Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dec. 14, 1861

Dec. 14, 1861: Col. John Baylor of the Confederate Army, in a saloon brawl in Mesilla, New Mexico, kills the editor of the Mesilla newspaper. As a result, he is arrrested and his brigade of Texas troops are put under the command of Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley.

--Pres. Lincoln, writes this letter to Rabbi Arnold Fischel in answer to Fischel’s request that Army regulations be altered to allow Jewish rabbis to serve as military chaplains:

"Rev. Dr. A. Fischel

"Executive Mansion, December 14, 1861.

"My dear Sir: I find that there are several particulars in which the present law in regard to Chaplains is supposed to be deficient, all of which I now design presenting to the appropriate Committee of Congress. I shall try to have a new law broad enough to cover what is desired by you in behalf of the Israelites. Yours truly,


--George Templeton Strong of New York writes in his journal: "England seems wrathful about the seizure of Mason and Slidell, but disposed to admit that we were technically right. Soreness and irritation are increasing and may well lead to war somehow. England’s last war was to uphold Mahometanism, her next may be in aid of slavery. It’s a mean people."

--An editorial in Harper’s Weekly offers this view of why Southerners are fighting the war:

The rebels are very ignorant, and their effort is for the destruction of all the safeguards of human rights ; but they are as sincere as savages, as desperate, and as unforgiving. They are taught, and they believe, that this is a war of invasion by fire and sword against their territory and all their rights, especially their sacred system of slavery, waged by a plebeian, psalm-singing, Puritan mob of peddlers and tinkers, who have always abused them, and taxed them, and made money out of them, and who now propose to take their property outright. They are taught and believe that all that is precious and honorable in men requires resistance to the death. They are very ignorant, but very desperate and very able.

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