Wednesday, August 31, 2005

September 1, 1917

In France, American soldier Stull Holt wrote:

[A] big gas shell went off within 20 ft of me. Something hit me on the head, making a big dent in my helmet and raising a bump on my head... I was dazed, knocked down and my gas mask knocked off. I got several breathes of the strong solution right from the shell before it got diluted with much air...

September 1, 1864

Atlanta merchant Samuel P Richards wrote in his diary:

This was a day of terror and a sight of dread. About noon came the tidings of a severe fight on the Macon RR and that our forces were worsted and the city was to be evacuated at once. Then began a scramble among the inhabitants thereof to get away -- others to procure supplies of food for their families. If there had been any doubt of the fact that Atlanta was about to be given up it would have been removed when we saw the depots of Government grain and food thrown open, and the contents distributed among the citizens free gratis, by the sackful and the cartload...

September 1, 1843

PT Barnum wrote to Moses Kimball :

I am grieved vexed and disappointed [to] hear of the sickness and death (for I know she will die) of the Ourang Outang. D--n the luck -- I have puffed he[r] high and dry -- got a large transparency and a flag 10 [x] 16 feet painted for her -- besides newspaper cut and now curse her -- she must up foot and die...

September 1, 1779

Dr David Ramsey wrote to W Henry Drayton:

Most people expect the enemy here in October or November, and yet we are half asleep... You know the importance of Charlestown; it is the vinculum that binds three States to the authority of Congress. If the enemy posses themselves of this town, there will be no living for honest whigs to the southward of Santee; at present, nothing is wanting to put them in possession of it, but vigor and activity on their part. A spirit of money-making has eaten up our patriotism...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

August 31, 1896

Experimenting with gliders at the Indiana Dunes, Octave Chanute wrote in his diary:

Herring cut down 3-winged machine to two surfaces - 135 sq ft. Took a number of leaps, the longest 97 ft, and found machine stable and well able to support weight in a 15-mile northerly wind...

August 31, 1864

Joseph Addison Waddell of Augusta County, VA, wrote in his diary:

A number of persons who ran off from this region to avoid military service, after the repeal of the law allowing substitutes in the army, and went to the northern States, have recently returned... War and peace men quarreling and ready to fight among themselves -- carrying guns to preaching, and sitting down to their meals with arms beside them. Provisions very scarce, owing to a total failure of the wheat and corn crops... Have been rather depressed in regard to the means of living. My income will not near cover necessary expenses, and I now have no property I can readily sell to raise means...

August 31, 1793

From an article in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

On Thursday last, a schooner, commanded by Capt Mitchel, on her passage from [Baltimore] to Choptank, was overset by a sudden squall of wind... She had the following persons on board, viz. Mrs Bloch and her infant, about 8 months old, Mr John Wilby, Mr Thomas Thomas, and Elias Brown, son of Mr Jacob Brown, about 11 years of age...the Captain, 2 hands and a negro boy... Mrs Bloch on getting out of the cabin handed her infant to Mr Thomas. But the waves running very high he was instantly washed overboard with the child in his arms, and obliged to let the child go in order to save himself...

Monday, August 29, 2005

August 30, 1900

From an article in Iowa's LeMars Sentinel:

The affair grows out of a rumpus the two ladies had about ten days ago when Mrs Dallenbach went to the McArthur place and gathered a large quantity of plums. Mrs McArthur ordered her off the place...and a violent altercation ensued between the ladies and complimentary epithets were freely used. It is alleged that in the squabble...a revolver was forthcoming from a satchel which Mrs McArthur carried in her hand and that Mrs Dallenbach secured possession of the weapon and used it as a club. Another version is that Mrs Dallenbach got the revolver away from Mrs McArthur and threw it into the bushes, telling a lad who was with her to go and get it while she attended to her opponent with a buggy whip. The case will be thoroughly aired tomorrow probably...

August 30, 1888

From an article in Washington's Blaine Journal:

Prof Menzie's trial came off in Victoria on the 21st, and he was convicted as charged, of the crime of procuring... The crime consisted in telling two Chinese that they could be legally married in their own way, after every Christian minister in Victoria had refused to perform the ceremony, and at least two of them had advised such a course. The Journal believes that Prof Menzies is innocent of any criminal intent or action in the case, and hopes he will be able to clear himself entirely.

August 30, 1864

From an article in Virginia's Richmond Sentinel:

The case of Messrs Pollard & Elmore, charged with being concerned in the late duel, was again before the county court yesterday. The court gave its decision on the question raised as to whether Dr Peticolas should be compelled to testify, he having declined upon the ground that his evidence might criminate himself. The decision of the court was that the witness 'was bound to testify.' Dr Peticolas still respectfully declining to testify, the court issued an order for his committal to jail...

August 30, 1861

An item published in Virginia's Richmond Dispatch:

Five negroes, free and slaves, were apprehended Wednesday night by the watch while having a social gathering in the Lancastrian School House with dancing and other pleasing diversions. Being brought before the Mayor yesterday, they were ordered to be whipped.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

August 29, 1861

Mary Boykin Chesnut of South Carolina wrote in her diary:

Women who come before the public are in a bad box now. False hair is taken off and searched for papers. Bustles are 'suspect.' All manner of things, they say, come over the border under the huge hoops now worn; so they are ruthlessly torn off. Not legs but arms are looked for under hoops, and, sad to say, found. Then women are used as detectives and searchers, to see that no men slip over in petticoats. So the poor creatures coming this way are humiliated to the deepest degree...

