the three wise men denigrated

phillips (Men of Our Times, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (

‘traitors release a traitor’

150 years ago earlier this month Wendell Phillips seemed a bit miffed that Jefferson Davis had been bailed out back in May.

From The New-York Times June 7, 1867:

Jefferson Davis and His Friends.

From the Anti-Slavery Standard of This Week.

In spite of the “three wise men of Gotham,” BEECHER, GREELEY and SMITH, we still hold that treason and murder ought to be punished, and that, had there been a will, a way would have been found; that it is a most unsound as well as disgraceful “policy” to treat murderers like honest men in order to conciliate other murders. The religion of these “wise men” consists in swapping morality for success. They have every quality of a Yankee peddler, except his ‘cuteness [acuteness?].

Washington, D.C. Soldier springing the trap; men in trees and Capitol dome beyond (by Alexander Gardner; LOC:

murder near the capitol steps

In contrast with these muddled philanthropists and clergymen, tossing about words of whose meaning they know nothing, look at the sensible and clear-sighted statesman, THADDEUS STEVENS, whose letter on confiscation, full of profound wisdom, will be found in another column. Mr. GREELEY, like all convicted sinners, takes refuge in that coward’s castle, an effort to show my inconsistency. No amount of inconsistency on my part would lessen his guilt. He expended so much magnanimity, however, in going to Richmond to clasp DAVIS’ hand, that he had none left to copy in his columns my statements, which he undertakes to answer and comment on. Instead of this newfangled and wondrous magnanimity, I wish he could find time to cultivate a wee bit of that homely and old-fashioned virtue, justice. The nation and I should both be better for it. In regard to his statements, copied in another column, let me say, I never asked for DAVIS’ death, and do not now. He deserved death, and the Government which leaves him alive confesses that it murdered WIRTZ. Had I been President, and ready to execute WIRTZ, I should have shot DAVIS within twenty-four hours after his arrest, not as a traitor or belligerent, but as a murderer and a butcher, wholesale violator of the laws of honorable war. But I am against life-taking, and my whole theory of rebel punishment I explained in a speech in April, 1865, on LINCOLN’s death.

Pioneers of freedom (1866; LOC:

and justice for all

I repudiated the idea of trying him by a jury; not, however, from any doubt that he could be convicted. Take him to Lawrence, Kansas, and try him for QUANTRELL’s [sic] murders; take him within sight of St. Albans and set him before a Vermont jury – does any man doubt that he would be convicted? But I would no more honor him with a jury trial than I would an adder.

In the Winter of 1865 and 1866 I scouted the idea of punishing DAVIS in any way; because I saw that, with JOHNSON in the White House and GREELEY in the Tribune – the first a traitor from excess of backbone, and the second equally in our way from entire want of one – justice was an impossibility. I was anxious, in such untoward circumstances, to snatch all I could. Waiving, therefore, justice, I struggles for the negro’s vote. And because he himself thus blocked the wheels of right, Mr. GREELEY quotes me as if allowing or advocating the release of DAVIS! I saw and said that the idea of DAVIS’ punishment was as old as the ark – his release a foregone conclusion – and I held JOHNSON and GREELEY responsible for this: JOHNSON because he planned and GREELEY because he indorses it. My position is submission to the inevitable. Mr. GREELEY’s position is fellowship with the disgraceful. Let me not, however, do injustice to President JOHNSON, by seeming to bring him down to GREELEY’s level. The President released DAVIS, but he never went to Richmond to congratulate and shake hands with him.

reconciliation (Reconstruction / eng. by J.L. Giles, N.Y. ; printed by F[rancis] Ratellier, 171 Broadway, N.Y.( 186; LOC:

everything hunky-dory? Bobby and Sam, Horace and Jeff

Horace Greeley (

wanting a backbone?

I go for substance, and not for forms. This wining about DAVIS’ imprisonment would be absurd, if it were not criminal. Has he suffered a millionth part of the misery he inflicted on others? Has he suffered one thousandth part of what he deserved? If I had been President, I would have kept him in prison until the ingenuity of the last survivor of the kindred of those starved at Andersonville confessed itself unable to devise a way of bringing him to trial. They should have had a century, if necessary, to invent a process that would enable the nation “to execute justice between man and man.” Imprisoned a few months too long! Let him be thankful that he did not fall into the hands of a barbarian like himself, and meet with retaliation, which would have been torture and starvation unto idiocy, unless death, more merciful than his jailor, took him to his loving arms. I have no fear of DAVIS. This nation is strong enough (as I have said every week for the last three years) to despise a million such. But we are not strong enough to allow that crime should be treated as ill-used innocence. We are not strong enough to have the foundations of our moral sense sapped by the sophisms and vagaries of our leaders. JEFFERSON DAVIS is one of the vilest and guiltiest men in the country. This Government has released him, not because it could not punish him – it has not tried to do so – but because it expects to strengthen its party by this ignoring of crime. The philanthropists who rejoice in this disgraceful act are either stone-blind or too besotted to deserve our confidence hereafter.


