Tag Archives: Russia

June ~ Election Year 1912

Woman making American Flag

The Monroe Doctrine is alive and well as the United States intervenes in Cuba and exploits Mexico. Natural disasters and man-made accidents take lives and do damage. The Republicans spurn former president Roosevelt and nominate Taft for re-election. At the end of the month, the Democratic National Convention remains in session, looking like Speaker of the House Clark will win the nomination instead of Governor Wilson. Both parties go on record in oppopsition to corporate donations to political campaigns.The issues of working people draw attention. Law and politics make news around the world.

June 1– Saturday– New York City– Waiters from 17 major restaurants are on strike, demanding regular wages in place of tips from patrons. The strike was organized by Joseph James Ettor and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of the Industrial Workers of the World, both key helpers to the textile workers who went out on strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, back in January of the year.


Elizabeth Gurley Flynn on the podium


June 1– Saturday– near Lake Opinicon, Ontario, Canada– Premature detonation of dynamite kills 18 men working on construction of the Canadian Northern road.

June 1– Saturday– Heidelberg, Germany– Daniel Hudson Burnham, age 65, American pioneer urban planner and architect, designer of Chicago’s Montauk Building [at 10 stories high it was the city’s first distinctly tall building] and the chief planner of the buildings for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, dies while traveling in Europe with his sons.

June 1– Saturday– Fez, Morocco– French troops open fire with artillery, killing 600 Moroccan lightly armed tribesmen who had marched to protest French presence in the country.

June 2– Sunday– Brussels, Belgium– General elections result in a victory for the Catholic Party, led by Charles de Broqueville (age 51), which wins 101 of the 186 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 54 of the 93 seats in the Senate. [The Catholic Party gained majority control of the government in 1884 and will hold its majority until 1918.]

June 3– Monday– South Orange, New Jersey– Margaret Elizabeth Munson Sangster, author and magazine editor, dies from a cerebral thrombosis at age 74.


Margaret Elizabeth Sangster


June 3– Monday– Hampton Roads, Virginia– President Taft welcomes a visit by German warships, led by the battle cruiser SMS Moltke.

June 4– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The state becomes the first in the United States to pass a law authorizing a guaranteed minimum wage. The law will take effect on July 1, 1913, applies only to women and children, and provides that a state commission will issue regulations and the penalties for its violation are light.

June 5– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– George S. Nixon, age 52, Republican U.S. Senator for Nevada since 1905, dies from an infection following surgery.

June 5– Wednesday– Mexico City, Mexico– President Francisco I. Madero and the Standard Oil Company agreed to “one of the most one-sided business concessions imaginable” with Standard Oil being allowed to operate in Mexico tax free for ten years, and the rights to eminent domain over any private or public property it wished to obtain to support its oil fields in four Mexican states.

June 5–Wednesday– Havana, Cuba–American Marines, 570 in number, land in order to protect American interests.

U S Marines ~1912

U S Marines 1912


June 6– Thursday– Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska– The Mount Katmai volcano erupts, dumping a foot of ashes at Kodiak and killing hundreds of people, wiping out the populations of seven villages.

June 7–Friday– Gulf of Mexico– The first hurricane of the season forms. It will make landfall near Intracoastal City, Louisiana, causing minimal damage.

June 7– Friday– Rome, Italy– Pope Pius X issues an encyclical to the Catholic bishops of South America calling upon them to stop exploitation of the Indian peoples, which includes slave trade, by people motivated by “the lust of lucre”.

June 8– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– At the unveiling of a monument to Christopher Columbus President Taft eulogizes Columbus as “the greatest mariner in history” as he addresses an audience of 100,000 people, many of them members of the Knights of Columbus.

June 10– Monday– East Walpole, Massachusetts– Birth of Mary Lavin, American-born Irish novelist, short-story writer and feminist. [Dies March 25, 1996.]


Mary Lavin


June 10– Monday– New Orleans, Louisiana– Sophie Wright, educator and welfare worker, dies from heart disease at 46 years of age.

June 10– Monday– Havana, Cuba– The cruiser USS Washington and the battleship USS Rhode Island arrive to support the Marines protecting American interests.

June 10– Monday– St Petersburg, Russia– Tsar Nicholas II of Russia pardons Kate Malecka, on condition that she leave the country forever. Malecka, of Polish and British parentage, had been sentenced to four years imprisonment for aiding secessionists in Poland. The British public and elements of the British government have pressed for her release.

June 11– Tuesday– Bar Harbor, Maine– Elizabeth Kimball Hobson, philanthropist, welfare worker and advocate of educational reform, dies at 80 years of age.

June 11– Tuesday– London, England– For the first time in the Parliamentary debates over the Irish Home Rule question, the proposal is made by MP Thomas Agar-Robartes to treat northeast Ireland differently from the rest of the island. He offers an amendment to exclude the predominantly Protestant counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down and Londonderry from Home Rule.

June 12– Wednesday– Dalton, Georgia– Three people are killed and 30 others injured in the wreck of a passenger train.

June 12– Wednesday– Neuilly-sur-Seine, France– Frederic Passy, economist, author, educator, peace advocate, and co-winner, with Henry Dunant, of the first Nobel Peace Prize in1901, dies at 90 years of age.


Frederic Passy


June 15– Saturday– Kansas City, Missouri– A tornado sweeps through Bates, Johnson and Henry Counties, killing 26 people and injuring more than 50 others.

June 17– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Taft vetoes the Army appropriation bill that had been passed by Congress with cuts to defense spending. The President says, “The army of the United States is far too vital an institution to the people of this country to be made the victim of hasty or imperfect theories of legislation.” It is reported that Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson had threatened to resign if the bill was not vetoed.

June 17– Monday– Ottawa, Ontario, Canada– The Supreme Court of Canada holds that Parliament could not pass a national law governing marriage, and that mixed marriages of persons from different religious faiths solemnized by Protestant clergy can not be outlawed.

June 18– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention opens with incumbent President Taft having 454 ½ committed delegates, former President Theodore Roosevelt having 469 ½ committed delegates and 239 claimed by both sides. With a simple majority (513 of 1026) required to win the nomination, the awarding of the contested delegates is critical to the nomination. The Republican National Committee, controlled by Taft’s supporters, resolves the matter by finding 6 in favor of Roosevelt, and the other 233 in favor of Taft.

June 18– Tuesday– Hastings, Colorado– An explosion at the Victor-American Fuel Company mine kills twelve coal miners.


Mine explosion


June 19– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Taft signed into law a provision that workers on U.S. government contracts are limited to an eight-hour day.

June 20– Thursday– St Petersburg, Russia– The State Duma votes in favor of a £50,000,000 program to increase the size of the Russian Navy over the next five years.

June 20– Thursday– Chicago, Illinois– Voltairine de Cleyre, age 45, anarchist, feminist, orator and prolific writer, dies of meningitis.

June 21– Friday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican Party finalizes its platform which favors “all measures for the establishment and protection of the peace of the world”, an international court of justice, establishment of the Federal Trade Commission, strong enforcement of laws against monopoly, continuation of tariff protections against foreign goods and foods, support of “a prompt scientific inquiry into the causes” of the high cost of living, “a sound currency and . . . safe banking methods” along with the establishment of organizations to loan money to farmers, enforcement of civil service laws and regulations, the establishment of pensions for elderly and disabled civil service workers, prohibition of corporations making campaign contributions, conservation of natural resources, establishment of a parcel post system, construction of additional warships for the Navy, improvement of rivers and harbors, an end to “the constantly growing evil of induced or undesirable immigration”, and greater efficiency in the financial affairs of government.

June 22– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– President William Howard Taft receives the Republican Party nomination, by a vote of 561 to 107, after 344 of the delegates refused, out of protest, to participate in the vote. The aggrieved delegates are primarily supporters of former President Theodore Roosevelt. Robert M. LaFollette received 41votes and Albert B. Cummins received17. Roosevelt has left the convention and proposes to form a new Progressive Party. Hiram Johnson, Governor of California and also a progressive Republican, voices support for Roosevelt’s third party movement.

June 23– Sunday– Grand Island, New York– Over 100 people fall into the swiftly moving waters of the Niagara River when a dock collapses. Thirty-nine drown or are hurled over Niagra Falls several miles away. Three of the dead are children under 10 years of age.


victims of the dock collapse


June 24– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Taft implements the first specific regulations governing the proportions and design of the flag of the United States, with the signing of an Executive Order. The President accepted the recommendation of a committee, chaired by former Admiral George Dewey, hero of the war with Spain and now 74 years old, for the new, 48 star flag, to be arranged in six rows of eight stars each.

