Tag Archives: revolutionaries

June ~ Election Year 1860

Woman making American Flag

The Democratic Party is fracturing along regional lines, North versus South. Senator Douglas of Illinois is selected by northern and western party members to run against Republican Lincoln. The debate about slavery continues to heat up to an even higher degree. While the United States slips toward dissolution, Italy moves toward unification under Garibaldi.

June 1– Friday– Annapolis, Maryland– Maryland’s new law banning all types of manumission of slaves takes effect today. This law completely bans the practice of manumission by deed or by the will of a deceased slave owner. In keeping with the state’s desire to reduce its free black population, the statute also contains a provision to allow free black persons to petition state courts to renounce their freedom and to choose a master for themselves.

runaway-slaves

slaves prepare to escape

 

June 1–Friday– Waterdown, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Margaret Mick, who while serving as a prison guard, will become the first Canadian woman to be killed in the line of duty as a peace officer. She will be slain by three female prisoners in an escape from a prison farm on May 25, 1925.

June 2– Saturday– New York City– “I learn that the Government has received information that the fishermen off the coast of Florida and South Carolina are in the habit of running over to Cuba, on the pretense of disposing of their fish, and returning with two or three native Africans, bought there at a low figure, which they dispose of, at a great advance, to parties who meet them on the coast, purchase the Negroes, and take them into the interior. This gross and notorious violation of law has been going on for some time, and it remains to be seen whether any steps will be taken to arrest it.” ~ National Anti Slavery Standard

June 4–Monday– Washington, D.C.–In the Senate, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, age 49, delivers a long, blistering speech called “The Barbarism of Slavery” in which he severely criticizes the slave system and the whole of Southern culture. In it he declares “It is in the Character of Slavery itself that we are to find the Character of Slave-masters; but I need not go back to the golden lips of Chrysostom, to learn that ‘Slavery is the fruit of covetousness, of extravagance, of insatiable greediness;’ for we have already seen that this five-fold enormity is inspired by the single idea of compelling men to work without wages. This spirit must naturally appear in the Slave-master. But the eloquent Christian Saint did not disclose the whole truth. Slavery is founded on violence, as we have already too clearly seen; of course it can be sustained only by kindred violence, sometimes against the defenseless slave, sometimes against the freeman whose indignation is aroused at the outrage. It is founded on brutal and vulgar pretensions, as we have already too dearly seen; of course it can be sustained only by kindred brutality and vulgarity. The denial of all rights in the slave can be sustained only by a disregard of other rights, common to the whole community, whether of the person, of the press, or of speech.”

In response, Senator James Chesnut of South Carolina, age 45, attacks the adulation given to Sumner in the North and in Britain as modern idolatry. “In Egypt, also, we know they deified beasts and reptiles; but even that bestial people worshiped their idols on account of some supposed virtue. It has been left for this day, for this country, for the Abolitionists of Massachusetts, to deify the incarnation of malice, mendacity, and cowardice. Sir, we not intend to be guilty of aiding in the apotheosis of pusillanimity and meanness.”

Charles_Sumner_-_Brady-Handy

Senator Sumner

 

June 4–Monday– Buffalo, New York–Having been in session since Tuesday, May 1st, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church concludes when the conference can no longer produce a quorum. Hundreds of delegates from all over the country have been in attendance; however, bitter debate about slavery and some other issues caused some to leave in anger, others to return home out of exhaustion.

June 4–Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Buchanan extends an official invitation to Queen Victoria that should the Prince of Wales, 18 year old Albert Edward, the Queen’s oldest son (who will succeed her as King Edward VII in 1901), wish to extend his upcoming visit to Canada with a visit to the United States, he would receive an enthusiastic welcome.

June 5–Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts–Josiah Quincy, former president of Harvard and now 88 years old, sends a letter of praise to Senator Sumner. “I have read enough to approve, and rejoice that you have been permitted, thus truly, fully, and faithfully to expose the ‘Barbarism’ of Slavery on that very floor on which you were so cruelly and brutally stricken down by the spirit of that Barbarism.” [Quincy, 1772– 1864, is a municipal reformer, politician, educator, orator, college president and life-long critic of the Southern slave power. For more on his life and work, see: Josiah Quincy, 1772-1864; the Last Federalist (1974) by Robert A McCaughey; The Magic of the Many: Josiah Quincy and the Rise of Mass Politics in Boston, 1800-1830 (1999) by Matthew H Crocker.]

Josiah_Quincy

Josiah Quincy

 

June 6–Wednesday– Elmira, New York–John W Jones, a conductor on the underground railroad writes to William Still in Philadelphia. Still, a black man, is considered “the Father of the Underground Railroad” and has been helping about sixty fugitives a month for the last few years. Jones reports. “All six came safe to this place. . . . the two men went this morning, and the four went this evening. ‘O old master don’t cry for me, For I am going to Canada where colored men are free.’”

June 7–Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts–Today’s Boston Herald reports that “Yesterday forenoon, a smart, active, and intelligent looking man, about 23 years of age, called at the mayor’s office and asked for something to eat. He represented that he ran away from his master in North Carolina . . . and arrived in Boston yesterday morning, leaving immediately for this city, on his way to Canada. . . . He was furnished with a good meal of victuals, and left shortly after on the underground railroad for her majesty’s dominions.”

June 8–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–The current issue of the Liberator reports that at the recent annual meeting of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, Mary Ann Day Brown, the widow of John Brown, was in attendance. Garrison called her a “truly noble woman” and as he recognized her presence the participants expressed a spontaneous and genuine deep sympathy for her and her children.

June 9–Saturday– Washington, D.C.–Senator Stephen A. Douglas writes to Follett Foster & Company with complaints about their reprint of his 1858 debates with Mr Lincoln. “I find that Mr Lincoln’s speeches have been revised, corrected and improved since their publication in the newspapers of Illinois, while mine have been mutilated, and in some instances, the meaning changed by the omission of interrogatories and expressions of approbation and disapprobation by persons in the crowd to which my remarks were made responsive, but by the omission of which my replies seemed ambiguous, incoherent or unintelligible. . . . In short, I regard your publication as partial and unfair and designed to do me injustice by placing me in a false position.”

Giuseppe Garibaldi on Caprera

 Giuseppe Garibaldi

 

June 9–Saturday– Genoa, Italy– Around 2,400 men along with their equipment, reinforcements for Giuseppe Garibaldi’s ongoing campaign against the Bourbon forces in Sicily, leave the port aboard three American registered ships, the Washington, the Oregon, and the Franklin, all clearly flying the U.S. flag. Garibaldi, age 53, for the last two months has been leading armed struggle to unite Italy and make it a free country. [For a biography and analysis, see: Cavour and Garibaldi, 1860: a Study in Political Conflict (1954) by D Mack Smith; Garibaldi and the Making of Italy, June– November, 1860 (1982– reprint of 1928 edition) by George Macaulay Trevelyan; Giuseppe Garibaldi: a Biography of the Father of Modern Italy (1998) by Benedict S LiPira.

June 11– Monday– Buffalo, New York– Birth of May Jane Rathbun, marine zoologist, educator, researcher and author. [Dies April 4, 1943.]

Mary_Jane_Rathbun_(1860-1943)

Mary Jane Rathbun

 

June 11–Monday– Milwaukee, Wisconsin–The Milwaukee Sentinel evaluates Democratic response to the Republican convention. “The Chicago Convention accomplished one thing very effectually. It opened the eyes of the Democratic journals to the shining qualities and eminent public services of Senator Seward. Heretofore the Democratic papers have been accustomed to speak in disparaging and denunciatory terms of Mr. Seward, his doctrines and public career. Now all that is changed, and they have no language but praises, for the great statesman of New York.”

June 15– Friday– Baden, Germany–The French Emperor Napoleon III begins two days of meetings with the Prince Regent of Prussia and the Kings of Bavaria, Hanover, and Saxony, and a number of other German royalty, to build goodwill and calm fears in Germany over France’s opposition to Italian unification and possible renewed tension with Austria.

June 16– Saturday– New York City– “The conduct of the Republicans towards Mr. Sumner’s admirable speech is not one of the least observable signs of their times. It was ‘ill-timed’ and injudicious, forsooth! And that because the slaveholders may, peradventure, make it the pretense of voting against the admission of Kansas. As if the slave-masters were ever moved by anything men or angels could say from the line of their deliberate policy! Whoever else may give up the substance for the shadow at the bidding of their passions, they never do. If they have fully made up their minds that it is better for their interest to keep Kansas out, it is possible they may make Mr. Sumner’s speech the stalking-horse from behind which they may aim at her life. But it would be a mere pretense, and the same thing would have been done if he had never opened his lips. If, on the other hand, they think that this would be giving the Republicans the very cry they need in order to elect Lincoln, and that they had better toss this tub to the Western whale, they will do it, though Mr. Sumner should make a speech ten times worse every day for the rest of the session. The real objection they have to it lies in its substantial anti-slavery merits, and in the hold it will give their enemies to make them out worse (or better) than they are.” ~ National Anti Slavery Standard.

June 16– Saturday– New York City– William Cullen Bryant, editor of the New York Evening Post, writes a private letter to congratulate Lincoln upon his nomination. Bryant advises the nominee on how to wage a successful campaign. “Make no speeches, write no letters as a candidate, enter into no pledges, make no promises, nor even give any of those kind words which men are apt to interpret into promises. Several of our Presidents have had a great deal of trouble from this cause.”\

William_bryant

William Cullen Bryant

 

June 17– Sunday– Castellamare, Sicily–The reinforcements for Garibaldi arrive on the three American ships.

