banning “the wolf’s dictionary”?

NYT 4-18-1864

The president not sick, going to visitBaltimore

150 years ago Sanitary Fairs were held throughout the North to support the work of the United States Sanitary Commission. President Lincoln spoke a few words when Baltimore opened its version on April 18th. There might never be an authoritative, all-encompassing definition of liberty, but Mr. Lincoln implied that liberty did not involve the right to enslave other people. There would seem to be another definition involved – in the president’s dictionary black people were human beings, too, and gradually taking on more rights and responsibilities, as I believe can bee seen in Mr. Lincoln’s relatively long coda, in which he discussed the recent and rumored Fort Pillow massacre. The president also said that the government was going to get the facts about the alleged slaughter before taking revenge.

From The Papers And Writings Of Abraham Lincoln, Volume Seven:


APRIL 18, 1864.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:—Calling to mind that we are in Baltimore, we cannot fail to note that the world moves. Looking upon these many people assembled here to serve, as they best may, the soldiers of the Union, it occurs at once that three years ago the same soldiers could not so much as pass through Baltimore. The change from then till now is both great and gratifying. Blessings on the brave men who have wrought the change, and the fair women who strive to reward them for it!

But Baltimore suggests more than could happen within Baltimore. The change within Baltimore is part only of a far wider change. When the war began, three years ago, neither party, nor any man, expected it would last till now. Each looked for the end, in some way, long ere to-day. Neither did any anticipate that domestic slavery would be much affected by the war. But here we are; the war has not ended, and slavery has been much affected how much needs not now to be recounted. So true is it that man proposes and God disposes.

Illustrated Civil War "Union Envelopes"]: "Jewels" of the "1st Families" of Va., consisting of [slave] "chains, bracelets, & anklets" (between 1861 and 1865; LOC: LC-USZ62-53594)

at liberty

But we can see the past, though we may not claim to have directed it; and seeing it, in this case, we feel more hopeful and confident for the future.

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name, liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to-day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the process by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty. Recently, as it seems, the people of Maryland have been doing something to define liberty, and thanks to them that, in what they have done, the wolf’s dictionary has been repudiated.

It is not very becoming for one in my position to make speeches at length; but there is another subject upon which I feel that I ought to say a word. A painful rumor, true, I fear, has reached us, of the massacre, by the rebel forces at Fort Pillow, in the west end of Tennessee, on the Mississippi River, of some three hundred colored soldiers and white officers [I believe it latter turned out to be 500], who had just been overpowered by their assailants [numbering 5000]. There seems to be some anxiety in the public mind whether the Government is doing its duty to the colored soldier, and to the service, at this point. At the beginning of the war, and for some time, the use of colored troops was not contemplated; and how the change of purpose was wrought I will not now take time to explain. Upon a clear conviction of duty I resolved to turn that element of strength to account; and I am responsible for it to the American people, to the Christian world, to history, and in my final account to God. Having determined to use the negro as a soldier, there is no way but to give him all the protection given to any other soldier. The difficulty is not in stating the principle, but in practically applying it. It is a mistake to suppose the Government is indifferent to this matter, or is not doing the best it can in regard to it. We do not to-day know that a colored soldier, or white officer commanding colored soldiers, has been massacred by the rebels when made a prisoner. We fear it, we believe it, I may say,—but we do not know it. To take the life of one of their prisoners on the assumption that they murder ours, when it is short of certainty that they do murder ours, might be too serious, too cruel, a mistake. We are having the Fort Pillow affair thoroughly investigated; and such investigation will probably show conclusively how the truth is. If after all that has been said it shall turn out that there has been no massacre at Fort Pillow, it will be almost safe to say there has been none, and will be none, elsewhere. If there has been the massacre of three hundred there, or even the tenth part of three hundred, it will be conclusively proved; and being so proved, the retribution shall as surely come. It will be matter of grave consideration in what exact course to apply the retribution; but in the supposed case it must come.