June 24– Monday– Paris, France– Julia Richman, American educator, author, school principal and administrator, dies at 56 years of age during a visit to Europe.

June 25–Tuesday– Baltimore, Maryland–The Democratic National Convention opens at the Fifth Regiment Armory with 1,095 voting delegates present. The main contenders are House Speaker Champ Clark of Missouri and Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey. Both Speaker Clark and Governor Wilson have won a number of primaries. Although Clark enters the convention with more pledged delegates than does Wilson, he lacks the two thirds vote necessary to win the nomination.

June 26– Wednesday– Southampton, England– The R M S Olympic, a sister ship to the Titanic, sets sail for the United States with 397 passengers on board. In response to the Titanic disaster, Olympic carries additional lifeboats.

June 27– Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Democratic Party’s platform favors tariff reform, enforcement of anti-trust laws, states’ rights, prohibiting corporate contributions to political campaigns, “efficient supervision and rate regulation of railroads, express companies, telegraph and telephone lines engaged in interstate commerce”, federal appropriations for vocational education in agriculture, construction of post roads, extension of rural mail delivery, the right of workers to organize, creation of a department of labor, the development of workers’ compensation laws, conservation of natural resources, strengthening of pure food and public health laws, and rigid enforcement of civil service laws while opposing Republican high tariffs which have created excessive prices in common goods and “imperialism and colonial exploitation in the Phillippines or elsewhere.”

June 27– Thursday– Miraca, Cuba– Soldiers of the Cuban Army kill Evaristo Estenoz, leader of the uprising of Afro-Cuban rebels, in battle. His death brings an end to the uprising, which had caused the killing of 3,000 black Cubans.

June 28– Friday– Baltimore, Maryland– On the first ballot at the Democratic Party convention, former House Speaker Champ Clark received 440 ½ votes, New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson 324, Judson Harmon 148, Oscar Underwood 117 ½ and Thomas R. Marshall 31.


Champ Clark 1912


June 29– Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland– Champ Clark moves closer to the Democratic nomination for President, when a shift of votes from the New York delegation gives him 556 votes, more than all of the other candidates combined, but still short of the two-thirds (730) needed to win. However, the New York support has come through the machinations of Tammany Hall Democrats from New York City. This infuriates William Jennings Bryan who remains a leader of the progressive wing of the party. Bryan introduces a motion which says “As proof of our fidelity to the people, we hereby declare ourselves opposed to the nomination of any candidate for President who is the representative of or under any obligation to J. Pierpont Morgan, Thomas F. Ryan, August Belmont, or any other member of the privilege-hunting and favor-seeking class.” Bryan switches his support to Woodrow Wilson.

June 29– Saturday– La Crosse, Wisconsin– Birth of John Toland, historian, [Dies January 4, 2004.]

June 30– Sunday– Baltimore, Maryland– On the 30th ballot, Woodrow Wilson edges slightly ahead of Champ Clark for the first time, with 460 votes to 455 for Clark, as the Iowa delegation swings its support to Wilson.


Regina YMCA destroyed


June 30– Sunday– Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada– At about 4:50 in the afternoon green funnel clouds form and touch down south of the city, tearing a swath through the residential area between Wascana Lake and Victoria Avenue and the downtown business district. The twister kills 28 people, injures several hundreds, and leaves about 2500 people homeless. Approximately 500 buildings are destroyed or damaged. Property damage totals $1.2 million Canadian. [It remains the deadliest tornado in Canadian history.]

May ~ Election Year 1896


In a case which has been awaiting decision, the Supreme Court legalizes segregation as the law of the land. President Cleveland is not getting along well with Congress, exercising his veto power ten times this month. The Prohibition Party splits along policy lines.The United States executes its first known serial killer. Americans are smuggling guns to Cuban rebels. The Shah of Persia is murdered. The Russian Empire sees the coronation of the newest– and last– Tsar.

May 1– Friday– Tehran, Persia– Naser al-Din, age 64, Shah of Persia who has ruled since 1848, is shot and mortally wounded as he prays at a shrine.


the Shah of Persia


May 2– Saturday– Corinto, Nicaragua– U. S. Marines arrive to protect American business interests.

May 2– Saturday– Athens, Greece– Birth of Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark. [She will become the Queen Mother of Romania and save many Romania Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War. Dies November 28, 1982.]


Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark


May 6– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Grover Cleveland issues an executive order making changes to the Civil Service Rules.

May 7– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Herman Webster Mudgett, a/k/a H H Holmes, age 34, is hung for murder. He had confessed to 27 murders but may have killed many more. He is the first known American serial killer.

May 11– Monday– Sheridan County, Nebraska– Birth of Mari Susette Sandoz, educator, historian, biographer and author. [Dies March 10, 1966.]

May 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– The U. S. Supreme Court announces its decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. The majority of the court holds: “So far, then, as a conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment is concerned, the case reduces itself to the question whether the statute of Louisiana is a reasonable regulation, and with respect to this there must necessarily be a large discretion on the part of the legislature. In determining the question of reasonableness it is at liberty to act with reference to the established usages, customs and traditions of the people, and with a view to the promotion of their comfort, and the preservation of the public peace and good order. Gauged by this standard, we cannot say that a law which authorizes or even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances is unreasonable, or more obnoxious to the Fourteenth Amendment than the acts of Congress requiring separate schools for colored children in the District of Columbia, the constitutionality of which does not seem to have been questioned, or the corresponding acts of state legislatures. We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it. The argument necessarily assumes that if, as has been more than once the case, and is not unlikely to be so again, the colored race should become the dominant power in the state legislature, and should enact a law in precisely similar terms, it would thereby relegate the white race to an inferior position. We imagine that the white race, at least, would not acquiesce in this assumption. The argument also assumes that social prejudices may be overcome by legislation, and that equal rights cannot be secured to the negro except by an enforced commingling of the two races. We cannot accept this proposition. If the two races are to meet upon terms of social equality, it must be the result of natural affinities, a mutual appreciation of each other’s merits and a voluntary consent of individuals…Legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts or to abolish distinctions based upon physical differences, and the attempt to do so can only result in accentuating the difficulties of the present situation. If the civil and political rights of both races be equal one cannot be inferior to the other civilly or politically. If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.”


Justice John Marshall Harlan, author of the lone dissent in Plessy


In a lone dissent Justice Harlan writes: “I am of opinion that the statute of Louisiana is inconsistent with the personal liberty of citizens, white and black, in that State, and hostile to both the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the United States. If laws of like character should be enacted in the several States of the Union, the effect would be in the highest degree mischievous. Slavery, as an institution tolerated by law would, it is true, have disappeared from our country, but there would remain a power in the States, by sinister legislation, to interfere with the full enjoyment of the blessings of freedom to regulate civil rights, common to all citizens, upon the basis of race, and to place in a condition of legal inferiority a large body of American citizens now constituting a part of the political community called the People of the United States, for whom and by whom, through representatives, our government is administered. Such a system is inconsistent with the guarantee given by the Constitution to each State of a republican form of government, and may be stricken down by Congressional action, or by the courts in the discharge of their solemn duty to maintain the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. For the reasons stated, I am constrained to withhold my assent from the opinion and judgment of the majority.” [The literature on the case is extensive; good places to start include the following: Color-blind Justice: Albion Tourgee and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy V Ferguson (2006) by Mark Elliott; Separate and Unequal: Homer Plessy and the Supreme Court Decision That Legalized Racism (2005) by Harvey Fireside; Simple Justice: the History of Brown V Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality (1976) by Richard Kluger.]

May 19– Tuesday– Honolulu, Hawaii– Kate Field, journalist, lecturer, actress, playwright, literary critic and social commentator, dies of pneumonia at 57 years of age.


Kate Field


May 20– Wednesday– Frankfort, Germany– Clara Wieck Schumann, age 76, musician and composer dies of a stroke.

