Tag Archives: Union generals

August 1 to 17 ~ Election Year 1864

Woman making American Flag

In the midst of his bid for re-election, President Lincoln must deal with divisions within his own party, hostility from those who favor peace, an opposition candidate who is a general in the Union Army, handling diplomacy, encouraging immigration and citizen peace initiatives. Quietly he considers the possibility of losing the election, while encouraging Generals Grant and Sherman and receiving a great victory from the Union Navy.

August 1– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President went yesterday to Fortress Monroe to meet General Grant, by prior arrangement, which made me distrust final operations at Petersburg, for if such were the fact, he could not well be absent.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 2– Tuesday– New York City– “Clement C. Clay, of Alabama, is one of the very meanest of those mean conspirators who helped Davis, Toombs & Co. to set up their Confederacy of Treason, Slavery and Crime. . . . Such are the actors in the farce, and we see at once, they are none of the common herd, the profanum vulgus, but of the genuine stock of Southern bragadocias; the bloviators of the Confederacy . . . . they have made a great mistake. It is not Mr. Lincoln, but the American people, who reject any terms of compromise whatever. The people and Congress will not allow the Administration to make any other terms than that the rebels shall return unconditionally to an obedience to the laws and Constitution of the United States. It is, therefore, a mere absurdity to be talking about their independence, or their separation intellectual condition, to have set up a rebellion on mere delusion, and think they can end it by proposing impossible terms. . . . The falling leaves of November will find the Confederacy in that decaying state which precedes its final fall and dissolution.” ~ New York Times.

1864 jeff davis nightmare 1765w

August 3– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received the letter which Your Majesty has been pleased to address to me, conveying the melancholy intelligence of the decease, on the 2nd of April last, of the Archduchess Hildegarde, wife of Your Majesty’s well beloved cousin, the Archduke Albrecht. I deeply sympathize in the grief with which this afflicting event has filled Your Majesty, and I pray Your Majesty to accept for yourself, and for Your Royal Family, my cordial condolence. May God have Your Majesty in his holy keeping.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria. This is one of four to European monarchs which Lincoln sends today.

August 3– Wednesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “All the wicked passions of the people seem to be left without restraint– such are some of the fruits of war. How often have I wished that I had with me all the warm advocates of this War to witness with me from day to day the sad effects of war, sufferings enough to melt the Heart.”~ Diary of William King

August 4– Thursday– New York City– In response to President Lincoln’s request for a day of prayer and fasting, many businesses close and many places of worship hold services. A number of churches take up special collections for the Sanitary Commission.

August 5– Friday– New York City– “A more studied outrage on the legislative authority of the people has never been perpetrated. Congress passed a bill; the President refused to approve it, and then by proclamation puts as much of it in force as he sees fit, and proposes to execute those parts by officers unknown to the laws of the United States and not subject to the confirmation of the Senate! The bill directed the appointment of provisional governors by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The President, after defeating such a law, proposes to appoint without law, and without the advice and consent of the Senate, military governors for the rebel States! He has already exercised this dictatorial usurpation in Louisiana, and he defeated the bill to prevent its limitation. . . .The President has greatly presumed on the forbearance which the supporters of his administration have so long practiced, in view of the arduous conflict in which we are engaged, and the reckless ferocity of our political opponents. But he must understand that our support is of a cause and not of a man; that the authority of Congress is paramount and must be respected; and that the whole body of the Union men of Congress will not submit to be impeached by him of rash and unconstitutional legislation; and if he wishes our support, he must confine himself to his executive duties ‘to obey and execute, not makes the laws’ to suppress by arms armed rebellion, and leave political reorganization to Congress. If the supporters of the government fail to insist on this, they become responsible for the usurpations which they fail to rebuke, and are justly liable to the indignation of the people, whose rights and security, committed to their keeping, they sacrifice. Let them consider the remedy for these usurpations, and, having found it, fearlessly execute it!” ~ an attack upon President Lincoln by Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis [known as the “Wade-Davis Manifesto”] which appears in today’s New York Tribune, the paper of Horace Greeley.

August 5– Friday– Mobile, Alabama– Union naval vessels under the command of Admiral Farragut storm past the Confederate forts, sink one Confederate warship and capture two others, thus sealing off the port and leaving the city open to land operations by Federal infantry. At the start of the assault when the lead Federal ship sinks, Farragut allegedly yells out to his crew, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”


Battle of Mobile Bay


August 6– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I remarked that I had seen the Wade and Winter Davis protest. He [President Lincoln] said, Well, let them wriggle, but it was strange that Greeley, whom they made their organ in publishing the protest, approved his course and therein differed from the protestants. The protest is violent and abusive of the President, who is denounced with malignity for what I deem the prudent and wise omission to sign a law prescribing how and in what way the Union shall be reconstructed. . . . In getting up this law it was as much an object of Mr. Winter Davis and some others to pull down the Administration as to reconstruct the Union. I think they had the former more directly in view than the latter. Davis’s conduct is not surprising, but I should not have expected that Wade, who has a good deal of patriotic feeling, common sense, and a strong, though coarse and vulgar, mind, would have lent himself to such a despicable assault on the President. There is, however, an infinity of party and personal intrigue just at this time. A Presidential election is approaching, and there are many aspirants, not only for Presidential but other honors or positions. H. Winter Davis has a good deal of talent but is rash and uncertain. There is scarcely a more ambitious man, and no one that cannot be more safely trusted. He is impulsive and mad and has been acute and contriving in this whole measure and has drawn Wade, who is ardent, and others into it.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 8– Monday– New York City– “Then as if this were not enough, the Political Caldron is seething as if it were much nitric acid in contact with boundless copper filings. There is fearful evolution of irritating offensive gas and Heaven only knows what compound will be generated by the furious reaction of which we now see only the beginning. Peace Democrats and McClellanites are blatant. McClellan, it’s said, will accept no nomination except on a war platform.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 8– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President, in a conversation with Blair and myself on the Wade and Davis protest, remarked that he had not, and probably should not read it. From what was said of it he had no desire to, could himself take no part in such a controversy as they seemed to wish to provoke. Perhaps he is right, provided he has some judicious friend to state to him what there is really substantial in the protest entitled to consideration without the vituperative asperity. The whole subject of what is called reconstruction is beset with difficulty, and while the executive has indicated one course and Congress another, a better and different one than either may be ultimately pursued. I think the President would have done well to advise with his whole Cabinet in the measures he has adopted, not only as to reconstruction or reestablishing the Union, but as to this particular bill and the proclamation he has issued in regard to it. When the Rebellion shall have been effectually suppressed, the Union government will be itself again, ‘re-union will speedily follow in the natural course of events,’ but there are those who do not wish or intend reunion on the principle of political equality of the States. Unless they can furnish the mode and terms, and for fear they may not be successful, various schemes are projected.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles


Gideon Welles


August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “You are requested to place to the credit of the Department of State the sum of $25,000 as appropriated in the seventh section of the Act entitled ‘An Act to encourage immigration,’ approved July 4, 1864.” ~ Directive from President Lincoln to the Secretary of the Treasury. [The amount would equal $389,000 in today’s money, using the Consumer Price Index.

August 9– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “News of Farragut’s having passed Forts Morgan and Gaines was received last night, and sent a thrill of joy through all true hearts. It is not, however, appreciated as it should be by the military.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 9– Tuesday– City Point, Virginia– “Your views about showing no despondency, but keeping the enemy, with his last man now in the field, constantly employed, are the same I have often expressed. We must win, if not defeated at home [in the upcoming election]. Every day exhausts the enemy at least a regiment, without any further population to draw from to replace it, exclusive of the losses in battle.” ~ Letter from Union General Ulysses S. Grant to General William Tecumseh Sherman.


General Ulysses S Grant


August 12– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Thurlow Weed meets with President Lincoln and advises him that “reelection is an impossibility” because the President has angered the Radical Republicans who want harsher measures approved against the South for reconstruction after the war as well as conservative members of the party who worry about the increasing cost and increasing death toll.

August 13– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Had some talk with Senator Lot Morrill, who is a good deal excited, not to say alarmed. The slow progress of our armies, the mismanagement of military affairs exemplified in the recent raids, the factious and discontented spirit manifested by Wade, Winter Davis, and others, have generated a feeling of despondency in which he participates. Others express to me similar feelings. There is no doubt a wide discouragement prevails, from the causes adverted to, and others which have contributed. . . . The worst specimens of . . . wretched politicians are in New York City and State, though they are to be found everywhere. There is not an honest, fair-dealing Administration journal in New York City. A majority of them profess to be Administration, and yet it is without sincerity.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “There have been men base enough to propose to me to return to slavery the black warriors of Port Hudson and Olustee, and thus win the respect of the masters they fought. Should I do so, I should deserve to be damned in time and eternity. Come what will, I will keep my faith with friend and foe. My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am President, it shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy, and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion. Freedom has given us one hundred and fifty thousand [black] men, raised on Southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much it has subtracted from the enemy, and, instead of alienating the South, there are now evidences of a fraternal feeling growing up between our men and the rank and file of the rebel soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is not necessary to a restoration of the Union. I will abide the issue.” ~ President Lincoln in an interview with John T Mills.

August 15– Monday– Washington, D. C.– “From Mobile Bay the news continues favorable. Had Farragut’s preliminary dispatch of the 5th to-day. Have just written a congratulatory letter to him. ” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

August 16– Tuesday– New York City– “The great election of next November looks more and more obscure, dubious and muddled every day. Lincoln is drifting to the leeward. So much is certain. There is rumor of a move by our wire-pullers and secret unofficial governors to make him withdraw in favor of Chase, or somebody else, on whom the whole Republican party (if such a thing exists) can heartily unite. Fremont’s nomination is coldly received here, though it may find favor in Missouri.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

lincoln johnson poster g64

August 17– Wednesday– New York City– “Great complaints , even by the most loyal men, of the shortcomings and mistakes of government and the ‘Peace Democrats’ vocal and truculent in threats of vengeance on Black Republicans and Abolitionists and in talk about revolution and repudiation of the war debt– all which will do them no good.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

August 17– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “I have seen your despatch expressing your unwillingness to break your hold where you are. Neither am I willing. Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Ulysses S Grant.

July ~ Election Year 1864

patriotic cartoon~Lincoln-flag

President Lincoln keeps busy dealing with political opposition, inaction in Congress and problems with his Cabinet. Journalist and activist Horace Greeley fails in his personal effort to negotiate peace with the Confederacy. General Grant’s siege of Richmond/Petersburg area continues while General Sherman makes slow, steady progress in capturing Atlanta.

July 1– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “At most any other time, the repeal by Congress of the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850 would be the theme of general comment. But it comes now as a matter of course. The signature of the President, perfectly certain, is now all that is needed to make the repeal a law.” ~ The Liberator.

July 1–Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln appoints William Pitt Fessenden, Senator from Maine, as Secretary of the Treasury. Fessenden, age 57, a lawyer, politician and financier, has served in the Senate since 1854. [He will serve only until March 3, 1865, when he will return to the Senate, having restored the U S Treasury to a relatively sound condition. Lincoln describes him as “a Radical without the petulant and vicious fretfulness of many Radicals.” He dies in Portland, Maine on September 8, 1869, five weeks before his 63rd birthday.]

1864 lincoln poster

July 2–Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “The last business day of the session, and many of the Members have gone home already. Much is done and omitted to be done during the last hours of Congress. Members do wrong in abandoning their post at these important periods, and no one who does it should be trusted. I am told by the members of our naval committees that all naval matters are rightly done up in the two houses, but I discredit it. Some matters will be lost, and hurried legislation is always attended with errors.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 2– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 6th ultimo, requesting information upon the subject of the African slave trade, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers by which it was accompanied.” ~ Message from President Lincoln to the Senate.

July 5– Tuesday– New York City– Editor Horace Greeley, age 53, a critic of President Lincoln and advocating peace with the South, receives a letter from friends in Canada, asserting that Confederate representatives are available to discuss peace terms. Greeley in turn urges Lincoln to negotiate.


