Thursday, June 30, 2005

June 30, 1905

Deluged by bouquets tossed her way at the Lewis & Clark Exposition in Portland, OR, Susan B Anthony said:

This is rather different from the receptions I used to get fifty years ago. They threw things at me then -- but they were not roses.

June 30, 1865

Union soldier George Kryder wrote to his wife from Milledgeville, GA:

You say you guess I must bring a darky girl, if I had a chance to look around a little I could get girls who have been slaves all their life time and are just as white and as handsome as anyone could wish to see. Some of them show negro features but many of them are as white as anybody...

June 30, 1863

At Chambersburg, PA, Rachel Cormany wrote in her diary:

Quite a number of the young folks were in the parlor this evening singing all the patriotic & popular war songs. Quite a squad of rebels gathered outside to listen & seemed much pleased... "When this cruel war is over" nearly brought tears from some. they sent in a petition to have it sung again which was done. they then thanked the girls very much & left -- they acted real nicely.

June 30, 1818

Cherokee women petitioned council leaders to resist the tribe's removal to Indian Territory:

There are some white men among us who have been raised in this country from their youth, are connected with us by marriage, & have considerable families, who are very active in encouraging the emigration of our nation. These ought to be our truest friends but prove our worst enemies. They seem to be only concerned how to increase their riches, but do not care what becomes of our Nation, nor even of their own wives and children...

June 30, 1778

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

I have lived a life of fear and anxiety ever since you left me, not more than a week after your absence the Horrid Story of Doctor Franklins assassination was received from France and sent by Mr Purveyance of Baltimore to Congress and to Boston. Near two months before that was contradicted, then we could not hear a word from the Boston, and most people gave her up as taken or lost, thus has my mind been agitated like a troubled sea...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

June 29, 1944

Thomas J Hansbury, tailgunner on a B-24 bomber crew, wrote in his diary:

Today the target was Germany and because I am on plane guard this week, I was not permitted to fly at anytime this week. My crew went on this; their fourteenth combat mission, and were seen exploding over the target...

June 29, 1943

Emmett Newell, a civilian construction worker from Idaho interned at Shanghai, wrote in his diary:

Chow is really short... The doctors have found that about 80% of us have worms. they dewormed us as fast as possible. One guy coughed up one about 10 inches long.

June 29, 1883

Sister Elizabeth Fedde, deaconess of the Norwegian Relief Society in New York, noted in her diary:

To the two women who are always to be found with ale glasses. From there to Maternity Hospital, where I met two unfortunate girls...

June 29, 1871

Kansas pioneer Abbie Bright wrote in her diary:

Yesterday pm I went to Roses. Her parents and brother have just settled on a claim not far away... We had a merry ride and a pleasant call. I do like to hear Schotch people talk, although I cannot understand all they say...

June 29, 1852

On the Oregon Trail, Abigail Jane Scott wrote in her journal:

Immediately after leaving Independence rock we came in sight of the well known Devil's Gate five miles ahead of us... It is indeed a sight worth seeing... The rocks are in many places covered with names of visitors to this place a few of which were of as early date as '38 a great many were dated '50 and '51 but the majority were '52. We passed seven graves...

June 29, 1841

College student Rutherford B Hayes wrote:

I make it a rule never to seek an opportunity to speak ill of any individual, and if it is my duty to blame, to do it in as mild terms as the subject admits of...lest by frequently indulging in remarks more severe than the occasion warrants, I may contract a habit of slandering my acquaintances which will grow stronger [and] stronger till the odious practice becomes a confirmed habit which cannot be shaken off...

June 29, 1774

John Adams wrote to Abigail from York, ME:

There is in this Town and County a Laodiceanism that I have not found in any other Place... I am told that the Deacon insinuates Sentiments and Principles into the People here in a very subtle manner, a manner so plausible that they scarcely know how they come by them...

June 28, 1863

During the Siege of Vicksburg, a woman wrote in her diary:

A horrible day. The most horrible yet to me, because I've lost my nerve... For the first time I quailed... Every night I had lain down expecting death, and every morning rose to the same prospect, without being unnerved... But now I first seemed to realize that something worse than death might come; I might be crippled, and not killed. Life, without all one's powers and limbs, was a thought that broke down my courage...

