not a lost cause

Apparently 150 years ago a former Virginia governor and Confederate general was not buying into the Lost Cause theory.

NY Times October 26, 1866

NY Times October 26, 1866

From The New-York Times on October 26, 1866:

The celebration at Winchester to-day was an entire success, if a large crowd and lengthy oration are elements. The number in attendance were fully 5,000, and Ex-Gov. WISE was the orator. Stonewall cemetery already contains the remains of 2,000 rebel dead gathered from around Winchester.

The ceremonies to-day were intended as dedicatory. The funeral and burial of the brothers ASHBY was the main feature of the morning, the procession through the streets being large and imposing, and the burial being accompanied with Masonic honors. Ex-Gov. WISE spoke for two hours. After his oration a poem was read, and the ceremonies concluded late in the day. The number of drunken men in and about Winchester was very large, and, for an occasion of this kind, disgraceful.


Henry A. Wise (between 1860 and 1870; LOC:

calling on the Stonewall example

FELLOW-CITIZENS: A mourning people meet in the midst of graves, the dust of which is more sacred than that of kindred, to do homage to the virtuous, and to commemorate the deeds of their heroes. I came to condole with and comfort the living, to search among the ashes of the dead for examples how to survive their death, how to live after them, how to nourish the seeds of indestructible truth. … The buried are now immortal, while we survive to suffer. … [The South needed “more than a Moses now to bear us up in dungeons of defeat …” I invoke then the mighty Confederate dead…] … a grave in Lexington, trembling, quickly gives up a life-breathing spirit in a great example – the sanctified Stonewall JACKSON – a very Michael of deliverance; his example speaks to us. The intrinsic sterling stamina of his moral greatness, his Christian heroism, the eternal adamant of his character and nature, his supreme faith in God – faith in immutable morals and principles, and in their might to prevail in the end against all opposing powers – these made him “Stonewall.” From this example rising up before us with this immortal fact, I reverently commence, and question it here amid these Confederate braves. … The Stonewall example is not admonishing, but it is cheering and full of hope. It puts to shame the deceased Machaevelian dogma that a faith or the truth that moral principles can ever or could ever be submitted to the arbitrament of arms and be conquered by the mere force of numbers. But it scouts that worse than immorality, that diabolical despair which maligns a cause worth Stonewall JACKSON’s fighting for, and worth his dying for, by calling it a lost cause, as if crucifixion could lose a cause. The Captain of our Salvation was conquered; He died that the cause might live; and from that day to this the blood of the martyr has been the seed of the church. So with the seeds of truth on earth. If our cause was lost, it was false; if true, its [sic] not lost. First victories cannot be termed final results. There were many errors in our ways of going out to war. Those errors fell. The truths for which we fought yet live. [The Stonewall example speaks to all those who despair]. There is a kind of pride, a decent dignity due to ourselves, which, spite of our misfortunes, may be maintained and cherished to the last.

The grave of Stonewall Jackson: Lexington Virginia (New York : Published by Currier & Ives, c1870.; LOC:

at Stonewall’s grave in Lexington

… [Mr. Wise encouraged young men to stay in Virginia and quietly labor] He asked them where they would go if they should leave Virginia? Would they leave the United States? If they supposed the United States not free, where else on earth did they expect to find a people as free?

[Mr. Wise explained Virginia’s slow progress compared to other states:] Slavery created a landed aristocracy which was antagonistic to progress, and repellant to immigration. ….

Stonewall Jackson is buried in Lexington. The Stonewall Confederate Cemetery is currently part of Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester, where you can still see the graves of Turner Ashby and his brother Richard. You can read more about The Lost Cause at Encyclopedia Virginia: “In 1866 [Edward A.] Pollard published The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates, a justification of the Confederate war effort, prompting the popular use of the term.”

ashby_brothers_grave_-_mount_hebron_cemetery_winchester_virginia_-_stierch (,_Winchester,_Virginia_-_Stierch.jpg)

the Ashby brothers’ grave in Winchester

513px-jacksonmemorial (

at Stonewall Jackson’s grave in Lexington

Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0 ) provides the photo of the Ashby grave, which is licensed by Creative Commons. Jan Kronsell photo of the Stonewall staue is also licensed by Creative Commons. From the Library of Congress: a probably pre-war Wise, a Currier and Ives rendition of Stonewall’s grave, with General Lee
Miscellaneous. Lee, Gen. R.E. [at the grave of Stonewall Jackson] (between 1873 and ca. 1916; LOC:

a couple Lost Cause icons

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winter wheat

Portrait of Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blyth (Portrait of Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blyth; LOC:

remember us

I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors … If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

ABIGAIL ADAMS: Letter to John Adams, 1774.[1]


From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in 1866:

A WOMAN FOR CONGRESS. – Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton announces herself as a candidate for Congress in the Eighth District. She publishes her card in the Anti-Slavery Standard of this week, declaring herself to be in favor of free speech, free press, free trade and free men. She desires a seat in the Fortieth Congress in order that she may have a “voice for universal suffrage.”

The Capitol of the United States of America: taken from Adams & Co's Office (c1865.; LOC:

Mrs. Stanton going to Washington?

