We the undersigned petitioners, American citizens of African descent, natives and residents of Tennessee, and devoted friends of the great National cause, do most respectfully ask a patient hearing of your honorable body in regard to matters deeply affecting the future condition of our unfortunate and long suffering race.
First of all, however, we would say that words are too weak to tell how profoundly grateful we are to the Federal Government for the good work of freedom which it is gradually carrying forward; and for the Emancipation Proclamation which has set free all the slaves in some of the rebellious States, as well as many of the slaves in Tennessee.
It’s New Market Day. The anniversary of the Battle of New Market when Confederate troops under General John C. Breckinridge drove Federal soldiers commanded by General Franz Sigel off the high ground around New Market and into retreat back down the Virginian Shenandoah Valley. It’s the anniversary of when 257 cadets from Virginia Military Institute filled a gap in the Confederate battle line and helped turn the conflict in favor of a southern victory and moment of “youthful glory.”
But this May 15 is unlike other New Market Days. The classes at Virginia Military Institute will not parade in front of the Virginia Memorial and graves of the cadets who died in 1864. No crowd will gather for a tour at New Market battlefield (though Lt. Col. Marshall did host a Facebook LIVE to mark the occasion). I am not hosting a tour or a booksigning. I’m sitting in my apartment about two and a half hours from New Market, wearing a “Field of Lost Shoes” T-Shirt, and working from home for my job.
VICTORIA! Te Deum laudamus. Te Dominum confitemur.
Laus Deo! The crisis has been past, and the most momentous popular election ever held since ballots were invented has decided against treason and disunion. My contempt for democracy and extended suffrage is mitigated. The American people can be trusted to take care of the national honor. Lincoln is reelected by an overwhelming vote. The only states that seem to have McClellanized are Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware, and New Jersey. New York, about which we have been uneasy all day, is reported safe at the Club tonight.
To tell you all that has happened since June, my own dear Cousin, would take long to write & long to read, but I will give you many items, along with the assurance that we have, in comparison with others, been truly blessed, God has cared for us & we adore His Holy Name….
…You refer to our terrible civil war. I wish so much we could talk it over together—the subject is too vast to attempt even to allude to it in the brief space of a letter. We feel here how little the subject is understood in Europe, because our political institutions have never been comprehended there. One sentiment across the water seems quite pervasive and I perceive you share in it, viz., that we cannot be a united people again. Why should we be an exception to the world’s history and to your own history in this respect? Is there bad blood between England and Scotland now? Is not Ireland united with you? How is it across the Channel? Has Louis Napoleon more devoted adherents than in Brittany? Your historians tell us there was a dead body or wounded man in every hamlet in La Vendee during the civil war that desolated in that country—where the forests were burned in order to extinguish the last haunts of the opposition…
We’ve been talking about Civil War artillery with generalized facts and processes. I approach history wanting to talk about real people, so let’s spend this blog post focusing on some Union artillery commanders. Now, full disclaimer – I’ve picked three of my favorites and three that I’ve spent some time researching. (I’m well aware that they are all eastern theater officers and perhaps we’ll circle back to the subject when I’ve had a chance to read about western theater artillerymen.)
Today, we’ll be talking about Union artillery officers Justin E. Dimick, Alonzo Cushing, and Henry DuPont…