June 28, 1860

During the Kiowa and Comanche campaign on the Plains, Lt Jeb Stuart wrote:

At first dawn saddle up & continue march warming some cold coffee we brought in a canteen, & after 15 miles march NE reach the long wished for arkansas. How comparative all our joys are. That stream upon which I have heaped so much abuse, appears now -- lovely & most welcome to view. Fall Leaf's rifle burst today mangling his face a good deal...

June 28, 1844

Mormon Zina Huntington Jacobs wrote in her journal:

This after noon the Bod[i]es of the Marters arived in town. I went herd the speeches m[a]de by our bretheren and Friends. They stood where Joseph last stood and addresse[d] the bretheren, or he called them sons. Went into his house for the first time and there saw the lifeless speechless Bod[i]es of the [two] Marters for the testimony which they held. Little did my heart ever think that mine eyes should witness this awful seen.

June 28, 1787

During the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin said:

The small progress we have, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those republics which, having been formed with seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist...

Monday, June 27, 2005

June 27, 1859

Charles C Post, who later became Attorney-General of Colorado, wrote during the Colorado Gold Rush:

We were very much disappointed to find so large and flourishing towns, we saw lots of men, women and children all busy and apparently as contented as people are in Decatur. What a great and sudden change, eight months ago not a single tent or habitation had here been seen on the town sites...

June 27, 1850

During debate on the admittance of California to the Union, Senator Daniel Webster said:

I am sure that everybody has become satisfied that, although California may have a very great sea-board, and a large city or two, yet that the agricultural products of the whole surface now are not, and never will be, equal to one half part of those of the State of Illinois; no, nor yet a fourth, or perhaps a tenth part...

June 27, 1836

Missionary Narcissa Whitman, en route to Oregon with her husband, wrote to family members:

I wrote Mother Loomis from the Otoe Agency. We were in still greater perplexity there, while crossing our baggage. Husband became so completely exhausted with swimming the river...that it was with difficulty he made the shore the last time. Mr Spaulding was sick, our two hired men were good for nothing; we could not obtain much assistance from the Otoes, for they were away from the village; we had but one canoe, made of skins, and that partly eaten by the dogs the night before...

Friday, June 24, 2005

June 25, 1889

Former President Rutherford B Hayes wrote in his diary:

It is past midnight, almost one o'clock. We do not expect Lucy to see the light of another sweet and lovely, as she lies unconsciously breathing away her precious life, that I feel a strange gratitude and happiness as I meditate on all the circumstances of this solemn transition we are waiting for... Should I not be full of joy and gratitude for the good fortune which gave me her? Few men in this most important relation of life have been so blessed as I have been...

June 25, 1865

Union soldier Joseph Slagg wrote from Mobile:

Some of our generals is already making speeches in favor of going to Mexico. They are trying to get the men to enlist. I think they will have to make a good speech before I am persuaded to go. There's two parties in Mexico, one for and one against Maxamilian. I don't care whether they have an emperor or president. There's two parties of them. They can fight it out like we did...

June 25, 1849

Forty-niner William P Huff, en route to California, wrote in his diary:

On leaving the pass of the Quie Pah Mountain yesterday, I saw written in pencil on a mule skull the following information: 'The Persifor F Smith Company had been 48 hours without water and lost 6 men' Whether the company had lost the six men from sickness or want of water or were lost in the search for water is [a] mystery...

June 25, 1831

Traveling through Snake Country, Hudson's Bay trapper John Work wrote in his journal:

The best hunters are out, but as usual did not see a single animal of any sort. One of the men...was under the necessity of killing one of his horses to eat. Thus are the people in this miserable country obliged to kill and feed upon these useful animals, the companions of their labors. We passed a small Indian camp, but the poor, frightened wretches fled on our appearance...

June 25, 1788

At the Virginia Convention, delegate James Innes said of the debate over ratification of the US Constitution:

I see in this house, divided in opinion, several of those brave officers whom I have seen so gallantly fighting and bleeding for their country... I thought it would be the last of human events, that I should be on a different side from them on so awful an occasion. However painful and distressing to me the recollection of this diversity of sentiment may be, I am consoled by this reflection -- that difference of opinion has a happy consequence; it aids discussion, and is a friend to truth. We ought (and I hope we have the temper) to be regulated by candor and moderation -- without which, in a deliberative body, every thing with respect to the public good evaporates into nothing...