May 21– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “It can not be denied that the remarriage of this beneficiary terminated her pensionable relation to the Government as completely as if it never existed. The statute which so provides simply declares what is approved by a fair and sensible consideration of pension principles. As a legal proposition, the pensionable status of a soldier’s widow, lost by her remarriage, can not be recovered by the dissolution of the second marriage. Waiving, however, the application of strictly legal principles to the subject, there does not appear to be any sentiment which should restore to the pension rolls as the widow of a deceased soldier a divorced wife who has relinquished the title of soldier’s widow to again become a wife, and who to secure the expected advantages and comforts of a second marriage has been quite willing to forego the provision which was made for her by the Government solely on the grounds of her soldier widowhood.” ~ Veto message from President Cleveland of a bill to restore a pension to a Civil War widow who married and later divorced another man.

May 23– Saturday– along the coast of Cuba– An American privately owned ship, having avoided Spanish warships, arrives with American-made munitions for the use of the Cuban rebels in their on-going fight with the Spanish.

May 26– Tuesday– Campbell, California– James Dunham kills his wife, her brother, her mother, her step-father and two servants. He successfully disappears and is never captured.

May 26– Tuesday– Moscow, Russia– Tsar Nicholas II, age 28, ruling since November 1, 1894, has his official coronation.

coronaTION OF TSar_Nikolai_II_anagoria

Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II


May 27– Wednesday– St Louis, Missouri– A severe tornado sweeps through the area, killing 255 people and doing $144,000,000 in damages. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for the next month in this city but the destruction raises questions about whether the city can now accommodate the gathering. [The dollar amount of damages would equal $4,190,000,000 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

May 28– Thursday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– About 300 delegates representing 27 states secede from the Prohibition Party convention and form a new party which they call The National Party. They nominate Reverend Charles Bentley, age 55, of Nebraska for president and James Southgate, age 36, of North Carolina for vice-president. They adopt the following platform: “recognizing God as the Author of all just power in government, presents the following declaration of principles . . . 1. The suppression of the manufacture and sale, importation, exportation, and transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes. We utterly reject all plans for regulating or compromising with this traffic, whether such plans be called local option, taxation, license, or public control. The sale of liquors for medicinal and other legitimate uses should be conducted by the state, without profit, and with such regulations as will prevent fraud or evasion. 2. No citizen should be denied the right to vote on account of sex. 3. All money should be issued by the general government only, and without the intervention of any private citizen, corporation, or banking institution. . . . . we favor the free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold, at the ratio 16 to 1, without consulting any other nation. 4. Land is the common heritage of the people and should be preserved from monopoly and speculation. . . . . 5. Railroads, telegraphs, and other natural monopolies should be owned and operated by the government, giving to the people the benefit of service at actual cost. 6. The national Constitution should be so amended as to allow the national revenues to be raised by equitable adjustment of taxation on the properties and incomes of the people, and import duties should be levied as a means of securing equitable commercial relations with other nations.7. The contract convict labor system, through which speculators are enriched at the expense of the state, should be abolished. 8. All citizens should be protected by law in their right to one day of rest in seven, without oppressing any who conscientiously observe any other than the first day of the week. 9. American public schools, taught in the English language, should be maintained, and no public funds should be appropriated for sectarian institutions. 10. The President, Vice-President, and United States senators should be elected by direct vote of the people. 11. Ex-soldiers and sailors of the United States army and navy, their widows and minor children, should receive liberal pensions, granted on disability and term of service, not merely as a debt of gratitude, but for service rendered in the preservation of the Union. 12. Our immigration laws should be so revised as to exclude paupers and criminals. None but citizens of the United States should be allowed to vote in any state, and naturalized citizens should not vote until one year after naturalization papers have been issued. 13. The initiative and referendum, and proportional representation, should be adopted.” [Bently dies September 6, 1905. Southgate dies September 29, 1916.]


Charles Bentley


May 29– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “To the extent that the appropriations contained in this bill are instigated by private interests and promote local or individual projects their allowance can not fail to stimulate a vicious paternalism and encourage a sentiment among our people, already too prevalent, that their attachment to our Government may properly rest upon the hope and expectation of direct and especial favors and that the extent to which they are realized may furnish an estimate of the value of governmental care. I believe no greater danger confronts us as a nation than the unhappy decadence among our people of genuine and trustworthy love and affection for our Government as the embodiment of the highest and best aspirations of humanity, and not as the giver of gifts, and because its mission is the enforcement of exact justice and equality, and not the allowance of unfair favoritism. I hope I may be permitted to suggest, at a time when the issue of Government bonds to maintain the credit and financial standing of the country is a subject of criticism, that the contracts provided for in this bill would create obligations of the United States amounting to $62,000,000 no less binding than its bonds for that sum.” ~ Message to Congress from President Cleveland as he vetoes a bill to improve rivers and harbors throughout the country.

May 30– Saturday– Moscow, Russia– Drawn by offers of free food and beer to honor the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, thousands of people gather in Khodynka Field. When rumors of a shortage of the proffered food and drink circulate, a panic ensues, killing 1,389 people and injuring about 1,300 others.


the crowd at Khodynka Field before the panic began



Contemporary Russian History

Contemporary Russian History

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

When I was in college in the 1960’s I did my undergraduate study in history. One of my professors, a brilliant man who had fled from Hungary after the failed revolution of 1956, told us repeatedly, “Russia will always have a Tsar!” Watching the conduct of Mr Putin, particularly his expansionist and belligerent policy in Ukraine, I am convinced my old teacher was correct. Putin acts like the worst Tsars of old.


Alexander III

Alexander III

Nicholas I

Nicholas I

Ivan the Terrible

Ivan the Terrible

Alexander I

Alexander I

Anxiety on the Subject of Provisions~April 1864~10th to 13th

Anxiety on the Subject of Provisions ~ General Robert E Lee

General Lee and Southern civilians worry about food shortages. The withdrawal of General Longstreet from Tennessee poses increased problems for civilians. General Grant makes a good impression. Working women gain prominence and undertake the duties of nursing the sick and wounded. Freedom comes for serfs in Poland but at a terrible price. An atrocity against black soldiers takes place in Tennessee and it will echo for decades after the war.

illustration of Fort Pillow massacre two decades later

illustration of Fort Pillow massacre two decades later


April 10– Sunday– Nevada City, California– Birth of William Phillips, a/k/a Tully Marshall, his stage name. He will have a 30 year career as a character actor, both on stage and in film. [Dies March 10, 1943.]

April 10– Glasgow, Scotland– Birth of Eugene d’Albert, pianist and composer, with an English mother and German father. [Dies March 3, 1932.]

April 11– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– Birth of Lizzie “Lillie” Plummer Bliss [dies March 12, 1931], the second daughter and second of the four children of Cornelius and Elizabeth Plummer Bliss. Lillie, as her friends called her, will become an important art collector, philanthropist, and one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


Lillie Plummer Bliss

Lillie Plummer Bliss

April 11– Monday– approaching Charlottesville, Virginia– “Oh that peace, happy peace could be once more granted us so that I could once more embrace my dearest wife. Oh, Molly I love you so much and yet I am not allowed to see you nor even kiss thy cheeks, oh, if I would just kiss you again it would so me so much good. I can’t see how I ever did leave you when I was at home but God who has guarded us all the time I reckon guarded me in that also. I must bid you kiss the little children for and bid you an affectionate ado.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier W H Stilwell to his wife Molly.

April 11– Monday– Camden County, Georgia– “Mr. Linn killed a pig and sent us a piece. The first meat we have had in eight days, with the exception of a rice bird. We were all eager for our supper but the pig was so poor and green that it made us sick. I awoke in the night distressed with hives– my body was covered with rash. All have been busy since the fire picking up nails– it is said there are none in the confederacy. A few weeks ago they were worth $300 a keg, now more. Mr. Fisher and John are now hurrying to plant corn. The nights are so cold nothing grows fast. Sybil had a tedious ride to King’s Ferry. Kate bought a common calico dress for $120., ten yards. Merchants prefer to keep their goods until the new issue. This banking business is a great swindle. People who deposited gold for safekeeping are obliged to give it up for this confederate trash.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 11– Monday– Columbus, Kentucky; Greenwich, Virginia; Kelly’s Plantation, Alabama; Richland, Arkansas; Chariton, County, Missouri– Raids, fire fights and blood-letting. Federal troops are probing and scouting from Rossville to La Fayette, Georgia.