In a public letter dated June 6. 1867 Gerrit Smith said he agreed to be part of the bail out team because he believed in due process and he was asked to sign the bond:

Image 1 of Gerrit Smith on the bailing of Jefferson Davis ... Peterboro, June 6, 1867. (

no trial very trying

A cartoon in the June 1, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly (page 341) seemed to sell the bail out as an example of Northern superiority over the South, where Northerners were harassed and mobbed; the example referred a riot in Mobile, Alabama:

peace and war peaceandwar Harper's Weekly June 1, 1867;

reconciliation and riots

The portraits of Wendell Phillips and Horace Greeley come from a book (at Project Gutenberg) written by one of the wise men’s sister. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1868 Men of Our Times contains biographies of eighteen “Leading Patriots of the Day” and included Wendell Phillips and two of the three wise men (sorry about that Gerrit). Mrs. Stowe respected Wendell Phillips for his strong advocacy of his principles but seemed to be advising him to lighten up a bit since the war had ended and the slaves were free. “A Change of Tone Recommended.” Beginning on page 499:
During the period of comparative vacillation and uncertainty, when McClellan was the commander-in-chief, and war was being made on political principles, Mr. Phillips did his utmost in speeches and public addresses in the papers, to stir up the people to demand a more efficient policy.
Since the termination of the war and the emancipation of the slave, Mr. Phillips seems to show that the class of gifts and faculties adapted to rouse a stupid community, and to force attention to neglected truths are not those most adapted to the delicate work of reconstruction. The good knight who can cut and hew in battle, cannot always do the surgeon’s work of healing and restoring. That exacting ideality which is the leading faculty of Mr. Phillips’ nature leads him constantly to undervalue what has been attained, and it is to be regretted that it deprived him of the glow and triumph of a victory in which no man than he better deserved to rejoice. …
May we not think now that the task of binding up the wounds of a bruised and shattered country, of reconciling jarring interests thrown into new and delicate relationships, of bringing peace to sore and wearied nerves, and abiding quiet to those who are fated to dwell side by side in close proximity, may require faculties of a wider and more varied adaptation, and a spirit breathing more of Calvary and less of Sinai?
It is no discredit to the good sword gapped with the blows of a hundred battle fields, to hang it up in all honor, as having done its work. …
freeandequal (

“new birth of freedom”

Harriet Beecher Stowe (

the war is won

Mrs. Stowe began her treatment of Horace Greeley by describing the characteristics of the Scotch-Irish race in America. I was a bit concerned that she might have been resorting to a stereotype, but then she explained how “Mr. Greeley [was] a Partly Reversed Specimen of it [the Scotch-Irish race]”
The portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe also comes from her book. The Harper’s Weekly cartoon can be found at Wikimedia Commons. The images of  two handshakes and two babies (my first thought was Romulus and Remus) are cut out from Reconstruction, which the Library of Congress describes as “a grand allegory of the reconciliation of North and South through the federal program of Reconstruction.” Also from the Library: pioneers; Gerrit Smith’s letter; one of several images of the execution of Henry Wirz
Apparently the story about President Lincoln saying to her “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!” is apocryphal
Reconstruction / eng. by J.L. Giles, N.Y. ; printed by F[rancis] Ratellier, 171 Broadway, N.Y. Enlarge (1867; LOC:

a big job

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It probably wasn’t another august madness; I doubt anybody thought the doughboys would be home for Christmas (at least not in 1917 – first they had to get over there). But 100 years ago there was a lot of evidence that America was successfully mobilizing for a fighting part in the great war. The June 17, 1917 issue of The New-York Times showed that female aviators from California had volunteered their planes and services to help Uncle Sam patrol his coasts:

Dolores Francis (New York Times 6-17-1917; LOC: image 1)

west coast patriot

American doctors and nurses made up the first war unit to make it to Europe and were greeted by the king and queen of Great Britain:

firstAmwarunitEurope (NY Times 6-17-1917; LOC: image 1)

welcoming the first arrivers

In other news: zeppelins again raided England; Elihu Root, an American special envoy to Russia, gave a speech in Petrograd proposing that the United States and Russia fight for each other’s freedom; a Russian Workmen’s Council and Soldier Delegates said they rejected a separate peace with the Central Powers; an American Liberty Loan was oversubscribed; and President Wilson was irritated by Congress’s delay in creating a new food administration. He wanted Herbert Hoover, the proposed “food czar,” to get started anyway:

NY Times June 17, 1917

NY Times June 17, 1917

More egg on Sumpter’s face. Wanted to title the post proto-WAC after World War II’s Women’s Air Corps – whoops. WAC was the Women’s Army Corps; apparently I was thinking of the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
All the photographs are from the June 17, 1917 issues of The New-York Times and can be found at the Library of Congress (images 1 and 6). The Food Administration poster is from the National Archives
be-patriotic (

patriotic pleading

General Pershing as Cadet (NY Times June 17, 1917; image 6)

Black Jack at West Point

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family reunion

This is the Showing forth of the Inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassos, to the end that neither the deeds of men may be forgotten by lapse of time, nor the works great and marvellous, which have been produced some by Hellenes and some by Barbarians, may lose their renown; and especially that the causes may be remembered for which these waged war with one another.

Gettysburg June 8, 1917 (New York Times June 17, 1917; LOC:

From The New-York Times June 9, 1917:


Many Veterans Attend Ceremony In Honor of Virginia’s Dead.

A C Lee (NY Times June 17, 1917; LOC: Image 1)

represented the Lee family

Gettysburg, Penn., June 8. – A memorial surmounted by a statue of General Robert E. Lee was unveiled on Gettysburg battlefield today in the presence of many Confederate veterans who had come from their annual reunion at Washington, and also many Grand Army veterans.

The memorial, erected by the State of Virginia to her soldier dead, was accepted for the Government by William M. Ingraham, Assistant Secretary of War, who declared it was characteristic of the American people that both North and South could meet as one great reunited family on the celebrated field.

The Virginia Monument has hit the century mark, but how much longer will it be there? Will it be next? In a post at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog Fred Ray discussed the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans and possibly elsewhere. Mr. Ray wrote that Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke “about what a fine fellow he was for erasing the city’s history.” That made me think of an alternative translation of Herodotus:

Here are presented the results of the enquiry carried out by Herodotus of Halicarnassus. The purpose is to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time, and to preserve the fame of the important and remarkable achievements produced by both Greeks and non-Greeks; among the matters covered is, in particular, the cause of the hostilities between Greeks and non-Greeks.

