"There never can be a true peace in this Republic until…"

At the May 1863 meeting of the newly formed Woman’s National Loyal League, Lucy Stone reminded the members that while women did not yet have the vote, they had what the U. S. Constitution guarantees to all citizens, the right to petition the government.

The League’s other speakers likened them all to the women of the Revolution who “were not wanting in heroism and self-sacrifice.” They made emancipation their first priority by approving:

Resolution 5: There never can be a true peace in this Republic until the civil and political rights of all citizens of African descent and all women are practically established.

Nine months later, in Feb. 1864, the League’s first 100,000 signatures were delivered to Sen. Charles Sumner in two trunks. Each contained a scroll of the amendment petitions glued end to end. He accepted the petitions with his speech “The Prayer of 100,000.” The League helped to delivery another 300,000 signatures to the Senate and the House, confirming that emancipation had ever-widening popular support and must be an outcome of the Union victory.

Before war’s end, their signatures, combined with other voices and pressure from Lincoln, persuaded the U.S. Senate (April 8, 1864) and the House of Representatives (Jan. 31, 1865) to pass the proposed Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. It was ratified by enough states to become law in December 1865.

Facts to fiction:

Read an excerpt of Jennifer Wilke’s historical novel-in-progress, The Color of Prayer,

inspired by these historical facts and Edwin Lybarger’s Civil War diaries.

Dr. Rose saved great-grandfather’s leg

with special thanks to Jim Schmidt for his guidance in matters of Civil War medicine and avoiding the caricatures of Army surgeons. See his blog on Civil War medicine: http://www.civilwarmed.blogspot.com.

Dr. Francis M. Rose, surgeon of the 43rd OVI, saved my great-grandfather Edwin Lybarger’s leg, if not his life, after he was shot by a minie ball at the Battle of Corinth on Oct. 4, 1862.

Dr. Rose was assistant surgeon to the 43rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry from late 1861. By April 1862, two months after the regiment left Ohio to fight in Missouri, he became the head surgeon, and served in that capacity for the duration of the war. He mustered out with the 43rd on July 13, 1865. After the war, my great-grandfather included Dr. Rose’s photograph in his album.

The 43rd OVI and three other regiments of the Ohio Brigade defended Battery Robinet at the (2nd) Battle of Corinth. Edwin was shot in the knee at 11:00 a.m. on Oct. 4, 1862. His diary records that he was soon taken from the field to an Army hospital in Corinth. The immediate attention of Dr. Rose helped to save Edwin’s leg from amputation. Spared any deadly infections, Edwin spent two months in a Paducah, Kentucky hospital convalescing and rejoined his regiment in early 1863. Although my great-grandfather’s life was spared, the other 8 Company K men wounded at Corinth all eventually died of their wounds.

The Western Army’s medical department, under the direction of Dr. A. B. Campbell, Surgeon, USV, Medication Director of the Army of the Mississippi was well-organized in advance of the battle for treating wounded soldiers as soon and as efficiently as possible near the battlefront. Robert E. Denney’s 1995 Civil War Medicine: Care & Comfort of the Wounded, includes excerpts of Dr. Campbell’s reports:

“In anticipation of an engagement with the enemy on October 3d . . . I selected the large building recently constructed for a commissary department, as the place best protected by the nature of the ground and the safest for hospital purposes. The men furnished by the quartermaster worked expeditiously, and everything was prepared, medicines, instruments, costs and buckets of water were ready before the first wounded man was brought in.

Oct. 3, 1862: It became evident, in a short time, that the building, although a very large one, would be altogether too small for their accommodation. I then took possession of the Tishomingo Hotel and of the Corinth House . . . All of the surgeons worked diligently . . . and by six o’clock the wounded were all comfortably disposed of and their wounds dressed.

Oct. 4, 1862: At three o’clock in the morning I was ordered to remove all the wounded to Camp Corral, and by six o’clock a.m. they were all collected into the new hospital. The ambulances then went to the scene of the action to bring off those recently fallen . . . I found upon the railroad platform a large number of tents, which I took and used. The battle ceased just before noon, and by night all the wounded were under shelter, provided with cots, and their wounds dressed.”