Horace Greeley


July 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Telegrams this a.m. inform us that the pirate Alabama was sunk on the 19th of June off Cherbourg by the steamer Kearsarge, Commodore Winslow, after a fight of one hour and a half. Informed the President and Cabinet of the tidings, which was a matter of general congratulation and rejoicing. . . . The President appeared more constrained and formal than usual.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 5– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws, do hereby declare that in my judgment the public safety especially requires that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, so proclaimed in the said proclamation of the 15th of September, 1863, be made effectual and be duly enforced in and throughout the said State of Kentucky, and that martial law be for the present established therein. I do therefore hereby require of the military officers in the said State that the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus be effectually suspended within the said State, according to the aforesaid proclamation, and that martial law be established therein, to take effect from the date of this proclamation, the said suspension and establishment of martial law to continue until this proclamation shall be revoked or modified, but not beyond the period when the said rebellion shall have been suppressed or come to an end. And I do hereby require and command as well all military officers as all civil officers and authorities existing or found within the said State of Kentucky to take notice of this proclamation and to give full effect to the same. The martial law herein proclaimed and the things in that respect herein ordered will not be deemed or taken to interfere with the holding of lawful elections, or with the proceedings of the constitutional legislature of Kentucky, or with the administration of justice in the courts of law existing therein between citizens of the United States in suits or proceedings which do not affect the military operations or the constituted authorities of the Government of the United States.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

July 5– Tuesday– Roswell, Georgia– Federal cavalry under the command of General Kenner Garrard arrives to find the bridge across the Chattahoochee River had been burned by withdrawing Confederate soldiers. Garrard orders his troopers to commence burning all the mills and industrial buildings in town. According to his report, one of the cotton mills destroyed today contained over one million dollars worth of machinery and employed four-hundred workers.

July 6– Wednesday– Washington, D. C.– “Received dispatches to-day from Captain Winslow of the Kearsarge relative to sinking the Alabama. Wrote congratulatory letter. There is great rejoicing throughout the country over this success, which is universally and justly conceded a triumph over England as well as over the Rebels. . . . Our large smooth-bore guns, the Dahlgrens, have been ridiculed and denounced by the enemies of the Navy Department, but the swift destruction of the Alabama is now imputed to the great guns which tore her in pieces.”~ Diary of Gideon Welles.


USS Kearsarge


July 7– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, cordially concurring with the Congress of the United States in the penitential and pious sentiments expressed in the aforesaid resolution and heartily approving of the devotional design and purpose thereof, do hereby appoint the first Thursday of August next to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of national humiliation and prayer.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln

July 8– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln vetoes the Wade-Davis reconstruction bill.

July 9– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “If you can find any person, anywhere, professing to have any proposition of Jefferson Davis in writing, for peace, embracing the restoration of the Union and abandonment of slavery, whatever else it embraces, say to him he may come to me with you; and that if he really brings such proposition, he shall at the least have safe conduct with the paper (and without publicity, if he chooses) to the point where you shall have to meet him. The same if there be two or more persons.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln to Horace Greeley.

July 12– Washington, D.C.– “I suppose you received my letter of the 9th. I have just received yours . . . and am disappointed by it. I was not expecting you to send me a letter, but to bring me a man, or men.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Horace Greeley.


July 12– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “What sufferings have been occasioned by this sad, useless war– how much happier would we all be had not the political demagogues North and South been permitted to force this war upon a happy, prosperous people.” ~ Diary of William King.

July 15– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The passage of the bill by Congress which takes from the States formally declared to be in rebellion the right to participate in the next Presidential election will reduce the votes in the electoral college to be chosen next November to two hundred and forty-one. The States thus excluded are Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida– eleven in all, comprising eighty-nine electoral votes, were they in a condition to cast them. Three territories have been authorized to form State governments, but none of them will have time to do so in season to vote at the next Presidential election, and one of them (Nebraska) has already declined this tender of the privilege of becoming a State.” ~ The Liberator.

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

July 18– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln calls for a half million more volunteers, in large part because of the large number of casualties suffered in Virginia and Georgia.

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

July 22– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Copperheads seem to neglect a great argument which might be used against Mr. Lincoln. It is from a recent speech of Hon. J. L. M. Curry, the Secession leader of Alabama. ‘Should Lincoln be re-elected,’ says Mr. Curry, ‘our fond hopes will be dashed to the ground.’ This is an argument the Copperheads neglect to use.” ~ The Liberator.


July 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “At the Cabinet-meeting the President read his correspondence with Horace Greeley on the subject of peace propositions from George Saunders and others at Niagara Falls. The President has acquitted himself very well– if he was to engage in the matter at all– but I am sorry that he permits himself, in this irregular way, to be induced to engage in correspondence with irresponsible parties like Saunders and Clay or scheming busybodies like Greeley. . . . Greeley is one of those who has done and is doing great harm and injustice in this matter. In this instance he was evidently anxious to thrust himself forward as an actor, and yet when once engaged he began to be alarmed; he failed to honestly and frankly communicate the President’s first letters, as was his duty, but sent a letter of his own, which was not true and correct, and found himself involved in the meshes of his own frail net.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

July 23– Saturday– New York City– “I will not let myself doubt the final issue. What further humiliation and disaster, public and private, we must suffer before we reach the end, God only knows; but this shabbiest and basest of rebellions cannot be destined to triumph.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 24– Sunday– Mansfield, Ohio– “We all feel that upon Grant and you, and the armies under your command, the fate of this country depends. If you are successful, it is ardently hoped that peace may soon follow with a restored union. If you fail, the wisest can hope for nothing but a long train of disasters and the strife of factious.” ~ Letter from Senator John Sherman to his brother General William Tecumseh Sherman.

July 26– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “We expect to await your program for further changes and promotions in your army. My profoundest thanks to you and your whole army for the present campaign so far.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

July 28– Thursday– Lowell, Massachusetts– “As to our situation here, you are doubtless well informed. My own feeling has always been confident, and it is now hopeful. If Mr. Lincoln is re-chosen, I think the war will soon be over. If not, there will be attempts at negotiation, during which the rebels will recover breath, and then war again with more chances in their favor. Just now everything looks well. The real campaign is clearly in Georgia, and Grant has skillfully turned all eyes to Virginia by taking the command there in person. Sherman is a very able man, in dead earnest, and with a more powerful army than that of Virginia. It is true that the mercantile classes are longing for peace, but I believe the people are more firm than ever. So far as I can see, the opposition to Mr. Lincoln is both selfish and factious, but it is much in favor of the right side that the Democratic party have literally not so much as a single plank of principle to float on, and the sea runs high. They don’t know what they are in favor of – hardly what they think it safe to be against. And I doubt if they will gain much by going into an election on negatives. I attach some importance to the peace negotiation at Niagara (ludicrous as it was) as an indication of despair on the part of the rebels . . . . Don’t be alarmed about Washington. The noise made about it by the Copperheads is enough to show there is nothing dangerous in any rebel movements in that direction. I have no doubt that Washington is as safe as Vienna. What the Fremont defection may accomplish I can’t say, but I have little fear from it. Its strength lies solely among our German Radicals, the most impracticable of mankind. If our population had been as homogeneous as during the Revolutionary war, our troubles would have been over in a year. All our foreign trading population have no fatherland but the till, and have done their best to destroy our credit. All our snobs, too, are Secesh.” ~ Letter from James Russell Lowell to his friend John Lothrop Motley, American Minister to the Austrian Empire.


James Russell Lowell


July 29– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “‘A Bridge from Slavery to Freedom’ is the title of an able speech (printed in pamphlet form) delivered by Honorable Charles Sumner, in the United States Senate, on the bill to establish a Bureau of Freedmen, June 13th, 14th and 15th, 1864.” ~ The Liberator.

June ~ Election Year 1864

Woman making American Flag

The Republican Party splits and a rival faction supports John C Fremont for president while the mainline Republicans nominate Lincoln for re-election and approves a platform which the President likes, including a proposal for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. Within Lincoln’s cabinet, his Secretary of the Navy comments on the President’s gentle attitude toward the Confederate leaders and the Treasury Secretary resigns. War news from Virginia and from Georgia is not particularly encouraging but at sea the Union Navy wins a major victory. Black soldiers prove their worth while a racist Confederate general denies the atrocity at Fort Pillow.

June 1– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “We have to-day the results of a meeting of strange odds and ends of parties, and factions, and disappointed and aspiring individuals at Cleveland. Fremont is nominated as their candidate for President and John Cochrane for Vice-President. The gathering had the nomination of Fremont in view, though other objects were professed. . . . This war is extraordinary in all its aspects and phases, and no man was prepared to meet them. It is much easier for the censorious and factious to complain than to do right. I have often thought that greater severity might well be exercised, and yet it would tend to barbarism. No traitor has been hung. I doubt if there will be, but an example should be made of some of the leaders, for present and for future good. They may, if taken, be imprisoned or driven into exile, but neither would be lasting. Parties would form for their relief, and ultimately succeed in restoring the worst of them to their homes and the privileges they originally enjoyed. Death is the proper penalty and atonement, and will be enduringly beneficent in its influence. There was, moreover, an aristocratic purpose in this Rebellion. An aristocracy of blood and wealth was to have been established. Consequently a contrary effect would work benignantly. Were a few of the leaders to be stripped of their possessions, and their property confiscated, their families impoverished, the result would be salutary in the future. But I apprehend there will be very gentle measures in closing up the Rebellion. The authors of the enormous evils that have been inflicted will go unpunished, or will be but slightly punished.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 1– Wednesday– Atlanta, Georgia– “A little nearer each day, and each day the cannons are heard more distinctly. Sherman flanks and fortifies, and Johnston falls back. . . . But a short distance from my house the militia are stationed. They are composed mostly of men past the conscript age, who had a right to expect exemption from camp life. Many of them, too, have opposed this war from the beginning and have passed through the fires of treason unscathed in soul.” ~ Diary of Cyrena Stone, a Union sympathizer.


General Sherman


June 2– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– “There is intense anxiety in relation to the Army of the Potomac. Great confidence is felt in Grant, but the immense slaughter of our brave men chills and sickens us all. The hospitals are crowded with the thousands of mutilated and dying heroes who have poured out their blood for the Union cause. Lee has returned to the vicinity of Richmond, overpowered by numbers, beaten but hardly defeated.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, . . . . I do not feel as first rate as usual. . . . I believe I am homesick, something new for me, then I have seen all the horrors of soldier’s life & not been kept up by its excitement– it is awful to see so much, & not be able to relieve it.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

June 3– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “For several days the delegates to the National Convention have been coming in. Had a call from several. Met a number at the President’s. All favor the President. There is a spirit of discontent among the Members of Congress, stirred up, I think, by the Treasury Department. Chase has his flings and insinuations against the President’s policy, or want of policy. Nothing suits him.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 4– Saturday– New York City– “The moderate tone of all his [Grant’s] despatches is a most favorable sign. It indicates that he is a man of business and work, that he knows the worth of facts and of results accomplished, and the importance of results not yet attained, and that he cares little for talk or telling bulletins. I begin to rate Grant very high.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.


General Grant


June 4– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “There has been continued fighting, though represented as not very important. Still there is heavy loss, but we are becoming accustomed to the sacrifice. Grant has not great regard for human life.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 7– Tuesday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Republican Party adopts a campaign platform which includes resolutions “to do everything in our power to aid the Government in quelling by force of arms the Rebellion now raging against its authority, and in bringing to the punishment due to their crimes the Rebels and traitors arrayed against it . . . . That as slavery was the cause, and now constitutes the strength of this Rebellion, and as it must be, always and everywhere, hostile to the principles of Republican Government, justice and the National safety demand its utter and complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic; and that, while we uphold and maintain the acts and proclamations by which the Government, in its own defense, has aimed a deathblow at this gigantic evil, we are in favor, furthermore, of such an amendment to the Constitution, to be made by the people in conformity with its provisions, as shall terminate and forever prohibit the existence of Slavery”; benefits for disabled veterans and provision for widows and orphans of deceased soldiers; “that the Government owes to all men employed in its armies, without regard to distinction of color, the full protection of the laws of war—and that any violation of these laws, or of the usages of civilized nations in time of war, by the Rebels now in arms, should be made the subject of prompt and full redress;” to encourage immigration; to encourage speedy construction of a railroad to the Pacific coast and to do all necessary to discourage European efforts to re-establish monarchy in the Americas, a provision aimed at French intervention in Mexico.

June 8– Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland–In its convention, the Republican Party, on the fourth ballot, nominates President Lincoln for president and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee for vice-president.

June 9– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– “I will neither conceal my gratification nor restrain the expression of my gratitude that the Union people, through their convention, in their continued effort to save and advance the nation, have deemed me not unworthy to remain in my present position.” ~ President Lincoln’s reply to the committee recommending nomination.


