“noble devotion”

"[Portrait of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, officer of the Federal Army, and corps commanders, vicinity of Washington, D.C., June 1865: Horatio G. Wright, John A. Logan, Meade, John G. Parke, Andrew A. Humphreys] " (Library of Congress)

“[Portrait of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, officer of the Federal Army, and corps commanders, vicinity of Washington, D.C., June 1865: Horatio G. Wright, John A. Logan, Meade, John G. Parke, Andrew A. Humphreys] ” (Library of Congress)

From The New-York Times June 30, 1865:

ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.; Maj.-Gen. Meade’s Farewell Order.

WASHINGTON, Thursday, June 29.

The farewell order of Gen. MEADE is published. It is as follows:

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, June 28, 1865.

SOLDIERS: This day two years ago, I assumed command of you under the orders of the President of the United States. To-day, by virtue of the same authority, the army ceasing to exist, I have to announce my transfer to other duties, and my separation from you. It is unnecessary to enumerate all that has occurred in these two eventful years, from the grand and decisive battle of Gettysburgh, the turning point of the war, to the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court-house. Suffice it to say that history will do you justice. A grateful country will honor the living, cherish and support the disabled, and sincerely mourn the dead. In parting from you, your Commanding General will ever bear in memory your noble devotion to your country, your patience and cheerfulness under all the privations and sacrifices you have been called on to endure.

Soldiers, having accomplished the work set before us, having vindicated the honor and integrity of our government and flag, let us return thanks to Almighty God for his blessing in granting us victory and peace, and let us earnestly pray for strength and light to discharge our duties as citizens as we have endeavored to discharge them as soldiers.

GEORGE G. MEADE,

Major-General United States Army.

"War views. No. 1501, Camp life, Army of the Potomac - writing to friends at home " (LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/2012649696/)

the stories they could tell (“War views. No. 1501, Camp life, Army of the Potomac – writing to friends at home” (1865; Library of Congress))

In his Memoirs Ulysses S. Grant summarized General Meade’s performance during the war:

General Meade was an officer of great merit, with drawbacks to his usefulness that were beyond his control. He had been an officer of the engineer corps before the war, and consequently had never served with troops until he was over forty-six years of age. He never had, I believe, a command of less than a brigade. He saw clearly and distinctly the position of the enemy, and the topography of the country in front of his own position. His first idea was to take advantage of the lay of the ground, sometimes without reference to the direction we wanted to move afterwards. He was subordinate to his superiors in rank to the extent that he could execute an order which changed his own plans with the same zeal he would have displayed if the plan had been his own. He was brave and conscientious, and commanded the respect of all who knew him. He was unfortunately of a temper that would get beyond his control, at times, and make him speak to officers of high rank in the most offensive manner. No one saw this fault more plainly than he himself, and no one regretted it more. This made it unpleasant at times, even in battle, for those around him to approach him even with information. In spite of this defect he was a most valuable officer and deserves a high place in the annals of his country.

[Portrait of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, officer of the Federal Army, and staff, vicinity of Washington, D.C., June 1865]  (LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/cwp2003000354/PP/)

“Portrait of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, officer of the Federal Army, and staff, vicinity of Washington, D.C., June 1865″ (Library of Congress)

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

all over the space …

and the time

Back on the day, I was absorbed in my own mini-liberation from almost-daily war posting. But at The American Civil War you can read the Texas proclamation that began the Juneteenth tradition.

Back on the day, the war was apparently only almost over. 150 years ago this week a rebel pirate wreaked havoc on Yankee shipping up north – way up north. On June 22, 1865:

The Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah under Lieutenant James I. Waddell fires the last naval shots of the war by capturing the Union whalers William Thompson, Euphrates, Milo, Sophia Thornton, and Jerah Swift in the Bering Sea. Waddell hears rumors that the war has ended from his captives but disbelieves them for lack of evidence.

On June 23 and 26 the Shenandoah captured and burned seven more whalers in the Bering Sea. And on June 28:

The Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah seizes Union whalers Brunswick, Favorite, James Murray, Nile, Hillman, Nassau, Isaac Howland, Waverly, Martha, Favorite, Covington, and Congress, bonding a handful and burning the rest. In a voyage traversing 58,000 miles, this is Waddell’s most enterprising day.[1]

It would be another six weeks before Lieutenant Waddell would be made to believe that the war was really over.

