war closing

Bv't Major General M.R. Patrick, full-length portrait, on horseback, facing left (by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1863 April, printed later; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/91482899/)

General Marsena Patrick during Civil War

Seneca County (New York) Historian Walt Gable’s new book came out in July of this year. As I started leafing through the pages of Historic Tales of Seneca County, New York I stopped when I noticed what might possibly be a photograph of a Civil War soldier. Sure enough, the soldier was General Marsena Rudolph Patrick, who served as Provost-Marshal of the Union Army of the Potomac from October 1862 until the end of the war. One of his tasks as Provost-Marshal was to try to discourage gambling in the army. Because of the Civil War connection, I sort of naturally made General Patrick’s tale the first one of Walt’s I read.

During the 1840’s The New York State Agricultural Society began to promote the idea of agricultural schools, which following a European lead, would “train farmers to make better use of the new farming methods and technology developing as part of the Industrial Revolution.” By the late 1850’s an agricultural college had been chartered and a 600 acre site chosen in the Seneca County towns of Ovid and Romulus. Marsena Patrick was chosen as the institution’s president. The college opened on December 5, 1860. For $200 a year students would receive “classroom instruction and on-the-farm experience”.[1]

Town & village of Ovid, Seneca Co., N.Y. (1858; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2010593268/)

ag college already mapped in 1858 (upper left corner)

agcollegefromprospectus (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t47p9gg5v;view=1up;seq=1)

prospective college … from the prospectus

In 1859 the Agricultural College published its Charter Ordinances, Regulations and Course of Studies. Prospective students had to be at least sixteen years old and were directed how to apply: “Students, contemplating joining the institution, will be furnished with every necessary information by applying, personally or by letter, to M. R. Patrick, President of the College, Ovid, Seneca county, N. Y.”

In addition to the rules and some historical background, the document detailed the college farm’s wide variety of soils, which would help students practice in different conditions. The course of study was a three-year program divided into summer and winter terms. The college was “not intended to be a manual labor school“, but each term included classroom studies and hands-on experience. Students would study everything from Algebra to Veterinary Practice and Vegetable Physiology and would practice a wide variety of skills, including plowing, planting and reaping, fence-making, irrigation, topographical map-making, animal husbandry, dairy management, and “making and preserving manures”.


prospectus5 (prospectus1(https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t47p9gg5v;view=1up;seq=1))

prospectus7 (prospectus5 (prospectus1(https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t47p9gg5v;view=1up;seq=1)))(


Although never involved with animal husbandry, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how manure was made. Also, growing up in a rural area I sort of assumed that manure’s natural fertilizing qualities had always been common knowledge. I was wrong. According to A Short History of New York State, specifically a chapter entitled “The Rise of the Dairy State, 1825-1860”,[2] most New York farmers didn’t worry too much about fertilizers in the first part of the nineteenth century. However, knowledge of good farm practices, including the use of fertilizers, began to spread during that time. Simultaneously the supply of manure greatly increased. A transportation revolution accompanying the Industrial Revolution Walt mentioned dramatically changed state agriculture:

The expanding network of turnpikes, canals, railroads, and plank roads unleashed two revolutionary forces in New York agricultural history – the “pull” of the growing urban market and the pressure of western competition. The farm family of 1860 was spending an increasing amount of its time producing goods for a distant market and less for its its immediate use than it had in pioneer days, and it became more dependent upon the storekeeper for goods. By 1860 practically all farm women purchased cotton and wool goods instead of making them at home. [3]

Scene near Cayuga Lake, N.Y., Spring / J.M. Hart. (1870; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/pga.13768/)


Farmers adjusted to market price fluctuations and crop pests and disease by changing what they produced.

The rise of the dairy industry was by far the most significant development in the agricultural history of the state between 1825 and 1860 [dairy replaced wheat in value by 1850]. Farmers discovered that cows were their most reliable money-makers, since both the domestic and foreign market kept demanding more dairy products. Dairying had several advantages. Manure helped restore soil fertility, and butter-making and milking utilized the labor of women and children, which the decline of home manufacture of cloth had released. Farmers found it easy to store cheese and butter and to carry them to market.[4]

“Butter was the backbone of the dairy industry…” Cheese factories were developed; railroads allowed country milk to be shipped to New York City. Although, “Farm management practices of the ordinary farmer continued to be soil-depleting and slovenly,” agricultural knowledge began to spread. “In 1834 [Jesse] Buel founded the Cultivator, a journal which preached the benefits of scientific agriculture. His own profitable experience added weight to his arguments for manuring, draining, deep plowing, crop alternation, and the substitution of fallow crops for naked fallows.” [5]

Other farm journals began to circulate; in 1832 the New York State Agricultural Society was established. County fairs and a state fair started being held. More formal education was also promoted by Buel and others. During the 1850’s momentum was generated for a state agricultural college. The college in Ovid was founded with Marsena Patrick as president, but it “failed to survive.” [6]

What we get to eat in the country / Ehrhart. (Illus. in: Puck, v. 59, no. 1534 (1906 July 25), centerfold.; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2011645922/)

big changes down on the farm

Culpeper, Virginia. Gen. Marsena R. Patrick and staff (Sept. 1863, by Timothy H. O'Sullivan; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/cwp2003006460/PP/)

General Patrick and staff in September 1863

As Walt writes, “[t]he timing for the opening of this college was bad.” [7] A timeline: On November 6, 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected United State president. The agricultural college opened on December 5th. On December 20th South Carolina became the first in a succession of southern states to secede from the Union.