August 29, 1860

In Colorado, Captain Lambert Bowman Wolf wrote in his diary:

I visited Bent's Fort and saw his scalped messenger... He is a pitiable sight... His hair was all gone, less a small strip behind his right ear. The tomahawk wound on the top of his head was nearly healed up, a thin gauzy skin had grown over the scalp part... He remarked that when well he would lift some of their hair...

August 29, 1857

Georgia slave Vilet Lester wrote to her former mistress:

Since I Left Randolph...I went to Rockingham and Stad there five weaks and then I left there and went to Richmon virgina to be Sold and I Stade there three days and was bought by a man by the name of Groover and braught to Georgia and he kept me about Nine months and he being a trader Sold me to a man by the name of Rimes and he Sold me to a man by the name of Lester and he has owned me four years and Says that he will keep me til death Siperates us...

August 29, 1835

Edgar Allan Poe wrote to Maria Clemm:

I am blinded with tears while writing this letter - I have no wish to live another hour. Amid sorrow, and the deepest anxiety your letter reached - and you well know how little I am able to bear up under the pressure of grief... My last my last my only hold on life is cruelly torn away - I have no desire to live and will not... I have been dreaming every day & night since of the rapture I should feel in [havin]g my only friends - all I love on Earth with me there, [and] the pride I would take in making you both comfor[table] & in calling her my wife. But the dream is over [Oh G]od have mercy on me. What have I to live for? Among strangers with not one soul to love me...

August 29, 1795

From a notice published in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

Public Notice is hereby given, that during the month of September next, attendance will be given at my office of Inspection at Windham...for the purpose of receiving of all possessors of taxable Carriages who reside within said county their entries of such Carriages and the duties required thereon, in and by an act of the Congress of the United States, dated the fifth day of June, 1794, entitled, An act laying duties upon carriages for the conveyance of persons. All possessors of such Carriages are cautioned against neglecting their duty herein, as they would avoid the penalty in said act provided...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

August 28, 1913

From an article in Iowa's Hinton Gazette:

While crossing a small bridge about two miles south of town Sunday evening, a team driven by William Kansig became frightened at a passing automobile and jumped into the ditch overturning the buggy and occupants. Mr Kansig was accompanied by his wife and baby and sister and was returning from Sioux City. The baby and young lady were badly bruised but fortunately none of the party were seriously injured...

August 28, 1861

Kansas farmer Samuel Reader wrote to his brother:

A few days ago I sent you a copy of the NY Day Book... I have read the despicable sheet for several years without receiving any harm or being converted to Slavery & I hear that this evening I have received my last one. I am not so great a friend to the editor as to cry much but at the same time I do not favor suppressing such papers. Argument is the thing necessary in such cases...

August 28, 1860

An item published in the Leavenworth Daily Times:

A woman disguised in man's clothes, gained admittance to the Sons of Malta lodge room in Hartford, [KS] the other evening, and passed all the several degrees of initiation successfully until the worshipful commander came to apply the emblem. Then the trick was discovered, the candidate being found unworthy to receive it. The affair has caused considerable excitement.

August 28, 1852

Abigail Jane Scott, traveling to Oregon in a wagon train, wrote in her diary:

Two months and seven days this morning since our beloved mother was called to bid this world adieu, and the ruthless monster death not yet content has once more entered our fold & taken ln his icy grip the treasure of our hearts! Last night our darling Willie was called from earth, to vie with angels around the throne of God; He was buried to-day upon an elevated point, one hundred and fifty feet above the plain in a spot of sweet seclusion...

Friday, August 26, 2005

August 27, 1896

From an article in Iowa's LeMars Sentinel:

Last Saturday Mrs Amsler...bought a rooster at a meat market... While she was decapitating the fowl...somebody told a neighbor, Mrs Karley, that Mrs Amsler was killing one of her (Mrs Karley's) chickens. Mrs Karley...accused Mrs Amsler of stealing her chickens. Then and there followed a passage at the tongue's end that made the atmosphere burn as these women hurled hot words at each other that fairly sizzled as they flew through the air. Mrs Amsler had Mrs Karley arrested for defamation of character and for using language that was unbecoming the peace and dignity of the city of LeMars and derogatory to the good morals of the public. The case came off before Mayor Brown Tuesday afternoon... The evidence brought out the language used in the controversy in the alley, but as it was hot enough to melt the type in the hands of the printers, and the Sentinel does not want to have any of its printers burn their hands the language will not be recited in the paper...

August 27, 1865

Eliza Frances Andrews of Georgia wrote in her diary:

Mr Adams, the Methodist minister, launched the thunders of the church against dancing, in his morning discourse... I could not help being amused when Mr Adams placed dancing in the same category with bribery, gambling, drunkenness, and murder... I saw some of the good brethren on the 'amen' benches turn their eyes upon me. I was sitting near the pulpit, under full fire, and half-expected to hear him call me 'Jezabel'... I wish we had an Episcopal Church established here to serve as a refuge for the many worthy people who are not gamblers and murderers, but who like to indulge in a little dancing now and then.

