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September ~ Election Year 1852

Woman making American Flag

Slavery still holds center stage as an issue. The Free Soil Party challenges the two established parties. Women, emboldened by the Seneca Falls Convention of four years, meet regularly and increasingly demand equality. On-going problems in Ireland fuel immigration arriving in the United States.

September 1–Wednesday– Yellow Springs, Ohio–Rebecca Mann Pennell joins the faculty for the new Antioch College as a professor of physical geography and natural history. She is the first woman working as a college professor allowed to attend faculty meetings with men.


Rebecca Mann Pennell


September 1– Wednesday– New York City– “The time has come, not merely for the examination and discussion of Woman’s social, civil and religious rights, but also for a thorough and efficient organization—a well-digested plan of operation, whereby these sacred rights, for which our fathers fought, bled and died, may be secured and enjoyed by us. Let woman no longer supinely endure the evils she may escape, but with her own right hand carve out for herself a higher, nobler destiny than has heretofore been hers. Inasmuch as through the folly and imbecility of Woman the race is what it is, dwarfed in mind and body, and as through her alone it can yet be redeemed, all are equally interested in the objects of this Convention. We therefore solemnly urge those Men and Women who desire and look for the development and elevation of the race, to be present at the coming Convention, and aid us by the wisdom of their counsels. Our platform will, as ever, be free to all who are capable of discussing the subject with seriousness, candor and truth.” ~ The Lily on the upcoming Woman’s Rights Convention.

September 1–Wednesday– Washington, D. C.–Colonel Robert E Lee of Virginia is appointed superintendent of the military academy at West Point.

September 2– Thursday– New York City– “You will regret to hear that the potato has again failed to a great extent this year. The breadth of land planted with potatoes is said to be as great as in any former year, but it is estimated that at least one-half the crop will be ruined. This will destroy a prodigious amount of food, and will greatly diminish the confidence of farmers in the prospects of the country. We are informed that great numbers of the people now think only of leaving Ireland by the first opportunity. I do not regret the emigration on behalf of those who go. They will mend their condition, or perish in the attempt.” ~ Report from Ireland in today’s issue of The National Anti-Slavery Standard.

September 3– Friday– Rochester, New York– “The Pittsburgh Convention so long and anxiously looked for by its friends and foes, has held its sessions, declared its sentiments, and presented its candidates. The platform is such an approximation to our views of what it should be that we levy no war upon it. J.P. Hale is too well known to the friends of a just government to need our commendation, his labor speak his highest praise. Of Mr. Julian we know far less, but his position warrants him a man.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper


John P Hale


September 3– Friday– London, England– “The gravest fault of the book has, however, to be mentioned. Its object is to abolish slavery. Its effect will be to render slavery more difficult than ever of abolishment. Its popularity constitutes its greatest difficulty. It will keep ill-blood at boiling-point, and irritate instead of pacifying those whose proceedings Mrs. Stowe is anxious to influence on behalf of humanity. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was not required to convince the haters of slavery of the abomination of the ‘institution;’ of all books, it is the least calculated to weigh with those whose prejudices in favor of slavery have yet to be overcome, and whose interests are involved in the perpetuation of the system. If slavery is to cease in America, and if the people of the United States, who fought and bled for their liberty and nobly won it, are to remove the disgrace that attaches to them for forging chains for others which they will not tolerate on their own limbs, the work of enfranchisement must be a movement, not forced upon slave owners, but voluntarily undertaken, accepted and carried out by the whole community. There is no federal law which can compel the Slave States to resign the ‘property’ which they hold. The States of the South are as free to maintain slavery as are the States of the North to rid themselves of the scandal. Let the attempt be made imperiously and violently to dictate to the South, and from that hour the Union is at an end. We are aware that to the mind of the “philanthropist” the alternative brings no alarm, but to the rational thinkers, to the statesman, and to all men interested in the world’s progress, the disruption of the bond that holds the American states together is fraught with calamity, with which the present evil of slavery—a system destined sooner or later to fall to pieces under the weight of public opinion and its own infamy—bears no sensible comparison. The writer of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and similar well-disposed authors have yet to learn that to excite the passions of their readers in favor of their philanthropic schemes is the very worst mode of getting rid of a difficulty, which, whoever may be to blame for its existence, is part and parcel of the whole social organization of a large proportion of the States, and cannot be forcibly removed without instant anarchy, and all its accompanying mischief.” ~ The Times of London


September 9– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “We understand the Union [another D C newspaper] like the rest of the supporters of General Pierce, it was anxious for the nomination of Mr. Hale: the announcement filled them with joy, for they said at once that it would secure them Ohio, beyond a doubt. They feared the nomination of Chase, under the impression that it would bear more heavily against the Democratic Party. But as Hale has not by letter publicly signified his acceptance of the nomination, they begin to feel distressed lest he should decline, and thereby reduce their chances again in Ohio. Let them put their hearts at rest on this point. The Pittsburgh Convention was above all policy; the majority determined that Hale should be the candidate, whatever might be the consequences. Men under the controlling influence of high moral or philanthropic motives, are not much addicted to calculation. Mr. Hale has nothing to do but to accept. It would not do to hazard the reputation of such an organization. But, we advise the supporters of General Pierce to moderate their joy. Mr. Hale on the stump will do exact justice to both parties, and find as ready access, we doubt not, to the hearts of Free Soil Democrats, as of Free Soil Whigs.” ~ The National Era

September 10– Friday– near Park Hill, Indian Territory [now Oklahoma]– Birth of Alice Brown Davis, her father from Scotland, her mother a member of the Seminole Nation. [Alice will herself bear 11 children and serve as a leader among and an advocate for the Seminole people from 1874 until her death on June 21, 1935.]


Alice Brown Davis


September 13– Monday– Oberlin, Ohio– “Since I received your circular I have been wanting to write to you & ask you to consider well the principle involved in your voting as you did for candidates of your view at the convention at Pittsburgh. Suppose each member of the convention had done the same, & suppose all voters should do the same. Would not government be an impossibility, as no representatives could be elected. Will you consider, my brother, the question of Political Sectarianism in its various bearings & ascertain what arguments can justify Political that would not equally justify religious sectarianism or schism? Is it not true that in cases where, from the nature of the case, men must act by majorities, in masses, & not merely as individuals, it is wrong to secede except for fundamental heresy? Is not patience, labor, argument the remedy for all other errors either in politics or religions? I regard the question of liberty & slavery as vital & fundamental in politics & therefore justify & demand secession for the slavery heresy.” ~ Letter from Reverend Charles G Finney to Gerrit Smith.

September 16– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “A long, well-written address appears in the Wisconsin Free Democrat, published at Milwaukee, from the pen of H.H. Van Amringe, a leader of the Land Reformers, calling upon them to support Hale and Julian, openly identified as they are by their platforms and avowals, with Land Reform principles. He says: ‘Our path is now plain and open. Such is the numerical force of Land Reformers in Wisconsin, that if we go in solid body for Hale and Julian, the Lord Reform nominees, at the ensuing Presidential election, we may carry the electoral votes of the State for them.’” ~ The National Era.

September 17– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “We lay before our readers the first half of the very elaborate and carefully prepared speech of Mr. Sumner, on his proposed amendment for the immediate repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law. It is eliciting high commendations in all quarters, and the press is throwing off edition after edition with great rapidity. It will be read by the country—by men of all parties—and wherever read, will enlarge and consolidate the already wide reputation of its author for learning, ability and philanthropy. But it is not without its vulnerable points. We think it clearly demonstrates the unconstitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law, in so much as by it the right of trial by jury, all the processes of a legal claim, and all the safeguards of personal liberty in the Free States, are destroyed. But, beyond this, it does not travel an inch; and this is a very subordinate question, and not the primary and all-essential one of the entire and immediate abolition of slavery, wherever it exists on the American soil.” ~ The Liberator.