President Lincoln


June 10– Friday– Cold Harbor, Virginia– “May God forgive the men who brought about this war. I fear I shall yet hate them.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 10– Friday– Atlanta, Georgia– “Fast day again! Stores are closed and all business suspended. . . . From over the hills, the cannons boom, boom, and in the skies above there are mighty thunderings, the rumblings of God’s chariot wheels.”~ Diary of Cyrena Stone, who is a Union sympathizer.

June 11– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “We have heard to-day that Lincoln was nominated for re-election at Baltimore on the 7th instant . . . . Fremont is now pledged to run also, thus dividing the Republican party, and giving an opportunity for the Democrats to elect a President. If we can only subsist till then, we may have peace, and must have independence at all events.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

June 11– Saturday– Cherbourg, France–The Confederate warship Alabama arrives for refitting. The U S vice-counsel protests to the French government for allowing the ship to enter the harbor and sends notice to the U S warship Kearsage in an English port.

June 13– Monday– New York City– “Among the most gratifying developments of the Baltimore Convention was the unanimity exhibited in favor of a Constitutional amendment making a universal and perpetual end of Slavery. . . . The rebellion sprang so directly from Slavery, and was so closely connected with Slavery in all of its objects and policies, that it was not possible to make war against the rebellion with a whole heart, and yet remain well affected toward Slavery.” ~ New York Times.

June 14– Tuesday– Off the coast of Cherbourg, France– The U.S.S. Kearsarge arrives and prepares to engage C. S. S. Alabama as soon as the rebels leave the port and enter international waters.

June 15–Wednesday– Petersburg, Virginia–Black Union soldiers, attacking under heavy fire, overwhelm a Confederate position called Fort Walker, a Confederate artillery position of nine canon with infantry support. During the attack, the Confederates yell taunts at the black soldiers. When the Union force takes the position, they shoot all the Confederates, even those attempting to surrender. The Union men yell “Remember Fort Pillow!” Over 200 Confederate soldiers die.


African American Union soldiers


June 16– Thursday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “War at the best is terrible, and this of ours in its magnitude and duration is one of the most terrible the world has ever known. . . . It has caused mourning among us until the heavens may almost be said to be hung in black. And yet it continues. . . . When is this war to end? I do not wish to name the day when it will end, lest the end should not come at the given time. We accepted this war, and did not begin it. We accepted it for an object, and when that object is accomplished the war will end, and I hope to God that it will never end until that object is accomplished. We are going through with our task, so far as I am concerned, if it takes us three years longer.” ~ Speech by President Lincoln at the Philadelphia Sanitary Fair.

June 17– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “From statements that have been made to me by colored soldiers who were eye-witnesses, it would seem that the massacre of Fort Pillow had been reproduced at the late affair at Brice’s Cross-Roads. . . . If true and not disavowed they must lead to consequences hereafter fearful to contemplate. . . . If it is contemplated by the Confederate Government to murder all colored troops that may by the chance of war fall into their hands, as was the case at Fort Pillow, it is but fair that it should be freely and frankly avowed. Within the last six weeks I have on two occasions sent colored troops into the field from this point. In the expectation that the Confederate Government would disavow the action of the commanding general at the Fort Pillow massacre I have forborne to issue any instructions to the colored troops as to the course they should pursue toward Confederate soldiers that might fall into their hands; but seeing no disavowal on the part of the Confederate Government, but on the contrary laudations from the entire Southern press of the perpetrators of the massacre, I may safely presume that indiscriminate slaughter is to be the fate of colored troops that fall into your hands; but I am not willing to leave a matter of such grave import and involving consequences so fearful to inference, and I have therefore thought it proper to address you this, believing that you will be able to indicate the policy that the Confederate Government intends to pursue hereafter on this question. . . . Up to this time no troops have fought more gallantly and none have conducted themselves with greater propriety. They have fully vindicated their right (so long denied) to be treated as men. . . . For the government of the colored troops under my command I would thank you to inform me, with as little delay as possible, if it is your intention or the intention of the Confederate Government to murder colored soldiers that may fall into your hands, or treat them as prisoners of war and subject to be exchanged as other prisoners.” ~ Letter from Union General Cadwaller Colden Washburn to Confederate General Stephen Dill Lee.

June 19– Sunday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “A division of colored soldiers charged . . . but were driven back. They fought well and left many dead on the field. . . . yesterday’s work convinced me that they will fight. So Hurrah for the colored troops.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 19– Sunday– Off the coast of Cherbourg, France–During a battle in international waters, the U S. S. Kearsage sinks the C. S. S. Alabama. However, an English yacht, Deerhound, rescues the captain of the Alabama, causing the U S Minister Charles Francis Adams to file a protest with Her Majesty’s Government. A large crowd on the shore watches the hour long battle.

Kearsarge- v Alabama 2

sinking of the C S S Alabama


June 20– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The President in his intense anxiety has made up his mind to visit General Grant at his headquarters, and left this p.m. at five.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 22– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman, feeling totally exhausted and sick, leaves the city to return to Brooklyn, New York, for some rest and recovery.

June 22– Wednesday– near Petersburg, Virginia– “Yesterday President Lincoln paid us a visit. I did not see him, as I was at the front.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

June 23– Thursday– Tupelo, Mississippi– “I regard your letter [of June 17] as discourteous to the commanding officer of this department, and grossly insulting to myself. You seek by implied threats to intimidate him, and assume the privilege of denouncing me as a murderer and as guilty of the wholesale slaughter of the garrison at Fort Pillow, and found your assertions upon the ex parte testimony of your friends, the enemies of myself and country. I shall not enter into the discussion, therefore, of any of the questions involved nor undertake any refutation of the charges made by you against myself; nevertheless, as a matter of personal privilege alone, I unhesitatingly say that they are unfounded and unwarranted by the facts. But whether these charges are true or false, they, with the question you ask as to whether Negro troops when captured will be recognized and treated as prisoners of war, subject to exchange, &c., are matters which the Government of the United States and Confederate States are to decide and adjust, not their subordinate officers. I regard captured Negroes as I do other captured property and not as captured soldiers, but as to how regarded by my Government and the disposition which has been and will hereafter be made of them, I respectfully refer you through the proper channel to the authorities at Richmond. It is not the policy nor the interest of the South to destroy the Negro– on the contrary, to preserve and protect him– and all who have surrendered to us have received kind and humane treatment.” ~ Letter from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to Union General Cadwaller Colden Washburn.


massacre of black soldiers at Fort Pillow


June 24– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The President was in very good spirits at the Cabinet. His journey has done him good, physically, and strengthened him mentally and inspired confidence in the General and army.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 25– Saturday– Brooklyn, New York– “I write just a line to let you know I got home all safe. I do not feel very well yet, but expect to, or begin to, pretty soon. I send my love to you & Nelly & to Charles Eldridge.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D. O’Connor in Washington, D.C.

June 26– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “How long this kind of war will continue no one knows, but I hope it will stop soon, a great many of our men are becoming sick and broken down. One side or the other will have to stop pretty soon or each army will be very much reduced.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee, Maggie Cone.

June 27– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Your letter of the 14th instant, formally notifying me that I have been nominated by the convention you represent for the Presidency of the United States for four years from the 4th of March next, has been received. The nomination is gratefully accepted, as the resolutions of the convention, called the platform, are heartily approved. . . . I am especially gratified that the soldier and seaman were not forgotten by the convention, as they forever must and will be remembered by the grateful country for whose salvation they devote their lives.” ~ Letter from President Lincoln formally accepting his nomination.


Gideon Welles


June 30– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “All were surprised to-day with the resignation of Secretary Chase and the nomination of Governor David Tod as his successor. I knew nothing of it till the fact was told me by Senator Doolittle, who came to see and advise with me, supposing I knew something of the circumstances. But I was wholly ignorant. . . . It is given out that a disagreement between himself and the President in relation to the appointment of Assistant Treasurer at New York was the cause of his leaving. I think likely that was the occasion of his tendering his resignation, and I have little doubt he was greatly surprised that it was accepted. He may not admit this, but it is none the less true, I apprehend. Yet there were some circumstances to favor his going– there is a financial gulf ahead.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Aiding Soldiers ~ March 1865 ~ 30th to 31st

Aiding Soldiers

black preacher

black preacher

It seems that slaves are not as happy and satisfied as their masters claimed. They are escaping in droves to Union lines, helping Confederate soldiers to desert and Yankees escaping from Southern prisons back to Federal positions. A modicum of Southern social life continues yet many from each side feel that the end draws near.

March 30– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Alexander, slave of William B. Randolph, of Henrico county, was sent to the city yesterday by General Longstreet, and committed to Castle Thunder, upon the charge of aiding soldiers to desert to the enemy from the Confederate services.” ~ Richmond Sentinel

March 30– Thursday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I have endured this life for nearly four years and I sometimes think that I enjoy it. Great events are to happen in a few days and I want to be there to see the end. The end of the war will be the end of slavery and then our land will be the ‘Land of the free.’” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

March 30– Thursday– City Point, Virginia– “I begin to feel that I ought to be at home and yet I dislike to leave without seeing nearer to the end of General Grant’s present movement. He has now been out since yesterday morning and although he has not been diverted from his program no considerable effort has yet been produced so far as we know here. Last night at 10.15 P. M. when it was dark as a rainy night without a moon could be, a furious cannonade soon joined in by a heavy musketry fire opened near Petersburg and lasted about two hours. The sound was very distinct here as also were the flashes of the guns up the clouds. It seemed to me a great battle, but the older hands here scarcely noticed it and sure enough this morning it was found that very little had been done.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

March 30– Thursday– Macon, Georgia– The state legislature has authorized the use of militia on horseback to stop the escape of slaves to Union lines.

March 30– Thursday– Presov, Austrian Empire [now in Slovakia]– Oleksandr Dukhnovych, priest, writer, educator and social activist, dies at age 61.

Oleksandr Dukhnovich

Oleksandr Dukhnovich

March 31– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The Negroes would always assist the fugitives [Union soldiers escaping from Confederate prisons]; give them food, and pilot them to the best routes. They said that their masters generally offered them $25 reward to betray a Yankee. In spite of this tempting reward, they acted the part of the Good Samaritan in all cases. ‘They are,’ say the officers, ‘as true as steel in all cases.’ Captain Timpson says, while waiting at the banks of the Saluda River, pursued by a pack of hounds, the chivalry mounted on horseback, to the number of fifteen or twenty, armed with shot-guns, pursuing them, the slaves on the opposite shore hearing the baying of the hounds, one of them pushed into a boat, and rowed rapidly across. He knew from the sound of the dogs that they were in pursuit of some Yankee fugitives. The barking of the hounds grew louder and nearer, and the officers feared they would be overtaken and devoured before the boat could reach the shore. The faithful Negro pulled for dear life, took the officers into this boat, and bore them in safety beyond the reach of the men-hunters and their natural allies the bloodhounds, at the risk of his own life. He piloted the officers around the pickets, who were lying in wait for them, by which means they escaped. The slaves said: ‘Our masters curse you all the day, but we pray for you every night.’” ~ The Liberator.


March 31– Friday– New York City– “Sherman’s officers say that their campaign was made possible by the order of the rebel government that corn be planted instead of cotton. . . . They marched through a land of groaning corn cribs and granaries, and their men and their animals entered Savannah in better flesh than when they left Atlanta.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 31– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Raining; rained all night. My health improving, but prudence requires me to still keep within the house. The reports of terrific fighting near Petersburg on Wednesday evening have not been confirmed. Although General Lee’s dispatch shows they were not quite without foundation, I have no doubt there was a false alarm on both sides, and a large amount of ammunition vainly expended. . . .We are sinking our gun-boats at Chaffin’s Bluff, to obstruct the passage of the enemy’s fleet, expected soon to advance.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 31– Friday– Albany, Georgia– “Mrs. Callaway gave a large dining, and I wore a pretty new style of head dress Cousin Bessie told me how to make, that was very becoming. It is a small square, about as big as my two hands, made of a piece of black and white lace that ran the blockade, and nobody else has anything like it. One point comes over the forehead, just where the hair is parted, and the opposite one rests on top of the chignon behind, with a bow and ends of white illusion. It has the effect of a Queen of Scots cap, and is very stylish. The dining was rather pleasant. Kate Callaway’s father, Mr. Furlow, was there, with his youngest daughter, Nellie, who is lovely. As we were coming home we passed by a place where the woods were on fire, and were nearly suffocated by the smoke. It was so dense that we could not see across the road. On coming round to the windward of the conflagration it was grand. The smoke and cinders were blown away from us, but we felt the heat of the flames and heard their roaring in the distance. The volumes of red-hot smoke that went up were of every hue, according to the materials burning and the light reflected on them. Some were lurid yellow, orange, red, some a beautiful violet, others lilac, pink, purple or gray, while the very fat lightwood sent up columns of jet-black. The figures of the Negroes, as they flitted about piling up brush heaps and watching the fire on the outskirts of the clearing, reminded me of old-fashioned pictures of the lower regions.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Dr Anandi Gopal Joshi

Dr Anandi Gopal Joshi

March 31– Friday– Kalyan, India– Birth of Anandi Gopal Joshi, who will become in March, 1886, the first South Asian woman to earn a degree as a physician of Western style medicine and probably the first Hindu woman to come to the United States. [Dies February 26, 1887, shortly after her return to India.]