June 18– Monday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Democrats convene again at the Front Street Theater. A dispute over credentials and the delegates who walked out at Charleston splits the party yet again.

June 18–Monday– Springfield, Illinois–Lincoln writes to Carl Schurz, German immigrant “Forty-eighter” and actively involved in Republican politics. “I beg you to be assured that your having supported Governor Seward, in preference to myself in the convention, is not even remembered by me for any practical purpose, or the slightest unpleasant feeling. I go not back of the convention, to make distinctions among its members; and, to the extent of our limited acquaintance, no man stands nearer my heart than yourself.” [Schurz, now 31 years old, was active in the failed revolution of 1848, fleeing first to England, then to the United States in 1852. He will campaign for Lincoln, giving speeches in German to immigrants, serve as Lincoln’s minister to Spain, become a general in the Union Army, serve in the Senate, become a cabinet member in Rutherford Hayes administration, be an advocate for African Americans, support anti-imperialism, be an editor, journalist and historian before his death on May 14, 1906.]

Carl-Schurz

Carl Schurz

 

June 22– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–In the abolitionist Liberator, a report mocks Senator Mason. “The ponderous Senator Mason has made a long report from the Committee on the Harpers Ferry Investigation, but the labor of the mountain has produced only a ridiculous mouse. A more flagrant failure, after so sounding a manifesto, never before occurred, and if the haughty Virginian had a proper sense of his ludicrous position, he would have been ashamed to make any report.”

June 22–Friday– Washington, D.C.–Congress passes a Homestead Bill which President Buchanan vetoes, because, the President asserts, the government can not give land to individual citizens.

June 23–Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland–The national convention of the Democratic Party adjourns, having nominated Stephen A Douglas of Illinois, age 47, for president and Herschel Johnson of Georgia for vice-president. Their adopted platform calls for a decision by the Supreme Court on slavery in the territories, building a transcontinental railroad, acquiring Cuba, and an end to Northern resistance to enforcement of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. [On Douglas, see: Stephen Douglas; the Last Years, 1857-1861 (1971) by Damon Wells.]

Stephen_A_Douglas_by_Vannerson,_1859

Stephen A Douglas

 

June 27–Wednesday– Off the coast of West Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Thomas Achorn.

June 28–Thursday–Richmond, Virginia–The break-away Southern Democrats finish a three day convention in Richmond where they select John C. Breckinridge as their nominee for president. They adopt a platform which affirms the right to expand slavery into the western territories as settlers may decide, favors “the acquisition of the Island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain, at the earliest practicable moment,” stringent enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, supports “the duty of this Government to protect the naturalized citizen in all his rights, whether at home or in foreign lands, to the same extent as its native-born citizens,” and to secure the passage of some bill, to the extent of the constitutional authority of Congress, for the construction of a Pacific Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, at the earliest practicable moment.”

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Women’s History Month~Emma Goldman

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Emma Goldman was a feminist, lecturer, journalist, editor, anarchist, free speech agitator, advocate of birth control, political activist, book author, popularizer of the plays of Ibsen, Strindberg, and George Bernard Shaw, free love advocate, supporter of the Republican cause and the International Brigades fighting against Franco in Spain’s Civil War, advocate and student of mid-wifery and all-around radical firebrand. She was born of Jewish parents in Kovno, Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, on June 27, 1869. Coming to the United States in 1885, she quickly became involved in left-wing political activities. In secret proceedings during 1908-9, the federal government revoked her citizenship and deported her in December, 1919. In 1921, she left Russia, appalled at Lenin’s suppression of dissent. She spent the rest of her life in England, France and Canada, dying from complications of a stroke in Toronto, Ontario, on May 14, 1940.

Emma_Goldman_seated

Emma Goldman

 

The reporter Nellie Bly described Goldman as an attractive woman “with saucy turned-up nose and very expressive blue-gray eyes . . . hair falling loosely over her forehead, full lips . . . a mild, pleasant voice, with a fetching accent.” In 1922 the Nation magazine listed her as one of “the twelve greatest living women.” Roger Baldwin, one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union, said of her, “For the cause of free speech in the United States Emma Goldman fought battles unmatched by the labors of any organization.”

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In addition to Goldman’s own books, essays and speeches, the materials about her are extensive. Those interested may make a start by selecting from among the following: Lives of Their Own: Rhetorical Dimensions in the Autobiographies of Women Activists (1999) by Martha Watson; Emma Goldman (1997) by Kathlyn Gay and Martin Gay; Emma Goldman: a Guide to Her Life and Documentary Sources (1995) edited by Candace Falk; Emma Goldman: Sexuality and the Impurity of the State (1993) by Bonnie Haaland; Emma Goldman and the American Left: “Nowhere at Home” (1992) by Marian J Morton; Mother Earth: an Epic Drama of Emma Goldman’s Life (1991) by Martin Duberman; Emma Goldman: American Individualist (1991) by John Chalberg; Love, Anarchy, and Emma Goldman (1990) by Candace Falk; Emma Goldman in Exile: from the Russian Revolution to the Spanish Civil War (1989) by Alice Wexler; Emma Goldman (1987) by Martha Watson; Emma Goldman in America (1984) by Alice Wexler; Love, Anarchy, and Emma Goldman (1984) by Candace Falk; Vision on Fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish Revolution (1983) edited by David Porter; Red Emma Speaks: an Emma Goldman Reader (1983) compiled and edited by Alix Kates Shulman; Emma Goldman: Portrait of a Rebel Woman (1979) by Birendranath Ganguli; Seven Women Against the World (1976) by Margaret L Goldsmith; Rebel in Paradise: a Biography of Emma Goldman (1961) by Richard Drinnon; Emma Goldman: Biographical Sketch (1960) by Charles A Madison; Red Rose: a Novel Based on the Life of Emma Goldman (1941) by Ethel Mannin; Women and the Revolution (1938) by Ethel Manin; Native American Anarchism (1932) by Eunice M Schuster

We Come to You as American Women~September 1864~the 4th

We Come to You as American Women~ workers in New York City.

In a letter whose language could come out of today, women appeal for a wage to match the price of living. Garibaldi, the great Italian revolutionary, praises Lincoln’s efforts at the emancipation of slaves and calls for Europe to learn a lesson. Lincoln salutes a Quaker peace activist. In Richmond and Atlanta people worry about the loss of the city while General Sherman proposes to depopulate the place. A bold Confederate officer is ambushed and killed, leaving a pregnant widow.

19th century woman at work in a factory

19th century woman at work in a factory

September 4– Sunday– New York City–”We, the undersigned working women of the City of New York, respectfully solicit your indulgence while we relate the causes which have compelled us to seek relief from the Government, of which you are an honored representative. At the breaking out of this unhappy rebellion, which has desolated so many hearthstones, the prices paid for female labor at the United States Arsenal were barely sufficient to enable us to obtain a subsistence. No stronger argument of the necessity of our appeal can be adduced than the unprecedented increase in all the necessaries of life, coupled with the fact that women’s labor has been reduced more than thirty per cent since the existence of the rebellion. We do not ask charity, we come to you as American women, many of whom have sacrificed the dearest treasures of their hearts on the altar of freedom. We appeal to those in authority to do all in their power to alleviate the misery which is the inevitable result of war. Let it not be said that the Government turns a deaf ear to the prayer of women who have given their all to their country. What we ask is an order to the Quartermaster-General, authorizing him to increase the price of female labor, until it shall approximate to the price of living. We would also respectfully ask you (if it comes within your province) to so modify the contract system as to make it obligatory upon all contractors to pay Government prices. We feel assured that no other argument is required to induce you to use all the power vested in you, than the fact that to-day thousands of delicately-reared women whose husbands, fathers and brothers have fallen on the battle-field, are making army shirts at six cents apiece. In the name of justice and humanity, we implore you to do all in your power to remedy this evil. Trusting in Him, who has promised to be a father to the fatherless, and the widow’s friend, we leave our cause in your hands, praying that God may so incline your hearts that your answer may come as a ministering angel to our households, teaching us that our sacrifices have not been in vain.” ~ Letter from working women to Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

September 4– Sunday– New York City– “I desire to add my name to the four thousand citizens of Geneva who have addressed the United States in favor of the maintenance of the Constitution and the abolition of Slavery, and I hope in so doing to obtain the approbation of the Liberal Press, and of all my fellow-citizens. Glory to Switzerland! That old home of liberty deserves to stand in the vanguard of human emancipation. From a fatality now weighing on nations, we see great peoples grow less, and even disappear before the lying flattery of despotism, and the champions of freedom become the police of tyranny. Well, let Switzerland take the lead till nations repent. Tyrants pass away; nations are immortal. What avails a minority? We shall conquer by aid of our old traditions; and we shall again see tyranny melt before the sun. We shall conquer because we have right, justice and brotherhood on our side. Let me now call the attention of Switzerland to a great fact. The American Republics present to the world the spectacle of the connection of the peoples. An aggression against the Peruvian territory, completed by the Spanish Bourbons, has raised a cry of shame and vengeance from all her sister nations. If the elder sister of Republics will send one word of comfort to her suffering sister, it would be a striking contrast to the shameful league of tyrants against liberty which we now see in Europe. Mind this: Poland swamped by Russia, amid the apathy of all, is the first step to a return to the barbarism of the middle ages. If the ‘partition’ disgraced the Eighteenth, the destruction of Poland is a lasting blot on the Nineteenth Century. Alas! our civilization as yet is but false.” ~Public letter from Garibaldi, published in today’s New York Times.