Here’s some photographic evidence of the Confederate reunion in the nation’s capital prior to the dedication at Gettysburg:

MaryCustisLeeandConfederates NY Times 6-17-1917(NY Times June, 17, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery Image 6)

General and Mrs. Lee’s only surviving child attended

wheelchairandConfederates NY Times 6-17-1917 (NY Times June 17, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery Image 6)

rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue

wwilsonandConfederates NY Times 6-17-1917 (NY Times June 17, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery Image 6)

the black sheep of the family?
greeting President Wilson

You can get a better look at Gettysburg’s Virginia Monument at Stone Sentinels, which says that General Lee’s niece not his granddaughter unveiled the monument back in 1917. The National Park Service’s Arlington House site has more information about Mary Custis Lee. I don’t think writing a history = building a monument, but I think there might be some similarities. Herodotus is often referred to as “The Father of History”. This post’s first translation of his introduction to The Histories is found at Project Gutenberg; the second is Robin Waterfield’s 2008 translation found at Wikipedia. All the images were published in the June 17, 1917 issue of The New-York Times at the Library of Congress (Images 1 and 6).
oldtimesandConfederates NY Times 6-17-1917 (New York Times June 17, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery Image 6)

museum piece?

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father’s day

In December 1811 Jacob Johnson of Raleigh, North Carolina jumped into Hunter’s Mill Pond to rescue three men whose boat had capsized. He successfully saved all three, but in January 1812 Jacob Johnson died, possibly as a result of jumping in the pond. [1]
On June 4, 1867 Jacob’s son, President Andrew Johnson, attended the dedication of a monument at Jacob’s grave. From The New-York Times June 5, 1867:


Dedication of the Raleigh Monument – Interesting Ceremonies.

… RALEIGH, N.C., Tuesday, June 4 – P.M.

569px-Jacobjohnson (

tribute to an honest and courageous man

The ceremonies at the City Cemetery, in connection with the dedication of the monument erected to the father of President JOHNSON, commenced at noon today.

The monument is a single shaft of red limestone, ten feet high with an ornamented cap. It bears the following inscription:

“In memory of JACOB JOHNSON; an honest man, beloved and respected by all who knew him. Born –. Died January, 1812, from disease caused by an over-effort in saving the life of his friend.”

The President and party, accompanied by Gov. WORTH, Gen. SICKLES, and others, having reached the cemeteries in carriages, were conducted to a platform near the monument.

…Hon. D.L. SWAIN, LL.D., President of the State University, delivered an address … [in which he alluded to one of the men Jacob saved]

The following obituary notice, written by Col. HENDERSON, the editor of the Raleigh Star, is copied from that paper Jan. 12, 1812:

“Died, in this city, on Saturday last, JACOB JOHNSON, who had for many years occupied a humble but useful station. He was city constable, sexton, and porter to the State Bank. In his last illness he was visited by the principal inhabitants of the city, by all of whom he was esteemed for his honesty, sobriety, industry, and humane and friendly disposition.

“Among those by whom he was known and esteemed none more deeply lamented him, except, perhaps, his own relatives, than the publisher of this paper, for he owes his life, on a particular occasion, to the boldness and humanity of JACOB JOHNSON.” …

The ceremonies were closed with a benediction, when two young colored girls came forward and tenderly lay bunches of the choicest flowers on the grave of JACOB JOHNSON. …

President Johnson, Secretary of State Seward, and others arrived in Raleigh the day before. The president was so “overcome with emotion” by the large crowd of well-wishers who greeted him that he quoted Sir Walter Scott:[2]

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!

Andrew Johnson had just turned three years old when his father died back in 1812.

Michael Helms’ 2006 photo of Jacob Johnson’s grave is licensed by Creative Commons. President Johnson was quoting from The Lay of the Last Minstrel
  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 19-20.
  2. [2] ibid.
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pre-dawn queues

150 years ago today recently enfranchised black men in the District of Columbia once again took advantage of their new right to vote in large numbers at a local election. The presumably more progressive Republicans won  all the city-wide races and  a majority of the wards.

From the June 22, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly (page 397)


WASHINGTON CITY witnessed, on June 3, another curious scene illustrative of the progressive spirit of the times. For the second time in its history the colored citizens assisted in the municipal election. We give on this page a view at one of the polling-places at which a negro man was one of the Judges, and from all accounts a smart one he proved. In fact the whole colored race in Washington appears to have appreciated its privilege on this occasion. The colored men gathered in long lines before the polls as early as two o’clock on the morning of the election, and waited patiently for an opportunity to vote. Many who entered the line before sunrise did not get their vote deposited until a short time before the polls closed. Very few whites voted, and the Republican ticket was elected by a large majority.

Significant election scene at Washington, June 3, 1867 / sketched by A.W. M'Callum. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, 1867 June 22, p. 397.; LOC:

judging the vote

You can read more details in the June 4, 1867 edition of From The New-York Times. The correspondent noted that the blacks were well-organized and avoided being deceived by their opponents by only accepting Republican tickets from people they knew. Democrats circulated fraudulent Republican tickets throughout the city. Many churches distributed regular Republican tickets the day before.

You can see the sketch in more detail at the Library of Congress
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Gone Hollywood

150 years ago today thousands of Richmond residents converged on Hollywood cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate war dead. Although a riot broke out in Richmond on May 11th, the Times’ HENRICO correspondent emphasized that the city was peaceful throughout the day.

Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia - decorating the graves of the rebel soldiers, May 31, 1867 / drawn by W.L. Sheppard. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, 1867 Aug. 17, p. 524; LOC:

hardly a flower left in the city

From The New-York Times June 3, 1867:


Decorating the Graves of the Dead of the Confederate Army in Richmond.

