Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6, 1864

March 6, 1864

---George Templeton Strong of New York City records in his journal his personal reaction to the formation of the first black regiment from New York as it is mustered in and receives its colors on this date:

Made my way with difficulty through the dense crowd that filled Union Square, for the First New York Negro Regiment was receiving its colors at the Union League Club House.  It has been organized by aid of subscriptions got up in this club.  A second regiment of black New Yorkers will soon be sent off under the same auspices.  Our labors of a year ago have borne fruit.  The Union League has done something for the country.  From the windows of 823 I saw this regiment march down Broadway after a spirited allocution by Charles King.  The regiment was “black but comely,” and marched well. . . . Both sidewalks and all the windows were full of applauding spectators.  There was hearty cheering and clapping and waving of handkerchiefs. . . .

I have seen two memorable marches down Broadway: this one, and that of the Seventh Regiment in April, 1861.  This transaction had far less sublimity. . . . But I think yesterday morning’s phenomenon---Ethiopia marching down Broadway, armed, drilled, truculent, and elate---was the weightier and the more memorable of the two.

---The Richmond Examiner reports on the burial of Col. Ulric Dahlgren’s corpse:

[T]he body was removed from the car that brought it to the York River railroad depot, and given to the spot of earth selected to receive it. Where that spot is no one but those concerned in its burial know or care to tell. It was a dog’s burial, without coffin, winding sheet or service. Friend and relative at the North need inquire no further; this is all they will know – he is buried a burial that befitted the mission upon which he came. He ‘swept through the city of Richmond’ on a pine bier, and ‘written his name’ on the scroll of infamy, instead of ‘on the hearts of his countrymen,’ never to be erased. He ‘asked the blessing of Almighty God’ and his mission of rapine, murder and blood, and the Almighty cursed him instead.

However, a more accurate report on burying Dahlgren indicates that he was buried in a pine coffin, fully clothed, in an unmarked grave near the entrance of Oakwood Cemetery at Richmond.

Col. Ulric Dahlgren, USA

---Gen. Robert E. Lee, in a letter to President Davis, offers his arguments against the idea of executing Union prisoners in reprisal for Col. Dahlgren’s intention of killing the Confederate president and cabinet and putting the city to the torch:

I cannot recommend the execution of the prisoners that have fallen into our hands.  Assuming that the address and special orders of Colonel Dahlgren correctly state his designs and intentions, they were not executed, and I believe, even in a legal point of view, acts in addition to intentions are necessary to constitute a crime.  These papers can only be considered as evidence of his intentions.  It does not appear how far his men were cognizant of them, or that his course was sanctioned by his Government.  It is only known that his plans were frustrated by a merciful Providence, his forces scattered, and he killed.  I do not think it, therefore, to visit upon the captives the guilt of his intentions. . . .

I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity.

---An English blockade runner named the Mary Ann is captured off the entrance to the Cape Fear River and Wilmington by the U.S.S. Grand Gulf

---Near Jupiter Inlet, Florida, U.S. Naval forces seize the attempted running of the blockade by the sloop G. Garibaldi.

---The New Orleans Picayune publishes a story that it got from the Rochester [N.Y.] Union, about “Albert Cashier,” a woman who has been successful at passing herself off as a male, and served in the Union army:

The young female noticed yesterday as having sought to be received into the 3d Cavalry turns out to be Lizzie Compton, the young soldier girl whose career has been noticed by the Western and Southern papers. This girl was taken to the police station yesterday. It was supposed that she was an adventurer like many who have appeared in a similar disguise, and was therefore regarded as a disorderly person. The chief found her in Worden’s saloon talking with a young man, and told her that she was wanted by the Police Magistrate. . . . She stated that she was about sixteen years of age, assuming that she had been correctly informed as to the date of her birth.

. . . At the age of thirteen, when the rebellion commenced, she put on the clothes of a boy and worked about the steamboats on the Western rivers. At length she sought a place in the army as a bugler, on which instrument she soon excelled.

Lizzie has been eighteen months in the service and in seven or eight regiments. She got into the ranks by fraud — taking the place of some person who had passed muster and was discharged as soon as her sex was discovered. Among the regiments in which she served were the 79th New York, 17th and 28th Michigan, and the 2d Minnesota. Her first engagement was at Mill Springs, and she relates minutely the details of the fall of Zollicoffer.

She was captured with her company and paroled by the guerrilla Morgan near Gallatin, Tenn. She fought at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and several other places in the West. Finally she went to the Army of the Potomac and got into the 79th New York. At the battle of Fredericksburg, early in July, she was wounded by a piece of shell in the side; and the surgeon discovered and disclosed her sex, which led to her dismissal after recovering in the hospital. . . .

This girl, familiar with the use of a musket, understands the manual perfectly, has performed picket and other duties of camp and field, and delights in the service. She recites camp incidents and scenes with the ardor of a youth of twelve, and longs to be with her old companions in arms. When asked if she had no fears, she replied that she was some “skeered” in the first battle, but never since, and she added that as she had done nothing to lead her to believe she would go to a bad place in the next world, she was not afraid to die. . . . She has the instincts of a boy — loves boyish pursuits and is bound to be a man. She declares that she may yet be a gentleman, but that she can never be a lady. She solemnly affirms that she is innocent of crime, and her affirmation will be taken by any one who hears her narrative.

Albert Cashier

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