Giuseppe Garibaldi

Giuseppe Garibaldi

September 4– Sunday– near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “We had a refreshing rain here, commencing on Saturday evening and lasting (at intervals) all day Sunday. Many of us were sorry for this, as we had an invitation to attend Divine worship, under the direction of our esteemed and worthy Chaplain, Rev. Rakestraw, which was to have been held in a grove contiguous to camp. Dress Parade was also dispensed with for the same reason, which was another source of annoyance to most of the men, for a true soldier delights to see the regiment drawn up for inspection, to witness the fine appearance the respective companies present on the occasion. The Harrisburgers belonging to the 201st have evidently been accustomed to good living. After duty, parties go out to ‘forage,’ as they term it, and return to camp laden with poultry; corn; sweet potatoes; fruit; milk; &c., all of which they pay for. Our young Colonel issued an order that no private property was to be molested, and the order is strictly adhered to. The rations we get daily are fresh, ample and of the best quality. But ‘force of habit’ is strong with many people, and they must have delicacies if money can procure them. It is amusing to witness the railroad engineer, the blacksmith, tailor, carpenter, clerk, butcher and man of letters, sitting around a fire of logs, toasting hard tack, frying chicken, stewing lamb and sweet potatoes, or anything else that their appetite craves. Many of them will be capital cooks when they return to their homes, and adepts in the art and mastery of gastronomy.” ~ Letter from Union soldier A.H. Baum to the Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph, a newspaper published in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state capital.

soldiers at a religious service

soldiers at a religious service

September 4– Sunday– Fayette County, West Virginia– “We have experienced a great many hardships and deprivations her, as you are a ware it has been our lot to be placed between the two Armies. Goods are high and getting more so every day and cannot be had at all times. Taking every thing into consideration we have gotten along as well as could be expected and may be better than many other places and do not feel disposed to murmur. . . . We have had a good deal of dry weather this Summer, in consequence of which corn will be cut short– however since it has become more seasonable corn seems to be coming out considerably and if frost will keep off until it makes it self there will be considerable corn raised more I think than were last year, grain was very scarce here last year. Wheat crops this year were not very good hardly an average Crop.” ~ Letter from Thomas McGuffin to his brother Templeton.

September 4– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “I have not forgotten probably never shall forget the very impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years ago– nor has your kind letter, written nearly a year later, even been forgotten. In all, it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance on God. I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayer and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom, and our own error therein. Mean while we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay. Your people– the Friends– have had, and are having, a very great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience, under my oath to the law. That you believe this I doubt not, and believing it, I shall still receive, for our country and myself your earnest prayers to our Father in Heaven.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to Eliza P. Gurney. [Gurney (1801– 1881) is a Quaker minister, the widow of Joseph John Gurney, one of the co-founders of Earlham College, an abolitionist and ardent pacifist. She has traveled extensively in North America and in Europe. See, The Quaker in the Forum by Amelia Mott Gunmere (1910) and The Later Period of Quakerism by Rufus M Jones (1921).]

Eliza P Gurney

Eliza P Gurney

September 4– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Showery. Atlanta has fallen, and our army has retreated some thirty miles; such is Hood’s dispatch, received last night. The cheering in Grant’s camp yesterday was over that event. We have not had sufficient generalship and enterprise to destroy Sherman’s communications. Some 40,000 landowners, and the owners of slaves, are at their comfortable homes, or in comfortable offices, while the poor and ignorant are relied upon to achieve independence! and these, very naturally, disappoint the President’s expectations on momentous occasions.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

September 4– Sunday– Cobb County, Georgia– “Sabbath again– another week gone, & I one week nearer Home; & Atlanta being occupied by the Federals, I may soon be able to get a passport to return Home & what anxiety must I feel until I can hear from Home, not knowing what sad changes may have taken place during the long, anxious period since I have last heard from them. After the hard Rains yesterday, we have today a bright, clear & cool Sabbath. I have not left the House, not being able to hear of any Church services in town. I may walk into town this afternoon for exercise. Dr. Miller . . . made me a pleasant of over 2 hours this morning, he is a very intelligent & pleasant man from Iowa. He told me he would like to move to this country after the war was over, & we united, but he apprehended the feelings would be too much opposed to all Northerners. I told him I did not think it would be so towards him, he has been so very kind to Mrs. Mc C. & others. We had a long & pleasant discussion about the waging of this War & the prospects of its termination. I told him if the North was contending for the Union & the Constitution as they professed, an early reunion may take place, but if they intended to act in violation of the Constitution, on the subject of Slavery or in any other way, they had to subjugate the South & force it back & keep it in by many Bayonets, which would violate all principles of a free government, to effect this purpose it would require years of bloody War. He said it was a sad state, but the North was so convinced that we could not live together in harmony with slavery, that it became necessary to if possible to get rid of the [slave system.]” ~ Diary of William King.

September 4– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– “It is strange to go about Atlanta now and see only Yankee uniforms. The City Hall is headquarters for the Provost Guard. The enemy behave themselves pretty well except in the scramble for liquor, during which every store in town nearly was broke into yesterday. This afternoon three soldiers asked for dinner saying their rations had not come and they would pay for their dinner, so Sallie had some cooked for them. They belonged to Company E, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteers, but their chief spokesman was a Scotchman. They think McClellan will be the next president as he has been nominated by the Chicago Convention. Returning home [after church] we heard that another big fight in Jonesboro had resulted disastrously to the Confederates, and in confirmation of this we saw 1800 ‘rebel prisoners’ marched into town. They filled the street from the [2nd] Baptist Church to Whitehall St. It was a sad sight but the Yankees cheered at it lustily of course.” ~ Diary of an Atlanta resident.

General Sherman

General Sherman

September 4– Sunday– Atlanta, Georgia– “I propose to remove all the inhabitants of Atlanta, sending those committed to our cause to the rear, and the rebel families to the front. I will allow no trade, manufactories, nor any citizens there at all, so that we will have the entire use of the railroad back, as also such corn and forage as may be reached by our troops. If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking. If they want peace they and their relatives must stop war.” ~ Report from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to the War Department in Washington.

September 4– Sunday– Greenville, Tennessee–Acting on a tip from a local woman, Federal troops attempt to capture Confederate General John Hunt Morgan. He flees and is shot dead while trying to escape. [There is some dispute about whether he is killed while trying to surrender. His wife Martha Ready Morgan is two months pregnant with their second child. They have been married only since December 14, 1862.]

Martha Ready Morgan with her husband John Hunt Morgan

Martha Ready Morgan with her husband John Hunt Morgan

 

I Believe in a Communion of Saints Such as These

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Gandhi in 1907 in South Africa

Gandhi in 1907 in South Africa

 

Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph

Sun Yat-sen

Sun Yat-sen

Julius Nyerere

Julius Nyerere

Toussaint Louverture

Toussaint Louverture

 

Osceola

Osceola

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

Another Solemn Epoch of Human Progress~Giuseppe Garibaldi

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Peter Van Winkle

Senator Peter Van Winkle

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

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

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

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

 

Garibaldi, c 1866

Garibaldi, c 1866

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

Garrison

Garrison

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

 

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

New York Governor Horation Seymour

New York Governor Horation Seymour

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

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

Doing All the Mischief They Can~June 30th, 1863

Doing All the Mischief They Can– Rachel Cormany, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Rumors and worries abound, South and North. Cavalry battles in Pennsylvania. Union General Buford decides to take a stand at Gettysburg. Federal forces make headway in Tennessee. A British visitor writes an impressive word picture of General Lee. Poet Walt Whitman describes President Lincoln in tones of admiration which will echo in his poems after Lincoln’s assassination. An English politician urges recognition of the Confederacy. The revolution continues in Poland. The year reaches its mid point~much of the worst comes with sunrise tomorrow.

June 30– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times updates its readers on the complex situation in Poland. “On the 10th inst. Cyaschowski gained a brilliant victory over the Russians at Konski, in the government of Sandomir. Two Russian companies were completely destroyed. On the same day the Poles defeated the Russians at Ignacew and Kalsie, The Insurgent Chief, Abicht, and the Capucin Priest, Konarski, were hung in front of the Citadel of Warsaw. It is said, that the Archbishop of Warsaw having protested against this sentence, had been arrested and transported to St. Petersburg. Another account says he had simply been ordered to repair to St. Petersburg. The National Government is said to have warned the Grand Duke Constantine that it could no longer be responsible for his safety. Private letters received from Warsaw, at Berlin, on June 15, state that the Commissioners of the Exchequer, upon examining the Government Treasury in that city, discovered that Russian bank notes, Polish bonds, and gold half imperials to the amount of 5,000,000 silver roubles had been abstracted. In their place was left a receipt signed by the National Government. Four officials, and the books in which the number of the missing bonds were entered, had also disappeared.” On another page, it reports, “The London Morning Herald publishes a lengthy appeal from nearly one hundred ministers, of all denominations, in the Confederate States, seeking to enlist English sympathy in the Confederate cause. It is stated that the address originated from no political source whatever, but from a conference of ministers held at Richmond. The address takes the ground that the restoration of the Union is impossible.”