From Our own Correspondent.

RICHMOND, Friday, May 31, 1867.

We have just returned from witnessing the outpouring of the inhabitants of a city of some 60,000 souls to ornament with flowers, garlands and wreaths the graves of 6,000 Confederate soldiers, which cover several acres of the largest and most beautiful of the cemeteries near this city. During the four years of the war, not only were many great battles fought a few miles from Richmond but here the principal hospitals of the Confederacy were located, and not less than 15,000 Confederate soldiers were rudely and hastily buried in the cemeteries near the city. When the war ended, it is impossible to conceive of anything more repulsive and hideous than were these fields of humble graves. They were unmarked, sunken and utterly neglected. denied a place in the national cemeteries the bones of these unfortunate braves were sometimes uncovered and exposed to view.

[Richmond, Va. Graves of Confederate soldiers in Oakwood Cemetery, with board markers (1865; LOC:

Richmond’s Oakwood Cemetery, 1865

The citizens of Richmond were without means for the decent reinterment of the remains of these soldiers, but every heart bled at the lamentable condition of their last resting place. Both sexes and all classes were compelled by a natural sentiment of affection and pity to ornament by their own labors these sad and neglected cemeteries, and the result of their persevering efforts has been to some extent successful. While the voluntary labors of the people of Richmond have been constant and unceasing, it is also the annual custom of all classes on the 31st of May to turn out en masse to visit and decorate the graves of these dead soldiers of the South.

Hence Hollywood Cemetery was for many hours to-day thronged in all its paths and avenues, with thousands of persons of all classes, ages and conditions, bearing floral ornaments for the graves of the Confederate soldiers. …

Richmond, Va. Grave of Gen. J. E. B. Stuart in Hollywood Cemetery, with temporary marker (1865; LOC:


While that portion of Hollywood where lie many generations of Richmond’s best and wealthiest citizens is densely wooded and beautified with costly tombs, monuments and flowers, the section devoted to the dead of the Army of Northern Virginia is destitute of forest trees, and presents a dreary waste of unturfed graves. Side by side, scarcely a foot apart, lie six thousand soldiers. At a distance this field of graves looks as if it had been turned up by a huge plough in long furrows, and these furrows intersected by others at a distance of about eight feet. The footpaths are narrow and unornamented with shrubbery and the head-boards are often mere bits of shingle, containing the initials of the dead confederate and the number of his company and regiment. Although as yet unsodden, the graves during the last year have been “mounded” by the surviving companions in arms of the dead soldiers. Except when covered for a day with flowers and evergreens it is impossible to conceive of a more dreary spot than these acres of narrow, humble graves. On the last day of May, however, this bare and desolate spot is made beautiful by the hands of thousands of Southern men, women and children. The labor of ornamenting these graves is prosecuted with an enthusiasm which all ranks, ages and conditions of life alike feel.

jeb 1867 ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, 1867 Aug. 17, p. 524.; LOC:


Richmond, with its treasures of flowers and evergreens, cannot supply the demand for wreaths. There is not this morning, we suppose, a single flower left upon its stalk in Richmond or its environs. … Troops of little girls, beautiful as angels, traversed the city gathering every flower which bloomed in our gardens. Wagons, carts, hampers and baskets were all called into requisition to convey these offerings to the Cemetery. Released from their schools, thousands of children of both sexes, could, from an early hour until midday, be seen ladened with flowers, wreaths and crosses of evergreens. …

At the gates of the cemetery, beneath temporary awnings of weather-stained canvas, and from behind rude counters, perspiring freedmen drove a roaring business in cake, lemonade, oranges, cherries, ginger-pop, and other unhealthy looking luxuries.

Very few negroes, however, entered the gates of the Cemetery, and those who did were for the most part nurses and servants bearing flowers for their employers. I noticed a half-dozen handsome, modest-looking quadroon girls placing flowers upon the graves of the Confederate soldiers; but these were exceptional cases. By 10 o’clock the “Confederate section” was swarming with well-dressed men, women and children, busily decorating the unturfed, sun-baked and unshaded graves. Bronzed veterans of the armies of LEE and JACKSON mingled with old men and young children in this work.

soldiers' division( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, 1867 Aug. 17, p. 524. ; LOC:

“one great republic of sorrow”

Sad, broken-hearted looking widows and mothers were there, with their habiliments of mourning contrasting strangely with the gay apparel of fashionable women, who looked as if they were strangers to grief. Doctors of law, medicine and divinity found a common field for their labors amidst these dreary grounds. There must have been 20,000 hands to-day busy with these graves.

The Confederate section for many hours seemed one great republic of sorrow. The work was done silently, decorously and without a word of anger. Orations in eulogy of the dead were expressly forbidden by the managers of the “Memorial Association.”

hollywood5-31-1867( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, 1867 Aug. 17, p. 524.; LOC:

remembering Richmond’s sons

While thousands were engaged in thus garlanding the graves of those who lie buried in that portion of the cemetery dedicated exclusively to the dead of the Confederate armies, scattered through the grounds were hundreds of smaller groups of friends and relatives, covering with garlands the graves of those citizens of Richmond who were killed in battle. AS we walked through the beautiful grounds of Hollywood, and found in almost every private section a freshly decorated grave or some tearful, sorrowing and bereaved group of friends and relatives placing flowers over a tomb, it seemed as if from every household in Richmond a son had gone forth and laid down his precious young life for the “late Confederacy.” Amid these sad, suggestive scenes we recalled the memory of many noble, brave and intelligent youths, the pride of their parents and friends, who went forth from this city full of hope and promise, and as the crimson tide of battle rolled around us, were brought back, young and beautiful even in death, and buried at Hollywood.

