confederate General Robert E Lee to his wife Mary.

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

November 1– Sunday– Charleston, South Carolina– Union ships and artillery toss over 750 rounds into Fort Sumter.

November 1– Sunday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– The new supply route brings large amounts of food and ammunition to the Federal forces.

November 1– Sunday– Confederate Headquarters outside Chattanooga, Tennessee– “The abuses and irregularities which have so recently been observed amongst the cavalry have had an injurious effect on the morale of this army and upon the citizens. A strict regard for private rights and a due observance of the laws and regulations are essential to discipline and good order as well as content and harmony amongst the people. All straggling and pillaging are positively forbidden, and commanders are enjoined to see that previous orders on that subject are carried into effect. They will be held to a strict accountability for any violation of these orders. It is enjoined upon officers of this army to arrest all cavalrymen absent without proper authority from their commands, or who are found wandering over the country plundering and stealing from the citizens. Men so arrested will be sent under guard to these headquarters, where they will be dismounted and assigned to infantry.” ~ Orders from General Braxton Bragg.

November 1– Sunday– Angel Island, San Francisco, California– Federal troops establish a fortified camp.

November 1– Sunday– Konigsberg, East Prussia– Birth of Alfred Reisenauer, composer and pianist.

November 2– Monday– New York City– Theodore Dehone Judah, age 37, dies of yellow fever. Trained in engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Mr Judah has played a key role in developing the Central Pacific Railroad and undertook the route survey through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. While traveling across the Isthmus of Panama to New York from California he contracted the fever which takes his life.

Theodore D Judah

Theodore D Judah

November 2– Monday– St Paul, Minnesota– A report to Governor Henry Swift shows the disposition of the state’s soldiers. The 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry is at Bristow Station, Virginia; the 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry at Chattanooga, Tennessee; the 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry at Little Rock, Arkansas; the 4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry in operations against the Memphis and Charleston Railroad in Alabama; the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry at Canton, Mississippi; the 6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry on garrison duty in Minnesota; the 7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry in St. Louis, Missouri; the 8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry on garrison duty in Minnesota; the 9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry at Jefferson City, Missouri; the 10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; the 1st Regiment Minnesota Cavalry on duty in Minnesota; Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry on duty along the Tennessee River; the 1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery at Vicksburg, Mississippi; the 2nd Independent Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery at Chattanooga, Tennessee; the 3rd Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery on duty in Minnesota. [Such distributions of state troops are fairly representative of most Northern states during the war.]

November 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln receives an invitation to make a few remarks at the dedication of the new National Cemetery in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.

November 2– Monday– Confederate camp along the Rappahannock River, Virginia– “We are still quietly resting here. The troops are camped very thick here and wood is very scarce. I suppose we will move soon but I hope we will have no more hard marching this year. It is pretty cold of nights now and in the daytime too some days. I want to go into winter quarters so we can build some huts and have some protection from the rain and keen cold cutting wind. . . . it is a serious truth that there are men in our Regiment that have been entirely barefooted till a day or two ago, and have but one inferior suit of clothes and not a sign of blanket, overcoat, or anything at all to lie on or cover with. They build a fire and lie down on the ground before it and sleep, when it is cold enough to freeze a man well wrapped up.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

November 2– Monday– Murfreesboro, Tennessee– “I have taken some pains to inquire into the case, and I learn from very reliable Union families inthis place, that she is a very estimable Lady, and that what she related about her situation is substantially true. While she has always been a true woman, and Loyal, her husband has been a Libertine and a Rebel, and is now living in a state of adultery within the Rebel lines, leaving her and her little ones to suffer the anguish, that necessarily follows such transactions. I look upon it as a dreadful thing for a pure minded woman, to be under the necessity of living with either a Libertine or a Rebel, but when the two great sins, become united in one person, it becomes positively insufferable, and will certainly admit of executive interference. Mrs Johnson can tell you the situation of the Property, and in short, the whole story better than I can. I really hope something can be done for her, although I have no interest in the matter, any more than the natural sympathy, that ought to be found in every human breast, when the innocent are wronged. I have no acquaintance with the Lady and should not have known anything about the case except by the accident of my position at this time.” ~ Report from Union Colonel William L Utley.

November 3– Tuesday– Albany, New York– In another political victory for President Lincoln and a rebuff to Democratic Governor Horatio Seymour, in the mid-term election Republicans win control of key offices and control of the state legislature which will severely limit Seymour’s ability in the last half of his term.

November 3– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Hospital Scenes and Incidents of the War. – A lady is engaged in writing a work with the above title, with the intention of devoting the proceeds, when published, to the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers. She solicits and will be grateful for brief and well authenticated accounts of personal adventures, experiences, &c. in hospital and camp life. Editors wishing to aid in this enterprise, will please call attention to it. Address, ‘Matron,’ box 857, Richmond, Va.” ~ Richmond Whig.

November 3– Tuesday– Collierville, Tennessee– In an attempt to disrupt Union operations on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad Confederate cavalry attacks the Federal garrison here but is driven back by a large force. Total killed, wounded and missing are 95 for the Confederates and 60 for the Federals.

November 3– Tuesday– Bayou Bourbeau, Louisiana– In a long and fierce engagement, Confederate soldiers drive back Federal troops but reinforcements regain the position in a hard-fought counterattack. Total Federal losses– dead, wounded, missing– number 604 while Confederate casualties amount to 181.