Extreme Peril At This Moment ~ March 1865 ~ 26th to 28th

Extreme Peril at this Moment

petersburg siege images

Civilians and soldiers alike express great concern for the Confederacy. President Lincoln orders a special salute as the Stars and Stripes once again flies over Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. He meets with his two best generals to plan a quick conclusion to the war. George Templeton Strong mocks England for “playing nice” now that it appears the Union shall prevail.

March 26– Sunday– City Point, Virginia– In a public display of temper, Mary Lincoln, who has accompanied her husband on the trip, loudly criticizes her husband for his courtesy to Julia Grant, wife of General Ulysses Grant, and to Mary Ord, wife of General Edward Ord. [John Hay and John Nicolay, President Lincoln’s secretaries, consistently refer privately to Mary Lincoln as “the Hellcat.”]

Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

March 26– Sunday– Goldsborough, North Carolina– “I have the honor to submit a brief report of the operations of the medical department . . . during the campaign commencing with the departure of the army from Pocotaligo and ending in the occupation of the town of Goldsborough. It was not without anxiety that I looked forward to the development of this campaign. The season of the year, the character of the country, and the personal hostility of the citizens all rendered it extremely probable that sickness and large losses would test to the utmost the resources of the medical department of the army. The result of the campaign and the comparatively small loss of life from disease or the efforts of the enemy is a source of gratification. The army left Pocotaligo unencumbered with sick or wounded, all such cases being left in the U.S. general hospitals at Savannah and Beaufort. Full supplies were drawn and were replenished at Columbia, S.C. Notwithstanding the bad weather, bad roads, and the necessary exposure of the campaign, the ratio per 1,000 of men unfit for duty during the campaign has been but 49.26. At no time have we been seriously pressed for accommodation for our sick and wounded. After the affair at Rivers’ Bridge, S. C., we were enabled to send to the rear many of the sick and wounded on hand, and again at Fayetteville, N. C., 150 were sent by transports to Wilmington, N. C. The country has furnished a large abundance of nutritious food, and the appearance of the men does not indicate suffering on that account. The hardships of the march have wearied them, and a period of rest is imperatively needed. The heaviest engagement of the campaign fortunately occurred so near the termination of the march as to give us no inconvenience in the removal of the wounded. Our loss in wounded on that occasion was 263. Provision has been made for the sick and wounded in this town until such time as they can be safely removed to general hospitals. . . . It is unnecessary for me to say more for the medical staff of the army than that all duties pertaining to it have been discharged with the usual promptitude, cheerfulness, and fidelity.” ~ Report from Union Dr. D. L. Huntington, Acting Medical Director, to General William Tecumseh Sherman.

field hospital

field hospital

March 26– Sunday– along the Atlantic coast, heading to City Point, Virginia–”The railroad was finished yesterday into Goldsboro and I came down to Newbern and Morehead City and am now in a fleet blockade runner on my way to meet General Grant at City Point to confer on some points, when I shall forthwith go back to Goldsboro and get ready for another campaign. There is no doubt we have got the Rebels in a tight place and must not let them have time to make new plans. They abandoned all their cities to get men enough to whip me but did not succeed. They may unite Johnston and Lee, when if they make the further mistake of holding on to Richmond, I can easily take Raleigh and the Roanoke, when Richmond will be of little use to them. If Lee lets go of Richmond the people of Virginia will give up.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

March 27– Monday– New York City– “Poor, mean, shabby, fallen, old England restores us the tribute of her shop-keeper’s civility and compliments the moment she discerns that we may win our unpromising lawsuit after al.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

George Templeton Strong

George Templeton Strong

March 27– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Ordered, first. That at the hour of noon on the 14th day of April, 1865, General Anderson will raise and plant upon the ruins of Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, the same United States flag which floated over the battlements of that fort during the rebel assault, and which was lowered and saluted by him and the small force of his command when the works were evacuated on the 14th day of April, 1861. Second. That the flag, when raised, be saluted by one hundred guns from Fort Sumter and by a national salute from every fort and rebel battery that fired upon Fort Sumter. Third. That suitable ceremonies be had upon the occasion, under the direction of General William T. Sherman, whose military operations compelled the rebels to evacuate Charleston, or, in his absence, under the charge of General Q. A. Gillmore, commanding the department. Among the ceremonies will be the delivery of a public address by the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. Fourth. That the naval forces at Charleston and their commander on that station be invited to participate in the ceremonies of the occasion.” ~ Executive order from President Lincoln.

March 27– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “About 10 or twelve days ago I was taken quite sick with severe cold and fever, and one of the hardest chills on 19th instant I ever had in my life. On 20th our Regiment received marching orders and the Surgeon sent me here. I had no more chills and am nearly well now. I shall return to my Regiment tomorrow. I do not know where they are but suppose they are not far from Petersburg. The war news is highly encouraging, and our troops are in the best of spirits. Johnson has checked Sherman in his wild career, twice, and Lee captured a few days ago a considerable portion of the Yankee works in front of Petersburg with a large number of prisoners. The Negro troops have been called out. I have seen two companies. I hope it will work well. I will close up. Tell Henry [his son] I have his cup yet, and that I want to see him mighty bad. May God bless you all. Pray for me.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

a salute to fallen comrades

a salute to fallen comrades

March 27– Monday– Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, Virginia– “I deeply regret to announce the death of Another beloved Brother [Barrington Simeral King] in this cruel war. I enclose you the telegram. It has been some time in reaching me in Consequence of the [telegraph] wires being down. I wrote Bessie [Barrington’s widow] immediately on Seeing the two reports both official, one reporting that he was Killed. & the other wounded hoping that the latter would prove the correct news in the end, but alas, it is not so. & the Sad and Severe stroke has fallen upon us again. I write you to get you to See poor Bessy and break the Sad, Sad, news to her. I have felt for her much in her anxiety and suspense, but more, far more, in her sad bereavement. May our Heavenly Father support her in this dark hour.” ~ Letter from one of the King brothers to his uncle in Roswell, Georgia.

March 27– Monday– City Point, Virginia– President Lincoln meets with General Grant, General Sherman and Admiral Porter aboard the River Queen.

the River Queen

the River Queen

March 27– Monday– Albany, Georgia– “Went to call on the Callaways, Mallarys, and Dahlgrens. The general and his wife were just starting out to make calls when we drove up, so we went along together. The roads are so perfectly abominable that it is no pleasure to go anywhere. At one place the water was half a foot deep in the bottom of the carriage, and we had to ride with our feet cocked up on the seats to keep them dry. Some of the ponds were so deep as almost to swim the mules, and others were boggy. We stopped at the post office on our way home and found a letter from Mec urging us to come over to Cuthbert right away.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 28– Tuesday– Headquarters First Army Corps, Virginia– “Your telegram asking if we can spare General Pickett’s division as a supporting force to our cavalry is received. I suggested that it should be sent on that service because I was apprehensive that our railroad would be in danger of being broken up behind us, leaving us without supplies sufficient to hold Richmond until our communications south could be re-established, or in case Sheridan went to North Carolina, his mounted force would be too formidable for that of General Johnston’s, and that General Johnston would be in great danger if we shall not reinforce him. I do not think that we can well spare the division. But I think that we would choose a lesser risk by sparing it in case Sheridan’s cavalry makes either of these moves contemplated than we would by holding him here to await the result of these operations. The enemy seems now to count upon taking Richmond by raiding upon our lines of communication, and not by attacking our lines of work. I think, therefore, we should endeavor to put a force in the field that can contend against that of the enemy. If Grant sends off his cavalry, he can hardly intend to make any general move of his main army until its return. In every aspect of affairs, so far as I am advised, I think that the greater danger is from keeping too close within our trenches. If we can remain where we are independently of the railroad, and if General Johnston would be safe with such a force as Sheridan’s operating against him, in addition to Sherman’s, we had better keep the division here. You know much more about all those points than I do, and are much better able to decide upon them. My supply train is in from Northern Neck, and starts back to-morrow for other provisions. If there is any impropriety in sending it back, please telegraph me as soon as you receive this, that I may recall it. We have about one hundred thousand pounds of meat near Dublin and eighteen thousand at New Boston. The C. S. complains that the railroad agents will not ship the meat unless it is boxed. This cannot always be done. If you can in any way aid us in this matter, we shall do very well for some time to come.” ~ Message from Confederate General James Longstreet to General Robert E Lee.

March 28– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and sunshine; but little wind. Too ill to go to the department, and I get nothing new except what I read in the papers. Some of the editorials are very equivocal, and have a squint toward reconstruction. The President, and one of his Aids, Colonel Lubbock, ex-Governor of Texas, rode by my house, going toward Camp Lee. If driven from this side the Mississippi, no doubt the President would retire into Texas. And Lee must gain a victory soon, or his communications will be likely to be interrupted. Richmond and Virginia are probably in extreme peril at this moment.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

A Many-sided Field-day ~ March 1865 ~ 24th to 26th

A Many-sided Field-day


Talk of some type of evacuation of Richmond flourishes at many levels. Lee tries a desperate measure to relieve the siege but suffers a bitter loss. Longstreet worries about the number and morale of his soldiers. Whitman visits his brother George home now from a prison camp. Mexico struggles against the French invaders.

 march -S6R4CFQM

March 24– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Clear and very windy. The fear of utter famine is now assuming form. Those who have the means are laying up stores for the day of siege– I mean a closer and more rigorous siege– when all communications with the country shall cease; and this makes the commodities scarcer and the prices higher. There is a project on foot to send away some thousands of useless consumers; but how it is to be effected by the city authorities, and where they will be sent to, are questions I have not heard answered. The population of the city is not less than 100,000, and the markets cannot subsist 70,000. Then there is the army in the vicinity, which must be fed. I suppose the poultry and the sheep will be eaten, and something like a pro rata distribution of flour and meal ordered.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 24– Friday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I see no cause for despondency; but on the contrary, I think there is great encouragement to hope. Sherman has gone almost unopposed through the most flourishing portions of the Confederacy; but has he conquered the people? True, his progress will have a deleterious effect upon our cause abroad; but tis far from ‘crushing the rebellion.’ The repulse of our Peace Commissioners, has also produced a desirable effect, causing a greater unanimity of feeling to exist among our people than ever before. The ‘Negro’ bill has been passed, and already the Negroes are being put into the field. This will undoubtedly greatly increase our effective force, since the places of many of our troops now occupying the lines around Petersburg and Richmond can be easily filled; but I think this bill unconstitutional and violently antagonistic to the principles for which we are fighting; if however, tis reported to an act of necessity I cheerfully acquiesce. These men being relieved can operate more successfully upon the enemy’s flanks, and soon we would be ready for another foray into Pennsylvania. I know what you will say to this, since you’ve already told me, you were ‘opposed to invasion;’ but I believe that’s the only way to make the Yankees cry ‘enough.’Tis certainly better for us to enter the enemy’s country, and be fed by them, than remain in these detestable ditches poorly provided for, subject to every manner of disease and to death from the many and fiendish invasions of our foe. More men have been lost since we came south of Richmond than in the celebrated battle of Gettysburg. I’m glad to learn that Senator Hill and others are delivering addresses to the people of Georgia; for I am sorry to say I think they need some stimulus to make them do their duty, since they will not do it voluntarily. Now is the times we need their encouragement and their strongest efforts. Why do they withhold it? Surely they do expect to save anything by submission or reconstruction. On the contrary, they will lose everything, not even their home will be spared.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

March 24– Friday– Quebec, Canada– Four political leaders are appointed to negotiate Confederation in London.