Gerrit Smith


September 18– Saturday– Peterboro, New York– “Now, I may be wrong in making my political party no more comprehensive – but I am not inconsistent. I rigidly exclude from my church party all, who, I think, are not Christians, and, too, I rigidly exclude from my political party all, who do not come up to my standard of membership. Were you living in Peterboro, and should you admit to me your unwillingness to have the black man clothed with the right of suffrage, I should, even though you agreed with me in all other things, deny, that you belonged to my political party. You think, that I was wrong, in refusing to vote at Pittsburgh for Hale and Julian. Perhaps, I was. But, when you say, that the refusal was inconsistent with my liberality in Church matters, I reply, that it was not necessarily so, I might not have regarded them as belonging to my political party – and, hence my refusal to vote for them. But, there is another phase to this subject. Were you living here, I might recognize you, and most heartily too, as a member both of my church party and of my political party. But I should not, therefore, be bound, in consistency, to vote for you, either as an ecclesiastical officer, or political officer. Whilst I might believe, that you had the qualifications for the membership, I might, and with perfect consistency, deny, that you had the qualifications for the office. Allowing, then, that I regarded Hale and Julian as members of my political party, nevertheless I might have regarded them as unadapted to carry out and honor the principles of that party in the high offices to which they were nominated. To go with the majority is, I admit, an important duty, but you will agree with me, that it is no duty at all, until we have first settled it that the candidate belongs to our party – that is, holds the great, vital, distinctive principles of our party, and is, also, fit for the proposed office. . . . My recollections of my visit to Oberlin are very pleasant. I rejoice to learn, that your revival continues. I have often thought, that I should love to pass through an Oberlin revival. I have never been better than a half way Christian. I want to be a whole one.” ~ Letter from Gerrit Smith to Reverend Charles G Finney.

September 23– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “There is enough disaffection in the rank and file to prevent anything like the ordinary party enthusiasm. Democrats, under the influence of Anti-Slavery feeling, abhor the Baltimore platform, and are reluctant to support a candidate who, they believe, cordially sustains it. Anti-Slavery Whigs abhor their platform, and if they support Scott, it will be because they fully trust that he accepted the platform under constraint. But there are Whig and Democratic voters, who, resolved not to lay aside their Anti-Slavery principles in any election, whatever may be the inducement, will the nomination of Mr. Hale, the only nomination that does justice to the Constitution, to the Sentiments of the Fathers of the country, and to Northern sentiment, on the question of Slavery.” ~ The National Era

September 24– Friday– Oberlin, Ohio– “Your request to transmit my name, with a short article, for insertion in your contemplated publication, is before me. I have neither time nor words in which to express my unalterable abhorrence of slavery, with all the odious apologies and blasphemous claims of Divine sanction for it, that have been attempted. I regard all attempts, by legislation or otherwise, to give the abominable system ‘aid and comfort’ as involving treason against the government of God, and as insulting the consciences and common sense of men.” ~ Letter from Reverend Charles G Finney to the president of the Rochester [New York] Ladies’ Antislavery Society.

September 30– Thursday– Boston, Massachusetts– For the second time this year a convention of labor leaders and social reformers opens here today. The primary item on the agenda is advocacy of the 10 hour workday.


June ~ Election Year 1912

Woman making American Flag

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

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


Elizabeth Gurley Flynn on the podium


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

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

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

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

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


Margaret Elizabeth Sangster


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

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

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

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

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

U S Marines ~1912

U S Marines 1912


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

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

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

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

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


Mary Lavin


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Frederic Passy


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

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

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

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

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


Mine explosion


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

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

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

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

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

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


victims of the dock collapse


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Champ Clark 1912


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

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

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


Regina YMCA destroyed


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

June ~Election Year 1852


The two major parties hold their conventions, select their candidates and decide on their platforms. While these parties uphold the status quo on slavery and call for enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, others are deeply concerned about the end of slavery and some consider a third party option. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel continues to deeply rankle the slave-holding South. Agitation by women continues. A giant of American politics dies.

June 1– Tuesday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Democratic National Convention opens at the Maryland Institute.

June 1– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action thereon, eighteen treaties negotiated with Indian tribes in California, as described in the accompanying letter of the Secretary of the Interior, dated the 22nd ultimo, with a copy of the report of the superintendent of Indian affairs for the State of California and other correspondence in relation thereto.” ~ Message from President Millard Fillmore to the Senate.


Frederick Douglass


June 3– Thursday– Rochester, New York– “The wire-pullers of each of the great political parties are successful in proportion to their accuracy in calculating the amount of villainy which will be tolerated by the good, and the amount of virtue which will be supported by the bad part of society. In selecting a candidate, they aim to present a character in which is blended a sufficient semblance of virtue to win the support of the nominally good, with an amount of wickedness, which will be sure to satisfy the unprincipled, selfish and oppressive part of the community. Thus, the lowest element in the national character, becomes predominant in all our Presidential elections; and so it will forever be until the principles of the Liberty Party shall prevail in this land. That faithful, brave and uncompromising little party will not consent to support any man for civil office who is not for a perfectly just and righteous government. To this platform, all, who would not incur the guilt and shame of prostituting their suffrage to the base and inhuman purposes of tyrants, should rally.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper

June 5– Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Democratic National Convention closes, having nominated Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire for President and William R. King, age 66, of Alabama for Vice President on the 49th round of balloting. Pierce, age 47, is a lawyer and politician who served nine years in Congress, with a reputation of being an ardent nationalist, and pro-slavery with strong sympathy for the South. King, born in North Carolina, is a lawyer, has lived in Alabama since 1818, served in the United States Senate and in the diplomatic corps. He is a close friend of James Buchanan from Pennsylvania and as Buchanan failed to win the nomination for President, party leaders arranged for King to receive the Vice President nomination as a peace-making move to Buchanan. The party’s platform declares in key sections that “the constitution does not confer upon the general government the power to commence and carry on a general system of internal improvements . . . . the liberal principles embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, and sanctioned in the constitution, which make ours the land of liberty and the asylum of the oppressed of every nation, have ever been cardinal principles in the democratic faith; and every attempt to abridge the privilege of becoming citizens and the owners of the soil among us ought to be resisted with the same spirit that swept the Alien and Sedition laws from our statute-books . . . . Congress has no power under the constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States, and that such States are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs not prohibited by the constitution; that all efforts of the abolitionists or others made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences; and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend of our political institutions. . . . the foregoing proposition covers, and was intended to embrace, the whole subject of slavery agitation in Congress; and therefore the Democratic Party of the Union, standing on this national platform, will abide by and adhere to a faithful execution of the acts known as the compromise measures settled by the last Congress– ‘the act for reclaiming fugitives from service or labor’ included; which act, being designed to carry out an express provision of the constitution, cannot, with fidelity thereto be repealed nor so changed as to destroy or impair its efficiency. . . . the Democratic Party will resist all attempts at renewing, in congress or out of it, the agitation of the slavery question, under whatever shape or color the attempt may be made. . . . the war with Mexico, upon all the principles of patriotism and the laws of nations was a just and necessary war on our part, in which every American citizen should have shown himself on the side of his country, and neither morally nor physically, by word or deed, have given ‘aid and comfort to the enemy.’” [On the history of the Democratic Party, see: The History of the Democratic Party (2007) by Heather Lehr Wagner; The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854 (1967) by Roy F Nichols; The Young America Movement and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, 1828-1861 (2007) by Yonatan Eyal.]

democratic poster 1852

Democratic Poster 1852


June 7– Monday– New York City– “After some forty-odd labor pains in the shape of balloting, the Democratic Convention has brought forth its candidate: Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, with William Rufus King for Vice-President. Nobody knows much of Franklin Pierce, except that he is a decent sort of man in private life.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 10– Thursday– Rochester, New York–”Will you give notice that the Free Soil National Convention for nominating candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, will be held at Cleveland, Ohio, on the first Wednesday in August next.The time cannot, under the instructions of a majority of the committee, be fixed before harvest, and it would be doing great wrong to fix a day during the hurry of that season. The day named is, therefore, the earliest, under all circumstances, that could be appointed, and the place designated by the committee is very easy of access, at that season, of the year, since all the delegates can leave home, spend two days at the Convention, and return the same week. The regular call, in full, will be prepared and issued hereafter. We hope editors friendly to the liberty and prosperity of the people and country, will aid in circulating the notice. Samuel Lewis, Chairman.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper

June 11– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “At the session of the Universal Reform Society composed in part of the leading Universalist ministers, the following resolution was offered: ‘Resolved, That we view with deep concern the present attitude of our country on the subject of slavery, believing as we do, that earnest efforts must be made for the overthrow of slavery, or the just judgment of God will descend on our land; and seeing, with great pain, a disposition on the part of those called statesmen to patch up compromises, which Merely hide but cannot cure the evil, we feel called on as Christians to testify against the unrighteousness of slavery, and to request our fellow Christians of every sect, to unite with us in striving to breakdown that loathsome institution.’” ~ The Liberator.


William Lloyd Garrison


June 11– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a report from the Secretary of State, on the subject of the disorders on the Rio Grande frontier, and recommend the legislation which it suggests, in order that the duties and obligations of this Government occasioned thereby may be more effectually discharged and the peace and security of the inhabitants of the United States in that quarter more efficiently maintained.” ~ Message to Congress from President Fillmore.