August 27, 1735

Colonist Patrick Tailfer wrote to the Georgia Trustees:

We, all having land in your colony of Georgia...find that it is next to an impossibility to do it without the use of Negroes. For in the first place, most part of our white servants not being used to so hot a climate can't bear the scorching rays of the sun in the summer...without falling into distempers which render them useless for almost one half of the year. Second, there is a great deal of difference betwixt the expense of white servants and Negroes, for Negroes can endure this climate almost without any clothes...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

August 26, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln wrote to James C Conkling:

You are dissatisfied with me about the negro... I certainly wish that all men could be free, while you, I suppose, do not... I suggested compensated emancipation; to which you replied you wished not to be taxed to buy negroes. But I had not asked you to be taxed to buy negroes, except in such way as to save you from greater taxation to save the Union exclusively by other means... You say that you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively, to save the Union... Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time then for you to declare you will not fight to free negroes...

August 26, 1861

Confederate soldier Clinton Hatcher wrote to Mary Anna Sibert:

You ask if I do not think a just God will forgive those who kill the enemies of the South. I believe we need no forgiveness for ridding the earth of such... I think I could say like Pendleton after pointing his guns, 'God have mercy on their sinful souls, and may this volley kill a thousand; fire boys.' Indeed I long to begin the march to Washington...

August 26, 1776

Thomas Jefferson wrote to Edmund Pendleton:

To make [Senators] independent, I had proposed that they should hold their places for nine years, & then go out (one third every three years) & be incapable for ever of being re-elected to that house. My idea was that if they might be re-elected, they would be casting their eye forward to the period of election (however distant) & be currying favor with the electors, & consequently dependant on them. My reason for fixing them in office for a term of years rather than for life, was that they might have in idea that they were at a certain period to return into the mass of the people & become the governed instead of the governor which might still keep alive that regard to the public good that otherwise they might perhaps be induced by their independance to forget...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

August 25, 1874

As reported in the Memphis Public Ledger:

Every night several skiffs, loaded with 'boys and girls' are pulled over to the Hopefield sandbar, and a regular Long Branch bathing is indulged in. The screams and laughter of the mixed crowd awake the echoes on both sides of the mighty river. It is rumored that the bathing suits are of the Garden of Eden pattern. There are some queer and fast people residing on this Chickasaw Bluff.

August 25, 1853

Wisconsin settler Mons Grinager wrote to his family in Norway:

My intention is to stay here until fall, having hired out for four months at $10 per month. These are poor wages for the summer season, but those who do not understand the language are not well paid by the Americans. Furthermore, a newcomer knows almost as little about the methods of work as he does about the language. Everything here is done so quickly and with such effective implements that it is quite astounding...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

August 24, 1887

From an item published in the Freeborn County Standard:

Constable Potts, at Des Moines, found a keg of beer in the barn of Thos Hardy, and though it was not claimed it was for sale but held for consumption...a warrant was issued for Hardy's arrest. Potts met his man on the street in conversation with a friend, read the warrant, and commenced firing, hitting Hardy twice, whose wounds may prove fatal, and seriously wounding a passerby. The constable is in jail.

August 24, 1857

From a letter to Mary Anna Sibert of Augusta County, VA:

I am litterly out of snuff and know not where to go or what to do. 'Mary Anna let us have a Dipp' 'Well' and here would come the old thing slipping up to the tub, what pleasure that was!...

August 24, 1855

Abraham Lincoln wrote to Joshua Speed:

How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except Negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocracy...

August 24, 1775

Mercy Otis Warren wrote to Catharine Macaulay:

The great Council of America have once more petitioned His Majesty to devise some...Reconciliation. This is a final proof with what Reluctance the progeny of Britain draw forth the sword against their unnatural parent. Both the Ministerial & the American army seem at present to be rather on the defensive as if each were wishing for some Benign Hand to interpage and heal the dreadful contest without letting out the blood from the bosom of their Brethren.

Monday, August 22, 2005

August 23, 1864

Ten-year-old Carrie Berry of Atlanta wrote in her diary:

We feel very comfortable since we have moved but Mama is fretted to death all the time for fear of fire. There is a fire in town nearly every day. I get so tired of being housed up all the time. The shells get worse and worse every day...

August 23, 1814

Dolley Madison wrote to her sister:

My husband left me yesterday morng to join Gen. Winder... I have since recd two despatches from him, written with a pencil; the last is alarming, because he desires I should be ready at a moment's warning to enter my carriage and leave the city; that the enemy seemed stronger than had been reported...

August 23, 1777

Lucy Knox wrote to her husband, General Henry Knox:

[A person] if he understands business he might without capital make a fortune -- people here without advancing a shilling frequently clear hundreds in a day, such chaps as Eben Oliver are all men of fortune while persons who have ever lived in affluence are in danger of want and that you had less of the military man about you, you might then after the war have lived at ease all the days of your life, but now, I don't know what you will do, you being long accustomed to command -- will make you too haughty for mercantile matters -- tho I hope you will not consider yourself as commander in chief of your own house, but be convinced that there is such a thing as equal command.