After the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12-13, 1861 New York State Governor Edwin Morgan called West Point graduate Marsena Patrick to the state capital in Albany and charged him with developing a system to enlist and train volunteers. But it wasn’t just the college president who went to war. “By May, so many of the approximately forty students had left to fight that the college closed for the summer.” It never reopened. Cornell University became the state’s land grant college in 1865. In October 1869 the Willard Asylum for the Insane began admitting patients on the site of the closed college in Ovid. Currently that site houses the Willard Drug Treatment Campus.[8]

Ag College 8-20-2017

a brief history

Unlike his agricultural college, Marsena Patrick survived the war. He served as president of the New York State Agricultural Society from 1867-1868. On February 14, 1868 The New-York Times reported on the Agricultural Society’s annual meeting, including a speech by its president:

The peddler's wagon / drawn by C.G. Bush. (Harper's weekly, v. 12, no. 599 (1868 June 20), p. 393; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2004669981/)


… At the evening session, held in the capitol, Gen. PATRICK delivered an address to the farmers. He spoke of the loss and denudation of our forests, becoming in danger of being lost by the constant movement of the ax, and thought that legislative interposition should be invoked for their protection. The civil war had produced great effects in many of the pursuits in agriculture, and in one, since the war, there had been almost a total change. That was in the cheese factories, where by combined efforts they had been able to do much more than before. There were other changes, some engendered by the war and some by other causes. He was sorry to see, as he sometimes did see, a great, stout, manly-looking fellow, peddling books, essences or jewelry. It was only done because labor was not honored, because labor had been cast down. We should elevate it. Let us bear in mind the relations we owe to our country and to our liberty, and that society is based on agriculture, the most ancient of professions. Yet, with its age, new ideas come up. The great rapidity with which transportation could be obtained had changed many branches of farming; fish culture had been introduced, and the dairy was now much more important than before. It gave him pleasure to assure the Society that the disease known as rinderpost had entirely ceased as an epidemic, excepting in South Holland. …

Life on the farm / drawn by Herrick, 1867. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, 1867 August 10, pp. 504-505. ; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/90712907/)

the oldest profession?

Two good web articles tell of General Patrick’s Civil War experiences and challenges: Civil War Stories of Inspiration and Civil War Bummer. The Bummer piece mentions that after the war Patrick was soon relieved of his command of the District of Henrico in Richmond because General Grant thought he was too kind of heart for the job. Bummer also fills out the story of Marsena Patrick’s life after serving as the Agricultural Society’s president:

He then spent the next two years as a state commissioner. He became a widely known public speaker, particularly on topics related to technological advances in agriculture. Patrick showed a true interest in the care of former soldiers and moved to Ohio, becoming the governor of the central branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Patrick died on July 27, 1888 at the age of 77 in Dayton, Ohio, and was buried in the Dayton National Cemetery.

You can find the General Patrick’s grave (as well as the photo used in Walt’s book) here.


Willard cemetery, Civil war veterans section August 20, 20170820171004-00

Willard State Hospital cemetery, Civil War veterans section

From a Blue-Gray perspective Walt Gable rounded out the story of the agricultural college’s demise and it’s replacement with the insane asylum in a newspaper article in July. Walt wrote about several Seneca County sites that honor Civil War veterans. I never knew that “More than 150 Civil War veterans who were patients of the Willard Asylum for the Insane (renamed the Willard State Hospital in 1890) are buried in the northwest section of the facility’s cemetery, nearest to Seneca Lake.” I was inspired to take Walt’s suggestion to visit.

The first thing I noticed walking up the hill into the cemetery was that only the Civil War veteran section had gravestones (except for a couple anomalies in the rest of the burying ground; there was a gravestone for Angeline Billings Loos, 1868-1900). And there was even more of a sense of segregation about the place. The left side was mowed and included the veterans and an Old Jewish section. The right side was in the rough and was divided into old and new Protestant, old and new Catholic, and new Jewish. Probably because the Old Jewish section was mowed, I could more easily make out the small, circular, ground-level grave identifiers – see 37 below.

The Civil War veterans came from all over, but I did notice a few representatives from the local 148th and 333rd regiments, as well as one from the 50th NY Engineers. An example below is JAS ROE CO. K. 33 N.Y. INF. Several of the markers had aged enough to be unreadable (at least to me). In his article Walt mentioned that prior county historian Betty Auten learned that one of the graves belonged to William Collins, who was part of the squad that helped capture John Wilkes Booth. I didn’t notice that grave, possibly because it had aged too much.

0820170945-00Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171016-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171015-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171022-00 Willlard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171022-01Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171023-00Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171020-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171033-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171032-00(Wilard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171001-00Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171007-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820170955-00Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

