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Volume 28, No. 10
Editor: Stephen L. Seftenberg

President’s Message

Baffled on how to win a beautifully framed authentic signature of Lew Wallace author of “Ben Hur” or an actual copy of a Civil War Era newspaper? Buy a raffle ticket at the October or November meeting. The autograph is valued at $250.00 and the newspaper $50.00 to $75.00. The drawing will be in November at our monthly meeting. Thank you Craig Freis for your generous donation of these two items.

Gerridine LaRovere, President

October 14, 2015 Meeting

Our tireless Treasurer, Robert Krasner, will bring to our attention the The Presidency of U. S. Grant and His Voyage Around the World. Grant’s term in office was not a happy one and ended with his popularity at an all-time low. The Round-the-World trip Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant, took, between May 1877 and September 1879, in which he visited England, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Ireland, India, Burma, Siam, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and Japan, rescued Grant’s popularity and encouraged him to try unsuccessfully for a third term.”

September 9, 2015 Meeting

“Hot Off the Press!” was the topic of the September meeting. Craig Freis brought in over forty copies of actual Civil War Era newspapers. They provided an interesting and fascinating program. Members were asked to find articles about politics, famous people, social events, foreign affairs, President Lincoln, and ads.

One of the most interesting papers were the morning editions on the day that Lincoln was assassinated. The next day’s editions offered a stark contrast. Even the lines separating the columns were bolded in heavy black.

Members read aloud articles about Seward’s wired jaw (before the Lincoln assassination occurred), stock fraud, local election results in New Jersey, and war news. Some of the articles were difficult to read due to the small size of the print and the way that words were phrased at that time. On the human interest side was the problem of “semi-detached” wives -- women who were not giving their all in return for food and shelter.

Advertisements offered an interesting glimpse into life during the War. In the October 28, 1861 edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper there was available for sale, “The Pictorial History of the War of 1861.” It was touted as “invaluable to Families for in its magnificently illustrated pages, even children can trace the course of events, while as a Work of Reference for all classes, its value and importance must increase with every year.”

Samples of ads:

Murray Eddy & Co. Lotteries! Authorized by the States of Kentucky and Missouri. Draw daily in public, under the superintendence of Sworn Commissioners. Prizes vary from $2.50 to $100,000.Tickets from $2.50 to $20!

Three Popular Lectures, adapted to the times [1861] on the Poetry, Romance, and Humor of War. Park Benjamin, 24 West Seventeenth Street, NYC.

Beadle’s Military Hand-Book. Embracing the Official Articles of War, U.S. Army Regulations, a Dictionary of Military Terms, Pay List, Rations, Equipments, Courtesies, etc. Price 25 cts.

Eliot’s Pocket Revolver. A most powerful arm, which can be carried constantly about the person without inconvenience or danger. Retail Price Plated with 100 Cartridges, $10.00. Blued $9.50.

Tiffany & Co. Late Tiffany, Young & Ellis. Fine Jewelry, Precious Stones, Watches, Silver Ware, Bronzes, Clocks, Rich Porcelain Articles of Art and Luxury. No. 550 Broadway, NY

Toward the end of the War there were many ads for artificial limbs in New York. The shops were between 400 and 600 Broadway.

Important Events just before, during and just after October, 1858-1866

1858 – Nationally known Sen. Stephen A. Douglas jousted with local politician, Abraham Lincoln, in seven debates that raised Lincoln to national prominence.

1859 – Kansas votes to ratify an anti-slavery constitution. Radical abolitionist John Brown and 18 armed men in a doomed raid on the Federal Arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia [now West Virginia].

1860 – In a three-way campaign between Lincoln (Republican), Douglas (Democrat) and John C. Breckinridge (Southern Democrat), the issues are reduced to slavery and sectionalism. The split-up of the Democratic Party guarantees Lincoln’s electoral college victory in November despite the fact that he gets no electoral votes from the future Confederate States of America and a minority of the total vote. Secession comes in December.

1861 – October 3: the governor of Louisiana bans the export of cotton to Europe to place pressure on European nations to recognized the Confederacy. October 9: a Southern attack on Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, near Pensacola, is rebuffed. October 14: President Lincoln orders Gen. Winfield Scott to suspend the writ of habeas corpus from Maine to Washington. October 21: The North suffers a disastrous defeat at Ball’s Bluff in which Col. Edward Baker (Sen. Oregon), a friend of Lincoln, is killed. October 24, Lincoln sends orders relieving Gen. John Frémont, who had attempted to free the slaves in the area of his command. October 31: Gen. Scott retires and the next day, 34-year old Gen. George B. McClellan assumes command.