November 4– Wednesday– along the Rappahannock River, Virginia– “I write to you now to tell you that you are my own sweet love and that I think of you with fervent and passionate affection every moment. When I am leading (as I have been) solid battalions into the deadly eye of mortal conflict, if I do it well it is because I love you well. It is you who do it, through a person dressed in a colonel’s uniform who fears no foe and betrays no friend. As I tell you so often . . . what is life or death to love– or music which is the same, for you must know music is swelling the very air with love tonight. Am I well? Why, yes. . . . . Well, my darling how do all things go with you? The cheeks are round, are they? Are the breasts so too? I did not know that I had written that till the music struck a new strain and took away my common place sense.” ~ Letter from Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain to his wife Fannie.

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

November 4– Wednesday– Confederate positions outside Chattanooga, Tennessee– General Braxton Bragg takes a gamble by ordering General James Longstreet and his troops to retake Knoxville from the Federal forces.

November 4– Wednesday– Off the coast of Texas–U S warships seize a British ship attempting to run the blockade.

November 4– Wednesday– Paris, France– Les Troyens, an opera by Hector Berlioz, debuts at the Theatre Lyrique.

Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz

November 5– Thursday– Audenried, Pennsylvania–Twelve masked men break into the home of mine owner George Smith and kill him. Local police blame the Molly Maguires and draft resisters but make no arrests. [On the Molly McGuires and Pennsylvania coal miners, see William Anthony Gudelunas, Jr. and William G. Shade, Before the Molly Maguires: The Emergence of the Ethnoreligious Factor in the Politics of the Lower Anthracite Region: 1844-1972; Kevin Kenny, Making Sense of the Molly McGuires; Philip S Foner, History of the Labor Movement in the United States and Spencer J Sadler, Pennsylvania’s Coal and Iron Police.]

November 5–Thursday– New York City–Society leaders give a grand ball to honor visiting officers of the Russian Navy.

The Russian Ball in New York City

The Russian Ball in New York City

November 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “My leg mends slowly (about as it was when you were here). I have been out in the city on Monday & Tuesday, both days I was at the relief associations, to try to get a shirt or two– yesterday I got a order from the Chaplain yesterday to get two shirts from the Christian Commission, when I went up and showed them the order they told me that they had

none– then I went into their store room and there was some nice shirts there. I told them that they were just the kind that I wanted– but they told me that they were layed out for distribution amongst the different camps through the city. So I got none of them, & I was mad enough too, after walking up there three times and than get nothing, (the Relief association may be a very nice thing, but I cant see it, for I never get any thing from them yet– you have give me more than all of the rest put together. So you are the relief association that I (as well as all the rest of the boys) like best.” ~ Letter from Lewis K. Brown, a wounded soldier, to Walt Whitman who is in Brooklyn, visiting his family.

Do a Little Something for Their County~October 1863~27th to 31st

Do a Little Something for Their Country ~ Union soldier Thomas Donohue

Soldiers write home about food, or the lack of it, death, romance and home-sickness. Women continue their efforts to feed soldiers. The International Red Cross has its beginnings in Switzerland. The situation in Tennessee continues to boil toward more hard fighting before the year’s end. Walt Whitman tries to find a publisher. George Templeton Strong entertains. Effie Shaw, one of the sisters of the late Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, marries her sweetheart. And the world continues to change.

October 27– Tuesday– near Camp Iogu, Hamilton County, Tennessee– “Today pleasant our wagons came up about noon to the gratification of officers and men as all were suffering less or more for something to eat. . . . J Anderson, Fancher Brothers and myself went out in the country to buy some corn bread off the citizens we traveled all fore noon and visited some 25 or 30 houses, we found them all suffering worse then we were. everything had been taken from them by the secesh and their husbands and Brother and Fathers had left home some 2 years ago and some a year and some18 months and joined our army there is not secesh here there all for the union and treat us with all the respect they can, but none of them was able to sell us a loaf of corn bread they were all out of meat them that had any and said that baked it up for the soldiers yesterday and had divided with them until they had nothing left for themselves and there children on our way back to camp We were passing by a house where 2 women were chopping down a tree close to the road side we walked up to them and inquired if there was no men about to chop wood for them one of them said her husband had joined the first east Tennessee cavalry and took sick and died last winter at Murfreesboro the others was a young girl unmarried we told them it looked like [it was] too hard to see women into chopping wood so we turned in and chopped down and carried up to the house a nice pile of wood. They were remarkably well pleased and invited us to [come] in and rest ourselves but we thanked them kindly as it was then half past 12 o’clock and we had to be in camp at one for roll call.” ~ Diary of Union soldier John Hill Ferguson.

Chattonooga from the north

Chattonooga from the north

October 27– Tuesday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– The new supply route ordered by General Grant is operating. Food and ammunition are arriving for the Federal troops and the Confederate siege begins to weaken.

October 27– Tuesday– near Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I just returned last night from a trip of three days up in Walker County, Georgia after corn. I could not find any corn to buy and had to press some. I pressed it from a lady whose husband is gone to the Yankees, It was very hard to do so and she was crying and begging but I could not help it, my orders was to get corn and I was obliged to get it. I don’t want to go anymore. I had much rather fight Yankees than take corn from women and children. I had a good time otherwise, eating butter and milk and potatoes and other vegetables but it did not last long, but like the hog I had to return to my wallering [sic] in the clay and vomit again.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier William Stilwell to his wife Molly in Georgia.

