Tag Archives: South Carolina

Everything Is Giving Way to the Union Forces ~ March 1865 ~ 15th to 18th

Everything Is Giving Way to the Union Forces.

Federal troops in the Carolinas

Federal troops in the Carolinas

Gideon Welles notes the progress of the Federal armies. The eloquence of President Lincoln draws some favorable comment. Representatives of women working in factories meet the President. In Richmond, President Davis chides the Confederate congress.

March 15– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Every one likes a compliment. Thank you for yours on my little notification speech and on the recent inaugural address. I expect the latter to wear as well as perhaps better than– anything I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told, and, as whatever of humiliation there is in it falls most directly on myself, I thought others might afford for me to tell it.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Thurlow Weed.

Thurlow Weed

Thurlow Weed

March 15– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Having thus fully placed before you the information requisite to enable you to judge of the state of the country, the dangers to which we are exposed, and the measures of legislation needed for averting them, it remains for me but to invoke your attention to the consideration of those means by which, above all others, we may hope to escape the calamities that would result from our failure. Prominent, above all others, is the necessity for earnest and cordial co-operation between all departments of government, State and Confederate, and all eminent citizens throughout the Confederacy. To you especially, as Senators and Representatives, do the people look for encouragement and counsel. To your action, not only in legislative halls, but in your homes, will their eyes be turned for the example of what is befitting men who, by willing sacrifices on the altar of freedom, show that they are worthy to enjoy its blessings. I feel full confidence that you will concur with me in the conviction that your public duties will not be ended when you shall have closed the legislative labors of the session, but that your voice will be heard cheering and encouraging the people to that persistent fortitude which they have hitherto displayed, and animating them by the manifestation of that serene confidence which, in moments of public danger, is the distinctive characteristic of the patriot, who derives courage from his devotion to his country’s destiny, and is thus enabled to inspire the like courage in others. Thus united in a common and holy cause, rising above all selfish considerations, rendering all our means and faculties tributary to the country’s welfare, let us bow submissively to the Divine will, and reverently invoke the blessing of our Heavenly Father, that as He protected and guided our sires when struggling in a similar cause, so He will enable us to guard safely our altars and our firesides, and maintain inviolate the political rights which we inherited.” ~ Message from President Davis to Congress, reprinted in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch.

Henry Wirz, commandant at Andersonville prison

Henry Wirz, commandant at Andersonville prison

March 15– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– Captain Henry Wirz, commandant of the Andersonville prison camp, begins preparing Union prisoners for exchange.

March 15 – Wednesday– Prestbury, Cheshire, England– Birth of Edith Maude Eaton, aka Sui Sin Far, journalist and author. She is born to an English father and a Chinese mother. [Dies April 7, 1914.]

Edith Maude Eaton

Edith Maude Eaton

March 16– Thursday– Averasborough, North Carolina– In a desperate attempt to slow the Federal advance, a force of 5400 Confederate troops tangle with 26,000 Union soldiers but after several hours of fighting are forced to withdraw. Total casualties– killed, wounded, missing– are 682 Federals and 865 Confederates. Union column endured only minimal delays.

March 16– Thursday– Queenstown, Ireland– Birth of Patsy Donovan, major league baseball player between 1890 and 1907 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St Louis Cardinals, and later a manager. [Dies December 25, 1953].

factory workers

factory workers

March 17– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “A committee of ladies representing fourteen thousand working women of Philadelphia, who are employed by government contractors, recently waited on President Lincoln to represent the needs of the suffering women. The President sent for the Acting Quarter-master General Thomas, told him the story he had heard, and then said: ‘I shall consider myself personally obliged it you can hereafter manage the supplies of contract work for the government made up by women, so as to give them remunerative wages for their labor.’ It is highly creditable, alike to the President’s head and heart, that he has thought fit to give his personal influence, in the manner above described, to help on a much needed reform, and relieve some of the suffering resulting from the injustice of the community to the working women. When the thing to be done is both right and expedient, and the neglect or delay of officials to perform it is favored by a widely existing popular prejudice, injuriously affecting vast numbers of people, it is all the more important that the man who chances to wield that influence which the President’s office bestows should take the trouble of putting it in action to do the right or undo the wrong. Abraham Lincoln has shown, by the act of mingled justice and kindness above described, that he recognizes this method of action, and this sort of exercise of personal influence, as right and proper.” ~ The Liberator.

at the machines

at the machines

March 17– Friday– Berwick, Pennsylvania– A large fire destroys the shops of the Jackson and Woodin Manufacturing Company.

March 17– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “It will be but a very few words that I shall undertake to say. I was born in Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and lived in Illinois; and now I am here, where it is my business to care equally for the good people of all the States. I am glad to see an Indiana regiment on this day able to present the captured flag to the Governor of Indiana. I am not disposed, in saying this, to make a distinction between the States, for all have done equally well. There are but few views or aspects of this great war upon which I have not said or written something whereby my own opinions might be known. But there is one– the recent attempt of our erring brethren, as they are sometimes called, to employ the Negro to fight for them. I have neither written nor made a speech on that subject, because that was their business, not mine, and if I had a wish on the subject, I had not the power to introduce it, or make it effective. The great question with them was whether the Negro, being put into the army, will fight for them. I do not know, and therefore cannot decide. They ought to know better than me. I have in my lifetime heard many arguments why the Negroes ought to be slaves; but if they fight for those who would keep them in slavery, it will be a better argument than any I have yet heard. He who will fight for that, ought to be a slave. They have concluded, at last, to take one out of four of the slaves and put them in the army, and that one out of the four who will fight to keep the others in slavery, ought to be a slave himself, unless he is killed in a fight. While I have often said that all men ought to be free, yet would I allow those colored persons to be slaves who want to be, and next to them those white people who argue in favor of making other people slaves. I am in favor of giving an appointment to such white men to try it on for these slaves. I will say one thing in regard to the Negroes being employed to fight for them. I do know he cannot fight and stay at home and make bread too. And as one is about as important as the other to them, I don’t care which they do. I am rather in favor of having them try them as soldiers. They lack one vote of doing that, and I wish I could send my vote over the river so that I might cast it in favor of allowing the Negro to fight. But they cannot fight and work both. We must now see the bottom of the enemy’s resources. They will stand out as long as they can, and if the Negro will fight for them they must allow him to fight. They have drawn upon their last branch of resources, and we can now see the bottom. I am glad to see the end so near at hand.” ~ Speech by President Lincoln to an Indiana Regiment of soldiers.

March 17– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas reliable information has been received that hostile Indians within the limits of the United States have been furnished with arms and munitions of war by persons dwelling in conterminous foreign territory, and are thereby enabled to prosecute their savage warfare upon the exposed and sparse settlements of the frontier. Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim and direct that all persons detected in that nefarious traffic shall be arrested and tried by court-martial at the nearest military post, and if convicted shall receive the punishment due to their deserts.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

March 17– Friday– Mobile, Alabama– A force of 32,000 Federal troops is moving against the city which is defended by a garrison of 2800 Confederate soldiers.

Patrick Joseph Sullivan

Patrick Joseph Sullivan

March 17– Friday– County Cork, Ireland– Birth of Patrick Joseph Sullivan, who will serve as mayor of Casper, Wyoming, 1897-98, and Republican member of the United States Senate from Wyoming, 1929-30. [Dies April 8, 1935.]

March 18– Saturday– New York City– “The Second Inauguration of President Lincoln. . . . In many respects it is the most emphatic ceremonial in the history of our republic, since it solemnly pledges the nation in the face of the world to restore the Union whatever the cost may be. Notwithstanding the showers of rain that fell the attendance was immense, and the procession of great magnitude and state. It formed on 16th street, near Pennsylvania avenue, shortly before eleven, and directly after commenced moving towards the Capitol. The military escort consisted of two regiments of the Invalid Corps, a squadron of cavalry, a battery of artillery, four companies of colored troops, and several bands of music. The line of march was decorated with flags, and the windows along the route were crowded with spectators, who manifested the utmost enthusiasm. The streets, however, were in a miserable condition, consequent on the rain of the morning, which slackened about eight o’clock, and entirely ceased about eleven. The procession was over a mile in length. The President was in the Capitol busily engaged in signing bills. A few minutes before twelve the official procession began to file into the Senate Chamber. . . . The appearance of Mr. Lincoln was the signal for a tremendous outburst of enthusiastic cheers. When this tumult subsided, the President stepped forward and delivered his inaugural address. At the conclusion of these proceedings the procession was reformed, and the President was escorted to the White House. It is estimated that over 30,000 persons were present, notwithstanding the depth of mud in which they were obliged to stand.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly.

Lincoln takes the oath of office

Lincoln takes the oath of office

March 18– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “The news from the army continues favorable, and it seems impossible for the Rebel leaders to continue much longer to hold out. Everything is giving way to the Union forces. The currency is getting into better shape, but there will be still tremendous struggles and revulsions before its sound restoration can be accomplished.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

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Sherman Is Proving Himself a Great General ~ February 1865 ~ 21st to 22nd

Sherman Is Proving Himself a Great General ~ Gideon Welles

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

Lincoln’s government is pleased with General Sherman as his troops march through South Carolina, more hindered by rainy weather than by strong defense from Confederate soldiers. The Georgia legislature shows signs of contention with the government in Richmond, particularly disagreeing with the idea of drafting slaves into the army. Food supplies are so short in some Southern places that soldiers steal flour for local women to use.