August 23, 1775

George III issued his first public acknowledgment of the Revolution:

Whereas many of our subjects in divers parts of our Colonies and Plantations in North America, misled by dangerous and ill designing men, and forgetting the allegiance which they owe to the power that has protected and supported them...have at length proceeded to open and avowed rebellion, by arraying themselves in a hostile manner, to withstand the execution of the law, and traitorously preparing, ordering and levying war against us... [W]e do accordingly strictly charge and command all our Officers, as well civil as military, and all others our obedient and loyal subjects, to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which they shall know to be against us...

August 22, 1964

During the Freedom Summer, college student Jinny Glass wrote in her diary:

I locked all the doors and immediately the phone rang. 'Hello?'... the gal at the other end finally said, 'Are you a nigger?' We’d carry on a short conversation and every time we’d hang up, she’d call right back, ask the same question and make other dirty remarks about 'niggers' and 'whites.' These people are really sick. But they’re all over the south! She’d pulled this same routine Sunday afternoon and the next day too!... Honestly, Mississippi is really something else... I’ve learned so much down here just talking to people – you just don’t find this sort of stuff in books.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

August 22, 1944

On Guam, Marine Mel Heckt wrote in his diary:

Polk shot a Nip who didn't have a weapon, just a grenade. Keyes and Dodds cut off the Nips' head and placed it on sand bags facing down the road. This was in retaliation for the Japs having done the same to one of our men, whose head was stuck on a pole.

August 22, 1864

President Abraham Lincoln said, in a speech to the 166th Ohio Regiment:

I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has...

August 22, 1863

A day after the Quantrill raid, Thomas Corlew was lynched in a barn at Lawrence, KS; James Clark Horton wrote:

My recollection is that the jury did not find any evidence against him and so reported. His hanging was perhaps a natural outcome of the excited state of public feeling at that time, as Corlew was a Missourian and was said to have been acting with the proslavery men in 1856, but I think that many people in Lawrence regretted the occurrence...

Kansas pioneer Julia Louisa Lovejoy wrote to the editor of a Boston newspaper:

Such a day as yesterday and the previous night, Kansas, with all her former scenes of blood, never witnessed. I and my little boy live alone during Mr L's absence in the Army of the Mississippi... At an early hour Friday morning...said he, 'Mother, Lawrence is all on fire,' and in a trice he was in the saddle and galloping down street... Up to last night, one hundred and twenty had been found and buried in Lawrence, and it was thought that from 150 to 200 had been killed, and many burnt up in the great Free State Hotel, and their remains are buried beneath the rubbish. There were a great many guests and boarders in the house, and as they rushed out they shot them down, and threw their bodies back into the fire....

August 22, 1837

Sarah Grimké wrote to her sister:

Shall woman disregard the situation of thousands of her fellow creatures, who are the victims of intemperance and licentiousness, and retreating to the privacy her own comfortable home, be satisfied that her whole duty is performed, when she can exhibit 'her children well clad and smiling, and her table neatly spread with wholesome provisions?' Shall she...refuse aid and her sympathy to the down trodden slave, to the poor unhappy outcasts who are deprived of those blessings which she so highly prizes? Did God give her those blessings to steel her heart to the sufferings of her fellow creatures?...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

August 21, 1967

From an article in the Tropic Lightning News:

[A] Viet Cong ambush opened up with automatic weapons, forcing the patrol to drop in the middle of the ant hill. Firing at the Viet Cong and fighting off the ants, the...patrol silenced the enemy position and cautiously moved forward to check. They found one body and a trail of blood leading off toward a clump of trees where they found a second body... Casualties among the 25th Div infantrymen - 200 ant bites.

August 21, 1894

Lord Randolph Churchill wrote to his son, Winston:

Well I have got as far as this very nice warm & sunny part of California. I leave it very early tomorrow for San Francisco tomorrow morning... This Pacific steamer is not very smart or clean ship, but your mother and I have very fair cabins. The hours of meals are curious. I recommend them to Mr Little. Breakfast at 8-9 luncheon from 12:30 to 1:30, dinner 5:30 to 7. Nothing after that till the morning...

August 21, 1831

Gustave de Beaumont, traveling companion of Alexis de Tocqueville in America, wrote to his father:

Hardly arrived at Buffalo, we left again for Niagara. We had for traveling companions Mr Vi[g]ne, and an Englishwoman Miss Clemens... She has taken a passionate liking for us... Consequently we began to walk with extreme speed... We really had the appearance of a band of deer pursued by a fierce hound. We were all breathless. We leapt barriers like stags... But more tireless than we...our beautiful Englishwoman cleared all obstacles with unbelievable legerity and, in spite of all our efforts, after a good hour's run, we hadn't gained fifty yards on her... I declare that no power on earth could resist the will of Miss Clemens, and I suffered veritable violence...