October 27– Tuesday– Harlingen, the Netherlands– Railway service from Leeuwarden reaches this ancient city, chartered in 1234.

Harlingen railway station as it looks today

Harlingen railway station as it looks today

October 28– Wednesday– Boston, Massachusetts– “I have taken your proposition into consideration. There is a lion in the way– $– I could easily publish a small Book, but the one you propose– to stereotype, advertise and push it– implies an expenditure that may be beyond my means. But if I can get credit, I may try. Whether I will or no depends somewhat on the printer’s notions as to whether the book would sell. Suppose you finish it and send it on: if I can’t publish it, I will see if some other person won’t. This is the best I can safely promise you. If I can get one or two jobbers to read and like it, and they will make an advance order, or give a favorable trade opinion, the way is clear. What say?” ~ Letter from James Redpath to Walt Whitman in response to Whitman’s letter of October 21st. [The book will become Memoranda During the War and be published in 1875.]

October 28– Wednesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “Believing that united and systematic effort only could accomplish the work of relieving the suffering in the Army, the ‘Ladies’ Aid’ became last April an auxilery [sic] of the ‘Women’s Branch Sanitary Commission,’ and subsequent visits to the wounded at Gettysburg confirmed the good opinions formed of the Christian and Sanitary Commissions. A lady who spent weeks in the work at Gettysburg remarked to us, that no one could form any conception of the work they accomplished, unless they had witnessed their unwearied labors of love. . . . After the battle of Gettysburg we received and forwarded from friends in Greenvillage, 32 loaves of bread, 23 dozen of rusk, butter, apple butter, dried fruit, &c. And from our own society, shirts, sheets, towels, drawers, 8 pillows, 18 handkerchiefs, bologna sausage, tongue, chip beef, corn starch, 4 bottles of wine, raspberry vinegar, &c. Other articles received at that time were used in Hospitals at home. To these latter we desire to call the attention of our friends. Such articles as apple butter, peach butter, pickles, &c., are needed and will be thankfully received. Persons having old cotton or linen are requested to leave it at Nixon’s Drug Store, for the use of 500 wounded still at Gettysburg.” ~ Report from Martha C Nixon, Secretary of the Chambersburg Ladies’ Aid Society printed in this day’s Franklin Repository.

women of the US Sanitary Commission

women of the US Sanitary Commission

October 28– Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland– “We landed here this morning. This afternoon at 3:00 o’clock we leave for Washington and I expect we go on to Warrenton, Virginia. We will join Captain Patterson’s Company– 148th Regiment. Well, Father, I feel satisfied that I am doing the will of God. I feel glad that I could so willingly yield to the will of God. I know that God is able to deliver me safe and if I should fall in the field of Battle. I am glad to know that God will save me forever in Heaven. I know that he that promised is faithful and cannot lie.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father, John Rosenbery.

October 28– Wednesday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Bulletin can publish articles of editorial, or when contributed, signed by the writer, favorable or unfavorable to the general policy of the Government, if in proper spirit and designed to do good. Also questions calculated to interest the people of West Tennessee and Arkansas may be discussed pretty freely, but the paper must be held responsible for the truth of every statement of facts, and that the article is calculated to do good and not excite resentment. Try and stop this universal spirit of fault-finding and personality that has brought the press down beneath the contempt of every decent man. Encourage business advertisements, improvements in the arts, narrations of events abroad in the past or, when well authenticated, of the present. In other words, let the Government and its agents do their business in their own way.” ~ Directive issued by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to the editor of the Memphis Bulletin.

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

October 28– Wednesday– Cherbourg, France–The Confederate warship Georgia arrives in the port for refitting and to take on supplies.

the CSS Georgia

the CSS Georgia

October 29– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– In today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Horatio Storer, a doctor of obstetrics, reports positively on the use of chloroform to assist women in labor and delivery.

October 29– Thursday– Warrenton, Virginia– “I am well and enjoying myself as well as Can be expected Down here in Dixie I tell you we have had Some very hard marching lately from Culpeper to Centreville is about 60 miles and now we are going Going Back the Same road we Came on last week we Crossed the old bull run battle Field and we Could See lots of Skeletons of men that were killed there a year ago . . . . I See that old Abe has Called for three hundred thousand more men I Guess that Some of them will have to Come out here yet and do a little Something for their Country well I Guess I have written enough So I will Close Excuse all mistakes and poor writing.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Thomas Donohue to Almira Winchell

October 29– Thursday– Wauhatchie, Tennessee– Daylight sees the conclusion of one of the few night-time battles in the war. Federal troops in large numbers repel a Confederate attempt to cut off the Union supply line. Federals secure their connection from Chattanooga to the outside and can receive supplies, weapons, ammunition, and reinforcements via what soldiers are calling “the Cracker Line.” Confederate casualties total 408; Union casualties total 420 dead, wounded and missing.

fighting~October, 1863

fighting~October, 1863

October 29– Thursday– Houston, Texas– Confederate General Magruder sends a reprimand to General Henry McCullough because McCullough granted furloughs to half of his soldiers so that they could go home and plant crops of wheat. Magruder instructs him to recall these soldiers immediately “as their services in the field are absolutely necessary at this crisis.”