from the 33rd’s roster

The image of the college and all the other brownish cut-outs come from agricultural college’s Charter Ordinances, Regulations and Course of Studies at Hathitrust. From the Library of Congress: General Patrick on horseback; map; farm overlooking Cayuga Lake, part of which borders Ovid on the east; changes, which skips ahead about fifty years to the July 25, 1906 issue of Puck; general with staff; peddler from the June 20, 1868 issue of Harper’s Weekly; a little less than a year earlier the August 20, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly published farm life. The images of the grain cradle and McCormick reaper come from Agricultural Implements and Machines
in the Collection of the National Museum of History and Technology
by John T. Schlebecker at Project Gutenberg – apparently the Smithsonian has a grain cradle from about 1844 and a model of a McCormick reaper from 1831 in its collection. I visited Ovid and the Willard cemetery in August 2017.
What Marsena Patrick would think of robots? His speech to the agricultural society reminded me of some of the tensions of our times. The general had intended to work as president of a college dedicated to applying science and technology to agriculture to make it more productive with presumably less of an emphasis on manual labor, yet he could bemoan big strong men selling jewelry. I certainly can relate. I remember a co-worker suggesting I take a Windows 95 course and being totally amused by difficulty controlling a mouse. Then years later when I finally got that mouse thing down folks started touching the screen … smudges all over and that’s a good thing, swiping left and right and all around … rubbing the thing like trying to get a genie out of the bottle … my big fingers flailing on the minuscule smartphone keyboard, yeah, please show the password I’m typing in because I have no idea. But change has been happening for a real long time. I believe I’ve heard that hunting/gathering is an even more ancient profession than farming and that agriculture’s greater surplusses allowed there to be a more professional priest class. That must have shaken up society.
I assumed that General Patrick was talking about technological change when he talked about men peddling, but that might not be true or it might have been only part of the story. From an article titled “FUGITIVES FROM LABOR” in the September 1867 issue of The Atlantic Monthly (pages 371-372):
… As a general rule, everybody is above his business, and thinks manual labor mean, and only fit for emigrants.
It is said that our mechanics are nearly all foreigners, and that an American apprentice is an extinct species, like the cave bear or the dodo. Farmers’ sons prefer any way of getting their bread to working with their hands. The pedler’s caste ranks higher than the manly independence of the plough. A country store is an object of ambition, where the only toil is to deal out a glass of wretched tipple to the village sots who haunt those castles of indolence to drink, to smoke, and to twaddle over stale village news. Some young fellows solicit subscriptions for maps or for great American works, or drum for fruit nurseries, patent clothes-wringers, or baby-jumpers. Others aspire to enter the religious mendicant orders of America as paid brethren. They are too proud to work, but not ashamed to beg. Beg is perhaps a hard word; but solicitation is begging when the solicitor personally profits by it.
The sons of trading fathers despise the old tiresome roads to wealth of their class. Ledgers and law-books are too slow. All are in search of the short cut to fortune. They believe in the philosopher’s stone as implicitly as the alchemists; they seek for it as earnestly. It is a jewel that will last forever, but its composition varies with each generation. …

But technology definitely does change life and some change sure seems good. From pages 274-275 the New York State history referenced in this post:

The influence of the urban market and the railroad is clearly illustrated in the growth of the milk industry. Before the construction of the railroads enabled farmers to send fresh country milk to market, a great deal of the milk drunk in New York City came from the immediate vicinity. An unusual source was so-called distillery milk, that is, milk from cows drinking the swill of distilleries. This milk was widely sold. The barns attached to the distilleries were incredibly dirty, since the cows never left their filthy pens. Their only food was the thirty to forty gallons of hot mash they drank each day. The diseased animals produced a “blue, watery, insipid, unhealthy secretion” whose food value was questionable. Sometimes the dairymen put in chalk, sugar, flour, molasses, starch, and coloring matter in order to conceal the water which they had added in generous amounts. Physicians kept up a running warfare against this milk, blaming it largely for the alarmingly high infant mortality. One out of two children failed to reach his fifth birthday. Little was done before the Civil War to clean up this source of malnutrition and disease. [Although, according to Wikipedia, “In May 1858, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper did a landmark exposé of the distillery-dairies of Manhattan and Brooklyn that marketed so-called swill milk …”]
Country milk gradually took command of the New York City market after railroads were built. …

limited edition

Grain cradle in use in the field (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/27327/27327-h/27327-h.htm)

“McCormick reaper (1831) in use in the field”

Grain Cradle, about 1844 (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/27327/27327-h/27327-h.htm)

“Grain cradle in use in the field”


  1. [1] Gable, Walter Historic Tales of Seneca County New York. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2017. Print. pages 20-22.
  2. [2] Ellis, David M., James A. Frost, Harold C. Syrett, and Harry J. Carman. A Short History of New York State. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1957. Print. page 271-279.
  3. [3] ibid. page 271.
  4. [4] ibid. page 273-274.
  5. [5] ibid. page 274-275.
  6. [6] ibid. page 275-276.
  7. [7] Gable, Walter Historic Tales of Seneca County New York. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2017. Print. page 23.
  8. [8] ibid. page 23-24.
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massacre once more

From the October 14, 1917 issue of The New-York Times at the Library of Congress.
Nevsky Prospect “is the main street in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia.”
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safety first

According to the October 1, 1867 issue of The New-York Times a riot broke out 150 years ago today at a rally in Savannah, Georgia. The speaker apparently urged confiscation of white-owned land for ex-slaves. After things calmed down the police chief issued a seemingly non-discriminatory order to arrest all disorderly people regardless of race or politics:


A Meeting of Negroes Broken up by the Police – An Incendiary Mulatto Speaker

… SAVANNAH, Ga., Monday, Sept. 30.

A man named BRADLEY, a Boston mulatto, who has been several times arrested by the military and civil authorities for swindling negroes and exciting them to disturbance, had a gathering here of about one thousand negroes, mostly from the country to-day. In the course of his harangues against the white men, and in favor of a distribution of lands to the conservative negroes, he was interrupted and a mêlée occurred. A large number of police charged through the crowd, the military came to their aid and together cleared the square. The muskets brought in by a large band of country negroes were taken by the Police and turned over to the military. A large proportion of the colored population disapprove of BRADLEY and threaten to assassinate him. The perfect understanding which exists between the City Government and the military affords great satisfaction to all classes except the adherents of BRADLEY.

[later in the evening] … The city is all quiet. Disturbances are threatened between the country and conservative city colored people to-night, but Gen. ANDERSON, Chief of Police, has given orders to arrest every disorderly person, regardless of color or politics. The military will remain under arms, but their services will probably not be needed. A large number of arrests of rioters and several ringleaders have been made, and they will probably be sent to Fort Pulaski by the military.