The editors might have copied the story from the October 11, 1866 issue of The New-York Times. The articles are basically the same except that The Times wonders why Mrs. Stanton only mentioned free men and ends with “We believe she has not yet received a nomination from any of the regular Conventions.”

Here’s more detail from History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage (1881; pages 181-181):

At the November election of this year, Mrs. Stanton offered herself as a candidate for Congress; in order to test the constitutional right of a woman to run for office. This aroused some discussion on this phase of the question, and many were surprised to learn that while women could not vote, they could hold any office in which their constituents might see fit to place them. Theodore Tilton gives the following graphic description of this event in “The Eminent Women”:

In a cabinet of curiosities I have laid away as an interesting relic, a little white ballot, two inches square, and inscribed:


Mrs. Stanton is the only woman in the United States who, as yet, has been a candidate for Congress. In conformity with a practice prevalent in some parts of this country, and very prevalent in England, she nominated herself. The public letter in which she proclaimed herself a candidate was as follows:

To the Electors of the Eighth Congressional District:

elizabeth_cady_stanton (

the four freedoms

Although, by the Constitution of the State of New York woman is denied the elective franchise, yet she is eligible to office; therefore, I present myself to you as a candidate for Representative to Congress. Belonging to a disfranchised class, I have no political antecedents to recommend me to your support,—but my creed is free speech, free press, free men, and free trade,—the cardinal points of democracy. Viewing all questions from the stand-point of principle rather than expediency, there is a fixed uniform law, as yet unrecognized by either of the leading parties, governing alike the social and political life of men and nations. The Republican party has occasionally a clear vision of personal rights, though in its protective policy it seems wholly blind to the rights of property and interests of commerce; while it recognizes the duty of benevolence between man and man, it teaches the narrowest selfishness in trade between nations. The Democrats, on the contrary, while holding sound and liberal principles on trade and commerce, have ever in their political affiliations maintained the idea of class and caste among men—an idea wholly at variance with the genius of our free institutions and fatal to high civilization. One party fails at one point and one at another.

In asking your suffrages—believing alike in free men and free trade—I could not represent either party as now constituted. Nevertheless, as an Independent Candidate, I desire an election at this time, as a rebuke to the dominant party for its retrogressive legislation in so amending the National Constitution as to make invidious distinctions on the ground of sex. That instrument recognizes as persons all citizens who obey the laws and support the State, and if the Constitutions of the several States were brought into harmony with the broad principles of the Federal Constitution, the women of the Nation would no longer be taxed without representation, or governed without their consent. Not one word should be added to that great charter of rights to the insult or injury of the humblest of our citizens. I would gladly have a voice and vote in the Fortieth Congress to demand universal suffrage, that thus a republican form of government might be secured to every State in the Union.

Representative women / L. Schamer del. (Boston : L. Prang & Co., c1870.; LOC:

a “representative” woman

If the party now in the ascendency makes its demand for “Negro Suffrage” in good faith, on the ground of natural right, and because the highest good of the State demands that the republican idea be vindicated, on no principle of justice or safety can the women of the nation be ignored. In view of the fact that the Freedmen of the South and the millions of foreigners now crowding our shores, most of whom represent neither property, education, nor civilization, are all in the progress of events to be enfranchised, the best interests of the nation demand that we outweigh this incoming pauperism, ignorance, and degradation, with the wealth, education, and refinement of the women of the republic. On the high ground of safety to the Nation, and justice to citizens, I ask your support in the coming election.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

New York, Oct. 10, 1866.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was in the news earlier that year. From a Seneca County, New York newspaper on April 14, 1866:

ECS quote at SF park

seed sown

THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY. – Our whilom townswoman, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as President of the National Woman’s Rights Committee, insists that at this hour the nation needs the highest thought and inspiration of a true womanhood infused into every vein and artery of its life; and woman needs a broader, deeper education, such as a pure religion and lofty patriotism alone can give. From the baptism of this second revolution should not woman come forth with new strength and dignity, clothed in all those “rights, privileges, and immunities” that shall best enable her to fulfill her highest duties to humanity, her country, her family and herself? Of course she should! By all means let the dear creatures come! Who’s afraid?

Apparently the editors based the above on the announcement of an “Eleventh National Woman’s Rights Convention” to be held in New York City on May 10, 1866. The call appeared in the April 2, 1866 issue of The New-York Times. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony said that nobody could call the republican ideal a failure until it had been genuinely tried by ensuring equal rights for all. They disagreed with federal legislation that would promote voting rights for black men but ignore all women:

“… while our representatives at Washington are discussing the right of suffrage for the black man, as the only protection to life, liberty and happiness, they deny that “necessity of citizenship” to woman, by proposing to introduce the word “male” into the Federal Constitution. In securing suffrage but to another shade of manhood, while we disfranchise fifteen million tax-payers, we come not one line nearer the republican idea. Can a ballot in the hand of a woman, and dignity on her brow, more unsex her than do a sceptre and a crown?” [Britain’s Queen Victoria] …