"No regiment had a hotter place than the 43rd Ohio at Corinth."

The 2nd Battle of Corinth, Oct. 3-4, 1862

On Oct. 3rd, Col. John Fuller’s Ohio Brigade, including the 43rd OVI, arrived at Corinth, Mississippi after fighting had ceased for the day. They waited all night on the hill surrounding Battery Robinet for the battle to resume at daylight. The Confederates, amassed in the woods at the bottom of the hill, opened artillery fire before first light.

The fierceness of the battle on Oct. 4th was vividly summarized in Col. Fuller’s official report of his brigade’s impassioned defense of Battery Robinet: “…and every rebel who showed his head above the parapet of the fort, or attempted to enter it by the embrasures, got his head shot off.”

The battle was searingly remembered 52 years later by participant John H. Rhodes, then captain of the 43rd’s Company K, writing to Edwin Lybarger, then a sergeant in Company K. Shot in the knee, Lybarger was one of nine Company K men wounded that day, and the only one to survive his wounds.

“No regiment had a hotter place than the 43d Ohio at Corinth.”

At the reunion of Fuller’s Brigade held at Marietta, Ohio on Sept. 10, 1885, Edwin Lybarger delivered an address recounting the battle and the brigade’s role in the Union victory:

The battle of Corinth, fought Oct. 3d and 4th, 1862, was perhaps one of the most sanguinary, as well as one of the most decisive, battles in which the Ohio Brigade participated.

Our line of battle covering the town on the morning of Oct. 4th was that of a semi-circle, protected on the right flank by Forts Powell and Richardson and on the left by batteries Robinet and Williams. The 43rdOhio was on the left of Fuller’s Ohio Brigade, with the right resting against Robinett and the left extending to the railroad cut under the guns of battery Williams, and almost at right angles to the main line of battle.

Before daylight on the morning of the 4th the enemy opened fire with shell and shot from a field battery in front of Robinet and not more than three hundred yards distant. This battery was soon disabled, or at least silenced by our heavy guns, and one of the pieces subsequently hauled in by the 63d Ohio. After which everything was quiet until about 10 o’clock a.m., when the enemy made an impetuous and almost simultaneous attack along our entire line with the evident expectation of carrying every thing before him.

The 43d Regiment was so situated, the ground descending to the right, that we could look over the whole field. The left and center of the enemy emerging from the woods before and a little in advance of his right we had the opportunity, for a few minutes, of witnessing one of the most terrific scenes of blood and carnage that it was my lot to behold during the war.

The rebel lines massed in columns, moved forward with the steadiness, if not the precision of regiments at drill, whilst one of the most destructive and terrible fires over delivered on the field of battle, was being poured from artillery and musketry straight into their faces. The shell and shot from our batteries plowed through their ranks, making great gaps, literally mowing men down by hundreds, still their formation was preserved, their broken ranks quickly closed up, and on, on they come! But we who had been watching this scene from the left had not long to gaze upon so grand a panorama of war, for our attention was soon called to our immediate front. A desperate charge was coming and a determined effort to capture Robinet immediately followed.

The 43d changed front, on first company by a right half wheel, and gained the crest of the hill before the enemy, and poured a most effective and destructive fire into the advancing columns. It was the 43d and 63d Ohio that received the severest shock of this fierce onset, which was so promptly met and handsomely repulsed by the Ohio Brigade. The enemy was hurled back at this point into the woods in disorder only to reform and renew the attack with still greater vigor and determination.

The second assault was led by a brigade of the steadiest infantry of Price’s army, commanded by the brave and impetuous Col. Rogers, of Texas, who at the head of the assaulting column waving his word and encouraging his followers, fell dead under the very mouths of the guns of Robinet. I have always regretted that so intrepid a soldier, though a dangerous enemy, was doomed to die; and I doubt very much indeed if ever greater bravery or daring was displayed upon the field of battle by any Field Marshal of France, under the eye of the great Napoleon than was exhibited by Col. Rogers in his assault on Robinet, not excepting McDonald at Austerlitz, or the indomitable Ney, whose heroism attested on a hundred hard-fought fields, earned for him the proud distinction of “the bravest of the brave,” and who led the Old Guard in its last charge at Waterloo.