JamesIredellWaddellCSA

still eyeing Yankee whalers in the Bering Sea

Rip_Van_Waddell

Rip Van Waddell

_____________________________________________________________

Away down south in the lower thirty-six, Northern troops were on their way home. From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in 1865:

Third New York Light Artillery.

discharge paper

Union Soldier’s Discharge Certificate

Three batteries of the Third New York Light Artillery arrived in this city yesterday morning, direct from Morehead City, North Carolina. The Citizen’s Committee gave them a breakfast at the Stanwix Hall. The repast over, Lieut.-Colonel Kennedy made a brief and appropriate speech, returning thanks to the citizens of Albany for the generous welcome extended to them. His remarks were greeted with cheers from the troops, who were apparently delighted with the prospect of soon returning to their homes.

The regiment was one of the first raised in this State, and was mustered into the United States’ service at Elmira, April 16, 1861, as the 19th New York Volunteers, John S. Clark, Colonel. It was soon afterward organized as the Third New York Artillery, James H. Ledlie, who was afterward promoted to a Brigadier-General. The vacancy was filled by the appointment of Charles H. Stewart, of Auburn, as Colonel, who has ably filled the position, he being now on his way to this city with another portion of the regiment. Col. Stewart went out originally as Captain, but was quite early advanced to the position he now so worthily fills. Among the Majors connected with the various batteries, we remember Ammon, Schenck, and Jenny, who have proved their bravery on the field. Lieut.-Colonel Stone died in the service, and was lamented by all who knew him.

3rdArtyBtryAGuidon2004.0051

Battery A, 3rd Artillery (Light)
NY Volunteers
Guidon

The batteries of the Regiment have been in service in the Department of the South, before Charleston, in the Florida campaign, and in all the battles in North Carolina, on the James River, and in the first engagement under McClellan on the Peninsula. Three of them return under command of Lieut.-Colonel Terrence J. Kennedy, who went out as Captain. He was the first man to enlist in Cayuga county. He commenced recruiting on the 9th of April, 1861, six days before Sumter was fired on, and was looked upon as mad by his neighbors, who laughed at the idea of war. He raised his men, and applied to Gov. Morgan for arms and equipment as Light Artillery. The request was denied, upon the mistaken idea that artillery organizations were not then needed.

The following are officers of the Batteries returned:

Battery D. – Capt. Stephen Van Husen; went out as Sergeant. Lieutenants John Stevenson, Jr., Vanderbergh and Brinkerhoff.

Battery C – captain Mowers; went as Sergeant. Lieutenants Edward Cunningham and P.J. Newcomb.

Battery A – Captain Russell; Lieutenants Richardson and Morley.

The men were mainly recruited in Cayuga county, the balance having been raised in Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Wayne.

The regiment was accompanied as far as Albany by a portion of the Seventh Ohio Artillery, and while at the landing Lieut.-Colonel Kennedy addressed them briefly. Three cheers were given for each regiment, when they separated, the Seventh Ohio homeward bound, and the Third New York to the barracks on Troy road, where they are expected to remain until mustered out. An effort will be made, however, to secure an order for their removal to Syracuse, that city being near the home of a large portion of the men. Col. Kennedy is exerting himself to accomplish that object, application having already been made to Gov. Fenton. We learn from Major Mulinburgh, the mustering officer here, that permission has been asked of the War Department to transfer the regiment to Syracuse. – Albany Argus, June 29.

Dragging artillery Through the Mud (By Alfred R. Waud, Harper's Weekly, March 19, 1864

dragging artillery through the mud

A book published in 1873 backed up the idea that Terrence Kennedy was preparing for war well before the rebel capture of Fort Sumter:

