Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 9, 1862

November 9, 1862:  Gen. Ambrose Burnside, now in command of the Army of the Potomac, submits a plan to the War Department for the next campaign: to focus the army against Warrenton, where Longstreet had blocked the main road to Richmond---and then to quickly march east to Fredericksburg and attack across the Rappahannock River, taking the town and a more direct road to Richmond, and thus putting the Union army on the same side of the river with the Confederate army. 
Gen. Burnside
---A major nor’easter storm hits the northeast, blanketing the country in snow, all the way down into Virginia.  The Army of the Potomac begins to move in the storm.
---Stephen Tippet Andrews, a First Sergeant in the 85th New York Infantry, writes home to his sweetheart, Margaret Little, giving us a small glimpse into the romantic language and conventions of the time:
I received your lounging cap which you were so good as to send me the night before last and have now got it on as I write; You are very thoughtful Maggie; for it is just what I was wishing for; it will be so comfortable to wear while in the tent for a military cap is stiff and awkward, I hope I may be able to repay your kindness some day if you was here I would kiss you as many times as there are Stitches in the cap- There dont I love you some? . . . I would like (to) have you take lessons upon the guitar I will send you money to pay the expenses of, music, instrument etc. now dont say no for it is my wish and I must be (officers always should be) obeyed.
Did you feel bad when our Black Creek girls were rallying you of me or dont you care a fig for such things, I have had to take it too; for my sister in one of her letters not long ago spoke of that “Little love affair” of mine, how she found out our secret I dont know nor do I care, I had just as leave the whole world would Know that I love so good a girl as Maggie as not. I have never written to but one person of you and that is a cousin living in Yates Co I have told her all about you and she has sent her love to you I know you will accept it and give yours in return. Poor girl she had her lover killed in the late battle at Bull run his name was Palding and he was a Lieutenant. But I must close as it is time for dress parade so good night a long kiss
From your own

---Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill of the Confederate army turns 37 on this date.

---Sarah Morgan of Baton Rouge writes in her journal about the ongoing sugar harvest, and is carried into satirical raillery about slavery and abolition with a Southerner’s light-hearted disdain of Yankees and their assumed lack of knowledge about living with slaves:
Sunday, November 9th
I hardly know how these last days have passed. I have an indistinct recollection of rides in cane-wagons to the most distant field, coming back perched on the top of the cane singing, “Dye my petticoats,” to the great amusement of the General who followed on horseback. Anna and Miriam, comfortably reposing in corners, were too busy to join in, as their whole time and attention were entirely devoted to the consumption of cane. It was only by singing rough impromptus on Mr. Harold and Captain Bradford that I roused them from their task long enough to join in a chorus of “ Forty Thousand Chinese.” I would not have changed my perch, four mules, and black driver, for Queen Victoria’s coach and six.
And to think old Abe wants to deprive us of all that fun! No more cotton, sugar-cane, or rice! No more old black aunties or uncles! No more rides in mule teams, no more songs in the cane-field, no more steaming kettles, no more black faces and shining teeth around the furnace fires! If Lincoln could spend the grinding season on a plantation, he would recall his proclamation. As it is, he has only proved himself a fool, without injuring us. Why, last evening I took old Wilson’s place at the bagasse shoot, and kept the rollers free from cane until I had thrown down enough to fill several carts, and had my hands as black as his. What cruelty to slaves! And black Frank thinks me cruel, too, when he meets me with a patronizing grin, and shows me the nicest vats of candy, and peels cane for me. Oh! very cruel! And so does Jules, when he wipes the handle of his paddle on his apron, to give “Mamselle” a chance to skim the kettles and learn how to work! Yes! and so do all the rest who meet us with a courtesy and “Howd’y, young Missus!” Last night we girls sat on the wood just in front of the furnace — rather Miriam and Anna did, while I sat in their laps — and with some twenty of all ages crowded around, we sang away to their great amusement. Poor oppressed devils! Why did you not chunk us with the burning logs instead of looking happy, and laughing like fools? Really, some good old Abolitionist is needed here, to tell them how miserable they are. Can’t Mass’ Abe spare a few to enlighten his brethren?

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