The fighting in front of Robinet was desperate in the extreme. Many of the gunners from the 1st Infantry were disabled, and when the canon ceased to belch forth its leaden hail, it was soldiers from captain Spanglers’ Co. A, 43rd Ohio who sprang into the fort, and assisted in manning the guns until the close of the struggle. It was during this last assault, and near its close, that the gallant 11thMo. Went into action and rendered such material aid. The terrific fire delivered from our musketry and the deadly missiles hurled in such rapid succession from our heavy guns soon settled the matter. No human courage could long withstand such fearful carnage as our guns were making, and again the enemy was compelled to fall back; this time in utter rout and disorder.

The loss of life on our side at this point, if not as great as that of the enemy, was very severe. The 43d Regt., according to my own diary, lost ninety-seven men in killed and wounded, but according to Comrade David Auld (now of Cleveland, Ohio) was one hundred and twenty-three. Comrade Auld was on the field from the beginning to the close of the engagement in the capacity of stretcher-bearer, and claims to have made an actual count of our loss, and his statement I consider entitled to great credit.

Among the gallant souls who fell that day was the accomplished and lamented Col. J. L. Kirby Smith, “whose sword shone as brightly and whose plume waved as proudly” on the field of battle as that of any soldier of the Army of the Mississippi.

The contest was sanguinary and raged fiercely on every part of the field. So terrific, indeed, was the onslaught on the right and center that our first line appeared to waver and give back and the elated rebels pressed forward, entered the suburbs of the village where they were promptly met by the reserves who sent them staggering to the rear. Being thus met and repulsed at every point, the enemy retired from the contest and retreated with his torn and bleeding columns, and decimated ranks, leaving his dead upon the field, and victory perching upon the stars and stripes.

Such is the idea I then had, and still have, of the battle of Corinth, without regard to historians or information from any source except my own diary; and whilst I would not knowingly detract one iota from the glory that belongs to every regiment that composed the Army of the Mississippi, I nevertheless, most confidently assert, that no regiment of that magnificent army had a hotter place, or maintained its position more courageously and heroically than the 43d Ohio at Corinth, nor was there any regiment of Stanley’s division whose casualties were half as great, except the 63d Ohio whose loss exceeded ours.

"I guess he has not accomplished very much, and good riddance."

Confederate raider John Morgan and a thousand cavalry invaded and raced across Ohio in July of 1863. The account of his capture that was published in the Mt. Vernon Republican, a weekly newspaper, gives hearty contradiction to the opinion that Ohioans were terrified of the brazen marauder:

Capture of Morgan and the Remains of his Band

These are the particulars of the closing scene of John Morgan’s great steeple chase through the Buckeye State. On Saturday evening, July 25, at Springfield, the militia were stationed on a hill overlooking a road which Morgan was expected to traverse. A regiment of Pennsylvania infantry, under command of Col. Gallagher, were posted on some rising ground with orders to prevent Morgan’s passage. The houses were closed, doors and windows locked and barred, and women and children stampeding into the country with whatever portable property could be carried along. The men who had weapons and courage turned out to resist the progress of the dreaded rebel.

In a short time the expected rebels made their appearance around a bend in the road. On catching sight of the infantry, they halted and turned their horses’ heads in another direction. Before they could get out of the trap they found themselves in, Major Way, with 250 men of the 9th Michigan Cavalry, dashed among them. The rebels made but a brief resistance.

Morgan himself was riding in a carriage drawn by two white horses. He jumped out, leaped over a fence, seized a horse and galloped off as fast as horse-flesh, spurred by frightened heels, could carry him. In the buggy was found his “rations,” of a loaf of bread, some hard boiled eggs, and a bottle of whisky, along with several thousand dollars in stolen Greenbacks.