October 29– Thursday– Geneva, Switzerland– The international conference organized by Henry Dunant and his committee concludes the gathering which began on October 26th. The meeting, called to develop possible measures to improve medical services on the battle field, has been attended by 36 individuals: 18 official delegates from national governments, 6 delegates from other non-governmental organizations, 7 non-official foreign delegates, and the five members of the International Committee, including Dunant. The states and kingdoms represented by official delegates are Baden, Bavaria, France, Britain, Hanover, Hesse, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Spain. Today at the conference’s conclusion the delegates adopt these final resolutions: 1) Foundation of national relief societies for wounded soldiers; 2) Neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers; 3) Utilization of volunteer forces for relief assistance on the battlefield; 4) Organization of additional conferences to enact these concepts in legally binding international treaties; and 5) Introduction of a common distinctive protection symbol for medical personnel in the field, namely a white armlet bearing a red cross. This marks the official beginning of the International Red Cross. [Dunant, a 35 year old Swiss businessman, has been trying to ameliorate battlefield conditions ever since 1859 when he toured the site of the battle of Solferino, Italy, and saw over 38,000 dead, dying and wounded, mostly unattended. For this work he will receive the very first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.]


Henry Dunant

Henry Dunant

October 30– Friday– New York City– “Last Tuesday Miss Charlotte Cushman dined here . . . . The tragedienne is a cultivated woman and made herself most agreeable. She looks far better off the stage than on it. Her performances of Macbeth at Boston, New York, Washington and other cities, have brought the Sanitary Commission some eight thousand dollars.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong. [The $8,000 would be equivalent to $151,000 today.]

October 30– Friday– near Germantown, Virginia– “We have not orders to move from here yet, but don’t expect we will lay here long. The rebels destroyed the railroad from Bristol Station to the Rappahannock, and our men are at work repairing it as speedily as possible, and as soon as supplies can be transported on it again I think our army will advance again. We have had nice, clear weather for the last week, but it is cold at night, today it looks as if we might get rain soon. Give my kindest regards to Lydia Brand. I am glad that she thinks of me yet, but sorry to disappoint her in her request as it would be impossible to get a photograph taken here, but tell her I would be pleased to see hers, I have no doubt you young folks have changed a good deal since I saw you last, and also give my best respects to all the rest of Brands family, and all inquiring friends.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Christian Geisel to his sister Mrs Annie Geisel Montgomery.

October 30– Friday– North West Frontier Province, the border area between the Emirate of Afghanistan and the British controlled Punjab Province– Crag Piquet, a rocky position fortified by the British, is the scene of fierce fighting, sometimes hand-to-hand, between a large force of Pashtuns and British soldiers. Two British soldiers, George Fosbery and Henry Pitcher, will be awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery in this battle. Control of this position will see-saw back and forth for the next four weeks.

October 31– Saturday– Staten Island, New York– Colonel Charles Russell Lowell, age 26, marries Miss Josephine “Effie” Shaw, age 19, in the Unitarian Church here. Effie is one of the sisters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who died in the attack on Fort Wagner in July.

Josephine "Effie" Shaw and her new husband

Josephine “Effie” Shaw and her new husband

October 31– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– From Thursday through today Federal artillery and gunboats lob 2961 rounds on the badly damaged Fort Sumter, causing 33 Confederate casualties. However, at sunset the Confederate flag still flies above the rubble.

October 31– Saturday– Marietta, Georgia– Birth of William G McAdoo, the second of three sons and the fourth of seven children born to William McAdoo and his second wife, Mary Faith Floyd McAdoo. He will serve as Secretary of the Treasury under President Woodrow Wilson for six years and as a U S Senator from California from 1933 to 1939.

William G McAdoo, c1915

William G McAdoo, c1915

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

A Book That Would Please Women~ Walt Whitman

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

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


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

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

Thomas C Durant

Thomas C Durant

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

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

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

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

James Redpath

James Redpath

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

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

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

Charlotte Cushman as Romeo & her sister Susan as Juliet

Charlotte Cushman as Romeo & her sister Susan as Juliet

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

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

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

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

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

Niagara Falls, c.1862

Niagara Falls, c.1862

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

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


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

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


General Grant

General Grant

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



One’s Heart Grows Sick of War~July 1863~the 7th to 10th

One’s Heart Grows Sick of War~Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman mourns the slaughter. Local citizens visit the Gettysburg battlefield for a close look. President Lincoln speaks of the nature of the Fourth of July. Internal feuds ripple through Lincoln’s cabinet. President Davis loses his plantation. The 54th Massachusetts heads into battle. Boston celebrates. Southerners such as John Jones and Mary Chesnut worry. In what is turning into a hard month for the Confederacy, Port Hudson surrenders to Federal attackers.

dead soldiers at Gettysburg

dead soldiers at Gettysburg

July 7– Tuesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser writes: “My sons, Jacob and William, just returned from the [Gettysburg] battlefield. It is a fearful sight. The fields full of dead, by all the roadsides dead are hardly covered by a thin layer of mud. Wreckage everywhere, the implements of war fast disappearing by souvenir seekers. Soon the cultivators plow will cover it all and put an end to military glory. If Lee is allowed to escape this struggle will be prolonged. We hear of only skirmishes all along his route to the Potomac.”