March 25– Saturday– New York City– “Benito Juarez, President of Mexico, has issued a New Year’s proclamation, dated Chihuahua, in which he urges upon all Mexicans to fight out the question with the [French] invaders. He reiterates his hope that he will triumph in the end. . . . The British army and navy estimates for the year 1865-6 have just been announced. The cost of the army is $71,000,000; of the navy $51,000,000. Total estimates for the military and naval establishments for the coming year, £24,76,671; or, in American currency, $123,703,355.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly.

President Benito Juarez

President Benito Juarez

March 25– Saturday– Vernon County, Wisconsin– The “Claywater Meteorite” explodes just before reaching ground level. Its fragments, having a combined mass of 1.5 kg, are recovered.

March 25– Saturday– Headquarters First Army Corps, Virginia– “The impression prevails amongst the Georgia troops of this command that persons at home having authority to raise local organizations are writing and sending messages to the men in the ranks here, offering inducements to them to quit our ranks and go home and join the home organizations. The large and increasing number of desertions, particularly amongst the Georgia troops, induces me to believe that some such outside influence must be operating upon our men. Nearly all of the parties of deserters seem to go home, and it must be under the influence of some promise, such as being received in the local forces. I would suggest, therefore, the publication of a general order warning all officers or persons authorized to raise local organizations against receiving such deserters or in any way harboring them, and cautioning all such parties that they shall be punished for such crimes under the twenty-second and twenty-third Articles of War. It may be well to publish the articles in the order, and to send the order South to be published in all the Southern papers. If the order is published, I would suggest that copies be sent to the Southern papers by special messenger or by parties going South who will take pains to have it published, otherwise I fear it may miscarry or be delayed by our irregular mails. Another growing evil seems to trouble us now in the shape of applications to raise Negro companies, regiments, brigades, etc. The desire for promotion seems to have taken possession of our army, and it seems that nearly all the officers and men think that they could gain a grade or more if allowed to go home. I presume that many may try to go merely because they get furloughs. I would suggest, therefore, that some regulation be published upon this subject, and it seems to me that it should require the companies to be mustered in as non-commissioned officers and privates by the enrolling officers, and that all of the officers (general, field, and company) shall be selected from the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates on duty with the armies of the Confederacy. If these matters are not speedily taken hold of by a firm hand, I fear that we shall be seriously damaged by them.” ~ Letter from Confederate General James Longstreet to Colonel W. H. Taylor.

General Longstreet

General Longstreet

March 25– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– In a desperate attempt to break the siege, Confederate troops launch a heavy attack against a Federal position called Fort Stedman. After day-long fighting, initial Southern success is turned into a defeat. Total casualties– dead, wounded, missing– are approximately 1400 for the Union and almost 4000 for the Confederacy.

March 25– Saturday– City Point, Virginia– “We may indeed call this a many-sided field-day: a break fast with a pleasure party, an assault and a recapture of an entrenched line, a review by the President of a division of infantry, and sharp fighting at sundry points of a front of eighteen miles! If that is not a mixed affair, I would like to know what is? It has been a lucky day, for us, and the 9th Corps, after patient waiting for eight months, have played the game of the ‘Mine’ against their antagonists. The official despatches will give you the main facts very well, but I can add some particulars. About daylight, the enemy having massed three divisions and a part of a fourth, made a sudden rush and carried Fort Stedman and about half a mile of line commanded by it. The garrisons of the forts on either side stood firm, however, and repelled a severe attack with much injury to the enemy. Meantime, General Parke had ordered that the works should be retaken, if it cost every man in the Corps; and all the scattered regiments immediately at hand were put in and checked a further advance, until General Hartranft (I m not sure about the spelling of his name) brought up the 3rd division, which had been camped in reserve. He person ally led in one brigade of it, with conspicuous gallantry, retook the whole portion lost, and captured, at one swoop, 1800 Rebels. It was just the ‘Mine,’ turned the other way: they got caught in there and could not get out. Their loss also in killed and wounded must have been severe, not only from musketry, but also from canister, which was thrown into a ravine by which they retreated. Upwards of a hundred Rebel dead lay in and round Fort Stedman alone. Our own losses in the 9th Corps will be somewhat over 800, half of whom may be reckoned prisoners, taken in the first surprise. I should guess the loss of their opponents as not less than 2600.” ~ Letter from Union officer Theodore Lyman to his wife Elizabeth.

interior section of Fort Stedman

interior section of Fort Stedman

March 25– Saturday– Mobile, Alabama– Federal forces begin a siege of the city.

March 26– Sunday– Brooklyn, New York– “I write a few lines to tell you how I find the folks at home. Both my mother & brother George looked much better than I expected. Mother is quite well, considering– she goes about her household affairs pretty much the same as ever, & is cheerful. My brother would be in what I would almost call fair condition, if it were not that his legs are affected– it seems to me it is rheumatism, following the fever he had– but I don’t know. He goes to bed quite sleepy & falls to sleep– but then soon wakes, & frequently little or no more sleep that night– he most always leaves the bed, & comes downstairs, & passes the night on the sofa. He goes out most every day though some days has to lay by. He is going to report to Annapolis promptly when his furlough is up. I told him I had no doubt I could get it extended, but he does not wish it. He says little, but is in first rate spirits. I am feeling finely & never enjoyed a visit home more than I am doing this. I find myself perplexed about printing my book. All the printers tell me I could not pick a more inopportune time– that in ten days prices of paper, composition &c will all be very much lower &c. I shall decide tomorrow.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friends William D. and Ellen M. O’Connor.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

March 26– Sunday– Staunton, Virginia– “I am still at the Hotel & keeping it open. I have been trying hard to make some disposition of it but it seems impossible to do it & I fear the only way to save it until after the war is for me to keep it open & don’t know now who to get in it & for the present will have to stay here myself. Sometimes I think it best for you to come out here & live & when I think of the risk of all of our property I hesitate & can’t decide what is best for us all round but I think it will not be long until we will be able to judge more fully what is best & what to do. I assure you I am very anxious to be with you but I can’t ask you to abandon home with all its comforts to come here with me for my own comfort & pleasure & of course I have concluded to try & stand it longer.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

March 26– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “I fear now it will be impossible to prevent a junction between Grant and Sherman, nor do I deem it prudent that this army should maintain its position until the latter shall approach too near.” ~ Message from Confederate General Robert E Lee to President Jeff Davis.

General Lee

General Lee

March 26– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “I feel it my duty this pleasant Sabbath Evening to Inform you that I just came from the hospital from seeing your husband and he requested me to write you a letter to let you know how he was and what had happened him. The Rebs did make a break in through the picket line about one mile from this yesterday morning and we was called out about 5 o’clock and about 6 o’clock we was in line of battle in front of the enemy and we had just gave them two volleys when Sylvester and I was both wounded. Sylvester is wounded through the leg but I guess the bone is not fractured any at least he thinks so. He was in very good spirits to day and I think that it wont be sore very long. I got a slight tap through one of my fingers on the left hand. Mine is a very light wound but it is pretty sore to day. Sylvester was taken to the Hospital just shortly after he was wounded and I came back to camp. There was eight wounded in our Company and one killed. The rest of the boys are all out yet lying at the breast works. There was some of them had to go on picket last night but they will come in this evening but we drove the rebs back and they loosed a good many men. They had taken two or three of our forts before we got to them but we soon took them all back and the report is that we took fifteen hundred prisoners. There was over three hundred of the rebs killed and our loss don’t exceed more than three hundred killed wounded and missing. . . . Old General Lee told his men that they would go to City Point again . . . when they started but the old fellow missed that game . . . . Well I must soon bring my scribbling to a close for I will have to get at and get supper.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Jacob Shearer to Harriet A. McElheney.

My Army Is Dirty, Ragged and Saucy ~ March 1865 ~ 22nd to 24th

My Army Is Dirty, Ragged and Saucy

General Sherman

General Sherman

General Sherman boasts in a letter to his wife. His boast is justified. As he pushes up from North Carolina, he and Grant move closer to catching Lee’s dwindling Confederate force in a powerful vice. As part of list ditch measures, the Confederacy tries to rapidly mobilize black soldiers. Radical abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, whose newspaper antagonized the South and poked the consciences of the North for decades, announces that his paper will cease publication. It is the end of an era.


March 22– Wednesday– Albany, Georgia– “Up very early and drove to the depot with Mecca. Mr. Godfrey was there and proposed that we should go as far as Smithville with her, and let him drive me out home in the afternoon, but the roads are so bad and the weather so uncertain that I thought I had better go back with sister. The journey was the worst we have made yet. We bogged at one place and had to wade through the mud while Aby helped the mules to pull the carriage over. At Wright’s Creek we found a crowd of soldiers and countrymen on the bank, and they told us the creek was too high to cross. Some of them were exchanged prisoners impatient to get home, and they had determined to swim over. They stood on the bank with bare legs, ready to strip off and plunge in the moment our backs were turned. I couldn’t help being amused at the nonchalance with which one burly fellow pulled off his stockings and commenced playing with his toes while talking to us. Another, wishing to call sister’s attention to the water-mark, grabbed her by the arm and led her down the bank, saying: ‘See this here stick here, where the water has already begun to fall, an hit’ll fall a heap rapider the next hour or two.’ They meant no harm. These are unceremonious times, when social distinctions are forgotten and the raggedest rebel that tramps the road in his country’s service is entitled to more honor than a king. We stood on the bank a long time, talking with the poor fellows and listening to their adventures. There was one old man standing on the shore, gazing across as wistfully as Moses might have looked towards the promised land. He could not swim, but his home was over there, and he had made up his mind to plunge in and try to cross at any risk. The soldiers saluted him with a few rough jokes, and then showed their real metal by mounting him on the back of the strongest of them, who waded in with his burden, while two others swam along on each side to give help in case of accident. Sister and I thought at first of getting General Dahlgren to send us across in his pleasure boat, but soon gave up the idea and concluded to stay at the Mallarys till the creek became fordable, for we knew it would fall as rapidly as it had risen. We bid our soldier friends good-by, and drove away to the Mallarys, where we spent a pleasant day and night. General and Mrs. Dahlgren called after dinner and said that we ought to have stopped with them. Mrs. Dahlgren is a beautiful woman, and only twenty-two years old, while her husband is over sixty. He is a pompous old fellow and entertained us by telling how his influence made General Joseph E. Johnston commander-in-chief of the Army of Tennessee; how Hood lost Atlanta by not following his advice; how he was the real inventor of the Dahlgren gun, which is generally attributed to his brother, the Yankee admiral , and so on.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Eliza Frances Andrews

Eliza Frances Andrews

March 23– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The President has gone to the front, partly to get rid of the throng that is pressing upon him, though there are speculations of a different character. He makes his office much more laborious than he should. Does not generalize and takes upon himself questions that properly belong to the Departments, often causing derangement and irregularity. The more he yields, the greater the pressure upon him. It has now become such that he is compelled to flee. There is no doubt he is much worn down ; besides he wishes the War terminated, and, to this end, that severe terms shall not be exacted of the Rebels.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

March 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “4. The enlistment of colored persons under this act will be made upon printed forms, to be furnished for the purpose, similar to those established for the regular service. They will be executed in duplicate, one copy to be returned to this office for file. No slave will be accepted as a recruit unless with his own consent and with the approbation of his master by a written instrument conferring, as far as he may, the rights of a freedman, and which will be filed with the superintendent. The enlistments will be made for the war, and the effect of the enlistment will be to place the slave in the military service conformably to this act. The recruits will be organized at the camps in squads and companies, and will be subject to the order of the General-in-Chief under the second section of this act. 5. The superintendent in each State will cause a report to be made on the first Monday of every month showing the expenses of the previous month, the number of recruits at the various depots in the State, the number that has been sent away, and the destination of each. His report will show the names of all the slaves recruited, with their age, description, and the names of their masters. One copy will be sent to the General-in-Chief and one to the adjutant and Inspector General. 6. The appointment of officers to the companies to be formed of the recruits aforesaid will be made by the President. 7. To facilitate the raising of volunteer companies, officers recruiting therefor are authorized to muster their men into service as soon as enrolled. As soon as enrolled and mustered, the men will be sent, with descriptive lists, to the depots of rendezvous, at which they will be instructed until assigned for service in the field. When the organization of any company remains incomplete at the expiration of the time specified for its organization, the companies or detachments already mustered into service will be assigned to other organizations at the discretion of the General-in-Chief.” ~ Directive for the enlistment of black soldiers issued by Inspector General Cooper.