June 12– Saturday– New Orleans, Louisiana– Taking note that a Southern writer is preparing a novel to contrast with Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “he had better write a history of Uncle Tag, Rag and Bobtail’s Cabin at the North, illustrating it with women fishing out drift wood from the ice of the river for fires; children eating with hogs out of offal barrels; emaciated corpses of fathers and mothers unshrouded, but ready for the grave, with starvation written on their sunken brows; young women, reduced by necessity to crime, leading a life of shame and vice, and giving birth to diseased and suffering children, whose little ray of life quickly expires amid the noxious atmosphere of sin and woe by which they are surrounded. Or all these groups might be placed in one picture, and to complete the whole, a likeness given of Mrs. Stowe, treading gingerly along upon her tiptoes, not noticing one of these most miserable objects at her own doors, but her eyes fixed upon distant ‘Africa,’ and her plaintive voice bemoaning the fate of the stout, fat, healthy Negroes and Negresses of the South, who are not only in an infinitely superior condition to the white poor of the North, but who, we dare say, are quite as well fed and a deal happier than Mrs. Stowe herself.” ~ Daily Picayune.


Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852


June 17– Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Whig Party National Convention opens.

June 18– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”The third Woman’s Rights Convention of Ohio has just closed its session. It was . . . numerously attended, there being a fair representation of men as well as women; for though the object of these and similar meetings is to secure woman her rights as an member of the human family, neither speaking nor membership was here confined to the one sex, but all who had sentiments to utter in reference to the object of the Convention—whether for or against it—were invited to speak with freedom, and those who wished to aid the movement to sit as members, without distinction of sex. All honorable classes of society were represented, from the so-called highest to The so-called lowest. The seamstress who works for her twenty-five cents a day, the daughters of the farmer, fresh from the dairy and the kitchen, the wives of the laborer, the physician, the lawyer, the banker, the legislator, and the minister, were all there—all interested in one common cause, and desirous that every right God gave to woman should be fully recognized by the laws and usages of society, that every faculty He has bestowed upon her should have ample room for its proper development. Is this asking too much? And yet this is the sum and substance of the Woman’s Rights Reform—a movement which fools ridicule, and find easier to than meet with argument.” ~ The Liberator.

June 18– Friday–Baltimore, Maryland– On its second day the Whig convention adopts a platform which asserts in its key parts that the Fugitive Slave Act ought to be fully enforced, states’ rights will be protected, citizens must obey the constitution and the laws made under it [a reprimand to those involved anti-slavery activity, particularly those performing acts of civil disobedience], the government must avoid “all entangling alliances with foreign countries”, and the federal government properly has authority to improve and repair harbors and rivers as “such improvements are necessary for the common defense, and . . . the facility of commerce with foreign nations, or among the States.”

June 20– Sunday– Baltimore, Maryland– The Whig National Convention concludes, having nominated General Winfield Scott, age 66, a lawyer and career military man of New Jersey for President and William A Graham, age 48, a lawyer and politician of North Carolina for Vice President on the 53rd round of balloting. After a rather fractious convention, General Scott’s supporters have taken away the hopes of President Fillmore for renomination and dashed the hopes of Massachusetts’ Daniel Webster, now 70 years of age. [On the history of the Whig Party, see: The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (1999) by Michael F Holt; Henry Clay and the Whig Party (1936) by George Rawlings Poage.]

whig poster-scott-graham

Whig campaign poster


June 22– Tuesday– New York City– “Scott is the nominee at last . . . . His chance of election, I think, is small. . . . The Whigs here receive the nomination coolly. Several have said they won’t vote at all.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 24–Thursday– New York City–In today’s Tribune, Horace Greeley declares that he and his newspaper will not “keep silent about Slavery, nor acquiesce in fugitive slave hunting.”

June 26– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Fillmore requests that the Senate take action to approve a treaty between the United States and Mexico regarding the extradition of fugitives. He notes that the matter has been pending since he took office in March, 1849.

June 27– Sunday– New York City– “Scott is going to run better than I thought at first. The struggle will be close enough to be interesting.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

June 29– Tuesday– Walden Pond, Massachusetts– “In my experience nothing is so opposed to poetry – not crime – as business. It is a negation of life.” ~ Journal of Henry David Thoreau.

June 29–Tuesday – Washington, D. C–Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky dies at 75 years of age. President Fillmore orders all federal government offices to be closed for the remainder of the day.


Henry Clay


June 29– Tuesday– Springfield, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln presides a meeting to arrange a tribute to Henry Clay.

May~Election Year 1932


The United States keeps falling into the Great Depression and citizens look to the federal government to do something. Violence and political troubles shake Germany, France, New Zealand, Peru, Japan, India, Austria and Cuba.

May 2– Washington, D.C.– In the case of Nixon v Condon, the Supreme Court by a 5 to 4 decision holds the Democratic Party’s primary election system in Texas which excludes black people is unconstitutional. Justice Benjamin Cardozo writes the majority opinion while Justice James McReynolds writes for the four dissenters. Cardozo, age 62, is the newest member of the Court, appointed by the president on March 2nd.


Benjamin Cardozo


May 3– Tuesday– New York City– Columbia University announces the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes who include five reporters from the Detroit Free Press, one from the St Louis Post-Dispatch, one from the New York Times, and a cartoonist from the Chicago Tribune. Book awards go to Henry F Pringle for his biography Theodore Roosevelt, Pearl Buck for The Good Earth and retired General John J Pershing for My Experiences in the World War.

May 3– Tuesday– Sacramento, California– John Nance Garner, age 63, a lawyer and politician from Texas, wins the Democratic primary.

May 4– Wednesday– Moscow, Russia– The Soviet union and Estonia sign a non-aggression pact.

May 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The imperative need of the nation today is a definite and conclusive program for balancing the budget. Uncertainty is disastrous. It must be in every sense a national program. Sectional, partisan, group, or class considerations can have no place in it. Ours is a government of all the people, created to protect and promote the common good, and when the claims of any group or class are inconsistent with the welfare of all, they must give way.” ~ Message from President Herbert Hoover to Congress.

May 6– Friday– Paris, France– President Paul Doumer, age 75, is shot and mortally wounded by a Russian emigre named Paul Gorguloff at a book fair.

May 7– Saturday– Paris, France– President Paul Doumer dies of his wound.

May 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Hoover vetoes a bill which have allowed civilians who served in the Quartermaster Corps to be cared for in old soldiers’ home.

May 10– Tuesday– Paris, France– Albert Francois Lebrun becomes the new President of France.

May 10– Tuesday– Wellington, New Zealand– A riot ensues when the government refuses to respond to the demands of 4,000 relief workers.

May 12– Thursday– Hopewell Township, New Jersey– The body of Charles Lindbergh, Jr, the 20 month old son Charles Lindbergh, is found two months after his kidnaping.

May 12– Thursday– Berlin, Germany– Wilhelm Groener, Defense Minister, resigns from his post. The Reichstag is shut down after violence by four Nazi members.

May 13– Friday– Marseilles, France– Former king Alfonso XIII of Spain is assaulted by a Spanish citizen.

May 14– Saturday– Mexico City, Mexico– The government breaks diplomatic relations with Peru after that country accused Mexican diplomats of plotting to stir up public disorder.

May 15– Sunday– Tokyo, Japan– A group of naval officers and army cadets assassinate Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi in a failed coup attempt.

May 17– Tuesday– Bombay, India– British troops end four days of rioting between Hindus and Muslims by opening fire on the rival crowds.

May 18– Wednesday– Havana, Cuba– Police arrest several hundred people on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

May 19– Dublin, Ireland– By a vote of 77 to 69, the lower house of the Irish Free State parliament passes a bill to abolish the oath of allegiance to the English king which was mandated of all legislators by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 which had concluded the Irish War for Independence.

May 20– Friday– Vienna, Austria– Engelbert Dollfuss becomes Chancellor of Austria.


Amelia Earhart


May 21–Saturday– Culmore, Northern Ireland–Amelia Earhart, age 34, arrives from Newfoundland, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Engine trouble prevents her from going on to Paris as Charles Lindbergh had done.

May 22–Sunday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–The Pittsburgh Courier, an African American newspaper, criticizes the Hoover administration for providing only segregated facilities for black Gold Star Mothers going to visit the graves of their sons in Europe.

r l vann

Robert L Vann, founding editor of Pittsburgh Courier


May 22– Sunday– County Galway, Ireland– Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory, folklorist, poet, dramatist and key figure in the Irish literary revival, dies of breast cancer at 80 years of age.