[There was a massacre of a black company and their officers at Fort Pillow—they were prisoners who later on, the day of their capture, were ordered executed. The black soldiers were tied alive to individual planks—then man and plank were cobbled up like cord wood and burned. The white officers were shot. D.W.]

You can find out more about the Baltimore Fair and Maryland women in the Civil War at the University of Maryland’s library.

Civil War envelope showing Liberty Bell with message "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof" ( LOC: LC-DIG-ppmsca-3181)

a matter of definition

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great-new-york-fair (Harper's Weekly, April 16, 1864)


From the Richmond Daily Dispatch April 16, 1864:

A picture of the condition of Yankeedom.

The New York Herald, of Monday last, in an editorial article, draws the following picture of the drunken war carnival in the United States:

What is the present condition of the country?–In the midst of a gigantic war, draining the loyal States of hundreds of thousands of their most vigorous men, and thousands of millions of money, we are enjoying a carnival of unbounded prosperity. On every hand extravagance, prodigality and speculation prevail. Delirium reigns in Wall street, and among the giddy throngs of Broadway, and amid the splendors and the surging multitudes at the great Fair, in a word, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the madness of unlimited treasures rules the hour. Glorious spectacle this, and yet a most fearful delusion. It is like the feast of Belshazzar, while the legions of our irresistible enemy are gathering under the city walls.

From the same issue:

The speculation in New York.

A letter dated New York, the 12th inst., says:

This has been one of the most exciting days in Wall street and business circles within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. Gold, foreign exchange, breadstuffs, and nearly every other description of merchandise, indeed, have experienced an enormous advance, under the influence of which people seem to be growing absolutely wild. Almost every man you meet in the street or on the corner is a speculator — that is, an “operator for a rise”–for the time being; absolutely carried away with the one great idea, how to get rich all of a sudden, without reaching the grand result in the regular way, by the sweat of the face.

fourteenth-street-new-york (Harper's Weekly, April 16, 1864)


The above images are from the April 16, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly (at Son of the South) and depict New York’s Metropolitan Sanitary Fair.


[Brandy Station, Va. Dinner party outside tent, Army of the Potomac headquarters] (by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1864 April; LOC: LC-DIG-cwpb-00725)

“Brandy Station, Va. Dinner party outside tent, Army of the Potomac headquarters” (April 1864)

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“one change of under-clothing”

VaWVa 1863 (

a mother that just won’t let go (1863 map)

In preparation for spring campaigning New York’s First Veteran Cavalry is severely reducing its baggage.

From a Seneca County, New York newspaper:

From the First Veterans.

April 16th, 1864.

FRIEND STOWELL: – The 1st Veterans having been transferred to General Averill’s command, on Saturday the 8th inst., we struck tents, packed our saddles and took up the line of march for Martinsburg, amid a pitiless rain storm and through horrible roads that had been “soaking” for the last two weeks, and as somebody says, when the venerable mother of Presidents has taken a few drops too much, she is rather too affectionate, and sticks to one quite too persistently to be agreeable. However, we worked along and reached here just before dark.

Since we arrived we have been putting ourselves in fighting trim. Reducing our baggage, and getting rid of all surplus equipage prepatory [sic] to the grand campaign which is soon to open and for which such immense preparations have been made.

Portrait of Brig. Gen. William W. Averell, officer of the Federal Army (between 1860 and 1865; LOC: LC-DIG-cwpb-05434)

General Averell

In accordance with special order No. 22, an order already somewhat famous among among [sic] us, our teams have all been turned in, and little tents d’ambri or Butterflies, as they are familiarly known, have taken the place of the comfortable wall and wedge tents we have been living in all winter. – Every man’s baggage is cut down to one change of under-clothing, a single blanket, pouches and his half of a tent, so that he now literally carries his house, bed and wardrobe upon his back. In fact we have named this “Camp Quit,” for we have been obliged to quit almost everything, and to cap the climax, after to-day, no officer or man is allowed to enter a house under any pretext whatever. I reckon “special order No. 22″ will not soon be forgotten.