June 30– Tuesday– Hanover, Pennsylvania– Hurrying to rejoin General Lee’s main body, slowed by captured wagons and horses, and having to ride north in a wide arc to get around the Union army, Confederate General Jeb Stuart’s cavalry, attacks a Union cavalry regiment, driving them through the streets of the town. Additional Federal cavalry units arrive in two waves and after a seesaw fight, a stalemate ensues. Stuart disengages and continues moving in an arc to get around the Union cavalry, further delaying his attempt to rejoin Lee’s army which is concentrating at Cashtown, west of Gettysburg. One of the Union commanders is 23 year old George Armstrong Custer. Union casualties total 215, Confederate losses amount to 117.

Cavalry battle

Cavalry battle

June 30– Tuesday– Guilford Township, Franklin County- Pennsylvania– Amos Stouffer describes current events. “A warm cloudy day yesterday. I came home. Had my horse captured at Loudon’s and walked home. . . . The rebs are marching past all day. Immense baggage trains trudging along all day with a great many captured cattle and horses from Hooker’s army. We hear nothing, but know that he is close at hand. The rebs have gave up all hope of going to Harrisburg. There were 42 pieces of artillery taken past here to day. Mary is yet at Lasicus.”

June 30– Tuesday.– near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– The English observer Sir Arthur James Fremantle has an interesting meeting. “This morning, before marching . . . General Longstreet introduced me to the Commander-in-Chief. General Lee is, almost without exception, the handsomest man of his age I ever saw. He is fifty-six years old, tall, broad shouldered, very well made, well set up– a thorough soldier in appearance; and his manners are most courteous and full of dignity. He is a perfect gentleman in every respect. I imagine no man has so few enemies, or is so universally esteemed.–Throughout the South, all agree in pronouncing him to be as near perfection as a man can be. He has none of the small vices, such as smoking, drinking, chewing, or swearing, and his bitterest enemy never accused him of any of the greater ones. He generally wears a well worn long gray jacket, a high black felt hat, and blue trousers tucked into his Wellington boots. I never saw him carry arms; and the only mark of his military rank are the three stars on his collar. He rides a handsome horse, which is extremely well groomed. He himself is very neat in his dress and person, and in the most arduous marches he always looks smart and clean.”

Sir Arthur Fremantle, British observer of the Gettysburg campaign

Sir Arthur Fremantle, British observer of the Gettysburg campaign

June 30– Tuesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Confederate soldier Thomas Gordon Pollock writes to his father. “It is almost amusing to witness the anxious stare with which we are regarded as our sunburnt motley dressed regiments but moving in closed ranks with the cadenced step to the tune of Dixie and with enfield muskets glistening and the red battle flag inscribed all over with the names of our victories pass through the thoroughfare of one of the numerous towns. Sadness is on the countenance of all but some try to look fierce and angry and tell us confidently we will never get back. It is a beautiful country overflowing with wealth & fatness. Every inch of ground seems to be producing something. The army is reveling in good eating such as the poor fellows have not so much heard of since the beginning of the war. But all this regularly and in good order. I have heard of no case of outrage to person or property. Such is General Lee’s order. I enclose you the last, and what General Lee says the army does down to the lowest private because they say ‘I reckon he knows.’ The perfect reverence the soldiers feel for his orders is only equaled by their faith in him.”

June 30– Tuesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Rachel Cormany updates the pages of her diary.  “Nothing special transpired today. The Rebs are still about doing all the mischief they can. They have everything ready to set fire to the warehouses & machine shops–Tore up the railroad track & burned the crossties–They have cleared out nearly every store so they cannot rob much more–Evening– Quite a number of the young folks were in the parlor this evening singing all thepatriotic & popular war songs. Quite a squad of rebels gathered outside to listen & seemed much pleased with the music– ‘When this cruel war is over’ nearly brought tears from some. they sent in a petition to have it sung again which was done. they then thanked the girls very much & left–they acted real nicely.”

Rachel Cormany of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Rachel Cormany of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

June 30– Tuesday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Two brigades of Union cavalry soldiers, numbering somewhere between 3200 and 5000 men total, under the command of General John Buford arrive here. Buford, 37 years old, a graduate of West Point in the class of 1848 and a career cavalry officer, believes that Confederate General Lee has changed direction. Carefully selecting good defensive positions, Buford decides to fight a delaying action until General John Reynolds and his infantry arrive. He sends a dispatch to General Reynolds. “I am satisfied that A. P. Hill’s corps is massed just back of Cashtown, about 9 miles from this place. . . . The enemy’s pickets (infantry and artillery) are within 4 miles of this place, on the Cashtown road. . . . today, one of my parties captured a courier of Lee’s. Nothing was found on him. He says Ewell’s corps is crossing the mountains from Carlisle, Rodes’ division being at Petersburg in advance. . . . Should I have to fall back, advise me by what route.”

overly dramatic depiction of Buford's cavalry in action

overly dramatic depiction of Buford’s cavalry in action

June 30– Tuesday– Emmitsburg, Maryland– Near this town, 12 miles away from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Union Generals John Reynolds and Oliver Howard have dinner, talking about the major battle which they are sure is about to take place.

General Oliver Otis Howard

General Oliver Otis Howard

 June 30– Tuesday– near Manchester, Maryland– Elisha Hunt Rhodes quickly updates his diary. “This morning we were detailed as rear guard and as we have had rain and the roads were muddy, we had a hard march through Mount Vernon and Westminster to our camp near Manchester. The Rebel Cavalry hover in our rear all day.”

 June 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– A report to President Lincoln shows that as of this month 960,061 men are on active duty with the armed forces of the United States.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

June 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to General David Hunter who has sent a letter complaining about being relieved of command earlier this month. “I assure you, and you may feel authorized in stating, that the recent change of commanders in the Department of the South was made for no reasons which convey any imputation upon your known energy, efficiency, and patriotism; but for causes which seemed sufficient, while they were in no degree incompatible with the respect and esteem in which I have always held you as a man and an officer.” The President also requests updated information from military authorities in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, reassures the governor of New Jersey, and meets with a Congressman from Pennsylvania.

 June 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles updates his diary. “Lee and his army are well advanced into Pennsylvania, and they should not be permitted to fall back and recross the Potomac. . . . I don’t want them to leave the State, except as prisoners. Meade will, I trust, keep closer to them than some others have done. . . . This movement of Lee and the Rebel forces into Pennsylvania is to me incomprehensible, nor do I get any light from military men or others in regard to it. Should they cross the Susquehanna, as our General-in-Chief and Governor Curtin fear, they will never recross it without being first captured. This they know, unless deceived by their sympathizing friends in the North, as in 1861; therefore I do not believe they will attempt it. I have talked over this campaign with Stanton this evening, but I get nothing from him definite or satisfactory of fact or speculation, and I come to the conclusion that he is bewildered, that he gets no light from his military subordinates and advisers, and that he really has no information or opinion as to the Rebel destination or purpose.”

June 30– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman, in a long letter to his mother, describes a recent glimpse of the President. “Mr. Lincoln passes here (14th st) every evening on his way out. I noticed him last evening about ½ past 6, he was in his barouche, two horses, guarded by about thirty cavalry. The barouche comes first under a slow trot, driven by one man in the box, no servant or footman beside– the cavalry all follow closely after with a lieutenant at their head. I had a good view of the President last evening– he looks more careworn even than usual– his face with deep cut lines, seams, & his complexion gray, through very dark skin, a curious looking man, very sad. I said to a lady who was looking with me, ‘Who can see that man without losing all wish to be sharp upon him personally? Who can say he has not a good soul?’ The lady assented, although she is almost vindictive on the course of the administration, (thinks it wants nerve &c., the usual complaint). The equipage is rather shabby, horses indeed almost what my friends the Broadway drivers would call old plugs. The President dresses in plain black clothes, cylinder hat– he was alone yesterday.”

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

June 30– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– Fed by rumors and wrong information, John Jones gleefully records in his diary. “The city is now in good humor, but not wild with exultation. We have what seems pretty authentic intelligence of the taking of Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, the City of York, etc. etc. This comes on the flag of truce boat, and is derived from the enemy themselves. Lee will not descend to the retaliation instigated by petty malice; but proclaim to the inhabitants that all we desire is Peace, not conquest. From Vicksburg we have further information that, in springing his mine, Grant destroyed hundreds of his own men, and did us no injury. Also that a battery we have above Vicksburg had fired into some passing transports, doing great damage to life and boats. The troops landed, and failed to take the battery by assault, losing hundreds in addition.”

June 30– Tuesday– St Helena Island, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke meets the soldiers from Massachusetts. “This evening Mrs Hunn, Lizzie and I rode with Colonel Gillmore down to see the 54th Massachusetts which is encamped at Land’s End.”

Charlotte Forten Grimke

Charlotte Forten Grimke

 June 30– Tuesday– Tullahoma, Tennessee– Confederate General Bragg, facing a major assault on the morrow by Union forces under General Rosecrans, evacuates the town under cover of darkness. In the campaign since June 24th the Federal troops have lost 83 killed, 473 wounded and 13 missing. The numbers of Confederate dead and wounded are unknown but 1634 of Bragg’s soldiers have been taken prisoner.