[The 49th Militia’s] Capt. T.J. Kennedy, of Auburn, [a paint merchant by occupation, and an artillery officer in the militia of long standing] tendered his services to Gov. Morgan for the enlistment of troops, Jan. 11th, 1861. Thanking him for the patriotic offer, the Governor declined the tendered service on the grounds that troops were not then needed. Our newspaper press of the North, in January 1861, scouted the thought of war, and it required more heroism than the Governor possessed to authorize what Capt. Kennedy proposed. The captain, however, was a close student of public affairs, and was convinced that he was right. He resolved to act, though unauthorized. March 12, he began the formation of an artillery company in auburn, to be held in readiness for service in case of an outbreak in the South. An enlistment paper was prepared in these words: “We, the Undersigned, hereby pledge our Words of Honor to associate ourselves together, for the purpose of forming a light artillery company, to server as long as the war shall last.” It was signed by Kennedy first, then by John Polson. In the course of twenty days, five men signed it. Then enlistments began to come in briskly. After the capture of Sumter, an office was opened in the Armory. By April 17th, Kennedy had 130 men. Next day he heard by letter from Gov. Morgan, that the State could accept infantry only. Disbanding his company, he began again. Forty of the artillerymen re-enlisted. By the 22d of April, such was Capt. Kennedy’s reputation and the esteem in which he was held, he had the honor of reporting again to Albany the enrollment of Cayuga’s first full company of volunteers.[2]

Captain Kennedy’s company would become part of the 19th Volunteer Infantry until it converted to artillery.

Terrence J. Kennedy

Terrence J. Kennedy

______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

On June 28, 1860 (I believe) a Philadelphia newspaper previewed the 1860 presidential election (You can read all about it at the Library of Congress):

Philadelphia Inquirer June 28, 1860

Philadelphia Inquirer June 28, 1860

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

Shenandoah_destroying_whale_ships

last shots at last? (“Destruction of Whale Ships off Cape Thaddeus Arctic Ocean June 23 [22?] 1865 by the Conft Stmr Shenandoah”)

The image of the guidon and bio from the unit roster are found at the New York State Military Museum
  1. [1] Fredriksen, John C. Civil War Almanac. New York: Checkmark Books, 2008. Print. pages 595-596.
  2. [2] Hall, Henry, and James Hall Cayuga in the Field. Auburn, New York: 1873. Reprinted by Talbothays Books, Aurora,New York. Print. pages 18-20.
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Month, 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, The election of 1860, Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The End.

The Blue and the Gray at Gettysburg, Assembly Tent, Gettysburg Celebration, Pennsylvania (1913; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/93505802/)

or maybe not

Under blue and gray - Gettysburg  (1913; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/ggb2005013841/)

“Under blue and gray – Gettysburg ” (Library of Congress)

The reunion at "Bloody Angle" - Pickett's men in for[e]ground; Union men lined against wall  (1913; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/ggb2005013846/)

“The reunion at “Bloody Angle” – Pickett’s men in for[e]ground; Union men lined against wall ” (Library of Congress)

Pickett's men at Bloody Angle (1913; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/ggb2005013842/)

“Pickett’s men at Bloody Angle ” (Library of Congress)

The Library of Congress provides many photographs of the 1913 commemoration at Gettysburg including handshake, two flags, opposing sides, and Pickett’s men
Posted in Aftermath, American Society, Veterans | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The End.

my only friend …

Reading the news--off duty / EF.  (1864; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/2004661884/)

history

From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in June 1865:

The Papers.

The war is over! and yet we hardly appreciate the fact. We have become so accustomed to look for and read attentively the details of battles, that the daily papers seem dull already; and this no doubt will be the case for sometime to come.

The great questions growing out of the war, such as re-construction, negro suffrage, etc., will now occupy the public mind; and these matters are of vital importance to all classes of our people; and although these discussions will not be read with as much avidity as war news, still every citizen will do wise to keep himself familiarized with the questions at issue, and be at all times ready to act and vote with a clear understanding of the whole subject.

Let no one, therefore, discontinue taking papers because the war is over. Intelligence is still needed, yes, even demanded, more in the future than in the past. We shall live faster, and be wiser in the future than ever before.

I have loved this Sesquicentennial, and, as a matter of fact, I’m somewhat disappointed I won’t be … available … for the Centennial of the Norman Conquest of England – with maybe a battle of Hastings re-enactment!

I have loved this Sesquicentennial, but is time to do other things. The world and even history are much bigger than the American Civil War. I’m somewhat disappointed that already this year I’ve forgotten about the Battle of New Orleans, the sinking of the Lusitania, and Magna Carta. I wouldn’t even have thought about the big battle in Europe 200 years ago today, but I guess we have always wanted to commemorate major anniversaries of significant historical events. From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in June 1865:

A Survivor of the Battle of Waterloo.

The 50th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, fought by the forces of Wellington and Blucher with Napoleon occurred on Sunday last, June 18th inst.