July 7– Tuesday– Franklin County, Pennsylvania– Amos Stouffer describes his visi to the battlefield at Gettysburg. “A fine warm cloudy day. Self, B. Losch & J. Warner started out for the battle field this morning. Got there about 11 o’clock. Saw a great many rebels and some ew Union soldiers that were not buried. . . . Horses are lying in all directions. It is one of the most terrible sights one can look upon. Arms and equipment strew the ground. Our men had decidedly the best position. Our artillery was posted on high ground and commanded the field for miles around. Our infantry was posted behind stone walls &c. Long lines of rifle pits and entrenchments were thrown up by the men. It was the greatest battle of modern times. The rebel army was routed completely.”

monument marking Union General John Buford's position July 1st

monument marking Union General John Buford’s position July 1st

July 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman writes to his mother. “Mother, it seems to be certain that Meade has gained the day, & that the battles there in Pennsylvania have been about as terrible as any in the war. O what a sight must have been presented by the field of action– I think the killed & wounded there on both sides were as many as eighteen or twenty thousand– in one place, four or five acres, there were a thousand dead, at daybreak on Saturday morning. Mother, one’s heart grows sick of war, after all, when you see what it really is– every once in a while I feel so horrified & disgusted– it seems to me like a great slaughter-house & the men mutually butchering each other– then I feel how impossible it appears, again, to retire from this contest, until we have carried our points! (it is cruel to be so tossed from pillar to post in one’s judgment).”

July 7– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– In the evening, upon learning of the victory by Federal forces at Vicksburg, a large group of people and a band march to the White House. President Lincoln appears at an upper window and addresses the crowd. “I am very glad indeed to see you to-night, and yet I will not say I thank you for this call; but I do most sincerely thank Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called. How long ago is it Eighty-odd years since, on the Fourth of July, for the first time in the history of the world, a nation, by its representatives, assembled and declared as a self-evident truth ‘that all men are created equal.’ That was the birthday of the United States of America. Since then the Fourth of July has had several very peculiar recognitions.” He metions for example the deaths of Jefferson and John Adams on the same holiday. He continues, “now on this last Fourth of July just passed, when we have a gigantic rebellion, at the bottom of which is an effort to overthrow the principle that all men were created equal, we have the surrender of a most powerful position and army on that very day. And not only so, but in the succession of battles in Pennsylvania, near to us, through three days, so rapidly fought that they might be called one great battle, on the first, second, and third of the month of July; and on the fourth the cohorts of those who opposed the Declaration that all men are created equal, ‘turned tail’ and run.”

July 7– Tuesday– Davis Bend, Mississippi–Federal troops sack Brierfield, the plantation home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

July 8– Wednesday– Brooklyn, New York– Jeff Whitman writes to his brother Walt. “The rejoicing in New York is sincere and almost universal and yet a few, (and yet only a few when compared with the immense city) who try to find some reason why Lee should have been whipped. Copperheads are getting out of circulation being laid up for a future contingency.”

July 8– Wednesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– The Franklin Repository summarizes the recent battle. “At length the two great opposing armies have met in an open field with the firm resolve to conquer or be destroyed, and the God of battles has given victory to the Union arms. It was no drawn struggle–no doubtful triumph. After three days of the most deadly strife, marked by a heroism on both sides before which Roman story pales, the rebel columns reeled back upon their mountain base defeated, routed, decimated, without heart or hope. Under cover of the night their shattered legions commenced their retreat, hugging the mountains closely for protection, and leaving their thousands of dead to find hospitable graves at the hands of their foe, while other thousands of wounded were left to the humanity of those by whose hands they had fallen.”

July 8– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Navy Secretary Gideon Welles: “There was a serenade last night in honor of the success of our arms at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. The last has excited a degree of enthusiasm not excelled during the war. The serenade was got up for a purpose. As a matter of course the first music was at the President’s. Mr. Seward’s friend. General Martindale, arranged matters, and a speech of Mr. Seward duly prepared was loudly delivered, but the music did not do him the honors. . . . . The rejoicing in regard to Vicksburg is immense. Admiral Porter’s brief dispatch to me was promptly transmitted over the whole country, and led, everywhere, to spontaneous gatherings, firing of guns, ringing of bells, and general gratification and gladness. The price of gold, to use the perverted method of speech, fell ten or fifteen cents and the whole country is joyous. I am told, however, that Stanton is excessively angry because Admiral Porter heralded the news to me in advance of General Grant to the War Department.”

July 8– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– Clerk John Jones worries. “The absence of dispatches from General Lee himself is beginning to create distrust, and doubts of decisive success at Gettysburg. His couriers may have been captured, or he may be delaying to announce something else he has in contemplation.. . . . One of our exchanged officers says he heard a Northern officer say, at Fortress Monroe, that Meade’s loss was, altogether, 60,000 men; but this is not, of course, reliable. Another officer said Lee was retiring, which is simply impossible, now, for the flood. But, alas! we have sad tidings from the West. General Johnston telegraphs from Jackson, Mississippi, that Vicksburg capitulated on the 4th instant. This is a terrible blow, and has produced much despondency.The President, sick as he is, has directed the Secretary of War to send him copies of all the correspondence with Johnston and Bragg, etc., on the subject of the relief of Pemberton.”