June 30– Tuesday– Goodrich’s Landing, Louisiana– In another attempt to relieve pressure on Vicksburg, Confederate forces have seized Union supplies and burned bales of cotton to prevent its seizure by Federal troops. However, before they make good their escape, they are attacked by a combined force of U S Navy and Marines and two units of black infantry. In the intense exchange, the Federals suffer a total of 120 casualties. Confederate losses are unknown and they escape with needed supplies of food and ammunition.

 June 30– Tuesday– London, England–A member of Parliament urges Queen Victoria to take the lead of the European powers and recognize the Confederacy.

We Are Generally Anticipating a Lively Time~June 1863~the 20th to 22nd

We Are Generally Anticipating a Lively Time~Walt Whitman

Significant fighting takes place in Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia and Pennsylvania as Confederate troops enter the Keystone State. More and more people, North and South, soldiers and officers as well as civilians anticipate major battles. The burning of Darien, Georgia, bothers many. Vicksburg is under heavy bombardment but the Times of London predicts a Union repulse there. A black man is lynched in New York. President Lincoln gets a Supreme Court justice with whom he is satisfied. Polish immigrants in the United States work to help the revolution in Poland. France begins parliamentary elections.

June 20– Saturday– Camp Brightwood, near Washington, D.C.– Union Colonel Charles Russell Lowell writes to Effie Shaw, the sister of his friend, Robert Gould Shaw. “I look for a general action soon, and shall not be surprised if Lee has Washington by August 1st. Don’t think me gloomy, I should regard the loss of Washington as the greatest gain of the war. I don’t wonder Rob feels badly about this burning and plundering [of Darien, Georgia], it is too bad. . . . Such a gentle fellow as Rob must be peculiarly disturbed about it.”

Effie Shaw & Charles Russell Loweel who marry in October, 1863

Effie Shaw & Charles Russell Loweel who marry in October, 1863

June 20– Saturday– Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia– Union soldier Christian Geisel writes a quick letter to his sister Louisa. “We expect to have heavy fight shortly again. By all accounts some of the rebel cavalry is in Pennsylvania again. and I expect that there is great excitement up there now, but I don’t think they will stay there long. I can write no more at present.”

June 20– Saturday– Staunton, Virginia– Confederate soldier M. G. Harman writes to his uncle, Albert Garber. “I have just Heard Major T.P. Eskridge told Mr. B. Evans that Tom was killed & his body left on the Field. I have been down to see Colonel Davidson & Bill but can hear nothing. I Hope it is untrue. Come in before you say anything to Aunt or the Family about it.”

June 20– Saturday– St Simon Island, Georgia– Colonel Robert Gould Shaw to his friend Charles Russell Lowell: “I am totally in the dark as to what has been going on in other parts of the country for two weeks past. The last paper I saw, was of June 6. I should like to ask your opinion on a subject, which has troubled me a little lately. On a late expedition we made with Montgomery– he burnt the town of Darien about 20 miles from here. We had met with no resistance there & the only men to be seen were some horsemen at a great distance. There were a few women & darkeys in the place and a great many more had gone off in vehicles on our approach. It was never known to be a refuge for guerillas, and our gunboats have been in the habit of running by it at will & without opposition. Don’t you think that unless it is a settled policy of the Government to destroy all the property in rebeldom, the destruction of a defenseless town, containing only a few non-combatants, is unjustifiable, and contrary to all rules of warfare? Harry writes me that you have been transferred to Heintzelman, so I suppose there is a good chance of your remaining for some time, near Washington. Good, for Effie. . . . I hope this war will not finish one or both of us, and that we shall live to know each other well. I had a note from Effie a week ago. I remember, at Susie’s, just after you were engaged you said to me: ‘Am not I a lucky fellow?’ And I must say, I think you are. There are not many girls like Effie; though she is my sister, I may say it.” [Within the next 16 months both Shaw and Lowell will be killed in battle.]

June 20– Saturday– London, England– The Times of London reviews the Union siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, suggesting that General Grant’s position becomes more precarious each day “The fortunes of the Federal arms at the last date were balancing between a temporary check and total failure. All the details leave an impression that unusual energy had secured very slight results.” The paper goes on to say that private sources claim that Vicksburg has been relieved, and that the Federal army is now surrounded by Confederate forces.

John Walter, owner of The Times of London

John Walter, owner of The Times of London

June 21– Sunday– Newburgh, New York– In the city, 60 miles north of New York City, a black man, accused of the rape of an Irish serving girl, is snatched from the jail by a mob, mostly of Irish immigrant men, beaten savagely and lynched. The New York Times says of the incident, “The crime of which the Negro stood charged with was of a revolting character, but he was amenable to the law, and still had the right of a fair trial. Those who were instrumental in destroying his life, however, in their misguided frenzy, committed the higher crime of murder.”

June 21– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times reports that “Almost every people of Europe has a newspaper organ in this country, and indeed in this city. The deep interest taken in the affairs of Poland has led to the establishment of an organ in the language of that country. It is called Echo z Polski, or Polish Echo, and contains full details concerning the present Polish war for independence. It is published under the auspices of the Central Polish Committee.”

June 21– Sunday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Rachel Cormany writes of her day. “All was pretty quiet until near noon The news came that the rebels are near here–which caused great excitement again. Soon after a regiment of the N. Y. Greys came (militia) so all excitement died away– Wrote a letter (or finished it rather) to My Samuel. Read such a pretty Sunday School book.”

June 21– Sunday– Upperville, Loudoun County, Virginia– Protecting General Lee’s main body of infantry, General Jeb Stuart’s cavalry tangles with a combined Union force of cavalry and infantry, While successfully preventing discovery of Lee’s main body, Stuart for the first time in the war, losses an artillery piece to capture by the Yankees. Combined total casualties are approximately 400. Shortly after this event, Stuart will fatefully decide to strike north and east to draw Federal attention away from Lee but as a result will lose his lines of communication with the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia.

cavalry battle

cavalry battle

June 21– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– Government Clerk John Jones reports that, “To-day we have an account of the burning of Darien, Georgia. The temptation is strong for our army to retaliate on the soil of Pennsylvania.”

June 21– Sunday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– Confederate soldiers detect the sound of digging and recognize that Union “sappers” are trying to undermine a key defensive position. In response six volunteers from a Mississippi regiment begin to dig a countermine. A Confederate officer writes that “all you can hear is the rattle of the Enemy’s guns, with the sharp crack of the rifles of their sharp-shooters going from early dawn to dark and then at night the roaring of the terrible mortars [on Union gunboats on the Mississippi] is kept up.” A Union soldier from Indiana writes, “Friday morning, while on duty in the pits, we had a splendid view. Just as the town clock in Vicksburg struck six, all the batteries along the line opened with a full blast, for the first time since the siege commenced, and the first heavy artillery firing since the assault. We were in front of our batteries and between them and the rebel works. The fire was principally directed on the town and on the camps behind the first line, of works. From our pits we could see sixty pieces on our lines all busily at work. That same evening the batteries gave them another touch, and this (Sunday) morning, about 3 o’clock, another still, but the regular bombardment has not yet commenced. The mortars are at work very night, and generally through part of the day.”

shelling Vicksburg

shelling Vicksburg

June 21– Sunday– LaFourche Crossing, Louisiana– Attempting to draw off Federal forces from the siege of Port Hudson, a large Confederate raiding party runs into Union troops here. In several hours of sharp fighting yesterday and today, the Confederates lose a total of 219 dead, wounded and missing. Union losses amount to 48 in total.

June 21– Sunday– Paris, France– Across the country the first round of elections for members of Parliament begins today.

June 22– Monday– Greencastle, Pennsylvania– The first units of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia begin crossing into Pennsylvania. In a skirmish, Confederate infantry drive off a patrol of Union cavalry, killing Corporal William Rihl, the first Pennsylvanian and first Union soldier to die in the Gettysburg Campaign.

June 22– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln appoints Associate Supreme Court Justice, Stephen J. Field, age 46, to the newly created tenth circuit court which consists of California and Oregon.

Justice Stephen J Field

Justice Stephen J Field

June 22– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles updates his diary. “The rumors yesterday of a fight near Aldie are fully confirmed, but as yet no definite information. It is not always pleasant to go to the War Department to have news verified, even if they have the facts. . . . Generally I have found Stanton affable and communicative when alone, but not always, especially if there has been disaster or unpleasant news.”

June 22– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman to his mother: “Well, mother, we are generally anticipating a lively time here or in the neighborhood, as it is probable Lee is feeling about to strike a blow on Washington, or perhaps right into it & as Lee is no fool, it is perhaps possible he may give us a good shake– he is not very far off– yesterday was a fight to the southwest of here all day, we heard the cannons nearly all day– the wounded are arriving in small squads every day, mostly cavalry, a great many Ohio men– they send off to-day from the Washington hospitals a great many to New York, Philadelphia, &c. all who are able, to make room, which looks ominous– indeed it is pretty certain that there is to be some severe fighting, may be a great battle again, the pending week– I am getting so callous that it hardly arouses me at all– I fancy I should take it very quietly if I found myself in the midst of a desperate conflict here in Washington.”

June 22– Monday– Leesburg, Virginia– On the move northward, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin and some of his officers buy a good dinner from a local family. While these people do not like the Yankees they are nonetheless willing to feed them in return for sound Northern money.