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February 21– Tuesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “We learn from citizens of Wayne county who arrived yesterday, that a few days ago a guerrilla murder was committed at Ceredo, on the Ohio river in that county. It appears that a gang of men, under command of the notorious Bill Smith, came down to Ceredo and entered the house of Jack Meadows, a citizen, shot him through the heart, drove his wife and children out of doors, and set fire to the premises. Mrs. Meadows who was fortunately armed with a revolver, shot one of the guerrillas dead and seriously wounded another, but not until one of her legs had been broken by a blow with a gun in the hands of one of the rebels. The rebels having completely destroyed the house of Mr. Meadows, with all its contents, fled to their hiding places, leading their dead companion unburied. Mrs. Meadows and her children were taken to Catlettsburg, Kentucky where she still remains.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

February 21– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “We have made great progress in the Rebel War within a brief period. Charleston and Columbia have come into our possession without any hard fighting. The brag and bluster, the threats and defiance which have been for thirty years the mental aliment of South Carolina prove impotent and ridiculous. They have displayed a talking courage, a manufactured bravery, but no more, and I think not so much inherent heroism as others. Their fulminations that their cities would be Saragossas were mere gasconade, their Pinckneys and McGrawths and others were blatant political partisans. General Sherman is proving himself a great general, and his movements from Chattanooga to the present demonstrate his ability as an officer. He has, undoubtedly, greater resources, a more prolific mind, than Grant, and perhaps as much tenacity if less cunning and selfishness. In Congress there is a wild, radical element in regard to the rebellious States and people. They are to be treated by a radical Congress as no longer States, but Territories without rights, and must have a new birth or creation by permission of Congress. These are the mistaken theories and schemes of Chase, perhaps in conjunction with others.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

fourteenth-massachusetts-volunteers

February 21– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “We are having delightful weather and quite warm . . . . We have today glorious news– the fall of Charleston. Salutes have been fired along the entire line and the troops have cheered themselves hoarse. Thank God for the victory, for I hope it will help to end the war. The enemy still continues to desert to our lines. Last night ten came. They all tell the same story– that the Southern cause is hopeless. I begin to feel that the war is really drawing to a close, but we shall have some severe fighting yet.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 21– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Another bright and glorious morning. Charleston fell on Thursday night last. A large number of heavy guns fell into the hands of the enemy. The confidential telegraph operators remained with the enemy. They were Northern men; but it is the policy of those in possession of this government to trust their enemies and neglect their friends. . . . The Negro bill also passed one House [of Congress], and will pass the other to-day. . . . These measures may come too late. The enemy is inclosing us on all sides with great vigor and rapidity. A victory by Beauregard would lift up the hearts of the people, now prone in the dust.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 21– Tuesday– Winnsborough, South Carolina– “A rebel woman set fire to her store filled with cotton and destroyed two or three blocks before the troops entered. The Fourteenth Corps entering first put out the fire and appropriated the large amount of supplies found there.” ~ Diary of an officer serving with Union General Oliver O. Howard.

civilians fleeing before Sherman's advance

civilians fleeing before Sherman’s advance

February 21– Tuesday– Macon, Georgia– “1st. Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, That the struggle in which we have been engaged for the last four years involves not only the domestic institutions of the South, but the rights of self government and State Sovereignty, in which every State of this Confederacy as well as each State of the North, is most deeply interested; to maintain political equality and the sovereignty of the States should be an object demanding the greatest public sacrifice. 2nd, Resolved, That we do spurn with indignation due to so gross an insult, the terms on which the President of the United States has proffered peace to the people of the Confederate States. 3rd, Resolved, That the freedom with which the President [Jeff Davis] has received even unofficial commissioners from the United States, his ready response to unofficial invitations to send commissioners, and the wise and discreet choice of persons made by him, commands our highest admiration, and is proof conclusive to the world of an honest and sincere desire to adjust the differences between the two nations, and put an end to this bloody strife. 4th, Resolved, That burying all past differences of opinion as to the origin and conduct of the war, we intend to take nothing but our absolute independence, and to accomplish this Georgia pledges herself to use all the resources which Providence has placed in her power, humbly relying upon divine assistance in the defense of all that is dear to freemen. 5th, Resolved, Though having lately passed through an ordeal of blood and trial, Georgia renews her pledges to her sister States to stand by them with her army and treasury until independence is achieved and liberty won. 6th, Resolved, That our  profoundest gratitude is due to her soldiers, who on many a bloody battle field have illustrated their State by deeds of heroic valor, and that while we look to them with pride and confidence, we will see to it that their efforts are generously sustained, and that the amplest resources of the State are applied for the support and comfort of their families at home. 7th Resolved, That His Excellency the Governor, be requested to transmit a copy of the resolutions to the President of the Confederate States, the Governors of the several independent States, and to our Senators and Representatives in Congress.”

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February 21– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “A letter from Mecca Joyner, saying she is coming to make me a visit, and I must meet her in Albany on Wednesday. Just as I had finished reading it a buggy drove up with Flora Maxwell and Captain Rust, from Gopher Hill. Flora has a great reputation for beauty, but I think her even more fascinating and elegant than beautiful. Captain Rust is an exile from Delaware, and a very nice old gentleman, whom the Maxwells think a great deal of. He was banished for helping Southern prisoners to escape across the lines. He tells me that he sometimes had as many as fourteen rebels concealed in his house at one time.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

February 21– Tuesday– Paris, France– The painter Constant Troyon dies at 54 years of age.

Cattle Drinking by Troyon

Cattle Drinking by Troyon

February 21– Tuesday– Melbourne, Victoria, Australia– A Royal Commission into the origin and nature of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (a cattle disease) presents its final report to the Parliament of Victoria.

February 22– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “As your life has been faithfully devoted to the cause of humanity, the abolition of slavery and the welfare of the freedman, I am sure you will be interested in all facts and questions relating to the condition of those in any part of the country whom the rebellion has made free. I went from Ohio to New Orleans in the summer of 1863, and since, then, most of the time, have resided there, participating in and observing the effect of the new order of things which the slaveholders’ war has inaugurated. From what I have seen in Northern papers, I think the true condition and relation of those who were formerly slaves, in the State of Louisiana, have not been fully understood. . . . Slavery, I trust, is forever abolished in Louisiana; and if, in the future, her lawgivers secure equal rights to all her citizens; her fertile lands and genial climate, producing figs, rice, corn, tobacco, sugar and cotton; her orange groves, bending and yellow with ripening fruit; and her thousands of miles of navigable rivers and bayous, furnishing ample, cheap, convenient and expeditions means of conveying the products of her soil to market, will invite capital and labor from every civilized country and clime. She will then learn to her advantage that ‘righteousness exalteth’ a State. But if, in the future as in the past, a majority of her laborers are oppressed and disfranchised, she will learn, at her cost that injustice ‘is a reproach to any people.’” ~ Letter from John Hutchins to William Lloyd Garrison.

February 22– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– General Robert E. Lee, now commander of all Confederate armies, issues Special Order No. 3, naming General Joseph E. Johnston commander the Army of Tennessee and of all troops in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Privately, Lee telegraphs Johnston with instructions: “Concentrate all available forces and drive back Sherman.” Quickly, Johnston telegraphs back: “It is too late to expect me to concentrate troops capable of driving back Sherman. The remnant of the Army of Tennessee is much divided. So are other troops. Is any discretion allowed me? I have no staff.”

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

February 22– Wednesday– Frankfort, Kentucky– The legislature rejects the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 22– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– The state adopts a new state constitution which includes a prohibition of slavery.

February 22– Wednesday– McMinnville, Tennessee– “Some Yanks came– wanting milk– they said. I met them at the backdoor, spoke pleasantly but held the door knob in my hand. I saw they were preparing to come in but I did not invite them and bolting the door, directed them to [a slave] Mammy’s house to get the milk. They went-dreadfully dissatisfied and grumbled to the servants [slaves] that I had not asked them to come in the house. They were gentlemen, had been raised, never had been in any place before but what they were asked in the house, if they had been officers she would have asked them in, if they had been secesh etc. etc. etc., until Mammy and Puss [both slaves] said they thought both were born fools. The servants [slaves] told them I never asked soldiers in the house soldiers did not expect it and have no right to expect it—they usually come to get something and if I had it I gave it and they went away—if they expected to be invited in they mostly come with some friend to introduce them etc. etc. Finally they commenced about killing chickens, the Negroes got them out to if—then they wanted milk which was brought—then walnuts—these also were furnished—some wanted bread and this was handed over also—then they went off after examining all the outhouses, etc. carefully—for what I do not know. Just as dinner was on the table and we sitting down to it here they came again—whiz! Bang! Went the rocks everywhere. They were after the chickens, and they carried them off in triumph. Not all satisfied however, for they came back 3 times after more but failed to catch them. Mammy was so mad she was fit to fly and Puss was quite as much exasperated.” ~ Journal of Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

Lucy Virginia French

February 22– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– “Whereas, We are informed that the Confederate Government contemplates and are making efforts, to enlist in the military service of the Confederate States, the male slaves of the State, within certain ages, first paying the owners their value, and then setting them free at the end of the war. 1st. Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of Georgia, That it is our opinion, that this measure if carried out, will be a violation of the Constitution of the Confederate States. 2nd. Resolved, That independent of the constitutional difficulty, in the opinion of this General Assembly, the policy of employing this class of persons in the army, will be pre-judicial in the extreme and will result in the destruction of the slave interest of the South, as well as the ruin of our army. 3rd. Resolved, That the Governor of Georgia, be requested to transmit a copy of these resolutions to the President of the Confederate States, and to the Governors of each of the Confederate States.”

February 22– Wednesday– Athens, Georgia– “We understand that some soldiers belonging to [Confederate General] Hood’s army, at home on furlough, made a ‘raid’ on the Commissary store in Hartwell last Thursday, and helped themselves to what they wanted. They afterwards went to McMullen’s mill, where the Government grain was ground, and distributed to about fifty females a sack of flour each.” ~ The Southern Banner.

February 22– Wednesday– Albany, Georgia– “I . . . brought Mecca Joyner and Jim Chiles home with me. I took dinner with Mrs. Sims and met several friends, whom I invited to our picnic. Sister had a large company to spend the evening, and they stayed so late that I grew very sleepy. I am all upset, anyway, for letters from home have come advising us to stay here for the present, where there is plenty to eat, and less danger from Yankees now, than almost anywhere else. It must be perversity, for when I thought I had to go home I wanted to stay here, and now that father wants me to stay, I am wild to go. I have written him that he had better order me back home, for then I would not care so much about going. Now that the Yanks have passed by Augusta and are making their way to Columbia and Charleston, I hope they will give Georgia a rest.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

Invoking the Favor & Guidance of Almighty God ~ February 1865~ 18th to 20th

Invoking the Favor and Guidance of Almighty God ~ Jeff Davis

campaign map-6232

Seeking relief from numerous setbacks, President Davis issues a call for a day of prayer and fasting throughout the Confederacy. General Lee asks Congress to authorize the use of slaves as soldiers in the Confederate army. Even government employees in Richmond worry that it may be too late for survival of the rebellion. In South Carolina, Charleston is occupied and additional damage inflicted upon Columbia. Union General Howard issues orders for his troops to guard and guide the increasing number of escaped slaves who are following the Federal forces and he instructs officers to stop soldiers from looting and vandalism. Canada moves toward the creation of the modern nation we know.