May 22– Sunday– Tokyo, Japan– The Emperor appoints Saito Makoto as the new Prime Minister.

May 23– Monday– Geneva, Switzerland– The scientist Albert Einstein, age 53, issues a call for pacifists worldwide to demand total disarmament to take place within the next five years. “War can’t be humanized. It can only be abolished,” he asserts.


Albert Einstein, circa 1921


May 25– Wednesday– Rome, Italy– Italy and Turkey renew their non-aggression treaty of 1928 for another five years and agree to improved trade relations.

May 26– Thursday– Hamburg, Germany– The shortage of food leads to a riot in which two people are killed.

May 27– Friday– Washington, D.C.– At his press conference President Hoover explains his opposition to a pending bill in Congress. “A total of over 3,500 projects of various kinds are proposed in this bill, scattered into every quarter of the United States. Many of these projects have heretofore been discredited by Congress because of useless extravagance involved. Many were originally authorized as justified only in the long-distant future. I do not believe that 20 percent could be brought to the stage of employment for a year. I am advised by the engineers that the amount of labor required to complete a group of $400 million of these works would amount to only 100,000 men for 1 year because they are in large degree mechanized jobs. This is not unemployment relief. It is the most gigantic pork barrel ever proposed to the American Congress. It is an unexampled raid on the Public Treasury. Detailed lists of these projects have been broadcast to every part of the country during the past 24 hours, to the cities, towns, villages, and sections who would receive a portion of this pork barrel. It is apparently expected that the cupidity of these towns and sections will demand that their Congressmen and Senators vote for this bill or threaten to penalize them if they fail to join in this squandering of money. I just do not believe that such lack of intelligence or cupidity exists amongst the people of the United States.”


President Herbert Hoover


May 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “I have received Your Majesty’s gracious message. The tribute which you and the Belgian people are paying on Decoration Day to the memory of those American soldiers and sailors who gave their lives for the cause of justice and whose bodies rest in Belgium, echoes and resounds in every American heart with gratitude and affection for their Belgian comrades and friends. I and my fellow country men in dedicating this day to our own dead will be keenly mindful of your own country’s great sacrifice and will bend our heads in silent prayer for Belgium’s heroic dead.” ~ Message from President Hoover to King Albert of Belgium, in response to the king’s memorial day message of friendship.

May ~ Election Year 1864


Certainly before this time, no American president had faced re-election in the midst of a difficult war, compounded by problems at home and abroad. Union military operations seemed stalled– Grant unable to reach Richmond, Sherman not yet at Atlanta. Casualties keep mounting higher and higher. A bogus proclamation appears in several New York newspapers. Black soldiers had been massacred. Radical Republicans break from the party and nominate their own candidate. A European power is meddling in the affairs of Mexico. Many fear that Lincoln cannot win again.

May 1– Sunday– New York City– “In another column we give copious extracts from our files of English journals, together with translations of notable passages from our French files, to illustrate the popular feeling abroad regarding the progress of events in Mexico. The supercilious, insulting tone in which reference is made to the disability of our Government to interfere at present with the erection of a monarchy upon the ruins of the Mexican Republic might, and perhaps would, excite our indignation, were it not for the ludicrous perplexity in which both the English and French journalists appear to be regarding what has actually been accomplished by Napoleon, and the fears which seem to haunt them unless the would-be Emperor may not after all find his path to the Mexican capital strewn with roses.” ~ New York Times

May 2– Monday– Washington, D.C.– A group of 73 women, most of them the wives of senators, congressmen, judges, clergy or military officers, form a “Ladies National Covenant” and agree to help the war effort by refraining from purchasing European goods. “For the good of our country and the honor of our sex, let us redeem ourselves from this reproach of wanton extravagance.” They agree to encourage women across the country to make the same pledge.

May 2– Monday– St Louis, Missouri– Birth of Alice Bertha Kroeger, first daughter and second child of Adolph and Eliza Curren Kroeger. She will become a librarian, author, lecturerer, advocate for suffrage, organizer and first director of the school of library science at Drexel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [Dies October 31, 1909]


Gideon Welles


May 3– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “At the Cabinet-meeting the President requested each member to give him an opinion as to what course the Government should pursue in relation to the recent massacre at Fort Pillow. The committee from Congress who have visited the scene returned yesterday and will soon report. All the reported horrors are said to be verified. The President wishes to be prepared to act as soon as the subject is brought to his notice officially, and hence Cabinet advice in advance. The subject is one of great responsibility and great embarrassment, especially before we are in possession of the facts and evidence of the committee. There must be something in these terrible reports, but I distrust Congressional committees. They exaggerate.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 5– Thursday– Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania– Birth of Elizabeth Jane Cochran, a/k/a Nellie Bly, journalist, author and inventor. [Dies January 27, 1922.]

May 5– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “I have written a letter to the President in relation to the Fort Pillow massacre, but it is not satisfactory to me, nor can I make it so without the evidence of what was done, nor am I certain that even then I could come to a conclusion on so grave and important a question. The idea of retaliation,– killing man for man,– which is the popular noisy demand, is barbarous, and I cannot assent to or advise it. . . . The whole subject is beset with difficulties. I cannot yield to any inhuman scheme of retaliation. Must wait the publication of the testimony.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 6– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Between Mr. Bates and Mr. Blair a suggestion came out that met my views better than anything that had previously been offered. It is that the President should by proclamation declare the officers who had command at the massacre outlaws, and require any of our officers who may capture them, to detain them in custody and not exchange them, but hold them to punishment. . . . I expressed myself favorable to this new suggestion, which relieved the subject of much of the difficulty. It avoids communication with the Rebel authorities. Takes the matter in our own hands. We get rid of the barbarity of retaliation. Stanton fell in with my suggestion, so far as to propose that, should Forrest, or Chalmers, or any officer conspicuous in this butchery be captured, he should be turned over for trial for the murders at Fort Pillow. I sat beside Chase and mentioned to him some of the advantages of this course, and he said it made a favorable impression. I urged him to say so, for it appeared to me that the President and Seward did not appreciate it. We get no tidings from the front. There is an impression that we are on the eve of a great battle and that it may already have commenced.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 7– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “Some fragmentary intelligence comes to us of a conflict of the two great armies. A two days’ fight is said to have taken place. The President came into my room about 1 p.m., and told me he had slept none last night. He lay down for a short time on the sofa in my room and detailed all the news he had gathered.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.


May 9– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “To the Friends of the Union and Liberty: Enough is known of the army operations within the last five days to claim our especial gratitude to God, while what remains undone demands our most sincere prayers to and reliance upon Him, without whom all human efforts are in vain. I recommend that all patriots, at their homes, in their places of public worship, and wherever they may be, unite in common thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God.” ~ Proclamation by President Lincoln.

May 13– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “The army news is interesting and as well received as the great loss of life will permit. Hancock has made a successful onset and captured Edward Johnson and two other generals, with about fifty other officers and four thousand prisoners, thirty pieces of cannon, etc. General Sheridan, with his cavalry, has got in rear of Lee and destroyed about ten miles of railroad, captured two trains, and destroyed the depot of Rebel supplies at Beaver Dam. Our troops are in good heart and everything looks auspicious for the republic. Many valuable lives have been offered up for the Union, and many a Rebel has fallen.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 13– Friday– Morris Island, South Carolina– “We have been fighting as brave as ever there was any soldiers fought. I know if every regiment that are out and have been out would have done as well as we have the war would be over. I do really think that it’s God’s will that this war Shall not end till the Colored people get their rights. It goes very hard for the White people to think of it But by God’s will and power they will have their rights. Us that are living now may not live to see it. I shall die a trying for our rights so that other that are born hereafter may live and enjoy a happy life.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Jacob Christy, a black man, to his sister Mary Jane Demus.


May 16– Monday– near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia– “We have had the best of the fighting so far and its my opinion that General Grant has got Lee in a pretty tight spot. We had a severe fight here on the 12th and the loss was heavy on both sides . . . . The Army is in first rate spirits and everyone seems confident and hopeful.”~ Letter from Union soldier George Whitman to his mother Louisa.