June 22– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones updates his diary. “To-day I saw the memorandum of Mr. Ould, of the conversation held with Mr. Vallandigham, for file in the archives. He says if we ‘can only hold out’ this year that the peace party of the North would sweep the Lincoln dynasty out of political existence. He seems to have thought that our cause was sinking, and feared we would submit, which would, of course, be ruinous to his party! But he advises strongly against any invasion of Pennsylvania, for that would unite all parties at the North, and so strengthen Lincoln’s hands that he would be able to crush all opposition, and trample upon the constitutional rights of the people. Mr. Vallandigham said nothing to indicate that either he or the party had any other idea than that the Union would be reconstructed under Democratic rule.”

The Trops Are Moving~June 1863~the 3rd to the 6th

Soldiers on both sides expect hard fighting to come soon. General Lee begins to move. General Hooker watches warily while President Lincoln encourages him to take action. The 54th Massachusetts has a good reputation although they have not yet fired a shot in combat. Union forces continue to pound Vicksburg but sentiment in Richmond is optimistic. Democrats in the North call for peace and the Democratic governor of New York fails to call for black troops. Gideon Welles laments the mistakes of General Burnside and President Lincoln over-rides the general by allowing the Chicago Times to resume publication. In Europe the struggle continues in Poland. The Russian government expresses its appreciation for support from the United States.

Fernando Wood, Democratic critic of the Lincoln administration

Fernando Wood, Democratic critic of the Lincoln administration

 

June 3– Wednesday– New York City–At a meeting in Cooper Union, the former mayor and now Congressman Fernando Wood and various anti-war Democrats call for immediate peace with the Confederacy.

Harper's Weekly cartoon depicts Fernando Wood as a minister of the devil

Harper’s Weekly cartoon depicts Fernando Wood as a minister of the devil

June 3– Wednesday– In his diary, Gideon Welles analyzes the current state of affairs. “The arrest of Vallandigham and the order to suppress the circulation of the Chicago Times in his military district issued by General Burnside have created much feeling. It should not be otherwise. The proceedings were arbitrary and injudicious. It gives bad men the right of questions, an advantage of which they avail themselves. Good men, who wish to support the Administration, find it difficult to defend these acts. . . . While I have no sympathy for those who are, in their hearts, as unprincipled traitors as Jefferson Davis, I lament that our military officers should, without absolute necessity, disregard those great principles on which our government and institutions rest.”

June 3– Wednesday– Fredericksburg, Virginia– Confederate General Robert E Lee begins his planned invasion of the North by ordering two divisions of General Longstreet’s corp to move to Culpeper Court House, Virginia.

June 3– Wednesday– off Hilton Head, South Carolina– Union Colonel Robert Gould Shaw writes to his cousin John Forbes. “The 54th has been a success from beginning to end. The drill & discipline are all that anyone could expect. Crowds of people came to our battalion drills & dress parades every afternoon, and we have heard nothing but words of praise & astonishment from friend & foe– from hunkers & fogeys, old and young. The camp was crowded on the day of our banner presentation and the Governor made an excellent speech. Last Thursday, 28 May, we . . . went by rail to Boston. We marched from the Providence Depot . . . to Battery Wharf where we embarked. The streets were crowded, & I have not seen such enthusiasm since the first troops left for the war.”

detail on the memorial honoring trhe 54th Massaachusetts Regiment

detail on the memorial honoring trhe 54th Massaachusetts Regiment

June 3– Wednesday– Port Royal, South Carolina– Union General David Hunter sends a dispatch to Governor Andrew of Massachusetts. “I have the honor to announce that the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (colored) troops, Colonel Shaw commanding, arrived safely in this harbor this afternoon and have been sent to Port Royal Island. The regiment had an excellent passage, and from the appearance of the men I doubt not that this command will yet win a reputation and place in history deserving the patronage you have given them. . . . The Fifty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers shall soon be profitably and honorably employed; and I beg that you will send for service in this department the other colored regiment which Colonel Shaw tells me you are now organizing and have in forward preparation.”

June 3– Wednesday– St Helena, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke has a wonderful day. “Had a lovely row to the Kingfisher. Tis a delightful floating palace; everything perfectly ordered and elegant. The officers were all very kind and polite and I enjoyed listening to their explanations about the guns.”

Charlotte Forten Grimke

Charlotte Forten Grimke

June 3– Wednesday– Paris, France– The correspondent for the New York Times writes a dispatch about events in Poland. “This evening news has been received of a number of battles having been fought. Fighting has been going on for some time in all parts of ancient Poland. It is not said that the Poles have won any great victories; but, on the other hand, it does not appear, even from the Russian accounts, that they have suffered any great defeat.”

June 4– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln writes to Secretary of War Stanton, telling him to rescind General Burnside’s order suppressing the Chicago Times. “I have received additional despatches, which, with former ones, induce me to believe we should revoke or suspend the order suspending the Chicago Times; and if you concur in opinion, please have it done.”

June 4– Thursday– Falmouth, Virginia– Receiving reliable information that General Lee’s troops are on the move, Union General Hooker telegraphs President Lincoln that he [Hooker] sees this as an attempt by Lee to get between the Union Army and Washington, D.C.

June 4– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– Government clerk John Jones in his diary: “When Grant leaves Vicksburg, our generals will pursue, and assume the aggressive in more directions than one. Lee has some occult object in view, which must soon be manifest.”

Harper's Weekly depicts General Grant leading the siege of Vicksburg

Harper’s Weekly depicts General Grant leading the siege of Vicksburg

June 4– Thursday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– Union soldier Lucius Barber from Illinois describes siege activity. “General Grant rode along the line and told the boys that he had plenty of ammunition and not to be afraid to use it. This was a signal for firing. Some of the boys expended over two hundred rounds . . . . The rebs lay in their trenches, quiet as mice, not daring to show their heads.”

Union siege works outside of Vicksburg

Union siege works outside of Vicksburg

June 4– Thursday– St Petersburg, Russia– Prince Gorchakov, Russian Foreign Minister, writes to U S Minister Cassius Marcellus Clay to express the Tsar’s thanks for the letter from Secretary of State Seward. “It is to his Majesty a source of sincere satisfaction to see that his persevering efforts to guide with order and without disturbance all the parts of his empire in the way of regular progress are justly appreciated by a nation towards which his Majesty and the Russian people entertain the most friendly sentiments. Such manifestations must strengthen the bonds of mutual sympathy which unite the two countries, and constitute a consummation which too much accords with the aspirations of the Emperor for his Majesty not to look upon it with pleasure. His Majesty has greatly appreciated the firmness with which the government of the United States maintains the principle of non-intervention, the meaning of which in these days is too often perverted; as well as the loyalty with which they refuse to impose upon other states a rule, the violation of which, in respect to themselves, they would not allow.”

June 5– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends a message to General Hooker in regard to Confederate General Lee’s current movements. “I have but one idea which I think worth suggesting to you, and that is, in case you find Lee coming to the north of the Rappahannock, I would by no means cross to the south of it. If he should leave a rear force at Fredericksburg, tempting you to fall upon it, it would fight in entrenchments and have you at advantage, and so, man for man, worst you at that point, While his main force would in some way be getting an advantage of you northward. In one word, I would not take any risk of being entangled up on the river like an ox jumped half over a fence and liable to be torn by dogs front and rear without a fair chance to gore one way or to kick the other.” The President also receives his salary for the month of May in the amount of $2,022.34. [This would equal about $38,200 today. President Obama receives $33,333 per month.]

 June 5– Friday– near Falmouth, Virginia– Union soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes senses movement. “We have spent nearly a month in ordering our camp and now have orders to leave. In fact we are all packed up and some of the troops are moving toward the river. . . . Tomorrow I suppose we shall try to shoot a few Rebels. I wish it was over, for it is worse for a soldier to wait for a battle to begin than it is to do the fighting.”

June 5– Friday– Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, near Falmouth, Virginia– Union General Henry Hunt issues an order that soldiers serving in the artillery during summer campaigning are limited to “1 Blanket, 1 Great Coat, 1 Jacket, 1 Blouse, 1 pr Trowsers [sic], 3 pr Stockings, 2 pr drawers, 2 flannel shirts, 1 pair shoes or boots.” Further, he requires that “All surplus will be turned in at the commencement of a march.”

June 5– Friday– Culpeper Court House, Virginia– At the invitation of Confederate General Jeb Stuart, a large number of area women, along with their eligible daughters, attend a “grand review” of Confederate cavalry and a ball, sponsored by General Stuart and his staff.

typical womens' outfits of the period

typical womens’ outfits of the period

June 6– Saturday– New York City– The New York Times takes to task the governor of the state for declining to enlist black soldiers. “Governor Seymour is reported by one of his party organs to have declined an application by a Committee of colored men, to aid in the organization of a colored regiment for active service. He did this, it is stated, on the ground that ‘he had too much sympathy for the blacks to consent, as the position they must occupy would be one of extreme danger, and would lead to dreadful and unnecessary sacrifice of life.’ If Governor. Seymour is, indeed, so hard pushed that he has at last to fall back upon such a subterfuge, he can’t give in too quickly. Our people will stand any quantity of Negro ‘sojering’ sooner than that their Governor shall cut so ridiculous a figure.” [Horatio Seymour is a Democrat and an out-spoken critic of the Lincoln Administration.]

New York Governor Seymour

New York Governor Seymour

June 6– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania–A labor paper, Fincher’s Trade Review, begins publication.