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February 18– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Proclamation by the President, appointing a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, with thanksgiving. ‘The Congress of the Confederate States have, by a joint resolution, invited me to appoint a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer, with thanksgiving to Almighty God. It is our solemn duty, at all times, and more especially in a season of public trial and adversity, to acknowledge our dependence on His mercy, and to bow in humble submission before His footstool confessing our manifold sins, supplicating His gracious pardon imploring His Divine help, and devoutly rendering thanks for the many and great blessings which He has vouchsafed to us. Let the hearts of our people turn contritely and trustfully unto God; let us recognize in His chartering hand the correction of a Father, and submissively pray that the trials and sufferings which have so long borne heavily upon us may be turned away by His merciful love; that His sustaining grace be given to our people, and His divine wisdom imparted to our rulers; that the Lord of Hosts will be with our armies, and fight for us against our enemies; and that He will gratuitously take our cause into His own hand and mercifully establish for us a lasting, just and honorable peace and independence. And let us not forget to render unto His holy name the thanks and praise which are so justly due for His great goodness, and for the many mercies which He has extended to us amid the trials and sufferings of protracted and bloody war. Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this my proclamation, appointing Friday, the fifth day of March next, as a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer, (with thanksgiving,) for invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, and I do earnestly invite all soldiers and citizens to observe the same in a spirit of reverence, penitence and prayer.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch.

President Jeff Davis

President Jeff Davis

February 18– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “With reference to the employment of Negroes as soldiers, I think the measure not only expedient, but necessary. The enemy will certainly use them against us if he gets possession of them. As his present numerical superiority will enable him to penetrate many parts of the country, I can’t see the wisdom of the policy of holding them to await his arrival, when we may, by timely action and judicious management, use them to arrest his progress. I do not think that our white population can supply the necessities of a long war without overtaxing its capacity, and imposing great suffering on our people; and I believe we should provide for a protracted struggle, not merely for a battle or a campaign. . . . I can only say that, in my opinion, the Negroes, under proper circumstances, will make efficient soldiers. I think we could do at least as well with them as the enemy, who attaches great importance to their assistance. Under good officers and good instructions, I do not see why they should not become soldiers. They possess all the physical qualities, and their habits of obedience constitute good foundation for discipline. They furnish more promising material than many armies of which we read in history, which owe their efficiency to discipline alone. I think those who are employed should be freed. It would be neither just nor wise, in my opinion, to require them to remain as slaves. The course to pursue, it seems to me, would be to call for such as are willing to come, with the consent of their owners. An impressment or draft would not be likely to bring out that class, and this course would make the war more distasteful to them and their owners. I have no doubt that if Congress would authorize their reception into the service, and empower the President to call upon individuals or States for such as are willing to contribute, with the condition of emancipation to all enrolled, a sufficient number would be forthcoming to enable us to try the experiment. If it should prove successful, most of the objections to the measure would disappear; and if individuals still remained unwilling to send their Negroes to the army, the force of public opinion in the States would soon bring about such legislation as would remove all obstructions. I think the matter should be left, as far as possible, to the people and to the States, which alone can legislate as the necessities of this particular service may require. As to the mode of organizing them, it should be left as free from restraint as possible. Experience will suggest the best course. It would be inexpedient to trammel the subject with provisions that might, in the end, prevent the adoption of reforms suggested by actual trial.” ~ Message from Confederate General Robert E Lee to the Confederate Congress.

General Robert E Lee

General Robert E Lee

February 18 – Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Rained last night; but this is as lovely a morning as ever dawned on earth. A gentle southern breeze, a cloudless sky, and a glorious morning sun, whose genial warmth dispels the moisture of the late showers in smoky vapors. But how dark and dismal the aspect of our military affairs! Columbia fallen and Charleston (of course) evacuated. My wife wept, my daughter prayed, upon hearing the news. South Carolina was superior to all the States in the estimation of my wife, and she regarded it as the last stronghold. Now she despairs, and seems reckless of whatever else may happen in Sherman’s career of conquest.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 18– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The city of Charleston and its defenses came into our possession this morning, with over 200 pieces of good artillery and a supply of fine ammunition. The enemy commenced evacuating all the works last night, and Mayor Macbeth surrendered the city to the troops of General Schimmelfennig at 9 o’clock this morning, at which time it was occupied by our forces.” ~ Message from Union General Quincy Gillmore to the War Department in Washington, D.C.

United States Colored Troops marching through Charleston

United States Colored Troops marching through Charleston

February 19– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– ” Another bright and glorious morning. I hear of no news whatever from the South– although I know that important events are transpiring– and the reticence of the government is construed very unfavorably. Hence if Beauregard has fought a battle, it is to be apprehended that he did not gain the day; and if this be so, South Carolina lies at the conqueror’s feet.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 19– Sunday– Columbia, South Carolina– Before moving on, Sherman’s Federal troops destroy any and all remaining industrial buildings and railroads.

February 19– Sunday– Columbia, South Carolina– “Major [William H.] Reynolds, Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, is hereby assigned to the command of all escaped Union officers and soldiers [who had just been freed from Confederate prison camps in the area], and will also take charge of all refugees [escaping slaves] and their conveyances accompanying the army. These officers and soldiers will move with the refugee train as an escort, and from them will be organized a foraging party. One officer will be selected to act as quartermaster and commissary. The train will be assigned its position in the column from day to day. Major Reynolds will report to these headquarters for instructions.” ~ Order from Union General Oliver O Howard.

Union General Oliver O Howard

Union General Oliver O Howard

February 19– Sunday– Cahaba, Alabama– “It seems a long time since I heard from you or any of my connection. I am very anxious to hear from you all. I am still at Cahaba the same place when you heard from me last. I have not heard from you since last spring. I want to know what has become of you all. I have not heard from home since I was at your house. I have rote and rote and could get any anser. If you have ever heard any thing from my family, please don’t delay to let me know. It seems that I am way here cut off from my family and all my near relatives and can’t hear from them. I think hard and here I expect to have to remain, I can’t tell how long. God only knows. Duty is heavy. I am on guard every other day and night guarding Yankee prisoners. You all must wright [sic] to me. My health has been good ever since I saw you, with the exception of two weeks. I had chills. I will have to close as I have no more room.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to a family member.

February 20 – Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Another morning of blue skies and glorious sunshine. Sherman is reported to be marching northward, and to have progressed one-third of the way between Columbia and Charlotte, North Carolina . . . . Grant’s campaign seems developed at last. Sherman and Thomas will concentrate on his left, massing 200,000 men between Lee and his supplies, effectually cutting his communications by flanking with superior numbers. It is probable Charleston, Wilmington, and Richmond will fall without a battle; for how can they be held when the enemy stops supplies? and how could the garrisons escape when once cut off from the interior? And yet Congress has done nothing, and does nothing, but waste the precious time. I fear it is too late now!” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 20– Monday– moving north by north east from Columbia, South Carolina– “I desire to call your attention to the fact that some of our soldiers have been committing the most outrageous robberies of watches, jewelry, &c. A case has come to my notice where a watch and several articles of jewelry were stolen by a foraging party under the eye of the commissioned officer in charge. Another, where a brute had violently assaulted a lady by striking her, and had then robbed her of a valuable gold watch. In one instance money was stolen to the amount of $150, and another, where an officer with a foraging party had allowed his men to take rings off the fingers of ladies in his presence. To-day a soldier was found plundering, arrested, placed under the guard of one of General Corse’s orderlies, and was liberated by some of his comrades who had arms in their hands, and who threatened the life of the guard. These outrages must be stopped at all hazards, and the thieves and robbers who commit them be dealt with severely and summarily. I am inclined to think that there is a regularly organized banditti who commit these outrages and who share the spoils. I call upon you and upon all the officers and soldiers under you, who have one spark of honor or respect for the profession which they follow, to help me put down these infamous proceedings and to arrest the perpetrators. Please furnish to every inspector, provost-marshal, and officer in charge of a foraging party a copy of this letter, and enjoin them to be on the watch to stop these infamous proceedings, and to bring to justice the individuals who commit them.” ~ Orders from Union General Oliver O Howard.

February 20– Monday– Nashville, Tennessee– Colonel R. D. Mussey of the United States Colored Troops reports to Andrew Johnson that there are 2600 children of former slaves enrolled in 11 schools in Tennessee.

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February 20– Monday– Quebec City, Quebec, Canada– The Legislature of the Province of Canada passes a motion in favor of Confederation.

Fight Rather Than Submit to Yankee Rule ~ February 1865 ~ 16th to 17th

Fight Ever Rather than Submit to Yankee Rule ~ Maggie Cone

Federal troops raise the U S flag after occupying Columbia South Carolina

Federal troops raise the U S flag after occupying Columbia South Carolina

A young Georgia woman and her soldier husband-to-be exchange letters on the same day, wondering if the other will receive it. She, much like other Southern women, is filled with worry but wants to fight on. In the Shenandoah Valley, another young women informs a mother about the death of her son. South Carolina trembles as Columbia surrenders and much of the city is devastated by fire while Confederate troops evacuate Charleston, the city where the opening shots of the war were fired in April of 1861. Three more states ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, raising the total to 16 of the 27 necessary for ratification and the constitutional abolition of slavery.