April 12– Tuesday– New York City– “The middle of this month will witness in Europe another of those grand events which, like the President’s Proclamation of Emancipation in America, are to make these years forever illustrious in history. On the 15th of April, by a recent ukase of the Czar, every serf in Russian Poland is to be at once and forever set free from all bondage. He is to own the cottage and the plot of ground which he has been occupying, his time and labor are to be his own, and he is liberated from all claims to service and obligations of labor which his master may have possessed over him. For this great emancipation, he has only to pay to the Government a tax, by which ‘loyal masters’ are to be remunerated. More than this, the Polish serf is to become at once a self-governing citizen. He is to elect his own village officials, his mayor, and sheriff, and justice of the peace – a privilege which Prussia has never yet granted to the Prussian Poles. Thus, at a single stroke, millions of human beings are set free from an ancient oppression, and endowed with new privilege and rights.” ~ New York Times. [This move by the Russian Tsar is made in large part to undercut support for the rebellion which has run on since last January. The Tsar will prohibit the speaking of Polish and require the Russian language to be taught in Polish schools.]


Tsar Alexander II

Tsar Alexander II

April 12– Tuesday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “Yesterday we all rode to Culpeper, and saw General Grant, who went last night to Washington, and did go thence to Annapolis. I was well pleased with all the officers down there; among others was a Lieutenant– Colonel Comstock, a Massachusetts man. He had somewhat the air of a Yankee schoolmaster, buttoned in a military coat. Grant is a man of a good deal of rough dignity; rather taciturn; quick and decided in speech. He habitually wears an expression as if he had determined to drive his head through a brick wall, and was about to do it. I have much confidence in him.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his sweetheart.


General Grant

General Grant

April 12– Tuesday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “The weather is warm and delightful, although the distant mountains are still capped with snow.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

April 12– Tuesday– Orange County Court House, Virginia– “My anxiety on the subject of provisions for the army is so great that I cannot refrain from expressing it to Your Excellency. I cannot see how we can operate with our present supplies. Any derangement in their arrival or disaster to the railroad would render it impossible for me to keep the army together, and might force a retreat to North Carolina. Thee is nothing to be had in this section for men or animals. We have rations for the troops to-day and to-morrow. I hope a new supply arrived last night, but I have not yet had a report. Every exertion should be made to supply the depots at Richmond and at other points. All pleasure travel should cease, and everything be devoted to necessary wants.” ~ Letter from General Robert E Lee to President Jeff Davis.


General Lee

General Lee

April 12– Tuesday– Fort Pillow, Tennessee–Confederate forces numbering about 2500 under General Nathan Bedford Forrest capture the Union garrison and massacre over 200 black troopers. Later reports indicate that they killed several unarmed woman, both black and white. Total Federal dead and wounded are 547. Total Confederate casualties are 80.


Fort Pillow massacre

Fort Pillow massacre

April 12– Tuesday– Blair’s Landing, Louisiana; Florence, Alabama; Pleasant Hill Landing, Tennessee; Van Buren, Arkansas; Fort Bisland, Louisiana– Brawls, scuffles and tussles.

April 13– Wednesday– New York City– “Working-woman’s Protective Union: Families and employers are informed that they can be supplied, free of charge, from the rooms of the Working-woman’s Protective Union, No. 4 New Chambers Street, with teachers, copyists, photograph colorers, gold leaf cutters, saleswomen, bookfolders, plain sewers, and operators on the different sewing machines. They also desire to say that they have the names or a large number of respectable young girls who wish to learn the various trades that are suitable and profitable for females, on their books, and hope through this channel to obtain employment for them.” ~ New York Times.

April 13– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Entered upon my duties to-day, as lady nurse of two divisions of tents at Small Pox Hospital. Not obliged to come here, but have accepted this most disagreeable place, as there are so few who are willing to take it. Expect to be quite confined to the place; and the hope of doing good in a position which otherwise would be vacant, is the inducement. The Hospital is about a mile out from the city, and near Camp Cumberland. It consists of tents in the rear of a fine, large mansion which was deserted by its rebel owner. In these tents are about 800 patients-including convalescents, contrabands, soldiers and citizens. Everything seems done for their comfort which can well be, with the scarcity of help. Cleanliness and ventilation are duly attended to; but the unsightly, swollen faces, blotched with eruption, or presenting an entire scab, and the offensive odor, require some strength of nerve in those who minister to their necessities. There are six physicians each in charge of a division. Those in which I am assigned to duty are in charge of Drs. R. & C. There is but one lady nurse here, aside from the wives of three surgeons, Mrs. B., the nurse, went with me through the tents, introduced me to the patients and explained my duties.” ~ Journal of Elvira Powers.


April 13– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “My presence in East Tennessee gave me a good opportunity of realizing the real condition of things in that ill-fated and unfortunate country. Its evacuation last August by General Buckner was a miserable military blunder, which time cannot soon repair. Its abandonment on a more recent occasion, though perhaps less inexcusable under the circumstances, is accompanied with evils scarcely to be realized or exaggerated. As the army of Longstreet fell back toward Virginia those of our southern citizens who had the means of doing sfell back too, and many of them will be able to find shelter and subsistence elsewhere. But my heart bleeds to have witnessed the condition of the families of our soldiers and our poorer people of true Southern proclivities. What will become of them? They are unprotected and without supplies– a prey to the rapacity, the cruelty, and the revenges of the unrelenting and malicious Union men of that country, to say nothing of the hostilities of the Yankees. A citizen there told me that if it were not for the fish in Chucky River many of them must starve. In its retreat the army swept the country of all its supplies. With the recuperative energy that characterizes that Scotch-Irish population, many of our farmers had endeavored to repair the desolation made before the reoccupancy of the country by Longstreet, were rebuilding their fences, &c., and doing other spring work on their plantations preparatory to planting some corn. Now, since our forces are withdrawn, the horses stolen, their fences burned the second and the third time, and no prospect of further protection from the pillaging enemy, the heart sickens at the contemplation of the spring and summer before them. No Egypt is at hand to which these virtuous, patriotic, and indigent people can repair to procure bread. They must not be left there to suffering and starvation. As the soldiery of Tennessee are standing like a bulwark of defense against the invasion of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, leaving their desolated homes and destitute families to the benignant care of the Government, will you listen to an appeal from one of their countrymen, an exile himself, and houseless and homeless, too, when, he suggests to the Confederate authorities to order at once the purchase or the impressment in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia of a supply of corn, the establishment immediately of a store-house or houses on our lines, and the authorized invitation to loyal destitute families to come there and be fed at least till harvest.” ~ Letter from Mr J G M Ramsey to President Jeff Davis.

 April 13– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “We are informed that a gentleman has recently obtained a patent for the manufacture of Kerosine oil, which has been thoroughly tested and found to be equal, if not superior to the Yankee article. He has made some from the Alabama coal, which gives a brilliant light. The material is inexhaustible. We expect soon to have some of it, when we shall say more about it. This will prove very pleasant news to those of our readers who are using tallow dips at one dollar each.” ~ The Southern Banner.

April 13– Wednesday– Camden County, Georgia– “We went over to Kate’s in the morning. Mr. Fisher took us in his cart as far as the creek. I wished to lend them $75.00 but they had no use for it. Shall probably lose it. Kate gave us a piece of fresh meat half dozen potatoes and a saucer of fresh butter. Such a rich day for us. I think we must gain some fat. Mr. Linn left at noon. His furlough was up and he must go leaving his wife in hourly expectation of illness. Before leaving Savannah he bought two pounds of coffee for $30.00. On the road he discovered that someone had given him a paper of peas in exchange [instead of the coffee beans]. He purchased a sack of flour for $125.00 that he had not found when he left here. The country is threatened with starvation. Major Bailey has gone fishing.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

April 13– Wednesday– Richland Creek, Arkansas; Columbus, Kentucky; Cleveland, Tennessee; Decatur, Alabama; Nokesville, Virginia; Smithville, Arkansas– Tussles, engagements, scraps and altercations.


The Business is Constantly Going On~March 1859~the 7th to 21st

The Business Is Constantly Going On ~ Charleston Mercury

The soldiers, both in blue and in grey in 1864, might look back five years and see some previews of what was to come. Radical abolitionist John Brown has made a name for himself in Kansas, although few, if any, foresee the danger he will pose before the year 1859 is over. Slave holders blame abolitionists for “enticing” slaves to escape. Churches divide on the slavery issue. Some, North and South, support colonization, sending free black people to Africa. Ulysses Grant is a struggling business operator. President Buchanan is unpopular. War looms in Europe. Civil strife divides Mexico.