June 25, 1775

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

My Father has been more affected with the distruction of Charlstown, than with any thing which has heretofore taken place... But in the midst of sorrow we have abundant cause of thankfulness that so few of our Breathren are numberd with the slain, whilst our enimies were cut down like the Grass before the Sythe... Many poor wretches dye for want of proper assistance and care of their wounds...

June 24, 1944

Sgt Albert McGinnis, engineer on a B-26 bomber crew, wrote in his diary:

We really caught it on my 24th mission today. Paris was the target... Flak started flying about 15 miles before the target... 1st box lost four ships right off. We had to go through the same thing... I looked around me and every ship had an engine throwing smoke... When we finally got to the target, there wasn't but three of us... ours was the only one whose engines weren't smoking...

June 24, 1863

Confederate soldier Jedidiah Hotchkiss wrote to his wife:

[D]ay before yesterday our infantry, for the first time in the war crossed the Pa. line & invaded the old 'Keystone,' frightening the Dutch out of their senses, they confidently expected us to burn every thing and lay waste the country and they thought we would be justified in so doing -- but when they found us doing all things decently...they were rejoiced to get off so well & set before our men any quantity of the good things... It was one of the most amasing sights I ever saw to see the broadclothed gentry coming in & bringing saddles, bridles &c & making a pile of them in the square for the use of the Rebels -- this land is full of every thing...

June 24, 1845

Mormon police chief Hosea Stout wrote in his diary:

This morning before day I got up and went to the [Nauvoo] temple to see to the guard and when I got there I was informed that one of the Hodges was murdered. I went to the place and found it to be so; he had been knocked down and then stabbed four times in his left side with his own knife...

June 24, 1836

William Fairfax Gray wrote in his diary:

After a most unpleasant ride, reached Gettysburg this morning about 2 o'clock. No stage to take us on to Baltimore...and a surly, disobliging tavern keeper. Told us there was no chance of getting on until 5 o'clock the next evening. So here are the fifty-two hours exhausted, and I am still thirty odd miles from Baltimore, and not likely to reach it for twenty-four hours yet to come...

June 24, 1827

Jedediah Strong Smith wrote in his diary while crossing the Great Salt Desert:

I started verry early in hopes of soon finding water. But ascending a high point of a hill I could discover nothing but sandy plains or dry Rocky hills... When I came down I durst not tell my men of the desolate prospect ahead, but framed my story so as to discourage them as little as possible. I told them I saw something black at a distance, near which no doubt we would find water...

June 24, 1826

In his final letter, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Roger Chew Weightman, mayor of Washington, DC:

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God...

June 24, 1813

Thomas Jefferson wrote to his son-in-law, John Wayles Eppes, on incurring national debt:

It is a wise rule and should be fundamental in a government disposed to cherish its credit, and at the same time to restrain the use of it within the limits of its faculties, "never to borrow a dollar without laying a tax in the same instant..." [T]he term of redemption must be moderate, and at any rate within the limits of their rightful powers. But what limits, it will be asked, does this prescribe to their powers? What is to hinder them from creating a perpetual debt?...

June 24, 1788

Debating ratification of the US Constitution at the Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry said:

With respect to that part of the proposal which says that every power not granted remains with the people, it must be previous to adoption, or it will involve this country in inevitable destruction. To talk of it as a thing subsequent, not as one of your unalienable rights, is leaving it to the casual opinion of the Congress who shall take up the consideration of that matter. They will not reason with you about the effect of this Constitution. They will not take the opinion of this committee concerning its operation. They will construe it as they please...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

June 23, 1945

Participating in a US government hunger experiment, conscientious objector Lester Glick wrote in his diary:

Today it's four years since I was recruited into alternative service. It's not a day to celebrate... I'd rather read recipe books. Last Saturday my favorite professor Doc Wittmer from Goshen came to entertain me with a nature hike. What a bore to identify plants when what I wanted to do was to eat them, not name them.

June 23, 1944

During the Russian Shuttle Raid, Major Marvin Bowman of the 100th Bombardment Group wrote:

Main group remained at Kharkov. This evening our two planes able to fly left Mirgorod and flew to Kirovograd, about 100 miles southwest of Mirgorod. Spent the night at a big Russian training field -- was royally entertained by three Russian generals and the whole post for that matter. Big dance given for the Americans along with a concert and all the trimming.

June 23, 1919

On his way home from the war in Europe, Pfc Bill Schira wrote in his diary:

Rained like hell today. Boat is going slow, one engine is broken down entirely the large gear in the other one has 11 cracks in it. Got a bloody nose fooling with Culver. This dam tub is rocking so much I can't write. I hope I will be discharged & home by July 4th...