Morgan and the remainder of his scattered forces pressed three citizens of Salineville into their service as guides, and continued their flight on the New Lisbon Road. On Sunday, July 26, by two o’clock in the afternoon, the rebels were driven to a bluff. Thus cooped, Morgan concluded that “discretion was the better part of valor,” and came down gracefully, he and the more than 350 remaining in his gang surrendering to Col. Shackleford. Nearly 400 spent horses were also captured.

Morgan’s men were poorly dressed, ragged, dirty and badly used up. They were very much discouraged at the result of their raid, and the prospect of affairs generally, but Morgan himself appeared quite unconcerned at his ill luck, giving him a most fitting resemblance not to an errant knight of the confederacy but to the madman he has proved himself to be.

Thus is the termination of the thieving Morgan raid and the commencement of Prison Life for its heartless perpetrators. Its end bespeaks the lasting gratitude of the patriotic people of Ohio to the heavenly rains that swelled the Ohio River beyond its fords and bridges, trapping the raiders among the Buckeyes, who are ever vigilant and loyal to the greatness of the Union.

In the words of one loyal witness to Morgan’s capture, “I guess he has not accomplished very much, and good riddance.”

~ ~ ~ ~

An excerpt of THE COLOR OF PRAYER, a novel

based on the Civil War diaries of Edwin Lybarger:

Near the end of the week, Papa told them the raiders had crossed into Muskingum County, only sixty miles away. Sophronia feared that Morgan could ride that distance in a single day. But Papa asked them to think of one good reason why the raiders would bother riding north when their only hope of escape was to the south. When they couldn’t think of any, he got them smiling again when he suggested that it might be time for Sophronia and Josephine to have new summer dresses.

The next afternoon, Sophronia sent Mama and Josephine to the Mercantile for the dress yardage, promising to be pleased with anything they chose for her. She liked having the house to herself. After she took the berry pie out of the oven and carried it on the windowsill to cool, she sat by the open window to read her novel while the bread dough finished rising. The heroine Fanny, disguised as a pirate to free her kidnapped lover, had just brandished her sword to fight the pirate ship’s captain.

The kitchen door burst open.

“This is a raid,” a harsh voice called out. “Give us that pie.”

Sophronia’s heart stopped. Two figures loomed in the doorway in riding boots and gray, hooded cloaks. She couldn’t make out their faces. As the first one stepped across the threshold, she threw her book at him.

“Ow,” the victim hollered. “Criminy, Phrone.” Holding his head he stumbled back and the other intruder caught him.

Their hoods fell and she saw Jeremy and Mordecai Jessup dressed up like Confederate raiders. Jeremy was only fourteen, but thin as a rail and tall as any man, and the younger Mordecai was nearly his brother’s height. They made believable raiders. Her heart still thudding, anger found her tongue.

“That’s the meanest thing,” she scolded, “scaring me on purpose. Shame on you.” She retrieved her book from the floor, annoyed to have lost her place.

“He’s hurt,” Jeremy said.

Blood trickled through Mordecai’s fingers and dripped onto his cheek. Sophronia’s first thought was that it served him right.

“Put your head back, Mordecai,” she ordered, pointing to the rocker. “Sit.” She pulled a tea towel from the rack and folded it for a bandage. “Let me see.”

Mordecai lifted his hand away, his eyes never leaving her face. The cut on his forehead was shallow and nowhere near his eye, but it was several inches long and a bleeder. She pressed the towel down on it and raised Mordecai’s bloodied hand.

“Press it down,” she said.

“You didn’t have to kill him,” Jeremy said. “We just wanted a piece of pie.”


The Union Army licensed the "public women" of Smokey Row

From The Story the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell: Sex in the Civil War, by Thomas P. Lowry, MD. (Stackpole Books, 1994):

In Nashville, Tennessee, “public women” practiced prostitution in Smokey Row, an area two blocks wide and four blocks long. For three-quarters of a mile on either side of Spring (now Church) Street, every shack or building along Front, Market, College, and Cherry (now First, Second, Third, and Fourth) Streets was a house of ill fame. In the census of 1860, 207 women listed their occupation as “prostitute.” Eighty-seven were illiterate, 198 were white and 9 mulatto. The youngest was 15, the oldest 59; mean age was 23.