Other 1859 indicia tell of other coming struggles: the fight for woman suffrage– the New York Times declares that women are not fit to vote– a prison riot, floods, Boston debates Bible reading in the public schools and a member of Congress is involved in scandal.

John Brown, c1846

John Brown, c1846


March 7– Monday– Chicago, Illinois– “When old Captain [John] Brown, of Kansas, heard of the President’s instructions to [Territorial] Governor [Samuel] Medary to offer two hundred and fifty dollars for his apprehension and capture, he [Brown] issued a proclamation offering two dollars and fifty cents for Mr. Buchanan’s head.” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

March 8– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Aaron Venable Brown of Tennessee, the United States Postmaster-General in the Cabinet of President Buchanan, dies at 63 years of age. [He was a former Governor of Tennessee, law partner of James K. Polk, a Congressman from 1839 to 1845 and had been appointed to the Cabinet in 1852 as reward for his years of loyal service to the Democratic Party. While in Congress he opposed the anti-slavery arguments of John Quincy Adams. In 1850, he went on public record in opposition to Henry Clay’s compromise, arguing that the South ought not to yield anything to the North and suggested an economic boycott of Northern goods.]

March 8– Tuesday– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The Chicago Press and Tribune announces with a shout of exultation, that seventy-five fugitive slaves, from Missouri, passed through Grinnell, Iowa, on the 21st instant, on their way to Canada. They were well provided with weapons to defend themselves against pursuers. The Negros were enticed from Missouri by abolitionists in Kansas, escorted through Nebraska to the Iowa line, and then shipped via the underground railroad to Chicago. The business is constantly going on, many trains of slaves, accompanied by their abolitionist conductors, passing through Iowa without announcement of its arrival. The farmers of Western Missouri feel severely the effect of these depredations, and it is not to be wondered at that they should inflict the most frightful vengeance on their enemies whenever they catch them.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

runaway slaves

runaway slaves

March 8– Tuesday– Provo, Utah– Almost sixteen months after the Mountain Meadows Massacre of a emigrant wagon train, Federal Judge John Cradlebaugh, age 40, convenes a grand jury to pursue indictments against the Mormon men implicated by a federal investigation. [The massacre occurred September 11, 1857 when a group of Mormon militia attacked a wagon train headed for California and killed over 100 people. The ensuing scandal caused a media frenzy. The particulars remain the stuff of on-going historical debate. Ohio-born Cradlebaugh was appointed to the federal bench in June of 1858. The mostly Mormon jurors will refuse to indict any of the accused. Trials of those responsible will not take place until 1875 when a single man, John D Lee, will be convicted and executed.]

March 8– Tuesday– Edinburgh, Scotland– Birth of Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows and other children’s literature. [Dies July 6, 1932.]

Kenneth Grahame

Kenneth Grahame

March 9– Wednesday– Springfield, Massachusetts– Birth of Lloyd W Bowers, successful lawyer who will serve as United States Solicitor General under President Taft. [Dies September 9, 1910.]

March 9– Wednesday– Turin, Italy– Anticipating war with Austria, the Kingdom of Piedmont– Sardinia begins to mobilize its army. [In reality, the Piedmont government knows that should Austria invade, France will come to the aid of the Italians. The mobilization is to provoke Austria into taking an aggressive step.]

March 10– Thursday– New York City– Mr John H Latrobe lectures at the Academy of Music on the “Advantages and Necessity of Voluntary Emigration” of free black people to Liberia in West Africa. Latrobe, a wealthy white businessman, age 55, has served as president of the American Colonization Society since 1853. [Founded in 1816, the ACS has raised money, lobbied Congress, helped to found Liberia and generally encouraged free black people to leave the United States. Founding members included James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Francis Scott Key, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. It is vociferously opposed by black leaders such as Frederick Douglass.]

March 11– Friday– New York City– The New York Times argues that if war indeed does erupt in Europe it can only be an economic benefit to the growing commercial power of the United States.

March 12– Saturday– New York City–In the Tribune, Horace Greeley denounces militarism and preparations of war in Europe and the Americas.

March 12– Saturday– New York City– “The religious newspapers all seem to agree about the recent tragedy in Washington. We have heretofore published the opinions of several of them. The following is the verdict of the New York Observer: The daily press is discussing the right and wrong of the affair, some defending one party and others condemning; but the Christian judgment is, that a scoundrel died like a dog by the hand of a murderer. There is no need of mincing the matter, or writing long columns to determine which was the most guilty. The wretch deserved God’s wrath and curse, and has it. It was not the right of man, even of a wronged and ruined man, to inflict the judgment. But it came, swift, terrible and true. Its lesson will be wholesome.” ~ New York Herald.

Sickles murders Key

Sickles murders Key

March 12– Saturday– St Louis, Missouri– “I can hardly tell how the new business I am engaged in, is going to succeed, but I believe it will be something more than a support. If I find an opportunity next week I will send you some of our cards, which, if you will distribute among such persons as may have business to attend to in the city, such as buying or selling property, collecting either rents or other liabilities, it may prove the means of giving us additional commissions.” ~ Letter from Ulysses S Grant to his father Jesse.

March 12– Saturday– Salt Lake City, Utah– Birth Abraham H Cannon, publisher and leader in the Mormon Church. [Dies July 19, 1896.]

March 13– Sunday– Bonham, Texas– The Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church passes several resolutions against what members perceive as the continued anti-slavery influence in the northern conferences of the Methodist Church. The majority consider the continued presence of preachers from northern conferences as an insult to southern values and the southern way of life.

March 14– Monday– Louisville, Kentucky– “Mr. C. S. Spencer of the New York Assembly, in a speech relating to the ‘personal liberty bill’ now before that body, said he had in his hand a list of fugitives who had gone through Albany between June 1st , 1858, and January 1st 1859, on their way from the slave States to freedom. They were 176 in number– one of them was a slave of a U. S. Senator; one of them was the property of a deacon of a Baptist church in Virginia. This is making pretty fair progress, but does not look like the immediate extinction of slavery. Supposing there were but 3,000,000 slaves in the country one year ago, this leaves a balance of 2,900,824 colored passengers to be provided for, making no allowances for natural increase in the meantime.” ~ Louisville Journal.

March 15– Tuesday– New York City– “A letter from Washington represents Mr. Buchanan as denouncing the Democratic Party in unmeasured terms. He accuses them of having deserted him and left him utterly without the means of carrying on the government. The reproach is not wholly undeserved. Judged by the standard of public duty the Democratic Party has not met the responsibility resting upon it. Being in absolute possession of the Government, it was bound to protect the public welfare: and no consideration of party interest, still less any motive of factious discontent, could release it from this obligation. Upon party grounds, however, the matter rests on a different footing. Mr. Buchanan must be aware that he has given his party every possible provocation for leaving him to his own resources. He has evinced, from the moment of his accession the most sovereign disregard of its principles, its traditions and its interests. He has insulted and estranged all its recognized leaders, turned its platform bottom upwards, and devoted himself to the task of building up a personal faction devoted to himself instead of the party. Such a course deserves but one reward and can have but one result. Any party will in self-defense punish such interested treachery, perpetrated by those whom it has raised to power. The misfortune is that this penalty should be imposed at the expense of the country. For the sake of reaching the President, the Democratic majority in Congress has exposed the whole country to the hazards of disgrace and the certainty of very great inconvenience. How these evils are to be averted remains to be seen.” ~ New York Times.

March 16– Wednesday– Chicago, Illinois– “Seventy years ago the Democrats drew a line around the States, and said to the slave trader, ‘Thus far you may go, but no farther.’ This was the Jeffersonian Proviso. Thirty years ago, they rubbed out part of the line and said to him, ‘You may go into lands South, but not into lands North.’ This was the Missouri Compromise. Five years ago, they rubbed out the rest of the line, and said to him, ‘We will leave it to the settlers to decide whether you shall come in or not.’ This was the Nebraska bill. Now they turn humbly to him, hat in hand, and say, ‘Go where you please; the land is all yours; the National Flag shall protect you, and the National Troops shoot down whoever resists you.’ This is the Dred Scott Decision.” ~ Chicago Press and Tribune.

March 16– Wednesday– Krasnoturyinsk, the Russian Empire– Birth of Alexander Stepanovich Popov, physicist and inventor. [Dies January 13, 1906.]