For two or three days we have been expecting to move upon the enemy, our horses saddled, and as the boys say, one foot in the stirrup, but we are not off yet, although we probably shall be ere this reaches you. Where we are going, of course, is not allowed to be made public, but you will soon hear of the Veterans in a new field of operations, and I hope we will be able to accomplish all that is expected of us.

Lt. Col. Platner is still in command of the regiment and is a very popular and efficient commandant. Capt. Ed. Comstock of Binghamton, has been elected Major to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Major Sullivan. He is a jolly young fellow and a brave soldier.

The regiment is in splendid condition and ready to open the ball. Company K, “O.K.”


John S. Platner

Lt. Col. Platner in command

General Averill is probably William Woods Averell. Given the extreme mud of the Virginias it might not be a coincidence that during his postbellum career, “He is most famous as the inventor of American asphalt pavement.” He was born and buried in Steuben County, New York.

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A photograph of the “Military telegraph construction corps” taken by Alexander Gardner in April 1865:

Military telegraph construction corps (by Alexander Gardner, April 1865; LOC: LC-DIG-ppmsca-33168)

Military telegraph construction corps

You can read more about this photograph at the Cornell Library. Apparently as the Overland campaign began in May 1864 a new insulated wire began being used by the telegraph corp. The wire could be placed on a mule’s back and run off quite easily. Earlier wire had to be dispensed from a wagon.

Read a lot more about the Union telegraph work at civilwarsignals

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farm administration

Bureaucracy: Interpret, Enforce, Modify

In February 1864 the Confederate Congress passed a 35 page Law In Regard To Taxes, Currency and Conscription. The Bureau of Conscription apparently changed the rules for farm exemptions a month or so afterwards. Contiguous small farms that did not employ enough field hands to earn an overseer exemption on their own merits, could amalgamate numbers and one overseer for the two farms could avoid the army.

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch April 13, 1864:

Interesting to Farmers.

–The following extract from Circular No. 8, issued from the Bureau of Conscription, dated March 13th, 1864, contains useful information to agriculturists having a less number than fifteen hands:

Schedule of Terms.–When there are two or more farms continuous, or within five miles of each other, measuring from the homesteads, having on each five or more hands, amounting in the aggregate to fifteen hands, or where one person has two or more plantation within five miles of each other, having an aggregate of fifteen or more hands, there may be detailed one person as overseer or manager of the two or more farms: provided there is on neither of the farms a white male adult, declared by the Enrolling Officer and temporary Board capable of managing the farms with a reasonable efficiency, not able to military duty: and provided the person detailed was, on the first day of January, 1864, either owner, manager, or overseer, residing on one of the farms: and provided the owners of said farms shall execute a joint and several bond, on the terms prescribed for the owners of fifteen hands, except that such persons shall not be allowed the privilege of commutation provided in the 4th article of the 10th section of the act recited, (17th February, 1864.)

I’m pretty sure that the 4th article is really the 5th article of section 10 on pages 32 and 33 of the law (at the link above). That article seems to have been written with the idea of getting as many men in the army without damaging food production too much.

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“an indiscriminate slaughter”

“The fort ran with blood.”

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch April 18, 1864:

The capture of Fort Pillow

Mobile, April 16.

–A special dispatch to the Advertiser and Register from Fort Pillow, 12th [13th?], says: Forrest attacked this place with Chalmers’s division yesterday. The garrison consisted of three hundred white and four hundred negro troops. The fort refusing to surrender was carried by storm. Forrest led Bells brigade and Chalmers led McCullough’s. They both entered the fort simultaneously, and an indiscriminate slaughter followed. One hundred prisoners were taken, the balance of the garrison were slain. The fort ran with blood. Many jumped into the river and were drowned or shot in the water. Over one hundred thousand dollars worth of stores were taken. Six guns were captured. The Confederate loss was 75. Lieut Col. Read, of the 5th Mississippi, was mortally wounded.

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch April 20, 1864:

The capture of Fort Pillow.