On March 12, 1862, Andrew Johnson arrived as military governor of Tennessee. With the presence of 30,000 Union soldiers in the vicinity, venereal disease soon spread. Several doctors advertised dispensaries for treating “private diseases.”

Union Lt. Col. George Spalding, 18th Michigan, was provost marshal to keep order in Nashville. In 1863, he proposed:

1. That a license be issued to each prostitute, a record of which shall be kept at this office, together with the number and street of her residence.

2. That one skillful surgeon be appointed as a Board of Examination, whose duty it shall be to examine personally, every week, each licensed prostitute, giving certificates of soundness to those who are healthy and ordering into hospital those who are in the slightest degree diseased.

3. That a building suitable for a hospital for the invalids be taken for that purpose, and that a weekly tax of 50 cents be levied on each prostitute for the purposes of defraying the expenses of said hospital.

4. That all public women found plying their vocation without license and certificate be at once arrested and incarcerated in the workhouse for a period of not less than 30 days.

Prostitute Licence for Anna Johnson, dated Nov. 24, 1863, in Nashville, Tennessee, signed by Provost Marshal Lt. Col. George Spalding. (National Archives)

As of April 30, 1864, 352 women were licensed, and 92 infected women had been treated in the new facility created for this problem. By early summer, licensing was extended to “colored prostitutes.”

The examinations were required every 14 days, later shortened to every 10 days. Those who passed were issued a certificate. Those who failed were sent to Hospital No. 11 (“the Female Venereal Hospital,” or “Pest House”), in the former residence of the Catholic bishop on Market Street, just north of Locust Street. The doctor assigned to the hospital was Surgeon R. Fletcher, US Volunteers. The matron, nurse, and cook are colored women. The provost marshal furnished guards, under orders to admit no one, under any pretext. The guards also enforced the rule prohibiting profane language; offenders were given solitary confinement. When women were cured they were “returned to duty.”

In a letter dated Aug. 15, 1864, Dr. Fletcher wrote:

“After the attempt to reduce disease by the forcible expulsion of the prostitutes had, as it always has, utterly failed, the more philosophic plan of recognizing and controlling an ineradicable evil has met with undoubted success.”

The Union Army also ran Hospital No. 15, with 140 beds for soldiers with venereal diseases, in a 3-story brick building near Summer Street, that had been a school before the war. In the 1860’s, antibiotics weren’t available. The remedy for syphilis in 1865 was salts of mercury, leading to the saying, “A night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury.”

Nashville remains America’s first experiment with legalized, regulated prostitution.

The Prayer of 100,000

In 1863, women in America could not vote, but every U.S. citizen had the Constitutional right to petition Congress for a “redress of grievances.” The Woman’s National Loyal League, at Lucy Stone’s urging, collected signatures on an Emancipation Petition requesting the U.S. Congress to abolish slavery by Constitutional Amendment.

Signed petitions from each state were rolled up separately in yellow paper, and tied with the red tape, with the number of men and women who had signed endorsed on the outside. On Feb. 9th, 1864, the first 100,000 signatures, in two trunks, were carried by two black men to Sen. Charles’ Sumner’s desk on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

At Sen. Sumner’s request in Jan. 1864, the Senate had established a Committee on Slavery and Freedmen. His remarks in accepting the first installment of the petitions came to be called “The Prayer of 100,000.”

From the Congressional Record:

Mr. SUMNER: Mr. President: I offer a petition which is now lying on the desk before me. It is too bulky for me to take up. I need not add that it is too bulky for any of the pages of this body to carry. This petition marks a stage of public opinion in the history of slavery, and also in the suppression of the rebellion. As it is short I will read it:

“To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States. The undersigned, women of the United States above the age of eighteen years, earnestly pray that your honorable body will pass at the earliest practicable day an act emancipating all persons of African descent held to involuntary service or labor in the United States.”