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mr. Seward informed me that a forged proclamation had been published by sundry papers in New York, among others by the World and Journal of Commerce, imposing a fast on account of the failures of Grant and calling for a draft of 300,000 men. Seward said he at once sent on contradicting it . . . . He then had called on Stanton to know whether such a document had passed over the regular telegraph. Stanton said there had not. . . . Seward then asked if the World and Journal of Commerce had been shut up. Stanton said he knew of their course only a minute before. Seward said the papers had been published a minute too long; and Stanton said if he and the President directed, they should be suspended. Seward thought there should be no delay. Gold, under the excitement, has gone up ten per cent . . . . It seems to have been a cunningly devised scheme– probably by the Rebels and the gold speculators, as they are called, who are in sympathy with them.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Whereas there has been wickedly and traitorously printed and published this morning in the New York World and New York Journal of Commerce, newspapers printed and published in the city of New York, a false and spurious proclamation purporting to be signed by the President and to be countersigned by the Secretary of State, which publication is of a treasonable nature, designed to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and to the rebels now at war against the Government and their aiders and abettors, you are therefore hereby commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison in any fort or military prison in your command the editors, proprietors, and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers, and all such persons as, after public notice has been given of the falsehood of said publication, print and publish the same with intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy; and you will hold the persons so arrested in close custody until they can be brought to trial before a military commission for their offense. You will also take possession by military force of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce, and hold the same until further orders, and prohibit any further publication therefrom.” ~ Executive order from President Lincoln to General John Adams Dix.

May 18– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Mother, I see such awful things– I expect one of these days, if I live, I shall have awful thoughts & dreams– but it is such a great thing to be able to do some real good, assuage these horrible pains & wounds, & save life even– that’s the only thing that keeps a fellow up,” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his mother Louisa.

Whitman (2)

Walt Whitman


May 19– Thursday– New York City– “The undersigned, editors and publishers of a portion of the daily press of the city of New York, respectfully represent that the leading journals of this city sustain very extended telegraphic news arrangements, under an organization established in 1848 and known as the New York Associated Press, which is controlled by its members, acting through an executive committee, a general agent in this city, and assistant agents immediately responsible to the association at every important news center throughout this country and Europe. Under the above-named organization the rule has always been to transmit by telegraph all intelligence to the office of the general agent in this city, and by him the same is properly prepared for publication, and then written out by manifold process on tissue paper, and a copy of the same is sent simultaneously in sealed envelopes to each of the editors who are entitled to receive the same. From foregoing statement of facts Your Excellency will readily perceive that an ingenious rogue, knowing the manner in which the editors were supplied with much of their telegraphic news, could, by selecting his time and opportunity, easily impose upon editors or compositors the most wicked and fraudulent reports. . . . . the suspension by Your Excellency’s orders of the two papers last evening has had the effect to awaken editors and publishers and news agents, telegraph companies, &c., to the propriety of increased vigilance in their several duties, the undersigned respectfully request that Your Excellency will be pleased to rescind the order under which The World and the Journal of Commerce were suppressed.” ~ Message from Sidney Howard Gay of the New York Tribune, Erastus Brooks, of the New York Express, Frederick Hudson for James G. Bennett, of the New York Herald and Moses Sperry Beach, of the New York Sun to President Lincoln. [The four of them together represent a spectrum of both journalistic approaches and political views.]

May 19– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The bogus proclamation has been the principal topic to-day. The knowledge that it is a forgery has not quieted the public mind.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 21– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln decides to lift publication ban on New York newspapers World and Journal of Commerce.

May 23– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The author of the forged proclamation has been detected. His name is Howard, and he has been long connected with the New York press, but especially with the Times. . . . He is of a pestiferous class of reckless sensation-writers for an unscrupulous set of journalists who misinform the public mind. Scarcely one of them has regard for truth, and nearly all make use of their positions to subserve selfish, mercenary ends. This forger and falsifier Howard is a specimen of the miserable tribe. The seizure of the office of the World and Journal of Commerce for publishing this forgery was hasty, rash, inconsiderate, and wrong, and cannot be defended. They are mischievous and pernicious, working assiduously against the Union and the Government and giving countenance and encouragement to the Rebellion, but were in this instance the dupes, perhaps the willing dupes, of a knave and wretch.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 28–Saturday– Veracruz, Mexico– The nobles Maximilian, age 32, and his wife Charlotte, age 24, arrive from Europe. Maximilian has claimed the throne of Mexico at urging of and with the military support of French Emperor Napoleon III. [Maximilian will be captured by the Mexicans and executed June 19, 1867. Charlotte will flee to Europe before her husband’s capture and will eventually die in seclusion in Belgium on January 19, 1927.]


Emperor Maximilian


May 30– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The army movements have been interesting for the last few days, though not sensational. Grant has not obtained a victory but performed another remarkably successful flank movement. Sherman is progressing in Georgia.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

May 31–Tuesday– Cleveland, Ohio–A convention of 350 Radical Republicans nominates John C Fremont for president and John Cochran of New York for vice-president. Their platform calls for a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, no compromise with the Confederacy, a one term limit for the office of president, direct election of president and vice-president, a policy of reconstruction for the defeated South to be set by Congress and not the president, the plantations of Southern rebels to be given to Union veterans and no toleration of “the establishment of any anti-republican government on this continent by any foreign power.”


John C Fremont


May 31–Tuesday– Washington, D.C.–The House of Representatives defeats a resolution for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery [which will eventually become the Thirteenth Amendment] by a vote of 55 in favor but 75 opposed.

Strains of Fanaticism ~ March, 1852

Singers of reform and a new novel are upsetting the slave-owning South. Women are changing things.

dr hannah-longshore

Dr Hannah Longshore

March– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “What Women Are Doing. We have just enumerated three pursuits that we call truly feminine. The first, that of teaching, is happily progressing in our land. We will treat of it more at large in a future number. The second, female physicians, is rapidly gaining ground in public favor. Our ‘Appeal’– see page 185– will demonstrate this. Since that was written, the first public Commencement of a Female Medical College ever held in the world was witnessed in Philadelphia. It was a proud day for the true friends of moral progress, which can only be attained by placing the female sex where God has ordained their power– as conservators of home, health, and happiness. The graduating class, consisting of eight ladies, deported themselves with that modest, womanly dignity commanding admiration and respect from the immense assemblage. Probably fifteen hundred persons were present, and witnessed with approbation the conferring of full degrees of Doctor of Medicine on these young women. And such is the call for female physicians that, had the number, instead of eight, consisted of eighty, or even eight hundred, we believe they would all succeed in finding places open for their practice. We advise every young woman who has a taste for the profession, and wishes for the means of supporting herself and doing good, to enter on the study of medicine without delay.” ~ Godey’s Lady’s Book

hutchinson family2


March 6– Saturday– Baltimore, Maryland– “To the Citizens of Baltimore: The ‘Hutchinson Family’ have announced a concert at Carroll Hall, on Monday evening, the 8th instant. It is a well known fact that these noted abolitionists have figured conspicuously at the various abolition meetings at the North, in some instance opening the meeting by singing a song breathing fanatical sentiments. Citizens of Baltimore! are you willing to be insulted by a band of abolitionists, singing strains of fanaticism? Will you encourage such concerts by those whose efforts are directed against an institution guaranteed by the Constitution, and who have sought to overthrow this glorious Union?” ~ handbill distributed throughout the city to protest a concert by the Hutchinson Family Singers. [The Hutchinsons were one of the best-known musical ensembles of mid-century America. The ensemble consisted at different time of various combinations of the children of Jesse Hutchinson, a farmer from Milford, New Hampshire, and his wife Mary– mainly John, Asa, Jesse, Judson and their sister Abby with others coming and going. They sang about rural life and political issues such as abolition, temperance, war, the rights of workers and woman suffrage. They became highly respected performers and much of their music focused on social reform, equal rights, moral improvement, community activism and patriotism. By this time they were popularly identified with radical abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. The career of the Hutchinsons spanned the major social and political events of the mid-nineteenth century including the Civil War. See, \pard plain Singing for Freedom: the Hutchinson Family Singers and the Nineteenth Century Culture of Reform (2007) by Scott Gac.]

March 12– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The entire destruction of the neat and commodious Church, which Samuel J. May and his liberal and enlightened congregation have hitherto occupied at Syracuse, by the falling of the steeple during a violent gale, is a serious pecuniary loss to the parties directly interested, and calls not only for sympathy but substantial aid, for the construction of a new edifice. The case is peculiar in its appeals to the friends of humanity and progress, in whatever State located. Mr. May is one of the purest, best, and most Philanthropic men living, enjoying the unbounded confidence and regard of all who are intimately acquainted with him. His was indeed a free pulpit, and mighty have been the influence for good that have emanated from it since his settlement. It was freely offered, as opportunity presented, to the friends of reform, whether men or women, and irrespective of theological opinions; and nobly did the congregation uphold this freedom.” ~ The Liberator. [Reverend May, 1797– 1871, was a Unitarian clergyman, a radical abolitionist, conductor on the underground railroad, peace advocate, champion of the rights of women, temperance advocate, educational reformer and uncle to Louisa May Alcott.]