The following official dispatch with reference to the capture of Fort Pillow, sixty miles above Memphis, was received at the General’s office last night:

Demopolis Ala., April19.

To Gen. S. Cooper:

The following dispatch has just been received from Gen. Forrest, dated Jackson, Tenn., April 15th.

L. Polk,

Lieutenant General.

[General Nathan B. Forrest] (LOC: LC-DIG-ppmscd-00082)

500 killed, 100 prisoners, and 100 drowned conscription avoiders

“I attacked Fort Pillow on the morning of the 12th inst., with a part of Bell’s and McCulloch’s brigades, numbering–, under Brig. Gen. J. R. Chalmers. After a short fight we drove the enemy, seven hundred strong, into the for[t], under cover of their gunboats, and demanded a surrender, which was declined by Major L. W. Booth, commanding U. S. Forces. I stormed the fort, and after a contest of thirty minutes captured the entire garrison, killing five hundred and taking one hundred prisoners, and a large and just of quartermaster stores. –The officers in the fort were killed, including Major Booth. I sustained a loss of twenty killed and sixty wounded. Amongst the wounded is the gallant Lieut. Col. Wm. M. Reid, whilst leading the 5th Mississippi.–Over one hundred citizens, who had fled to the fort from conscription, ran into the river and were drowned. The Confederate flag now floats ever the fort.

(Signed) “N. B. Forrest,

“Major General.”

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch April 26, 1864:

The Fort Pillow affair.

A. B. Witmore of the United States navy, writes to the Memphis Argus, the following account of the Fort Pillow fight:

The combined forces of Major Gen. Forrest, Chalmers, McCulloch and Porter, numbering seven or eight thousand, made an assault on our fortifications at about six P. M. [?], on the 12th. Our forces consisted of 250 whites and 350 blacks. The United States steamer New. Era, lying off the fort, shelled the rebels and drove them from the position which they had gained on the south side of the fort. They again assaulted our works from the north side, and owing to the timber it was impossible for the guns of the New Era to dislodge them, though a continual shower of shell and shrapnel was rained down on them.

The garrison was so small, and the rebel force so overwhelming, the enemy gained our works about 3,30 P. M, and the gallant few who were left alive were taken prisoners. The guns of the fort consisted of two twelve pounder howitzers, two ten pound, rifled, and two ten pounder Parro[t], six pieces in all. Major Booth and two Captains of the 6th United States artillery, colored, were killed early in the fight, also two Lieutenants of the 6th were severely wounded.

Capts Bradford and Porter, Adjutant Lemmon, and Lieut Barr, of the 13th Tennessee cavalry, were killed and some others, who could not be identified. Maj Bradierd [Bradford] , commanding the post, was taken prisoner, and is reported by rebels as having been paroled, with the liberty of their camps, and violating it by escaping last night; but I was told that he was taken out and shot late in the evening.

Capt Young, Provost Marshal, was taken prisoner slightly wounded and paroled, with the liberty of their camps, and allowed to see his wife. He says that our forces behaved gallantly throughout the whole action. Our loss in killed exceeds two hundred.

He also stated that Gen. Forrest shot one of his own men for refusing quarters to our men.

NY Times April 16 1864

NY Times April 16 1864

Lieut Commander Thos Patterson, commanding naval station at Memphis, sent the shipsteamer Platte Valley, with U. S. shipsteamer Sliver Cloud in tow, with ammunition to Fort Pillow. When we [?] arrived in sight of the fort the commissary and other public buildings, with some twelve stores and private property, were in flames, and the rebels were seen moving about applying torches to the barracks, stables and huts.

We threw shells for thirty minutes at detached squads, when a flag of truce appearing we ceased firing and sent a boat ashore. It presently returned with a communication from Gen. Forrest, saying that a large number of our wounded were suffering for want of proper care, and that he would allow us to bury our dead and remove our wounded under a flag of truce, on our agreement that we would not remove anything from the battle field. Capt Ferguson, knowing that our shells would explode among our wounded, causing greater loss of life, agreed to the proposal. Major Anderson, aid to Gen. [F]orrest, drew up the agreement giving us possession of the fortifications and landing till 5 P. M, the truce to end at that hour. The rebels were efficient, and aided us as much as possible in our work. The wounded who were able to walk generally came down the bluff road, supported on either side by a rebel soldier.