hospital wagon

hospital wagon

February 16– Thursday– Lincolnton, North Carolina– “A change has come o’er the spirit of my dream. Dear old quire of yellow, coarse, Confederate home-made paper, here you are again. An age of anxiety and suffering has passed over my head since last I wrote and wept over your forlorn pages. My ideas of those last days are confused. The Martins left Columbia the Friday before I did, and Mammy, the Negro woman, who had nursed them, refused to go with them. That daunted me. Then Mrs. Mc Cord, who was to send her girls with me, changed her mind. She sent them up-stairs in her house and actually took away the staircase ; that was her plan. . . . We thought that if the Negroes were ever so loyal to us, they could not protect me from an army bent upon sweeping us from the face of the earth, and if they tried to do so, so much the worse would it be for the poor things with their Yankee friends. I then left them to shift for themselves, as they are accustomed to do, and I took the same liberty. My husband does not care a fig for the property question, and never did. Perhaps, if he had ever known poverty, it would be different. He talked beautifully about it, as he always does about everything. . . . I took French leave of Columbia slipped away with out a word to anybody. Isaac Hayne and Mr. Chesnut came down to the Charlotte depot with me. Ellen, my [slave] maid, left her husband and only child, but she was willing to come, and, indeed, was very cheerful in her way of looking at it. . . . A woman, fifty years old at least, and uglier than she was old, sharply rebuked my husband for standing at the [railroad] car window for a last few words with me. She said rudely: ‘Stand aside, sir ! I want air !’ With his hat off, and his grand air, my husband bowed politely, and said: ‘In one moment, madam ; I have something important to say to my wife.’ She talked aloud and introduced herself to every man, claiming his protection. She had never traveled alone before in all her life. Old age and ugliness are protective in some cases. She was ardently patriotic for a while. Then she was joined by her friend, a man as crazy as herself to get out of this. From their talk I gleaned she had been for years in the Treasury Department. They were about to cross the lines. The whole idea was to get away from the trouble to come down here. They were Yankees, but were they not spies? Here I am broken-hearted and an exile. And in such a place! We have bare floors, and for a feather-bed, pine table, and two chairs I pay $30 a day. Such sheets ! But fortunately I have some of my own. . . . The Martins had seen my, to them, well-known traveling case as the hack trotted up Main Street, and they arrived at this juncture out of breath. We embraced and wept. I kept my room. The Fants are refugees here, too; they are Virginians, and have been in exile since the second battle of Manassas. Poor things ; they seem to have been everywhere, and seen and suffered everything. They even tried to go back to their own house, but found one chimney only standing alone ; even that had been taken possession of by a Yankee, who had written his name upon it. The day I left home I had packed a box of flour, sugar, rice, and coffee, but my husband would not let me bring it. He said I was coming to a land of plenty, unexplored North Carolina, where the foot of the Yankee marauder was unknown, and in Columbia they would need food. Now I have written for that box and many other things to be sent me by Lawrence [one of her household slaves], or I shall starve.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

February 16– Thursday– Columbia, South Carolina– Federal troops almost completely encircle the city as Confederate soldiers under General Beauregard retreat after Beauregard notifies General Lee that his outnumbered force is unable to defend the place.

February 16– Thursday– Albany, Georgia– “We started for . . . Mrs. Welsh’s party, soon after breakfast, but were a good deal delayed on the way by having to wait for a train of forty government wagons to pass. We found Mrs. Julia Butler at Mrs. Sims’s, straight from Washington [Georgia], with letters for us, and plenty of news. I feel anxious to get back now, since Washington is going to be such a center of interest. If the Yanks take Augusta, it will become the headquarters of the department. Mrs. Butler says a train of 300 wagons runs between there and Abbeville, and they are surveying a railroad route. Several regiments are stationed there and the town is alive with army officers and government officials. How strange all this seems for dear, quiet little Washington! It must be delightful there, with all those nice army officers. I am going back home as soon as I can decently change my mind. I have been at the rear all during the war, and now that I have a chance, I want to go to the front. I wish I could be here and there, too, at the same time.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

February 16– Thursday– Indianapolis, Indiana– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 16– Thursday–Baton Rouge, Louisiana– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 16– Thursday– Carson City, Nevada– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.

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February 17– Friday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Yesterday a man . . . having had some difficulty with the wife of his bosom, (who appears to have gently protested against his making a whisky keg of himself,) determined in an act of desperation, to go for a soldier, and started in the direction of the Provost Marshal’s office. The wife, suspecting his design, started in pursuit, accompanied by young persuaders in the shape of as many flaxen haired little pledges of affection. The husband was overtaken on Fourth street. At first he declined to listen to the appeals of his wife, but at last the little ones climbed up his legs and tugged at his coat tails, when he melted and was led off captive as meek as was ever Captain Cuttle, mariner, in the custody of Mrs. Mc Stinger. A committeeman from one of the sub districts of the county said the woman ought to be arrested for discouraging enlistments.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

February 17– Friday– near Winchester, Virginia– “Yours of October 18th and December 10th only a few days ago were received – how they were smuggled through the lines I am not aware, but sincerely hope I may be able to get this through to you – yours were truly, truly welcome. . . . think not I should not have been so negligent as not to send you some message had I had but one moment of freedom that I could have written & sent the letter through, but you know we are in the thumb of tyrants that the penalty for receiving or sending letter through the lines if known to them is so severe, that no one is willing to risk carrying a letter & I have never had one safe opportunity that I could send you a long letter. . . . as soon as in my power I shall send you full particulars as far as I can of your dear son’s death. In this I will only answer your inquiries. Our Angel – our beloved dead – he died, I am told, in sight of my home, alone in an ambulance, insensible – he must have spoken after wounded, as the driver said he requested to be brought here. Oh! What comfort what consolation to us all had we only heard him speak, seen him breathe. He was I know prepared for the change, four nights before he fell, he was here, left the next day . . . right back into this battle. . . . he seemed in good spirits, cheerful, warning me to trust in God, to be cheerful & happy . . . . I received a few articles, taken from your son’s body, his own testament . . . also have some of his hair, his tobacco bags, pipe, a handkerchief , his money . . . . our great regret is that we were unable to purchase him a good coffin but it was impossible, hundreds of our dear soldiers – Colonels, Captains, officers of all rank – were wrapped in their blankets & placed low. Ma begged our undertaker to make as nice a one as possible, he says . . . were you able to pay me one thousand dollars, I could not make you one I have no material. Ma offered boards he made him a plain pine coffin not such as he deserved, but that was better than none at all, and many others had to sleep calmly in our private lot in the once beautiful home of our dead but oh it pains me so deeply to tell you, even it has been desecrated, almost ruined by our merciless foes that sacred spot was so beautiful. Perhaps someday we can again replace it & it rest undisturbed. . . . God may heal, but memory lives, the grave only can bury this my first deepest the one great sorrow of my life. I never can be perfectly happy again. I may smile, be seemingly happy, as far as the happiness of this world is concerned, for all is dark to be now there is no happiness here . . . . On the 19th I received a letter from Mac, written two hours before he fell, telling me he was near & hoped soon to be with me, at one o’clock his dead body was brought to my home . Had an only brother, an only son been brought in a corpse, the screams, the sorrow of my mother, sisters & all could not have been more terrible that day & night can never be forgotten. . . . your son . . . was buried as decently as was in our power to have him, you cannot regret more than me, that it could not have been otherwise . . . . May God bless, protect, heal your sorrows. Guide you all safely through Life.” ~ Letter from Maggie Heist to Martha Roadcap.

period graveyard

period graveyard

February 17– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas objects of interest to the United States require that the Senate should be convened at twelve o’clock on the Fourth of March next, to receive and act upon such communications as may be made to it on the part of the Executive: Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, have considered it to be my duty to issue this my Proclamation, declaring that an extraordinary occasion requires the Senate of the United States to convene for the transaction of business at the Capitol, in the city of Washington, on the Fourth day of March next, at twelve o’clock at noon on that day, of which all who shall at that time be entitled to act as members of that body, are hereby required to take notice.” ~ Proclamation issued by President Lincoln.

February 17– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia–”The sadness I feel now is inexpressible, and can be equaled only by the heart-rending pangs I suffered when I so recently parted with you in person. Never, except for a very short time, since the commencement of our correspondence, have we been deprived the inestimable privilege of regularly hearing from each other. Others have been debarred this priceless boon, almost during the whole of the present struggle. Now tis probable that we, too, are to be subject to a like fate, it does indeed render me sad and gloomy. Not that I think the separation will be for a great while or that absence and silence will conquer the love of either for the other; but because twill be so painful to be separated for however short a time. I have no hope whatever of receiving letters by soldiers at home on furlough. To surmount this difficulty, will you write me one more long, long letter, and enclose it in a letter to Sister Fannie, requesting her to forward it by some one coming on to the Army of Virginia? I will surely get it. This may be the last opportunity and you know not how anxious I am to hear from you once more. Sherman, contrary to my expectation, seems to be marching to Columbia [South Carolina]. If he is successful, all communication, by any means, will be effectively destroyed, for awhile at least. That he will be successful, I haven’t the least idea.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

February 17– Friday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Today I have been at work in charge of a detail of six hundred men at work on a fort called Fort Fisher which is built across the Weldon Rail Road. It rained all day and we worked in the mud water. This fort will be a strong one and, as it is in sight of the Rebels, we shall have music before it is finished.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 17– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– Anticipating the arrival of the large Federal force, Confederate troops evacuate the city.

February 17– Friday– Columbia, South Carolina– The city surrenders to Federal troops. In the night much of the city burns, whether deliberately set by Yankees or retreating rebels or freed slaves and prisoners or accidentally set on fire remains unclear. Two-thirds of the city is heavily damaged.

fire damage in Columbia

fire damage in Columbia

February 17– Friday– Dooly County, Georgia– “As I anticipated the detestable Yankees have cut the road at or near Branchville, but however slight may be the probability of your receiving a letter, I will write you. One week has elapsed since the road was interrupted, but I don’t know whether they still hold possession or not, as I haven’t seen a paper in several days, neither have I heard any late news from that point; though I hope the road has been repaired and communication is again open to Virginia. Since our Commissioners have returned and informed the people of the result of their interview with the Federal Commissioners, I hope now the urgent request ‘Send Commissioners to negotiate with the Federal Government’ will cease, and that such a dishonorable proposition for peace, will not have a discouraging effect upon our soldiers and the people at home, but to the contrary, will unite and inspire them with redoubled energy to fight on, fight ever, rather than submit to Yankee rule and oppression. I confess, I did hope some honorable proposition would be made that we could accept of though I didn’t hardly think there would be consequently I was not much disappointed.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé Alva Benjamin Spencer.

No uch Consent Can Ever Be Given ~ February 1865~ 15th to 16th

No Such Consent Can Ever Be Given

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The angry governor of Georgia calls on the state legislature for action as he verbally attacks the administration in Richmond and denies that the Confederacy can legally take slaves into the army. A Tennessee newspaper observes the reticence of white people to see black soldiers in the Union army. Heavy fighting continues in South Carolina. A Richmond newspaper sarcastically criticizes civilians who claim to know better than generals. A friend of Walt Whitman prepares a box to send to Whitman’s brother George in a Southern prison camp. Neither Whitman nor his friend yet know that George has been released and is arriving at Anapolis Maryland.