Reverend Samuel J May


March 13– Saturday– New York City– The New York Lantern carries the first political cartoon portraying the United States in the personification of “Uncle Sam” in his classic beard and outfit. Although the term “Uncle Sam”as referring to the United States has been around since the War of 1812, this drawing by 24 year old cartoonist Frank Henry Bellew is the first such artistic use.

March 14– Sunday– Paris, France– Voting concludes in the national election. Out of 9,836,043 registered voters, 6,222,983 actually voted, representing a voter turnout of 63.3%. Emperor Napoleon III’s Bonapartists win a huge majority consisting of 258 seats out of 261. The Parti de l’Ordre that had won a majority in the 1849 election had been banned by the Emperor following their opposition to his1851 coup.

March 15– Monday– Roxborough, County Galway, Ireland– Birth of Isabella Augusta Persse Gregory, a/k/a Lady Gregory, playwright, poet, and folklorist, a leader in the Irish Literary Revival. [Dies May 22, 1932.]


Lady Gregory


March 18– Thursday– Peterborough, England– Birth of Rose Coghlan, star of the theater in England and the United States. [Dies April 2, 1932.]

March 20– Saturday– Boston, Massachusetts– The John P Jewett & Co publisher issues the two volume novel Uncle Toms’s Cabin; or Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe with illustrations by the Boston architect and artist Hammatt Billings. Since June 5 of last year, it appeared in serialized form over 40 weeks in the abolitionist National Era. Mr Jewett encouraged Mrs Stowe to allow him to publish it in book form


March 20– Saturday– London, England– The British government issues a declaration in which it claims several islands off the coast of Central America as “the royal colony of the Bay Islands.”

March 26–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Praising the new book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, William Lloyd Garrison writes in today’s issue of The Liberator that “In the execution of her very difficult task, Mrs. Stowe has displayed rare descriptive powers, a familiar acquaintance with slavery under its best and its worst phases, uncommon moral and philosophical acumen, great facility of thought and expression, feelings and emotions of the strangest character. . . . The effect of such a work upon all intelligent and humans minds coming in contact with it . . . must be prodigious, and therefore eminently service men in the tremendous conflict now waged for the immediate and entire suppression of slavery on the American soil.”


Harriet Beecher Stowe


March 29– Monday– Columbus, Ohio–The state legislature passes a law setting a ten hour maximum workday for women.

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

Everything Is Giving Way to the Union Forces.

Federal troops in the Carolinas

Federal troops in the Carolinas

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

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

Thurlow Weed

Thurlow Weed

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

Henry Wirz, commandant at Andersonville prison

Henry Wirz, commandant at Andersonville prison

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

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

Edith Maude Eaton

Edith Maude Eaton

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

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

factory workers

factory workers

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

at the machines

at the machines

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

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

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

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

Patrick Joseph Sullivan

Patrick Joseph Sullivan

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

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

Lincoln takes the oath of office

Lincoln takes the oath of office

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

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

After Eighty Years of Wandering ~ William Lloyd Garrison


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

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

William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

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

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

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

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

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

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

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

Union General Oliver O Howard

Union General Oliver O Howard

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

John Swinton

John Swinton

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

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

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

Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles

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

John Townsend Trowbridge

John Townsend Trowbridge

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

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

Fight For Charleston! ~ January 1865 ~ 21st to 24th

Fight for Charleston!

Dozens of women in Charleston, South Carolina, call on their men to fight the Yankees to the death. An exchanged Confederate prisoner reports that morale is high among rebel soldiers in Northen prison camps. Yet another soldier writes to his wife that desertions from the Confederate ranks are increasing and morale is low. A Tennessee woman notes that the war is demoralizing every body. Like other Northerners, George Templeton Strong sees the end of slavery as necessary to re-establishment of the Union. Whitman has a job in Washington.

slave auction

slave auction

January 21– Saturday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “It has been a long time since I have seen or heard from you, and I suppose that you have nearly forgotten me, but if you will think back you will remember a man by my name, whom you met in Carver Hospital Washington D. C. where we met then the first time. I never expected to be able to write you a line in the year 1865, but I have been spared for some other purpose I suppose. And now you will please accept my thanks for all the favors that you have shown me while lying then unable to help myself. Lieutenant Babcock has this morning recd a letter from Lieutenant Caldwell. Caldwell and all the rest of our officers are in Danville Military Prison Virginia, he mentions Major Wright, Captain Whitman . . . [and others] they are all doing well, & all they ask for is for something to eat, Hard Bread and Pork, or anything that can be sent them, and as it is impossible for us to get them anything how I hope some of you good people at home will try and do something for them. Lieutenant Babcock has shown me a memorial of the Old 51st and if you could possibly send me a few copies I would be very much obliged to you for your trouble. Once more allow me to thank you for your kindness toward me while in Hospital.” ~ Letter from Union officer Aaron Smith to Walt Whitman with news of Whitman’s brother George.

January 21– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– According to an article in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch the state of Georgia had16,000 slaves in 1776 and 381,682 slaves in 1850.

January 21– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “From Colonel M. L. Woods, of the 46th Alabama regiment, who has just returned from imprisonment in the North, in which he remained for twenty months, we learn that there are now in the prison camp on Johnson Island, three thousand Confederate officers and two hundred private soldiers. For the first six or eight months after Colonel Weeds reached Johnson island, the prisoners were treated well. . . . What is most important, however, concerning our prisoners, is the spirit which animates them. They were never more enthusiastic in their patriotism, and were never more determined to fight through the war than now. They authorized Colonel Woods to say to the President and the Confederate Congress that, in the reorganization of the army, which they anticipated, any claims which they might have as officers should be entirely disregarded. They are perfectly willing to shoulder their muskets and march in the ranks of the army. The general spirit of Confederate prisoners – privates as well as officers – throughout the North, was undaunted and determined; and whilst a large number of soldiers are reported to have taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, Colonel Woods knows that the number is not only grossly exaggerated, but that a large number who do take the oath only do so to enable them to get out of the clutches of their keepers and return to the Confederacy.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

johnson island index01

January 21– Saturday– somewhere in southeast South Carolina– “I see the citizens of Savannah has held a Union meeting and passed resolutions in favor of going back into the Union. They say they are going to send one copy to the Mayor of Augusta, one to the Mayor of Atlanta, one to Macon, one to Columbus and one to the President of the United States. I suppose they treat them very well in Savannah! I had the chance of [a] lieutenant position the other day and would not accept it. All I want is to get out of this war. Sallie, when you write me let me know the people’s notions at home about the war. Let me know what your notions are. I will tell you what mine are: I am whipped. Sallie, we are a ruined people. There is no chance for us. Good many of our regiments are deserting. They are in low spirits. Tom Sanders from our county has deserted, but I don’t think I will ever desert. I will stay with them until the war ends or they kill me. I think the best thing we can do is to go back into the Union. The Negroes are certain to be set free. Sallie, we have done all that we can. That’s my notion, Sallie. Remember me in this dark hour of trial.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his wife Sallie.

Federal ambulances

Federal ambulances

January 21– Saturday– Albany, Georgia– “I never in all my life knew such furious rains as we had last night; it seemed as if the heavens themselves were falling upon us. In addition to the uproar among the elements, my slumbers were disturbed by frightful dreams about Garnett. Twice during the night I dreamed that he was dead and in a state of corruption, and I couldn’t get anybody to bury him. Colonel Avery and Captain Mackall were somehow mixed up in the horrid vision, trying to help me, but powerless to do so. In the morning, when we waked, I found that Metta also had dreamed of Garnett’s death. I am not superstitious, but I can’t help feeling more anxious than usual to hear news of my darling brother. The rain held up about dinner time and Mrs. Sims determined to return to Albany, in spite of high waters and the threatening aspect of the sky. We went five miles out of our way to find a place where we could ford Wright’s Creek, and even there the water was almost swimming. Mett and I were frightened out of our wits, but Mrs. Sims told us to shut our eyes and trust to Providence, and Providence and Uncle Aby between them brought us through in safety. At some places in the woods, sheets of water full half a mile wide and from one to two feet deep were running across the road, on their way to swell the flood in Flint River. Sister sent a Negro before us on a mule to see if the water-courses were passable. We had several bad scares, but reached town in safety a little after dark.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 21 – Saturday– Paris, France– Joseph Xavier Boniface Saintine, novelist and dramatist, dies at age 66.