According to Wikipedia Aaron Alpeoria Bradley was a lawyer “was among the very few African Americans admitted to the bar before the Civil War.” “He moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 1865. In 1867 he applied for admission in United States District Court in Georgia as part of the carpetbagger movement. Due to the anti-black socio-political culture of the time, as well as Bradley’s confrontational activism against racial injustice, he was denied admission.” He advocated for more rights for blacks and against police brutality. At one point the government brought “criminal sedition charges against him.” From the Richmond Daily Dispatch December 27, 1865:

… A. A. Bradley, a mulatto, formerly expelled from the bar at Boston, was sentenced at Savannah to a year’s imprisonment by a military court for using seditious language. …

Rice culture on the Ogeechee, near Savannah, Georgia / Sketched by A.R. Waud. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. XI, no. 523 (1867 January 5), p. 8. ; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2015647678/)

this land is who’s land?

From the Library of Congress: Alfred R. Waud’s sketch of “Rice culture on the Ogeechee, near Savannah, Georgia” published in the January 5, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Postbellum Politics, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction, Southern Society | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on safety first

theme song

(Churchyard with graves) (between 1862 and 1869; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/cwp2003005862/PP/)

both sides now: “Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;—”

On September 17, 1867 a national cemetery at Antietam was dedicated; dead Confederates were excluded, at least partly because of the rancor of war. 150 years ago this month a magazine included a poem that celebrated a somewhat different attitude. The poet was Francis Miles Finch: “Perhaps his best known poem, “The Blue and the Gray”, written in remembrance of the dead of the American Civil War, was inspired by a women’s memorial association in Columbus, Mississippi, who on April 25, 1866 tended the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers, treating the dead as equals despite the lingering rancor of the war.”

From The Atlantic Monthly, VOL. XX.—SEPTEMBER, 1867.—NO. CXIX.:


They sleep in lonely southern graves (1867; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200001415/?q=lonely+southern+grave)

although well-decorated in Columbus, Mississippi

“A contrast! Federal buried, rebel unburied, where they fell at the Battle of Antietam”


Meanwhile in the land of the living (100 years ago) veterans of the American Civil War reportedly marched in London.

NY Times 9-23-1917(LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/sn78004456/1917-09-23/ed-1/?q=september+23+1917)

veterans in London

NY Tribune 9-23-1917(LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/sn83030214/1917-09-23/ed-1/?q=september+23+1917)

London bridge

All of the images are from the Library of Congress, although none are from Columbus, Mississippi: stereograph; sheet music; Alexander Gardner’s contrast at Antietam – the photo “from nature” is said to show “a man looking at the grave of 1st Lt. John A. Clark, Company D, 7th Michigan Infantry. A dead rebel soldier lies next to it.”; veterans from the September 23, 1917 issue of The New-York Times; at the Y.M.C.A. from the September 23, 1917 issue of the ; Charleston – the Confederate monument is in the background.
Fallen of the mighty conflict--graves of Confederate soldiers, Charleston, S. Carolina (1903; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/91705340/)

Confederate graves, Charleston in 1903

Posted in 100 Years Ago, 150 Years Ago This Month, Aftermath, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction, Southern Society, War Consequences | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on theme song

war musing

war orphan

NYT 9-16-1917 orphan (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-09-16/ed-1/?q=september+16+1917&st=gallery)

French war orphan

glee club

NYT 9-16-1917 glee club LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-09-16/ed-1/?q=september+16+1917&st=gallery)

they’ve got the music in them

road crew

NYT 9-16-1917 SC convicts (LOC: NYT 9-16-1917 glee club LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-09-16/ed-1/?q=september+16+1917&st=gallery))

doing their part to beat The Hun

All the images were published in the September 16, 1917 issue of The New-York Times and can be found at the Library of Congress
This past Sunday afternoon I was in a reverie, a sort of escapist reverie, looking through the 100 year old pictures, listening to Youtube music, when I saw the photo of the French orphan girl. That really affected me and snapped me out of my reverie. But then I saw the glee club from nearby Rochester and laughed right out loud: World War I, the Musical? Sonny & Cher could have done a great job making the road-building South Carolina prisoners into a comic opera sketch, Sonny as a convict in the old-fashioned striped outfit singing a chain gang aria with a big smile beaming. I have no idea who the woman under the umbrella is or what she’s doing at the work site, but I’m sure Cher would have carried off the role with her dispassionate passion.
The New York 69th Regiment fought for the Union throughout the Civil War. Despite its dislike of the British the unit fought alongside them during World War I. You can check out the 69th site.

practicing sixty-ninth

NYT 9-16-1917 fighting 69th (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-09-16/ed-1/?q=september+16+1917&st=gallery)

charge like a red coat?

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Antietam address

NYT Sept. 18, 1867

The New York Times September 18, 1867

The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) on September 17, 1862 was the bloodiest single day of the American Civil War. 150 years ago today dignitaries dedicated a national cemetery at the battlefield and laid the cornerstone of a national monument. It was a big event. According to The New-York Times arrangements were made so that round-trip tickets on the Baltimore & Ohio to Sharpsburg for the dedication were reduced to two-thirds the regular price; many government officials, military officers, foreign dignitaries attended; Dr. Elisha Harris, who was in charge of distributing supplies from the United States Sanitary Commission to the seventy-one “surgical depots” on and near the field after the battle accepted an invitation; the Commissioners of the Antietam Monument accepted the design of James G. Batterson for the approximately $30,000 “colossal statue and pedestal.”