Whilom indeed. In her 1898 autobiography Elizabeth Cady Stanton described the shock of moving from Boston to Seneca Falls in 1847 (pages 143-148):

ecs-autobiography145 (

On page 145

Nevertheless, Mrs. Stanton certainly made good use of her desert experience. She began to appreciate the difficult life of women who didn’t have good servants and could appreciare Ralph Waldo Emerson’s statement that “A healthy discontent is the first step to progress.” There were many reformers in central New York State. She played a major role in the Seneca Falls “Woman’s Rights Convention” on July 19 and 20, 1848. AS a matter of fact, she was the chief author of “A Declaration of Sentiments” that she read at the convention. The document, which proclaimed that “all men and women are created equal”, was modeled closely on that 1776 declaration of “independency.” In 1862 Mrs. Stanton moved to New York City, where she ran for Congress 150 years ago.

1010160809-00 (ECS Park in SF NY)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton Park in Seneca Falls, New York

You can read and see more about Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s life at the National Park Service, including a photo from about 1865. The winter wheat plaque is on the left side mini-column at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Park. The park is just across the street from the reconstructed Wesleyan Chapel, where the 1848 convention met. Across the canal from the park is the old Seneca Knitting Mills, which employed women during the Civil War. I believe the mills is going to become the new home of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
The portrait of Elizabeth Cady Stanton comes from wpclipart. From the Library of Congress: Abigail Adams, capitol, seven women, sculpture (I believe the live woman to the far right is sculptor Adelaide Johnston).
Sculpture: Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, in crate, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. ([between 1921 and 1923; LOC:

Stanton, Anthony, and Mott

  1. [1] Seldes, George, compiler. The Great Quotations. 1960. New York: Pocket Books, 1967. Print. pages 557-558.
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straw gazing

Back in 1866 Henry J. Raymond was a U.S. Congressman from New York and publisher of The New-York Times. Mr. Raymond was a moderate Republican, who generally favored President Andrew Johnson’s reconstruction policy of readmitting Southern states to the Union and Congress with as few federal prerequisites as possible. The 1866 midterm elections could be seen as a referendum on President Johnson and his policies vis-à-vis the more radical Republican Congress. 150 years ago today Mr. Raymond’s paper predicted state elections in Pennsylvania and Indiana the next day were not going to be favorable to the president. One of the main problems was that to support the president meant a vote for Democrats.

Our national chart, a supplement to the "Cincinnati Weekly Times" for 1866 (Cincinnati : C.W. Starbuck & Co., 1866; LOC:

his policy on trial

From The New-York Times October 8, 1866:

The State Elections To-morrow – Probable Results and their Causes.

The elections in Pennsylvania and Indiana take place to-morrow. A Governor and other State officers are to be chosen in the former, and members of the Fortieth Congress in both. The canvas has been active and vigorous – marked by much more of feeling and bitterness than usual; and the result is of a good deal of importance. It is scarcely accurate to say that the issue, as between the President’s plan of reconstruction and that of Congress, has been clearly made and distinctly tried, – because many side issues, quite foreign to this, such as the New-Orleans riot, the President’s Western tour, the nomination and appointment of Copperheads to office, &c., have been brought into the canvas, and have had a controlling influence upon public sentiment. Nevertheless, in a general way, the President’s policy is upon trial, and will be indorsed or condemned by the people at the polls.

We have no doubt that the verdict will be adverse. We look for the defeat of CLYMER in Pennsylvania by at least 20,000 majority, and a similar, though perhaps less decisive, result in Indiana. In both States, more probably in the latter alone, the Republicans may lose two or three members of Congress, but the substantial victory will remain in their hands.

The House of Representatives, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. / lith. by E. Sachse & Co. (Washington, D.C. : Published by Casimir Bohn, 1866.; LOC:

U.S. House meets c1866 – empty Southern seats?

This is not the time for a detailed inquiry into the causes of such a result – though that time will come. We do not believe it due to any inherent injustice or unsoundness in the main feature of the President’s policy – the early restoration of the Union by the admission into Congress of loyal members from loyal States. But in our judgment, it will be due, in a very large degree, to the fact that this policy has been identified, in the public mind, with the Democratic Party and the secession sentiment in the South – and that it’s success at the polls involves the return of the Democratic Party, as organized and directed during the war, to place and power. In Pennsylvania the only way in which that policy can be sustained at the polls, is by electing CLYMER as the Democratic candidate over GEARY to be Governor; and in Indiana, as well as in Pennsylvania, Democratic nominees for Congress must be elected over Union candidates and Republicans. The issue is between these two parties. There is no National Union organization in the field … The Philadelphia Convention has disappeared from the contest. …

Nothing could be more unwise or preposterous than to ask Union men of any sort to support such a candidate as CLYMER in opposition to such a man as GEARY. The one fought for the Union, with ability and distinction, through the whole war; the other opposed the Government, denounced its action and aided the Democratic Party in its efforts to embarrass and defeat its measures. CLYMER was identified, thoroughly and wholly, with the Democratic Party, … To present him and that party as the special representatives and sole champions of the President’s policy, was to saddle it with a burden which no policy, however wise and just, could be reasonably expected to bear. …