Friday, August 19, 2005

August 20, 1863

Union soldier William Christie wrote from Vicksburg, MS:

I left the waggons and hasttend in the Direction of the scene of Disaster... What a sight when I got to the Boat, or where she had Been... as her load was not complete there was a large Detail of as many as eighty men at work getting aboard the boxes of fixed ammunition, when unfortunately some careless or thoughtless Person let a box of Percussion shell fall...and then men, and boat went up in one great cloud of smoke and flame. Men mangled, were thrown as much as one hundred yards from the boat... Tis said the captains family were on Board, Besides the deck hands, one hundred Negroes were in the hold... after what I seen I cannot write about it with any other feelings than those of horror...

August 20, 1851

From an article in the Farmer's Cabinet:

On Tuesday last...a negro man belonging to Mr Hardy Kiel, residing in Wilkinson county, violated the person of, and afterwards murdered his mistress and her sister, Miss Mason, whilst they were washing at a spring, near the house. he then stole a horse and attempted to escape... Several citizens of the county turned out to search for the murderer, and succeeded in arresting him at 11 o'clock, Tuesday night. They then tied him to a stake and burned him to death.

August 20, 1834

Trapper Osborne Russell wrote:

[I]t accidentally happened that my Rifle was pointed towards the Bear when I pulled and the ball piercing his heart, he gave one bound from me uttered a deathly howl and fell dead: but I trembled as if I had an ague fit for half an hour after, we...packed the meat and skin on our horses and returned to the Fort with the trophies of our bravery, but I secretly determined in my own mind never to molest another wounded Grizzly Bear in a marsh or thicket...

August 20, 1776

John Adams wrote in his autobiography:

Thus We see the whole Record of this momentous Transaction. No Motions recorded. No Yeas and Nays taken down. No Alterations proposed. No debates preserved. No Names mentioned. All in profound Secrecy. Nothing suffered to transpire: No Opportunity to consult Constituents. No room for Advice or Criticisms in Pamphlets, Papers or private Conversation. I was very uneasy under all this but could not avoid it... The Truth is, the Motions, Plans, debates, Amendments, which were every day brought forward in those Committees of the whole House, if committed to Writing, would be very voluminous: but they are lost forever...

August 20, 1767

From a letter to the editor of the Maryland Gazette:

I little expected that the innocent Caution, given in the the Inhabitants of this Province, against the fatal Consequence of admitting the jail-fever into their Families, inforc'd by a late notorious Instance of its dreadful Malignity, would have drawn upon me the Resentment of any Man in the Country. Yet...I have exposed myself to the keen Animadversions of Mr AB who has...gone a little out of his Way to prove the Utility of importing Six Hundred Convicts a Year into this Province... there is a certain Race of Men of so selfish a Cast, that they would even set a Neighbour's House on Fire, for the Convenience of roasting an Egg at the Blaze...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

August 19, 1876

Oregon pioneer Americus Savage wrote in his suicide note:

I wish to be as little trouble as possible. I will lay my body in the burying ground. Tear away the old shanty, the remnant of the first building that sheltered us from the storms after our weary journey across the plains, and burn it up. Lay stones around and on my grave. Put some private mark so you can tell if my body has been snatched away by doctors. I do not want them to get my body...

August 19, 1864

Dr David Warman wrote in his diary:

[L]eft on the 1 PM boat for Fort Monroe... had a rough, rainy ride all the way down the James... This trip to the Front with two hostile armies facing each other gave me ideas of real war that I could never have realized form History or the reading of books. From personal observation, I saw an entrenched and encamped army with its earthworks, rifle pits and bomb proofs, etc...

Alice Williamson, of Gallatin, TN, wrote in her diary:

Jimmie H. was brought down on the cars yesterday to be buried at the old homestead. Two sisters are all that remain of that once large family: they were driven South and know nothing of his early death...

August 19, 1862

Confederate Sgt George Hammann wrote in his diary:

Yesterday evening the news came that three of our regiment were to be shot this evening at five o’clock. Charge desertion. One by name of Rodecap, who has been handcuffed for some time, made his escape last night. The other two have been taking it very hard all day...

August 19, 1789

James Madison wrote to Richard Peters:

The papers inclosed will shew that the nauseous project of amendments has not yet been either dismissed or despatched. We are so deep in them now, that right or wrong some thing must be done... It may be less necessary in a republic...but it is in some degree rational in every Govt, since in every Govt power may oppress, and declarations on paper, tho' not an effectual restraint, are not without some influence...

August 19, 1779

In a letter to Congress, General Casimir Pulaski wrote from Charleston:

Every proceeding respecting myself has been so thoroughly mortifying, that nothing but the integrity of my heart, and the fervency of my Zeal Supports me under it... Change then your opinion of one foreigner, who from his intrance into your Service, has never the cause to be pleased... Be more just, Gentlemen, and Know that as I could not Submit to Stoop before the Sovereigns of Europe, So I came to hazard all the freedom of America, and desirous of passing the rest of my life in a Country truly free and before settling as a Citizen, to fight for Liberty.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

August 18, 1917

William J Losh, a member of the American Field Service during WWI, wrote in his diary:

I was sitting on my running-board waiting for my engine to cool after a steep hill, when along came a ballet-skirted Albanian clubbing a donkey. I was feeling 'funny,' so I called out in English, 'Hello, Joe, what ye beating that donkey for?' And he came right back, 'Hello!' And then admitted that he was from Pittsburgh, Pa., USA...