Federal cavalry

Federal cavalry

February 15– Wednesday– Congree Creek, South Carolina; Savannah Creek, South Carolina; Bate’s Ferry, South Carolina; Red Bank Creek, South Carolina; near Lexington, South Carolina– Heavy skirmishing fails to stop the Federal advance.

Macon, Georgia~ circa 1900

Macon, Georgia~ circa 1900

February 15– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– “Since your adjournment in November, the army of invasion, led by a bold and skillful General, have passed through our State, laid waste our fields, burned many dwelling houses, destroyed county records, applied the torch to [cotton] gin-houses, cotton, and other property, occupied and desecrated the capitol, and now hold the city of Savannah, which gives them a water base from which they may in future operate upon the interior of the State. The army of Tennessee, which contained a large number of Georgia troops, and was relied on as the only barrier to Sherman’s advance, the removal of which left Georgia at the mercy of the enemy, was ordered off beyond the Tennessee river upon a campaign which has terminated in disaster. In the midst of these misfortunes Georgia has been taunted by some of the public journals of other States because her people did not drive back and destroy the army of the enemy. Those who do us this injustice fail to state the well known fact that of all the tens of thousands of veteran infantry, including most of the vigor and manhood of the State, which she had furnished for Confederate service, but a single regiment (the Georgia Regulars,) of about three hundred effective men, was permitted to be upon her soil during the march of General Sherman from her North-western border to the city of Savannah; and even that gallant regiment was kept upon one of our islands most of the time; and not permitted to unite with those who met the enemy. Nor were the places of our absent sons filled by troops from other States. . . . The administration, by its unfortunate policy having wasted our strength and reduced our armies, and being unable to get freemen into the field as conscripts, and unwilling to accept them in organizations with officers of their own choice, will, it is believed, soon resort to the policy of filling them up by the conscription of slaves. I am satisfied that we may profitably use slave labor, so far as it can be spared from agriculture, to do menial service in connection with the army, and thereby enable more free white men to take up arms; but I am quite sure any attempt to arm the slaves will be a great error. If we expect to continue the war successfully, we are obliged to have the labor of most of them in the production of provisions. But if this difficulty were surmounted, we can not rely upon them as soldiers. They are now quietly serving us at home, because they do not wish to go into the army, and they fear, if they leave us, the enemy will put them there. If we compel them to take up arms, their whole feeling and conduct will change, and they will leave us by thousands. A single proclamation by President Lincoln that all who will desert us after they are forced into service, and go over to him, shall have their freedom, be taken out of the army, and permitted to go into the country in his possession, and receive wages for their labor would disband them by brigades. Whatever may be our opinion of their normal condition or their true interest, we can not expect them, if they remain with us, to perform deeds of heroic valor, when they are fighting to continue the enslavement of their wives and children. It is not reasonable for us to demand it of them, and we have little cause to expect the blessings of Heaven upon our efforts if we compel them to perform such a task. If we are right, and Providence designed them for slavery, He did not intend that they should be a military people. Whenever we establish the fact that they are a military race, we destroy our whole theory that they are unfit to be free. But it is said we should give them their freedom in case of their fidelity to our cause in the field; in other words, that we should give up slavery, as well as our personal liberty and State sovereignty, for independence, and should set all our slaves free if they will aid us to achieve it. . . . When we arm the slaves, we abandon slavery. We can never again govern them as slaves, and make the institution profitable to ourselves or to them, after tens of thousands of them have been taught the use of arms . . . . It can never be admitted by the State that the Confederate Government has any power directly or indirectly to abolish slavery. The provision in the Constitution which by implication authorizes the Confederate Government to take private property for public use only, authorizes the use of the property during the existence of the emergency which justifies the taking. . . . So the Government may impress slaves to do the labor of servants, as to fortify a city, if it cannot obtain them by contract, and it is bound to pay the owner just hire for the time it uses them. But the impressment can vest no title to the slave in the Government for a longer period than the emergency requires the labor. It has not the shadow of right to impress and pay for a slave to set him free. The moment it ceases to need his labor the use reverts to the owner who has the title. If we admit the right of the Government to impress and pay for slaves to free them we concede its power to abolish slavery, and change our domestic institutions at its pleasure, and to tax us to raise the money for that purpose. I am not aware of the advocacy of such a monstrous doctrine in the old Congress by any one of the more rational class of abolitionists. It certainly never found an advocate in any Southern statesman. No slave can ever be liberated by the Confederate Government without the consent of the States. No such consent can ever be given by this State without a previous alteration of her Constitution. And no such alteration can be made without a convention of her people.” ~ Message from Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown to a special session of the Georgia legislature.

Governor Joseph E Brown

Governor Joseph E Brown

February 15– Wednesday– Knoxville, Tennessee– “Some of our most refined citizens have so great a horror for white officers who stoop to command Negro regiments or brigades, that they say they can’t treat them with respect. Let us look into this matter, and reason a little about the case. These officers are officers of the United States army, and are only doing their duty by obeying their superiors. Our Government has resolved on arming and fighting the Negroes, and in our judgment Negroes are good enough to fight rebels with. And as the fight is about the Negro, it is proper that he should take a hand. But, for years past– forty years of the time we can recollect– monied men of the South have bought up droves of Negroes, put them in irons and driven them through here to the States of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, with the lordly owners on the horses, with large stock, driving whips in hand, occasionally used upon such Negroes as would lag behind. In many instances they have traveled on with the drove in carriages, and on springs, with select mulatto girls, to take care of them during their absence from home! In many instances, when the have sold these girls for the money they have sold their own offsprings and relatives! When these traders have been successful and made fortunes, man and families have taken them into their houses, treated with great deference, and recognized them as fit associates, who now turn up their noses in derision at an officer who will consent to command Negroes ! What inconsistent creatures we are!” ~ Brownlow’s Whig and Independent Journal and Rebel Ventilator.

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February 16– Thursday– New York City– “The operations against the City of Charleston itself are of a very complex character; but perfect success has crowned each of the separate movements. The rebels give us news to-day of two new operations, both of which were successes. We effected a landing on Friday last upon James Island, and the rebels say we are here within two miles of the City of Charleston, the cradle of secession, where the war was begun, and which we had given up expecting to capture till its final close. Our transports and troops have also ascended the North Edisto [River], have crossed to the main land, established themselves near by on the railroad, and can thus move upon the city’s flank, maintaining all the time communications with the seaboard, and finally cooperating with the forces on James Island. Every one knows, also, that for operations against Charleston, we have, beside the army, a very powerful fleet under Admiral Dahlgren, from whom naval officers and General Sherman himself expects much. The people of the North are not extravagant in expecting every hour to hear of the capture of the city; but it would be a victory doubly worthy of Sherman if he should capture with it the forces of the dodging [Confederate General] Hardee.” ~ New York Times.

February 16– Thursday– New York City– “On the receipt of your favor of the 26th ult., I arranged with Captain Walton for the sending of a box to our dear and brave boys at the Danville Military Prison. And to-day I am having a box put up which will start tomorrow. Captain Wright does not think the boxes will ever reach our boys– but this shall not prevent my trying to get them things to keep the breath of life in them, and to cheer them up. Of the articles you enumerate, I omitted tobacco, fearing it could perfume and render the food impalatable [sic]. I added desiccated vegetables in its stead. It is about time you heard from the first box you sent. Have you? If the accounts in the papers are correct, we ought to have the boys back again before long. I hope their turn for [prisoner] exchange will come first.” ~ Letter from Elliot F. Shepard to Walt Whitman.

George Whitman

George Whitman

February 16– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Confederacy is blessed with a great number of ‘Street-Corner Generals.’ They plan a campaign with sagacity, elaborate the various combinations with care and patience, and conduct it invariably to a successful, and even brilliant, conclusion. Their extensive military information, strong reasoning faculties, and decision and energy of tone and manner, never fail to cheer us with the hope that our country has yet in reserve an amount of military genius which, in the last extremity, will prove her salvation. We never fail to derive information and advantage from the criticisms of these Generals in Reserve on the other Generals now in the field. We always like to hear men talking on any subject which their previous education has not prepared them to comprehend. It shows original genius and vigor of understanding to grasp and master in an instant sciences which other men have only been able to subjugate by long years of study. . . . We long for the time when the merits of the Street-Corner Generals will be properly appreciated by their Government, and our armies be placed under their direct supervision and control. We have had too much of West Point in this war. It is high time that the volunteer genius of the country should burst the cords that hold it to the earth, and, with three armies and a hopeful nation on its back, soar aloft.” ~ Richmond Times Dispatch

February 16– Thursday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “We have had a lively time today, both sides doing their best to shell out the other. On the 9th Corp front, to the right of our line, the air has been full of shot and shell and the roar of canon has been heard all day. All quiet on our front however. Our Rebel neighbors are good natured.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Your Opinion About Our Present Situation ~ February 1865~ 13th and 14th

Your Opinion about Our Present Situation

Federal cavalry moving through South Carolina swamp

Federal cavalry moving through South Carolina swamp

Many southerners worry and wonder about the future yet cling to hope for independence. Those separated by the war miss each other and hope for a time of being together. Debate about the use of slaves in the army continues. Mere months after the event Sherman’s march to the sea is becoming the stuff of legend in the North and increasing bitterness in the South. While keeping his eyes and ears upon the progress of the war, President Lincoln considers international relations and the care of the increasing number of war orphans.

awaiting the letter carrier

awaiting the letter carrier

February 13– Monday– Staunton, Virginia– “I have no directions to give about our matters. You have been managing so long & so well that it is not necessary for me to direct at least whilst absent– do the best you can & as you may desire. I hope it will not be long until we will be together. I am sorely tired of this life & hope soon for a change. Can’t you pay me a visit? so soon as the weather gets warmer try it. Many ladies are paying visits to their friends here & why can’t you? it would be worth about a Million to me for to see you land here some evening by stage [coach]. If you can’t come all the way can’t you come part way & I will meet you. Try & let me hear from you on this subject. . . . The people seem to be fired up with new zeal & determination in their cause & seem willing to exhaust all means now. Some public meeting proclaim & pledge their property, their honor & their lives for the maintenance & defense of their liberties. Doubtless the spring campaign will be [a] desperate & bloody one– the people seem to be all fired with determination to conquer or die.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

February 13– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a copy of a despatch of the 12th ultimo addressed to the Secretary of State by the Minister Resident of the United States at Stockholm, relating to an International Exhibition to be held at Bergen, in Norway, during the coming summer. The expediency of any legislation upon the subject is submitted for your consideration.” and “I transmit to Congress a copy of a note of the 2nd instant addressed to the Secretary of State by the Commander J. C. de Figaniere e Morai, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Most Faithful Majesty the King of Portugal, calling attention to a proposed International Exhibition at the City of Oporto, to be opened in August next, and inviting contributions thereto of the products of American manufactures and industry. The expediency of any legislation upon the subject is submitted for your consideration.” ~ Messages from President Lincoln to Congress regarding upcoming exhibitions in Europe.