Gen'l. John W. Geary and staff - taken at Harper's Ferry (between 1860 and 1870; LOC:

“Gen’l. John W. Geary and staff – taken at Harper’s Ferry” (Library of Congress)

Matters have been so mismanaged, not only in Pennsylvania, but throughout the North, that support of the President’s policy of Restoration involves a return of the Democratic Party to power; and that price the people will not pay. They have no faith in that party … They do not believe … that it cares for the liberties or rights of the enfranchised slaves, or sympathizes with efforts to elevate the character and improve the condition of the great mass of the people. They regard it as utterly selfish … [The electorate would rather risk the continued exclusion of the South from Congress than a return of power to Democrats. Radicals will win tomorrow and in other states later on]

I was surprised that the Times could put a number on Mr. Geary’s margin of victory. According to Wikipedia: “The first known example of an opinion poll was a local straw poll conducted by The Aru Pennsylvanian in 1824, showing Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 335 votes to 169 in the contest for the United States Presidency. Since Jackson won the popular vote in that state and the whole country, such straw votes gradually became more popular, but they remained local, usually city-wide phenomena.” Wikipedia then jumps to the first national survey in 1916. One of the internet sources that says that the term “straw vote” has been used in print since 1866 is, which mentions a report with a small sample size: “1866 Cleveland (Ohio) Leader 6 Oct. 4/2 A straw vote taken on a Toledo train yesterday resulted as follows; A. Johnson 12; Congress, 47.”

I don’t know how the Times came up with its numbers, but it’s prediction was quite accurate, as can be seen in the October 10, 1866 issue of The New-York Times, which gave Geary a nearly 20,000 majority. Today Wikipedia says 17,000.

One Pennsylvania citizen proclaimed that he somewhat grudgingly voted Republican:

Take notice! To all whom this may concern. Darby, Delaware County, Pa. Tuesday, October, 9th, 1866. The undersigned votes the (so called) Republican ticket ... John Sidney Jones. Darby, Pa. 1866. (1866; LOC:

cause he couldn’t tweet?

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at Independence Hall

In late August 1866 President Andrew Johnson and entourage embarked on a two and a half week “Swing Around the Circle” tour to try to influence the 1866 midterm elections in favor of more conservative, Democrat candidates opposed to Radical Republicans. The president didn’t swing into New England, but it probably wouldn’t have helped his cause at all. On September 10th Maine voted overwhelmingly Republican. The Republicans kept all five U.S. House seats, and former General Joshua Chamberlain was elected as governor with 62% of the vote.

Clymer Hon. Hiester of PA. Rep. (between 1865 and 1880; LOC:

Hiester Clymer

The Pennsylvania elections were scheduled for October 10th. According to the October 6, 1866 issue of The New-York Times 150 years ago this evening Democratic gubernatorial candidate Hiester Clymer held a rally at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. His opponent was former Union General John W. Geary. Mr. Clymer began his speech by explaining that he had traveled throughout the state during his campaign, including “on the African coast that Bradford and Susquehanna Counties. [Laughter and Applause.] … and the stomping ground of THADDEUS STEVENS – the County of LANCASTER. [Applause and Laughter.]”

After the Keystone Club arrived Mr. Clymer continued his address:

The constitutional amendment! (1866; LOC:

Don’t vote for Geary!

… My fellow-citizens, the clouds of darkness are disappearing. Upon every hill-top and in every valley the watchfires of Conservatism are burning brightly; and by the 9th of October I predict the glorious sun of victory will arise to shine upon the peace and happiness of our distracted country. … Now, my fellow-citizens let me advert to the gigantic conflict which is presented in the present issues. Why was that war waged? Was not its vital object [the] preservation of the Union, to uphold the Constitution and enforce the laws? [“Yes, yes.”] Suppose that under the shadow of this sacred temple of liberty, the memories of which inspire the heart of every American – suppose that at the inception of the rebellion you had been told it was intended to free the negro, to confer social and political privileges upon him, and to perpetuate the existence of a particular party, would you have voted a dollar or a man to any such purpose as that? [Cheers.] But there is a party in this country that openly proclaims this was the great and essential end of the war. …

The two platforms (1866; LOC:

no gray area

A procession approached that included “an omnibus containing wounded and maimed soldiers and sailors” … “A banner was borne containing the inscription – ‘No serpent can live in the Cradle of Liberty.'”

Mr Clymer continued:

Fellow-citizens, you now behold men who in their devotion to the Union have risked life, strength and comfort. [Cheers for ANDREW JOHNSON.] I stand before the people of this State the representative of the Union, of the Constitution, of the enforcement of the laws, and of the white race in this land. [Cheers.] It matters not whether the destruction of this Union be effected by war or legislation; whether it be the open act of the rebels or the insidious and unconstitutional abuse of power by the Radicals. The Democratic party stands ready to thwart and prevent them. [Applause.] …

The candidate again noticed the maimed soldiers and maintained his opposition to negro suffrage, unlike his opponent John Geary – “I am gratified in maintaining that I am the representative of the white race as a distinction. [Cheers.]” There was more to Mr. Clymer’s speech. The Times also reported a brief disturbance at the rally in which some police officers and citizens were severely injured. The Union Republican clubs of Philadelphia conducted a “grand torchlit procession” on the same night.