June 23, 1918

Clayton Sherwood, an American soldier in France, wrote in his diary:

Gas and artillery action [has occurred] here on this front in last few days, gas launched by Americans. Big gas attack credited to Canadians early in spring was launched by Americans working with them, 30th Engineer[s,] as one of them told me. Biggest of war.

June 23, 1880

Crossing Idaho, Frank Stevens wrote in his Oregon Trail diary:

William Goldsby thought he would go on to a house which we saw on the other side of the creek, to find out which road to take. When he arrived near the house he thought it had a deserted appearance, and when coming to the door he saw a notice on the door... The house was a new one -- probably built last year, and looked as though its owner had money. His bedstead, with bed on it, stood there and other things appeared to be as he left them. The thing looked very mysterious to us; we could not tell what to make of it. It looked as though there had been foul play there...

June 23, 1863

Union soldier William Christie wrote from Vicksburg:

I have come to the conclusion that Immitation and habit are the motive powers in the Present age, of the world, if it were not so we would have a different class of men at the Head of affairs: or more properly speaking a Representitive man; that would get us out of the various difficulties that the Nation; and this world at large, is at Present Plunged intoo. We assuredly need such an one...

June 23, 1852

Oregon pioneer Martha Freel wrote to her aunt in Iowa:

First of all I would mention the sickness we have had and I am sorry to say the deaths. First of all Francis Freel died June 4, 1852, and Maria Freel followed the 6th, next came Polly Casner who died the 9th and LaFayette Freel soon followed, he died the 10th, Elizabeth Freel, wife of Amos died the 11th, and her baby died the 17th. You see we have lost 7 persons in a few short days, all died of Cholera.

June 23, 1831

Miss Fuller, a teacher at the Etowah Mission in Cherokee Georgia, wrote to Samuel Worcester:

Last evening, about 6 O'clock, Col. Nelson called on me, inquired for Mr Thompson... Mr Thompson was absent -- of course I told him so. He then told me that as he found me here situated as I am, he should not occupy this house the next night, but with much assurance added, 'We shall occupy it tomorrow night,'... He then remarked that they considered it their privilege to occupy these abandoned places; spoke of being somewhat troubled for forage for his horses, and intimated that what was growing on these places belonged to them...'for,' said he, 'we consider them as intrusions upon our state'...

June 22, 1912

Angry at political hijinks by conservatives during the Republican National Convention, Theodore Roosevelt said:

No people is wholly civilized where a distinction is drawn between stealing an office and stealing a purse.

June 22, 1863

En route to Gettysburg, a Confederate soldier wrote:

Left this morning at 8 o'clock... got to Green Castle at half past one. Eleven miles to-day. The people seemed downhearted, and showed their hatred to us by their glum looks and silence, and I am willing to swear that no prayers will be offered in this town for us poor, ragged rebels.

June 22, 1856

Kansas pioneer Axalla Hoole wrote to his sister:

Some of the men b[r]ought out by Buford are acting rascally. They are robbing and plundering and don't always confine themselves to Abolitionists, but rob and plunder everyone that falls in their way. They came for nothing else...

June 22, 1810

Traveling along the Missouri River in North Dakota, botanist John Bradbury wrote in his diary:

I observed the preceding days a sufficient number of buffaloes to induce me to credit the hunters in their reports of the vast numbers they had seen; but this day afforded me ample confirmation. Scarcely had we ascended the bluffs of Heart River, when we discerned herds in every direction... five were killed before noon. Mr Crooks joined me in remonstrating against this waste; but it is impossible to restrain the hunters, as they scarcely ever lose an opportunity of killing, if it offers, even although not in want of food...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

June 21, 1866

Mark Twain wrote from Honolulu:

Hon. Anson Burlingame, US Minister to China, and Gen. Van Valkenburgh, Minister to Japan, with their families and suites, have just arrived here... Mr B sent for his son, to introduce him -- said he could tell that frog story of mine as well as anybody. I told him I was glad to hear it for I never tried to tell it myself without making a botch of it...

June 21, 1865

Demas Barnes wrote in his diary:

I had not deemed it a great undertaking for another to cross the continent overland, but when I sit here midway, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, the habits of my life changed -- all connection with the accumulated interests of many years of toil suspended, social ties sundered, kind friends and loved ones far behind me, with rugged hills, parched deserts, and lonely wastes far, far ahead, I do feel it is a great undertaking for me -- for any one...

