Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 11, 1863

August 11, 1863

Capt. August C. Thompson, Co. G, 16th Georgia Infantry Regiment
from Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs,

---The Richmond Daily Dispatch prints a news item of interest, only indirectly referring to the raids of Confederate soldiers on the gardens of the Richmond populace:

Securing supplies.

–All the Justices of Henrico county are summoned to attend at their Court House to day to consider the propriety of petitioning the Secretary of War for a line of sentinels around Richmond, to guard the suburban farms and gardens against depredations. The question is one of meal and bread to the people of Richmond, and is worthy of careful consideration.

Also, this newspaper makes reference to the nasty heat wave that is spread across the Eastern seaboard of both North and South, and is mentioned in nearly every letter and journal entry of the time:

The Weather

has at length arrived at melting heat. Fat men are but skins of grease, literally running away as they attempt locomotion, and lean ones are so dried and porched that their bones rattle as skeletons in the wind when they move about. We may expect a thunder storm at any moment, judging from the flying clouds and occasional guate of wind.

---In answer to a query from President Lincoln about the possibilities of reconstruction in currently Union-occupied states, Maj. Gen. Stephen Hurlbut, commander of garrison troops in western Tennessee, offers his thoughts in a letter to the President, of which we excerpt a few:

HDQRS. SIXTEENTH A. C., Memphis, Tenn., August 11, 1863.His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,President of the United States, Washington, D. C.:
SIR; In reply to your communication of the 31 set of July, I desire to submit the following remarks as the result of my observations:
1. The rank and file of the Southern army have begun to awaken to the knowledge that they are not fighting their own battle, but the battle of the officers, the politicians, and the plantation class. You may remember I predicted this result more than a year since. One evidence of this state of things is that arrests are being made in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi of soldiers and citizens on suspicion of membership in secret Union societies. . . .
5. As to Tennessee, I am satisfied that this State is ready by overwhelming majorities to repeal the act of secession, establish a fair system of gradual emancipation, and tender herself back to the Union. I have discouraged any action on this subject here until East Tennessee is delivered. When that is done, so that her powerful voice may be heard, let Governor Johnson call an election for members of the Legislature, and that Legislature call a convention, and in sixty days the work will be done. Then we can use upon the Tennessee troops in Southern service the same tremendous lever of State pride and State authority which forced them into hostile ranks.
Moral causes, in my judgment, will have as much to do with the down-fall of the Confederacy as physical ones.Battles are valuable by breaking up the solid array of force-more valuable as they break the hedge of steel, and allow men to think and act.
The days of chivalry are gone in the South as elsewhere.
6. The emancipation proclamation and the arming of negroes is the bugbear in Mississippi.
I have now an application from some FIFTY men of mark and position in Mississippi, asking if they may hold a meeting to consider the probabilities of recognition by the United States. I shall answer them unofficially, and will send the answer.
Substantially, it will be this: Both as a State and as individuals you have committed treason. Your property in slaves by State law is forfeited by the act of treason. As aliens by your own act, you cannot appeal to the Constitution. The Confederacy, the embodiment of treason, cannot be treated with. The States can. The terms must be prescribed by Congress. I think that if you continue in armed resistance six months longer, you will have no slave property to quarrel about. It is now for you simply a question of time and of means. Accept the facts before you, let yourselves down easily and gradually, or go down by the run and find your State held by armed negro troops. Admit emancipation as a fact, an accomplished fact, and settle your own time for doing so and come back, or have it forced upon you peremptory, immediate, and armed, and take the consequences.
Mississippi is thoroughly broken-spirited. . . .

---Frederick Douglass meets yesterday with the President, offering criticisms for the lack of equal pay for black soldiers and the lack of equality in the Confederate treatment of black prisoners of war.  Douglass, after the interview, says that “in his company I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color.”

Frederick Douglass

No comments:

Post a Comment