This petition is signed by one hundred thousand men and women, who unite in this unparalleled number to support its prayer. They are from all parts of the country and from every condition of life. They are from the sea-board, fanned by the free airs of the ocean, and from the Mississippi and the prairies of the West, fanned by the free airs which fertilize that extensive region. They are from the families of the educated and uneducated, rich and poor, of every profession, business, and calling in life, representing every sentiment, thought, hope, passion, activity, intelligence which inspires, strengthens, and adorns our social system. Here they are, a mighty army, one hundred thousand strong, without arms or banners; the advance-guard of a yet larger army.

But though memorable for their numbers, these petitioners axe more memorable still for the prayer in which they unite. They ask nothing less than universal emancipation; and this they ask directly at the bands of Congress. No reason is assigned. The prayer speaks for itself. There is no reason so strong as the reason of the heart. Do not all great thoughts come from the heart?

I ask the reference of the petition to the Select Committee on Slavery and Freedmen.

After earnest discussion, the measure was referred as Mr. Sumner proposed. The Thirteenth Amendment passed in the Senate on April 8, 1864 but did not pass the House of Representatives until Jan. 31, 1865. On Dec. 6, 1865, the amendment was approved by the necessary majority of 27 states and became law.

~ ~ ~ ~

Facts to fiction:

Read an excerpt of Jennifer Wilke’s historical novel-in-progress, The Color of Prayer,

inspired by these historical facts.

Sundry hints for drinking water

Excerpts from The 1862 Army Officer’s Pocket Companion; Principally Designed for Staff Officers in the Field, by William P. Craighill, 1862.

Precautions against Thirst. — Drink well in the morning before starting, and nothing will the halt; keep the mouth shut; chew a straw or leaf, or keep the mouth covered with a cloth; all these prevent suffering from extreme thirst. Tying a handkerchief, well wetted in salt water, around the neck allays thirst for a considerable time.

To Purify Water that is Muddy, Putrid or Salt. — With muddy water, the remedy is to filter; with putrid, to boil, to mix with charcoal, or expose to the sun and air, or what is best, to use all three methods at the same time. With salt water, nothing avails but distillation.

To Filter Muddy Water. — When at the watering place there is nothing but wet sand, take a good handful of grass, and tie it roughly together in the form of a cone, six or eight inches long; then dipping the broad end into the puddle and turning it up, a streamlet of partly-filtered water will trickle down through the small end. For a copious supply, the most perfect plan, if you have means, is to bore a cask full of auger holes, and put another small one, that has had the bottom knocked out, inside it, then fill up the space between the two with grass, moss, &c. Now sinking the whole in the midst of the pond, the water will filter through the auger holes and moss, and rise up clear of, at least, weeds and sand, in the inner cask, whence it can be ladled. With a single cask, the lower parts of the sides may be bored, and alternate layers of sand and grass thrown in, till they reach above the holes; through these layers the water will strain. Or any coarse bag, that is kept open with hoops, made on the spot, may be moored in the muddy pool, by having a heavy stone put inside it, and will act on the same principle, but less efficiently, than the casks. Sand, charcoal, sponge, and wool are the substances most commonly used in filters; peat charcoal is excellent. A small piece of alum is very efficacious in purifying water from organic matter, which is precipitated by the alum, and a deposit left at the bottom of the vessel.

Putrid Water should always be boiled with charcoal or charred sticks before drinking, as low fevers and dysenteries too often are the consequencies of its being used indiscreetly, but the charcoal entirely disinfects it; bitter herbs, if steeped in it, or even rubbed well about the cup, are said to render it less unwholesome, The Indians plunge a hot iron into putrid and muddy water.

When carrying water in buckets, put a wreath of grass, or something floating on the top of the water, to prevent splashing; and also make a hoop, inside which the porter walks, while his laden hands rest on the rim, the office of the hoop being to keep the buckets from knocking against his legs.

~ ~ ~ ~

Fact to fiction in The Color of Prayer

Read an excerpt of Chapter 20, The Sergent In Missouri with the Army of the Mississippi in April 1862, Edwin Lybarger has been promoted to 2nd sergeant in Company K, 43rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Ohio Brigade, and leads his first command in search of drinkable water.