August 18, 1861

At Richmond, VA, Mary Boykin Chesnut wrote in her diary:

Mrs Randolph presided in all her beautiful majesty at an aid association. The ladies were old, and all wanted their own way. They were cross-grained and contradictory... Mrs Randolph proposed to divide everything sent on equally with the Yankee wounded and sick prisoners. Some were enthusiastic from a Christian point of view; some shrieked in wrath at the bare idea... Fierce dames were some of them, august, severe matrons, who evidently had not been accustomed to hear the other side of any question from anybody...

August 18, 1853

Julia Newton Wood, traveling with a wagon train to Oregon, wrote in her diary:

Roads some as I anticipated they would be on the Humboldt; very sandy, dust blew very hard but for dust or anything else I would not care, but oh the wickedness I see. It almost breaks my heart. There is hardly a woman on the plains but what swears. It seems that their whole natures are changed. I hardly know what to think. It seems hard to believe people are so wicked.

August 18, 1830

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his journal:

We never ask the reason of what is good. The sun shines & warms & lights us & we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, & hunger, & musquitoes, & silly people.

August 18, 1776

John Adams wrote to Abigail:

There are very few People in this World, with whom I can bear to converse. I can treat all with Decency and Civility, and converse with them, when it is necessary, on Points of Business. But I am never happy in their Company. This has made me a Recluse, and will one day, make me an Hermit...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

August 17, 1745

Benjamin Franklin wrote to his wife's cousin, James Read:

Are you an attorney by profession, and do you know no better, how to chuse a proper court in which to bring your action? Would you submit to the decision of a husband, a cause between you and his wife? Don't you know, that all wives are in the right? It may be you don't, for you are yet but a young husband...

August 17, 1620

Pilgrim Robert Cushman, a passenger aboard the Speedwell, wrote to Constant Southworth:

Our pinnace will not cease leaking; else, I think, we had been half way to Virginia. Our voyage hither hath been as full of crosses as ourselves have been of crookedness... Near £700 hath been bestowed at Hampton, upon what I know not; Mr Martin saith he neither can nor will give any account of it, and if he be called upon for accounts, he crieth out of unthankfulness for his pains and care, that we are suspicious of him... Also he so insulteth over our poor people, with such scorn and contempt, as if they were not good enough to wipe his shoes... Friend, if ever we make a plantation, God works a miracle...

Monday, August 15, 2005

August 16, 1932

Iowa farmer Elmer Powers wrote in his diary:

About the 'Holiday.' A big Meeting was held in an adjoining County today. The driver of our cream truck weighed our cream today so if it should be dumped along the road he could have the weight. Driving along the road today we met loaded milk trucks carrying guards. Also we passed waiting farmer 'pickets.'

August 16, 1890

From an article in Harper's Weekly:

Chief Joseph conducted this retreat with very extraordinary skill...and came very near making good his retreat to British America. Of this campaign General Sherman has said: 'The Indians throughout displayed a courage and skill that elicited universal praise; they abstained from scalping; let captive women go free; did not commit indiscriminate murder of peaceful families, which is usual; and fought with almost scientific skill, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications.' These facts only make harder the fate that awaited them, for it shows that no forbearance, no bravery and generalship, are able to win for Indians justice...

August 16, 1807

Thomas Jefferson wrote to Robert Fulton:

I consider your torpedoes as very valuable means of defence of harbors, & have no doubt that we should adopt them to a considerable degree...

August 16, 1770

From an advertisement in the Virginia Gazette:

Run away from the subscriber, in Cumberland county, two mulatto servant men. Samuel Howell [and] Simon Howell...went off in their common labouring dress, and took no other clothes with them that I can discover. They are both bound to 31 years of age, and no doubt will endeavour to pass for free. Samuel lately brought a suit for his freedom in the General Court, which was determined against him...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

August 15, 1918

Pvt Lawrence McCoy wrote to his family from France:

Cramped up in the ship for so long was worse than hard work... The sailors weren't scared at all but when that old ship would lay down on one side and then rear up and pitch...till her decks had the same slant as the roof of the house, I had to wet my hair to get my hat back on again... It's not a disgrace to be seasick or scared, either, for every soldier aboard, officers and all, was scared. Most of them were seasick and sometimes the rail was lined with soldiers 'feeding the fish' as some of us named it who were able to go through without throwing up our sox...

August 15, 1898

Martin Schuster, a soldier during the Spanish-American War, wrote in his diary:

Arrived at Jacksonville, Fla. at 9 am. We went to our camping grounds. Set up our tents and rested. Scott Burger thought pineapples grew on pine trees and therefore thought there should be lots of them on account all trees were pine trees.

August 15, 1866

Former slave William Douglass wrote from Liberia:

It is true that it is a new country, and we have many hardships to undergo, but by God's blessings and an effort on one's side he can get along. Here I have realized the meaning of the words: Sitting under one's own vine and fig tree and none daring to molest or make afraid...