Alexander Stepanovich Popov

Alexander Stepanovich Popov

March 17– Thursday– San Francisco, California– “It is remarkable that there is so much dispute about President Buchanan’s age. He acknowledges only sixty-eight, which is old enough for a bachelor. But his record carries him back further into the last century. He was a practicing attorney in Kentucky, in the years 1804and 1806, as Senator Crittenden and Chancellor Bibb have stated, and well know. Even the record has been searched and found to corroborate the fact. A fair estimate makes him, however, only seventy-seven years old at the present time.” ~ San Francisco Evening Bulletin. [In fact President Buchanan is indeed weeks away from his 68th birthday. In the years mentioned he was in school in Pennsylvania, his home state. He was only admitted to the practice of law in 1812. By this time he is increasingly unpopular. In the election of 1856, he carried California by only 48.4% of the popular vote, the remainder divided between Fremont, the Republican candidate, and Fillmore, the Whig candidate.]

March 18– Friday– along the Hudson River, New York– South-east winds of gale force augment the normally high spring tides on the Hudson River, flooding docks and damaging the railway track that runs along the riverside. Flooding lasts through Saturday.

March 18– Friday– New York City– On the question of woman suffrage in New York State, “of their capacities after proper training, and of their final political destiny we say nothing. We simply assert that women, as they are, are not fit to vote.” ~ New York Times.

March 18– Friday– Vera Cruz, Mexico– Named as the Conservative president of the Republic, General Miguel Miramon leads the forces of the military junta striving to defeat the constitutional Liberal government of Mexico. Today his forces surround the Liberal capital of Vera Cruz on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. Anticipating just such a move the Liberals sent their women and children away by ship and are prepared to make a determined stand.

March 19– Saturday– Auburn, New York– A riot occurs in Auburn Prison. While suppressing it, Mr Kirkpatrick, the warden, shoots three men.

March 19– Saturday– along the Great Western Railway between Hamborough and Dundas, Ontario, Canada– Heavy rains had washed out a significant segment of the line where fill had been used to cross a ravine, producing a gap at least 300 feet wide and 50 feet deep. When the night express arrives, the locomotive, tender, baggage car, and the first three passenger cars crash into the ravine, taking the lives of seven people.

March 19– Saturday– Paris, France– The opera Faust by Charles Gounod premiers at the Theatre Lyrique. Set in five acts from the Goethe story, the performance is received with relative indifference. [Later the work will gain world-wide popularity.]

Charles Gounod

Charles Gounod

March 21– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The School Committee receives a memorandum from the Roman Catholic bishop stating the objections of Catholic parents to the recitations from the Bible in public schools. After some debate, the committee postpones indefinitely any action on the matter.

No Good Resolutions~January 1864~the 9th to 13th

No Good Resolutions~Lucy Virginia French

January 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Information having been received that Caleb B. Smith, late Secretary of the Interior, has departed this life at his residence in Indiana, it is ordered that the executive buildings at the seat of the Government be draped in mourning for the period of fourteen days in honor of his memory as a prudent and loyal counselor and a faithful and effective coadjutor of the Administration in a time of public difficulty and peril.” ~ Executive Order from President Lincoln.

Caleb B Smith

Caleb B Smith

January 9– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Beef was held at $2.50 per pound in market to-day– and I got none; but I bought 25 pounds of rice at 40 cents, which, with the meal and potatoes, will keep us alive a month at least. The rich rogues and rascals, however, in the city, are living sumptuously, and spending Confederate States notes as if they supposed they would soon be valueless.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

Proud Confederate women

January 9– Saturday– Knoxville, Tennessee– “It is a well known fact, that there are, in this city a class of most hateful and disgusting rebel women-traitors to the Government, and as mean as the men of the same faith. There are two classes of them, however-one class is prudent, quiet and lady like-and these, like angel visits, are few and far between. The other class, more numerous, are as brazen as the Devil, full of impudence, with but little sense, and less prudence, flirting about, meddling in everybody’s affairs, and seeking notoriety by acting and talking as a well raised lady would be ashamed to act or talk. These women, without any regard to their positions, or associations, should be sent South and made to stay there during the war. . . . . We hope to see the authorities here, deal out even handed justice to these female rebel women,, and that can only be done by sending out of the country.” ~ Brownlow’s Whig and Independent Journal and Rebel Ventilator.

January 9– Saturday– Nizhny Novgorod, Russia– Birth of Vladimir Steklov, mathematician, physicist, educator and author [dies May 30, 1926].

Vladimir Steklov

Vladimir Steklov

January 10– Sunday– near Stephensville, Virginia.– “It snowed nearly all day on the 4th of this month as we are South as they call it. It still snows here and the snow is cold here too. Tuesday we were sent out on three day picket. On Wednesday night it snowed nearly all night. You may guess how it goes to be out in the snow, 2 hours at a time without fire and when you are off of post and want to lay down to sleep you can lay down and let it snow on you. I tried it but the snow tickled my face too much to sleep.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Franklin Rosenbery to his father John.

January 10– Sunday– Warren County, Tennessee–”This is my first date for the New Year; because ever since the day before New Year I have been sick—have had two of my raging headaches, lasting for days, and leaving me utterly prostrated. I am only now partially recovered from the last attack—yet today I am up—heard the children’s lessons, and got through my duties with much satisfaction. This is the first New Year since I can remember in which I have made no ‘good resolutions.’ I shall not make any either, I shall try to do ‘the duty nearest me’ hoping fervently that ‘all the rest will follow’ . . . . As yet in the New Year I have done nothing. The weather has been—and is, intensely cold, reminding me of winters spent in old Pennsylvania and Virginia. I have seen nothing like it since I came to Tennessee. On New Year’s morning the thermometer stood at Zero . . . here it was 6 degrees. Since that time we have had snow and the trees, etc. covered thickly with frost, the mountains were beautiful . . . . For three days the whole mount-top was like a fairyland to look at, but so dead cold that no fairy could live in it; I did not even see a snow-bird. Today it is somewhat more moderate, the mercury went up to 28 degrees. Yesterday morning it was at zero. The cold weather is not good for me,—yesterday I suffered intensely with headache. How ardently I long to be in ‘some bright isle that gem the oriental seas.’ A few days ago Dr. Paine examined me critically and he asserts positively that I am ‘perfectly sounds,’ that I have no local disease, only debility and those prostrating headaches which (he says) must be stopped. ‘Mountain Rumors’ are all that we hear in the way, of news, and very meager and absurd they are indeed. One that there is shortly to be an armistice—another that both armies are falling back, Grant to Murfreesboro and Bragg to Atlanta! So we go-we hear but very little here, and we believe nothing. I am so anxious, so very anxious.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

January 10– Sunday– Mossy Creek, Tennessee; Loudoun Heights, Virginia; Petersburg, West Virginia; King’s River, Arkansas– The Sabbath Day does not make much difference to the skirmishers.

January 10– Sunday– Maynooth, Kildare, Ireland– Nicholas Callan, a Catholic priest and a scientist who worked in electricity and magnetism, dies at 64 years of age.

January 10– Sunday– St Petersburg, Russia– Birth of Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich [dies in exile, January 17, 1931], son of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, grandson of the reactionary Tsar Nicholas I, and a nephew of Tsar Alexander II, the current ruler.

January 11– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Senator John Brooks Henderson of Missouri introduces a resolution for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. This will become the Thirteenth Amendment. [Henderson (1826 – 1913), a lawyer and career politician, at this time is 37 and the second youngest member of the Senate. He believes that a constitutional amendment is necessary to abolish slavery permanently and throughout the country and that the proposal from a border state senator will insure passage, even at the risk of his own career. As he foresaw, he will lose his bid for re-election after the war but will remain active in Republican politics and encourage his friend General William Tecumseh Sherman to run for president. In 1868 he will marry Mary Newton Foote, 16 years his junior, daughter of a prominent judge and herself a business executive, cookbook author and supporter of suffrage and temperance. She will outlive her husband by 18 years.]