March 23– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Yesterday afternoon the Camps Winder and Jackson battalion paraded on the Capitol Square. In the battalion were two companies of Negroes (not uniformed), which were made up from the Negroes employed about the hospitals. They are not, we believe, in the Confederate military service. In marked contrast to the appearance of these Negroes was that of a squad of Major Turner’s colored troops, neatly uniformed, and showing a good soldierly carriage. These regulars had gone up to look at their colored brethren. Volunteering would be much encouraged by the parade of Major Turner’s men, which will, we hope, soon take place.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

March 23– Thursday– Goldsboro, North Carolina– “I wrote you from Fayetteville. On our way thence the enemy struck our left flank and I turned on him and after three days maneuvering and fighting defeated him and drove him off towards Raleigh. The fight was near Bentonsville, 20 miles from here on the south side of the Neuse in the direction of Smithfield. I got here to-day and all the army will be in by to-morrow. Thus have I brought the army from Savannah in good order, beaten the enemy wherever he attempted to oppose our progress, and made junction with Schofield and Terry from Newbern and Wilmington on the 21st, one day later than I had appointed before leaving Savannah. It is far more difficult and important than the Savannah march. Besides the immediate results we have forced the Rebels to abandon the whole sea coast. . . . I have no doubt that you will be sufficiently gratified to know that I have eminently succeeded in this last venture, and will trust to luck that in the next still more hazardous I will be again favored. I don’t believe anything has tended more to break the pride of the South than my steady persistent progress. My army is dirty, ragged and saucy. I have promised them rest, clothing and food, but the railroads have not been completed as I expected and I fear we may be troubled thereby. I am just informed that the telegraph line is finished from the sea to this place, so our lines of communication will be shortened. Strange to say we are all in fine health and condition, only a little blackened by the pine smoke of our camp fires. I would like to march this army through New York just as it appears today, with its wagons, pack mules, cattle, Negroes and bummers, and I think they would make a more attractive show than your [Sanitary] fair.” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

Ellen Sherman

Ellen Sherman

March 24– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “It is true that we have concluded to discontinue the Liberator at the close of the present year, which will complete its Thirty-fifth volume. As we commenced its publication for the express purpose of effecting the extinction of slavery, and as that sublime event has been consummated by a constitutional decree of the nation, so that henceforth no salve is to beheld within the domains of the American Union, it seems to us historically fitting that the Liberator should simply cover the whole period of the struggle, and terminate with it. Unless, therefore, something should occur beyond our present belief or anticipation to make it necessary to change our decision, we shall not prolong the existence of the paper beyond this Year of Jubilee; and have instructed our General Agent to take no subscription for a longer period. This is not the occasion for us to say all that such a conclusion naturally suggests. Let it be deferred till the time is at hand. On many accounts, we shall regret to discontinue a paper which has cost us so much of trial and fiery persecution, experienced so many vicissitudes, wrought out such results, afforded us such opportunities to test the spirit of the age, attracted to its support such pure-minded and noble spirits, and absorbed the larger portion of our earthly life. But this will not necessarily sunder our connection with the press, nor prevent our publishing another journal, under a new title, and for other reformatory purposes. Whether we shall retire altogether, or commence anew in the manner suggested, we leave it for Divine Providence to determine. If nearly forty years of editorial service (begun when we were only twenty years of age) have made it ‘as second nature,’ and if we should feel out of our element divorced from that service, still, with advancing years, we confess that, ‘though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak;’ and that something of repose and seclusion is coveted by us, in order to recuperate both mind and body. Yet let not those whose cause we espoused when all was dark and desperate, and the whole weight of the nation was brought to crush us– in whose behalf we have periled all that is dear to man, through a whole generation of conflict– whose chains are now happily broken, whose reproach is fast passing away, and whose future is now one of glorious promise– imagine, for one moment, that we shall ever grow weary in maintaining their rights, or consent to any abatement of their claims to ‘liberty, equality, fraternity.’ We have always made, and shall continue to make, their case our own. It was not on account of their complexion that we gave them our sympathy and advocacy, but because they were members of one great human family, endowed by their Creator with the same attributes and prerogatives, and destined to the same immortality as all other races; and, therefore, their enslavement was a blow struck at the liberties of mankind. We claimed for them, at the outset, all of justice and fair-dealing; and we have never since claimed anything less. . . . They can firmly demand whatever is yet wrongfully withheld from them, and still be neither factious nor insolent. They can protest against bring victimized in any direction on account of their complexion, and yet be filled with thanksgiving that such mighty changes have taken place in their favor in so short a time. There is now, very generally, a deep sympathy and a warm-hearted interest in their condition as a people; and a growing purpose to make, as far as practicable, atonement for the past, and to give security for the future. What contributions are made, what labors put forth, what means of enlightenment provided, what sacrifices offered, in behalf of the millions who are coming out of the Southern house of bondage! Is not all this as wonderful as it is cause for joy and gratitude? Let there be no revulsion in this tide of benevolent feeling caused by any unseemly behavior or unreasonable fault-finding; but let it be rejoicingly taken at its flood, and accepted as the harbinger of complete enfranchisement at no distant day.” ~ The Liberator.

William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

Additional Forces to Repel Invasion ~ March 1865 ~ 12th to 14th

Additional Forces to Repel Invasion

Federal troops

Federal troops

After much intense debate, the Confederate Congress passes, by an extremely narrow margin, a bill to use slaves as soldiers. President Davis immediately signs the measure into law. But citizens of Richmond are nervous. Sherman’s Federal troops seem unstoppable in North Carolina. Gideon Welles relates a story of the early days of the rebellion. Lincoln takes steps to punish those who assisted the Confederacy with trade or commerce of any sort.

regiment of United States Colored Troops (USCT)

regiment of United States Colored Troops (USCT)

March 12– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and frosty. About one o’clock last night, there wasan alarm, supposed to be the approach of the enemy from the West– Sheridan’s cavalry– and the tocsin sounded until daylight. It was a calm moonlight night, without a cloud in the sky. Couriers reported that the enemy were at the outer fortifications, and had burned Ben Green’s house. Corse’s brigade and one or two batteries passed through the city in the direction of the menaced point; and all the local organizations were ordered to march early in the morning. Mr. Secretary Mallory and Postmaster-General Reagan were in the saddle; and rumor says the President and the remainder of the cabinet had their horses saddled in readiness for flight. About a year ago we had Dahlgren’s raid, and it was then announced that the purpose was to burn the city and put to death the President, the cabinet, and other prominent leaders of the ‘rebellion.’ Perhaps our leaders had some apprehension of the fate prepared for them on that occasion, and may have concerted a plan of escape.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 12– Sunday– Lincolnton, North Carolina– “Better to-day. A long, long weary day in grief has passed away. I suppose General Chesnut [her husband] is some where but where? that is the question. Only once has he visited this sad spot, which holds, he says, all that he cares for on earth. Unless he comes or writes soon I will cease, or try to cease, this wearisome looking, looking, looking for him.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut

March 12– Sunday–Fayetteville, North Carolina– “We reached this place yesterday in good health and condition. We have had bad roads and weather but made good progress, and have achieved all I aimed to accomplish. Our main columns came through Columbia and Cheraw, South Carolina. We have had no general battle, and only skirmishes on the skirts of the army. The enemy gave ground when I moved in force. The importance of this march exceeds that from Atlanta to Savannah. South Carolina has had a visit from the West that will cure her of her pride and boasting. I sent couriers to Wilmington and a tugboat got up this morning, and I will start her back at 6 p. m. with despatches to Grant, the Secretary of War, and all my subordinate commanders. I do not intend to go to the sea shore, but will move on. I have no doubt you have all been uneasy on our account, but barring bad weather and mud we have had no trouble. . . .The same brags and boasts are kept up, but when I reach the path where the lion crouched I find him slinking away. My army is in the same condition as before, and seems to possess abiding confidence in its officers. It would amuse you to hear their comments on me as I ride along the ranks, but I hope you will hear the jokes and fun of war at a fitter time for amusement. Now it is too serious. I think we are bringing matters to an issue. Johnston is restored to the supreme command and will unite the forces hitherto scattered and fight me about Raleigh or Goldsboro. Lee may reinforce him from Richmond, but if he attempts that Grant will pitch in. I can whip Joe Johnston unless his men fight better than they have since I left Savannah. As I rode into Columbia crowds gathered round me, composed of refugees and many [Union] officers who had escaped their prison guards [from a prison camp] and hid themselves. . . . I expect to stay here a few days in hopes to receive some bread and shoes from Wilmington. The river is now high and easily navigated, and had I time I should have no trouble in getting supplies up, but time is so important that I must ‘Forward.’” ~ Letter from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman to his wife Ellen.

General Sherman

General Sherman

March 12– Sunday– the Gulf of Mexico– A U S warship captures a British vessel attempting to run the blockade.

March 13– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Rear-Admiral Porter spent the evening at my house. Among other things he detailed what he saw and knew of Jeff Davis and others in the early days of the Rebellion. He was, he admits, and as I was aware, on intimate terms with Davis and Mrs. Davis, and had been so for some years. On the evening after reception of the news that South Carolina passed the secession ordinance he called at Davis’s house. A number of Secession leaders, he says, were there. It was a rainy, disagreeable evening, but Mrs. Davis came down stairs bonneted and prepared to go out. She caught him and congratulated him on the glorious news. South Carolina had declared herself out of the Union, which was to be broken up. She was going to see the President, Buchanan, and congratulate him. Wanted to be the first to communicate the intelligence to him. Porter told her the weather and roads were such she could not walk, and, one of the Members of Congress having come in a hack, he, Porter, took it and accompanied her. On the way he inquired why she should feel so much elated. She said she wanted to get rid of the old government ; that they would have a monarchy South, and gentlemen to fill official positions. This, he found, was the most earnest sentiment, not only of herself but others. Returning in the carriage to Davis’s house, he found that the crowd of gentlemen was just preparing to follow Mrs. Davis to call on the President and interchange congratulations. They all spoke of Buchanan, he says, as being with them in sentiment, and Porter believes him to have been one of the most guilty in that nefarious business; that he encouraged the active conspirators in his intercourse with them, if he did not openly approve them before the world.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

March 13– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That, in order to provide additional forces to repel invasion, maintain the rightful possession of the Confederate States, secure their independence, and preserve their institutions, the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to ask for and accept from the owners of slaves, the services of such number of able-bodied Negro men as he may deem expedient, for and during the war, to perform military service in whatever capacity he may direct. 2. That the General-in-Chief be authorized to organize the said slaves into companies, battalions, regiments, and brigades, under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of War may prescribe, and to be commanded by such officers as the President may appoint. 3. That while employed in the service the said troops shall receive the same rations, clothing, and compensation as are allowed to other troops in the same branch of the service. 4. That if, under the previous sections of this act, the President shall not be able to raise a sufficient number of troops to prosecute the war successfully and maintain the sovereignty of the States and the independence of the Confederate States, then he is hereby authorized to call on each State, whenever he thinks it expedient, for her quota of 300,000 troops, in addition to those subject to military service under existing laws, or so many thereof as the President may deem necessary to be raised from such classes of the population, irrespective of color, in each State, as the proper authorities thereof may determine: Provided, That not more than twenty-five per cent of the male slaves between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, in any State, shall be called for under the provisions of this act. 5. That nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize a change in the relation which the said slaves shall bear toward their owners, except by consent of the owners and of the States in which they may reside, and in pursuance of the laws thereof.” ~ Legislation passed today and promptly signed by President Davis.

President Davis

President Davis

March 13– Monday– Albany, Georgia– “Mett, Mecca, and I took a long drive to look at some new muslin dress goods that we heard a countryman down towards Camilla had for sale. They were very cheap – only twenty dollars a yard. Mett and I each bought a dress and would have got more if Mrs. Settles, the man’s wife, would have sold them. How they came to let these two go so cheap I can’t imagine. I felt as if I were cheating the woman when I paid her 500 dollars in Confederate money for 20 yards of fairly good lawn. We stopped at Gum Pond on the way back and paid a visit. Albert Bacon gave me a beautiful red-bird that he shot for me to trim my hat with.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The President was some indisposed and in bed, but not seriously ill. The members met in his bedroom. Seward had a paper for excluding blockade- runners and persons in complicity with the Rebels from the country.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

March 14– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “The President directs that all persons who now are or hereafter shall be found within the United States who have been engaged in holding intercourse or trade with the insurgents by sea, if they are citizens of the United States or domiciled aliens, shall be arrested and held as prisoners of war until the war shall close, subject, nevertheless, to prosecution, trial, and conviction for any offense committed by them as spies or otherwise against the laws of war. The President further directs that all nonresident foreigners who now are or hereafter shall be found in the United States, and who have been or shall have been engaged in violating the blockade of the insurgent ports, shall leave the United States within twelve days from the publication of this order, or from their subsequent arrival in the United States, if on the Atlantic side, and forty days if on the Pacific side, of the country; and such persons shall not return to the United States during the continuance of the war. Provost-marshals and marshals of the United States will arrest and commit to military custody all such offenders as shall disregard this order, whether they have passports or not, and they will be detained in such custody until the end of the war, or until discharged by subsequent orders of the President.” ~ Executive Order from President Lincoln.