1862 – Richmond, Virginia: October 1: Following issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Richmond, Va., Whig’s editorial says, “It is a dash of the pen to destroy four thousand millions of our property, and is as much a bid for . . . insurrection with the assurance of aid from the . . . United States.” October 11: The Confederate Congress passes a controversial law exempting anyone who owns 20 or more slaves from service, giving rise to the expression, “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.” Western Theater: October 2-5: Vicious fighting starts in Columbia, Mississippi, flows to Corinth as the Southern forces retreat and ends at Hatchie River, Tennessee. October 8: Although the pivotal battle of Perryville, Kentucky, is technically a Southern victory, the end is that Gen. Braxton Bragg (CSA) is compelled to retreat. Eastern Theater: October 9: Near Chambersburg, Virginia, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart (CSA) and 1800 Southern cavalry ride completely around Gen. McClellan’s inactive Army of the Potomac. November 1: Gen. Benjamin Butler frees all slaves “not known to be the slaves of loyal owners.” Washington, D. C.: October 25: In response to a communication from Gen. McClellan about his army’s “sore tongued and fatigued horses,” Pres. Lincoln asked, “Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?” The next day, McClellan crosses the Potomac into Virginia. However, this does not save his command, as he is replaced by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside on November 5.

Chickamauga1863 – Western Theater: Following the horrific Northern defeat at Chickamauga, salvaged by George H. Thomas, “the Rock of Chickamauga,” the Federals are cooped up in Chattanooga facing possible starvation as Confederate cavalry cut the supply lines into Chattanooga, October 2 - 18. When Thomas replaces Gen. William S. Rosecrans, he declares, “We will hold this town until we starve.” Gen. Grant now commands everything West of the mountains and is ordered to Chattanooga. October 24: Grant arrives and orders that the “cracker line” be opened, restoring the confidence of his troops, and supplies began to trickle in. October 28: Longstreet’s effort to cut the “cracker line” fails with heavy casualties on both sides. October 30: The USS Chattanooga arrives in Chattanooga with 40,000 rations and tons of feed. The siege is broken. November 4: On Pres. Davis’ orders, Gen. Bragg sends 20,000 men, including Longstreet’s corps and Wheeler’s cavalry to Knoxville. Grant will not weaken his forces and plans to attack as soon as Sherman arrives.

Eastern Theater:
October 10: Gen. Lee begins an advance toward Washington. October 14: A P Hill’s attack near Bristoe Station, Virginia fails. Southern casualties exceed 1,900 while Northern casualties are only 548. November 7: A Northern bayonet attack near Kelly’s Ford, Virginia, costs the South 2,023 dead and captured, forcing Lee to retreat to the line where the so-called “Bristoe Campaign” began back on October 10. Washington, D. C.: November 9: Pres. Lincoln attends a play called The Marble Heart, starring John Wilkes Booth.

1864 – Eastern Theater: Siege of Petersburg: September 29, Grant captures Fort Harrison. September 30-October 2: Southern forces fail to recapture Fort Harrison, near Petersburg, suffering 2,500 dead and wounded and 300 captured, vs. Northern losses of 2,685, and Grant advances another three miles westward. The siege grinds on consuming men and material. October 27: Grant’s effort to close the supply lines to Petersburg fails, costing 1,194 killed and 564 missing. Southern casualties are not recorded, a sign of the South’s deepening disorganization.

SheridanValley Campaign: October 1-7 – Gen. Phil Sheridan reports to Grant that his men have burned 2,000 barns, destroyed in excess of 700 flour mills, driven off 4,000 head of livestock and killed over 3,000 sheep. He adds, When we are through, the area between Winchester and Staunton “will have little in it for manor beast.” October 9 – Custer’s cavalry soundly thrash the Southern cavalry, capturing over 300 prisoners. October 19 – Jubal Early launches surprise attack at Cedar Creek. Sheridan, however, was ten miles away in Winchester, Virginia. Upon hearing the sound of artillery fire, Sheridan raced to rejoin his forces. He arrived just in time to rally his troops. Early’s men, however, were suffering from hunger and began to loot the abandoned Union camps. The actions of Sheridan (and Maj. Gen. Horatio Wright) stopped the Union retreat and dealt a severe blow to Early’s army. Northern casualties (5,665) are nearly double Southern casualties (2,910), but the North can afford to bleed the South. Western Theater: Gen. John Bell Hood continues his delusional efforts to take Nashville and Franklin, virtually destroying his army in the process. October 23: the North wins the Battle of Westport, Missouri, ending the last serious threat to Northern control of Missouri. Naval: October 7 – USS Wachusett traps and captures the CSS Florida in a Brazilian port over futile Brazilian protests. National: October 19 – Lt. Bennet H. Young (CSA) and escaped Confederate prisoners loot St. Albans, Vermont, robbing $200,000 from the town’s banks but fail to burn the town and escape back to Canada. October 20 – Pres. Lincoln formally establishes Thanksgiving as a national holiday. November 8 – President Lincoln, buoyed by the “soldier vote” (119,754 to 34,26) handily defeats the Democratic candidate, George McClellan, 212-21, getting 55% of the votes and losing only Delaware, Kentucky and New Jersey. 

1865: October --President Andrew Johnson paroles Vice President Alexander Stephens and four other top Confederate leaders and proclaims an end to martial law in Kentucky. November – Mississippi adopts the first of the postwar “Black Codes” by which the South moves to restrict the opportunities of blacks. Capt. Henry Wirz (CSA), commander of Andersonville, is hanged.

1874: October – White Southerners regain control of Southern state governments, marking the end of Reconstruction. The U. S. Attorney General states that “the whole public are tired of these annual autumnal outbreaks in the South,” and refuses to call out the U. S. troops to defend the blacks.

Last changed:  10/07/15

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