Senator John Brooks Henderson

Senator John Brooks Henderson

January 11– Monday– Washington, D. C.– President Lincoln sends money to his son Robert, a student at Harvard; holds a conference with William Dennison, former governor of Ohio and Postmaster General Montgomery Blair to sound them out about the presidential election coming up this year; and receives tickets from the First Presbyterian Church in the city to a lecture by the temperance advocate John B Gough. [Born in England, Gough (1817-1886) was sent to the United States at age 12. In 1842 he signed a temperance pledge and determined to devote his life to lecturing on behalf of the reform. Gifted with remarkable powers of oratory and persuasion, he became successful immediately, and is soon known throughout the entire country. His passionate appeals, direct and highly emotional, evoke extraordinary responses. His crusades draw audiences of many hundreds. He will continue his work until the end of his life, finally suffering a stroke while speaking. The temperance reform has many facets in the nineteenth century, ranging from careful moderation to “cold water” crusaders, to total abstinence, to prohibition of manufacture and sale of alcohol. Many women, impoverished by drunken husbands or fathers, involve themselves in the movement.]

January 11– Monday– Memphis, Tennessee– “Since I made application for the building known as the Union Hospital (now vacated), I am informed by the quartermaster (Captain Eddy) that a portion of the lower part of the building is leased to private parties. This, however, will not interfere with its use for a soldiers’ home, provided one of the large rooms on the ground floor, together with the wing on Court street and the upper part of the main building, can be obtained. If this building cannot be turned over, I am informed by the rental agent there are others soon to be vacated, which will answer the purpose, although not quite so centrally and conveniently located. The building we now occupy is situated distant from the steam-boat landing about 1 1/4 miles. Only 100 men can be comfortably quartered; we frequently have from 200 to 300, and often compelled to send men away. Owing to the distance from the river the Sanitary Commission found it necessary to build a temporary lodge near the landing to accommodate those who stop over only for a few hours. By having the home nearer the river this additional expense will be saved, and the number of soldiers detailed in this service. The home has now been in existence eleven months, during which time we have entertained over 16,000 soldiers, furnished nearly 40,000 meals, and13,000 lodgings. It gives me great pleasure to mention that during that time, with but one instance, soldiers have conducted themselves in a most respectful and gentlemanly manner. We require no guard; soldiers come and go as quietly as if they were entertained at a hotel, never remaining longer than to obtain orders, transportation, or attend to such business as brings them to the city. I have trespassed upon your time, trusting, however, that the few simple facts may be interesting to you.” ~ Request for more suitable space made to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman by Mr O E Waters.

January 11– Monday– London, England– Charing Cross railway station opens.

January 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “To Washington . . . by the usual railroad. . . . . near us sat a lady with two children, both lovely, and I established a sentimental intimacy with the elder, a perfect little gem of a roley-poley, blue-eyed, curly-wigged creature some six years old, and we got on famously. Willard’s [Hotel] absolutely worse than ever; crowded, dirty, and insufferable.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 12– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “All persons to whom money is due for servants hired at this Hospital for the year 1863, are requested to call immediately for payment.” ~ Richmond Dispatch. [Slave owners often made money by hiring out their “servants” out to others. Slaves were not only field hands or domestic help. The Southern economy also depended upon slaves who performed such jobs as bakers, barbers, carpenters, brew masters, blacksmiths, harness makers, nurses, coachmen, livery workers, coopers, leather workers, masons, millers, potters, tin smiths and wheelwrights. These skilled slaves often drew high prices in the slave markets.]

January 12– Tuesday– Elk River, Tennessee– “You speak in your letter of the Alabama and Tennessee ladies. Ha, ha, I wish you could see the Alabama and Tennessee girls! (We do not call them ladies, there is such a contrast between them and our Northern women.) They all chew snuff and tobacco and smoke the pipe and cigars when they can get them. Chewing snuff is the filthiest of all habits and many refined women form the habit here. It is disgusting to me to see fine looking young women with snuff sticks in their mouths and the snuff or tobacco juice running from each corner. Had I not been reared in a country where women are all ladies I should almost hate them.” ~ Letter from Union officer Robert Cruikshank to his wife Mary.

January 12– Tuesday– Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico– A squadron of French warships completes three days of periodic shelling of the town. Most of the people have fled and three Mexican forts are rendered inoperable.

January 12– Tuesday– Liverpool, England– Birth of Annie Russell [dies January 16, 1936], the first child of Joseph and Jane Mount Russell. She will become a star of the stage in Canada, the United States and Great Britain and finish her career by teaching theater arts at Rollins College in Florida. [In the decade before the First World War, she will be one of the highest paid women performing on the stage, earning $500 per week, equal to $12,000 in today’s dollars using the Consumer Price Index.]

Annie Russell

Annie Russell

January 12–Tuesday– Paris, France–A major newspaper compares Russian domination in Poland to the desire of American northerners to dominate the South.

January 13– Wednesday– New York City– Stephen Foster, musician and composer, dies at age 37 in the charity ward of Bellevue Hospital. Suffering from a fever, he had fallen in his room three days ago and gashed his head. His ragged wallet contains a scrap of paper that says simply, “Dear friends and gentle hearts,” and 38 cents in Civil War scrip and three pennies. [One of his most beloved songs, “Beautiful Dreamer”, will be published in two more months.]

Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster

Solidarity of the Nation~December, 1863~the 1st to the 4th

Solidarity of the Nation~ Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass speaks of his vision for a nation reborn. A Baptist clergyman writes of the abuses of the slave system and its corrupting influence on American politics. The dome of the Capitol Building is completed at last, a sign of hope to some. Even as the year heads into its final month there is plenty of fighting and the tide shifts in Tennessee. A sick rebel spy is deported. One of Walt Whitman’s brothers dies. Some worry about excessive consumption of alcohol. The Russian Minister to the United States writes disparagingly of American democracy. And apart from war in American the world goes on.

Reverend Francis Wayland

Reverend Francis Wayland

December– Boston, Massachusetts– “If slaves are not chattels, they are human beings, with brains and muscles,– brains at least intelligent enough to comprehend the stake they have in this controversy, and muscles strong enough to do good service in the cause of constitutional liberty and republican institutions. Is it wise to reject their offered assistance? Will not our foes have good cause to despise our folly, if we leave in their hands this most efficient element of their power? . . . . And again, while you object to the enlistment of Negroes, you are unwilling that any member of your family should leave your household and expose himself to the many hazards of war. Now is it not too plain for argument, that every Negro who is enrolled in our army prevents, by just that unit, the necessity of sending one Northern soldier into the field? But will the slaves consent to enlist? Let the thousands who have forced their way to Union camps . . . tracked by blood-hounds, and by their inhuman oppressors more savage than blood-hounds, answer the insulting inquiry. Are they brave? Will they fight for the cause which they have dared so many dangers to espouse? I point you to the bloody records of Vicksburg, Milliken’s Bend, Port Hudson, and Fort Wagner; I appeal to the testimony of every Union officer under whom black soldiers have fought, as the most fitting reply to such questions. . . . . Blush for your own unmanly and ungenerous prejudices, and ask yourself whether future history will not pronounce the black man, morally, not only your equal, but your superior, when it is found recorded, that, denied the rights of citizenship, long proscribed, persecuted, and enslaved, he was yet willing, and even eager, to save the life of your brother on the battle-field, and to preserve you in the peaceable enjoyment of your property at home. Is the efficient aid of such men to be rejected? Is their noble self-sacrifice to be slighted? . . . . It is precisely because the awful and too long unavenged sufferings of the slave must be inevitable, while Slavery exists, that these questions must sooner or later be asked and answered, and that your political upholding of such a system becomes a monstrous crime against humanity. After all, my dear Andrew, why are you so sensitive on the subject of Slavery? You certainly can have no personal interest in the peculiar and patriarchal institution. . . . . You have lived to see the Dagon before which you and your friends have for so many years cheerfully prostrated yourselves fall to the ground, and lie a helpless, hopeless ruin on the very threshold of the temple where it lately stood defiant and dominant.” ~ From “Letter to a Peace Democrat” by Francis Wayland Jr in this month’s issue of the Atlantic. [Wayland (1796 to 1865) was a Baptist clergyman, educator, author, advocate of community libraries and the president of Brown University in Rhode Island for 28 years. At the time of this article he is retired from the ministry but remains active in civic affairs.]

December 1– Tuesday– Lancaster, Pennsylvania– “Pickpockets: At the recent dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, a great number of persons had their pockets picked. Forty empty pocket books were found the next day, at Hanover Junction.” ~ Lancaster Intelligencer.