It is almost unnecessary to say that although for many hours Richmond poured its population into the “city of the dead,” until no one seemed left in the city of the living, yet the solemnity of the occasion was not marred by a single incident which we could regret. There were no angry and inflammatory harangues, no formal processions of ex-Confederate soldiers, no attempts to make the occasion subserve the purposes of “disloyal” and embittered feeling, and when the work of the day was done, and the thousands who were present had grown weary of wandering among the shady paths and avenues of Hollywood, they returned quietly to their homes. HENRICO.

Grave_Jeb_Stuart_Flora_Stuart (


90-foot stone pyramid honoring 18,000 Confederate enlisted men buried at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia (by Carol M. Highsmith; LOC:

“90-foot stone pyramid honoring 18,000 Confederate enlisted men buried at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia”


Yesterday’s Show and Tell was about Memorial Day in New York City in 1917. It seems that Confederates were remembering in May (and early June) 100 years ago as well.

MtHope1(NY Times June 3, 1867; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery)

Confederate reminiscences at Mt. hope

Mt. Hope2 (NY Times June 3, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery)

decorating Confederate graves at Mt. Hope

Southern cross at Arlington (NY Times June 10, 1917; LOC:,%20June%2010,%201917&st=gallery)

Southern Cross at Arlington

Forests Cavalry, Confederate reunion, May 1917 (LOC:

“Forests Cavalry, Confederate reunion, May 1917”

Wikipedia provides Hal Jespersen’s photograph “of gravesite of J.E.B. Stuart and his wife Flora, Hollywood Cemetery.” From the Library of Congress: W.L. Sheppard’s drawing, which was published in the August 17, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly; Oakwood; J.E.B. Stuart’s grave in 1865; Carol M. Highsmith’s photo of the Confederate pyramid, which was dedicated in November 1869; two from Mt. Hope (image 7) from the June 3, 1917 issue of The New-York Times; at Arlington (image 3) from the June 10, 1917 of The New-York Times; Forests Cavalry
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more to come

Decoration Day [1917] (1917 (date created or published later by Bain); LOC:

Decoration Day

Back in April 1917 the United States declared war on Germany. As young American men were signing up for the draft and getting ready to be shipped to France, the country observed Decoration Day on May 30th. One hundred years ago the transition from Decoration Day to Memorial Day was well underway. Americans weren’t just decorating the graves of Civil War dead; they were honoring the dead from all wars. And living veterans as well. Reportedly, fifty-two years after Appomattox four hundred Civil War veterans marched in New York City’s parade.

From The New-York Times May 31, 1917:

NYT 5-31-1917

“Many years have passed since a Decoration Day parade in this city aroused so much patriotic enthusiasm as marked the movement of the column of Grand Army veterans and auxiliary down Fifth Avenue yesterday. Probably not since their homecoming from the war ‘back in the sixties’ have the veterans heard such lusty cheers for their tattered flags as they heard on this march down the flag-bordered avenue.”

Thus began the account published in THE NEW YORK TIMES of May 31, 1898, of the Memorial Day parade of that year, a year when the United States was at war with Spain. And with a single change, the substitution of Riverside Drive for Fifth Avenue, the description applies equally well to the parade of this year, when the country is again at war.

The three cardinal principles of the grand army of the republic (c1884; LOC:

still marching on

There were fewer Grand Army veterans in yesterday’s line of march; their ranks had paid the toll of nineteen years. But the 400 old men who marched yesterday had marched in 1898 and, just as in 1898, they had declared their reception the greatest they had ever experienced, so yesterday the asserted that never before had such a crowd turned out to greet them.

And there were other veterans in the ranks yesterday, not so old, not so grizzled, not so feeble as the Grand Army men, but none the less veterans. They were the men who had fought against Spain …

Yesterday the parade trudged along Riverside Drive from the Seventies to the Nineties, a route shorter than the one they traversed in 1898, but still long enough to tax the strength of the Grand Army men, though the martial bands and fife and drum keyed them to unusual vigor. They marched between tight-packed ranks of men, women, and children, sometimes eight and ten deep; between the varied greens of Riverside Park on their left and the flag-covered façades of lofty apartments on their right, between the applause of whistles and sirens from the river and cheers and handclaps from the sidewalk.

A Time for Sobs and Tears.

Decoration Day [1917] (LOC:

“Memorial Day festivities on Fifth Avenue, at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Riverside Park, New York City, May 30, 1917”

… seldom, perhaps never, has such a crowd been so imbued with the spirit of an occasion. There were cheers in plenty, handclapping of the sort that splits gloves and reddens palms, but there were also sobs, and women were not the only ones who found a catch in the voice and who blinked rapidly to keep the tears back when the shrill fifing of “The Girl I Left Behind Me” would sound from down the drive …

As they passed the reviewing stand at the base of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument the officers of the various organizations in line brought their side arms to salute, while the rank and file obeyed the crisply shouted commands of “Eyes left.” …

Under the Grand Marshal, Commander Andrew Boyd of the G.A.R., the parade, the parade was ready to start on schedule and presently the long line that took nearly three hours to pass the reviewing stand was under way. …

Zouaves NYC 5-30-1917 (LOC:

“thinning line” of New York Zouaves, May 30, 1917

Vets Save Tattered Flags.

With Grand Marshal Boyd at their head, followed by the numerous members of his staff, beneath battle flags so shot and torn that they had been covered with silken nets to keep them from falling apart. They marched as various posts, each under its own colors, and the applause grew frantic as the posts advanced, sometimes three and four men, and once only two, constituting all that was left of civil war companies. There were veterans so feeble that they had to ride in carriages, but they were very few, for it seemed that every man with the strength to walk wanted his place in the line afoot.