Among the survivors of that battle, who reside in this country, is Rev. D. Willers, of Varick, in this county,who has preached at Bearytown and vicinity for more than 44 years past, and who in the course of his discourse last Sabbath feelingly alluded to his celebration of the Semi-Centennial anniversary of one of the greatest and most decisive battles (for the fate of Europe,) of the Century.

I know even less about Reconstruction than I do about the Civil War, so I probably should learn more about the “great questions growing out of the war” as they were taking place 150 years ago. Reconstruction probably wasn’t as flashy as a war’s battles and even NCpedia refers to “The complexity of the Reconstruction period”. Sounds interesting.

at the commencement exercises

at the commencement exercises

Edwin Forbes’ drawing resides at the Library of Congress, as is the photo in Philadelphia on June 10, 1865 when returning veterans paraded.

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Month, 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Northern Society, Reconstruction | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on my only friend …

this is the end …

Mr. Edmund Ruffin, said to have fired first shot against Fort Sumter  (between ca. 1860 and 1865]; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/99471869/)

at least one of the first shots

From The New-York Times June 22, 1865:

THE SUICIDE OF RUFFIN.; The Man who Fired the First Gun on Fort Sumter Blows His Brains Out He Prefers Death to Living Under the Government of the United States.

Correspondence of the Petersburgh Express.

RICHMOND, Monday, June 19.

EDMUND RUFFIN, whose name is familiar with every one as a distinguished agriculturalist, and latterly as a politician, committed suicide on Saturday last in Amelia county, near Mattoox station. The sad act had been duly considered by him, as his diary is said to show. He seated himself, and placing the muzzle of the musket in his mouth, sprung the trigger and landed his spirit into the eternal world, with a desperate and unnatural coolness. I think Mr. R. was born in Henrico county. He has been so clssely indentified with the struggle of the south as an active participant and a warm and earnest vindicator of her claims for a separate nationality, that he seems to have been considered rather as a citizen of the South than as belonging to any one particular locality. He had lost his property by the war. His remains reached the city at 10 o’clock last night on the Danville cars, accompanied by his son. The result of the war is said to have been the cause of this art. Mr. R. was upwards of seventy years of age.

Confederate flag flying. Ft. Sumter after the evacuation of Maj. Anderson - interior view  (4-15-1865; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/2011645052/)

glory days (Fort Sumter April 15, 1861)

Ruffin map Charleston 1863 (httpwww.loc.govitem001-ocm53315869)

Mr. Ruffin reduced a Coast Guard map of Charleston harbor in October 1863

I have learned since the above was written, that Mr. RUFFIN declared it impossible for him to live under the government, and that he had intended to commit the awful deed on the 9th of April, the day on which Gen. LEE surrendered, but was prevented on account of having company at his house.

Fort Sumpter. A Southern song (LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/amss002759/)

stay away, Uncle Abe

From the Petersburgh Express, June 20.

Mr. RUFFIN was known throughout the State as a most successful agriculturalist. He lived in this city many years, and published here an agricultural periodical called the Farmer’s Register, which attained a large degree of public favor. He was also the author of a popular volume on calcareous manures, which contributed greatly to the improvement of our tidewater lands by bringing marls into use.

Mr. RUFFIN was at one time of his life, and for several years, a State Senator, and discharged his legislative duties with ability and industry. He was of a warm and excitable temperament, and maintained his political opinions with great earnestness and inflexibility. He belonged to the extreme Southern Rights’ party, and participated actively in the secession moveme[n]t, the disastrous issue of which was no doubt a terrible shock to him, and in all probability led to his self-destruction.

Charleston, S.C. April 14, 1865. Flag-raising ceremony, with Brevet Maj. Gen. Robert Anderson and Henry Ward Beecher present (LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/2014646445/)

they’re back (Fort Sumter April 14, 1865)

It will be recollected that Mr. RUFFIN dug the first spadeful of earth for the building of works with which to assault Fort Sumter. Subsequently he fired the first gun at Sumter, an act of which he always spoke with pride and exultation.

You can read some of Mr. Ruffin’s last diary entry at the Library of Congress:

I here declare my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social & business connection with Yankees—& to the Yankee race. Would that I could impress these sentiments, in their full force, on every living southerner, & bequeath them to every one yet to be born! May such sentiments be held universally in the outraged & down-trodden South, though in silence & stillness, until the now far-distant day shall arrive for just retribution for Yankee usurpation, oppression, & atrocious outrages—& for deliverance & vengeance for the now ruined, subjugated, & enslaved Southern States!