December 1– Tuesday– Prospect, Tennessee– “It has been a most unfortunate blow for the rebels losing the control of this portion of Tennessee. We are well supplied with all kinds of Fresh Meat and Corn Meal. We have a Steam Bakery and get soft Wheaten bread about three times a week. What we want most is Salt, Candles, Soap, letters and Newspapers. I do not know anything that has happened since we came here as I have only seen two papers since our arrival. We have heard there has been a great victory near Chattanooga, but we know nothing of the particulars although we are in the same state and belong to the same Army.” ~ Letter from Union soldier George Cadman to his family.

December 1– Tuesday– Maynardville, Tennessee; Benton, Arkansas; Cedar Point, North Carolina; Jonesville, Virginia; Salyersville, Kentucky; Ripley, Mississippi; harbor at Charleston, South Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Devall’s Bluff, Arkansas; Jenning’s Farm, Virginia; Jackson, Kentucky; Pulaski, Tennessee; Mount Sterling, Kentucky– Artillery bombardments, skirmishes, ambushes, fire-fights, brawls and armed clashes make folks wonder if the year’s fighting will ever end.

December 1– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Suffering from a bout of typhoid fever, Confederate spy Belle Boyd is deported to Richmond.

Belle Boyd

Belle Boyd

December 1– Tuesday– Christchurch, New Zealand– Opening of first steam-operated passenger railway in the country.

December 2– Wednesday– Andover, New Hampshire– Jane Means Appleton Pierce, wife of former President Franklin Pierce, dies at age 57 from consumption. Since leaving Washington in 1857 when her husband’s term expired, she has grown more and more withdrawn and focused on her two dead young sons, Frank, who died in 1844 of disease at age 4, and Benny, who was killed in a train accident in 1853 at age 12.

Jane Pierce

Jane Pierce

December 2– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Under the supervision of architect Thomas Ustick Walter, age 59,the dome of the Capitol Building is capped with the placement of the Statue of Freedom, completing the structure. [The work had begun in the fall of 1855. Walter had carefully unified the work of the three previous architects who had worked on the Capitol Building. President Lincoln refused to let the war delay the completion. The casting of the statute at the factory of a Mr Clark Mills in suburban D. C., was supervised by Philip Reid, a former slave and master craftsman, about 42 or 43 years old. The statute cost $23,796.23 to make. In today’s dollars, without adjusting for cost of materials, it would cost approximately $449,000 to make, based upon the Consumer Price Index.]

the figure on top of the Capitol Dome, Washington, D.C.

the figure on top of the Capitol Dome, Washington, D.C.

December 2– Wednesday– McGregor, Iowa– Birth of Charles Ringling, one of the seven sons of August and Marie Salome Juliar Rungeling. He and four of his brothers will establish what will become known as the Ringling Brothers Circus and in 1907 they will acquire Barnum & Bailey for a purchase price of $410,000. [That would equal $10.3 million today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

December 2– Wednesday– Dalton, Georgia– Confederate General Braxton Bragg relinquishes his command to General William Hardee.

December 2– Wednesday– Omaha, Nebraska–The official ground breaking for the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad takes place.

December 3– Thursday– Brooklyn, New York– “I have just telegraphed to you that Andrew was dead. Poor boy he died much easier than one would have supposed. I do hope to God you will come on. I have been with him . . . almost all the time since you left. . . . . Andrew was very desirous of having us all around him when he died. The poor boy seemed to think that would take nearly all the horror of it away. If you will come on I will try and give you the passage money. Mother and the rest take it very hard. I hope to get an answer by telegraph.” ~ Letter from Jeff Whitman to his brother Walt. [Andrew Whitman, age 36, had been ill for some time.]

December 3– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “It has been a long time since our readers have heard of a temperance meeting. The subject of temperance was abandoned by its advocates some years ago, after having labored earnestly and faithfully, though vainly, to effect the needed reforms. Particularly since the rebellion has the question remained undisturbed. The discussion of the matter of a prohibitory liquor law until the public sentiment of the State shall have been prepared for it. Rev. Mr. Barnes, Senator Young, Dr. T. H. Logan, Delegate Wheat, and others, spoke upon the subject, in favor and against the passage of a prohibitory liquor law at this time. The meeting was unquestionably in favor of some kind of a liquor law, the only difference of opinion being in regard to the time the law should go into effect. It was finally resolved to continue the agitation of the subject, with a view of preparing public sentiment for such a law as the one now before the Legislature.” ~ Wheeling Intelligencer

December 3– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Your note with $20 from a friend, (formerly a Breckenridge democrat) came safe. Doctor, I have been away for a few days, but have now returned to remain here certainly for the winter & ensuing spring, & probably for two or three years. I feel much possessed with the wounded & sick soldiers– they have taken a powerful hold of me, & I am very happy among them– it is perhaps the greatest interchange of magnetism human relations are capable of. I have told you how young & how American they mostly are– so on my own account I shall continue as a missionary among them as sure as I live– I shall continue for years– tell your friend that his money is being distributed as money or what little purchase I find appropriate for the men of all states– I reject none of course– not rebel wounded nor blacks, nor any when I find them suffering & dying. Doctor to the other friends that assisted me in Boston & to yourself, I send my regards & love.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to Dr. Le Baron Russell.

December 3– Thursday– Camp Sedgwick, Virginia– “We moved to this camp . . . . I do not understand the late movements, but I presume General Meade does.” ~ Diary of Union officer Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

December 3– Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Miss Maxwell of Davidson County is authorized to keep a shot-gun and pistols for protection of herself and property.” ~ Executive order from Union military governor Andrew Johnson.

December 3– Thursday– Knoxville, Tennessee– Confederate forces under General Longstreet begin a withdrawal to Greeneville.

December 4– Friday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “We have outlived the old Union. We had outlived it long before the rebellion came to tell us– I mean the Union, under the old pro-slavery interpretation of it– and had become ashamed of it. The South hated it with our anti-slavery interpretation, and the North hated it with the Southern interpretation of its requirements. . . . . the better part of the people . . . shuddered at the idea of so sacrilegious a crime. They had already become utterly disgusted with the idea of playing the part of bloodhounds for the slave-masters, watch-dogs for the plantations. They had come to detest the principle upon which the Slave States had a larger representation in Congress than the Free States. They had already come to think that the little finger of dear old John Brown was worth more to the world than all the slaveholders in Virginia put together. What business, then, have we to fight for the old Union? We are not fighting for it. We are fighting for something incomparably better than the old Union. We are fighting for unity; unity of idea, unity of sentiment, unity of object, unity of institutions, in which there shall be no North, no South, no East, no West, no black, no white, but a solidarity of the nation, making every slave free, and every free man a voter.” ~ Speech by Frederick Douglass delivered at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

December 4– Friday– Washington, D.C.–The Russian Minister, Baron de Stoeckl, reports to the Tsar’s government that the number of problems in the United States come from “the rising streams of radicalism and universal suffrage . . . the influx of socialists and anarchists from Europe . . . . What can be expected from a country where men of humble origins are elevated to the highest positions?”


Eduard de Stoeckl

Eduard de Stoeckl

December 4– Friday– Kingston, Tennessee; Niobrara, Nebraska; Loudon, Tennessee; Meadow Bluff, West Virginia; La Fayette, Tennessee; Ripley, Mississippi– Skirmishes and plenty of shooting.


December 4– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– Federal artillery and ships complete seven consecutive days of bombarding Fort Sumter, having lobbed more than 1300 rounds into already badly damaged remains of the structure.


December 4– Friday– London, England– James Duffield Harding, landscape painter and lithographer, dies at age 65.


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

The Act of Secession Is Legally Nothing ~ President Lincoln

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

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

Viviani in 1914

Viviani in 1914

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

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

Asa Mahan

Asa Mahan

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

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

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

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

Lincoln depicted in a patriotic political cartoon

Lincoln depicted in a patriotic political cartoon

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

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

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

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


runaway slaves

runaway slaves

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

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

Paul Signac

Paul Signac

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

coal miners meeting

coal miners meeting

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

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

One General Panorama of Grace and Beauty ~ New York Times

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


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

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

General James Longstreet

General James Longstreet

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

Johannes Brand, c1864

Johannes Brand, c1864

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

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

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

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

dancing at the Russian Ball

dancing at the Russian Ball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Union soldiers

Union soldiers


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

period dresses 212

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

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theodore D Judah

Theodore D Judah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

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

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

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

Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz

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

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

The Russian Ball in New York City

The Russian Ball in New York City

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

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