According to the main report in the Times about 8,000 people attended the ceremony (only 2,000 could hear the proceedings) (according to Historynet’s account almost 15,000 were present). Like the dedication at Gettysburg back in November 1863 the main oration was not given by the United States president (Maryland’s ex-governor Augustus Bradford played the Edward Everett role); however, similarly to Gettysburg, President Andrew Johnson did say a few words. Unlike Gettysburg, those words didn’t go down in history, although they were recorded for history. From The New-York Times September 18, 1867:

… MY FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: In appearing before you it is not for the purpose of making any lengthy remarks, but simply to express my approbation of the ceremonies which have taken place to-day. My appearance on this occasion will be the speech that I will make; my reflections and my meditations will be in silent communion with the dead whose deeds we are here to commemorate. I shall not attempt to give utterance to the feelings and emotions inspired by the addresses and prayers which have been made, and the hymns which have been sung. I shall attempt no such thing. I am merely here to give my countenance and aid to the ceremonies on this occasion; but I must be permitted to express my hope that we may follow the example which has been so eloquently alluded to this afternoon, and which has been so clearly set by the illustrious dead. When we look on your battle field and think of the brave men on both sides who fell in the fierce struggle of battle, and who sleep silent in their graves, yes, who sleep in silence and peace after the earnest conflict has ceased, would to God we of the living could imitate their example as they lay living in peace in their tombs, and live together in friendship and peace. [Applause.] You, my fellow-citizens, have my earnest wishes, as you have had my efforts in times gone by, in the earliest and most trying perils to preserve the Union of these States, to restore peace and harmony to our distracted and divided country, and you shall have my last efforts in vindication of the flag of the Republic and of the Constitution of our fathers. [Applause.] …

The Times editorial on September 18th didn’t mention Andrew Johnson at all. It expressed the importance of honoring the (patriotic, Northern) war dead, but it was slightly critical of Governor Bradford’s oration for focusing too much on the facts of the Maryland campaign (although the Times began its main report with its own summary of invasion of 1862). The editorial ended with the “almost inspired language” of the ending of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address from “In a larger sense …” on.

I can’t tell from Andrew Johnson’s speech whether he realized that only Union soldiers were buried at Antietam. According to the National Park Service:

The original Cemetery Commission’s plan allowed for burial of soldiers from both sides. However, the rancor and bitterness over the recently completed conflict and the devastated South’s inability to raise funds to join in such a venture persuaded Maryland to recant. Consequently, only Union dead are interred here. Confederate remains were re-interred in Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland; Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland; and Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Approximately 2,800 Southerners are buried in these three cemeteries, over 60% of whom are unknown.

Map of Antietam National Cemetery at Sharpsburg, Maryland (1867 LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/99447377/)

well laid-out … well segregated?

President Johnson might have rankled his audience by mentioning the “brave men on both sides.” His goal of peace, harmony, and friendship sound real good; back then that ideal was proving divisive – unlike the Congress, the president didn’t seem to care whether peace and harmony included anything like equal rights for the ex-slaves.

antnatlcemc1890 (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t9862x797)

c. 1890

Sharpsburg from Cemetery Hill (1869 http://hdl.handle.net/2027/loc.ark:/13960/t5v69w18g)

when thousands weren’t converging

ajspeech (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t9862x797)

a bit different than NY Times report


The image of Sharpsburg was published in 1869’s History of Antietam National Cemetery, including a descriptive list of all the loyal soldiers buried therein: together with the ceremonies and address on the occasion of the dedication of the grounds, September, 17th, 1867. (at HathiTrust), The same book reported a slightly different version of President Johnson’s remarks, including “yon battle field”, which might make more sense than “your battle field”. The 1890 photo of the cemetery and the image of Andrew Johnson’s speech comes from an updated version of the dedication ceremonies also at HathiTrust. The newer book also added President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Both books show that the Freemasons had a large part in the cemetery dedication. That must have pleased Andrew Johnson, who was a “proud brother,” who “took part in the ceremonies of the Washington Templars.” In June 1867 “he was inducted into the higher degrees of the order.”That same month the president traveled to Boston for the dedication of a new temple.[1]
The cemetery map comes from the Library of Congress. You can read about the map’s mysterious No.28 – General Lee’s Rock at Crossroads of War. The issues involved with Lee’s Rock sound like today’s current events. The rock was gone by September 1868.
The Times in it’s “Sketch of the Battle” that began its main report included General Lee’s September 8, 1862 message to the people of Maryland and then commented: “… while Gen. LEE was thus proclaiming his pacific intentions, and giving exemplication of them by plundering everybody within reach of his troops …”
Also from the Library of Congress: Carol M. Highsmith’s photo of the private soldier monument, which made it to the cemetery in 1880. It spent time at Philadelphia’s centennial exposition; a nice Antietam review from the National Park Service
President Johnson’s remarks reminded me of Eric Foner’s comment on his 1866 Washington’s Birthday address: “… in a speech one hour long he referred to himself over 200 times …”[2] And as Hans L. Trefousse wrote (in the context of the “Swing Around the Circle”) “… the trouble with Johnson’s speeches was that he never fully prepared any of them in detail.[3]
Private soldier monument, Antietam Battlefield, near Sharpsburg, Maryland (by Carol M. Highsmith, LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2011630686/)

“colossal statue and pedestal” nowadays

NPS Antietam 1980 (https://www.loc.gov/item/80692287/)

Clara Barton helped clean up the mess

  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 286.
  2. [2] Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: HarperPerennial, 2014. Updated Edition. Print. page 249.
  3. [3] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 266.
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Battle Monuments, Battlefields, Civil War Cemeteries, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Antietam address

proclaiming president

150 years ago today President Andrew Johnson proclaimed an amnesty to cover almost all former Confederates. As recorded at Project Gutenberg:


Whereas in the month of July, A.D. 1861, the two Houses of Congress, with extraordinary unanimity, solemnly declared that the war then existing was not waged on the part of the Government in any spirit of oppression nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of the States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired, and that as soon as these objects should be accomplished the war ought to cease; and

Whereas the President of the United States, on the 8th day of December, A.D. 1863, and on the 26th day of March, A.D. 1864, did, with the objects of suppressing the then existing rebellion, of inducing all persons to return to their loyalty, and of restoring the authority of the United States, issue proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to all persons who had, directly or indirectly, participated in the then existing rebellion, except as in those proclamations was specified and reserved; and

Andrew Johnson - President of the United States (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2003655779/)

because he can?