He then appends a list of the wounded sent to Cairo by the [P]latte Valley, and remarks:

I know that in storming a fort, where such desperate resistance is offered as was here offered, many must full, but in this instance it looks to me more like indiscriminate butchery than honorable warfare, Now that the excitement is over, the thought of those charred bodies, together with the nause[a] by the stench of roasting human flesh, and two hundred or more bodies, mangled and dying, pleading for quarters, with distorted faces, bayonetted eyes, broken skulls,&c, I am sick and can write no more.

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martyr on the home front

PGTBeauregard (File from The Photographic History of The Civil War in Ten Volumes: Volume One, The Opening Battles   . The Review of Reviews Co., New York. 1911. p. 142.)

hopes to rescue his wife’s “hallowed grave” from Yankee pollution

For well over a year General P. G. T. Beauregard had been in command of the successful defense of Charleston and Fort Sumter from Union assault. 150 years ago today people in Richmond could read his impassioned letter in response to his wife’s March 2nd death in Union-occupied New Orleans.

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch April 11, 1864:

Letter from Gen. Beauregard.

–The following letter has been received by the committee in reply to the resolutions adopted at the meeting of Louisianian in Mobile on the 19th ult., and forwarded by them to Gen. Beauregard:

Charleston, March 28th, 1864.


Accept for yourselves, and for the other officers and soldiers from Louisiana, who met with you at Mobile on the 19th instant, my heartfelt thanks for the lofty and touching sentiments expressed in the resolutions which you were pleased to pass on the occasion of the sad event which has torn from me a most dear and beloved wife, and from the State to which she belonged, one of its brightest jewels and ornaments. Mrs. Beauregard died a martyr to our cause. Her continued and long separation from the chosen one of her heart, under the trying circumstances she had to pass through, was more than her care-worn and enfeebled condition could endure. Yet she departed not from life without giving utterance to her undiminished devotion to that noble cause, and to her unshaken faith in its ultimate triumph. She was a true and fervent patriot. The foul breath of even the most vile among the vilest of our enemies never could taint the pure atmosphere that surrounded her.

How bright, how glorious I would deem the day on which it were given to me, at the head of my brave and so hard tried compatriots, to rescue, with her hallowed grave, the noble State that bestowed such honors upon her remains, from the footsteps of the foe who pollutes them by his presence.

with sincere esteem and

Sincere acknowledgments,

I remain, yours most truly,

G. T. Beauregard.

Major Hy. St. Paul, Capt j. T. Purves, Lieut charles Arroyo, committee, Mobile, Ala.

I haven’t seen any evidence that the occupiers singled out Caroline Deslonde Beauregard as a target for any special oppression; just persevering through the pain of Yankee control of New Orleans was probably sacrifice enough. I think there’s a good chance that “the most vile among the vilest of our enemies” could be an allusion to Benjamin Butler. Butler’s successor, Nathaniel Banks, might still have been vile, but, after Caroline’s funeral attended by 6,000 people, he did provide “a steamer to carry her remains to her native parish.”

New_orleans_1862 (

“Panoramic View of New Orleans-Federal Fleet at Anchor in the River, ca. 1862.”

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“equal liberty before the laws”

Owen Lovejoy, Representative from Illinois, Thirty-fifth Congress, half-length portrait (by Julian Vannerson, 1859; LOC: LC-DIG-ppmsca-26795)

moral heroism

The April 9, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly (at Son of the South) eulogized an abolitionist Congressman from Illinois:


IN OWEN LOVEJOY the cause of Democracy loses a noble champion. From the moment that he rose from the side of his brother, murdered by the hate of free Democratic principles, down to the last time that be opened his lips to speak, he was the cheerful, steady, fervent advocate of the great American principle. A characteristic and faithful American, whoever studies his character will see the kind of moral heroism and dignity produced by our distinctive principles.