July 8– Wednesday– St Helena Island, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke writes of the departure of the 54th Massachusetts for battle. “The regiment is gone. Left this morning. My heart-felt prayers go with them– for the men and for their noble, noble young Colonel. God bless him! God keep him in His care, and grant that his men may do nobly and prove themselves worthy of him.”

July 8– Wednesday– Portland, Alabama– Mary Chesnut updates her diary. “My mother ill at her home on the plantation near here where I have come to see her. But to go back first to my trip home from Flat Rock to Camden. At the station, I saw men sitting on a row of coffins smoking, talking, and laughing, with their feet drawn up tailor-fashion to keep them out of the wet. Thus does war harden people’s hearts. Met James Chesnut [her husband] at Wilmington. He only crossed the river with me and then went back to Richmond. He was violently opposed to sending our troops into Pennsylvania– wanted all we could spare sent West to make an end there of our enemies. He kept dark about Vallandigham. I am sure we could not trust him to do us any good, or to do the Yankees any harm. The Coriolanus business is played out.”


July 9– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– About 1500 people gather at Faneuil Hall for a service of prayer and thanksgiving for the victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg.

July 9– Thursday– Hanover, Pennsylvania– Union railroad specialist Herman Haupt reports to quartermaster general Montgomery C. Meigs about transportation problems in the aftermath of Gettysburg. “I am on my way to Gettysburg again. Find things in great confusion. Road blocked; [freight] cars not unloaded; stores ordered to Gettysburg, where they stand for a long time, completely preventing all movement there; ordered back without unloading; wounded lying for hours, without ability to carry them off; all because the simple rule of promptly unloading and returning cars is violated. I have ordered my track gangs from Alexandria to Gettysburg, to be sent to Chambersburg by wagon, to repair Hagerstown [rail]road.”

July 9– Thursday– Middletown, Maryland– Elisha Hunt Rhodes writes: “Again I thank God that the Army of the Potomac has at last gained a victory. I wonder what the South thinks of us Yankees now. I think Gettysburg will cure the Rebels of any desire to invade the North again.”

July 9– Thursday– near Corydon, Indiana– Several elements of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan’s force encounter about 400 militia and Home Guards and capture most of them. As Morgan continues eastward toward Ohio, destroying bridges, railroads, and government stores, Federal troop columns are converging behind him to prevent Morgan from recrossing into Kentucky.

July 9– Thursday– Port Hudson, Louisiana– After six weeks of siege and leaning of Vicksburg’s surrender, the Confederate garrison surrenders unconditionally as agreed on the preceding day. During the siege 5,000 Union soldiers were killed or wounded, almost another 5,000 dying of disease. The Confederate defenders lost 1,000 soldiers, one quarter of whom died of disease; today 6500 Confederate soldiers surrender to the almost 30,000 attackers.

Federal troops enter Port Hudson

Federal troops enter Port Hudson

July 10– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Liberator carries a letter from the feminist and abolitionist Frances D Gage. She appeals for people who will go South to engage in teaching newly freed people. “Our forefathers said, ‘in time of peace let us prepare for war.’ Let us reverse the order, and in these times of war, prepare for peace, by teaching the colored men and women to know their rights, that knowing, they may dare maintain them.” Her letter indicates that she herself now in her 55th year, will soon return to Port Royal to resume teaching duties.

May’s Mixture–the last week-1862

As the month winds down, the New York Times praises the productivity of a woman writing popular novels and dismisses the report of General Butler’s order regarding the women of New Orleans as Confederate propaganda. A war widow takes her own life in a murder-suicide. Mary Chesnut notes the social whirl continues in South Carolina while her slave maid “stands by her color.” Robert Gould Shaw reports Southern women firing on Union troops from the windows of their homes.

While Confederate forces withdraw from Corinth, Mississippi, Stonewall Jackson wins an important battle and causes Southerners to glory in his accomplishments. President Davis expresses confidence in Robert E Lee. Wartime inflation rocks the Confederate capital. Confederate forces take action against the slow-moving Union General McClellan.

President Lincoln takes over wartime use of the railroads [ahha! A closet socialist!], takes some blame on himself and his Cabinet for the mistakes of former Secretary of War Simon Cameron, and takes care to reassure a Central American republic. New York lawyer George Templeton Strong critiques new Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Massachusetts soldier Robert Gould Shaw wants to put the torch to a Virginia town while his pocket watch saves him from injury. Rhode Island soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes describes the destruction of a rebel railroad train.

Walt Whitman receives some advise from an abolitionist friend about a new edition of Leaves of Grass while death claims both an Austrian musician and a Russian writer. In London a new Westminster Bridge opens.

Fashionable dresses~1862

May 22– Thursday– New York City– The book review in the New York Times lavishes praise on the newest novel, A Life’s Secret: A Story of Woman’s Revenge, by the British author Ellen Wood who writes under her married name as Mrs Henry Wood. “The rich fruit of the literary garden which Mrs. Wood claims as her own, has come to us with ever fresh and acceptable abundance during the present season. . . . .we are as much astonished at the speed as at the success of the author’s composition. . . . What companion, then, so impressive, so winning, so agreeable, as a woman of heart, rarely gifted, recounting the sorrows of the heart. Such society does Mrs. Wood offer in this excellent work, and we predict for it, other things being equal, a far wider success than any of her preceding efforts attained.”