Whereas the President of the United States did on the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, issue a further proclamation, with the same objects before mentioned, and to the end that the authority of the Government of the United States might be restored and that peace, order, and freedom might be established, and the President did by the said last-mentioned proclamation proclaim and declare that he thereby granted to all persons who had, directly or indirectly, participated in the then existing rebellion, except as therein excepted, amnesty and pardon, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and except in certain cases where legal proceedings had been instituted, but upon condition that such persons should take and subscribe an oath therein prescribed, which oath should be registered for permanent preservation; and

Whereas in and by the said last-mentioned proclamation of the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, fourteen extensive classes of persons therein specially described were altogether excepted and excluded from the benefits thereof; and

Whereas the President of the United States did, on the 2d day of April, A.D. 1866, issue a proclamation declaring that the insurrection was at an end and was thenceforth to be so regarded; and

Whereas there now exists no organized armed resistance of misguided citizens or others to the authority of the United States in the States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and Texas, and the laws can be sustained and enforced therein by the proper civil authority, State or Federal, and the people of said States are well and loyally disposed, and have conformed, or, if permitted to do so, will conform in their legislation to the condition of affairs growing out of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibiting slavery within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States; and

Whereas there no longer exists any reasonable ground to apprehend within the States which were involved in the late rebellion any renewal thereof or any unlawful resistance by the people of said States to the Constitution and laws of the United States; and

Whereas large standing armies, military occupation, martial law, military tribunals, and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the right of trial by jury are in time of peace dangerous to public liberty, incompatible with the individual rights of the citizen, contrary to the genius and spirit of our free institutions, and exhaustive of the national resources, and ought not, therefore, to be sanctioned or allowed except in cases of actual necessity for repelling invasion or suppressing insurrection or rebellion; and

Whereas a retaliatory or vindictive policy, attended by unnecessary disqualifications, pains, penalties, confiscations, and disfranchisements, now, as always, could only tend to hinder reconciliation among the people and national restoration, while it must seriously embarrass, obstruct, and repress popular energies and national industry and enterprise; and

Whereas for these reasons it is now deemed essential to the public welfare and to the more perfect restoration of constitutional law and order that the said last-mentioned proclamation so as aforesaid issued on the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, should be modified, and that the full and beneficent pardon conceded thereby should be opened and further extended to a large number of the persons who by its aforesaid exceptions have been hitherto excluded from Executive clemency:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the full pardon described in the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, shall henceforth be opened and extended to all persons who, directly or indirectly, participated in the late rebellion, with the restoration of all privileges, immunities, and rights of property, except as to property with regard to slaves, and except in cases of legal proceedings under the laws of the United States; but upon this condition, nevertheless, that every such person who shall seek to avail himself of this proclamation shall take and subscribe the following oath and shall cause the same to be registered for permanent preservation in the same manner and with the same effect as with the oath prescribed in the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, 1865, namely:

I, —— ——, do solemnly swear (or affirm), in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the late rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God.

The following persons, and no others, are excluded from the benefits of this proclamation and of the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, 1865, namely:

First. The chief or pretended chief executive officers, including the President, the Vice-President, and all heads of departments of the pretended Confederate or rebel government, and all who were agents thereof in foreign states and countries, and all who held or pretended to hold in the service of the said pretended Confederate government a military rank or title above the grade of brigadier-general or naval rank or title above that of captain, and all who were or pretended to be governors of States while maintaining, aiding, abetting, or submitting to and acquiescing in the rebellion.

Second. All persons who in any way treated otherwise than as lawful prisoners of war persons who in any capacity were employed or engaged in the military or naval service of the United States.

Third. All persons who at the time they may seek to obtain the benefits of this proclamation are actually in civil, military, or naval confinement or custody, or legally held to bail, either before or after conviction, and all persons who were engaged, directly or indirectly, in the assassination of the late President of the United States or in any plot or conspiracy in any manner therewith connected.

In testimony whereof I have signed these presents with my hand and have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.


Done at the city of Washington, the 7th day of September, A.D. 1867, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-second.


By the President:
Secretary of State.

An editorial saw the proclamation as an attempt by the president to wrest some reconstruction policy away from the absent Congress and worried that it might stir up the former rebels to increased hostility toward the federal government and its representatives. From The New-York Times September 9, 1867:

The Amnesty Proclamation.

The precise terms and scope of the Amnesty Proclamation are of are of comparatively small moment. The assertion by the President of his right to issue such a proclamation at all, is the point which most concerns the country. The pardon of a few rebels, more or less, is not worth squabbling about, if he wields the power implied in a general declaration of amnesty. …

Andy's Trip (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2016651601/)

wrapping himself in the Constitution?

The true place for amnesty is after reconstruction. It would then be available as a recognition of compliance with the law on the part of the Southern people. It would then entail no risk, and encounter but slight hostility. As proclaimed by Mr. JOHNSON, it is a premium on disloyalty and an incentive to opposition. Instead of pacifying the country, it will add to its disturbing influences; instead of hastening Southern peace, and promoting the reconciliation of the sections, it will encourage rebels to renewed disorder, and will most likely delay the completion of the task which Congress has undertaken. The people will be satisfied with nothing less than sure and thorough work, and they will have it, though Mr. JOHNSON send forth a proclamation daily until the meeting of Congress. Thereafter his sign-manual will attract much less attention.

Indeed, a few days earlier Andrew Johnson issued another proclamation. You can read it at The American Presidency Project. The September 3rd document zeroed in on the Second Military District (North and South Carolina); it seemed to be saying that the federal military in those states should support the civil authorities and courts of the United States. On August 26th the president removed Daniel Sickles as commander of the Second District. Is he trying to get back some of his constitutional prerogatives vis-à-vis the absent Congress, which had earlier in the year taken over Reconstruction policy? He used the word “Constitution” ten times in the decree.