In his earlier career he was a clergyman, and he did not leave his faith behind him, but took it with him into Congress as he carried thither his generous heart, gemal temper, and trenchant speech. His companions in Congress of every party-sympathy mingled their regrets over his grave. Mr. ODELL, of New York, in whose neighborhood, in Brooklyn, Mr. LOVEJOY died, said that his efforts to suppress the rebellion were paramount to every other consideration. Mr. PENDLETON, of Ohio, said that what Mr. LOVEJOY believed he expressed, and was at all times prepared to defend his positions. Mr. STEVENS, of Pennsylvania, said that he was not afraid to vindicate the right any where. Mr. FARNSWORTH, of Illinois, knew him as, a good neighbor. Mr. ALLEN, of Illinois, found him always pushing vigorously on to promote what he thought the interests of his country and race. Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois, declared him wise, vigilant, incorruptible.

They are noble words to be truly spoken of any man; nor will any one doubt that they were true of him. His name as the brother of ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY—as much a martyr to liberty as NATHAN HALE–and for his own brave words and unspotted life, will be always noted in our history. The laborers are called away, but the work goes on. Devotion to the Democratic principle of equal liberty before the laws must be its own reward. With OWEN LOVEJOY it was so. His steady soul pursues its career ; but wherever it may be, its faith in the love of God and the brotherhood of men is no surer than when his visible life illustrated it.

Owen Lovejoy:

was an American lawyer, Congregational minister, abolitionist, and Republican congressman from Illinois. He was also a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. After his brother Elijah Lovejoy was murdered in November 1837 by pro-slavery forces, Owen became the leader of abolitionists in Illinois. … Owen was present on the night of November 7, 1837 when his brother Elijah was murdered while trying to defend the printing press of the Illinois Anti-Slavery Society from an angry mob. He is reported to have sworn on his brother’s grave to “never forsake the cause that had been sprinkled with my brother’s blood.”

After the pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois shot and killed Elijah Parish Lovejoy, it destroyed Elijah’s printing press and threw the pieces into the Mississippi. Owen and his brother Joseph wrote Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837. As you can see from the link I threw into the Harper’s piece Wendell Phillips defended Elijah for sacrificing his life defending the freedom of the press.

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no gray area

Gen. Lew Wallace (Hartford, Conn. : The War Photograph & Exhibition Co., No. 21 Linden Place, [between 1861 and 1865]; LOC: LC-DIG-stereo-1s02866 )

‘no political rights for rebels and traitors’

Baltimore erupted in April 1861 as Northern troops marched through it on their way to defend the United States’ capital. Three years later, the recently appointed military commander in Baltimore apparently was trying to make it clear that he wasn’t going to play any games.

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch April 8, 1864:

The prospect for Baltimore.

–The people of Baltimore have a gloomy prospect before them just now. Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace has been appointed military Governor of that department, and we find the following in the Baltimore American concerning his entering on his duties:

The new commandant of this military department, Major Gen. Lew Wallace, in his response to the welcome extended to him by the City Council yesterday, made the following explicit declaration of his views with regard to the political rights of the disloyal

“He held that a rebel and a traitor had no political rights.”

We therefore regard this declaration of Major General Wallace as a significant intimation of his intention to prevent all who have taken part in the rebellion, or who have, by their sympathy or their acts, given aid and comfort to the enemy, and who have rejoiced over our defeats and mourned over our victories, from enjoying the political rights they have clearly forfeited. Every one of them are still rebels at heart, and their votes will be given only to the detriment of the wishes and purposes of all truly loyal citizens. After the war is over it will be time enough to take into consideration the future political rights of rebels and traitors.–Whilst it lasts they have, in the language of Gen Wallace, “no political rights.”