The Freedman's Bureau! An agency to keep the Negro in idleness at the expense of the white man. Twice vetoed by the President, and made a lawy by Congress. Support Congress & you support the Negro Sustain the President & you protect the white man (1866; LOC:

Clymer supports President Johnson’s two vetoes of Freedman’s Bureau act

Independence Hall. Philadelphia 1876 / Theodore Poleni. (LOC:

“sacred temple of liberty”

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2,111 unknown

Civil War Unknowns monument, designed by Montgomery Meigs and dedicated in 1866, at Arlington Cemetery (1866?; LOC:

as it originally appeared in 1866

150 years ago this month the Civil War Unknowns Monument was sealed at Arlington National Cemetery. Although Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs intended the monument to honor Union soldiers, Confederate soldiers were probably also included because all the skeletons were unidentifiable. Wikipedia also says that one of the reasons Arlington was chosen for the national cemetery was to make it impossible for Robert E. Lee to ever move back into his old house. Today Arlington House is The Robert E. Lee Memorial.

According to the October 3, 1866 issue of The New-York Times the remaining household effects from the Lee mansion were delivered to General Lee’s representative by order of President Johnson on October 1, 1866:

… It appears that nearly everything of any value had been stolen. Many valuable heirlooms, including some of the family portraits had been purloined. The portraits were taken from the frames, packed in boxes, and stored in the upper loft of the mansion for safety in 1861. These boxes had been broken open, and everything of real value taken away, and the letters and private papers of Gen. LEE scattered over the loft

View of the city of Washington, the metropolis of the United States of America, taken from Arlington House, the residence of George Washington P. Custis Esq. / P. Anderson del. ; on stone by F.H. Lane. (Boston : T. Moore's Lithography, c1838.; LOC:

D.C. from Arlington House c1838

[Arlington, Va. Brig. Gen. Gustavus A. DeRussey (third from left) and staff on portico of Arlington House] (1864 May.; LOC:

“Brig. Gen. Gustavus A. DeRussey (third from left) and staff on portico of Arlington House” (c1864, Library of Congress)

800px-washington_dc_from_arlington (Washington DC from Arlington House, atop Arlington National Cemetery.(November 2005;

DC from Arlington House November 2005

Sean McCue’s November 2005 photo is licensed by Creative Commons
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crater surprise

The Battle of the Petersburg Crater: The Crater, as seen from the Union side. From a sketch made at the time (ca. 1887; LOC:

after the explosion

The Battle of the Petersburg Crater: The Confederate line as reconstructed at the crater. From a drawing made by Lieutenant Henderson after the battle (ca. 1887; LOC:

after “reconstruction”


From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in September 1866:

BODY OF A WHITE FEMALE SOLDIER FOUND IN THE CRATER AT PETERSBURG. – The Petersburg Index says that the grave diggers at the crater have unearthed, a short distance in front of that famous place, the body of a white woman dressed in a Federal uniform. The body when found was in an excellent state of preservation. The features, pallid with the hue of death, revealed the delicate caste of her woman’s face, and her hair, though cut short, possessed a glow and softness which alone might have excited a suspicion of her sex. She had been shot through the head. She was carefully placed in one of the new coffins provided for her sterner comrades and taken [?] with them to be buried among them.

You can read more about Women Civil War Soldiers here.

For sale! That very valuable tract of land known as Crater Farm near Petersburg, Virginia ... For terms, address Mrs. Susie R. Griffith, Crater Farm, Petersburg, Virginia Kirkham & Co. printers [n. d.]. (

tourist trap?

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General Butler for Congress

pittsburgh-in-1817 (

Three Rivers about 50 years earlier

About a week after a similar gathering in Cleveland a Soldiers and Sailors Convention met in Pittsburgh on September 25 and 26, 1866. Unlike the Cleveland meeting the Pittsburgh convention was strongly pro-Congress and anti-President Johnson. According to the September 27, 1866 issue of The New-York Times 150 years ago today former Union General Benjamin F. Butler presented the policy resolutions for the convention’s consideration: the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which “clearly defines American citizenship and guarantees all his rights to every citizen”; it was unfortunate that some people in the country didn’t receive the amendment and other laws in a spirit of conciliation; Congress has the right to make laws for the conquered adversary; the Republican party supports all people everywhere struggling for their freedom and supports the Union men of the South; justice for the volunteer soldiers and officers that served in the war; President Johnson’s claim that he could have made himself dictator “insulted every soldier and sailor in the Republic.” And here is another resolution dealing directly with the president:

Ben Butler, Maj Gen'l (i.e. Major General) (between 1861-1865; LOC:

presented Pittsburgh resolutions

Resolved, that the President, an Executive Officer, has no right to a policy as against the Legislative Department of the Government. [Applause.] That his attempt to fasten his scheme of reconstruction upon the country is as dangerous as it is unwise; his acts in sustaining it have retarded the restoration of peace and unity; they have converted conquered rebels into impudent claimants to rights which they have forfeited and places which they have desecrated. If consummated it would render the sacrifices of the nation useless; the loss of the lives of our buried comrades vain, and the war in which we have so gloriously triumphed, what his present friends at Chicago in 1864 declared to be a failure. [Applause.]