Edmund Ruffin is buried at Marlbourne

FortSumter2009

still turnin’ over in his grave?

Bubba73’s 2009 photo of Fort Sumter is licensed by Creative Commons
Talk about Southern hospitality- I could have wrapped this thing up a couple of months ago if Mr. Ruffin didn’t have company?
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Confederate States of America, Southern Society | Tagged , | Comments Off on this is the end …

“in the twinkling of an eye”

Phillips, Wendell  (http://www.loc.gov/item/brh2003002098/PP/)

demagogues?

From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in June 1865:

Negro Suffrage.

The radical element is very much excited over the President’s North Carolina proclamation, and an open rupture is threatened. The exclusion of the negro from the right of suffrage in the re-organization of that State, is quite enough to call out the passions and enmities of this class of agitators. Wendell Phillips, as head of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, openly denounces President Johnson and declares that “every man who supports the North Carolina proclamation is a Davis’ Sychophant.” He demands immediate negro suffrage in the Southern States, and threatens a repudiation of the national debt if his demand is rejected. Upon this issue he proposes to array the opposition to President Johnson, unless he can be induced to change his convictions of right, override all constitutional rights of the States, and proclaim universal suffrage to the negro race. But the President will not be swayed by the clamor of the New England demagogues. Having marked out his line of policy, he will follow it, though resisted by the entire radical element of the country. Demagogues may be in favor of converting slaves to sovereigns in the twinkling of an eye, but the majority of the American people will not for a moment acquiesce in such an extraordinary usurpation of power [clipping cut off here]

From The New-York Times June 20, 1865:

THE UNSPEAKABLE WORD.

— It is evident that there is one word which henceforth no public man will dare to pronounce in America, unless he does so for the purpose of execrating that which it characterizes — we refer to the word repudiation. Mr. WENDELL PHILLIPS was thoughtless enough to speak the word lately, and the storm of execration was at once so tremendous and universal, that even he was compelled to wriggle himself outside of what he had said.

There is a lesson and a warning here to all politicians and to all parties, which they would do well to heed, and which they are very likely to heed. No man or party dare to put out a suggestion of National dishonor when all men and parties in the nation are interested in sustaining its honor. The sensitiveness of the people on this matter is very intense, as WENDELL PHILLIPS has learned.

The photos of Wendell Phillips can be found at the Library of Congress
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Month, Northern Society, Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on “in the twinkling of an eye”

no war, no work

Richmond, Va. General view of the burned district (by Aleaxander gardner, April-June 1865; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/cwp2003000654/PP/)

“Richmond, Va. General view of the burned district” (Library of Congress)

150 years ago today The Chicago Times reprinted a report from the one-time capital of the Confederacy. Richmond was swarming with former rebel soldiers unable to find work:

Chicago Times June 15 1865

The Chicago editors had a hunch that the war’s end meant bounty-jumpers had to resort to antebellum ways to make an illicit buck:

bountyjumpers C Times 6-15-1865

Chicago Times June 15th 1865

Thanks to the Library of Congress you can read the entire front page of the Chicago paper and more about Alexander Gardner’s photograph
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Reconstruction, Southern Society | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on no war, no work

Elmira bound

Three from Seneca County, New York newspapers in June 1865:

There are 50,000 sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals throughout the country.

It is estimated that 120,000 men will be mustered out of the service of the United States during the month of June.

THE 50TH ENGINEERS. – We are informed that the 50th Volunteer Engineer regiment left Washington on Wednesday night for Elmira, having been mustered out of the service.

Indeed, having been mustered into United States service in 1861, the 50th New York Engineer Regiment

was honorably discharged and mustered out at Fort Berry, Va., June 13 and 14, 1865. During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 1 officer, 9 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 7 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 1 officer, 213 enlisted men; total, 2 officers, 229 enlisted men; aggregate, 231; of whom 1 enlisted man died in the hands of the enemy.

Jericho Mills, Va. Canvas pontoon bridge across the North Anna, constructed by the 50th New York Engineers; the 5th Corps under Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren crossed here on the 23d. View from the north bank (by Timothy H. O'Sullivan; 1864; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/cwp2003000481/PP/)

Overland campaign over water – pontoon bridge by the 50th over North Anna, May 1864

You can read about Timothy H. O’Sullivan’s photograph at the Library of Congress
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Northern Society | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Elmira bound

lemonade stand

Talk about “Yankees.” It is time we were all Yankees, if by the term is meant a shrewd, energetic and indomitable encounter with difficulties. Tell us about being “Abolitionists!” We are all Abolitionists by force of events — by the stern logic of war.