June 6– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to his diary: “Am unhappy over our affairs. The Army of the Potomac is doing but little; I do not learn that much is expected or intended. The failure at Chancellorsville has never been satisfactorily explained. Perhaps it cannot be. Some of the officers say if there had been no whiskey in the army after crossing the Rappahannock we should have had complete success.”

June 6– Saturday– Culpeper Court House, Virginia– Confederate soldier H C Kendrick writes to his mother about the upcoming campaign. “I am still inclined to think, we will invade the enemy’s country this summer, as they will doubtless get a great many more cavalry then they now have, and finally make this war a war of pillaging, plundering, and destroying private citizens’ property. I feel like retaliating in the strictest sense. I don’t think we would do wrong to take horses; burn houses; and commit every depredation possible upon the men of the North. I can’t vindicate the principle of injuring, or insulting the female sex, though they be never so disloyal to our Confederacy and its institutions. Could I ever condescend to the degrading principle of taking from a female’s person, a piece of jewelry? Shall I ever become so thoughtless of my character, or forgetful of my raising? God forbid. But mother, I would not hesitate to take, or burn up any thing belonging to their government or that belonged to a citizen who was loyal to the U.S.”

June 6– Saturday– near Locust Grove, Virginia– Confederate soldier Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara: “We have left many a scar on the face of the once lovely valley of the Rappahannock to tell of our long occupancy – more than 30 miles of fortifications mark the line of the front and then inner works, of all descriptions, attest the vigor of our intention to use every means in our power to defend our country – wide forests have been swept away, many an old mansion has fallen a victim to the flames or been torn away piece meal by the destroying hand of war – whose business is, surely, ‘devastation & destruction’– O! that this might come to an end.”

June 6– Saturday– Beaufort, South Carolina– Colonel Robert Gould Shaw writes to his mother. “Colonel Higginson came over to see us, day before yesterday. I never saw any one who put his whole soul into his work as he does. I was very much impressed with his open-heartedness & purity of character. He is encamped about 10 miles from here. The bush-whacker Montgomery is a strange compound. He allows no swearing or drinking in his regiment & is anti tobacco. But he burns & destroys wherever he goes with great gusto, & looks as if he had quite a taste for hanging people &c throat-cutting whenever a suitable subject offers. All our stores are very acceptable now, and the Hungarian wine Father sent us is excellent. General Hunter doesn’t impress me as being a great man. There is some talk of his being relieved. If we could have Fremont in his place, wouldn’t it be fine?” [Montgomery is Colonel James Montgomery, age 48, from Ohio, and during the conflict in Kansas in the 1850’s, he committed atrocities against pro-slavery people. At this time he commands the 2nd South Carolina Regiment of black soldiers, most of them ex-slaves.]

Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Weather Is Just Right for a Campaign~May, 1863~the 18th to the 23rd

One Southern woman arrives in a Federal prison on spying charges while others take the opportunity to sell things to the Yankee soldiers. A Union soldier reveals herself as a woman and is sent home. Walt Whitman’s mother sends him some badly needed clothes. The daughter of a Cabinet member is involved in romance with a new senator. Wives and girl friends occupy the minds of soldier husbands and lovers.

President Lincoln orders Vallandigham to be sent to the Confederacy and considers changing the commander of the Army of the Potomac. Anglo-American relations remain tense.

General Grant begins the final encirclement of Vicksburg but fails to take it by direct assault. General Lee moves ahead with plans to invade the North. Clerk John Jones expects Confederate troops to occupy Philadelphia in two weeks. Around the world, life goes on.

The height of fashion

The height of fashion

May 18– Monday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– Grant’s forces begin investing the city, digging trenches and placing artillery.

May 18– Monday– London, England– In Parliament’s House of Lords some members complain about the seizure by the United States of British ships attempting to run the blockade of Confederate ports. Lord Russell declares that Her Majesty’s Government finds no objection to American conduct and the Crown will not interfere in the American war.

May 19– Tuesday– Martinsburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser of Chambersburg is in attendance at a large-church-wide meeting. “Cool. We are bringing our classes to a close here, after electing several groups for the different Synods to meet next year. Even here, we have petty politics among religious groups to vie for honors to represent their views of ideas. I was much honored and congratulated on my writings and method of conducting prayer services, often mistaken for one of the clergy. Why did the Lord choose the business world for me, when I was better fitted for the church?”

May 19– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles records a bit of high society gossip. “Governor Sprague and Miss Kate Chase called this evening. I have been skeptical as to a match, but this means something. She is beautiful, or more properly perhaps, interesting and impressive. He is rich and holds the position of Senator. Few young men have such advantages as he, and Miss Kate has talents and ambition sufficient for both.” [William Sprague, age 32 at this time, comes from a wealthy manufacturing family, has just finished three consecutive one-year terms as Rhode Island’s governor and, when Congress came into session in March, took his seat in the U S Senate. Kate Chase is 22 years old at the time. She and her younger sister Janette are the two of the six daughters of Treasury Secretary Salmon P Chase who survived childhood. She is known to be ambitious and resentful that Lincoln rather than her father won the Republican nomination in 1860.]

Kate Chase

Kate Chase

May 19– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln sends an order via Secretary of War Stanton to General Burnside in Ohio. “The President directs that without delay you send C. L. Vallandigham under secure guard to the Headquarters of General Rosecrans, to be put by him beyond our military lines; and in case of his return within our lines, he be arrested and kept in close custody for the term specified in his sentence.”

May 19– Tuesday– Washington, D. C– Walt Whitman thanks his mother for her care package. “O mother, how welcome the shirts were– I was putting off, & putting off, to get some new ones, I could not find any one to do them as I wear them, & it would have cost such a price & so my old ones had got to be, when they come back from the wash I had to laugh, they were a lot of rags, held together with starch. I have a very nice old black aunty for a washwoman, but she bears down pretty hard I guess when she irons them, & they showed something like the poor old city of Fredericksburg does, since Burnside bombarded it. Well, mother, when the bundle came, I was so glad & the coats too, worn as they are, they come in very handy & the cake, dear mother, I am almost like the boy that put it under his pillow & woke up in the night & eat some.”

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

May 19– Tuesday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– General Grant tries to take the city by a direct assault but the Confederates repulse him, costing about 1000 Union casualties.

May 19– Tuesday– Harrington, Prince Edward Island, Canada– Birth of John Alexander Mathieson, jurist, politician and who will serve as Premier of Prince Edward Island from 1911 to 1917.

John Mathieson

John Mathieson

May 20– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– A heated debate takes place in today’s Cabinet meeting about whether or not the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 remains in effect and whether known escaped slaves ought to be allowed to enlist in the Union army.

May 20– Wednesday– Alton, Illinois– The Federal prison here receives a Miss Mollie Hyde of Nashville, Tennessee, arrested under the orders of Union General Rosecrans and convicted of “spying and other misdeeds.” She is to be held until the war ends.

May 20– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– President Jeff Davis and Secretary of War Seddon receive news of General Pemberton’s defeat at Big Black River at the same time they receive a letter from General Lee stating that he must have General Longstreet and his men to invade Pennsylvania and cannot spare them to assist General Pemberton.

May 20– Wednesday– Middleburg, Kentucky– Union soldier William Taylor writes to his wife Jane at home in Pennsylvania. “I have another idle day to look forward to unless the quartermaster brings a lot of clothing up with him I will have nothing to do, and even if he does it will only make an hour or more work. If we must stay on here I will begin to wish for the arrival of my fish hooks that I may go and fish some, even if they are small ones. I have some reading matter, but get tired doing that all the time. I have Les Miserables, of 800 pages and am about half through. I only read about 50 pages a day of it as I don’t want to get done too soon, and then have nothing left.”

May 21– Thursday– Battle Creek, Michigan–The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is formed.

May 21– Thursday– Falmouth, Virginia– Elisha Hunt Rhodes in his diary: “We have been fixing up our camp, and we look very fine. I do not imagine that we shall stay here very long for the weather is just right for a campaign.”

May 21– Thursday– Middleburg, Kentucky– Union soldier William Taylor to his wife Jane: “A while ago two women came up. They had with them in a basket some geese and ducks. They were cooked & stuffed. Our cook was away and only the quartermaster and myself in. They made us buy two geese and a duck. Geese cost 50 cents a piece; the duck 25 cents. One of the women was pretty, the only pretty one I have seen in Kentucky. She was a widow too. She came on purpose to see the quartermaster. She had heard a good deal about him. She is rich– has nine hundred acres of land, two children and twenty five ‘n******.’ She sold us a stack of hay, and says we can have one of her meadows & cut in the shares.”

May 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln offers command of the Army of the Potomac to General Darius Couch, age 40, West Point Class of 1846 and a career soldier. General Couch refuses the President’s offer and recommends General George Meade, age 47, West Point Class of 1835, also a career soldier. In the afternoon, President Lincoln meets in the East Room of the White House with a group of 20 to 30 veterans who have each lost a leg. He praises their courage and thanks them for their service.

May 22– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– John Jones records a recent conversation. “I met with Robert Tyler to-day, who offers to wager something that General Stuart will be in Philadelphia in a fortnight, and he said there was a proposition to stop the publication of newspapers, if the President would agree to it, as they gave information to the enemy, and at such a time as this did no good whatever. He thinks they are on the eve of revolution in the North.”

May 22– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– The Nashville Dispatch reports that “A female soldier, who has been in service twenty-two months, reported at headquarters yesterday, for impersonation to Minnesota, where she resides. She was in the battles of Shiloh and Stone River, and twice wounded severely. She enlisted in the same company as her husband, and was with him up to the time of his death, which occurred at Murfreesboro, and she concluded to leave the army and return to her friends.”