Behind them came the Spanish War veterans [and many other units, including “a corps of buglers from the U.S.S. Maine”] …

Uniform Almost Gone.

When Captain Leslie of Phil Kearney Post marched by the reviewing stand in a civil war uniform so tattered that it was held together with pins and pieces of twine the crowd cheered itself hoarse, and Governor Whitman not only swung his hat in salute, but bowed low to the old soldier. He bowed again and repeated it almost continuously as the negro veterans of the civil war filed past. All were old, with kinks of white wool dotting their heads, the most were feeble, but all were proud and strained their aged bodies to stand erect as they passed the reviewing stand.

Mrs. C.S. Whitman, Gen. J.F. Bell, Gov. Whitman (1917 May 30; LOC:

“Governor Whitman … swung his hat in salute”

In their ranks and throughout the line of veterans were many who probably could not have made the march on a less perfect day. After the cold and rain of the preceding days, Memorial Day was brilliantly clear and warm with a warmth that took the kinks out of old legs and put the freshness of Spring into ageing muscles. At it’s conclusion the G.A.R. men declared that never before had there been such a day and such a parade, and then relatives gathered up the excited “oldsters” and in motors and surface cars, the elevated and the subway, hurried them home before the weariness of the march could dull the keenness of their days enjoyment.

Honor the brave Memorial Day, May 30, 1917. (LOC:

In addition to remembering past wars, New York City was also looking forward to the imminent war in France.

maine remeberance5-30-19 (

remembering the Maine dead

proto-tanks (5-30-1917; LOC:

proto-tanks in New York City

RECRUIT (ca.1917; LOC:

“the U.S.S. Recruit, a fake battleship built in Union Square, New York City”

"Bald Eagle" on RECRUITJuly 28, 1917; LOC:

Chief Bald Eagle takes aim (probably in July 1917)

From the Library of Congress: marching; G.A.R. principles; at the monument; Governor Whitman; poster; Zouaves, tanks, and the Maine from the June 10, 1917 issue of The New York Times (Image 5); “[T]he U.S.S. Recruit [was] a fake battleship built in Union Square, New York City by the Navy to recruit seamen and sell Liberty Bonds during World War I.” If you search at the Library you can find many photos. According to documentation with the pictures, May 30, 1917 was the “christening” or “launch” of the ship. The photos here were not from Memorial Day – ship, Chief Bald Eagle
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baseball buddies

Memorial day / Ehrhart. (N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann, Puck Building, 1913 May 28; LOC:

national pastimes

Couldn’t we just have played two back in ’61? Or even a best of seven? As much as I dream about duels replacing wars, I know I’m just dreaming. No jousts or David v. Goliath for modern times. Jeff Davis wasn’t going to be taking the mound for the Confederate nine. The South wouldn’t give up slavery without a fight; the North wouldn’t give up the southern states without a battle. Eventual reconciliation in the aftermath

Memorial Day, unknown soldiers tomb, [Arlington, Virginia] (1935; LOC:

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

"Decoration Day. No. 1618" (c1914 Mar. 30.; LOC:

Old Glory

From the Library of Congress: baseball from the May 28, 1913 issue of Puck; Arlington in 1935; Decoration Day c.1914
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big milk parlor shut down

The first African church, Richmond, Virginia--Interior of the church, from the western wing / drawn by W.L. Sheppard. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 18, 1874 June 27, p. 545; LOC: )

where Greeley and Smith spoke

But what should take its place?

Riots broke out in Richmond, Virginia on May 11, 1867. Two days later ex-Confederate President Jefferson was released on bail in the same city. According to the following report, two of the men who pitched in to bail Mr. Davis out spoke to a gathering in Richmond on the next evening.

From The New-York Times May 15, 1867:

Matters at Richmond – Colored Organizations Disbanded.

RICHMOND, Va., Tuesday, May 14.

Gen. SCHOFIELD has ordered the Lincoln Mounted guards (colored) to disband, and has prohibited their parades or drills. …

The negro laborers in the tobacco warehouses have struck for higher wages. no disturbance has occurred.

[Richmond, Va. First African Church (Broad Street)] (1865; LOC:

First African Church (1865)

The African Church was densely packed by an audience about equally divided, an assemblage equally as large was gathered outside. Judge PEIRPOINT [sic] was on the stand. Mr. GREELEY explained the obstacles that had impeded reconstruction, beginning with the assassination of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, and coming down to JOHNSON’S policy.The obstacle now was, the unwillingness of the Southern people to give the negro any rights. They were not obliged to do this. If this was overcome there would be peace at the South. The South had the opportunity given it by Congress to give these rights itself, but refused to do it. Upon the subject of confiscation he was emphatic, urging the negroes not to look forward to acquiring lands that way. He wished to see them own farms, but they must work for them, and they need not expect to get them in any other way.

GARRETT SMITH followed in a short address. He said the South was not alone to blame for the war which had been brought on by the North, which had supported slavery, its immediate cause. It had supported slavery because it had profited by it. It had drawn the milk while the South held the cow. He strongly opposed confiscation and told the negoroes not to look forward to anything that was so hopeless. In allusion to the rumors of the riots which he had heard of since arriving here, he urged the negroes not to give way to lawlessness, and to avoid any approach to riotous conduct.