August 15, 1781

Baron Ottendorf briefed Sir Henry Clinton about Miss Jenny, who had spied on American and French preparations to attack Clinton's headquarters in New York City:

The Chief Provost questioned her several times over the course of two days, and insisted that she must know me, using guile and intimidation to make her talk. Seeing that nothing was able to be got from her, the order arrived late in the evening on Tuesday the 14th for her to depart on Wednesday at daybreak, and beforehand, to have her hair cut...then to be set on a horse with neither bonnet nor hair covering, sitting on a cloak between two soldiers and to be led in this manner outside of the lines with the order not to return unless she wants to run the risk of being severely punished...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

August 14, 1869

En route to California, Henry Carter Austin wrote in his diary:

Reached Promontory [Summit] the junction of two railroads at noon. A fearful place composed almost entirely of open gambling booths and whiskey shops. They tell one someone is killed here nearly every day. One of our passengers fleeced of all he had by the gamblers. Glad to get away after about two hours stay...

August 14, 1855

En route to Salt Lake City, Mormon Henry Clegg wrote:

Went 15 miles - good road - got some currants and camped near the river. 2 sisters died that had met with an accident. One had got run over her chest. The other was shot through the arm, which caused her death. It occured through the carelessness of leaving the gun loaded, in the way, and with a cap on it...

August 14, 1804

Crossing Nebraska, Captain William Clark wrote in his journal:

The ravages of the Small Pox (which Swept off 400 men & Womin & children in perpopotion) has reduced this nation not exceeding 300 men and left them to the insults of their weaker neighbours, which before was glad to be on friendly turns with them. I am told when this fatal malady was among them they Carried their franzey to verry extroardinary length, not only of burning their Village, but they put their wives & children to Death with a view of their all going together to some better Countrey.

August 14, 1776

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

If you complain of neglect of education in sons, what shall I say with regard to daughters, who every day experience the want of it?... I most sincerely wish...that our new Constitution may be distinguished for encouraging learning and virtue. If we mean to have heroes, statesmen, and philosophers, we should have learned women...

August 14, 1769

John Adams wrote in his diary:

Dined with 350 Sons of Liberty at Robinsons, the Sign of Liberty Tree in Dorchester... two Tables laid in the open Field by the Barn, with between 300 and 400 Plates, and an Arning of Sail Cloth overhead... Otis and Adams are politick, in promoting these Festivals, for they tinge the Minds of the People, they impregnate them with the sentiments of Liberty... To the Honour of the Sons, I did not see one Person intoxicated, or near it...

Friday, August 12, 2005

August 13, 1944

American ground mechanic Don Marner, stationed in England, wrote in his diary:

A B-17 exploded with a full load of bombs in midair east of the base. Of the 10 crewmembers only 10 pounds of flesh was found...

Navigator Norman K Andrew wrote in his diary:

Between St Lo and Uire there was a 12-ship formation flying on our left about 8 miles. They plowed right over a flak battery at Falaise. I was looking right at them when one of the ships got a direct hit in the right wing. The wing broke off between #3 and #4. Wing fell in flames -- the ship fell in flames, tight spin to the right. No parachutes observed. Three minutes later another one got a direct hit. All I could see was shiny bits of aluminum -- just a ball of fire. No one had a chance... I can still see that B-17 in a tight right spin. I knew they couldn't get out -- it was spinning too tight. I'd rather get a direct hit.

August 13, 1866

Upon his return to San Francisco from Hawaii, Mark Twain wrote:

Home again. No -- not home again -- in prison again, and all the wild sense of freedom gone. City seems so cramped and so dreary with toil and care and business anxieties. God help me, I wish I were at sea again!

August 13, 1863

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

I have as you will see arrived here in despite of Yankee crusiers who gave us a close chase all the way. I was seasick of course but I am now entirely recoverd and enjoying the dolce faneanti of this seducing climate...

August 13, 1859

Thomas J Jackson, later known as Stonewall, wrote from White Sulphur Springs, VA:

The inflammation or irritation of my throat passed down so low as to make me afraid to let Dr Green treat me & consequently I gave up the idea of going to him... I concluded that I would visit this place & try to get my liver right; as I was disposed to think that the state of the throat depended on that of the liver... I reached this place on Thursday last & I feel improved. It appears to me that smoking mullein has been of great benefit to me...

August 13, 1786

Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Wythe:

I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowlege among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness... Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

August 12, 1947

Carroll Wilson, general manager of the Atomic Energy Commission, wrote to Dr Robert Stone, chief of the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory Health Division:

We are withholding declassification of the papers referred to in the letter to Dr Young because they involve experimentation on human subjects where the material was not given for therapeutic reasons... It was the recommendation of the Board that all Project reports on human experimentation, except where the experimenter is the subject, be withheld from declassification until the question of medical and legal policy for the Commission can be determined. I am sure you appreciate the questions of medical ethics and legal rights that are involved...

August 12, 1864

Union soldier Dwight Cory wrote from Virginia:

[W]e heard a tremendous explosion and on looking in the direction of City Point saw rising above the trees a dense cloud of white smoke... some of our men who were on the spot returned to us, and told the sad fate of near two hundred men, and two ammunition boats were blown to atoms, and the torn and shattered limbs were strewn with fragments of the boats and bursting shells and shot in terrible confusion all over the place...