January 21– Saturday– Helsinki, Finland– The painter Johan Erik Lindh dies at 71 years of age.

January 22– Sunday– New York City– “I have faith in Uncle Abe’s sagacity and honesty and in Stanton’s vindictiveness. They favor no pacification that leaves the sources of this war still open and the Slaveocracy in existence to recover its strength and rebel a second time. They know that peace and union cannot be secured without utterly squelching slavery and slaveholders.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 22– Sunday– Bolivar, Tennessee– “The war seems to be demoralizing every body. . . . Some of the very nicest girls of this county are throwing themselves, their honor and good name away, losing control over fiendish passions, ruining themselves forever in the eyes of the world. Oh will people never be brought to their senses!” ~ Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.

January 22– Sunday– Albany, Georgia– “The rains returned with double fury in the night and continued all day. If ‘the stars in their courses fought against Sisera,’ it looks as if the heavens were doing as much for us against Kilpatrick and his raiders. There was no service at St. Paul’s, so Mrs. Sims kept Metta and me in the line of duty by reading aloud High Church books to us. They were very dull, so I didn’t hurt myself listening. After dinner we read the Church service and sang hymns until relieved by a call from our old friend, Captain Hobbs.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

January 22– Sunday– Schwerin, Germany– Birth of Friedrich Paschen, educator and physicist. [Dies February 25, 1947.]

Friedrich Paschen

Friedrich Paschen

January 23– Monday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, That our senators in congress be instructed, and our representatives requested, to cast their votes in favor of the proposed amendment to the constitution of the United States for the abolishment of slavery.” ~ Resolution passed by the state legislature.

January 23– Monday– Paris, France– The painter Joseph Desire Court dies at 67 years of age.

woman on a couch by Joseph Desire Court

woman on a couch by Joseph Desire Court

January 24– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “Several members of the Cabinet, with myself, considered the question, to-day, as to the time of your coming on here. While we fully appreciate your wish to remain in Tennessee until her State government shall be completely re-inaugurated, it is our unanimous conclusion that it is unsafe for you to not be here on the 4th of March. Be sure to reach here by that time.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to Andrew Johnson.

January 24– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “You are hereby appointed to a Clerkship of the first class in the Office of Indian Affairs, of this Department, the salary of which is $1200 per annum, to commence when you have subscribed the enclosed oath, and entered upon duty.” ~ Letter from William T. Otto to Walt Whitman.

January 24– Tuesday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We beg, through your columns, to address, the General commanding South Carolina, and the Governor of this State. We, women of Charleston, not enthusiastic girls, but women whose hair has whitened through the anguish of this awful war, whose husbands, sons, brothers, have died for South Carolina and Charleston, entreat to be heard. We would say that we have listened, with grief and horror inexpressible, to the hints of abandoning to our foes, without a struggle, the city of our love. We urge, by all our titles to regard; we implore, as the greatest boon, fight for Charleston! Fight at every point – fight for every inch, and if our men must die, let them die amid the blazing ruins of our homes, their souls rising upward on the flames which save our city from the pollution of our enemy. Send out the women and children yet in the city. Thousands of Charleston women scattered through the land will share with them their all. They shall not starve. But let them be no excuse for deserting the sacred homes of us and our ancestors. . . . By the rain of blood and tears, which has fallen upon our hearts, never quenching, but brightening the flame of patriotism there, do not utterly crush those true hearts by this blow. We know, each of us, our husbands, our brothers, our sons, are not shrinking now. They are chafing at this fatal policy of retreat. They who have won their fame from the Savannah river to Charleston harbor, they ask but leave to fight on as they have fought. Do you but lead them on, not keep them back. We call upon the Commanding General to stand by us, to fight with us, heart and soul. We call upon our Governor, sworn to defend Carolina and her honor, to defend it here. Let the mantle of the dictator fall upon him, and if Charleston, defended to the hour, must then fall amidst her burning edifices and her homes – either to the sound of guns of our forts, as they send out their last defiance to the baffled foe.” ~ Letter signed by dozens of women to the editor of the Charleston Mercury.

Confederate women

Confederate women

January 24– Tuesday– Albany, Georgia– “Mr. and Mrs. Welsh spent the evening with us. Jim Chiles came last night and sat until the chickens crowed for day. Although I like Jimmy and enjoy his budget of news, I would enjoy his visits more if he knew when to go away. I never was so tired and sleepy in my life, and cold, too, for we had let the fire go out as a hint. When at last we went to our room I nearly died laughing at the way Metta had maneuvered to save time. She had loosened every button and string that she could get at without being seen, while sitting in the parlor, and had now only to give herself a good shake and she was ready for bed. We spent the morning making calls with Mrs. Sims, and found among the refugees from South Carolina a charming old lady, Mrs. Brisbane. Though past fifty, she is prettier than many a woman of half her years, and her manners would grace a court. Her father was an artist of note, and she showed us some beautiful pictures painted by him. After dinner we enjoyed some Florida oranges sent by Clinton Spenser, and they tasted very good, in the absence of West India fruit.” ~ Journal of Eliza Frances Andrews.

A Superb Little Fellow ~ January 1865 ~ 6th to 8th

A Superb Little Fellow ~ John Townsend Trowbridge

A New England writer and a Georgia soldier find hope and comfort in their little boys. A reader hopes for the quick end to slavery as debate on a constitutional amendment begins afresh in Congress. Siege continues at Petersburg. A Yankee general issues harsh orders to deal with raiders. A prominent Southern newspaper holds out hope for railroad development and criticizes the failures of the army and the government at Richmond.


January 6– Friday– Somerville, Massachusetts– “I have been thinking much of you lately & wondering where you were (for I heard some time since that you had left Washington), when the N.Y. Times came, with your long & interesting communication. I do not yet, from reading that, understand very well where you are, & I send this at a venture. If this reaches you, please let me know your address, & I will try to send you something to help along your good work. I sent you, some time last summer, by private hands, a copy of Great Expectations & two dollars in money, but could never learn that they reached you: did they? How are you now? A great change has taken place in my life since I saw you. My dearest friend has left me, leaving in her place a little boy, now eleven months old. A superb little fellow (although I say it); & in him I have great comfort. I went three times to find Dr. LeBarren Russell, with your note in my hand, but failing each time, I gave him up. I am not trying to withdraw from the arena of popular literature; only the necessity of coining a livelihood has kept me in it so long. I feel that, if I live frugally sincerely, and do not use up my mental energies in rapid writing I may be able to do something excellent. I am about getting out a volume of poems, or, as you would say, prettinesses.” ~ Letter from John Townsend Trowbridge to his friend Walt Whitman. [Trowbridge, 1827 – 1916, became a popular author. His wife Cornelia, to whom he had been married less than four years, died in March, 1864, shortly after birthing their son.]

John Townsend Trowbridge

John Townsend Trowbridge

January 6– Friday– New York City– “The land it [Sherman’s march to the sea] traversed was flourishing with milk and honey and all manner of good things. Hence, I deduced . . . a doubt whether the farmers and planters of Georgia, whose barnyards, pigpens, and storerooms unwillingly issued all these delicacies, are likely to feel much love for national soldiers, or for the Union, in the name whereof their homesteads have thus been harried. But the grip of Richmond officials may have been bad or even worse.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

January 6– Friday– Brooklyn, New York– “I see I have said I consider Drum-Taps superior to Leaves of Grass. I probably mean as a piece of wit, & from the more simple & winning nature of the subject, & also because I have in it only succeeded to my satisfaction in removing all superfluity from it, verbal superfluity I mean. I delight to make a poem where I feel clear that not a word but is indispensable part thereof & of my meaning. Still Leaves of Grass is dear to me, always dearest to me, as my first born, as daughter of my life’s first hopes, doubts, & the putting in form of those days’ efforts & aspirations– true, I see now, with some things in it I should not put in if I were to write now, but yet I shall certainly let them stand, even if but for proofs of phases passed away. Mother & all home are well as usual. Not a word for over three months from my brother George– the probabilities are most gloomy. I see the Howells now & then. I am well, but need to leave here– need a change.” ~ Letter from Walt Whitman to his friend William D. O’Connor.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

January 6– Friday– Washington, D.C.– In the House of Representatives, Congressman James Ashley, Republican from Ohio, introduces the proposed Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. It had previously passed the Senate but had been defeated in the House. In his speech he declares that it is Christian duty to abolish slavery. James Brooks, Democrat from New York, speaks against the measure, saying that abolition of slavery is not the only object of the war and the proposed amendment is unnecessary.