June 21, 1864

Dr David Warman, a surgeon at Fort Monroe, wrote in his diary:

Busy as a bee all day. Nurses ain't good for much and I had to dress a large part of the wounded myself. Don't feel a bit well -- have every symptom of chills and sure enough, before night-time, I began to shake... Confound the chills! I thought I was proof against them here, but some of the malarial germs from old Morrisville must have been lurking in my system and a little overwork has developed them again...

Following the CSS Alabama's fatal battle with the USS Kearsarge, Captain Raphael Semmes wrote:

The ship filled so rapidly...we were evidently on the point of sinking. I now hauled down my colors to prevent the further destruction of life, and dispatched a boat to inform the enemy of our condition. Although we were now but 400 yards from each other, the enemy fired upon me five times after my colors had been struck, dangerously wounding several of my men. It is charitable to suppose that a ship of war of a Christian nation could not have done this intentionally...

June 21, 1622

Sir Francis Wyatt, governor of Jamestown, issued a series of proclamations, including:

Whereas that grevious Custome & great abuse of prophayning & takeing the name of God in vaine...being [the] greatest cause of pulling downe the wrath of God upon is therefore ordered that evrie Master of a family shall have a ferrular made which shalbe kept in his house to Correct evrie one of his servants soe offending...

June 21, 1619

The Treasurer and Counsel for Virginia wrote to Governor George Yeardley:

[W]e have with great joy understood of your safe arrivall in Virginia, and of your firme resolution to reforme those errors which have formerly been comitted. One chiefe whereof hath byn the excessive applying of Tobacco, and the neglect to plant corne...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

June 20, 1780

General George Washington wrote to Congress:

Besides the embarrassments I have mentioned above and upon former Occasions there is another of a very painful and humiliating nature. We have no shirts from the best enquiry I can make to distribute to the Troops when the whole are in great want and when a great part of them are absolutely destitute of any at all... For the troops to be without cloathing at any time is highly injurious to the service & distressing to our feelings, but the want will be more peculiarly mortifying when they come to act with those of our Allies...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

June 19, 1942

Oregon's Earl Snell, attending an annual governor's conference, said:

We are the only state in the Union over which enemy planes have flown and on which enemy bombs have been dropped, and we don't like it.

June 19, 1863

Confederate spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow wrote, in a letter to Alexander Boteler:

You will I am sure be glad to know that all things prospered here according to my wishes I saw the President this morning and he affords me every facility and and in carrying out my mischief...

June 19, 1862

Martha White Read of Augusta County, VA, wrote to her husband, a Confederate soldier:

I believe that God leads Jackson, and Jackson his men, just where it is best they should go. My only fear is that people are in danger of worshiping Gen Jackson instead of God, who rules over all. If we idolize him, he will be taken from us...

Friday, June 17, 2005

June 18, 1976

Dr Mitchell Zavon, who worked for the Ethyl Corporation, wrote in a memo:

At present, the epidemiological work has amply demonstrated an association between high exposures to VCM...and an increase in angiosarcoma of the liver, brain and lung tumors...

June 18, 1945

In the Philippines, US Army Corporal Robert Webber wrote in his diary:

About noon a patrol brought in a Jap prisoner. They questioned him and then turned him over to the Guerillas. The Filipinos beat the hell out of him and then a couple of Replacements like myself shot him. I couldn't force myself to watch it and still feel like it was murder... After the boys pumped 30 slugs into him there wasn't much left of him. I feel that the guys that shot him did the wrong thing. They should have let the Filipinos finish him off...

On Okinawa, American citizen Takashi Yogi wrote in her diary:

We spent a long day in our shallow hole. Then we found a drainpipe and moved to it.

June 18, 1918

Lt Ed Lukert of Philadelphia wrote to his wife from France:

We were all subjected to several different kinds of [gas] today, with and without masks...It sure is horrible stuff, honey.

June 18, 1891

Former president Rutherford B Hayes said, in a commencement address:

Beware of the old bigot who sets up as a heresy hunter. He is empty of all good... I hope there will he no heresy taught under this roof or any of these roofs. But if there is, I hope no man will be so foolish as to waste his time trying to find it or making it popular by persecuting it. The best antidote for heresy is not doctrinal or dogmatic teaching or preaching but earnest, affirmative, heartfelt Christian work.