Lincoln with his secretaries

Lincoln with his secretaries

March 14– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and pleasant, but indications of change. The papers contain no news from the armies, near or remote. But there was some alarm in the upper portion of the city about 9 P.M. last night, from a signal seen (appended to a balloon) just over the western horizon. It was stationary for ten minutes, a blood-red light, seen through a hazy atmosphere. I thought it was Mars, but my eldest daughter, a better astronomer than I, said it was neither the time nor place for it to be visible. The air was still, and the dismal barking of the dogs conjured up the most direful portents. All my neighbors supposed it to be a signal from Sheridan to Grant, and that the city would certainly be attacked before morning. It was only a camp signal of one of our own detachments awaiting the approach of Sheridan. . . . General Lee sends to the department this morning a copy of a fierce letter from Lord John Russell, British Secretary of State, to our commissioners abroad, demanding a discontinuance of expeditions fitted out in Canada, and the building and equipping of cruisers in British ports. It says such practices must cease, for they are not only in violation of British law, but calculated to foment war between Great Britain and the United States, which Lord John is very much averse to. The communication is sent to Washington, D. C., and thence forwarded by Mr. Seward to General Grant, who sends it by flag of truce to General Lee. Great Britain gives us a kick while the Federal generals are pounding us.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

General Lee

General Lee

March 14– Tuesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Find everybody excited with orders to move. Well, I am ready, and may God give us victory.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

March 14– Tuesday– Fayetteville, North Carolina– For the third consecutive day Federal troops destroy any and all machinery and buildings deemed useful to the Confederate war effort.

March 14– Tuesday– Knoxville, Tennessee– “Woke up at Cleveland, just before day & got on top of [the railroad] car to see the country. Very fertile– poorly cultivated. Plow with one horse for corn. Think I never saw better soil. People seem to be poor. Here is the first part of the South were I have found villages. We pushed through many pretty little places. First place– country where I have seen Union people in the South. They are all out at the doors waving handkerchiefs & cheering. Some times we’d see a dozen at one house. Crossed the Tenn on a bridge at Loudon. The people seem to have the spirit of old Brownlow. Came into Knoxville about 4 o’clock [P. M. ] A beautiful place. Larger than I expected. I never saw a more strongly fortified place. Marched us out about two miles at night and ordered us to camp. Ah I shall remember this evening. It commenced raining as we started. I thought I should drop down before we got there. Wasn’t long till we had a shelter & were in bed soundly sleeping after a good supper.” ~ Diary of Union soldier Arthur Calvin Mellette.

The Army Is Liable to Move ~ March 1865 ~ 5th to 6th

The Army Is Liable to Move

federal supply train-D03GT1HG

Festivities abound in Washington. Federal troops sense operations are about to begin. The anti-Lincoln New York Herald mocks the President’s speech. In Richmond, plans to move men and machinery are set in motion and President Davis calls for another day of prayer and fasting. Food is in short supply and prices are sky high in many parts of the South.


March 5– Sunday– New York City– “The brief address delivered yesterday by President Lincoln, on the occasion of his second inauguration, gives us a passing review of his four years just expired, but furnished no information as to his future policy. . . . We had expected from this inaugural a different treatment of the slavery question; that Mr. Lincoln would deal with the institution as a thing already beyond the power of further mischief, and that, therefore, with the submission of the rebellious States, the remnants of slavery still existing within their borders could be safely left to the constitutional amendment before the States for the total abolition of slavery throughout the length and breadth of the land. It would be a natural inference, from the absence of even a passing remark upon this amendment, that Mr. Lincoln classes it with his emancipation proclamation, as nothing better than [a] Papal bull against the comet, and that only the sword can effect the abolition of slavery after all. But we are inclined to receive this inaugural simply as the necessary speech which the occasion demanded – a little speech of generalities, put in to fill up the program, and as nothing more. We grant that it is not quite up to the mark of the last imperial speech of Louis Napoleon; but it has answered its purpose. Mr. Lincoln has told us heretofore that he waits upon events, and is guided by them, and this being the case, his discourse of yesterday was only an effort at best to avoid any commitment upon any question affecting our domestic or foreign affairs, excepting the abolition of slavery.” ~ New York Herald.

March 5– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– “Bright and cool; some frost this morning. I saw an officer yesterday from Early’s command. He said the enemy entered Charlottesville on Friday at half-past two o’clock P.M., between 2000 and 3000 strong, cavalry, and had made no advance at the latest accounts. . . . I have not heard of any destruction of property by the enemy. I learn . . . that the machinery of the workshops here is being moved to Danville, Salisbury, and other places in North Carolina. . . . [It is recommended] that transportation be given the families of the operatives [factory workers]; and that houses be built for them, with permission to buy subsistence at government prices, for twelve months, that the mechanics may be contented and kept from deserting. This would rid the city of some thousands of its population, and be some measure of relief to those that remain. But how long will we be allowed to remain? All depends upon the operations in the field during the next few weeks– and these may depend upon the wisdom of those in possession of the government, which is now at a discount.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 5– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “Although the day is Sunday, yet the payment of the troops went on. It is not customary to pay [on] Sundays as a rule, but the excuse today was that the Army is liable to move, which is true.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Elisha Hunt Rhodes

March 5– Sunday– Gopher Hill, Georgia– “One of the loveliest days I ever saw. We went to a little Methodist church in Starkesville, for the pleasure of the drive. After dinner we walked to the Bubbling Spring, and killed a big snake on the way. The spring is down in a gully, and is simply the mouth of a small underground stream that comes to the surface there. It throws up a kind of black sand that rises on the water like smoke from the stack of a steam engine. The water under ground makes strange sounds, like voices wailing and groaning. Just below the spring is a little natural bridge, the most romantic spot I have seen in the neighborhood. The rocks that border the stream are covered with ferns and brilliant green mosses and liverworts. Palmettoes and bright flowering plants grow in the crevices, and the whole place is shaded by magnolias, willow oaks and myrtles, bound together by gigantic smilax and jessamine vines. At several places there are openings in the ground through which one can peep and see rapid water flowing under our feet.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 6– Monday– New York City– “Mud appears to remain to a considerable extent master of the situation before Richmond The rain, up to Saturday last, had been so heavy and continuous for some days as to turn all the roads into sloughs, and put a stop to any very important movements on either side. The rebel papers think there is no doubt that General Grant will commence heavy operations on his left so soon as the condition of the roads will permit, and they consequently are still anticipating a great battle in that vicinity. The Union forces along James river are nightly watching for Semmes and his rebel fleet to attempt another raid. The rebels each night keep up a heavy fire on the right of the Army of the James, with the object of preventing their men from deserting; but it does not accomplish its design, as they continue to arrive within the Union lines in large numbers. A very gallant little feat was performed in North Carolina lately by a portion of the Twelfth New York cavalry and one company of the First North Carolina mounted infantry. They surprised and captured one entire company of rebel soldiers near Greenville, and then dashed into the town, where they destroyed a large quantity of commissary stores and captured other prisoners.” ~ New York Herald.

March 6– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The weather continues to be fine. Thousands have left the city, which is still crowded. The inauguration ball of this evening is a great attraction, particularly to the young. Seward has sent to me a request to attend, and Dennison desires it. I have no desire to go, but my family have, as well as my associates. Current business at Department has accumulated, and the day has been one of unceasing application. Did not leave Department until after five o’clock.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

women's fashions ~ March 1865

women’s fashions ~ March 1865

March 6– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “A bright frosty morning. This day I am fifty-five years of age. It is now reported that General Early made his escape, and that most of his men have straggled into this city. . . . The President and his wife were at church yesterday; so they have not left the city; but General Lee’s family, it is rumored, are packing up to leave. I bought a quarter of a cord of oak wood this morning to mix with the green pine, and paid $55 for it. General Early’s cavalry, being mostly men of property, were two-thirds of them on furlough or detail, when the enemy advanced on Charlottesville; and the infantry, being poor, with no means either to bribe the authorities, to fee members of Congress, or to aid their suffering families, declined to fight in defense of the property of their rich and absent neighbors! We lost four guns [canon] beyond Charlottesville, and our forces were completely routed. . . . They are bringing boxes to the War Office, to pack up the archives. This certainly indicates a sudden removal in an emergency. It is not understood whether they go to Danville or to Lynchburg; that may depend upon Grant’s movements. It may, however, be Lee’s purpose to attack Grant; meantime preparing to fall back in the event of losing the day.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

General Grant

General Grant

March 6– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– The Richmond Times Dispatch prints a proclamation from Confederate President Jeff Davis, appointing Friday, March 10 as a day of “public fasting, humiliation and prayer.”

March 6– Monday– outside of Petersburg, Virginia– “We have received no mail for several days and do not like it. A soldier can do without hard bread but not without his letters from home. All quiet in our lives.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

federal canon

March 6– Monday– Petersburg, Virginia– “You will see by the caption of this letter that we’ve again been moving. We now occupy the lines recently occupied by Pickett’s Division. We only hope to remain here. We are tired of running about on the right of our lines. Here although the lines are near enough each other, to see the men on the works from one line to the other, there is not much probability of an engagement. We may have severe artillery duels; but then we have very good protection. So after all this is much the more preferable position. I think tho will leave here soon. Once more I’ve heard from home. This is the first time since I left. The cause of the delay having been so great was the gentleman who brought the letters was stopped in Augusta; he went back home and came round through the country, he was about 20 days on the road.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Alva Benjamin Spencer to his fiancee Maggie Cone.

March 6– Monday– Lincolnton, North Carolina– “To-day came a godsend. Even a small piece of bread and the molasses had become things of the past. My larder was empty, when a tall mulatto woman brought a tray covered by a huge white serviette. Ellen [slave maid] ushered her in with a flourish, saying, ‘Mrs. Mc Danier’s maid.’ The maid set down the tray upon my bare table, and uncovered it with conscious pride. There were fowls ready for roasting, sausages, butter, bread, eggs, and preserves. I was dumb with delight. After silent thanks to heaven my powers of speech returned, and I exhausted my self in messages of gratitude to Mrs. Mc Daniel.” ~ Diary of Mary Chesnut.

March 6– Monday– Macon, Georgia– “Whereas, in many sections of this State, persons have been prevented from giving in their taxes for the year 1864, by reason of the public enemy overrunning or threatening such sections of the State or by reason of such persons having been driven from their homes by the proximity of the enemy. Therefore be it, Resolved by the General Assembly, That in all cases where persons have been prevented from giving in their taxes for the year 1864, by reason of the public enemy overrunning or threatening the sections of country where such persons reside or where such persons have been driven from their homes by reason of the proximity of the public enemy, it shall be lawful for all persons so situated to give in their taxes for the year 1864, within the same time that shall be allowed for the giving in a return of the taxes for the present year 1865, and in all cases where such persons have had property lost or destroyed by the public enemy or by any casualty of the war since the first of April, 1864, such persons shall not be bound to give in such lost or destroyed property, and the act entitled an act to exempt certain lands from taxation, assented to November 30th, 1863, shall apply to all persons who have been driven from their homes by the public enemy during the year 1864.” ~ action by the Georgia state legislature.

plantation slaves

plantation slaves

March 6– Monday– Gopher Hill, Georgia– “After breakfast, we all piled into a big plantation wagon and went to see Prairie Pond, a great sheet of water covering over 200 acres. It has formed there since Colonel Maxwell bought the Gopher Hill plantation. He says that when he first came here there was not a patch of standing water as big as his hand on all the acres now covered by Prairie Pond, and the great skeletons of dead forest trees still standing in the outer edges of the lake show that the encroachment of the water is still going on. . . . We had to leave our wagon several hundred yards from the border of the pond and make our explorations on foot, for want of a wagon road. In returning we took the wrong direction and went a mile or two out of our way, getting very wet feet, and I tore my dress so that I looked like a ragamuffin into the bargain. When at last we reached home, the servants [slaves] told us that Mr. and Mrs. Warren, with General Graves, Mr. Baldwin, and Clint Spenser and Joe Godfrey from Albany, had come over to dinner, and not finding anybody at home, had set out in search of us. We girls scurried to our rooms and had just made ourselves respectable when Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Spenser, having tired of their wild-goose chase, came back to the house. Mecca and I got into the double buggy with them and started out to hunt up the rest of the party. After dinner, we went to Coney Lake again.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

Will We Thus Blunder on to the End? ~ March 1865 ~ 1st to 2nd

Will We Thus Blunder on to the End?

field mortar images

Even a diary-keeping clerk in the Confederate government worries about the failure of the rebellion. The governor of Georgia complains about Richmond’s failures. The Confederate force in the Shenandoah Valley fights its last major battle and is scattered. Ominous signs of post-war problems are visible as West Virginia considers prohibiting rebels from participating in government and a Union general looks to financial exploitation of the South. The New York Herald, a virulently anti-Lincoln paper, takes an insultingly worded stand about the future of black people and calls Jeff Davis a despot.


