Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 16, 1863

July 16, 1863

---On this day, President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States issues a decree that calls up all white men for military service: “all white men, residents of said States, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, not legally exempted from military service.”

---New York Draft Riots:  The New York Times reports on the horrendous destruction of the day in the city streets:

A Morning Riot in Thirty-second-Street.
Late on Tuesday night a raid was made by the mob on a number of negro dwellings situate on Thirty-second-street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues; these buildings were almost entirely demolished and several attempts were made to fire the whole vicinity. 
An unfortunate negro, who made an attempt to fly for his life from the fury of these persecutors, was caught and severely beaten with stones and bludgeons; the infuriated mob not satisfied with thus brutally mangling their victim, slipped a rope around his neck and hung him to a tree in the neighborhood, where he remained until quite an early hour this morning. 
About 9 o’clock yesterday morning, Capt. Morr, of the United States artillery, having been sent with a strong force to cut down the unfortunate negro, was met by the mob with the most persistent opposition. After requesting them to disperse, and being still menaced by the crowd, he ordered his men to fire; three rounds of grape were poured into them with fearful effect. When they dispersed, it was ascertained that upward of twenty-five had been killed and a number seriously wounded. 
Another negro was also hung by the mob in the forenoon, in Thirty-sixth-street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

The Sacking of the Colored Orphan's Asylum
---George Templeton Strong, writes of the trouble in the streets on this day and the effect of events on political sentiment in the city:

Rather quiet downtown.  No trustworthy accounts of riot on any large scale during the day.  General talk downtown is that the trouble is over.  We shall see.  It will be as it pleases the scoundrels who are privily engineering the outbreak---agents of Jefferson Davis, permitted to work here in New York. . . . Coming uptown tonight I find Gramercy Park in military occupation.  Strong parties drawn up across Twentieth Street and Twenty-first Streets at the east end of the Square. . . .

Never knew exasperation so intense, unqualified, and general as that which prevails against these rioters and the political knaves who are supposed to have set them going, Governor Seymour not excepted.  Men who voted for him mention the fact with contrition and self-abasement. . . . But we shall forget all about it before next November.  Perhaps the lesson of the last four days is still to be taught us still more emphatically, and we have got to be worse before we are better.  It is not clear that the resources of the conspiracy are yet exhausted.  The rioters of yesterday were better armed and organized than those of Monday, and their inaction today may possibly be meant to throw us off our guard. . . . They are in full possession of the western and eastern sides of the city, from Tenth Street upward, and of a good many districts beside.  I could not walk four blocks eastward from this house this minute without peril.  The outbreak is spreading by concerted action in many quarters.  Albany, Troy, Yonkers, Hartford, Boston, and other cities have each their Irish anti-conscription Nigger-murdering mob, of the same type with ours.  It is a grave business, a jacquerie that must be put down by heroic doses of lead and steel.

George Templeton Strong (center, standing) and associates

---Sec. of the Navy Gideon Welles writes in his journal about the Draft riots:

July 16, Thursday. It is represented that the mob in New York is about subdued. Why it was permitted to continue so long and commit such excess has not been explained. Governor Seymour, whose partisans constituted the rioters, and whose partisanship encouraged them, has been in New York talking namby-pamby. This Sir Forcible Feeble is himself chiefly responsible for the outrage.

Then, concerning the escape of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia back to friendly soil, Welles adds these doubts about Gen. Halleck’s relative capacities:
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles
Lee’s army has recrossed the Potomac, unmolested, carrying off all its artillery and the property stolen in Pennsylvania. When I ask why such an escape was permitted, I am told that the generals opposed an attack. What generals? None are named. Meade is in command there; Halleck is General-in-Chief here. They should be held responsible. There are generals who, no doubt, will acquiesce without any regrets in having this war prolonged.

In this whole summer’s campaign I have been unable to see, hear, or obtain evidence of power, or will, or talent, or originality on the part of General Halleck. He has suggested nothing, decided nothing, done nothing but scold and smoke and scratch his elbows. Is it possible the energies of the nation should be wasted by the incapacity of such a man?

---John Beauchamp Jones, a senior clerk at the Confederate War Department, writes gloomily in his journal concerning the recent reverses for the South:

JULY 16TH. —This is another blue day in the calendar. Nothing from Lee, or Johnston, or Bragg; and no news is generally bad news. But from Charleston we learn that the enemy are established on MorrisIsland, having taken a dozen of our guns and howitzers in the sand hills at the lower end; and that the monitors had passed the bar, and doubtless an engagement by land and by water is imminent, if indeed it has not already taken place. Many regard Charleston as lost. I do not. . . .

            Mr. Secretary Seddon, who usually wears a sallow and cadaverous look, which, coupled with his emaciation, makes him resemble an exhumed corpse after a month’s interment, looks to-day like a galvanized corpse which had been buried two months. The circles round his eyes are absolutely black! And yet he was pacing briskly backward and forward between the President’s office and the War Department. He seems much affected by disasters.

---Second Battle of Jackson, Mississippi – After two days of sporadic fighting, Sherman invests the city, preparing for a siege, and places over 200 cannon for that purpose.  Gen. Joseph Johnston decides that the city cannot be held, and decides to pull out, leaving behind the seriously wounded, 23,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, 1,400 muskets, and three large siege guns.  The Confederates, as they leave, destroy much of the city.  What is left is pillaged by Sherman’s troops as they enter.  Union Victory.

---On this day, Pres. Abraham Lincoln issues a proclamation establishing a national “day of thanksgiving” for the recent victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg:

Now, therefore, be it known that I do set apart Thursday, the 6th day of August next, to be observed as a day for national thanksgiving, praise, and prayer, and I invite the people of the United States to assemble on that occasion in their customary places of worship, and, in the forms approved by their own consciences, render the homage due to the Divine Majesty for the wonderful things He has done in the nation’s behalf, and invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit to subdue the anger which has produced and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion, to change the hearts of the insurgents, to guide the counsels of the Government with wisdom adequate to so great a national emergency, and to visit with tender care and consolation throughout the length and breadth of our land all those who, through the vicissitudes of marches, voyages, battles, and sieges have been, brought to suffer in mind, body, or estate, and finally to lead the whole nation through the paths of repentance and submission to the Divine Will back to the perfect enjoyment of union and fraternal peace.

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