May 22– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– Government clerk John B Jones writes excitedly about the exploits of Stonewall Jackson. “There is lightning in the Northwest, and the deep thunder ofavenging guns is heard at Washington! Gen. Jackson, sent thither by Gen. Lee, is sweeping everything before him, defeating Shields, Banks, Fremont, and one or two other Yankee major-generals, with his little corps d’armee! And his coadjutor, Ewell, is worthy of hiscompanionship. He has swept them out of the valley, scattering their hosts like quails before the fowler! They fly in every direction; and the powers at Washington are trembling for the safety of their own capital. Glorious Jackson! and he gives, as is justly due, the glory to God.”

May 23– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– John B Jones complains of war-time scarcity and inflation. “Oh, the extortioners! Meats of all kinds are selling at 50 cents per pound; butter, 75 cents; coffee, $1.50; tea, $10; boots, $30 per pair; shoes, $18; ladies’ shoes, $15; shirts, $6 each. Houses that rented for $500 last year, are $1000 now. Boarding, from $30 to $40 per month. Gen. Winder has issued an order fixing the maximum prices of certain articles of marketing, which has only the effect of keeping a great many things out of market.”

What Mary Chesnut and her friends might have worn

May 24– Saturday– Columbia, South Carolina– Mary Chesnut makes notes in her diary about her social circle and social life. “My Hebrew friend, Mem Cohen, has a son in the war. . . . Cohen is a high name among the Jews: it means Aaron. She has long fits of silence, and is absent-minded. If she is suddenly roused, she is apt to say, with overflowing eyes and clasped hands, ‘If it please God to spare his life.’ Her daughter is the sweetest little thing. The son is the mother’s idol. Mrs. Cohen was Miriam de Leon. I have known her intimately all my life. Mrs. Bartow, the widow of Colonel Bartow, who was killed at Manassas, was Miss Berrien, daughter of Judge Berrien, of Georgia. She is now . . . a penniless woman. , , , Columbia is the place for good living, pleasant people, pleasant dinners, pleasant drives. I feel that I have put the dinners in the wrong place. They are the climax of the good things here. This is the most hospitable place in the world, and the dinners are worthy of it. Here in Columbia, family dinners are the specialty. You call, or they pick you up and drive home with you. ‘Oh, stay to dinner!’ and you stay gladly. They send for your husband, and he comes willingly. Then comes a perfect dinner. You do not see how it could be improved; and yet they have not had time to alter things or add because of the unexpected guests. They have everything of the best – silver, glass, china, table linen, and damask, etc. And then the planters live ‘within themselves,’ as they call it. From the plantations come mutton, beef, poultry, cream, butter, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.

May 24– Saturday– London, England– A completely new Westminster Bridge, designed by Thomas Page, opens, replacing the old bridge.

Westminster Bridge–in service since 1862

May 25– Sunday– Winchester, Virginia– Confederate troops under General Jackson rout Union forces, inflicting heavy casualties. The Federal total reaches 2,019 dead, wounded and missing while Jackson’s losses are about 400. Overcoming his religious scruples about activity on the Sabbath, Jackson orders the attack and in addition to routing the Federal force half the size of his own, captures a large amount of supplies and ammunition. Jackson’s troops have been marching and skirmishing every day since May 19th.

Historical marker of the first battle of Winchester–they will be back–both armies–more than once.

May 25– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues an executive order which “takes military possession of all the railroads in the United States from and after this date until further order, and directs that the respective railroad companies, their officers and servants, shall hold themselves in readiness for the transportation of such troops and munitions of war as may be ordered by the military authorities, to the exclusion of all other business.”

May 25– Sunday– Graz, Austria– The singer, actor, composer and playwright Johann Nestroy dies at age 60. [The most important award given today in German language theater is named after him.]

James Redpath

May 26– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– James Redpath, abolitionist and journalist, writes to Walt Whitman about a new edition of Leaves of Grass. “I find that the plates of The Leaves of Grass are now the property of a person named Wentworth, whose residence is Warren Place, Roxbury. I do not care to know him. Suppose you write to him. I have no doubt you could arrange to have a new edition published by or through him.” [Horace Wentworth received the plates of Leaves of Grass as compensation for his financial loss when the publisher Thayer and Eldridge went bankrupt in 1861.]

May 26– Monday– New York City– The New York Times comments on General Butler’s order concerning the women of New Orleans but dismisses the matter as lying propaganda by Confederate General P G T Beauregard. “If General Butler has issued any such order, he should be forthwith dismissed from the army. It would be a disgrace to the service, -an infamous outrage upon the morality and decency of the country and the age. . . . The whole thing is clearly a fabrication. The fact of its being used by Beauregard to stimulate the decaying ardor of his troops, brands its character. This renegade General has proved himself already to be the most reckless and remorseless liar in the rebel service, – and that is saying a good deal. The public will not soon forget the order he issued at the very outset, of the war, filled with kindred calumnies upon the Union troops, falsifying utterly and infamously the whole tenor of their conduct, and showing himself to be totally unscrupulous as to the truth or falsehood of anything to which he might attach his official signature. This pretended order of General Butler’s is evidently one of his forgeries.”