The convention adopted all the resolutions.

Here is an 1896 summary that contrasts the Cleveland and Pittsburgh conventions. From The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction by Charles Ernest Chadsey:
(page 100)

A third convention of the year was the Cleveland convention of soldiers and sailors, organized on September 17, with General Wood of the regular army as chairman. This convention was composed of supporters of the administration, and, like the National Union convention, contained a considerable proportion of Democrats. The resolutions endorsed those of the National Union convention, and declared that “our object in taking up arms to suppress the late rebellion was to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to preserve the Union with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the States unimpaired.”

The great mass of the soldiers, however, were earnest supporters of Congress, and the results of the Cleveland convention were disappointing to its originators; its principal effect was to create great enthusiasm over the anti-administration convention of soldiers and sailors, which met in Pittsburg on September 25 and 26. This demonstration was intended to offset whatever influence the Cleveland convention might have had over the people, and it proved wonderfully effective. It was estimated that at least twenty-five thousand old soldiers were in the city at the time. The cause for this enthusiastic support is not difficult to find. The policy of the administration appealed to the moderates—those who wished as rapid a restoration to former conditions as possible, and those who were most influenced by the appeal to so-called justice. The majority of the soldiers, on the contrary, those who had made the greatest sacrifices for their country, were the most sensitive concerning the results of their sacrifices. Thoroughly accustomed to the thought of their great accomplishments, the manumission of the slaves and the preservation of the integrity of national power, they were keen to resent any steps which they thought tended toward the annulling of these results. With this natural bias, the arguments which the congressional party brought to bear upon them were accepted with enthusiasm; and many of the leaders went into the political campaign to be followed by the same soldiers who had followed them through their military campaigns. The convention, however, was in no sense a convention of officers. While the permanent president, Jacob D. Cox, of Ohio, had been a general of volunteers, the temporary chairman, L. E. Dudley, had been a private, and the majority of the offices of the convention were filled by men below the rank of lieutenant.

As was to be expected from the nature of the convention, the feeling against the administration was stronger and declared in more impassioned tones than in the previous anti-administration convention. Its influence upon the country was correspondingly greater. The army, recognized at this time as the great preserver of the commonwealth, had great influence over all classes of citizens. The anti-administration conventions, the New Orleans massacre, and the violent attacks on Congress by the President while “swinging around the circle,” assured the triumph of the congressional party.

The resolutions adopted at Pittsburgh were presented by General Butler. They were emphatic in tone, commencing with the declaration that “the action of the present Congress in passing the pending constitutional amendment is wise, prudent, and just,” and that it was unfortunate that it was not received in the proper spirit, the terms being the mildest “ever granted to subdued rebels.” The President’s policy was declared to be “as dangerous as it is unwise,” and “if consummated it would render the sacrifices of the nation useless.” The power “to pass all acts of legislation that are necessary for the complete restoration of the Union” was declared to rest in Congress. The declaration of the President to the committee of the National Union convention, that he could have made himself dictator through the Freedmen’s Bureau, aided by the army and navy, was characterized as an insult to “every soldier and sailor in the Republic.” The obligation of the soldiers and sailors to the loyal men of the South was acknowledged; and it was added: “We will stand by and protect with our lives, if necessary, those brave men who remain true to us when all around are false and faithless.”

This, the most successful of the four conventions, completed the remarkable series of national gatherings organized for effect on the State elections. They were all characterized by frankness of statement, and by clear recognition of the points at issue. But, as frequently happens in political campaigns, the most important incidents were those which were not designed to affect national issues. The riot at New Orleans was intended, by its participants, to affect only Louisiana politics, yet all the Southern States were compelled to share the responsibility. The same thing was true of all other incidents through which the South manifested, during these critical months, an unwillingness to accept the political results of the war.

Before the resolutions the Pittsburgh city councils presented a gold-headed cane to John L. Burns, “the hero of Gettysburgh”.
Benjamin Franklin Butler was indeed elected to Congress as a Republican in 1866.
The cradle of the G.O.P. First Republican convention held at LaFayette Hall, Pittsburgh, PA, Feb. 22d 1856 (Pittsburgh, Pa. : Armor Litho., c1897 Jan. 29.; LOC:

Pittsburgh was also site of first national GOP convention

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zeppelin attack

Reportedly 100 years ago last night German Zeppelins attacked England.


New York Times September 25, 1866

wrecked-zeppelin (Wrecked Zeppelin from plane in Eng. [i.e. England]; c1916; LOC:

“Photograph shows the remains of a L33 German zeppelin which crashed on Sept. 24, 1916 in Little Wigborough, Essex.”

more Zeppelin wreckage from September 1916 raid in England

more Zeppelin wreckage from September 1916 raid in England

It wasn’t as flashy, but I’m pretty sure the British blockade during World War I caused German civilians a lot of agony.