June 18, 1864

At Tuskegee, AL, Fanny Wallace wrote in her diary:

We were all thrown in quite a state of excitement by the confusion caused by our landlord getting into a spree. He was in a dreadful way, breaking up china, etc and illtreating his wife. We are anxious to get away and regret the incident as we have been pleasantly situated but as these freaks are becoming quite frequent we will soon leave...

June 18, 1863

Union officer Thomas Martin wrote to his mother from Virginia:

[W]e halted to see the execution of a deserter... the minister shapes his hand and says a parting word and the prisoner is seated on his cofin his eyes bandaged, and his fine broad chest uncovered, the officer in charge takes off his hat the soldiers aim, he drops his hand and crash goes every piece, with a bound the prisoner jump from his cofin, falls back, and is no more, forward march, and we move on...

June 18, 1799

Thomas Jefferson wrote to William Green Mumford:

To preserve the freedom of the human mind...and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will, and speak as we think the condition of man will proceed in improvement...

June 18, 1788

Anti-federalist William Grayson said, during a debate at the Virginia Convention:

As this government is organized, it would be dangerous to trust the President with such powers. How will you punish him if he abuse his power? Will you call him before the Senate? They are his counsellors and partners in crime. Where are your checks? We ought to be extremely cautious in this country. If ever the government be changed, it will probably be into a despotism...

June 17, 1918

William Livergood, an American soldier in France, wrote:

[W]e got on the train again and went up to a town by the name of Langon. They split us up. the bunch I was with went out over the hill to a French farmer barn. they throw some straw down on the ground floor. we layed down there a while. I was thinking about the States and wondering what the Germans wanted France for. I am sure I didn't want any of it...

June 17, 1864

Union soldier Samuel McClain wrote to his wife from Annapolis, MD:

I expect I'll have to wait on til I come home to get buiskets & butter & I'll wait on til I get home for the women...for I can't get any here to suit me, for their eyes are all to sore from some sorce or other. You understand, they come into camp to often to be healthy. They peddle milk and everything else that the soldiers wants. Negro & white women all mixed togather...

June 17, 1785

Thomas Jefferson, then Minister to France, wrote to Congressman James Monroe:

[A trip to France] will make you adore your own country, it’s soil, it’s climate, it’s equality, liberty, laws, people and manners. My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy. I confess I had no idea of it myself...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

June 16, 1870

Jedediah Hotchkiss wrote, in a letter to his family from Lexington, VA:

I am a full convert to open fires again -- I have felt so much better, every way, since using them & shall surely 'turn out' the Latrobe as Ma desires -- In fact I wish you would open & use the fire place at once, only firing up the 'heater' when very cold -- I think you would all be benefitted by it...

June 16, 1865

Captain EJ Brooks wrote to former Union spy Sarah Thompson:

Your letter of may 22nd came to me last eve and was a very pleasing surprise to me many times I have wondered where in the wide earth you were since I saw you last summer or fall at this place and all that I could learn was that you had gone north...

June 16, 1864

At Staunton, VA, civilian Joseph Addison Waddell wrote in his diary:

It is said the Yankees shot one man and hung another in Lexington. Reported that Crook or Averell brought off Dr. Creigh a prisoner from Lewisburg, and when they got to Rockbridge hung him and left his body suspended to a tree... Every thing looks like a tornado had swept the country, and left the stillness of death in its track...

June 16, 1863

At Chambersburg, PA, Rachel Cormany wrote:

We almost came to the conclusion that the reb's had left again leaving only a small guard who took things quite leasurely. Soon however they became more active. Were hunting up the contrabands & driving them off by droves. O! How it grated on our hearts to have to sit quietly & look at such brutal deeds-- I saw no men among the contrabands -- all women & children. Some of the colored people who were raised here were taken along-- I sat on the front step as they were driven by just like we would drive cattle. Some laughed & seemed not to care--but nearly all hung their heads...

June 16, 1838

The Reverend Evan Jones, a Baptist missionary, wrote about the Indian removal then underway near Cleveland, TN:

The Cherokees are nearly all prisoners. They had been dragged from their houses and encamped at the forts and military places....houses were left as prey to plunderers, who, like hungry wolves....strip the helpless, unoffending owners of all they have on earth. Females...are driven on foot before the bayonets of brutal men. Their feelings are mortified by vulgar and profane vociferations. It is a painful sight.