May 26– Monday– Washington, D. C.– In response to Congress’s censure on April 30th of former Secretary of War James Cameron, President Lincoln sends a special message detailing the actions of his administration at the start of the war last year. He explains why certain things were done and concludes by writing that “Congress will see that I should be wanting equally in candor and in justice if I should leave the censure expressed in this resolution to rest exclusively or chiefly upon Mr. Cameron. The same sentiment is unanimously entertained by the heads of Departments who participated in the proceedings which the House of Representatives has censured. It is due to Mr. Cameron to say that although he fully approved the proceedings they were not moved nor suggested by himself, and that not only the President, but all the other heads of Departments, were at least equally responsible with him for whatever error, wrong, or fault was committed in the premises.”

 May 26– Monday– near Winchester, Virginia– Confederate soldier Jedediah Hotchkiss writes a long letter to his wife, Sara A Hotchkiss, describing the last several weeks of fighting. He opens by saying, “I wrote you a brief note, yesterday, telling you of our victories and that I was well, and this evening I will write you more fully, after a day of enjoyment in which I wish you could have participated & enjoyed some of the good things they left behind in their hasty retreat – delicacies of every kind, in getting up which the Yankee nation seems to have surpassed itself.”

Union cavalry on the move

May 27– Tuesday– Williamsport, Maryland– Robert Gould Shaw writes to his father about the battle of two days ago. “We lost a great many men in the streets of Winchester. The inhabitants did their share from the windows– women as well as men. I hope that town will be destroyed when we go back there. We had time to burn part of it while the fight was going on.” In the battle Shaw was saved from serious injury or mortal wound when his pocket watch broke stopping a musket ball. He tells his father that “I felt the blow on my side & found my watch had stopped the ball [and] the first thing I thought of was how you all would have felt if I had been left on that infernal pavement.”

May 27– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times reports that a 26 year old Swiss immigrant named Lydia Phillipie, whose husband recently died in Virginia while fighting for the Union cause, acting out of despair at now being a widow, killed her 5 and ½ year old daughter with poison and then took her own life by the same means.

May 28– Wednesday– New York City– George Templeton Strong confides to his diary his distrust of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton whom Strong describes as acting with “the utmost unsteadiness and capriciousness, if not of bad faith and downright lying.” He finds the Secretary forgetful, unable to delegate to subordinates and “impulsive, flighty and excitable.”

May 28– Wednesday– Hanover Court House, Virginia– Yankee soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes describes his regiment’s capture of a Confederate supply train at a place called Atlee’s Station. “We destroyed the track by tearing up the rails. Huge piles of ties were made and the rails laid across. When the fire reached the rails they bent of their own weight and so they became useless. We opened a culvert and ran the engine into it, after which we bent all the rails we could and built a huge fire over it all. The cars were blown up after taking out such things as we needed.”

May 28– Wednesday– St Petersburg, Russia– The poet and dramatist Lev Aleksandrovich Mei dies at age 40 from problems due to his alcoholism.

Lev A Mei

May 29– Thursday– Columbia, South Carolina– Mary Chesnut makes observations about slave servants, her own and those of others and comments about women born in the North. “Betsey, recalcitrant maid of the W’s, has been sold to a telegraph man. She is as handsome as a mulatto ever gets to be, and clever in every kind of work. My Molly thinks her mistress ‘very lucky in getting rid of her.’ She was ‘a dangerous inmate,’ but she will be a good cook, a good chambermaid, a good dairymaid, a beautiful clear-starcher, and the most thoroughly good-for-nothing woman I know to her new owners, if she chooses. Molly evidently hates her, but thinks it her duty ‘to stand by her color.’ Mrs. Gibson is a Philadelphia woman. She is true to her husband and children, but she does not believe in us- the Confederacy, I mean. She is despondent and hopeless; as wanting in faith of our ultimate success as is Sally Baxter Hampton. I make allowances for those people. If I had married North, they would have a heavy handful in me just now up there.”

May 30– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– President Jeff Davis writes to his wife, Varina, who is in Raleigh, North Carolina, with their children because Union troops are threatening Richmond. “General Lee rises to the occasion . . . and seems to be equal to the conception. I hope others will develop capacity in execution. . . . If we fight and are victorious, we can all soon meet again. If the enemy retreat to protect Washington, of which there are vague reports, I can probably visit you.”

Varina Howell Davis, First Lady of the Confederacy

May 30– Friday– Corinth, Mississippi– Confederate troops withdraw, concerned by the increasingly large Union force threatening their position.

May 30– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty of trade and friendship with the Republic of Salvador. In his message he acknowledges that the terms are not much different from the treaty presently in existence; however, considering the disturbed situation in Mexico, “it will prove to be mutually advantageous. Several of the Republics of this hemisphere, among which is Salvador, are alarmed at . . . reactionary movements against republican institutions on this continent. It seems, therefore, to be proper that we should show to any of them who may apply for that purpose that, compatibly with our cardinal policy and with an enlightened view of our own interests, we are willing to encourage them by strengthening our ties of good will and good neighborhood with them.”

 May 31– Saturday– Fair Oaks, Virginia– Confederate forces launch an attack against McClellan’s troops threatening Richmond. On the first day of the two-day battle, the commanding Confederate general, Joseph E Johnston, is wounded.