An editorial in The New-York Times on September 4, 1867 severely criticized the September 3rd proclamation on many grounds. It saw the influence of Acting Attorney General John Milton Binckley on the president’s proclaiming behavior. The editorial concluded that after November 21 (when Attorney General Stanbery returned?) “… Mr. JOHNSON will find the opinions and proclamations which are now manufactured to order, rudely treated as so much waste paper.”

From Hans Trefousse’s biography:

… the president continued his aggressive tactics. In a defiant mood, just before the fall elections, he again made his position clear by issuing a proclamation calling upon the army to sustain law and order as expounded by the civil courts in the Carolinas. A few days later he promulgated a general amnesty for all but the most prominent Confederates. Then he awaited the election results.[1]

NCSCLoyalty (https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009832631)

trash it?

From the Library of Congress: portrait; cartoon, which is part of “Andy’s Trip” by Thomas Nast published in the October 27, 1866 issue of Harper’s Weekly. You can find the image of the proclamation at Hathi Trust.
  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. page 298.
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work song

An American trio

… Labor is one of the great elements of society – the great substantial interest on which we all stand. Not feudal service, or predial toil, or the irksome drudgery by one race of mankind subjected, on account of their color, to another; but labor, intelligent, manly, independent, thinking and acting for itself, earning its own wages, accumulating those wages into capital, educating childhood, maintaining worship, claiming the right of the elective franchise, and helping to uphold the great fabric of the State – that is American labor; and all my sympathies are with it, and my voice, till I am dumb, will be for it. – Daniel Webster (according to Google Books (p464-65) from a speech at Faneuil Hall on October 24, 1848)

United States slave trade, 1830 (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2008661746/)

not exactly Webster’s ideal

During a speech in New Haven, Connecticut on March 6, 1860 Abraham Lincoln referred to the Lynn (Massachusetts) shoeworkers’ strike:

… Another specimen of this bushwhacking, that “shoe strike.” [Laughter.] Now be it understood that I do not pretend to know all about the matter. I am merely going to speculate a little about some of its phases. And at the outset, I am glad to see that a system of labor prevails in New England under which laborers can strike when they want to [Cheers,] where they are not obliged to work under all circumstances, and are not tied down and obliged to labor whether you pay them or not! [Cheers.] I like the system which lets a man quit when he wants to, and wish it might prevail everywhere. [Tremendous applause.] One of the reasons why I am opposed to Slavery is just here. What is the true condition of the laborer? I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. [Applause.] When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat — just what might happen to any poor man’s son! [Applause.] I want every man to have the chance — and I believe a black man is entitled to it — in which he can better his condition — when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system. (from The History Place)

Park scene, Labor Day, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (by John Vachon, 1939 Sept.; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/fsa1997004315/PP/)

“Park scene, Labor Day, Milwaukee, Wisconsin”

… And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities. – Booker T. Washington at the September 18, 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, according to History Matters at George Mason University

Booker T. Washington. by R. V. Randolph. Seattle, 1913. (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.1890020a/?q=booker+t+washington)

“Booker T. Washington. by R. V. Randolph. Seattle, 1913.”

Booker T. Washington, half-length portrait, standing, against white background (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/98502189/)

“there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem”


Apparently and unfortunately Sumpter wasn’t blessed with the entrepreneurial gene. I think a few years ago when Cuba allowed some people to start their own business some people opened barber shops. Given the agonizing struggle of elementary school art class, unable to draw (or cut) straight, I don’t think that would have worked out for me. I’m grateful for the businesses that have had me working for them and the good employers I’ve had over all the years.

I was going to wish everyone a Happy Labor Day, but thanks to International May Day and American Labor Day, by Boris Reinstein (at Project Gutenberg, no date found) I’ve learned that unlike May Day, Labor Day is merely a capitalist ploy:
May Day was thus created by the workingmen themselves, in defiance of the capitalist class and its governments, and up to the present time the working people in many countries are compelled on the First of May to fight for their holiday at the sacrifice of their jobs, liberty, blood, and even life. When the police and cossacks of different countries appear on the scene on May Day it is always for the purpose of clubbing, maiming, arresting, and killing working people; for the police and cossacks recognize that May Day is the drilling day for the Social Revolution.
The American Labor Day, on the contrary, was a “gift” which the workers received from their masters, the capitalists, through the capitalist politicians. That first Monday in the month of September was made a legal holiday under the name of Labor Day, at first by the legislature of one state some thirty years ago; the politicians of other states followed the clever example, so that at present Labor Day is a legal holiday all over the country.
A vampire, when he settles down upon the body of a sleeping person and sucks its blood, is known to fan his victim with his wings, to soothe the victim’s pain, and to prevent him from waking up and driving the vampire away. So was the Labor Day created by the political agents of the American capitalists to fan the sleeping giant, the American working class, while the capitalists are sucking its blood.
American Labor Day can also be considered as a modern, capitalist version of the ancient custom of the days of serfdom and slavery. In those days the masters, for recreation and amusement, often-times set aside one day to celebrate the “enthronement of slaves.” They would take a slave, take the chains off his limbs, put him on a mock throne, put a mock crown on his head and, bowing to him in mock humility and obedience, would humbly serve him and overwhelm him with flattery. And the Silly Pool on the mock throne would throw out his chest and swell with pride. But the day of mockery over, the chains were again clapped on his limbs, and the miserable slave, groaning, would resume his life of a beast of burden.
Likewise with the unawakened American workman on Labor Day. On that day the chains of wage-slavery are, figuratively speaking, taken off his limbs; he is made the hero of the day; his masters, the capitalists, stand before him in mock humility; their spokesmen in the press, pulpit and on their political platforms, overwhelm him with flattery; and the modern Silly Fool, likewise, throws out his chest and swells with pride. But, the day of mockery and of the Fool’s Paradise over, the masters,—who during this day are only slyly smiling—break out into sardonic laughter—though unheard by the slave—clap the chains back on his limbs and he again hears only the crack of the whip of Hunger and Slavery.
It is only natural, therefore, that when the capitalist masters send out on Labor Day their hired bodyguard—the police and militia—they send them not to molest or injure the workingmen, but to march, as honorary escort, at the head of their Labor Day parades.
And why shouldn’t they? Don’t they know that the American Labor Day is only a day for the annual injection of a new dose of narcotic “dope,” of the antidote against the Social Revolution?!
Union Sq., 5/1/16 (May Day 1916; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/ggb2005021590/)

authentic day: “a socialist and labor union demonstration celebrating International Labor Day (May Day) in Union Square, New York City, May 1, 1916”

INTERNATIONAL MAY DAY AND AMERICAN LABOR DAY (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/54666/54666-h/54666-h.htm)

boss for a day

J.J. Ettor speaking to striking barbers -- Union Square, N.Y. (1913; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/ggb2005012880/)

“labor leader Joseph James Ettor (1886-1948) speaking during the Brooklyn barbers’ strike of 1913, Union Square, New York City”

Seems like it’s time for a little “Work Song” (at Youtube)

Ludovico  Sculpture Trail, Seneca Falls New York (9-4-2017)

working stiffs

From the Library of Congress: slave trade; Labor Day 1939 in Milwaukee (you can read more about the Lincoln statue here; poem; portrait; May Day; barbers’ strike. The cartoon comes from Project Gutenberg. The sculpture of the workers is located on the Ludovico Sculpture Trail along the south side of the Seneca-Cayuga Canal in Seneca Falls, New York
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first fruit

“I never forget that we are sowing winter wheat which the coming spring will see sprout and other hands than ours will reap and enjoy.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton (as quoted on a plaque in a park dedicated to her in downtown Seneca Falls, New York)

I admit that Elizabeth Cady Stanton probably would have aggravated and annoyed me if I lived when she did, but I respect her courage and conviction. In 1866 she (unsuccessfully) ran for the U. S. House of Representatives. A newspaper one hundred years ago this month pictured Jeannette Rankin, the first United States Congresswoman. From The New-York Times (image 5), August 19, 1917:

Jeannette Rankin (NY Times August 19, 1917; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-08-19/ed-1/?q=august+19%2C+1917&st=gallery image 5)


Woman was a major theme of that issue of the Times, including Russian female soldiers and a courageous Frenchwoman – a schoolmistress who acted as mayor during the German occupation and who hid wounded French soldiers and helped them escape.

And so much more.

merci (NY Times August 19, 1917; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-08-19/ed-1/?q=august+19+1917&st=gallery image 3)


LincolnChicago (NY Times August 19, 1917 LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-08-19/ed-1/?q=august+19+1917&st=gallery image 6)

honors from Russia

I’m not saying the the winter wheat quote was only about women eventually getting elected to Congress. Looking for more information about the Lincoln monument in Chicago, I was surprised that a bust of Lincoln was reportedly defaced earlier this month. One of the things that concerns me about removing Confederate monuments is that I don’t think everything is black and white.
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Sickles sacked

Canby (between 1860 and 1870; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/cwp2003003766/PP/)

General Canby headed to the Second Military district

President Andrew Johnson made some changes in August 1867. He suspended Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and named General Ulysses Grant the ad interim War Secretary. The president then ordered the acting secretary to remove Phil Sheridan as commander of the Fifth Military District in Louisiana and Texas. 150 years ago today the order replacing another District commander was officially promulgated. General Daniel Sickles was removed from the Carolinas.

Sickles turn had also come. The irascible general had issued orders superseding the actions of the civil courts, especially in staying the collection of debts, and Johnson resented this subordination of civil government. On August 26, the same day he assigned [General Winfield S.] Hancock to the Fifth District, he relieved Sickles of command and appointed Edmund R.S. Canby in his stead. Grant tried to defend Sickles in cabinet, but he was not successful.

Although the president had handled Grant with great diplomacy, his relations with his subordinate remained strained. Grant, playing a double game, asked leave to retire when matters of no concern to his department were under discussion in cabinet, and eventually stayed away from routine meetings. Johnson was appalled. …[1]

Sickles sacked (McPherson Reconstruction (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo1.ark:/13960/t3902q433;view=1up;seq=9 p345) p345

Johnson takes command

Major General Ulysses S. Grant (c.1866; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/90712173/)

can take an order, too


General Sickles may have been relieved in more ways than one. According to Edward McPherson’s history of Reconstruction (on page 318 at at Hathi Trust) on June 19, 1867 “General Sickles asked to be relieved from command of the district …”

The New-York Times reported the removal of Sickles in its August 28, 1867 issue. The article included a couple other interesting items. Andrew Johnson apparently invited John Mercer Langston to the White House to ask him what he thought of how the Freedmen’s Bureau was working out. Mr. Langston stood up for General O.O. Howard; the president severely criticized Howard and said the general had to be replaced. President Johnson told the “colored orator of Ohio” that he would appoint a black man to lead the Bureau if blacks would suggest one. Mr. Langston seemed to be standing by General Howard. Also, James Duncan, a Confederate officer at Andersonville had escaped from Fort Pulaski, where he was serving a fifteen year sentence. He stole the “health-boat” at the Savannah wharf. He made his way to the ship Leo, which departed for France the next day.

The image of the order also comes from Edward McPherson’s book (at Hathi Trust). From the Library of Congress: Generals Canby and Grant; Fort Moultrie
Interior view of Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S.C., taken in 1867 (1867; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2015650228/)

Charleston’s Fort Moultrie as photographed in 1867

Interior view of Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S.C., taken in 1867 (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2015650228/)

a little family history

  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 288-289,297.
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