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February 13– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Coldest morning of the winter. My exposure to the cold wind yesterday, when returning from the department, caused an attack of indigestion, and I have suffered much this morning from disordered stomach and bowels. From Northern papers we learn that General Grant’s demonstration last week was a very formidable effort to reach the South Side Railroad, and was, as yet, a decided failure. . . . There will be more fighting yet before Richmond is abandoned, probably such a carnival of blood as will make the world start in horror.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 13– Monday– northeastern Georgia– “From all I can learn, there is a bad chance to get through to my Command and if I get through I will have to walk over a hundred miles. It is useless for me to try to carry all them socks and I have left then here with Gus, who will send them out to you and you can distribute them. Cheer up and may God bless you and my darling boy.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda as struggles to return to Petersburg, Virginia after being home on leave.

Washington, Georgia, historic home

Washington, Georgia, historic home

February 13– Monday– Albany, Georgia– “Letters from home. Our house is full of company, as it always is, only more so. All the Morgans are there, and Mary Day, and the Gairdners from Augusta, besides a host of what one might call transients, if father was keeping a hotel – friends, acquaintances, and strangers whom the tide of war has stranded in little Washington [Georgia]. Mrs. Gairdner’s husband was an officer in the English army at Waterloo, and a schoolmate of Lord Byron, and her sons are brave Confederates – which is better than anything else. Mary Day had typhoid fever in Augusta. She is too weak to make the journey from Mayfield to Macon, and all non-combatants have been ordered to leave Augusta, so mother invited her to Haywood. Oh, that dear old home! I know it is sweeter than ever now, with all those delightful people gathered there. One good thing the war has done among many evils; it has brought us into contact with so many pleasant people we should never have known otherwise. I know it must be charming to have all those nice army officers around, and I do want to go back, but it is so nice here, too, that we have decided to stay a little longer. Father says that this is the best place for us now that Kilpatrick’s [Federal cavalry] raiders are out of the way. I wish I could be in both places at once. They write us that little Washington has gotten to be the great thoroughfare of the Confederacy now, since Sherman has cut the South Carolina R.R. and the only line of communication between Virginia and this part of the country, from which the army draws its supplies, is through there and Abbeville. This was the old stage route before there were any railroads, and our first ‘rebel’ president [George Washington] traveled over it in returning from his Southern tour nearly three-quarters of a century ago, when he spent a night with Colonel Alison in Washington [Georgia]. It was a different thing being a rebel in those days and now. I wonder the Yankees don’t remember they were rebels once, themselves.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews. [Washington, Georgia, home town of Ms Andrews, was incorporated in 1780 and named after George Washington. It serves as the county seat of Wilkes County. Its population today is 4,134.]

group of Civil War orphans

group of Civil War orphans

February 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with Elizabeth E. Hutter. Mrs Hutter is the wife of Edwin Hutter, a former newspaper owner and editor and, since 1850, pastor of St Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Philadelphia. Elizabeth has spearheaded efforts to build the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Institute to provide care for the orphaned children of Union fighters killed during the war. The building is about to open and she meets with the President to discuss the establishment of a network of similar orphanages in other states.

Elizabeth Hutter

Elizabeth Hutter

February 14– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “As if it were not enough humiliation that Sherman had made a triumphful procession through the State of Georgia, the New York Times expresses its contemptuous opinion of the people thereof for permitting him to do it. That paper says that the most remarkable and significant revelation made by Sherman’s march through Georgia was not, perhaps, the internal weakness of the Confederacy; but the entire absence of desperation on the part of that portion of the population which remains at home. ‘If,’ says the Times, ‘the war were felt by them to be a National war, in the sense in which this phrase is ordinarily understood, a war in which everything that men hold dear was at stake, and in which death was preferable to submission, it is impossible to believe that their resistance to Sherman’s progress would have been so feeble. . . . Almost in our own day, both the Russians and Tyrolese have opposed just such obstacles to the progress of French armies of invasion, as the Georgians were asked to oppose to that of Sherman. They either rose en masse in their front, “bushwhacked” them along every mile of the road, from behind every rock and tree and fence, or else converted their line of march into a howling waste, and left them no better fruits of victory than desolated fields and charred ruins. In Georgia, on the contrary, it appears well ascertained that the great majority of the inhabitants staid quietly at home, and awaited the invader’s approach in respectable quiet. So far from destroying their property in order to deprive him of the means of subsistence, they did not even drive off their mules, horses or cattle, though this would have been one of the easiest and most obvious modes of damaging him. In fact, it is hard to see that any Georgian farmers, except those who joined the militia, made the smallest personal sacrifice in aid of the Confederacy, at the most important juncture in its history, and when they were most earnestly and solemnly entreated to make every sacrifice, by the men who are supposed to have, and who ought to have, if the concern were a sound one, their fullest confidence. There is only one interpretation that can be put on this extraordinary apathy, and that is, that confidence in the success of the rebellion no longer exists anywhere outside of the official class and the army, if it exist there. The Governors of States who write the flaming appeals whenever our raiders make their appearance, are, of course, as members of the oligarchy, closely allied in sentiment, as well as in interest, with the Confederate leaders; but it appears, of late, plain that the farmers who have so far escaped the net of the conscription, either have grown tired of the contest or despair of success, and that their great aim now is not to serve the rebellion, but to avoid sharing its fortunes.’ If all that were true,– and we leave it to the fellow-citizens of those heroic Georgia troops who have illustrated so many battle-fields to hurl back the accusation,– Lincoln has stepped in to supply to all the people of this country a motive of ‘desperation’ which cannot fail to arouse the most sluggish and exasperate the most pacific. If they have not believed their own orators, their own newspapers, and their own governors, perhaps they will believe him when he tells them that slavery is abolished, and that they can only be allowed to approach his footstool as suppliants suing for mercy. If, after all this, they fall behind Russians, Tyrolese, and every other invaded nation of ancient and modern times, and look passively on the progress through their country of a conquering army, we shall concede that the Times knows them better than we do, and that provincial vassalage to a Yankee despotism would be no degradation.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

Atlanta, Georgia, in flames

Atlanta, Georgia, in flames

February 14– Tuesday– Petersburg, Virginia– “What is your opinion about our present situation? It appears gloomy enough, but I hope and think we will yet be independent. Our only hope is to fight until we conquer a peace. There is none in negotiations, state conventions or interventions. It is on the fortitude, courage and patriotism of our soldiers we must depend, and as we have few of them in comparison to the enemy, we should foster and protect them as much as possible. This is only to be done by putting men of heart and feeling in command, like Johnston who can feel for the suffering of the private soldiery and appreciate the life of a man. I regard the Negro as the prime cause of our separation from the old Union, and it is humiliating to have to surrender one of our greatest institutions, both for the prosperity of our country and protection and civilization of the black race, to popular opinion of other nations. Yet, I think this will have to be done, sooner or later, and I believe Congress is of the same opinion. If so, why not make the Negro useful to us in achieving our independence? We can put 100,000 in service and discipline them so they will do good fighting.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.

February 14– Tuesday– northeastern Georgia– “My heart is heavy. I think of you and Henry all the time, and often want to get off to myself and take a big cry, to relieve the burden from my heart. Poor little Henry, he followed me up to his Grandma’s that morning and I told him good-by again, and he halloed ‘goodby Pa’ after I had got in the buggy and started. It nearly broke my heart. May God protect him and you is my humble prayer. From what I can gather I think I can flank Augusta by going by Washington [Georgia] and walking 60 miles across South Carolina. I earnestly hope that we may yet meet again and spend many happy days together.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

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Say to the People That They Go Forward ~ February 1865 ~ 11th and 12th

Say to the People That They Go Forward ~ Henry Highland Garnet

Reverend Henry Highland Garnet

Reverend Henry Highland Garnet

For the first time a black man, a former slave, preaches a sermon in the U S Congress. In the South, President Davis encourages his generals to defeat Sherman who is making rapid advances through South Carolina. Others worry about the possibility of the fall of Richmond. Debate rages about using slaves in the Confederate armed forces. Concerned about supplies and safety, the Charleston Mercury suspends publication. In places, genteel social life continues and a Southern belle admires African American spirituals, noting that the slaves like them much more than traditional church hymns.

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February 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Your telegrams of the 9th and 10th received. The indications suggest Charleston as the objective point and if you have supplies inside the works and General Beauregard has the hoped-for success in concentrating the army and in raising auxiliary forces in Georgia and South Carolina, the attempt of the enemy will, I hope, be reduced to operations on the sea front and be finally defeated.” ~ Message from President Davis to General Hardee in Charleston, South Carolina.

February 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and cold; froze hard last night. Yesterday a bill was introduced into both houses of Congress authorizing the enlistment of 200,000 slaves, with consent of their owners, which will probably be amended. Mr. Miles, as a test vote, moved the rejection of the bill; and the vote not to reject it was more than two to one, an indication that it will pass. The failure of the peace conference seems to have been made the occasion of inspiring renewed zeal and enthusiasm for the war in the United States, as well as here. So the carnival of blood will be a ‘success.’The enemy claim an advantage in the late battle on the south side of the James River. Sherman’s movements are still shrouded in mystery, and our generals seem to be waiting for a development of his intentions. Meantime he is getting nearer to Charleston, and cutting railroad communications between that city and the interior. The city is doomed, unless Hardee or Beauregard, or both, successfully take the initiative.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

mill destroyed by Sherman's troops

mill destroyed by Sherman’s troops

February 11– Saturday– Beaufort, South Carolina– “I am perhaps less able to give a general summary, than those who have seen the whole field at a distance, and have not had their attention absorbed by particular details and occurrences; but, as nearly as I can remember, about the 2nd of January four hundred refugees arrived in Beaufort, and were distributed among the plantations on Port Royal Island– about the 5th two hundred and fifty more came, very decrepit and feeble, and were sent immediately to Saint Helena Island. During the next week, perhaps five hundred more arrived; and by that time the movement of Sherman’s army to Beaufort had begun, and transportation could not be given to the Negroes. Nevertheless a few hundred got to Hilton Head Island, and were mostly distributed among the plantations there. Since Sherman’s army moved from Beaufort, five or six hundred more have come into Hilton Head Island from Savannah and from the main land north of Savannah, and about as many more from Sherman’s rear into Beaufort. There are at present, on those of the Sea Islands occupied by our forces, about four or five thousand refugees. The rest who lingered at Savannah, being about two or three thousand more: and probably in all, at least one thousand have died of disease and exposure.” ~ Report from James P. Blake to the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society.