May 22– Friday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– The well-positioned Confederates repel a second Union assault. Federal killed, wounded and missing total 3,199; Rebel losses are under 500 total.

May 22– Friday– Fort Hudson, Louisiana– Union forces begin to besiege the Confederate position.

May 23– Saturday– Columbus, Ohio– Throughout the state people are signing and circulating petitions in protest of the “arbitrary arrest, illegal trial, and inhuman imprisonment of the Honorable C L Vallandigham.”

May 23– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Charles Russell Lowell to Robert Gould Shaw: “E. [Effie, Gould’s sister, whom Charles loves and will eventually marry] wrote me an account of your flag presentation and sent the speeches: I suppose the responsibility of your own speech to follow prevented you from appreciating the Governor’s speech as he was delivering it– but, as read, it seems full of feeling and sense, lofty sense and common sense– he is a trump. Your regiment has proved such an entire success– has given such good promise of taking a very high place among our Massachusetts regiments– that it is easy to forget the circumstances under which you took hold of it; I feel like telling you now, old fellow (as an officer and outsider, and not as your friend and brother), how very manly I thought it of you then to undertake the experiment.”

Charles Russell Lowell

Charles Russell Lowell

May 23– Saturday– Middleburg, Kentucky– William Taylor to his wife Jane: “When I can’t write I only think the more about you. It is not because I am discontented however that I think of home and you, but because I feel happy in doing so. It is better to do that than make oneself uncomfortable by finding fault with the little inconveniences that present themselves so often. A look in fancy towards home has made me feel warm many a cold night, and kept the wet from settling into my bones, and I can make any annoyance vanish by bringing the light of your smile up before it. I don’t know what the poor fellows do who have no sweethearts at home. I can really pity them, and I think I could pick them out from among the others. I heard to day that Capt. Geibner was killed at the last battle at Fredericksburg. Do you know if it is so? We have not yet seen any list of the killed and wounded since that fight.”

 the wife of a Union soldier prays for her husband

the wife of a Union soldier prays for her husband

May 23– Saturday– Leipzig, Germany–Ferdinand Lassalle 37 year old socialist jurist, founds the Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein (General German Workers’ Association, ADAV), the first socialist workers party in the country.

Ferdinand Lassalle

Ferdinand Lassalle

A Rifle Called “Katie Darling”~March, 1863~the 17th to 21st

Soldiers in both armies write about birthdays, weddings, religious faith, battles and weapons. Union soldiers involved in the “Great Locomotive Chase” are released in a prisoner exchange. Poland seethes with unrest. Some in the Lincoln Cabinet remain quite anti-British. Senator Sherman writes to his brother General Sherman, declaring that the Confederacy must be “throughly whipped.” Frederick Douglass encourages black men to enlist in the Union Army. In other places the world goes on.

1863:

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

March 17– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, after a quick visit to New York City, confides to his diary. “There is such a general feeling against the English, who are conniving with and aiding the Rebels, that privateering is becoming popular with the Administration and country. Statesmen who should check and restrain the excited, erring popular current are carried along with it.”

The men involved in the Great Locomotive Chase

The men involved in the Great Locomotive Chase

March 17– Tuesday– City Point, Virginia– Union soldiers William Bensinger, Robert Buffum, Elihu H. Mason, Jacob Parrott, William Pittenger and William H. Reddick are released from the Southern prisoner-of-war camp here and exchanged for Confederate soldiers held by the Federals. These six men participated in the “Great Locomotive Chase” of April, 1862, a failed attempt to sabotage a Confederate railroad.

March 17– Tuesday– Camp Winder, near Moss Neck, Virginia– Confederate soldier Andrew Brooks, serving under General Stonewall Jackson, writes to his mother to reassure her. When I commenced writing I had just returned from preaching, which we have every night. Dr. Hoge and Mr. Lacy are gone. There is a chaplain with each regiment of the brigade, two Presbyterians and three Methodists.”

March 17– Tuesday– Kelly’s Ford, Virginia– Union and Confederate cavalry clash in a hard fought exchange. Federal losses total 78; Confederate losses amount to 133. The Union cavalry retreats.

Battle at Kelly's Ford

Battle at Kelly’s Ford

March 17– Tuesday– County Limerick, Ireland– Birth of Patrick John McCarthy. At age 17 he will emigrate to the United States and settle in San Francisco, California, where he will become a trade union activist and mayor of the city from 1910 to 1912.

March 18– Wednesday– Columbia, Tennessee– Confederate soldier W. J. Thompson writes to his parents, describing a recent battle. “On the 5th day of this inst we fought one of the hardest Battles that I have ever experienced the Battle was fought at Thomson Station that is betwixt Columbia and Nashville on the rail rode believe we fought from ten o’clock in the morning till three o’clock in the evening we whipped them completely there cavalry all run off and left there infantry our cavalry then run round in the rear of there infantry then we give them shot and shell on every side until the hole of them surrendered I have never heard the report of the killed on either side.”

George Templeton Strong whose diaries provide much information about Northern life during the Civil War

George Templeton Strong whose diaries provide much information about Northern life during the Civil War

March 19– Thursday– New York City– George Templeton Strong writes of the evening’s activities. “To a state dinner at William Astor’s at six. . . . General McClellan kept very quiet. Had a little talk with him after dinner and found him genial and pleasant.”

March 19– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina–The S.S. Georgiana is destroyed on her maiden voyage while attempting to run through the Union blockade. (The wreck will not be discovered until this same day, March 19th, in 1965).

artifacts recovered from the SS Geogiana and another wreck

artifacts recovered from the SS Geogiana and another wreck

March 20– Friday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser notes the suffering around him in a hard winter. “Cloudy and cold. At the bank this morning. On the way was accosted by an old woman in need of wood and flour. I gave her something that made her eye sparkle. ‘God bless you, Sir,’ she said as I passed on. How much suffering thought I, is hidden from view. Nearly all is pain in some form, joy is a fleeting thing and its companion, contentment, just as illusive.”

Senator John Sherman, Republican from Ohio

Senator John Sherman, Republican from Ohio

March 20– Friday– Mansfield, Ohio– Senator John Sherman, home from Washington for a brief visit, writes to his brother, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. “The laws passed at the last session will be a monument of evil or of good. They cover such vast sums, delegate and regulate such vast powers, and are so far-reaching in their effects, that generations will be affected well or ill by them. . . . The arming and employment of Negroes is left upon the old law and mainly to the discretion of the President. There was but little speech-making and that mainly to the matter in hand. The Union or rather Republican members made scarcely a political speech in either house. They felt too constantly the pressure of practical measures demanding action. On the whole, the recent Congress may fairly appeal to their constituents for a favorable judgment upon the general aggregate of their acts. . . . The people . . . no longer underrate the power of the Confederates and no longer expect a short or holiday war. When coming home . . . here among plain people I find a healthy feeling. They want peace. But very few would accept it on any other terms than the preservation of the Union. They know very well that the South will only yield to this after being thoroughly whipped, and this has not been done.”

March 21– Saturday– Rochester, New York– Frederick Douglass circulates a recruiting broadside to encourage black men to enlist. “The day dawns; the morning star is bright upon the horizon! The iron gate of our prison stands half open. One gallant rush from the North will fling it wide open, while four millions of our brothers and sisters shall march out into liberty. The chance is now given you to end in a day the bondage of centuries.”

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

March 21– Saturday– New York City– The New York Times updates its readers about the situation in Poland. “There is nothing new as to the movements of the insurgents. The latest letters from Cracow are favorable to the Poles. Prince Domireiki had been killed whilst cutting his way through some Russians who surrounded him and several refugees. The Governor-General of Wilna had issued an address to the peasants, appealing to them to oppose the agitators, to the arrests of guilty parties, and deliver them up to the authorities. The appointment of General Deberg as Commander of the Russian troops in Poland, is considered indicative of a stern and unrelenting determination to crush the revolt.”

March 21– Saturday– Falmouth, Virginia– Elisha Hunt Rhodes notes his birthday. “I am a man today, for it is my birthday and I am twenty-one years old. . . . . I have had a birthday present– a leave of absence for ten days, and I appreciate it very much.”

a Norfolk rifle

a Norfolk rifle

March 21– Saturday– Carthage, Tennessee– Union soldier David Shoemaker writes to his friend Henry Bitner about two types of romance. “So you have committed matrimony, have you? Or were you only joking? If you really have ‘gone and done it’ allow me to congratulate you on your choice and to wish you and your bride a happy voyage together down the stream of life, together with the ‘little responsibilities’. I am sorry however to lose you from among the noble fraternity of Bachelors. I fear that the joys and cures of matrimony may induce you to forget your friends who have not yet joined the Benedictine order. The fact is I intend to take me an helpmate myself from among Pennsylvania’s fair daughters, some day — p-e-r-h-a-p-s. With this view I expect you to spread a good word for me to all the ‘genuine fenders’ and it may be I can find some one fool enough to have me. . . . . Our regiment was today furnished with bran new Norfolk Rifles (Springfield pattern) I am quite proud of mine, which I call ‘Katie Darling’ and I am anxious to draw a bead on a rebel with it. I intend to sleep with it tonight. Give my respects to your lady and all the friends, and write soon.”