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“Egotistic to the point of mental disease”

Way back in April 1866 and probably at least in part responding to President Johnson’s February 19th veto of the Freedmen’s Bureau bill and his belligerent attitude in a Washington’s Birthday message, a The Atlantic Monthly, VOL. XVII.—APRIL, 1866—NO. 102 severely criticized the president and argued that Congress was a more legitimate representative of the people because Congressmen were more directly elected by the people.

In an issue from 150 years ago this month and undoubtedly published even before Andrew Johnson’s damaging Swing Around the Circle, the periodical continued its attack as the 1866 elections drew near. The article is about 4600 words. Here are a few extracts from The Atlantic Monthly, VOL. XVII.—SEPTEMBER, 1866—NO. CVII:

Hon. Andrew Johnson (between 1860 and 1875; LOC:

“evil developed in him”


The President of the United States has so singular a combination of defects for the office of a constitutional magistrate, that he could have obtained the opportunity to misrule the nation only by a visitation of Providence. Insincere as well as stubborn, cunning as well as unreasonable, vain as well as ill-tempered, greedy of popularity as well as arbitrary in disposition, veering in his mind as well as fixed in his will, he unites in his character the seemingly opposite qualities of demagogue and autocrat, and converts the Presidential chair into a stump or a throne, according as the impulse seizes him to cajole or to command. Doubtless much of the evil developed in him is due to his misfortune in having been lifted by events to a position which he lacked the elevation and breadth of intelligence adequately to fill. He was cursed with the possession of a power and authority which no man of narrow mind, bitter prejudices, and inordinate self-estimation can exercise without depraving himself as well as injuring the nation. Egotistic to the point of mental disease, he resented the direct and manly opposition of statesmen to his opinions and moods as a personal affront, and descended to the last degree of littleness in a political leader,—that of betraying his party, in order to gratify his spite. He of course became the prey of intriguers and sycophants,—of persons who understand the art of managing minds which are at once arbitrary and weak, by allowing them to retain unity of will amid the most palpable inconsistencies of opinion, so that inconstancy to principle shall not weaken force of purpose, nor the emphasis be at all abated with which they may bless to-day what yesterday they cursed. Thus the abhorrer of traitors has now become their tool. Thus the denouncer of Copperheads has now sunk into dependence on their support. Thus the imposer of conditions of reconstruction has now become the foremost friend of the unconditioned return of the Rebel States. Thus the furious Union Republican, whose harangues against his political opponents almost scared his political friends by their violence, has now become the shameless betrayer of the people who trusted him. And in all these changes of base he has appeared supremely conscious, in his own mind, of playing an independent, a consistent, and especially a conscientious part.

Indeed, Mr. Johnson’s character would be imperfectly described if some attention were not paid to his conscience, the purity of which is a favorite subject of his own discourse, and the perversity of which is the wonder of the rest of mankind. As a public man, his real position is similar to that of a commander of an army, who should pass over to the ranks of the enemy he was commissioned to fight, and then plead his individual convictions of duty as a justification of his treachery. …

The party which, under the ironical designation of the National Union Party, now proposes to take the policy and character of Mr. Johnson under its charge, is composed chiefly of Democrats defeated at the polls, and Democrats defeated on the field of battle. The few apostate Republicans, who have joined its ranks while seeming to lead its organization, are of small account. Its great strength is in its Southern supporters, and, if it comes into power, it must obey a Rebel direction. …

Beauregard's march (c1861; LOC:

States weren’t rebellious?

In the minority Report of the Congressional Joint Committee on Reconstruction, which is designed to supply the new party with constitutional law, this theory of State Rights is most elaborately presented. The ground is taken, that during the Rebellion the States in which it prevailed were as “completely competent States of the United States as they were before the Rebellion, and were bound by all the obligations which the Constitution imposed, and entitled to all its privileges”; and that the Rebellion consisted merely in a series of “illegal acts of the citizens of such States.” On this theory it is difficult to find where the guilt of rebellion lies. The States are innocent because the Rebellion was a rising of individuals; the individuals cannot be very criminal, for it is on their votes that the committee chiefly rely to build up the National Union Party. …

In fact, all attempts to discriminate between Rebels and Rebel States, to the advantage of the latter, are done in defiance of notorious facts. If the Rebellion had been merely a rising of individual citizens of States, it would have been an insurrection against the States, as well as against the Federal government, and might have been easily put down. In that case, there would have been no withdrawal of Southern Senators and Representatives from Congress, and therefore no question as to their inherent right to return. …

The doctrine of the unconditional right of the Rebel States to representation being thus a demonstrated absurdity, the only question relates to the conditions which Congress proposes to impose. Certainly these conditions, as embodied in the constitutional amendment which has passed both houses by such overwhelming majorities, are the mildest ever exacted of defeated enemies by a victorious nation. … [The 14th amendment sent to the states earlier in 1866 for ratification is a moderate, non-radical proposal] …