Congressman James Ashley

Congressman James Ashley

January 6– Friday– Richmond, Virginia– “Cloudy and thawing. No war news – but it is known Sherman’s army is not quiet, and must soon be heard from in spite of the interdict of the government.” ~ Diary of John Jones.

January 6– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The railroad, which is now in progress of construction, bids fair to become of more importance to the Confederate States than any other since the completion of the Piedmont road, which has, beyond all question, saved Richmond from capture by the enemy, as it would have been almost entirely isolated from the balance of the Confederacy by an interruption of the communication of the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad by Grant’s army. . . . Two thousand hands could complete the road in six months, or four thousand in three months; and when the vast importance of the road is taken into consideration, we do not think the authorities should hesitate for a moment to place at the command of the Company every resource requisite for its earliest possible completion. There are slaves in the country whose services can be had, and, we learn, an ample supply of provisions in the counties lying between here and Columbia. The South Carolina Legislature should at once adopt such measures as will insure the Company provisions and other necessaries for as many employers as may be required to complete the road in as short a period as possible.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

seal of Sanitary commission

January 6– Friday– Memphis, Tennessee– “M. H. Way of the U. S. Christian Commission in Memphis reported that in 1864 it issued to U. S. troops:15 blankets, 350 bed ticks, 12,849 shirts, 943 quilts, 3,459 pillows, 6,000 pairs of drawers, 2,600 pillow cases, 1,353 sheets, 402 dressing gowns, 219 coats and vests, 4,303 towels and 683 pairs of socks, 156 pairs of slippers, 632 fans, 298 mosquito bars, 7,665 lbs of bandages, 1,829 cans fruit, 1,240 lbs. concentrated beef, 833 lbs dried beef, 245 ½ lbs dried fruit, 1,856 lbs. butter, 954 dozen eggs,1,856 bottles wine and spirits, 3,319 cases concentrated milk, 30,179 gallons pickles, 7,051 gallons sauerkraut, 3,312 bushels potatoes, 4,203 bushels onions, 563 gallons of ale, 355 bush green apples, 3,605 lbs. farinaceous articles, 34,190 lbs. soda crackers, 1,993 lbs. crushed sugar, 2,243 lbs. corn meal, 613 lbs green tea, 88 ½ lbs. cod fish, 400 bottles relishes, 40 reams writing paper, 20,000 envelopes. At northern prices this amounted to over $100,000. Additionally, at ‘[the] Soldiers’ Lodge on the bluffs. . . during. . . November and December1864,’ 8,865 meals were served to disabled, furloughed and discharged soldiers going home.”~ Memphis Bulletin.

January 7– Saturday– East Westmoreland, New Hampshire– “Enclosed, please find $4.00 for the Liberator for one year more, hoping there will be no necessity for the Liberator after the progress, its mission will have been well and faithfully fulfilled. Then they its worthy, and indefatigable, and venerated Editor, after so many years of unceasing warfare in vindication of human rights, be enabled to say with good old Simeon, ‘Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.’ I wish to be kept on your list of subscribers until the Liberator and Slavery shall both cease to be. I owe too much to the old pioneer sheet to abandon it now, just as it is nearly ready to publish the victory won. I do not share with those who seem some what alienated, because of the expression of your honest convictions in regard to the reelection of Abraham Lincoln. I am sorry to see that any should be thus influenced. God bless the Editor of the Liberator! as millions, yet in the future, will rise up to bless his memory.” ~ Letter from Jehiel Claflin to William Lloyd Garrison.


January 7– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I transmit to Congress a copy of two treaties between the United States and Belgium, for the extinguishment of the Scheldt dues, etc., . . . and I recommend an appropriation to carry into effect the provision thereof relative to the payment of the proportion of the United States toward the capitalization of the said dues.” ~ Message from President Lincoln.

January 7– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– “Our boy must be of considerable size by this time. He is nearly four years old now. I want to see him with his jeans suit on with pockets in his britches, and a hat on, and see him run and jump. The later part of next year he will be old enough to start school– I want you to start him as soon as you can when he gets old enough and keep him going whether there is any chance to pay for it or not. There seems to be a general despondency, at this time throughout the Confederacy. I am truly sorry to see this and sometimes I wish I could instill my feelings on this subject in every man, woman and child in the Southern Confederacy. It is natural for some to grumble all the time while many others hearing so much grumbling and despondent chatter have not the spirit to rise above this, but fall under the influence and conclude that we are gone up. And we have had some reverses and bad Generalship, with a prospect of a continuance of the war which makes some good men croak and have the blues, and study over it till they conclude that we are about gone up, and they have their influence. But a large number are yet left who have resolved to die rather than submit to Yankee Rule, and never; never give it up. If croakers would but consider a moment the consequence of subjugation they would certainly talk different. Pen cannot describe nor tongue tell the degradation and suffering of our people if we ever submit.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda

Confederate soldiers says good-bye to his wife & children

Confederate soldiers says good-bye to his wife & children

January 7– Saturday– Charleston, South Carolina– “The dispirited condition of some of our armies; the disorganization that prevails in more than one of its corps; the thinness of the ranks produced by these causes; the dissatisfaction which reigns in certain sections among the people, produced by the almost invariable mismanagement of our arms and the maladministration of affairs by the Executive, are causes which have clouded the hopes of the most steadfast men in the country. No thinking man can do otherwise than look with apprehension upon the present aspect of our affairs. In the midst of this condition of things, nothing is so essentially important on the part of our legislators, and indeed, on the part of all thinking influential men, that a steadfast self collection and the use of a calm, unshaken scrutiny into the causes of our disasters, and a stern application of the remedies necessary to their eradication. . . . Because inefficiency is allowed to pervade every branch of the service; because favoritism dictates who shall command our armies; because tools are sought, and not competency; because hatreds rule, and the best and bravest are proscribed; because laxity prevails everywhere; because discipline is not required, and, where it is attempted to be enforced, the effort is checked by Executive weakness and egotism and love of popularity, whilst the service is disgraced and the cause brought to the brink of ruin by officers who cannot be shot, and cannot be cashiered.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

January 7– Saturday– Nashville, Tennessee– “Eighth. You will burn the houses of the following named persons, take any of the articles named above that they may have, together with all forage grains belonging to them that you can bring away which may be useful to the U. S. government for military purposes or otherwise and will give no receipt of any kind whatsoever.[Seven names are included in this section] Ninth. The following person will be shot in addition to suffering in the manner prescribed in Paragraph # 8. [Four names appear in this section of the order.]Tenth. The following named persons have committed murder and if caught will be hung to the first tree in front of their door and be allowed to hang there for an indefinite period. You will assure yourself that they are dead before leaving them also if their residence they will be stripped of everything as per the above instructions and then burned [Four names appear in this section of the order].” ~ Orders from Union General Robert H Milroy to deal with a number of alleged Confederate bushwhackers and guerrillas.

Confederate guerrilas

Confederate guerrilas

January 8– Sunday– Johnson’s Island, Ohio– “It seems that communication with the South by Flags of Truce has been resumed. We are anxiously awaiting the first mail after a deprivation for months. May I not hope that your dear handwriting will greet my eye? More than half a year has elapsed since I have heard directly from you. Do not be uneasy about my health and comfort. Providence has dealt kindly by me. I will not suffer more than I can cheerfully and patiently endure. I have been quite uneasy about you and yours. May God bless and preserve you!” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Henry McDaniel to his sweetheart Hester Felker.

January 8– Sunday– Petersburg, Virginia– “I forgot to tell you about our New Year’s dinner. We got it on the 4th instant, I believe. It was nearly a failure. I got a little piece of turkey and two small pieces of meat and about four good mouthfuls of light bread. It was too large an undertaking to try to give the whole army such a dinner. I am sorry you are making me a coat and heartily wish you had used the cloth for Henry [their son] and yourself. Do not make me anymore. I want you to have it for I can draw here and you have a hard task to cloth yourself and family without me. I am so sorry.” ~ Letters from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

January 8– Sunday– outside Petersburg, Virginia– “The Brigade band are now in front of my quarters giving me a serenade. We have had a splendid day but not much of a Sabbath. After inspecting the troops I took a long ride. The Rebels in our front are quiet, and we enjoy life after a fashion.” ~ Diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes.