Pastor Thomas Lape, 61, conducting services in the third church building, which, like the second one, was known as the "Church on the Rocks," because it sat on a rocky ledge overlooking the Sawkill (about ¾ mile east of our present location--that is, north of present-day Route 212, across from the country club).
Pastor Lape had earned a reputation as a
clear, methodical preacher … instructive … gentle, amiable, cheerful and faithful pastor; … a humble Christian, and a sincere friend. He stood well among the Lutheran clergy of the State.(1)Many years later, several congregants would remember the Sunday School under pastorate of Reverend Lape
Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], draft, quoting the 1879 tribute presented by Rev. P. A. Strobel, of the Hartwick Synod obituary committee. (Close)
and the beautiful songs the "Dear Old Pastor" taught them. He was very fond of music. And it was after remarked "He is always singing." I remember of hearing that his favorite songs were "Happy Land" and "I want to be an angel and with the angels stand." Then too he was a very strong advocate of temperance and would often address the school on that subject. And he would have them sing that good old temperance song, "Crambamuby."(2)According to a later reminiscence(3),
Here Anderson, p. 102, is quoting Kiersted, Helen Herrick (Mrs. C. W. Kiersted), "A Few Thoughts on the History of the Sunday School" [paper delived at the 1906 centennial of Christ's Church]. (Close)
lived in rented rooms wherever they could be procured, sometimes several miles away.… [Reverend Lape] lived part of the time in West Camp on [his own place], coming up on Saturday and going back on Sunday afternoon or Monday.…About this time ("in the early 60s"), the congregation purchased a cast-iron bell and placed it in the coupola.
According to regional historian Alf Evers(4),
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987, pp. 263-64, citing Plank, Will, Banners and Bugles, Marlborough, NY, 1963, pp. 94-99, and Vosburgh, Craig, personal communication, October 21, 1975, about his great-uncle Barney Hoyt. (Close)
Like the people of other Ulster County towns, Woodstock people had felt little enthusiasm for the Civil War. The seceding states were far away and had few perceptible economic or social ties with Ulster. Ulster had been a slave-holding county until 1827, and sympathy for emancipation was not great. Once the war effort began to be [organized, however,] recruiters got busy. Agents in Woodstock in 1862… were Samuel McDaniel and John Burkitt. The two coaxed and reasoned with young men, especially those known to be chafing under the burden of farm chores and an unexciting existence. Many enlisted in Company H of the 20th Regiment known as the Ulster Guards. Among those enlisting in the hope of finding a more stirring life was sixteen-year-old "Barney" Hoyt, who lied about his age and became a drummer boy, serving for three years. Black Solomon Peters enlisted and became the cook in a white artillery company. A white Woodstock man became sutler (he ran the shop at which soldiers bought necessities and luxuries) in a black regiment. Soldiers were paid very little and were often unable to buy their basic necessities. Some had families back home who had to rely on charity or even go to the poorhouse.Those at home had to deal with runaway inflation; food and clothing prices doubled. Folks lit their homes by means of a rag wick on a saucer of fat, and they made "crust coffee" out of dark bread crusts. With so many men gone, women did the plowing and the harvesting. Woodstock boys gathered and debarked alder stems needed in gunpowder manufacture that was done in Sawkill and High Woods, while Woodstock coopers made powder kegs.
Women organized an Auxiliary and a Ladies Relief Society to send food, warm sweaters and mittens they had knitted (children joined in the knitting), and other necessities to men at the front. These necessities might include "medicinal" syrups, made from berries gathered by local children, thought useful in treating the digestive ailments afflicting the camps. Betsy Booth MacDaniel, the local herb doctor, nurse, and midwife, who had learned her craft from an "Indian doctor" on Tinker Street and was said to have been able to cure consumption by herbal means, made cholera syrup and other remedies, shipping them to her sons at the front.
Woodstock families who had seen their sons go off as soldiers were naturally anxious, never knowing when they might receive devastating news. Of course, the men were just as likely to succumb to fevers in camp as they were to enemy bullets. One Woodstock soldier, Aaron Longyear, wrote to his sister, Mrs. Peter William Risely, about the battles he was in and about meeting local friends(5):
Excerpted from ibid., p. 265, citing "Letters From the Civil War," in Publications of the Woodstock Historical Society, no. 14, April 1939, pp. 10-13. (Close)
We are again under marching orders ready to start at a moments notice for the battle front in Maryland. We may be called on at any moment perhaps now while I am writing the message is coming. I say let it come and we will do all we can to protect the stars and stripes and if we fall we have the consolation of doing our duty, and all we ask for those at Home is their prayers for our success, and I think God will crown us with success and our enemies fly before us in confusion.…Local boys Aaron Newkirk Risely and Egbert Lewis fought in the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg.
Smelly tanneries in the Catskill region continued converting animal hides into leather, using chips and powder from hemlock bark in the tanning (softening) process and thereby leaving millions of bark-skinned hemlocks to die while standing. During the Civil War, there was a huge demand for leather, and the tanning business was booming (and none of the large stands of hemlock was safe). One observer commented that the war was fought on boots made of leather tanned in Sullivan County, where hemlock was once plentiful. James A. Simpson and a partner from Woodstock ran the Phoenix Tannery in Phoenicia (the village named for their business), and took advantage of the boom. The huge hemlock groves in Shandaken (the very name Shandaken means "hemlock" in Algonkian) were being depleted. Orson Vandevoort rebuilt the Woodstock tannery and became rich.
The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike (present-day Route 28), leading up the Esopus Valley from Kingston and over the Pine Hill into Delaware County, floored smooth with heavy hemlock planks, was holding up well under the considerable freight of hides, leathers, and other goods.
Poughkeepsie brewer and fat-cat land speculator Matthew Vassar, 70, traveled one hot August day to Charles L. Beach's commodious Catskill Mountain House near Kaaterskill Clove only to find some 150 people ahead of him waiting for accommodations. Some of them had been waiting for 3 days and were camped out in neighboring farmhouses, sheds, and barns. Beach had enlarged the hotel several times, and he had cots set up in halls and odd corners, but he was unable to keep up with the overflow of guests.
Former New Paltz and Hurley slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, now an abolitionist itinerant preacher now residing in Washington, DC, and known as Sojourner Truth, 65, pictured here, continued to organize the collection of supplies for black troops in the Union Army.
Abraham Lincoln, 53 (Republican), was President. The 37th Congress was in session. (The midterm elections that year would elect the 38th Congress.) A dollar in that year would be worth $20.92 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Some 92,000 immigrants streamed into the United States (the Northern states)--about 25,000 from Great Britain, 23,000 from Ireland, and 16,000 from Germany.
Large numbers of the immigrants were induced to enlist in the Union armies (about a fifth of the Union forces were foreign born; in some units military commands were given in four different languages). Such inducements were aided by generous bounties offered by federal, state, and local authorities, and "bounty brokers" and "substitute brokers" combed the poorhouses of the British Isles and Western Europe, offering whiskey and amazing promises. (Many of the enlisted "bounty boys" deserted and then volunteered elsewhere to net another bounty; one such "bounty jumper" replicated his reward 32 times.)
The Department of Agriculture was created.
U.S. wool production was climbing 40 percent per year by filling Union Army contracts.
The 37th Congress authorized the first legal-tender bank notes in the U.S.
Congress prohibited the distillation of alcohol without a federal license, but moonshiners continued to make whiskey.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, 51, who had become famous a decade earlier with the publication of her bestselling sensational novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, a sentimental portrayal of slave suffering that laid bare slavery's wicked inhumanity, especially the cruel splitting of families, was introduced to President Lincoln. The President remarked with twinkling eyes:
So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.
The 37th Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia in April and in all U.S. territories in June. Slavery was not abolished, however, in the slave states that were not in rebellion, and it was not officially abolished in rebellious areas that had been recaptured.
President Lincoln wrote to New York Tribune editor and publisher Horace Greeley, 51, pictured here, the following:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.(6)He added, however, the following:
Quoted in Trager, James, ed., The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979, p. 507. (Close)
I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men, everywhere, could be free.(7)
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 403. (Close)
Claiming emergency powers, President Lincoln continued his violations of the Constitution he had sworn to uphold, giving the excuse of preserving the Union: If he did not sometimes violate the document, there might not be a Constitution of a united United States to uphold. Lincoln also cited the President's duty to make sure that the nation's laws were faithfully executed and asserted his right as commander-in-chief during wartime "to take any measure which may best subdue the enemy."
"Radical" Republicans in the 37th Congress who resented the expansion of presidential power in wartime and who were pressing President Lincoln zealously on emancipation had formed the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War the previous year, and they continued criticizing nearly every decision of the executive branch. There was, of course, plenty to criticize.
The Northern Democrats, meanwhile, tainted with their association with the seceders, were utterly divided. "War Democrats" patriotically supported the Lincoln administration, while tens of thousands of "Peace Democrats" despised nearly every government decision. The most extreme of the Peace Democrats were called "Copperheads," named for the poisonous snake that strikes without a warning rattle. The Copperheads, especially strong in the Ohio River Valley of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, denounced Lincoln as the "Illinois Ape."
Ohio Congressman Clement Laird Vallandigham, 42, acknowledged leader of the Copperhead Democrats and a vigorous supporter of states' rights, had been declaring for over a year that the Confederacy had a right to secede and could not constitutionally be conquered militarily. He had strongly opposed every military bill, leading his opponents to allege that he wanted the Confederacy to win the war. During his reelection campaign, he fashioned the Copperhead slogan:
To maintain the Constitution as it is, and to restore the Union as it was.He lost his reelection bid, but, even out of office, he remained a loud Copperhead voice.
Lincoln faced extreme opposition in parts of New England as well. The Laconia (NH) Democrat urged the Democratic states in the North to unite with the South, force Lincoln out of power, abolish the Constitution and replace it with its Confederate counterpart
rather than submit to have the country divided and ruined to carry out the… selfrightous nigger abstractions of a set of ignorant and hypocritical fanatics of New England.(8)The Osgoodites, a religious sect in New Hampshire, claimed that the Lincoln administration was the Beast in the Book of Revelation; one of their hymns began as follows:
This and the following are quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 659. (Close)
The Lincoln party made the war, we know.
The Confederate constitution, meanwhile, which had been created by secession, did not deny the right of secession to the constituent states of the Confederacy. On more than one occasion the belligerent states' rights advocate Governor of Georgia, for example, threatened secession from the Richmond government with a vow to fight both the Union and the Confederacy. The owners of the horse-drawn vans in Petersburg, Virginia, prevented the sensible joining of the incoming and outgoing tracks of a militarily vital railroad, and the Confederate government was incapable of overriding such a local concern.
Meanwhile, the humorless, imperious, and tense Confederate President Jefferson Davis, 54, pictured here, was often at loggerheads with his Congress and occasionally had to deal with serious talks of impeachment. Ironically, only a few days after he had denounced the tyranny of Lincoln, Davis was able to convince his often-hostile Congress to grant him the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus--which he did suspend in Richmond and other places.
The Confederate government instituted conscription in April of this year, in theory a mass levy of Southern men between the ages of 18 and 35. A rich man could hire a substitute or purchase an exemption. Slaveowners or overseers with 20 slaves could claim an exemption (sneeringly known as the "twenty-nigger law"), a situation that earned the complaint of poorer soldiers that this was "a rich man's war but a poor man's fight." College professors, mail carriers, and conscientious objectors were also exempted from the draft. Confederate conscription agents avoided areas inhabited by sharp-shooting mountain whites, branding them "traitors" or "Tories" or "Yankee lovers." South Carolina asserted her own "sovereign" authority to nullify the law.
Confederate General Braxton Bragg, 45, and a few other Confederate commanders, as well as the Governor of Texas, had occasion to declare martial law in their jurisdictions--declarations that were revoked by President Davis as unwarranted assumptions of power. Nevertheless, provost marshals throughout the South demanded to see papers and to hear loyalty oaths of any citizens that came to their attention.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, a House of Representatives investigative committee uncovered a sleazy scandal in the War Department, implicating Secretary Simon Cameron. President Lincoln appointed him ambassador to Russia and replaced him with his Attorney General, gloomy and vituperative Edward McMasters Stanton, 38, pictured here.
Union Colonel James Abram Garfield, 31, defeated Confederate mountaineers at Prestonburg in eastern Kentucky--but did not follow up his victory. Several other engagements were indecisive. President Lincoln, frustrated with the lack of action, issued the pathetic General War Order No. 1, which designated Washington's Birthday as "the day for a general movement of all the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces." Unfortunately, on February 22 there was still no definite plan for action.
During that month, however, Union forces under the sloppy, stubble-bearded Major General Ulysses Simpson Grant, 39, pictured here, did invade Tennessee from a base at Cairo, IL, and, with armored gunboats, captured Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, where Confederate General Albert Stanley Johnston, 59, had stationed 20,000 troops. When the Confederate commander, General Simon Bolivar Buckner (who had replaced the fleeing General John B. Floyd, the former treasonous Secretary of War under ex-President Buchanan), at Fort Donelson asked for terms, Grant demanded
an immediate and unconditional surrender.Grant took 14,000 prisoners, and General Johnston retreated to the Memphis-Chattanooga Railway. Wavering border-state Kentucky was now more closely bound to the Union, strategically important Tennessee (and even the heart of Dixie) was opened to further campaigns, and "Unconditional Surrender" Grant was promoted to Major General of Volunteers.
Tennessee Congressman Andrew Johnson, 54, who had refused to secede with his state the preceding year, was appointed war governor of the partially "redeemed" Tennessee, and served courageously in that dangerous position.
The Union Army of Tennessee under Major General Grant now attempted to capture the junction of the main Confederate north-south and east-west railroads at Corinth, MS. In April, while Grant was slowly concentrating his forces at the ill-chosen Pittsburg Landing (at a country church 20 miles north of Corinth on the Tennessee River), a 40,000-man Confederate force under the formerly retreating General Johnston struck him suddenly, initiating the gory Battle of Shiloh (also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing). Some Union troops were caught half-dressed, some while brewing their morning coffee, some killed in their blankets. One Illinois officer later admitted:
We were more than surprised. We were astonished.But Grant's men somehow held their ground under the bluffs, dangerously near the river, although the Confederates held the advantage at the end of the day. During the night, fresh Union troops under General Don Carlos Buell, 44, arrived from Nashville and Columbia, so that the tide turned on the second day. Confederate forces retreated to Corinth, exhausted and demoralized, having lost 10,699 troops and with General Johnston mortally wounded.
Union losses exceeded 13,000 out of 55,000 engaged; Confederate losses were 11,000 out of 42,000. More Americans (on both sides) were killed or wounded in that inconclusive single battle than in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War combined. Grant was too shaken by the unexpected attack and too appalled by the horrible losses that he did not pursue the retreating rebels.
Newspapers accused Grant of gross incompetence, even drunkenness, for his lack of precaution, and Buell was happy to get all the credit for rescuing the Union forces. When advisers and others demanded that Grant be removed for his sloppiness, President Lincoln replied,
I can't spare this man; he fights.When talebearers told the President that Grant drank too much liquor, Lincoln allegedly replied
Find me the brand, and I'll send a barrel to each of my other generals.Nonetheless, after his failure to follow through at Shiloh, Grant was relieved by the jealous General Henry W. "Old Brains" Halleck, who dissipated Union strength in the West.
One of General Buell's divisional commanders, the astronomer Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, marched from Shelbyville, TN, to Huntsville, AL, which his forces captured. At the same time, Union Army raiders under Captain James J. Andrews stole the Confederate locomotive The General at Mariette, GA, and raced it northward in an effort to cut the rail lines, thereby isolating the forces of General Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard, 43, "the Napoleon of the South," pictured here, at Chattanooga. Confederate pursuers caught the raiders, however, and had them executed as spies.
The Union blockade of the 3,350-mile Confederate coastline from Washington to Matamoras, including regular warships, sidewheelers, clipper ships, tugboats, converted yachts and commandeered ferry boats, had plenty of leaks. It was concentrated on ports where bulky bales of cotton were loaded from dock facilities. The United Kingdom, which regarded blockade as its chief offensive weapon, officially honored the blockade (not wanting to establish a precedent of blockade penetration). But, unofficially, there was plenty of blockade running. Scores of Scottish-built steamers anchored at Nassau in the British Bahamas and took on cargoes of arms that had been shipped from England; with fraudulent papers claiming Halifax as a destination, these steamers somehow returned to Nassau with shipments of cotton, taking a 700% profit for the gamble.
Gradually, the Union tightened the blockade and even seized British freighters on the high seas if they were laden with arms destined for Nassau, justifying the action by claiming that the ultimate destination of the shipments was the Confederacy. The United Kingdom acquiesced on this "ultimate destination" doctrine in case it would need to use the same excuse itself someday.
Tampico and Vera Cruz in Mexico were jumping-off places for the Rio Grande. Rancher Richard King of Texas flew the Mexican flag on his fleet of river steamboats, thereby claiming "neutrality" and ferrying thousands of bales of cotton to those Mexican ports.
The Union Navy began capturing the bases necessary for maintaining their long blockade. Roanoke Island, New Bern, and Fort Macon in North Carolina were captured in April. Fort Pulaski near Savannah was captured the same month. A small amphibious operation under General Ambrose Everett Burnside, 38, pictured here, captured Hattaras Inlet in August. Ship Island in the Gulf of Mexico was captured in September. An amphibious operation of 17,000 troops under Commodore Samuel F. Du Pont captured a rebel fort at Hilton Head in South Carolina in November.
As the blockade tightened, Union forces were able to capture the Sea Islands, off the coast of South Carolina. Plantation owners fled, but the slaves refused to leave with them; instead, they planted crops, built a church, and set up a school. Philadelphia black abolitionist Charlotte Forten, 25, joined other Northern teachers to help the Sea Islanders with their school. The following is from Forten's diary(9),
From Forten, Charlotte, "Life on the Sea Islands," Atlantic Monthly 13 (May 1864): 587-96, from "History Matters" (U.S. Survey Course on the Web, http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6517/, accessed 28 January 2007). (Close)
I never before saw children so eager to learn, although I had had several years' experience in New England schools. Coming to school is a constant delight and recreation to them. They come here as other children go to play. The older ones, during the summer, work in the fields from early morning until eleven or twelve o'clock, and then come into school, after their hard toil in the hot sun, as bright and as anxious to learn as ever.
Of course, there are some stupid ones, but these are the minority. The majority learn with wonderful rapidity. Many of the grown people are desirous of learning to read. It is wonderful how a people who have been so long crushed to the earth, so imbruted as these have been,--and they are said to be among the most degraded negroes of the South,--can have so great a desire for knowledge, and such a capability for attaining it. One cannot believe that the haughty Anglo Saxon race, after centuries of such an experience as these people have had, would be very much superior to them. And one's indignation increases against those who, North as well as South, taunt the colored race with inferiority while they themselves use every means in their power to crush and degrade them, denying them every right and privilege, closing against them every avenue of elevation and improvement. Were they, under such circumstances, intellectual and refined, they would certainly be vastly superior to any other race that ever existed.
After the lessons, we used to talk freely to the children, often giving them slight sketches of some of the great and good men. Before teaching them the "John Brown" song, which they learned to sing with great spirit. Miss T. told them the story of the brave old man who had died for them. I told them about Toussaint, thinking it well they should know what one of their own color had done for his race. They listened attentively, and seemed to understand. We found it rather hard to keep their attention in school. It is not strange, as they have been so entirely unused to intellectual concentration. It is necessary to interest them every moment, in order to keep their thoughts from wandering. Teaching here is consequently far more fatiguing than at the North. In the church, we had of course but one room in which to hear all the children; and to make one's self heard, when there were often as many as a hundred and forty reciting at once, it was necessary to tax the lungs very severely.…
Meanwhile, Confederates raised and reconditioned a former wooden U.S. warship, the Merrimack, plated its sides with old iron rails, and renamed this clumsy monster the Virginia. The Virginia then sank the Union Cumberland and defeated the Union Congress in Hampton Roads. Much alarmed with this apparent threat to the entire Union blockade, President Lincoln summoned his advisors. Here is what Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, 60, recorded in his journal:
The most frightened man on that gloomy day… was Secretary of War [Stanton]. He was at times almost frantic.… The Merrimack, he said, would destroy every vessel in the service, could lay every city on the coast under contribution, could take Fortress Monroe.… Likely the first movement of the Merrimack would be to come up the Potomac and disperse Congress, destroy the Capitol and public buildings.(10)The newly launched Union ironclad steam-powered vessel Monitor, designed by John Ericsson, 59, built in a hundred days and featuring a revolving gun turret and a screw propellor, arrived on the scene just in time. This little "Yankee cheesebox on a raft" contended with the wheezy Virginia in early March and forced it to withdraw. (The Confederates destroyed the Virginia soon afterward, to prevent its capture by advancing Union forces.)
Quoted in Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 466. (Close)
In the spring, the Union fleet under Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, 61, defeated the Confederate fleet at Plaqemines Bend, near the mouth of the Mississippi River at Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip after several days of bombardment. In late April, Union forces captured New Orleans, which had already been abandoned by Confederate forces.
Union General Benjamin Franklin Butler, 44, took command of the forces occupying the city, and in May he shocked the local gentry with his order that any woman who insulted his troops was "liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation." President Davis denounced "Beast Butler" as a felon and an outlaw for having ordered the execution of William Bruce Mumford for tearing down a U.S. flag over the New Orleans mint.
Union forces under Brigadier-General of Volunteers John Pope, 40, captured Island Number 10 on the Mississippi River below Cairo, IL, in an effort to split the Confederacy by controlling the entire river. Union gunboats broke up a Confederate flotilla off Memphis in June, and they ran up the White River into the middle of Arkansas; Confederate forces had to evacuate Missouri.
The 150-mile stretch of the river between Vicksburg, MS, in the north and Port Hudson, LA (near Baton Rouge), in the south remained in Confederate hands, however, and herds of vitally needed cattle and other provisions flowed eastward across this stretch from Texas and Louisiana into the embattled heart of the Confederacy.
Confederate control of that section of the Mississippi River was cutting off the trade routes of the Southern-sympathetic "Butternut" region of the Ohio River Valley, and this region, suffering considerable economic pain, had plenty of agitators for making peace with the South. Some of the agitators advocated a "Northwest Confederacy" that would itself secede from the Union and make a separate peace with the Confederate States of America.
Meanwhile, Union General George Brinton "Little Mac" McClellan, the "Young Napoleon," 35, pictured here, had been spending months doggedly drilling his 200,000-man Army of the Potomac. The overcautious general, whom President Lincoln accused of having a bad case of "the slows," had been misled by exaggerated reports of Confederate strength and wanted to make sure that everything was perfect before risking this forces. (McClellan consistently addressed the President in arrogant tones and privately referred to him as a "baboon.") At one point, Lincoln threatened to "borrow" the army if McClellan was not going to use it. Finally, the President issued firm orders to end the long delay--either advance on Richmond in a frontal advance, meeting the Confederate General Joseph Eggleston Johnston, 55, or move in a wide flanking movement supported by the Union Navy to the James River. The reluctant McClellan decided on the latter: a water-borne approach toward Richmond, from Fort Monroe (opposite Norfolk) up the peninsula between the James and York Rivers--hence the name of this encounter: the Peninsula Campaign. After the battle between the Monitor and the Virginia, those waters were securely in Union hands.
"In ten days I shall be in Richmond," boasted McClellan, but in the meantime the dubious President Lincoln stripped him of his supreme command over all the Union forces, leaving him in charge only of the Army of the Potomac. With about 112,000 men, McClellan took a month to capture Yorktown, where the measly 16,000 defenders held him off for a month with their imitation wooden cannons.
Outnumbered rebel forces in Virginia under General Johnston and General Robert Edward Lee, 55, pictured here, now the Confederate "general in charge of military operations," were forced to retreat from McClellan's wary inching toward Richmond, until, when the Yankees finally reached White House Landing, the spires of the Confederate capital could be seen. McClellan had 80,000 troops in striking position, with large reserves--but he delayed, still calling on Washington for more troops. Lee and Johnston had plenty of time to build up the Confederate forces with conscription and to get diversionary help from Colonel Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, 38, in the Shenandoah Valley.
At the end of May, Confederate forces caught part of McClellan's army separated from the main body and attacked by the rain-swollen Chickahominy River in the Battle of Seven Pines, indecisive but with 10,000 casualties in all. General Johnston was severely wounded in the battle, so General Lee took command of the rebel Army of Northern Virginia.
Lee sent "Stonewall" Jackson, pictured here, to strike with lightning diversionary feints in the Shenandoah Valley, winning a series of battles (including an important one at McDowell), capturing vast stores of equipment, and ultimately threatening Washington, DC. To protect the Union capital, President Lincoln was forced to divert the 20,000 reinforcements that McClellan was expecting in order to chase after Jackson.
Meanwhile, McClellan was stalled while the Confederate cavalry of "Jeb" Stuart rode all around his army on reconnaissance. To reinforce Lee, Stonewall Jackson slipped stealthily between the Union forces sent to battle him in Shenandoah Valley and arrived in late June at Ashland, just north of Richmond. Then Lee and Jackson inflicted heavy losses on McClellan in the Battle of Fair Oaks and the inconclusive Seven Days' Battles at Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, White Oaks Swamp, and Malvern Hill. Here is what one Confederate soldier assigned to burial duty after the battles wrote:
The sights and smells that assailed us were simply indescribable… corpses swollen to twice their original size, some of them actually burst asunder with the pressure of foul gasses.… The odors were so nauseating and so deadly that in a short time we all sickened and were lying with our mouths close to the ground, most of us vomiting profusely.(11)
Quoted in ibid., p. 465. (Close)
The Union forces were forced to retreat to Harrison's Landing on the James River (where powerful U.S. Navy guns could shield them), and from there they slowly withdrew from the peninsula. The campaign was considered a costly failure for the Union, even though Lee's forces lost 20,000, compared with "only" 15,800 of McClellan's.
For weeks after these battles, the mood in the Confederacy was very upbeat, now confident in the ability of their handsome General Robert E. Lee. Thousands of replacements were pouring into Richmond. There were delegates in the Confederate Congress from Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and present-day Arizona. At the same time, the mood in the North was dismal. British manufacturer Richard Cobden wrote to Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, 51, pictured here:
There is an all but unanimous belief that you cannot subject the South.(12)In July on Member of Parliament introduced a motion for Franco-British mediation in the American Civil War (it did not pass). French Emperor Napoleon III was ready to recognize the Confederate States of America if the United Kingdom would go first. The U.S. Congress authorized a second inflationary issue of $150 million in greenbacks ($3.2 billion in 2006 dollars); and the gold dollar reached a 17% premium over paper. President Lincoln called for an additional 300,000 volunteers for 9 months, and though the patriotic new words of "John Brown's Body" were "We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more," fewer than 80,000 actually enlisted.
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 649. (Close)
The President relieved General McClellan of his command, placing him under the supervision of General Halleck (who had replaced Grant in the West), who called off the Peninsula Campaign, transferring the strategically well-placed forces of McClellan from the James River to the Potomac, near Washington. (Grant, then resumed command of the Union troops in Tennessee.)
Meanwhile, President Lincoln had given overall command to the handsome, dashing General John Pope, who boasted that he had seen only the backs of the enemy in the western campaigns (down the Mississippi River from Commerce, MO, to Memphis) that he was coming from. Pope was gathering a new army between Washington and Richmond, and he proclaimed:
My headquarters will be in the saddle!President Lincoln remarked that the saddle was really a better place for Pope's hindquarters.
Union strategy now began to evolve toward total war, eventually articulated as a suffocation of the South with a total blockade of its 3,500-mile coastline, a liberation of the slaves, a severing of the Confederacy in half by seizing the Mississippi River, and a thorough grinding of the rebels into submission. President Lincoln, who had earlier stated that he would not mess with slavery where it already existed, now declared that the rebels
cannot experiment for ten years trying to destroy the government and if they fail still come back into the Union unhurt.(13)He began to draft an Emancipation Proclamation.
Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit, p. 465. (Close)
Union forces destroyed Confederate salt works on Chesapeake Bay.
Meanwhile, in August, Confederate forces under General Lee marched rapidly north against Pope. Before McClellan's troops could reinforce Pope's 65,000 troops, Lee's 54,000 confronted them at the Rappahannock River. Even though outnumbered, Lee divided his forces in order to outmaneuver Pope. Stonewall Jackson with three divisions (25,000 men) raced swiftly, without wagons or knapsacks, in a wide arc to the west and north around Pope's forces; from Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains, they seized Manassas Junction, severing the Union rail connection with Washington and capturing large stores of arms and supplies. Pope wheeled to the rear in an effort to trap Jackson, who evaded him, while Lee moved with the main Confederate force up toward Thoroughfare Gap. At the end of August, in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas) outside of Manassas Junction, General Pope's attacking Union forces struck blow after uncoordinated blow on Jackson's forces but could not budge them. Then, with bayonets fixed, Lee's reunited army furiously routed Pope's tired and confused troops from the field.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Vasa Fox, 41, remarked:
Dark days are upon us. Pope, a lying braggart--has been driven into Washington.… The rebels again look upon the dome of the capitol, and the flag of disunion can be seen on the neighboring hills.(14)
Quoted in Morison, op. cit, p. 650. (Close)
General Lee then moved his forces to invade the North, hoping to encourage foreign intervention on the side of the Confederacy and to seduce the border states to secede. Concentrating in and around the city of Frederick, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia sang lustily:
Thou wilt not cower in the dust,General Lee issued a proclamation to the people of Maryland, explaining his objectives:
Maryland! my Maryland!
Thy gleaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland! my Maryland!
This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission, so far as you are concerned. No constraint upon your free will is intended; no intimidation will be allowed within the limits of this army at least. Marylanders shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and speech. We know no enemies among you, and will protect all, of every opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny freely and without constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may be; and while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when you come of your own free will.The Marylanders, however, in this part of the state were more closely aligned with Pennsylvania than with Virginia, and they were not impressed with the blanketless, hatless, shoeless rebel invaders. They did not secede.
President Lincoln, meanwhile, dismayed by Pope's incompetence and succumbing to popular pressure, reinstated "Little Mac" McClellan as commander of the 87,000-strong Army of the Potomac--in spite of reports that McClellan had expressed contempt for the President. Lincoln observed:
We must use what tools we have.
In order to draw the Union forces further from their base and also to threaten Pennsylvania, General Lee moved toward Hagerstown, MD, and split his 60,000-strong army, sending Stonewall Jackson out on the National Highway (present-day U.S. 40) to capture the garrison at Harper's Ferry, where the Shenandoah empties into the Potomac. Jackson reached Harper's Ferry in mid-September and began to bombard it.
The other half of Lee's army were now under the command of Lieutenant General James Longstreet, 41, and were headed toward Hagerstown. Unfortunately for the clever Confederate plans, when the Union forces reached Frederick, two soldiers found a copy of Lee's battle orders wrapped around a packet of three cigars that had been carelessly dropped by a Confederate officer. With this intelligence, McClellan with a 70,000-strong force was able to rush toward Lee's diminished forces near South Mountain. Lee, surprised and appalled by the speed of the Union forces, wrote to President Davis:
Our ranks are very much diminished--I fear from a third to one-half of the original numbers.His original force of 60,000 was now down to about 40,000 effectives; he could hope only to delay the Union forces, not to stop them. (But McClellan was still under the illusion that Lee's force was much greater than that.) McClellan forced his way through, and by the afternoon of September 15, both armies had established new battle lines west and east of Antietam Creek near the town of Sharpsburg.
Jackson's troops captured Harper's Ferry along with more than 11,000 prisoners and then rushed to reinforce Lee at Sharpsburg, leaving General A. P. Hill behind to salvage the captured Union property at Harper's Ferry. After Jackson arrived, Lee consolidated his position along the low ridge that runs north and south of the town.
The ensuing 12-hour Battle of Antietam (also referred to as the Battle of Sharpsburg), the bloodiest single day of the Civil War, opened at dawn. Union General Joseph Hooker, 47, pictured here, who this day earned his nickname "Fighting Joe," ordered his artillery to begin a murderous fire on Jackson's men in the 30-acre Miller cornfield north of town. Hooker described what happened in his report:
[Every] stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before.It was later said that the cornfield was so filled with bodies that one could walk from one end to the other without touching the ground. Hooker's troops advanced, pushing the Confederates back. Jackson reported that his men were
exposed for near an hour to a terrific storm of shell, canister, and musketry.All during the morning, the forces of Hooker and Jackson pushed each other back and forth in this cornfield with appalling casualties on both sides. The same back-and-forth slaughter was happening between the forces of Confederate General Daniel Harvey ("D. H.") Hill, 41, and those of Union General Edwin Vose "Bullhead" Sumner, 65, on an old sunken road separating the Roulette and Piper farms, a road afterward known as "Bloody Lane." After 4 hours of bitter fighting, confusion and sheer exhaustion finally quieted things down a bit.
While all this was going on, the forces of Union General Burnside had been trying to cross a bridge southeast of town for several hours but had been driven back each time by some 400 Confederates from Georgia under the command of Colonel Henry Benning. They finally made it across in the early afternoon and began driving the Benning's Georgians back almost into the town, threatening to cut off Lee's line of retreat. But then General Ambrose Powell ("A. P.") Hill, 37, arrived from Harper's Ferry to reinforce the Confederate forces, which were then able to drive Burnside's troops back to the heights near the bridge.
As dusk fell, the Battle of Antietam was over, with the groans of the dying sounding out over the darkening fields. General Lee began withdrawing his forces back across the Potomac River the next day; General McClellan, holding a clear advantage, dallied and did not pursue. More men were killed or wounded in that battle than in any other single day of the war: 12,410 Union soldiers, 10,700 Confederates. Here is how Massachusetts poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, 53, wounded in the battle, described the aftermath(15):
Quoted in Taylor, Dr. Quintard, Jr., "History 101: Survey of the History of the United States--Manual, Chapter 4, Civil War and Reconstruction" (Seattle: University of Washington, citing Thernstrom, Stephan, A History of the American People, Vol. I, (New York: 1989), pp. 389, 395, taken from http://faculty.washington.edu/qtaylor/Courses/101_USH/101_manual_4.htm, accessed 31 January 2007). (Close)
On coming near the brow of the hill, we met a party carrying picks and spades. "How many?" "Only one." The dead were nearly all buried, then, in this region of the field of strife. We stopped the wagon, and, getting out, began to look around us. Hard by was a large pile of muskets, scores, if not hundreds, which had been picked up, and were guarded for the Government. A long ridge of fresh gravel rose before us. A board stuck up in front of it bore this inscription, the first part of which was, I believe, not correct: "The Rebel General Anderson and 80 Rebels are buried in this hole."
Other smaller ridges were marked with the number of dead lying under them. The whole ground was strewn with fragments of clothing, haversacks, canteens, cap boxes, bullets, cartridges, scraps of paper, portions of bread and meat. I saw two solders' caps that looked as though their owners had been shot through the head. In several places I noticed dark red patches where a pool of blood had curdled and caked, as some poor fellow poured his life out on the sod.
Even with all that blood spilled, neither side had gained a decisive victory. (The United Kingdom decided to postpone recognition of the Confederate government, however--recognition it might well have granted had the Confederates won decisively. Also, both the United Kingdom and France were on the verge of diplomatic mediation, and if the North had spurned the offer, they might have intervened on the side of the South; after the Battle of Antietam, however, the two countries cooled off from this idea.)
Although the Battle of Antietam was more a less a draw militarily, it was widely perceived in the North as a Union victory. Now President Lincoln felt that he could issue, as a war aim, his Emancipation Proclamation, which he had been preparing for months. Here are most of the words in the dull and legalistic document:
By the President of the United States of AmericaIn spite of this appeal, of course, the document did not actually free a single slave. Where Lincoln might have had the power to free any slaves--that is, in the loyal border states, such as Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri--he refused to do so out of fear that those states might join the rebellion. The document didn't even free slaves in the specific areas of the South that had been conquered by Union forces. In other words, some 800,000 slaves in areas where Lincoln had power were not free.
Whereas, the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty two, a proclamation was signed by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the persons whereof shall then whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, henceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to suppress such person, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom…
And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are and hence-forward shall be free, and that the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I recommend to them that in all cases when allowed they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed services of the United States to garrison forts, position, stations, and other places and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment and mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.…
The document declared that slaves were "free" only in the areas where it and Lincoln had no power--that is, in the Confederate states still in rebellion. Where he could he would not, where he would he could not. The Emancipation Proclamation was essentially a political and military ploy rather than any humanitarian policy.
Nonetheless, thousands of slaves abandoned their plantations and ran to join the Union armies. Union Colonel Thomas Wentworth Storrow Higginson, 38, organized the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers consisting of freedslaves, for example. Not only runaway slaves but also black enlistees from the North now began to be accepted into the military; they had previously been barred from the Army and accepted only as cooks and servants in the Navy. Eventually blacks accounted for about 10% of the total enlistments in the Union forces, on land and sea, including two Massachusetts regiments raised largely through the efforts of Frederick Douglass, 44, pictured here.
The moral cause of the Union was strengthened at home and abroad. The nature of the war was transformed: There was now no chance of a negotiated settlement; the war had to be fought to the finish.
Antislavery editor Horace Greeley, in his New York Tribune, wrote:
God bless Abraham Lincoln!Other abolitionists, however, complained that Lincoln had not gone far enough: What about those 800,000 slaves in Union-controlled territory? On the other hand, many Northerners, especially those in the "Butternut" regions of the Ohio Valley and the border states, felt that Lincoln had gone too far. One Democratic cynic penned the following:
Honest old Abe, when the war first began,Many in the North did not want to support an "abolition war." Former President Franklin Pierce, 58, pictured here, remarked that emancipation should not be "inflicted" on the slaves. Many Union soldiers expressed disgust at the idea of fighting a war of liberation for the blacks. One Ohio private wrote home(17):
Denied abolition was part of his plan:
Honest old Abe has since made a decree,
The war must go on till the slaves are all free.
As both can't be honest, will someone tell how,
If honest Abe then, he is honest Abe now?(16)
Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 469. (Close)
I don't think enough of the Nigger to go and fight for them. I would rather fight them.Desertions from the Union forces increased sharply, especially from regiments drawn from border states. One deserter told his captors:
Our government has broken faith with us. We enlisted to fight for the Union, and not to liberate the Goddamned niggers.Historian Leon Litwack commented on this outlook:
Rather than view emancipation as a way to end the war, some Yankee soldiers thought it would only prolong the conflict. Now that the very survival of the southern labor system was at stake, not to mention the proper subordination of black people, the prospect of a negotiated peace seemed even more remote, and southern whites could be expected to fight with even greater intensity and conviction.
That most Union soldiers should have failed to share the abolitionist commitment is hardly surprising. What mattered was how they manifested their feelings when they came into direct contact with the slaves. The evidence suggests one of the more tragic chapters in the history of this generally brutalizing and demoralizing war. The normal frustrations of military life and the usually sordid record of invading armies, when combined with long-held and deeply felt attitudes toward black people, were more than sufficient to turn some Union soldiers into the very "debils" the slaves had been warned by their masters to expect. Not only did the invaders tend to view the Negro as a primary cause of the war but even more importantly as an inferior being with few if any legitimate human emotions--at least none that had to be considered with any degree of sensitivity. Here, then, was a logical and convenient object on which disgruntled and war-weary Yankees could vent their frustrations and hatreds. "As I was going along this afternoon," a young Massachusetts officer wrote from New Orleans,a little black baby that could just walk got under my feet and it look so much like a big worm that I wanted to step on it and crush it, the nasty, greasy little vermin was the best that could be said of it.And if anything, additional exposure to blacks appeared to strengthen rather than allay racial antipathies. "My repugnance to them increases with the acquaintance," a New England officer remarked.Republican as I am, keep me clear of the darkey in any relation.
Simultaneously with the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln proclaimed that anyone who resisted the draft, discouraged enlistment, or was
guilty of any disloyal practice affording aid and comfort to rebelswould be subject to martial law, would be tried in a military court, and would be denied the right of habeas corpus. Lincoln's justification for this was a "doctrine of necessity" (which would justify amputation of limbs to preserve life); he was violating the Constitution to "preserve" it by authorizing the military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone suspected of aiding the rebels. Copperhead Democrats had been criticizing Lincoln's violation of the Constitution, and most of those arrested were Copperheads; Lincoln felt that the state courts in the Old Northwest (Ohio west to Wisconsin), where the Copperheads were strongest, would not convict such war protesters. More than 13,000 people were arrested and confined in military prisons; their offenses ranged from theft of government property all the way to treason.
In the congressional midterm elections, the Republicans lost heavily, especially in Copperhead-strong Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania (defeatist Democrats were elected Governor in the latter two states). Democrats even carried Lincoln's home state, Illinois. President Lincoln confided to a friend:
We are now on the brink of destruction.The Democrats did not quite secure control of the coming year's 38th Congress, however.
Pundits in the Confederacy were outraged at the Emancipation Proclamation, crying that "Lincoln the fiend" was trying to foment the "hellish passions" of a slave insurrection.
In December, shortly before the Emancipation Proclamation was due to take effect, President Lincoln proposed a Constitutional amendment freeing all the slaves but granting compensation to their owners.
The camp-following prostitutes of "Fighting Joe" Hooker's Union forces became known as "Hooker's girls," or simply "hookers." Meanwhile, hundreds of bawdy houses were spawned to serve thousands of lonely troops. Washington, DC, was home for an estimated 450 bordellos, including the Blue Goose, Mother Russel's Bake Oven, the Haystack, the Ironclad, and Hooker's Headquarters.
Historian Karen Frisch tells of what it was like for a Confederate soldier:(18)
Frisch, Karen, "Your Confederate Ancestors in the Civil War," featured in http://www.ancestry.com/rd/dailynews.htm ("Ancestry Daily News") of MyFamily.com Inc. (© Copyright 1998-2002 by MyFamily.com Inc. and its subsidiaries). (Close)
A soldier spent his leisure time in camp chewing tobacco, reading the New Testament, singing songs such as "Dixie" around the campfire, and sharing stories of home. It was perhaps his spiritual faith and love of home and family that sustained him in the worst of times. He might have worn a straw hat that his sister made for him to shelter him from the sun on long marches. Many carried a pin that held a locket of hair from a sweetheart. The war was fought over tradition, and the Confederates carried their heritage into war. A general's tent often contained luxuries such as Oriental rugs, rocking chairs, and writing desks. Just as Union soldiers had doubts of returning home alive, Confederates also spent occasional nights with prostitutes.
The Confederate commissioned officers often had "body servants," slaves who gathered food, cooked, washed clothes, put up tents, shined boots, tended horses, and aided the wounded.
Quite a large number had a boy along to do the cooking and washing. Think of it! a Confederate soldier with a body servant all his own, to bring him a drink of water, black his boots, dust his clothes, cook his cornbread and bacon, and put wood on the fire. Never was there a fonder admiration than these darkies displayed for their masters. Their chief delight and glory was to praise the courage and good looks of "Mahse Tom."(19)
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians, Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993, pp. 212-13, citing Carlton McCarthy, Detailed Minutiae of Soldier Life. (Close)
A staple for the Union army was desiccated vegetables--dried, compressed, mixed vegetables in cakelike form of highly questionable quality and nicknamed "desecrated vegetables" by the troops.
Occasionally, a ration of what was known as desiccated vegetables was dealt out. This consisted of a small piece per man, an ounce in weight and two or three inches cube of sheet or block of vegetables, which had been prepared, and apparently "kiln-dried," as sanitary fodder for the soldiers.… When put in soak for a time, so perfectly had it been dried and so firmly pressed that it swelled to an amazing extent.… In this pulpy state a favorable opportunity was afforded to analyze its composition. It seemed to show… layers of cabbage leaves and turnip tops stratified with layers of sliced carrots, turnips, parsnips, a bare suggestion of onions… and some other among known vegetable quantities.(20)
Quoted in ibid., p. 235, citing John D. Billings, Hard Tack and Coffee, pp. 138-39. (Close)
Confederate forces under General Bragg moved on Cincinnati but were disappointed with the luke-warm reception of the inhabitants of that state toward the Confederacy. Bragg expressed his disgust this way:
We must abandon the garden spot of Kentucky to its cupidity.(21)Finally Bragg was stopped by Union troops under General Don Carlos Buell in the Battle of Perryville. Buell did not pursue Bragg promptly, however, and was removed from his command, replaced by General William Starke Rosecrans, 43. Rosecrans and Bragg skirmished for 4 days in the Battle of Murfreesboro.
This and the next quote are from Morison, op. cit., p. 655. (Close)
Meanwhile, General McClellan, true to form, kept demanding reinforcements and offering excuses for his failure to pursue Lee after the Battle of Antietam. General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia were able to retreat up the Shenandoah Valley, with Lee mourning to the Confederate Secretary of War:
The absent are scattered broadcast over the land.But McClellan did not press his advantage; instead, he demanded more supplies, clothing, and remounts before he would get his forces moving. After he complained to President Lincoln that his horses were tired, the President, embarrassed by McClellan's apparent lack of commitment in prosecuting the war, replied in exasperation:
I have just read your dispatch about sore-tongued and fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?(22)Finally, in November, after the slow-moving McClellan allowed a Confederate force under Lieutenant General Longstreet to get between him and Richmond, Lincoln once again relieved this nemesis general, this "Young Napoleon," of his command over the 115,000-strong Army of the Potomac.
Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 464. (Close)
Lincoln replaced McClellan with General Ambrose E. Burnside, who had managed a lot of the fighting in the bloody Battle of Antietam a couple of months earlier. Burnside protested that he was unfit for the responsibility, and then he demonstrated that unfitness. He launched a winter campaign against Richmond by racing to Fredericksburg, VA, a strategically important town on the Rappahannock River, where there were only a few thousand Confederates on hand to challenge them. The Union forces dallied on the banks opposite the town for weeks, waiting for the arrival of the pontoons they needed to make a bridge. General Lee, meanwhile, concentrated and entrenched his 78,000-strong Army of Northern Virginia on the high ground in back of the town. When the pontoons finally arrived in mid-December, Burnside's forces crossed the river, despite fierce fire from Confederate snipers in the river-front buildings. When the Confederates withdrew, Union soldiers looted the town, from which residents had been evacuated.
Then Burnside prepared a two-pronged attack to drive the Confederates from the set of hills just outside the town. The main assault of the Battle of Fredericksburg struck south of town. Unfortunately for Burnside, his Major General William B. Franklin, in a bungled command of the left, limited his force to two small divisions--Major General George Gordon Meade, 47, to lead and Major General John Gibbon in support. Although Meade's troops broke through an unguarded gap in the Confederate lines, the troops of Stonewall Jackson, now a Lieutenant General, expelled them, inflicting heavy losses.
Then Burnside launched another attack against the Confederate left on Marye's Heights, an unassailable position where the troops of Lieutenant General Longstreet were in a sunken road protected by a stone wall; wave after wave of Union attackers were mowed down by Longstreet's men. Long double lines of blue Union soldiers with their bayonets gleaming in the sun charged across the open plain under deadly fire. The brave Yankees, realizing that this was a suicide mission, pinned their names into their tunics so that their bodies could be identified and their relatives notified. One Confederate defender remarked that a chicken could not have lived in the line of fire. Over the course of the afternoon, no fewer than fourteen successive Union brigades charged the wall of Confederate fire, but not a single soldier of them reached Longstreet's line. Thousands of the killed and wounded were lying in heaps. This futile, dreadful operation became known as "Burnside's Slaughter Pen." General Lee remarked at the gory Union suicide action:
It is well that war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it.Lee consented to a brief truce so that they dead could be buried and the wounded retrieved. One eye-witness, Randolph A. Shotwell, described the scene(23):
Eleven hundred dead bodies--perfectly naked--swollen to twice the natural size--black as Negroes in most cases--lying in every conceivable posture--some on their backs with gaping jaws--some with eyes large as walnuts, protruding with glassy stare--some doubled up like a contortionist--here one without a head--there one without legs--yonder a head and legs without a trunk--everywhere horrible expressions--fear, rage, agony, madness, torture--lying in pools of blood--lying with heads half buried in mud--with fragments of shell sticking in the oozing brain--with bullet holes all over the puffed limbs.About 80% of the dead were victims of the new minié bullet; Confederate artillery did in the rest. After losing 13,000 troops in the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg (compared with Confederate losses of only 5,000), General Burnside, tears streaming down his cheeks, ordered the survivors back across the Rappahannock. He was swiftly relieved of his command and replaced by his ambitious subordinate, General "Fighting Joe" Hooker. Here is the letter that President Lincoln sent Hooker:
I think that during Gen. Burnside's command of the Army, you have taken counsel of your ambition, and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country.… I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the Army and the Government need a Dictator. Of course it is not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain successes can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship.… Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance, go forward, and give us victories.(24)
Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 418. (Close)
General Lee, realizing that President Lincoln would not admit defeat even after what should have been a knockout blow, wrote to his wife:
The battle did not go far enough to satisfy me.… The contest will have now to be renewed, but on what field I cannot say.(25)
Quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 656. (Close)
Former schoolteacher and professional gambler William Clarke Quantrill, 25, helped to capture Independence, MO, for the Confederates and was mustered into the Confederate Army with his men.
Confederate General Albert Pike had taken command of the Confederate Indian troops in Indian Territory (Oklahoma), establishing himself in the newly constructed Fort Davis (not far from present-day Fort Gibson). Confederate General Earl Van Dorn, who commanded the entire military district and whose main army was near the border of Arkansas and Missouri, ordered General Pike to join him there with his Indians. Pike arrived in time to take part in the great Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas, in which the Indians fought with bow and arrow and tomahawk in their own fashion, and were seriously defeated. Pike retreated back into Indian Territory and built a fort near the Red River, which he named Fort McCulloch. Pike complained bitterly that the Confederacy was not keeping its treaties with the Indians; it was almost impossible for him to secure arms for them, and he saw little chance to give them the promised protection if the North should decide to invade their county.
Confederate forces under Henry Hopkins Sibley captured Santa Fe in New Mexico Territory, but Union forces stopped his advance at Pidgin's Ranch in Apache Canyon in the Battle of Glorieta Pass.
In spite of the Confederate belief that Northern industry would collapse when it was cut off from Southern markets, the Northern economy was booming as a result of the war. Union sea power, even with the annoyance of Confederate raiders, protected most of the freight and passenger service to foreign markets. And, of course, the demands of the war economy stimulated production.
The war inspired the invention of labor-saving machinery to offset the draining off of manpower to the bloody front and the diseased camps. Clattering mechanical reapers enabled farm laborers to become soldiers, helped to supply the rations for them in the field, and provided shipments of grain to Europe that could be exchanged for munitions and other war supplies. (Bad harvests in Great Britain and throughout western Europe boosted agricultural prices.)
Petroleum production was increasing 300-fold annually, and refining methods were improving so drastically that cheap glass kerosene lamps were replacing whale-oil lamps in farmhouses around the country. The Gordon McKay shoe machine, which sewed uppers to soles, accelerated that process a hundredfold. The Howe sewing machine fabricated standard-measurement uniforms (and later civilian garments as well). The machine was a curse to seamstresses, however, whose wages dropped severely.
Women took over men's jobs; in Washington, DC, some 500 "government girls" became clerks, and countless women took industrial jobs--especially sewing garments. Hundreds of women posed as men and became soldiers, and many women became nurses. Women in both the North and the South organized bazaars and fairs to raise millions of dollars for the relief of widows, orphans, and disabled soldiers.
Enjoying the tariff protections that Congress passed and the gigantic government contracts to supply war needs, industrialists, henceforth identified with the Republican Party, continued to build new factories. The wartime inflation hurt the day laborer and office worker (prices were rising nearly three times as fast as wages, severely diminishing worker purchasing power), but the businessmen, especially those involved in war contracts, joined a new class of gaudy, brassy, noisy, extravagant millionaires. One observer commented:
The intense desire to buy almost any kind of securities amounted almost to insanity.(26)Manufacturers supplied the troops not only with necessities but also with cardboard-sole shoes, disintegrating uniforms of reprocessed, or "shoddy," wool, and other worthless items. Profits were all out of proportion to any services rendered.
Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 421. (Close)
The railroads were operating at close to capacity, and with increased efficiency.
New England factories using steam-powered machinery required laborers to work long hours for low wages. Owners hired entire families, often by means of a contract to work for an entire year, with the family liable to be fired even if one family member broke the contract. Workers typically lived in dark, dingy houses in the shadow of the factory. At 4 a.m., when the first whistle blew, father, mother, and children dressed in the dark and trudged off to work. The whistle would announce short meal breaks at 7:30 and noon, and the workday was announced by the whistle at 7:30 p.m.
Few factories had windows or heating systems, and the machines had no safety devices. The owners customarily treated these laborers as they would machines:
Alzina Parsons never forgot her thirteenth birthday. The day began as usual, with work in the local spinning mill. Suddenly, Alzina cried out. She had caught her hand in the spinning machine, badly mangling her fingers. The foreman summoned the factory doctor. He cut off one of the injured fingers and sent the girl back to work.(27)Injured workers often lost their jobs.
Quoted in Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 382. (Close)
Congress passed the Internal Revenue Act, increasing the federal income tax that had been enacted in 1861 to meet the expenses of the war. The act also taxed beer at $1 per barrel ($20.92 per barrel in 2006 dollars) and imposed license fees on tavern owners.
Through the influence of ardent temperance advocate Rear Admiral Andrew Hall Foote, 56, the U.S. Navy abolished its rum ration.
Gulden's Mustard was introduced.
The melodrama East Lynne, or The Elopement, an adaptation of the novel by English novelist Ellen Price Wood, 48, was produced in Boston.
Capitalizing on the nonforfeiture law passed through the efforts of reformer Elizur Wright, 58, the John Hancock Life Insurance Company was founded in Boston.
The 3-year-old Equitable Life Assurance Company of Henry Baldwin Hyde, 28 (who avoided the draft by hiring a substitute for $800 [$16,736 in 2006 dollars]), in New York City by now employed hundreds of agents and wrote nearly $2 million ($41.8 million) in new insurance policies.
New York City department store king A. T. Stewart, whose net worth was some $50 million (more than $1 billion in 2006 dollars) and who gave a 10-percent discount to wives and children of clergymen and schoolteachers, contributed $100,000 ($2.1 million) to the Union cause and sold uniforms at cost to the Union Army.
The U.S. Produce Exchange was organized in New York City.
The Wall Street banking house Jay Cooke & Company of Jay Cooke, 41, "earned" a commission of three-eighths of 1 percent on all sales of federal Treasury bonds used to finance the war.
New York industrialists Abram Stevens Hewitt, 40, and Edward Cooper, 38, of the iron-making firm Cooper, Hewitt, set up an open-hearth steel furnace, the first in the U.S.
Poet-actress Adah Isaacs Menken, 27, performed strapped half-naked to a horse in the melodrama Mazeppa at the New Bowery Theater in New York City.
Abraham Jacobi, known as the "Father of American Pediatrics," opened a children's clinic in New York City.
In spite of the war, social functions were held as usual in the cities during the winter--and in Saratoga Springs, Newport (RI), and Long Island during the summer. During the Battle of Antietam in September, New Yorkers flocked to the trotting match for a purse of $5,000 (more than $100,000 in 2006 dollars) at a Long Island racecourse.
Uriah Smith Stephens, 41, founded the labor union Garment Cutters' Association in Philadelphia.
Because of the war stimulus, an annual average of 60 new factories sprang up in Philadelphia during the following 3-year period.
The increase in U.S. literacy was spurring a demand for more lighting.(28)
Distilled from Trager, op. cit., p. 490; and from Garraty, op. cit., pp. 505-6. (Close)
The petroleum derivative kerosene was replacing both whale oil and lard oil in lamps (the whale-oil lamps were simply discarded, or they were retrofitted for kerosene burning); the kerosene lamps were noted for their smoky, torchlike light. The discovery of petroleum gushers in western Pennsylvania 3 years earlier had led to a rush of "Fifty-Niners" to that area, giving rise to a new industry, with its "petroleum plutocracy" of "coal oil Johnnies." Already hundreds of tiny kerosene refineries had been springing up in Pennsylvania, reminiscent of ramshackle hillbilly moonshiner stills, where small-scale entrepreneurs heated crude petroleum oil in large kettles, boiling off the volatile elements, condensing the kerosene in water-cooled coils, and discarding the heavier petroleum tars.
Cincinnati music teacher Dwight Hamilton Baldwin, 41, began selling reed organs door to door out of a rented spring wagon.
Marshall Field, 28, general manager of the Chicago dry-goods firm of Cooley, Wadsworth & Co., now became a partner.
Chicago preacher Dwight Lyman Moody, 25, a former shoe salesman and now the city missionary for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), operated the largest Sunday School in the city, reaching thousands weekly by offering prizes, free pony rides, and picnics as well as a genuine love for children. He started a church in a vacant saloon, and he replaced his North Market Hall Sunday School venue when it burned down with Kinzie Hall.
The Illinois Central Railroad facilitated Union troop movements on its north-south line. The company sold off some 800,000 acres of its right of way to settlers.
In August, representatives of the northern Sisseton and Wahpeton bands met at the Upper Sioux Agency in the northwestern part of the reservation and successfully negotiated to obtain food. Unfortunately, when the southern Mdewakanton and Wahpekute Dakota turned to the Lower Sioux Agency for supplies a couple of weeks later, they were rejected. Indian Agent (and Minnesota State Senator) Thomas J. Galbraith refused to distribute food without payment. Lead trader Andrew Myrick was blunt concerning the Indians' plight:
So far as I'm concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung.When appropriations were slow in arriving to Fort Ridgely, violence erupted along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota. Four Dakota hunters stole food from the white settlement of Acton in Meeker County, and in the resulting altercation they killed several settlers, including women. It was obvious to the Santee Sioux on the reservation that a terrible revenge was in store, so they prevailed upon Little Crow to lead further attacks. He led a group who attacked numerous white settlers at the Lower Sioux Agency, and trader Myrick was among the first to be killed while trying to escape through a second-floor window; his body was discovered several days later with grass stuffed into his mouth. The Indians took the stores and torched several buildings; during the delay, many settlers were able to escape across the river at Redwood Ferry. When a state militia force was sent to suppress the uprising, they were defeated in the Battle of Redwood Ferry, with 24 troops killed, 5 wounded.
The Sioux then bypassed the heavily defended Fort Ridgely and attacked the white settlement of New Ulm, killing many white settlers along the way. New Ulm residents had meanwhile organized defenses in the town center and were able to keep the Indians at bay. The Sioux did attack Fort Ridgely 3 days later, inflicting heavy casualties among the defenders and suffering heavy casualties themselves. In the meantime, there were also raids on farms and small settlements throughout the south central part of Minnesota and eastern Dakota Territory.
Minnesota troops attempting to counterattack suffered another defeat in the 3-hour Battle of Birch Coulee 16 miles from Fort Ridgely in early September, suffering 60 casualties.
Further north, the Sioux attacked several unfortified stage stops and river crossings along the settled trade route between Fort Garry (now Winnipeg) and St. Paul in the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota and eastern Dakota Territory. Many settlers and employees of the Hudson Bay Company and other local enterprises in this sparsely populated country took refuge in a prairie "fort" known as Fort Abercrombie, located in a bend of the Red River about 25 miles south of present day Fargo, ND. Over a period of 6 weeks, the Indians launched several attacks on Fort Abercrombie. Steamship and flatboat trade on the Red River came to a halt, and mail carriers, stage drivers, and military couriers attempting to reach the Pembina and Fort Garry settlements and St. Cloud and Fort Snelling were killed by the Indians. Eventually the garrison at Fort Abercrombie was relieved by a U.S. Army company from Fort Snelling, and the civilian refugees were removed to St. Cloud.
Chief Little Crow was forced to flee from the fighting about a month after the conflict began. He briefly stayed in Canada.
Ultimately, President Lincoln appointed General John Pope, 40, to assemble troops from the Third and Fourth Minnesota Regiments to quell the violence. Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey, 47, also instructed Colonel Henry Sibley (the state's first governor), 53, to aid in the effort. In late September, troops under Lt. Col. William R. Marshall severely defeated the Sioux in the Battle of Wood Lake. Some Dakota fighters surrendered at Camp Release shortly thereafter. More than 500 soldiers and settlers had died in the conflict, though many more may have died in small raids or after having being captured.
Six weeks later, 303 Sioux prisoners were convicted of murder and rape by military tribunals and sentenced to death. Some trials lasted less than 5 minutes, and the Indians had no one to explain the proceedings to them or to represent them. President Lincoln reviewed the trial records and distinguished between those who had engaged in warfare against the United States and those who had committed the crimes of rape or murder of civilians. He approved of the execution of 39 of the latter, and commuted the death sentences of the others, largely due to the pleas from Bishop Henry Whipple, 40, for clemency. The condemned prisoners, including Chief Cut Nose, were publicly hanged in a single December day on a single scaffold platform in Mankato--the largest execution in the history of the United States. The bodies were buried in a long trench, which was dug in the sand of the riverbank--but not before a "Dr. Sheardown" supposedly removed some of the Indians' skin, which was later sold in little boxes in Menkato. Doctor William Worrall Mayo, 43, had the mass grave reopened so he could dissect bodies for research. The remaining convicted Indians stayed in prison that winter and then transferred to Rock Island, IL, to be held for another 4 years.
The U.S. government abolished the reservation, declared all previous treaties with the Dakota null and void, and undertook proceedings to expel the Dakota people entirely from Minnesota. To this end, a bounty of $25 per scalp ($525 per scalp in 2006 dollars) was placed on virtually any Dakota found free within the boundaries of the state. Some 1,500 Dakota Sioux were rounded up and held in a concentration camp on Pike Island below Fort Snelling during the ensuing winter.
The 37th Congress, not hampered as earlier sessions had been by the vigorous opposition from Southern members, passed the epochal Homestead Act, authorizing any U.S. citizen, or any alien intending to become a citizen, to take 160 acres of Western land (a quarter section) for just a $10 registration fee ($209.20 in 2006 dollars), provided that he make certain improvements and that he live on the tract for 5 years. Alternatively, the settler might acquire land after only 6 months of residence for a nominal price of $1.25 per acre ($26.15 per acre in 2006 dollars). Either way, the land acquired was to be exempt from attachment for debt. The act marked a drastic departure from previous policy (whereby public land had been sold to provide revenue to the Treasury); its purpose was to encourage a more rapid population growth in the West and to stimulate the family farm. Tens of thousands of settlers applied for homesteads each year over the succeeding 18 years, a third of them actually receiving land. This act, along with the war-inflated farm prices and exemption from military service for foreigners, augmented immigration.
Missouri entrepreneur Ben Holladay, 42, purchased at public auction the freighting firm Russell, Majors, and Waddell (which had gone bankrupt after Western Union had made its Pony Express irrelevant the year before), acquiring thereby the Central Overland, California, and Pikes Peak Express with its government contract to haul mail overland between Missouri and the Pacific Coast. Holladay, earning the nickname "Napoleon of the Plains," put the stagecoach runs on schedule, built new way stations, improved equipment, upgraded personnel and passenger accommodations, and extended the runs into the mining districts of Colorado, Idaho, and Montana Territories--making his government contract worth $1 million per year ($20.9 million per year in 2006 dollars).
The long-dreamed-of project of building a transcontinental railroad was costly and risky, and it required hefty government subsidies. Exclusively private financing was out of the question: Extending rails into thinly populated areas would be unprofitable until these areas could be built up. Now that the Southern states had seceded, the decade-long deadlock over where to build the line was moot. With the Civil War raging, such a line was seen as a way to bolster the Union by binding the Pacific Coast--especially California, rich in gold--with the rest of the embattled Union. The 37th Congress, persuaded as it had been the preceding year by pleas for postal and military needs, passed the Pacific Railway Act, authorizing the Union Pacific Railroad to construct a line from Omaha, Nebraska Territory, in order to meet the Central Pacific line, which was already building eastward from California.
As an incentive to the private railroad companies (who otherwise might not hazard huge sums needed to lay tracks across hundreds of miles of rugged, empty country, tracks whose traffic would not yield profits for years), the government granted large swaths of public land. For each mile of track constructed, Union Pacific was granted 20 square miles, alternating in 640-acre sections on either side of the track. All told, Congress granted up to 100 million acres of right of way to Union Pacific, Central Pacific, and other transcontinental projects. (In the end, Congress would be awarding more than half again that much land, and the Western states themselves would be contributing 49 million acres more, making the total area larger than Texas.) The land was granted in broad belts along the proposed routes, within which the companies were allowed to choose the best location for the tracks; until they chose--and even long after--all the land within the belts was unavailable for settlement, remaining unavailable for 25 years.
The builders of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific received generous federal loans as well; they were guaranteed $16,000 for each mile of track laid on the prairie plains, $32,000 for each mile laid through intermountain stretches, and $48,000 for each mile laid through the mountains ($335,000, $670,000, and $1,004,000, respectively, in 2006 dollars). Union Pacific was authorized to take the timber, stone, and other material needed from the public-land right of way it had been granted.
Actual construction proceeded slowly during the war years.
One Union Pacific builder executive, Oakes Ames, 58, of Oliver Ames & Sons, won election to the House of Representatives in November.
A group of California businessmen known as the "Big Four" had the preceding year secured a charter for the Central Pacific Railroad to build the western portion of the proposed transcontinental rail link--with Leland Stanford, 38, president; Collis Potter Huntington, 41, vice president; Mark Hopkins, 49, an officer; and Charles Crocker, 40, director of construction. Crocker contracted the Chinese Six Companies to recruit workers at $35 per head ($732 per head in 2006 dollars) from California and from the disintegrating Chinese Empire, getting 90 percent of the 10,000 workers from China. The Central Pacific was granted the same princely subsidies from the federal government as that granted the Union Pacific.
Thousands of Chinese immigrants were fleeing the disintegrating Chinese Empire, risking the penalty of beheading to do so, almost all from the southern district of Toishan, and coming to the United States. Most were men (the ratio was 13 males for each female). Some came with money pooled by their families back home, but most were desperately poor and in debt to Chinese middlemen, such as the Chinese Six Companies, which they would need to repay in cruel conditions of indenture for years. The indenture business was known ignominiously as "pig selling." Chinatowns were springing up in railroad towns, farming villages, and cities, where the immigrants could speak their own language and seek safety from prejudice and violence. Many organized themselves into tongs (secret societies).
Congress passed the enlightened Morrill Land-Grant College Act, sponsored by Vermont Senator Justin Morrill, providing states with public land at the rate of 30,000 acres for each member of Congress for the purpose of endowing colleges of industry and agriculture. Some 11 million acres of federal land were given to the states. Vermont itself became a vast sheep pasture, as U.S. clothing manufacturers shifted from cotton to wool.
Prospectors were now racing to the Snake River Valley in present-day Idaho, hoping to become millionaires overnight on rumors of precious metal strikes there.
An observer of the mining activity in the Rocky Mountains made the following quip:
What a clover-field is to a steer, the sky to the lark, a mudhole to a hog, such are new diggings to a miner.(29)
Quoted in Davidson and Stoff, op. cit., p. 508. (Close)
Historian John Garraty has summarized the miners' point of view(30):
Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 485. (Close)
The miners enthusiastically adopted the get-rich-quick philosophy, willingly enduring privations and laboring hard, but always with the object of striking it rich. Anything that stood in the way of their ambitions they struck down. They trespassed on Indian lands without the slightest qualm and "claimed" public land with no thought of paying for it. The idea of reserving any part of the West for future generations never entered their heads. The sudden prosperity of the mining towns attracted every kind of shady character, all bent on extracting wealth from the pockets of the miners rather than from the unyielding earth. Gambling houses, dance halls, saloons, and brothels mushroomed wherever precious metal was found [or was rumored to have been found]. Around these tawdry palaces of pleasure and forgetfulness gathered thieves, confidence men, degenerates, and desperados. Crime and violence were commonplace, law enforcement was a constant problem.Eventually the "better element" in these boom towns formed "vigilante committees," which drove the outlaws out of town after a few summary hangings. Meanwhile, storekeepers in the towns charged outrageous prices, and claim holders were "salting" their worthless properties with nuggets in order to swindle gullible investors.
Chiracahua and Mimbreno Apache Indians under Chief Cochise, 50, and his father-in-law Mangas Colaradas held Apache Pass in Arizona with 500 warriors against 3,000 California volunteers under General James Carleton until they were forced out by artillery fire. Mangas Colaradas was captured and killed in prison. Cochise led his followers deep into the Dragoon Mountains, from which he continued raids against white settlers.
Men began cutting their hair shorter, with parts extending from the front all the way back to the nape of the neck. Some men wore pompadours. Muttonchops and beards under the chin were in vogue. Many men were wearing "sideburns" in imitation of (and named for) Union General Burnside. Women frequently wore a bun or chignon, arranged in loops and braids, with puffs, ringlets, or coils over the ears.
Americans now bathed an average of once a week.
Poet J. R. Lowell published "Washers of the Shroud"; and Charles F. Browne published Artemas Ward: His Book under the pseudonym Artemas Ward. Author and social critic Henry David Thoreau died at the age of 45.
Lydia Howard Sigourney, 71, published her banal, sticky-sweet, and very popular The Man of Uz and Other Poems.
Popular periodicals included the Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, National Preacher, Godey's Lady's Book, Ladies' Repository, Peterson's Ladies' National Magazine, Home Journal, Home Monthly, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Harper's Weekly (edited by George William Curtis), Yale Literary Magazine, Knickerbocker Magazine, Phunny Fellow, National Police Gazette, Illustrated Police News, and Scientific American.
The song "Battle Hymn of the Republic" ("John Brown's Body") by Julia Ward Howe, 43, was released (its lyrics published in The Atlantic Monthly) and was immediately popular among Union troops (as were "We've a Million in the Field" by Stephen Collins Foster, 34, "We Are Coming Father Abraham, 300,000 More" by Irish immigrant Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, 33, and James Sloan Gibbons, 52, "Hang Jeff Davis to a Sour Apple Tree," as well as the 4-year-old song "The Old Grey Mare [Get Out of the Wilderness]"). "The Bonnie Blue Flag" by Harry B. McCarthy, 27, as well as "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and "I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land" (or "Dixie") were popular among Confederate troops. The haunting love ballad "Lorena" made many Confederate troops so homesick, they deserted after hearing it. "Goober Peas!" (about peanuts) was also popular among the Confederates:
Sitting by the road-side on a summer day,Other popular songs included "Aura Lea," "Old Black Joe," "Listen to the Mockingbird," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," "Camptown Races," "Oh! Susanna," "Jim Crack Corn" (also known as "Blue Tail Fly"), "Buffalo Gals," "Old Dan Tucker," "Turkey in the Straw," and "Amazing Grace."
Chatting with my messmates, passing time away,
Lying in the Shadow underneath the trees,
Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas!
Peas! Peas! Peas! Peas! Eating goober peas!
Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas!
"Taps" was composed by Army of the Potomac Chief of Staff General Daniel Butterfield, 31.
British and Spanish troops withdrew from Mexico, where with French troops they had the year before ignored the Monroe Doctrine (with the government of the United States preoccupied with its Civil War) and had intervened to force the liberal Mexican government of Benito Pablo Juárez García, 56, there to pay its debts. French troops remained, however, because French Emperor Napoleon III, 54, intended to create a Catholic Mexican Empire as a satellite client of France.
Also continuing to ignore the Monroe Doctrine, Spain continued to govern the Dominican Republic, ostensibly to protect it from an attack by Haiti.
Nicaragua, Honduras, and San Salvador attempted unsuccessfully to form a Central American union.
A possible war between the United States and the United Kingdom had been brewing over the "Trent affair": Former U.S. Senators John Murray Mason, 64, and John Slidell, 69, more recently employed as Confederate commissioners, had the previous November been captured from the British mail packet S.S. Trent. The United Kingdom had been outraged that upstart Yankees would so offend the "Mistress of the Seas," and had been considering a declaration of war on the United States. Redcoats had even embarked for Canada, with bands blaring "Dixie." The British Foreign Office had prepared an ultimatum demanding that the prisoners be surrendered and that the U.S. issue a formal apology. Slow communications gave passions a chance to cool, however. President Lincoln began to regard the two prisoners as "white elephants" and reluctantly ordered his Secretary of State William H. Seward, 61, pictured here, to release them, thereby averting the threatening war. Reportedly, Lincoln's remark was
One war at a time.
Meanwhile, Confederate commerce raiders, which could sink Yankee ships, were being built in British shipyards, thereby making Great Britain the chief naval base for the Confederacy. The United Kingdom claimed that such construction was not a violation of official neutrality, because the shipyards were unarmed, and the new ships picked up their weapons and crew elsewhere.
The prime example was the Alabama, which escaped a British shipyard and made it to the Portuguese Azores, there taking on weapons and a crew from two British ships that had followed it. The Alabama flew the Confederate flag and was commanded by Confederate Captain Raphael Semmes and other Confederate officers, but its crew was British. The fearful ship, nicknamed the "British pirate," which never once entered a Confederate port, sank scores of Yankee merchant ships from Europe to the Far East. The Union Navy was forced to divert naval strength from its blockade to go on wild goose chases.
Many European aristocrats were openly sympathetic to the South, with its semifeudal social order. Noting the advance of General Lee's forces into Maryland in September, British Prime Minister Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, 77, wrote the following to his Foreign Minister, John Russell, 1st Lord Russell, 70(31):
The following exchange between Palmerston and Russell is quoted in Morison, op. cit., p. 652. (Close)
Washington or Baltimore may fall into the hands of the Confederates.and Russell replied:
I agree with you that the time is come for offering mediation to the United States government with a view to the recognition of the independence of the Confederates. I agree, further, that in the case of failure, we ought ourselves to recognize the Southern States as an independent state.That was on the day of the Battle of Antietam, and when Palmerston and Russell learned of it, they backed off from these plans.
Actually, workers in England and France by and large favored the North. The U.S. minister to the United Kingdom wrote the following:
The great body of the aristocracy and the commercial classes are anxious to see the United States go to pieces [but] the middle and lower class sympathize with us [because they] see in the convulsion in America an era in the history of the world, out of which must come in the end a general recognition of the right of mankind to the produce of their labor and the pursuit of happiness.(32)On the other hand, the British textile mills, employing thousands of ordinary British workers, depended on the American South for 75% of their cotton, and if the looms were silent, the workers might agitate for intervention on the side of the Confederacy. The Confederacy policy makers, in fact, counted on this hard economic need.
Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 450. (Close)
Unfortunately for the Confederacy, the British warehouses had enormous surpluses of cotton from the immediate prewar years 1857-60; there had been no immediate need to replenish inventory when the shooting started. Late in 1862, however, the inventories began to get thin. The Lancashire textile mills, for example, were forced to shut down after running out of lint from the American South. When British crops failed, the thousands of newly unemployed millhands went hungry.
But by this time, with the Emancipation Proclamation, the "wage slaves" of England were not going to favor a war on the side of Southern slaveowners. Even though they were still unable to cast votes in England, they could cast bricks (and often did) when they were unhappy with government policies. Moreover, American philanthropists in the North were sending over cargoes of foodstuffs to alleviate hunger in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.
Ultimately, the United Kingdom decided not to extend diplomatic recognition to the Confederate States of America, even though it depended on the Confederates for cotton. (It depended on the American North for grain.) The monarchs of Yankee agriculture--King Wheat and King Corn--proved more potent than King Cotton: Bountiful Northern harvests in the U.S., aided by McCormick's reaper, alleviated the effects of the poor British harvests. Here are some lines in one Yankee journal:
Wave the stars and stripes high o'er us,
Let every freeman sing…
Old King Cotton's dead and buried;
brave young Corn is King.(33)
Quoted in ibid., p. 452. (Close)
Anyway, the cotton shortage was temporary. As Union forces penetrated cotton-growing areas of the Confederacy, the North could send over cargoes of cotton, thereby alleviating the shortage of raw supplies for the textile mills. Also, cotton-growing areas of Egypt and India, responding to high prices, began to fill the demand.
The layoffs could be absorbed in another way also: The British armaments industry was booming, employing thousands of British workers and supplying deadly weapons to both sides.
After the inconclusive but very bloody Battle of Antietam, where, uncharacteristically, the Confederacy had not taken a decisive victory, and certainly after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, the tide of public opinion and government policy in the United Kingdom tended to favor the Union.
Still, many of the British aristocrats remained unfriendly to the North. The London Spectator, for example, sneered at the Emancipation Proclamation, by pointing out what President Lincoln was really up to:
The Government liberates the enemy's slaves as it would the enemy's cattle, simply to weaken them in the coming conflict.… The principle asserted is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States.(34)The ever-aristocratic London Times condemned Lincoln as "a sort of American Pope" who was destined to be "Lincoln the Last."
Quoted in ibid., p. 469. (Close)
Queen Victoria, 43, mourning the death of her husband, Prince Albert, the year before, continued her withdrawal from the public. Gilbert Scott designed the Albert Memorial in London.
A second London Great International Exhibition included a display of Japanese arts and crafts.
The English firm Crosse & Blackwell introduced canned soups.
London clerk Arthur Lasenby Liberty, 18, began working for a Regent Street merchant of oriental goods.
Parisian coachbuilder Pierre Michaux sold 142 velocipedes (prototype bicycles) from his year-old La Compagnie Parisienne Ancienne Maison Michaux et Cie.
The first Monte Carlo gambling casino opened in Monaco. Monaco sold Menton and Roquebrune to France.
Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, 47, became the Prime Minister of Prussia. He advocated the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership.
German Communist Karl Marx, 44, wrote to his old collaborator German political philosopher Friedrich Engels, 42, about German socialist Ferdinand Lassalle, 37, a member of the Communist League but with whom Marx no longer agreed and considered not a true Communist but rather a sellout to Bismarck's government:
It is now quite plain to me--as the shape of his head and the way his hair grows also testify--that he is descended from the negroes who accompanied Moses' flight from Egypt (unless his mother or paternal grandmother interbred with a nigger). Now, this blend of Jewishness and Germanness, on the one hand, and basic negroid stock, on the other, must inevitably give rise to a peculiar product. The fellow's importunity is also nigger-like.The founder of Communism apparently had racist notions typical of his age.
Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant, 34, published Un Souvenir de Solverino, reminiscing about the Battle of Solverino 2 years earlier and urging the creation of volunteer societies to help the wounded on battlefields, proposing an international relief organization: the Red Cross.
Ergotism broke out in Finland.
Tsar Alexander II of Russia, 43, attempted to win the support of the Poles (after the preceding year's demonstrations in Poland against Russian rule and the crackdown massacre that had followed) by instituting an ostensibly mild and liberal policy: the restoration of the Sejm (parliament), a separate administration and army, and official use of the Polish language--as had been the arrangement several decades earlier. Although this policy was supported by such Polish moderates as Marquis Alexander Weilopolski, it was not enough to satisfy the extreme nationalists (Reds), who demanded complete independence. After considerable disorder, the Russian government decided to draft the malcontents (especially students) into the army. Meanwhile, worried that the United Kingdom (along with France and Austria) might side with the Poles, the Russian navy deployed several ships to the high seas--including the clipper Almaz, whose crew included the musician officer Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, 18--so they would not be bottled up by the British in case of war.
King Otto I of Greece, now in his 29th year of dictatorial rule, attempted to discard the Greek constitution. A military revolt deposed him, and assassins attempted to kill Otto's wife, Amalie. Otto and Amalie were rescued by a British warship and returned to Bavaria.
British explorer John Hanning Speke, 35, confirmed that Lake Victoria was the source of the River Nile.
An English cricket team toured Australia for the first time.
French physician P. Édouard Reynaud presented his paper "Local Asphyxia and Symmetrical Gangrene of the Extremities," describing the malady that would be named for him, attributing its dire symptoms to an arrest of circulation resulting from a spasm of the arterioles.
French engineer Jean J. Lenoir constructed the first automobile with an internal combustion engine.
Scots-German astronomer Johann von Lamont, 57, discovered Earth currents; German physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz, 41, published The Doctrine of the Sensations of Tones; French physicist Jean Foucault, 43, measured the speed of light as 185,150 miles per second, an error of 0.6 percent; and English scientist William Thomson (much later to be named Baron Kelvin of Largs), 38, suggested that both Sun and Earth had been cooling for the previous million years. German scientist Theodore Bilharz died of typhus at the age of 37.
Austrian musicographer-naturalist Ludwig Ritter von Kochel, 64, published Chronologisch-thematisches Verzeichniss, cataloguing all the compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
French Realist novelist Gustave Flaubert, 41, published Salammbó; Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, 44, published Otzi i Deti ("Fathers and Sons"), introducing the term nihilism; and German dramatist Christian Friedrich Hebbel, 49, produced Die Niebelungen Trilogie, including "The Horned Siegfried," "Siegfried's Death," and "Kriemhild's Revenge."
French actress Sarah Bernhardt (née Rosine Bernard), 18, made her debut at the Comédie Française; and French novelist and poet Victor Marie Hugo, 60, residing in exile on the Isle of Guernsey, published the complex 10-volume Les Misérables. German poet Ludwig Uhland died at the age of 75, and Austrian dramatist Joyann Nestroy died at the age of 61.
Austrian painter Moritz von Schwind, 58, unveiled The Honeymoon; French Impressionist painter Édouard Manet, 30, unveiled Lola de Valence and La Musique aux Tuileries; French painter Jean François Millet unveiled Potato Planters; and French painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 82, unveiled Bain Turque ("Turkish Bath").