Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4, 1862

November 4, 1862:  Election Day – The Union cause---or at least the Republican Party---takes huge losses on this day.  Democrats took the governorships and the majority of state house seats in New Jersey and New York, where the notorious pro-secession Horatio Seymour unseated Edward Morgan.  The Republicans also had slighter losses in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.  They suffered a net loss in Congress, however, which is where it hurt the worst.  Even though some sneaky district gerrymandering in Ohio kept another notorious pro-slavery congressman, Clement Vallandigham, from getting re-elected, the Democrats took all but five of Ohio’s congressional seats.  Republicans also took losses in the U.S. House from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  But Republicans kept their seats in the New England states, and kept their majorities in Congress:  85 to 72 in the House, and 31 to 10 in the Senate.  One reason: fewer Republicans, who were more likely to join the army than Democrats were.  There was no provision for soldiers in the field to be able to vote: in Pennsylvania, only the 2,000 soldiers who were posted in the state itself were allowed to vote, even though another 250,000 Pennsylvanians were in uniform at the Front.  Mounting casualties, suspending civil liberties, and the shock of emancipation has cost the Republicans many votes.
Voting in New York, 1862
---Miss Sarah Morgan, once again back home in Baton Rouge (now in Confederate hands), writes of a rare occasion of social relaxation and flirting, and she and the other young ladies take an excursion to the local sugar house with several young men who are officers in the Southern army, showing how rare and treasured were such occasions for youth in wartime.  She also makes reference to a letter about her brother in the C.S. Navy in England:

November 4th, 1862.

O what a glorious time we had yesterday! First, there were those two gentlemen to be entertained all day, which was rather a stretch, I confess, so I stole away for a while. Then I got the sweetest letter from Miss Trenholm, enclosing Jimmy’s photograph, and she praised him so that I was in a damp state of happiness and flew around showing my picture to everybody, Mr. Bradford included, who pronounced him a noble boy, and admired him to my satisfaction. . . . Once there, I was surprised to find that one was Frank Enders, the one I least expected to see. The other was a Mr. Harold. I need not describe him, beyond this slight indication of his style. Before half an hour was over, he remarked to Anna that I was a very handsome girl, and addressed me as — Miss Sally! That is sufficient. . . .

The evening passed off very pleasantly; I think there were some eighteen of us in the parlor. About ten the General went to the sugar-house (he commenced grinding yesterday) and whispered to me to bring the young people down presently. Mr. Bradford and I succeeded in moving them, and we three girls retired to change our pretty dresses for plain ones, and get shawls and nuages, for our warm week had suddenly passed away, and it was quite cold out. Some of the gentlemen remarked that very few young ladies would have the courage to change pretty evening dresses for calico, after appearing to such advantage. Many would prefer wearing such dresses, however inappropriate, to the sugar-mill. With his droll gravity, Gibbes answered, “Oh, our girls don’t want to be stuck up!”

There was quite a string of us as we straggled out in the beautiful moonlight, with only Mrs. Badger as an escort. Mr. Enders and I had a gay walk of it, and when we all met at the furnace, we stopped and warmed ourselves, and had a laugh before going in. Inside, it was lighted up with Confederate gas, in other words, pine torches, which shed a delightful light, neither too much nor too little, over the different rooms. We tried each by turns. The row of bubbling kettles with the dusky negroes bending over in the steam, and lightly turning their paddles in the foamy syrup, the whole under the influence of torchlight, was very interesting; but then, Mr. Enders and I found a place more pleasant still. It was in the first purgery, standing at the mouth of the shoot through which the liquid sugar runs into the car; and taking the place of the car as soon as it was run off to the coolers, each armed with a paddle, scraped the colon up and had our own fun while eating. Then running along the little railroad to where the others stood in the second room over the vats, and racing back again all together to eat sugarcane and cut up generally around our first pine torch, we had really a gay time.

Presently “Puss wants a corner” was suggested, and all flew up to the second staging, under the cane-carrier and by the engine. Such racing for corners! Such scuffles among the gentlemen! Such confusion among the girls when, springing forward for a place, we would find it already occupied! All dignity was discarded. We laughed and ran as loud and fast as any children, and the General enjoyed our fun as much as we, and encouraged us in our pranks. Waller surpassed himself, Mr. Bradford carried all by storm, Mr. Enders looked like a schoolboy on a frolic, Mr. Carter looked sullen and tried lazily not to mar the sport completely, while Mr. Harold looked timidly foolish and half afraid of our wild sport. Mrs. Badger laughed, the General roared, Anna flew around like a balloon, Miriam fairly danced around with fun and frolic, while I laughed so that it was an exertion to change corners. Then forfeits followed, with the usual absurd formalities in which Mr. Bradford sentenced himself unconsciously to ride a barrel, Miriam to make him a love speech going home, Mr. Enders to kiss my hand, and I to make him (Mr. Enders) a declaration, which I instantly did, in French, whereby I suffered no inconvenience, as Miriam alone comprehended. Then came more sugar-cane and talk in the purgery, and we were horrified when Mrs. Badger announced that it was twelve o’clock, and gave orders to retire.

O the pleasant walk home! Then, of course, followed a last good-night on the balcony, while the two young men mounted their horses and Frank Enders vowed to slip off every time he had a chance and come out to see us. . . .I am afraid to say how late it was when we got to bed.

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