February 11– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The progress of military events, which has occasioned so much public and private inconvenience and suffering, has not spared the newspaper interest. The interruption of railroad communication between Charleston and the interior produces a state of affairs which compels us, temporarily, to transfer the publication office of the Mercury elsewhere; and today’s paper will be our last issue, for the present, in the city of Charleston. It is due to our readers that they should be informed of the reasons which necessitate so important a step in the management of our journal. The interruption of the mails on the South Carolina Railroad practically cuts us off from the mass of our country readers, not only in this but all the adjoining States. We consider it highly desirable that the paper should reach this large class; and by the contemplated change we trust to accomplish that end. But a far more important consideration, and one which cannot be overlooked, is the question of our paper supply. Few of our readers have any idea of the enormous quantity of paper required for the daily consumption of our establishment. The paper mill upon which we depend for our supply is situated in Western North Carolina, and as things stand, for want of transportation, there is no chance of a continuance of that supply. So that we have the alternatives presented to us, of being obliged to discontinue the Mercury, for want of the material upon which to print it, or of removing, for a time, our publication office to another more convenient point. Justice to our subscribers, no less than our own preference, impels us to the latter course. For a few days, therefore, the issue of the Mercury will be suspended; but soon, we trust, it will revisit all our readers.” ~ Charleston Mercury

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February 11– Saturday– Aiken, South Carolina; near Sugar Loaf, South Carolina; near Orangeburg, South Carolina– Hard skirmishing fails to stop Federal advances.

February 11– Saturday– Albany, Georgia– “Making visits all day. It takes a long time to return calls when people live so far apart and every mile or two we have to go out of our way to avoid high waters. Stokes Walton’s creek runs underground for several miles, so that when the waters are high we leave the main road and cross where it disappears underground. There is so much water now that the subterranean channel can’t hold it all, so it flows below and overflows above ground, making a two-storied stream. It is very broad and shallow at that place, and beautifully clear. It would be a charming place for a boating excursion because the water is not deep enough to drown anybody if they should fall overboard – but if the bottom should drop out of the road, as sometimes happens in this limestone country, where in the name of heaven would we go to? Sister and I spent the evening at Mrs. Robert Bacon’s [house]. The Camps, the Edwin Bacons, Captain Wynne, and Mrs. Westmoreland were there. . . . Mrs. Westmoreland says she gave Captain Sailes a letter of introduction to me, thinking I had gone back to Washington [Georgia– her home town]. He and John Garnett, one of our far-off Virginia cousins, have been transferred there.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

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February 12– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– The Electoral College meets and officials re-elects President Lincoln as President of the United States in accord with the popular vote of last November. It is Lincoln’s 56th birthday.

February 12– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– “The nation has begun its exodus from worse than Egyptian bondage; and I beseech you that you say to the people that they go forward. With the assurance of God’s favor in all things done in obedience to his righteous will, and guided by day and by night by the pillars of cloud and fire, let us not pause until we have reached the other and safe side of the stormy and crimson sea. Let freemen and patriots mete out complete and equal justice to all men and thus prove to mankind the superiority of our democratic, republican government. Favored men, and honored of God as his instruments, speedily finish the work which he has given you to do. Emancipate, enfranchise, educate, and give the blessings of the gospel to every American citizen. . . . Then before us a path of prosperity will open, and upon us will descend the mercies and favors of God. Then shall the people of other countries, who are standing tiptoe on the shores of every ocean, earnestly looking to see the end of this amazing conflict, behold a Republic that is sufficiently strong to outlive the ruin and desolations of civil war, having the magnanimity to do justice to the poorest and weakest of her citizens. Thus shall we give to the world the form of a model Republic, founded on the principles of justice and humanity and Christianity, in which the burdens of war and the blessings of peace are equally borne and enjoyed by all.” ~ Sermon preached in the House of Representatives by Reverend Henry Highland Garnet, a former slave and now pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., making him the first African American to speak in the Capitol Building.

15th Street Presbyterian Church, circa 1899

15th Street Presbyterian Church, circa 1899

February 12– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright, windy, cold, and disagreeable. There was nothing new at the department this morning. Nothing from below; nothing from South Carolina. Perhaps communications are cut between this and Charleston. All are anxious to hear the result of the anticipated battle with Sherman, for somehow all know that the order to fight him was sent from Richmond more than a week ago. People’s thoughts very naturally now dwell upon the proximate future, and the alternatives likely to be presented in the event of the abandonment of Richmond, and consequently Virginia, by Lee’s army. Most of the male population would probably (if permitted) elect to remain at their homes, braving the fate that might await them. But the women are more patriotic, and would brave all in following the fortunes of the Confederate States Government. Is this because they do not participate in the hardships and dangers of the field? But many of our men are weary and worn, and languish for repose. These would probably remain quiescent on parole, submitting to the rule of the conqueror; but hoping still for foreign intervention or Confederate victories, and ultimate independence. Doubtless Lee could protract the war, and, by concentrating farther South, embarrass the enemy by compelling him to maintain a longer line of communication by land and by sea, and at the same time be enabled to fall upon him, as occasion might offer, in heavier force. No doubt many would fall out of the ranks, if Virginia were abandoned; but Lee could have an army of 100,000 effective men for years.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

February 12– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “No church service today near enough for me to attend so I remained in camp. Attended inspection, dress parade, etc. Last night a glee club from one of the Regiments near gave me a fine serenade. I am much favored by the musical talent of the Army. Well, it makes this life pleasant and even enjoyable and we are better men and soldiers for cultivating a taste for fine things.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

February 12– Sunday– near the North Edisto River, South Carolina– “A severe fight took place, which ended in the rout of the foe; two pontoon bridges were thrown across and about 6 o’clock the crossing commenced . . . . I remained at the bridge until near midnight, then rode out to camp. The concentration of the army at the bridge gave me an opportunity of seeing the captured horses and mules ridden by foragers, and it was with surprise I noted the great number already captured.” ~ Diary of a staff officer serving under Union General Oliver O. Howard.

slave religious service

slave religious service

February 12– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “Spring is already breaking in this heavenly climate, and the weather has been lovely to-day. The yellow jessamine buds begin to show their golden tips, forget-me-nots are peeping from under the wire grass, and the old cherry tree by the dairy is full of green leaves. Spring is so beautiful; I don’t wonder the spring poet breaks loose then. Our ‘piney woods’ don’t enjoy a very poetical reputation, but at this season they are the most beautiful place in the world to me. I went over to the quarter after dinner, to the ‘Praise House,’ to hear the Negroes sing, but most of them had gone to walk on the river bank, so I did not get a full choir. At their ‘praise meetings’ they go through with all sorts of motions in connection with their songs, but they won’t give way to their wildest gesticulations or engage in their sacred dances before white people, for fear of being laughed at. They didn’t get out of their seats while I was there, but whenever the ‘sperrit’ of the song moved them very much, would pat their feet and flap their arms and go through with a number of motions that reminded me of the game of ‘Old Dame Wiggins’ that we used to play when we were children. They call these native airs ‘little speritual songs,’ in contradistinction to the hymns that the preachers read to them in church, out of a book, and seem to enjoy them a great deal more. I mean to make a collection of these songs some day and keep them as a curiosity. The words are mostly endless repetitions, with a wild jumble of misfit Scriptural allusions, but the tunes are inspiring. They are mostly a sort of weird chant that makes me feel all out of myself when I hear it way in the night, too far off to catch the words. I wish I was musician enough to write down the melodies; they are worth preserving.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

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

So Many of My Friends Falling ~ Alva Benjamin Spencer

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

Sherman marching through South Carolina

Sherman marching through South Carolina

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beatrice Tanner a/k/a Mrs Patrick Campbell

Beatrice Tanner a/k/a Mrs Patrick Campbell

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

John S Rock

John S Rock

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

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

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

Alva Benjamin Spencer

Alva Benjamin Spencer

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

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

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

coatee dress, 1865

coatee dress, 1865

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

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

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

Richard Gardiner Willis

Richard Gardiner Willis

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

Busy Tearing up the Railroad ~ a Union officer

skirmishing in South Carolina

skirmishing in South Carolina

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

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

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

Isabella Beeton

Isabella Beeton

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

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

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

13th_Amendment_Pg1of1_AC

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

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

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

Waiting for the Hour, a gift to President Lincoln

Waiting for the Hour, a gift to President Lincoln

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

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

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

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

Governor Andrew Magrath of South Carolina

Governor Andrew Magrath of South Carolina

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

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

typical of the South Carolina railroads destroyed by Federal Troops

typical of the South Carolina railroads destroyed by Federal Troops

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

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

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

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

Henry McDaniel

Henry McDaniel

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

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

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

Dr Esther H Hawks

Dr Esther H Hawks

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

Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel

After Eighty Years of Wandering ~ February 1865~ 4th to 6th

After Eighty Years of Wandering ~ William Lloyd Garrison

1850_Liberator_HammattBillings_design

As the constitutional amendment begins to be ratified, Garrison, the radical abolitionist, speaks publicly about the long struggle. Some Southerners see the amendment only fueling the flames of on-going war. Lincoln reports, sadly, to his cabinet about the failed peace effort. Whitman is back in Washington, visiting wounded soldiers and working for his brother’s release. Fighting in South Carolina escalates.