VA-MD 1864(

still a seat of war in 1864

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angel arguments

NYT 4-9-1864

em>The New-York Times April 9, 1864

150 years ago today the first Constitutional step was taken to amend the Constitution regarding slavery. The United States Senate passed a resolution to make the Constitution explicitly forbid slavery throughout the United States. The Thirteenth Amendment would eventually become law in December 1865. In the debate on the resolution Charles Sumner said a visiting angel or any other stranger to earth would be shocked at 4 million people in bondage, “driven by the lash like beasts, and deprived of all rights, even that of knowledge and the sacred right of family. The stranger’s astonishment would be doubly increased when he was pointed to the Constitution as the guardian of this many-headed wickedness.”

The Harper’s Weekly of April 23, 1864 (at Son of the South) focused on the arguments of the senators who voted against the resolution:



“sacred right of family”?

ON the 8th of April, 1864, at the close of the third year of a civil war produced by the tragical and futile effort to unite in one peaceful government the principle of the fullest popular freedom and of the most abject despotism, the Senate of the United States, by a vote of thirty-eight to six, proposed to amend the Constitution in the manner itself provides, for the purpose of prohibiting slavery in the United States. That nothing might be wanting to the moral grandeur and dignity of the occasion, the resistance offered to this truly American act by the truly un-American advocates of human slavery was as contemptible as the system itself is revolting.

Of the six Senators who voted against the resolution four made brief speeches. Mr. POWELL, of Kentucky, said that if there had been no Abolitionists there would have been no rebellion : an inanity too incredible. Mr. SAULSBURY, of Delaware, proposed to secure liberty of speech and of the press; and reestablish the principles of the Missouri Compromise—which was a proposition to feed a fire with water. For how can slavery and free speech coexist? Mr. DAVIS, of Kentucky, declared the constitutional abolition of slavery a wicked and unjust act, against which he was aware the protest of an angel would be of no avail ; forgetting that the only angel who would have wished to protest was named LUCIFER, and fell from heaven. Mr. M’DOUGALL, of California, announced that he was devoted to human freedom, and therefore, as a true friend of man, should vote in favor of slavery.

Sumner  NY Times 4-8-1864

what Sumner said

And this was the expiring gasp in the United States Senate of the infernal iniquity to whose service the clear, cold casuistry and subtle sophistry of CALHOUN was formerly devoted ; before which WEBSTER used to bow ; from whose snare the human-hearted CLAY could never break away; which, by the universal obsequiousness of the American people, had succeeded in coiling its horrid folds around all our liberties, and from whose fatal embrace this war is the struggle of the national life to escape. Yet that final escape is worth the war. The innumerable hearts that are broken, the countless homes that are desolate in our own land, and the earnest friends in other countries who understand the scope of the struggle, will own that when the great act initiated by the Senate is completed, the costly sacrifice of youth and hope and love is not in vain, and that the future of equal justice which this measure secures is well bought by all the blood and sorrow of the war.

The issue is at last openly joined. If the House fail to concur by the necessary two-thirds vote, the Congressional elections of next autumn will turn upon the question of the Constitutional Amendment, and the vote of this spring shows what the result will be.

In the South April 8, 1864 was observed “as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch April 11, 1864:

Day of fasting and prayer.

–As far as could be judged from outward appearances, Friday was universally observed in this city in accordance with the suggestions of the President’s proclamation. All places of business were closed, and there was divine service in all the churches at the usual hour of the morning.

At 8 o’clock, P. M., the Rev. Dr. J. L. Burrows, of the Baptist church, preached at the Theatre to an immense audience, among whom were a great number of ladies. In a few minutes after the doors were opened, every seat and every available foot of space in the building was occupied, and it is estimated that between eight hundred and a thousand persons were turned away from the doors, being unable to gain admittance because of the crowd. Dr. Burrows delivered a discourse of an hour and a quarter in length, from XXVI. Leviticus, 23, 24.

From Leviticus 26:

23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;

24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.

Cash! All person that have slaves to dispose of, .

commodities no more?

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