March 1– Wednesday– New York City– “Now, the South has been fighting four years over the n***** question. It is a universal desert. Its farm houses are burned, its fields abandoned, the flower of its youth is slain. From one end of the land to the other the women are desolate as mothers and widows. And now, having borne all this for the perpetuation of Negro slavery, the South comes to the admission that it must lay down its arms and acknowledge defeat unless it gives these very Negroes their freedom. That is the most that the enemies of the South ever hoped to gain. The South now proposes to stand by the freedom of the Negro, that in the commencement it declared nothing but its subjugation should ever bring about. It is now as determined that the n***** shall be free as it was before that he should not. The rebel Generalissimo says that the Negroes are the only fighting material left; and though the rebel Senate says that they shall not be put in the army they will be. This great settlement of the Negro question will be carried out by the rebel Executive over the head of the rebel Senate. The rebel Senate is now all that is left of the rebellion. The rebel President and generals, army and press, are all on our side, and are fighting our battle against their own Senate. Thus the n***** question brings about a counter revolution, and the n***** question and the rebellion will be settled by the self-same blow. At the North the n***** is done with also. The constitutional amendment has gone to the States, and whether the States adopt it or not there will never be any more slavery. Even the South has helped the North make that certain. But now the Northern agitators, in their fears lest this n***** question should be set at rest, are urging that the Negro should vote. Let them give him a vote also if they will, or anything else, and if any white woman wants to marry a n*****, or any white man a wench, let them have their way. Social laws will settle all that; and as for the Negro vote; it will do no harm. If all the Negroes on earth should vote they could not give us worse governments than we have had for twenty years, whether national, State, or municipal. Universe suffrage is a delusion that cannot be made into a bug-bear any longer. In France there is universal suffrage and a despotism. Give the agitators, therefore, this is one more bone if they bark for it. Social laws will settle in their own way – whether we legislate or not – all these questions of race. It is the intellect of a nation that governs it, and not its voters. The n***** question is settled, and now we may put it aside. We may safely rob the political Othello of his occupation by giving him all he wants before he has the chance to clamor for it. Give the n***** political equality and a vote, or whatever else his pretended friends may require. If the Negro is not fit, the gifts will be useless, and if he is, he will soon have, whether or not, all that we are asked to give. And now, that the great question is thus really done with, all the men who lived upon it North and South . . . may take their tickets and sail up Salt river.” ~ New York Herald.

New York Herald, circa 1895

New York Herald, circa 1895

March 1– Wednesday– Trenton, New Jersey– The state legislature rejects the Thirteenth Amendment.

March 1– Wednesday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Captain Thomas H. Norton, 15th U.S. Infantry, of this city, arrived yesterday from Look Out Mountain, where he was through Sherman’s campaign as far as Atlanta. He is now sent north on recruiting service, and is ordered to report at the headquarters of his regiment at Newport, Rhode Island.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

March 1– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Judge J. T. Hale called on me to say he has had a conversation with the President and had learned from him that I had his confidence and that he intended no change in the Navy Department. He said a great pressure had been made upon him to change. I have no doubt of it, and I have at no time believed he would be controlled by it. At no time have I given the subject serious thought.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

John Yates Beall

John Yates Beall

March 1– Wednesday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy, cold, and dismal. We have no news, except from the North, whence we learn Lieutenant Beall, one of our Canada raiders, has been hung; that some little cotton and turpentine were burnt at Wilmington; and that the enemy’s columns are approaching us from all directions. They say the rebellion will be crushed very soon, and really seem to have speedy and accurate information from Richmond not only of all movements of our army, but of the intentions of the government. They say Lynchburg and East Tennessee now occupy the mind of General Lee; and they know every disposition of our forces from day to day sooner than our own people! What imbecile stolidity! Will we thus blunder on to the end?” ~ Diary of John Jones. [John Yates Beall, born in Virginia in 1835, was involved in privateering against Federal ships and a failed effort to release Confederate prisoners from Johnson’s Island, Ohio. He was arrested in December, 1864, in Niagra, New York, for attempting to sabotage a train, and was hung on February 24 in New York City.]

March 1– Wednesday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “The scare about a Rebel attack has subsided, but the general impression is that the Rebels are preparing to leave Petersburg. Well I hope they are, for we have had a hard time trying to persuade them to leave.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.

March 1– Wednesday– Madison, Wisconsin– The legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.


March 1– Wednesday– Nashville, Tennessee– “My brother Jim come out here about ten days ago to get a cotton farm. There is a large amount of Coal Oil region in Tennessee. I put Jim [onto it], after getting all he could lease. He has already. . . with a few others leased a large amount of valuable lands which will be immensely valuable some day and he is going ahead and will probably have the most valuable oil possessions in the U. S. I am a secret partner with him but keep this a secret as it was not allowed of army officers.” ~ Letter from Union General Robert Milroy to his wife Mary Jane.

March 1– Wednesday– Macon, Georgia– “The regiment of Troup county militia, were at the request of General Johnston, placed at the bridge at West Point, where they have remained under the command of a Confederate officer, to whom they report. Major Glenn’s squadron of mounted militia, were ordered out, and have been on duty at Atlanta. Several other organizations of militia, in the Cherokee country, were called out in the rear of the enemy, at the request of General Hood, in August. Since the enemy left Atlanta, they have been ordered to report to General Cobb, and are now reporting to that gallant officer, Brigadier General William T. Wofford. All these organizations are for the time under the command of Confederate Generals, and are expected to be paid by the Confederate Government. I regret however to learn that they do not receive their pay.” ~ Message from Georgia Governor Joseph Brown to the state legislature.

March 1– Wednesday– Albany, Georgia– “The weather has been so bad that we are thrown upon our own resources for amusement. Metta and Mecca play cards and backgammon most of the time, and Albert Bacon comes almost every day on some pretense or other. One very dark night when he was here, we told ghost stories till we frightened ourselves half to death, and had to beg him to stay all night to keep the bogies off. Mett and I take long tramps in the afternoons through mist and mud, but Mec does not like to walk. The lime sink is particularly attractive just now. The little stream that feeds it is swollen by the rains, and dashes along with a great noise. It is so full of little fish that one can catch them in the hand, and the swans go there to feed on them. The whole wood is fragrant with yellow jessamines and carpeted with flowers. Another letter from home that makes me more eager than ever to return. General Elzey and staff are at our house, and the town is full of people that I want to see.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

March 1– Wednesday– Mt Crawford, Virginia; Wilson’s Store, South Carolina; Philadelphia, Tennessee– Skirmishes and firefights.

Anna Pavlovna, Queen Consort of the Netherlands, at the time of her marriage

Anna Pavlovna, Queen Consort of the Netherlands, at the time of her marriage

March 1– Wednesday– The Hague, Netherlands– Anna Pavlovna, Russian-born Queen Consort of King William II, dies at 70 years of age. She bore her husband five children.

March 1– Wednesday– Fukuoka, Japan– Birth of Abe Isoo, politician, Christian socialist, pacifist, feminist, educator. [Dies February 10, 1949.]

Abe Isoo

Abe Isoo

March 2– Thursday– New York City– “Trinity Chapel well filled this morning for the Russian service. Part of the chapel was reserved for Russians, Greeks, and Orientals, of whom there were fifty or sixty. . . . [a friend] says this is the first time the Liturgy of St Chrysostom has been heard in a Western church . . . since the great schism between Eastern and Western Christendom. If so, this was a very remarkable transaction. . . . Even the Unitarians are to hold a council here next month to consider whether they do not believe something after all.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 2– Thursday– New York City– “The news which we publish this morning of the movements and operations of General Sherman’s army in South Carolina and Georgia is of the highest interest and importance. Upon unfortunate South Carolina the penalties of this rebellion are falling with a heavy hand. To the ruins, the destitution and desolations of her once wealthy and flourishing seaport of Charleston are now added the field of ashes and broken walls which mark the spot where once stood her State capital, the beautiful little city of Columbia. This visitation the inhabitants of that unfortunate place brought upon themselves by their intolerable treachery of firing from their houses upon the quietly retiring troops of General Sherman, killing and wounding a considerable number. We may deplore the sufferings thus entailed upon the women and children and other helpless citizens involved in this calamity of the burning of Columbia; but such, when criminally provoked, are the stern lessons of dreadful war. Sherman, where the people of a captured city receive him in good faith, as at Savannah, is their protector and benefactor; but where they deal treacherously with him, as at Columbia, in the stealthy assassination of his retiring soldiers, his mode of punishment is swift and terrible. We may say, too, that if any of the reckless and implacable Carolina chivalry deliberately contrived this thing for the purpose of the Southern heart again with an outcry against Yankee vandalism they will make nothing by this desperate experiment. It is because this war to them is destruction that the Southern people, under the despotism of Davis, are now in their agony crying for peace.” ~ New York Herald.


March 2– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Captain [John Yates] Beall, the rebel pirate and spy, who was executed at Governor’s Island, New York, the other day, was born in Jefferson county, in this state, and received a complete classical education at the Charlotteville University. His family were very wealthy, their property being valued at a million and a half of dollars. At the time of the famous John Brown raid, Beall lived about five miles from Harper’s Ferry, and continued to reside there until the outbreak of the rebellion. He was one of the first to espouse the rebel cause in his neighborhood, and was early known as one of the most determined and implacable advocates of secession. As a reward for his captain in the 2nd Virginia Infantry, and served under the celebrated Stonewall Jackson. He as engaged in a number of prominent battles fought in Virginia, and was finally transferred to the rebel navy, receiving a commission as acting master’s mate. In this capacity, he went to Canada for the avowed purpose of fitting out a piratical expedition on Lake Erie, the result of which our readers are already familiar with. Beall was a man of medium height, with blue eyes, light colored hair and moustache, of pleasing countenance, and about thirty years of age.” ~ Wheeling Daily Intelligencer.

March 2– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “A bill to prohibit Rebels and disloyal citizens from holding any office, either civil or military, in this State. Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia: 1. That no person who has heretofore voluntarily borne arms, or who may hereafter voluntarily bear arms or engage in armed hostility against the Government of the United States, or of the State of West Virginia, or give aid or assistance to the so-called Southern Confederacy, shall be eligible to any office, either civil or military, within this State. 2. No person who voted for the Ordinance of Secession in the year 1861, and then went into the service of the United States and has been or may be honorably discharged, shall be embraced in this act if he has volunteered prior to the passage of this act. 3. Any person who may hold or attempt to hold any office within this State contrary to this act, on being duly convicted thereof shall be fined, in the circuit court of his county, 4. When any such fines shall be imposed, the cost shall first be paid out of the same and the remainder go into the free school fund of the county in which such fine is imposed. 5. Any person now holding office who may have been guilty of any crime named in this act, shall be dismissed from the same by the governor’s order, and his office supplied by a new election, at the earliest time possible, according to law.” ~ Proposed legislation being debated in the House of Delegates.


March 2– Thursday– Waynesborough, Virginia– In the last major battle in the Shenandoah Valley, Federal troops quickly defeat and scatter the remainder of the Confederate force under General Jubal Early. Total casualties– killed, wounded, missing– for the Union are 9 and over 1500 for the Confederacy.