June 16, 1792

Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette:

A sect has shewn itself among us, who declare they espoused our new constitution, not as a good & sufficient thing itself, but only as a step to an English constitution, the only thing good & sufficient in itself, in their eye...They get some important associates from New York, and are puffed off by a tribe of Agioteurs which have been hatched in a bed of corruption made up after the model of their beloved England. Too many of these stock jobbers & king-jobbers have come into our legislature, or rather too many of our legislature have become stock jobbers & king-jobbers...

June 16, 1775

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

We now expect our Sea coasts ravaged... Necessity will oblige Gage to take some desperate steps. We are told for Truth, that he is now Eight thousand strong. We live in continual expectation of allarms... Every Town is fill'd with the distressd inhabitants of Boston -- our House among others is deserted, and by this time like enough made use of as a Barrack...

June 15, 1904

Fire destroyed the steamer General Slocum on the East River in New York; more than 1,000 people were killed, mostly women and children on a church outing. From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

There was no possibility of order anywhere. Women, children and men became panic stricken. The tragedy did not take more than half an hour in its enactment and the first fifteen minutes were death dealing. Seen from the shore the spectacle was one to be remembered for a life time...

June 15, 1882

From the Lawrence Western Home Journal of Kansas, following the lynching of three black men accused of killing a white man:

We deplore mob law under all circumstances, but if there ever was a case that was justifiable this is one of them.

June 15, 1857

Johnson County pioneer George Hildt wrote in his diary:

Election day in Kansas Great excitement One Tennessean floored five men in about two minutes bowie knives & revolvers were drawn but were not used fighting swearing and rowing kept up until sundown...I did not expect to see such a crowd in Kansas Scarcely a man could be seen who had no arms and they appeared to want to show them...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

June 14, 1971

After the first installment of the Pentagon Papers was published, Attorney General John Mitchell warned the New York Times via phone and telegram against further publication; meanwhile, HR Haldeman told President Nixon:

But out of the gobbledygook, comes a very clear can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say; and you can’t rely on their judgment; and the...implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the President wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the President can be wrong.

June 14, 1953

During a commencement speech at Dartmouth College, President Dwight D Eisenhower said:

Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don't be afraid to go into your library and read every book...

June 14, 1944

B-24 bombardier Captain William Cetin wrote, following a mission to Emmerich, Germany:

On the return trip, a B-17 came in on a head-on attack. We opened fire on it and after fooling around for a while, it headed back for Germany. It was presumed that it was a 'Jerry' ship.

June 14, 1862

Union soldier Calvin Shedd wrote, in a letter to his family from Fort Jefferson, FL:

[L]ife is very uncertain here at the best strong men are taken sick & in two or three days are put in the sand Someone dies most every day they die in the forenoon & are buried in the afternoon in a pine Coffin...wind the Stars & Stripes around them and put them in a Boat fire a Volly & tote them over to Bird Key...we forget them as soon as they are out of sight. the Army is the death of all human feelings...

June 14, 1807

Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Norvell:

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowlege with the lies of the day. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live & die in the belief, that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

June 12, 1944

Thomas J Hansbury, a member of the US Eighth Air Force, wrote in his diary:

Today flack shot up Lt Grace, which was very heavy and very accurate. He could not make it back to England but landed at our new airfield in France, only two days old. Ten days sooner and he and his crew would have been POW in German hands...


In the Mediterranean, sailor George Butenschoen wrote in his diary:

Hauled about 250 wounded again today. Had one woman sniper in the bunch. She said she got 8 airborne troops before they got her & was proud of it. There’s about every kind of people in Europe coming in as prisoners, even some Japs.


Almost a week after D-Day, Coast Guard crewman Clifford Lewis wrote in his diary:

[A]bout six of us went ashore in a Higgins boat. The beach was a turmoil of activity and was strewn with twisted wreckage of landing craft and vehicles... We walked to the top of the hill being careful not to fall in somebody's foxhole and turned to look out over the vast panorama of ships. Ships of all shapes, sizes and descriptions as far as the eye could see...

June 12, 1871

Kansas pioneer Abbie Bright wrote in her diary:

This is the third week I am housekeeping, and in that time there has been but one woman here besides myself. No church, no parties, a wild Indian sort of a life. Plenty of time to commmune uninterrupted with Nature, and Nature's God. I like it, but if some one said I must stay here always, then I fear I would not.