Iago at work

But whatever view may be taken of the President’s designs, there can be no doubt that the safety, peace, interest, and honor of the country depend on the success of the Union Republicans in the approaching elections. The loyal nation must see to it that the Fortieth Congress shall be as competent to override executive vetoes as the Thirty-Ninth, and be equally removed from the peril of being expelled for one more in harmony with Executive ideas. The same earnestness, energy, patriotism, and intelligence which gave success to the war, must now be exerted to reap its fruits and prevent its recurrence. The only danger is, that, in some representative districts, the people may be swindled by plausibilities and respectabilities; for when, in political contests, any great villany is contemplated, there are always found some eminently respectable men, with a fixed capital of certain eminently conservative phrases, innocently ready to furnish the wolves of politics with abundant supplies of sheep’s clothing. These dignified dupes are more than usually active at the present time; and the gravity of their speech is as edifying as its emptiness. Immersed in words, and with no clear perception of things, they mistake conspiracy for conservatism. Their pet horror is the term “radical”; their ideal of heroic patriotism, the spectacle of a great nation which allows itself to be ruined with decorum, and dies rather than commit the slightest breach of constitutional etiquette. This insensibility to facts and blindness to the tendency of events, they call wisdom and moderation. Behind these political dummies are the real forces of the Johnson party, men of insolent spirit, resolute will, embittered temper, and unscrupulous purpose, who clearly know what they are after, and will hesitate at no “informality” in the attempt to obtain it. To give these persons political power will be to surrender the results of the war, by placing the government practically in the hands of those against whom the war was waged. No smooth words about “the equality of the States,” “the necessity of conciliation,” “the wickedness of sectional conflicts,” will alter the fact, that, in refusing to support Congress, the people would set a reward on treachery and place a bounty on treason. “The South,” says a Mr. Hill of Georgia, in a letter favoring the Philadelphia Convention, “sought to save the Constitution out of the Union. She failed. Let her now bring her diminished and shattered, but united and earnest counsels and energies to save the Constitution in the Union.” The sort of Constitution the South sought to save by warring against the government is the Constitution which she now proposes to save by administering it! Is this the tone of pardoned and penitent treason? Is this the spirit to build up a “National Union Party”? No; but it is the tone and spirit now fashionable in the defeated Rebel States, and will not be changed until the autumn elections shall have proved that they have as little to expect from the next Congress as from the present, and that they must give securities for their future conduct before they can be relieved from the penalties incurred by their past.

You can get a better look at and read more about the Thomas Nast cartoon that was published in the September 1, 1866 issue of Harper’s Weekly at HarpWeek. From The Library of Congress: portrait, piano march music, blockage
The man that blocks up the highway. (1866; LOC:


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one nationality

Gen. J.E. Wool (between 1855 and 1865; LOC:

General Wool still on fire

From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in September 1866:

The Second Campaign for the Union.

The noblest soldiers in the army of the Union, assembled in convention at Cleveland on Monday, the 17th, inst., for the purpose of giving their influence in favor of a speedy settlement of the questions before the country. They fought to keep the States in the Union. Congress has thus far determined to keep the States out of the Union.

The veteran General Wool was called upon to preside temporarily, and his speech on taking the chair was worthy the fire of his best days. The Convention cheered the old hero to the echo.

General Thomas Ewing, U.S.A. (between 1860 and 1875; LOC:

perpetual Union

Gen. Ewing, of Kansas, in the course of an eloquent speech, said: “What bound us together in that conflict of arms? Not hatred of slavery, for on that ground we differed; not love of war, for we all desired peace; not hatred of the Southern people, for they were our countrymen. No, it was the sentiment of nationality – determination that the Union should be preserved and made perpetual. That was the only purpose of the war known or recognized by the army and navy of the United States. That was the sentiment that raised all our armies, and was the soul of them all. Neither army, nor navy, nor people had any other purpose. ***** Congress still wishes to blow the embers of war, while Johnson desires peace. They will have no peace except on terms which secure party and sectional dominion, while Johnson desires union on the basis of the Constitution. The Secessionists drove the States into rebellion by the old cry of “Abolitionist,” while the Radicals keep the Union separated by the still more dreaded cry of “traitor.” That cry had no terror to the soldiers. Their oath taken on entering the army bound them to preserve the Union by every means in their power. They owed allegiance rather to the Constitution than to philanthropic theories, however right. To save the Constitution they were ready to strike hands with the Democratic party and labor with it so long as they remained true to the Union.”

The more than 179,000 black federal soldiers and sailors who fought during the war undoubtedly fighting for the Union but probably especially to defeat slavery and the slave-holding Confederacy.

You can read more of the Wool and Ewing speeches in the September 18, 1866 issue of The New-York TimesAccording the the September 19, 1866 issue of The New-York Times the convention ended on the 18th. The Cleveland convention received a dispatch from a Memphis convention of former Confederate soldiers. Three cheers were given for Ned Forrest (The only name I recognized).


commemorating a famous sailor from John E. Wool’s first war

John Ellis Wool and Thomas Ewing Jr. appear courtesy of the Library of Congress. The Cleveland image comes from Peculiarities of American Cities , by Willard Glazier (1886; page 150). The Perry Monument was erected in 1860 and stayed at different places on the Public Square until 1892.
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