March 18, 1864
---In Arkansas, on this date, a Unionist state convention ratifies a new state Constitution, and abolishes slavery in the state.
---Gen. Grant announces that his headquarters will be with the Army of the Potomac in the field, and this signals to the Confederates that the Virginia Theatre of war will be the focal point of the conflict.
---Gen. Grant and Gen. Sherman meet in Nashville to discuss strategy, and to install Sherman formally as commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi, which effectively gives Sherman command of all Union forces in the West.
---Pres. Lincoln speaks today at the U.S. Sanitary Commission Fair in Washington, to great applause.
---Mary Boykin Chestnut writes in her diary of the encroaching poverty even among wealthy folk in Richmond—and of husbands and wives and wounded warriors:
March 18th.—Went out to sell some of my colored dresses. What a scene it was—such piles of rubbish, and mixed up with it, such splendid Parisian silks and satins. A mulatto woman kept the shop under a roof in an out-of-the-way old house. The ci-devant rich white women sell to, and the negroes buy of, this woman.
After some whispering among us Buck said: “Sally is going to marry a man who has lost an arm, and she is proud of it. The cause glorifies such wounds.” Annie said meekly, “I fear it will be my fate to marry one who has lost his head.” “Tudy has her eyes on one who has lost an eye. What a glorious assortment of noble martyrs and heroes!” “The bitterness of this kind of talk is appalling.”
General Lee had tears in his eyes when he spoke of his daughter-in-law just dead—that lovely little Charlotte Wickham, Mrs. Roony Lee. Roony Lee says “Beast” Butler was very kind to him while he was a prisoner. The “Beast ” has sent him back his war-horse. The Lees are men enough to speak the truth of friend or enemy, fearing not the consequences.