June 12, 1865

Young Sarah Raymond, crossing the Plains with her family, wrote in her diary:

We stood by the graves of eleven men that were killed last August by the Indians. There was a sort of bulletin-board about midway and at the foot of the graves stating the circumstances of the frightful tragedy...

June 12, 1863

Confederate soldier Van Buren Oldham wrote in his diary:

Saw a man shot today for desertion... He appeared calm and self-possessed. Expressed his willingness to die. He was said to have been a desperate character. How severe is military law.

June 12, 1860

Kansas pioneer Julia Louisa Lovejoy wrote in her diary:

We are now dwellers in a cozy little cabin 12 by 16 feet, built of unhewed logs, the interstices, daubed with clay...aside from the annoyances of mice, and other troublesome vermin, that by right of 'pre-emption,' & 'pre-occupancy' infest our quiet retreat, we should find ourselves, very pleasantly situated...

June 12, 1837

Abolitionist Angelina Grimke wrote, in a letter to Catherine Beecher:

The only difference I can see between the original man-stealer, who caught the African in his native country, and the American slaveholder, is, the former committed one act of robbery, while the other perpetrates the same crime continually...

June 11, 1864

Union Corporal Valorus Dearborn wrote in his diary:

Crossed the Ford at Sunrise...Passed through Chancellorsville and on to the Wilderness. Here is a sight one scarce beholds. The roadside is strewn with decayed bodies. If any doubt the bravery of our boys let them visit this place...

June 11, 1862

Captain Andrew Jackson Grover, of the 76th New York, wrote:

On either side, as we passed along down the river, a panorama of beauty greeted our eyes...The principal object of interest, of course, was Mount Vernon, the home of the revered Washington. All eyes eagerly scanned the shore for miles before we reached it. As we passed, we could see only the central portion of the building, and could catch only the slightest view of the tomb. We felt more than we saw...

Friday, June 10, 2005

June 10, 1945

An American serviceman in France wrote:

Went to church tonite. I was delighted again to see colored and white boys worshipping together. I sure hope some of the principles of democracy learned in the army will carry on after the war...

June 10, 1866

William Addison Bushnell, a member of the California Volunteers, wrote in his diary:

After experiencing considerable delay in getting over the Bar at the mouth of the river, we found ourselves in the open water of the Gulf of California. We were five days coming down the gulf. Under different circumstances the trip would have been one to be remembered a lifetime, with pleasure. As it was, we cannot soon forget it...

June 10, 1863

Richard Welling Burt, a Union soldier, wrote from Vicksburg, MS:

This is the 23rd day of the siege, and now while I sit in my tent writing...the balls of the rebel sharpshooters are whistling over my head...we pass away the time reading the news in the latest northern papers...some of the boys indulge in a game of 'Seven up' or 'Euchre.' A day or two since some of them were thus engaged, when a rebel ball came along through the tent and barked the thumb of one of them, when he concluded to let some one else play out his hand...

June 10, 1861

Alex Cressler wrote to Henry A Bitner from Chambersburg, PA:

Sabbath approached finding our citizens in a state of uproar & confusion, cars were running an screaming - men were working wagons were moving through our streets from morning till night and citizens [were] on a continual parade. truly such scenes, such sabbaths, and such times, were never before ours to behold...

June 10, 1859

In Nebraska en route to California, John W Powell wrote:

We visited Chimney Rock. We were there some three hours viewing it and playing yuker up on it some two hundred feet from the base... It is all formed of soft sand stone. There are hundreds of names out on it. The most of them are washing out. I left mine on this and Courthouse...

June 10, 1853

Headed west on the Oregon Trail, Julia Newton Wood wrote:

Saw plenty of Indians. Fine, noble-looking fellows they were, too, and very neat. Their tents are made of tanned buffalo skin terminating in a point at the roof... Feel very sad. Every day we throw something away in order to lighten our load. Expect to part with our stove. We shall then have no facilities for cooking.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

June 9, 1783

John Adams wrote, in a letter to Abigail:

Regard the Honour and moral Character of the Man more than all other Circumstances. Think of no other Greatness but that of the soul, no other Riches but those of the Heart. An honest, Sensible humane Man, above all the Littlenesses of Vanity, and Extravagances of Imagination, labouring to do good rather than be rich, to be usefull rather than make a show, living in a modest Simplicity clearly within his Means and free from Debts or Obligations, is really the most respectable Man in Society...