NYT 6-12-1865 South

NY Times June 12 1865

NYT 6-12-1865 NY

plenty of agony to go around (NY Times June 12 1865)

150 years ago today New-Yorkers could read all about terrible conditions in the recently vanquished South – and in tenements in their own fair city. Here’s an editorial from Georgia that urged it’s readers to accept the facts that the South had lost the war and that it’s slaves were freed. Georgians needed to get to the practical work of managing the huge task of replacing the plantation system with free labor.

From The New-York Times June 12, 1865:

THE NEGRO IN GEORGIA.; The Great Problem Before the South– How Shall Society Accommodate Itself to the New Order of Things? THE GREAT PROBLEM FOR THE SOUTH. WHAT SHALL BE DONE WITH THE EMANCIPATED SLAVES? A SYSTEM OF PLANTATION LABOR.

The following extracts from the Macon Telegraph give an interesting view of the present condition of the negroes in the South, and of the general feeling of the white population on the subject of free labor:

From the Macon Telegraph, May 30.

The programme of the Telegraph under reconstituted Federal authority, is very plain and simple. It is to accept whatever is inevitable, and make the best of it. Show us what we have got to do, and we will do it to the best of our ability, and with what grace and heartiness we may. If there is any other course consistent with interest, wisdom and duty, we fail to discover it.

Nevertheless, there seems to be, upon the part of some few of our readers, an indisposition or inability to comprehend even so plain a thing as the attitude we occupy. They address us with arguments and complaints, particularly about what we have written on the subject of negro emancipation, as if they held us responsible for a fact, the existence of which we only recognize. In the name of justice, Mr. Caviler, what have we to do with the practical fact of the abolition of slavery in Georgia or elsewhere? Did we decree it? Do we ask for or order it? Does our judgment approve of it as a piece of abstract policy? Not a whit more than you or yours. As a matter of opinion, we hold it an ill-advised policy, both as to the negro, his master, and the substantial interests of the country at large.

Why, then, reproach us, and argue the case as though we were in favor of impoverishing this or that class, or destroying this or that interest? We are in favor of no such thing. We may recognize the troubles, losses and vexations which will grow out of this business just as fully as you do, and the only difference between us is that you propose to mope and groan over them, while we are in favor of bestirring ourselves to devise and apply all the mitigating and remedial agencies the case admits of. You give us long homilies about the constitutionl impossibility of immediate emancipation, and in so doing are simply trying to practice a delusion upon yourselves, which we are unwilling to try upon the public. We tell you slavery is already gone, Constitution or no Constitution. The death sentence has already been pronounced, and final execution is only a question of a few days or hours; while, under such circumstances, we hold a respite as undesirable.

Marching through Georgia  (Root & Cady, Chicago, 1865. ; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.100010075/)

any longer on their minds?

Now what ought to be done in this state of the case? The government can turn the negro loose, and it can set on foot some general system of hiring, by way of substitute; but it cannot master the subject in all its complicated details. The petticoated, patriarchal and absolute systems of Austria or Russia would be practically powerless to manage the infinite details of such a work. Our government may begin it, but the people of the United States will soon turn away in disgust from such business. Our system is totally unsuited to it. The theory of democratic republicanism is non-intervention with trade, labor and domestic economy. Smelling and tasting committees are the exceptions, and not the rule. It keeps out of the kitchen and the meal-tub as a matter of taste, as well as principle; and however for a time a contrary practice seems to have prevailed, it is but an episode in the political drama, an escapade in the national history, which will be cut short and abandoned before long. The Government of the United States will trouble itself particularly about negroes, as a class, no great while longer. It will wash its hands of them, and with good soap at that.