Judge UNDERWOOD, who was cheered and hissed as he came forward, made a short address. …

Hon. Gerrit Smith of N.Y. (between 1855 and 1865; LOC:

dairy metaphor

According to Eric Foner, many Northern blacks “carried south the ideology of free labor, with its respect for private property and individual initiative.” Many people in the “Southern free black elite” supported those ideas and “opposed talk of confiscation and insisted that political equality did not imply the end of class distinctions.” But talk of confiscation was especially powerful in 1867 because “successive crop failures had left those on share contracts with little or no income and caused a precipitous decline in cash wages.” 1867 was a bad time to “preach individual self-help to black belt freedmen,” who felt poor and dependent. “Rural blacks raised, once again, the demand for land.” The 1867 “Reconstruction Act rekindled the belief that the federal government intended to provide freedmen with homesteads”.[1]

One member of the white Northern elite who supported confiscation was Thaddeus Stevens. The May 18, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly (page 306) thought the Pennsylvania Congressman’s version of “a mild confiscation” might be inexpedient, but it knew where he was coming from:

… But it is very foolish to speak of Mr. STEVENS’s desire of confiscation as a frantic act of vengeance. His philosophy is very far from ridiculous. Mr. STEVENS, of course, does not suppose that the late rebels, as a rule, are friendly to the freedmen. He sees them soliciting the freedmen’s votes because they are essential to their political success. He knows that the white leaders who are hostile to the Union party will use every means to obtain control of the colored vote. He also sees that no provision whatever has been made for giving the freedmen land; and he knows, as every reflecting man knows, that without land they lack a vital element of substantial citizenship. Now voters who must work upon the land every day to live are immediately dependent for bread upon the landholders; and where, as in the South, the late masters are the landholders and the late slaves are the laborers it is easy to see what an influence can be exerted. …

According to a letter Congressman Stevens wrote to local officials, confiscation for the benefit of the southern freedmen was only a part of a larger confiscation scheme. From The New-York Times June 2, 1867:

Thaddeus Stevens (

would-be confiscator

A New Phase of Confiscation – Another Letter from Hon. Thaddeus Stevens.

From the Bedford (Pa.) Inquirer.

LANCASTER, Thursday, May 23, 1867.

[To various county and town officials]

GENTLEMEN: As I am about to prosecute the claims for confiscation at the next session of Congress, if I should be permitted to appear there, I desire to ascertain certain facts. Will you aid me in procuring them in a small part of our own State? Invite returns from all the people in each township of the amount of property which the rebel raiders, or the armies of the so-called “Confederate States,” destroyed or appropriated to their own use during their several incursions into Pennsylvania, and hand the same to the Assessors of the different townships, who are requested to return the aggregate to the Chairmen of the respective parties of the different counties. May I here ask that the various newspapers of the counties above named, publish this notice for a few weeks in aid of the object specified as I intend to press the payment of the damages done to loyal men, out of the confiscated property of the conquered belligerent.


P.S. [He would like all the people of all the loyal states to eventually tally up their losses and be recompensed from the confiscated property.]

… I trust that it will not be supposed that I have abandoned the determination to procure small homesteads for the freedmen, to be furnished by the rebel masters whom they conquered at our request – homesteads earned by the late slaves and annexed to their master’s estates. Let them now be severed by partition. …

Journalist and abolitionist Horace Greeley wearing hat ([between 1860 and 1872]; LOC:

Whiggery ascendant?

Could Horace Greeley’s opposition to confiscation be a symptom of his strong Whig values? Adam Tuchinsky [2] wrote that “[p]erhaps the most dramatic example of the postwar revival of Greeley’s Whiggery was his role in securing the release of Jefferson Davis from jail. Greeley’s gesture to Davis reflected his fervent hope that that the ‘better classes’ of the North and the South could be reconciled.” Even though his newspaper was “packed with reports of Southern racism and violence,” Mr. Greeley’s benevolence toward Jeff Davis was an example of “one more eruption of his intrinsic Whiggery, his faith that all conflicts, social and sectional, could be reasonably harmonized.” His opposition to confiscation might also come from the Whig view that society is organic. Individuals and institutions have different abilities and different roles to play, which can work together. “This Whig sensibility recoiled in horror from violence, passion, conflict, crime, and especially insurrection and war – all represented a breakdown of discipline and reason.”

From the Library of Congress: inside the First African Church from the June 27, 1874 issue of Harper’s Weekly; outside in 1865 (original building not torn down until 1876); Gerrit Smith, Thaddeus Stevens, and Horace Greeley
  1. [1] Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: HarperPerennial, 2014. Updated Edition. Print. pages 289-290.
  2. [2] Tuchinsky, Adam. Horace Greeley’s New-York Tribune: Civil War-Era Socialism and the Crisis of Free Labor. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009. Print. page 221.
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Mobile targets

Harper's_weekly_(1867)_(14596297980)(June 1, 1867 HARPERS WEEKLY;


150 years ago earlier this week a riot broke out in Mobile, Alabama. From The New-York Times May 15, 1867:


Attack by Secessionists upon Judge Kelley – Several Men Shot.

MOBILE, Tuesday, May 14.

A large number of negroes met to night at the corner of Government and Royal streets, to hear Judge KELLEY, of Pennsylvania. A number of whites were also present, and everything was remarkably quiet until Judge KELLEY began speaking, saying he had come to discuss the rights of negroes. He declared he was entitled to a hearing, and bid defiance to all interruptions and to the world. He had the Fifteenth Regiment at his back; if they proved inadequate, he would have the whole United States Army. Judge KELLEY continued this strain some minutes, using language and expressions of an incendiary character, and sentiments which were calculated to lead and invite riotous demonstrations. He was interrupted by a white man on the outskirts of the crowd, whom the Police promptly arrested. The first shot was fired at this point. It was impossible to say who it was fired by; instantaneously shots followed from the negroes, who were all armed. The firing then became general. Immediately after the firing began, an alarm was rung, and continued ringing during the progress of the riot, which lasted about an hour. A large majority of the shots were fired by negroes, as but very few of the whites present were armed. The police succeeded in quelling the riot before the arrival of the companies of the Fifteenth Regiment, who were ordered out by Col. SHEPHERD, and appeared on the ground as soon as possible, but not until the meeting had been dispersed. They now guard the streets. Everything is quiet, and there was little or no excitement at midnight. It is impossible to state positively the number of killed and wounded.

