Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14, 1862

August 14, 1862: Pres. Abraham Lincoln meets with several leaders of the free black community in Washington to propose his idea for Colonization—still a pet idea of his: that the black man can never find justice or equality in this country run by white men. He gives these men his ideas:
Your race are suffering, in my judgment, the greatest wrong inflicted on any people. But even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race. You are cut off from many of the advantages which the other race enjoy. . . . You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated. . . .

Lincoln acknowledges, however, the lack of incentive for freemen, especially, to leave and settle elsewhere—for instance, in Central America, where he proposes establishing this colony [in what is now Nicaragua]:
I suppose one of the principal difficulties in the way of colonization is that the free colored man cannot see that his comfort would be advanced by it. You may believe you can live in Washington or elsewhere in the United States the remainder of your life, perhaps more so than you can in any foreign country, and hence you may come to the conclusion that you have nothing to do with the idea of going to a foreign country. . . .

The practical thing I want to ascertain is whether I can get a number of able-bodied men, with their wives and children, who are willing to go, when I present evidence of encouragement andprotection. Could I get a hundred tolerably intelligent men, with their wives and children, to "cut their own fodder," so to speak? Can I have fifty? If I could find twenty-five able-bodied men, with a mixture of women and children, good things in the family relation, I think I could make a successful commencement.

The President asks the delegation to take some time to consider his proposal, with the hopes of getting their endorsement. The five men agreed to take the idea to their people for consideration.

—G.A. Mahoney, editor of the Dubuque, Iowa Herald, is arrested by a U.S. Marshal for
disloyalty and trying to discourage military enlistments.

—On this date, Gen. McClellan orders two whole corps of infantry be loaded on transport steamers at Harrison’s Landing and shipped north.
Harrison's Landing on the James River, showing the Army of the Potomac's camps and fortified positions

—On this date, certain that McClellan was leaving, Gen. Lee issues orders for the remainder of his army to begin leaving Richmond and heading west to join Jackson opposition to Pope’s army. He leaves Gen. G.W. Smith in command of two divisions of infantry and a brigade of cavalry to guard Richmond. Longstreet’s corps—ten brigades amounting to about 20,000 troops—is already on the move, traveling by rail to Gordonsville. Hood and his two brigades are proceeding on foot.
Situation in Virginia, evening of Aug. 14, showing Burnside's progress to reinforce Pope and Lee's progress to join Jackson.

—Rumors fly in central Tennessee that Col. Morgan is on the move again, with his light brigade of cavalry, heading to Nashville with the intent of attacking the Yankee garrison in that occupied city, in concert with Gen. Bragg’s movements.
Col. John Hunt Morgan

—Lieut. Charles Wright Wills of the 8th Illinois Infantry Regiment, writes home from camp in Tuscumbia, in northern Alabama, where his regiment is engaged in confiscating Rebel cotton:
People here are considerably scared about the free and easy way we are gobbling up their little all. We are raking in about 100 bales of cotton per day and could get more if we had the transportation. It makes the chivalry howl, which is glorious music in our ears, and the idea of considering these confederacies something else than erring brothers is very refreshing. But I can'ttalk the thing over with them with any pleasure, for they all pretend so much candor and honesty in their intentions, and declare so cheerfully, and (the women) prettily, that they will do nothing opposed to our interest, and express so much horror and detestation of guerrillas and marauders of all kinds, that one can’t wish to do them any harm or take and destroy their property. But the murders of Bob McCook, a dozen of men in this command, and hundreds in the army, all tend to disipate such soft sentiments, for we are satisfied that citizens do ten-elevenths of such work; and nothing less than the removal of every citizen beyond our lines, or to north of the Ohio river, will satisfy us.
—George Michael Neese, Confederate artilleryman in Chew’s Horse Artillery, writes in his journal some deep thoughts—and hilarious observations—about necessity, mortality, and corn shucks:

When the comforts, conveniences, and luxuries of life are few and far between, necessity is ever ready to step in like a kind mother, making gracious suggestions for the amelioration of man’s condition under adverse circumstances and discomforting situations. Yesterday evening I hearkened to the kind and motherly admonitions of the grandmother of inventions, and gathered up all the green corn shucks that were scattered around our kitchen, with the gratifying anticipation of indulging in the exquisite luxury of a soft, downy shuck pillow for at least one night. The partly wilted shucks made a good, sweet pillow, as the women would say, and it served the purpose splendidly till about midnight, when I was awakened by something on the order of a blacksmith’s bellows blowing in my ear. I thought perhaps some of Pope’s Yanks were after me with a blowing machine, but when I raised my head to make observations I saw an old cow standing right by my head pulling corn shucks from my pillow. I saw some cows in the field when I retired, but had no idea that the fools would come and eat my pillow from under my head. The mother of inventions would have done very well this time if the old dame had kept the cow away, for I had a very good pillow until midnightwhen the old cow ate it.
The foregoing incident caused some philosophical reflections on the utility and economy of nature and its pertaining affairs to creep through my brain. Yesterday morning the shucks that I used for a pillow last night shielded the juicy corn from the obnoxious depredations of birds and the direful effects of raw sunshine and rain. Last night they supplied me with a pillow until an old cow ate them, and perhaps by to-morrow we will eat the cow; and anyhow by day after to-morrow General Pope would like to make fertilizer out of us suitable for raising corn; that would be but a short journey from corn to corn and shucks to shucks. However, it would require a little metaphysical analysis to trace the ramifications of the process of transformation.

No comments:

Post a Comment