February 4– Saturday– Boston, Massachusetts– “At last, after eighty years of wandering and darkness, of cruelty and oppression, on a colossal scale, towards a helpless and on unoffending race, of necromancy to all the Heaven-attested principles enunciated by our revolutionary sires in justification of their course; through righteous judgment and fiery retribution; through national dismemberment and civil war; through suffering, bereavement and lamentation, extending to every city, town, village and hamlet, almost every household in the land; through a whole generation of Anti-Slavery warning, expostulation and rebuke, resulting in wide spread contrition and repentance; the nation, rising in the majesty of its moral power and political sovereignty, has decreed that liberty shall be ‘Proclaimed throughout all the land, to all the Inhabitants thereof,’ and that henceforth no such anomalous being as slaveholder or slave shall exist beneath the stars and stripes, within the domains of the republic . . . . friends and strangers stop me in the streets, daily, to congratulate me on having been permitted to live to witness the almost miraculous change which has taken place in the feelings and sentiments of the people on the subject of slavery, and in favor of the long rejected but ever just and humane doctrine of immediate and universal emancipation. Ah, sir, no man living better understands or more joyfully recognizes the vastness of that change than I do. But most truly can I say that it causes within me no feeling of personal pride or exultation. God forbid! But I am unspeakably happy to believe, not only that this vast assembly, but that the great mass of my countrymen are now heartily disposed to admit that, in disinterestedly seeking, by all righteous instrumentalities, for more than thirty years, the utter abolition of slavery, I have not acted the part of a madman, fanatic, incendiary, or traitor, but have at all times been of sound mind, a true friend of liberty and humanity, animated by the highest patriotism, and devoted to the welfare, peace, unity, and ever increasing prosperity and glory of my native land!” ~ Speech by William Lloyd Garrison.

William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

February 4– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “There was yesterday no meeting of the Cabinet. This morning the members were notified to meet at twelve meridian. All were punctually on hand. The President with Mr. Seward got home this morning. Both speak of the interview with the Rebel commissioners as having been pleasant and without acrimony. Seward did not meet or have interview with them until the President arrived. No results were obtained, but the discussion will be likely to tend to peace. In going the President acted from honest sincerity and without pretension. Perhaps this may have a good effect, and perhaps other-wise. He thinks he better than any agent can negotiate and arrange. Seward wants to do this.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

February 4– Saturday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, That our senators and representatives in congress be requested to procure, if possible, an amendment to the act of congress, approved June 3rd, 1864, entitled ‘An act to provide a national currency, secured by a pledge of United States bonds, and to provide for the circulation and redemption thereof,’ so as to allow state banks having branches to become national banking associations under the said act, and still use a portion of their capital for banking purposes and keep offices of discount and deposit at the several places where such branches are now located. Resolved further, That the president of the senate and speaker of the house of delegates be directed to certify and forward a copy of these resolutions to each of our senators and representatives in congress.” ~ Adopted by the state legislature.

February 4– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “As you see by the date of this, I am again back in Washington. I spend a portion of my time around among the Hospitals as formerly. I find quite a good many bad old lingering wounds, & also a good many down with sickness of one sort or another & the latter are receiving accessions every day– especially as they appear to be breaking up the Corps Hospitals in front, down in Grant’s army– a good many of the men have been sent up here– day before yesterday I saw a string of over a hundred ambulances, bringing up the men from the depot, to distribute them around to the different Hospitals. My health is pretty good, & I remain in good spirits considering. I have a little employment here, of three or four hours every day. It is regular, & sufficiently remunerative. Sundays I spend most of the day in the Hospitals– during the week a few hours from time to time, & occasionally in the evening.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend Abby H. Price.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

February 4– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I am once more safely in camp, after having undergone the most disagreeable hardship I ever experienced. Just think of my being on the road since the morning of the 26th. I missed connection at the first depot, and at every other junction between Georgia and Virginia. I found my brigade just returned from another raid in the direction of Weldon. They were very much fatigued, and represented the trip as having been much more severe than the former. I was fortunate in missing it, don’t you think so? above all they are not whipped. While the people (a part of them) are ready for reconstruction. The soldiers are very much displeased with the situation of affairs in Georgia, and I expect some of them, will receive some raking documents.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

February 4– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We have heretofore stated that the entire industry and property of the Cotton States rested upon their great products– cotton, rice and sugar. It is not to be supposed that any man who sells a cake of soap, or drives a ten-penny nail, is a political economist. We all know that grog-shop keepers are, by right of possession, and prima facie, statesmen. It is the privilege of their profession to talk as much nonsense as bad liquor and a maudlin state of brains can induce them to utter. We shall not, therefore, attempt to enlighten upon an abstruse question, those who have not laid the foundations of knowledge upon which we might hope to build our argument comprehensible to them. But for men who desire to think who are in earnest to arrive at the bottom of the truths which now press upon us, and upon our posterity after us, we will illustrate the truth of the political aphorism, with which we have headed our article this morning – that all property comes out of the ground – and the industry, labor and property of the Cotton States is based upon its products – cotton, rice and sugar.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

February 4– Friday– southern South Carolina– “Marched to the Salkehatchie; camped near Buford’s Bridge. General Howard having fought his way across at Binnaker’s Bridge, this strong point was abandoned without a struggle. We had, however, to rebuild the causeway across the marsh that borders the river. This causeway, two miles in length and containing twenty-seven small bridges over the little rivers of the marsh.” ~ Diary of a staff officer under Union General Oliver O. Howard.

Union General Oliver O Howard

Union General Oliver O Howard

February 5– Sunday– New York City– “I most cheerfully write the note you request to General Grant, though I do not know that it will be of any service. I enclose it to you, for the reason that in the new aspect of the Exchange question you may not think it worth mailing. Since your letter was written, the statement has been published (and you have doubtless seen it) that Grant has made the arrangements for a general exchange which is to be begun immediately, and carried on with all possible promptitude. It may be, and I trust will be, that under these circumstances your brother will be at once exchanged in the general mode. However, I leave this for you to decide by what you may have heard when you get this. Hoping you are now in health and that your lost brother may soon be restored to you and his mother.” ~ Letter from John Swinton to Walt Whitman.

John Swinton

John Swinton

February 5– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “Went to church at Mt. Enon, and did my best to listen to Dr. Hillyer, but there were so many troops passing along the road that I could keep neither thoughts nor my eyes from wandering. Jim Chiles came home to dinner with us. He always has so much news to tell that he is as good as the county paper, and much more reliable. I have a letter from Lily Legriel asking me to make her a visit before I go home. She is refugeeing in Macon, and I think I will stop a few days as I pass through.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

February 6– Monday– Augusta County, Virginia– “We have little or nothing to do. How do you like your berth by this time. Have they done anything with you for staying at home over your time? I am anxious to hear about this and you must write immediately. I have not heard from home since you left. Expect a letter daily. What do you think of Peace by this time? I think that before bright Spring shall unfold her sunny wings the loud toxin of war will have peaked her clamor and peace and harmony will reign once more in our beloved land. At least this is my hope. Oh! would it not be delightful for us all to be gathered at home once more and pursue the peaceful avocations of life. You and I would again devote ourselves to our books and attempt to make ourselves men. You must write soon I will be anxious to hear from you.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier A.M. Chacky to his brother Ed.

February 6– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “There was a Cabinet-meeting last evening. The President had matured a scheme which he hoped would be successful in promoting peace. It was a proposition for paying the expenses of the war for two hundred days, or four hundred millions, to the Rebel States, to be for the extinguishment of slavery, or for such purpose as the States were disposed. This in few words was the scheme. It did not meet with favor, but was dropped. The earnest desire of the President to conciliate and effect peace was manifest, but there may be such a thing as so overdoing as to cause a distrust or adverse feeling. In the present temper of Congress the proposed measure, if a wise one, could not be carried through successfully.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

February 6– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “As you see by the date of this, I am back again in Washington, moving around regularly, but not to excess, among the hospitals. . . . My health is pretty good, but since I was prostrated last July, I have not had that unconscious and perfect health I formerly had. The physician says my system has been penetrated by the malaria– it is tenacious, peculiar and somewhat baffling– but tells it will go over in due time. It is my first appearance in the character of a man not entirely well. The talk here is about the late Peace Conference– the general statement accepted is that it has been a failure and a bubble– even the war is to go on worse than ever– but I find a few shrewd persons whose theory is that it is not at all sure of its being a failure– they say that the President and Mr. Seward are willing to avoid at present the tempest of rage which would beat about their heads, if it were known among the Radicals that Peace, Amnesty, every thing, were given up to the Rebels on the single price of re-assuming their place in the Union– so the said shrewd ones say the thing is an open question yet. For my part I see no light or knowledge in any direction on the matter of the conference, or what it amounted to, or where it left off. I say nothing, and have no decided opinion about it– not even a guess (but rather leaning to the generally accepted statement above). My dear friend, I haven’t your last letter at hand to see whether there is anything that needs special answer. I hope to hear from you often.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend John Townsend Trowbridge.

John Townsend Trowbridge

John Townsend Trowbridge

February 6– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and frosty. As I supposed, the peace commissioners have returned from their fruitless errand. President Lincoln and Mr. Seward, it appears, had nothing to propose, and would listen to nothing but unconditional submission. The Congress of the United States has just passed, by a two-thirds vote, an amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery. Now the South will soon be fired up again, perhaps with a new impulse– and WAR will rage with greater fury than ever.~ Diary of John Jones.

February 6– Monday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The recent movements of the enemy have been much delayed by the recent rains. On Thursday last the hostile forces were on opposite banks of the Salkahatchie, our own troops having fortified the bridges and principal fords. Too much reliance, it seems, was placed upon the effectiveness of the river and the swamps which skirt it, as a bar to the enemy progress. On Friday afternoon, the Yankees plunged, waist deep, into the stream, between Broxton and Rivers’ Bridges, and also above Rivers’ Bridge, thus flanking our defensive positions with a heavy column on either side, and compelling our troops to fall back to Branchville, behind the Edisto. Previous, however, to our retreat, the fighting at Rivers’ Bridge was quite sharp, and lasted several hours. It was rumored yesterday that the 47th Georgia Regiment had suffered severely at this point. During Thursday Wheeler did good service, holding the enemy in check and inflicting severe damage upon him. The Augusta train came through last evening, but the train from Charleston did not go farther than Branchville. Our readers need not be surprised to hear today that Sherman has struck the main stem of the South Carolina Railroad, at some point above Branchville.” ~ Charleston Mercury.