Battle House, Mobile, Ala. (c1901; LOC:

Battle House in Mobile, around 1901

Three men are known to have been killed, one a white man, and two negroes. A number are wounded, among them one policeman and a white boy.

Judge KELLEY is at the Battle House, and leaves to-morrow for Montgomery.

The same correspondent provided further particulars the next day, including the fact the army was posted throughout the city, including a squad of soldiers guarding the Battle House. An editorial in the May 16, 1867 issue of The New-York Times was concerned about the violence and black demands for confiscation and political supremacy extreme radicalism was stirring up in various southern states. The editorial maintained that, although free speech was fundamental and everyone had the right to say whatever they wanted wherever they wanted without fearing for their life, Mr. Kelley and other radicals speaking in the South should be more prudent:

Here, we take it, is the fundamental error of the extremists as agitators at the South: they forget that political discussion, to be useful, should be temperate and reasonable, and they disregard the prudence which dictates courtesy and conciliation as the surest avenues to the judgment of the Southern people. They make the mistake of imagining that to be preëminently loyal it is necessary to be preëminently abusive, and that the pacification and reorganization of the South may be promoted by scolding and threatening rather than by forbearance and generosity.

mobile and defenses (The Philadelphia Inquirer, [newspaper]. April 18, 1865; LOC:

siege mentality?

Walter L. Fleming in his 1905 Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama (page 509) laid the blame for the Mobile riot directly on Mr. Kelley:

On May 14, Judge “Pig Iron” Kelly of Pennsylvania spoke in Mobile to an audience of one hundred respectable whites and two thousand negroes, the latter armed. His language toward the whites was violent and insulting, an invitation for trouble, which inflamed both races. A riot ensued for which he was almost solely to blame. Several whites were killed or wounded and one negro. From the guarded report of General Swayne it was evident that the blame lay upon Kelly for exciting the negroes. It was a most unfortunate affair at a critical period, and the people began to understand the kind of control that would be exercised over the blacks by alien politicians.

On the other hand, the June 1, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly copied a report from another newspaper and maintained there wasn’t much inflammatory in Mr. Kelley’s speech – at least by the time he gave it Montgomery (page 339):


Kelley, Hon. W.W.D. of PA. (between 1870 and 1880; LOC:

“radical incendiary”?

WE find the following atrocious sentiments in the speech delivered at Montgomery a day or two after the Mobile riot by that fanatical incendiary and radical disorganizer, Judge KELLEY. We quote from the report in the New York Herald:
“He urged them to build rolling-mills, erect furnaces, employ the water-power at Wetumpka and up in the other cotton districts, and to rotate their crops as we do in the North. The day will come when Alabama will not confine herself to cotton as her sole crop, but she will send her railroad iron to the Gulf. The wives and daughters of men as dusky as those around him would spin the cotton. They need not tell him they can’t do it; for he had visited the colored schools and found enough of talent and intelligence there to convince him that they had the laborers at hand if they only trained them. Addressing the white people, Mr. KELLEY said he failed to find any other reason for the difference between the North and South than their contempt for the rights of man as man. He urged them to set aside their prejudices and reconstruct the South promptly and willingly. If that were done he would declare, in behalf of the whole country, that the present laws of Congress would be a finality unless it was driven to enact harsher measures, and before many years the South would be more liberal and as prosperous as the North. He then addressed the freedmen, reminding them that their freedom meant the right to toil for their living and get paid for it, but in doing so they must be just to all. Freedom means that a good man is better than a bad man, and the smart man wins the race. They were at liberty to protect their wives, and they should take care of them, and send their children to school, that they might have a lighter task to endure than their fathers. They must live in peace with the people of Alabama. They will have to pay taxes and study the politics of their country. Let those who were mechanics try to start for themselves, and those who were farm-laborers should avail themselves of the homestead law; or, if the government lands were too far away, Congress would see that land-offices should be brought nearer to the people. He was not the agent of a party, but he loved the party he belonged to because of its great principles. Devotion to the Union and belief in the rights of man were its two bases.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer, [newspaper]. April 18, 1865. (

The North mourns as it continues to wrap up the war

Mardi Gras, Mobile, Alabama (by Carol M. Highsmith, 2010; LOC:

riotous Mobile

Mardi Gras, Mobile, Alabama (by Carol M. Highsmith, 2010; LOC:

more from the Mardi Gras

Sumpter chuckled a few days ago when he read about something else he apparently has in common with President Trump. Lexington reported (The Economist May 6, 2017 page 30) that “Trump aides have warned that their boss does not respond well to detail-heavy briefings, preferring stirring stories, pictures and maps.”
The cartoon from the June 1, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly can be found at Wikimedia Commons. From the Library of Congress: Battle House from around 1901 – it is written that the hotel was built in 1852, renovated in 1900, and then burned to the ground in 1905 Stephen A. Douglas was a guest election night 1860; the map from the April 18, 1865 issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer The front page included information about the assassination of President Lincoln and the capture of Mobile;William Darrah Kelley, who was a proofreader for the The Philadelphia Inquirer early in his life; Thanks to Carol M. Highsmith’s photographs, I found out what a colorful event the Mardi Gras in Mobile is. There are many pictures at the Library, including left, right (Sumpter likes flags, too.) According to the Library of Congress: “Mardi Gras began in Mobile, Alabama in 1703 when it was a colony of French soldiers. Colorful beads and Moon Pies (two large cookies with marshmellow in between and covered with various flavors of chocolate) are thrown from the floats.”; cotton cart c1906.
A Typical cotton cart, Mobile, Ala. (c1906; LOC:

Driving King Cotton

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