Hence, we say, the States have got to take up this business, and, in Georgia, this great and knotty question stares us in the face — how are we going to prevent half a million emancipated negroes from being vagrants and public burdens, lounging about in towns and neighborhoods, and spreading moral and physical disease among the people? How are we going to make them, instead, useful members of society — good laborers — comfortable, well-fed and happy, as they were before the emancipation? To look at the question in its private as well as public aspect, how are you, Mr. Planter, to prosecute your labors with freedmen instead of slaves — maintain discipline and efficiency, neighborhood order and security, suppress vagrancy around you — protect property, secure the comfort and well-being of your laborers, and enforce justice and order among themselves? Now these are the great questions we should be thinking and talking over; and depend upon it we have got to solve them ourselves, and upon their solution hangs the question of beggary or comfort, prosperity or ruin for the State of Georgia, and for yourselves and ourselves. Talk about “Yankees.” It is time we were all Yankees, if by the term is meant a shrewd, energetic and indomitable encounter with difficulties. Tell us about being “Abolitionists!” We are all Abolitionists by force of events — by the stern logic of war.

From the Same.

Within the past few days we have had several reports from the country of the most discouraging character, so far as many of the planters are concerned. A large proportion of these, located along the railroad lines, have been deserted by their field hands, leaving none behind except the very old and helpless young. Their crops are in the ground, the small grains repening for the harvest, and the corn and cotton suffering for seasonable culture. But, owing to the absence of the customary work hands, everything is at a standstill; there is no laboring force sufficiently strong to either gather the ripening or cultivate the growing one. The prospect is a gloomy one, both for the masters and the helpless ones left behind, and earnest inquiries are made by the humane as to how apprehended and apparently inevitable suffering can be averted.

Some few masters are disposing of the helpless, who would be too heavy a tax upon them, by removing them from their plantations. Deprived of the labor to produce supplies, by the absence of the negro men belonging to the destitute families, the latter are disposed of in some way, so as to get rid of the incumbrance. Numbers have been sent to this city, where, it is patent to all, they must suffer and die — where there is neither employment nor food for them, and there is a population already overtaxing the means of support within their reach.

The great question now is, how shall the unfortunates be saved from suffering at present, and their future provided for, until such time as definite regulations are established for the government of the planters and negroes. The old masters cannot, in many instances, provide for their old dependents — the government cannot do it now, and certainly will not do it in future. Both the government and the planters would fail in ability, unless assisted by the labor of the able-bodied negro. What, then, is to be done at once?

It is useless to talk to the negro who has left his home. He took his departure therefrom, entertaining the most exalted ideas of the blessings and privileges that would attach to him when a freedman. These he has not realized, it is true — he has yet experienced nothing but want and privations. But he is hopeful; thinks “there is a better day coming,” and is yet unconvinced of his error. Sambo will have to suffer more before he realizes the extent of his mistake, or his dreams prove illusions.

The supplies furnished the negro and his family can be charged to him in the meantime. The details necessary to carry out some such arrangement will readily suggest themselves to every one, and we need not remark further than to say the plan is embraced in the single idea that remuneration for labor will hereafter be necessary, and to provide against impending difficulties, the policy of the Government had, perhaps, better be anticipated at once.

Wikipedia summarizes Reconstruction in Georgia:

At the end of the American Civil War, the devastation and disruption in the state of Georgia were dramatic. Wartime damage, the inability to maintain a labor force without slavery, and miserable weather had a disastrous effect on agricultural production. The state’s chief cash crop, cotton, fell from a high of more than 700,000 bales in 1860 to less than 50,000 in 1865, while harvests of corn and wheat were also meager. The state government subsidized construction of numerous new railroad lines. White farmers turned to cotton as a cash crop, often using commercial fertilizers to make up for the poor soils they owned. The coastal rice plantations never recovered from the war.

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Month, Aftermath, Reconstruction, Southern Society | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on lemonade stand

patriots’ monuments

150 years ago today two monuments were dedicated on the Bull Run battlefields. It seems to have been an all Yankee occasion on Virginia soil. Well, the North lost both the battles but won the war. You can view a couple images and read a bit about it from the July 1, 1865 issue of Harper’s Weekly at Son of the South.

Dedication of monument at Bull Run, Va. (by William Morris Smith, photographed 1865 June, printed between 1880 and 1889; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/2012647844/)

“Dedication of monument at Bull Run, Va. ” (Library of Congress)

Bull Run, Va. Dedication of the battle monument (by William Morris Smith, 1865 June 10.; LOC: http://www.loc.gov/item/cwp2003000014/PP/)

“Bull Run, Va. Dedication of the battle monument” (Library of Congress)

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, battle monuments, Northern Society, Veterans | Tagged , | Comments Off on patriots’ monuments