August 12, 1861

In West Virginia, Major Rutherford B Hayes wrote in his diary:

[A] squad of the Tenth Regiment returned from the Buckhannon road with the body of one of the wild men of the mountains found in this country. He followed their regiment, shooting at them from the hills. They took him in the Bulltown region. He wore neither hat nor shoes, was of gigantic size -- weighing two hundred and thirty pounds; had long hooked toes, fitted to climb -- a very monster. They probably killed him after taking him prisoner in cold blood -- perhaps after a sort of trial. They say he was attempting to escape.

August 12, 1805

After crossing the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass in Montana, Captain Meriwether Lewis wrote:

At the distance of 4 miles further the road took us to the most distant fountain of the mighty Missouri in search of which we have spent many toilsome days... Thus far I had accomplished one of the great objects on which my mind has been unalterably fixed for many years... We proceeded on to the top of the dividing ridge [and] descended the mountain about 3/4 of a mile which I found much steeper than on the opposite side, to a handsome, bold running creek of cold clear water of the mighty Columbia River...

August 12, 1786

James Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson:

These fruits of the Revolution do great honour to it. I wish all our proceedings merited the same character. Unhappily there are but too many belonging to the opposite side of the acct. At the head of these is to be put the general rage for paper money. Pena. & N. Carolina took the lead in this folly...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

August 11, 1853

From the Daily Crescent at New Orleans, describing a cemetery during a yellow fever epidemic:

At the gates, the winds brought intimation of the corruption lurking within. Not a puff was not laden with the rank atmosphere from rotting corpses. Inside they were piled by the fifties, exposed to the heat of the sun, swollen with corruption, bursting their coffin lids... what a feast of horrors... without the gates, old and withered crones and fat huxter women... dispensing ice creams and confections, and brushing away... green bottleflies that hovered on their merchandise and that anon buzzed away to drink dainty inhalations from the green and festering corpses.

August 11, 1789

After eleven culprits in one day received punishment at the whipping post, a Boston newspaper reported:

The citizens who were assembled complimented the Sheriff with three cheers for the manly determined manner in which he executed his duty.

August 11, 1755

Charles Lawrence, British governor of Nova Scotia, issued instructions for deportation of the Acadians:

Clear the whole country of bad subjects...and disperse them among...the colonies upon the continent of America... Send them off to Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut and to Boston... You will use all the means necessary for collecting the people together, so as to get them on board. If you find that fair means will not do it with them, you must proceed by the most vigorous measures possible, not only in compelling them to embark, but in depriving those who escape of all means of shelter or support, by burning their houses and destroying everything that may afford them the means of subsistence in the country.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

August 10, 1980

John "Terry" Dolan, chairman of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, as quoted in the Washington Post:

Groups like ours are potentially very dangerous to the political process... Ten independent expenditure groups, for example, could amass this great amount of money and defeat the point of accountability in politics. We could say whatever we want about an opponent of a Senator Smith and the senator wouldn’t have to say anything. A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean.

August 10, 1902

Historian Henry Adams wrote to his brother, Brooks Adams:

My belief is that science is to wreck us, and that we are like monkeys monkeying with a loaded shell; we don’t in the least know or care where our practically infinite energies come from or will bring us to.

August 10, 1864

Union soldier Samuel McClain wrote to his wife:

We are giting very dirty & ragit. I hope we will soon get whare we can get some close & get to wash and clean up a little, for we have got more graybacks than greenbacks. We have not had our pants off for 36 days & nights...

At Memphis, TN, Frances Wallace wrote in her diary:

Quite an excitement in this neighborhood. The dogkiller has been around, and the horse that carries the dead dogs gave out, and they have been whipping him and killing dogs until I am sick at the sight of so much cruelty and heartlessness. He is certainly one of the most cruel wretches I have seen...

August 10, 1829

Edgar Allan Poe wrote to John Allan:

I was in a most uncomfortable situation -- without one cent of money -- in a strange place & so quickly engaged in difficulties after the serious misfortunes which I have just escaped -- My grandmother is extremely poor & ill. My aunt Maria if possible still worse & Henry entirely given up to drink & unable to help himself, much less me -- I am unwilling to appear obstinate as regards the substitute so will say nothing more concerning it -- only remarking that they will no longer enlist men for the residue of anothers' enlistment as formerly, consequently my substitute was enlisted for 5 years not 3...

August 10, 1777

Sir Henry Clinton wrote, in a masked letter to John Burgoyne:

W. Howe is gone to the Chesapeak bay with the greatest part of the army. I hear he is landed but am not certain. I am left to command here with too small a force to make any effectual diversion in your favour. I shall try something at any rate...

Monday, August 08, 2005

August 9, 1968

Eight months before his own death in Viet Nam, Lance Corporal Stephen Daniel wrote in a letter:

Last night one more Marine died. No one will ever hear or care about it except his parents and us... His name was Corporal Lee Clark... He didn't deserve dying in a damn country not worth fightin' for... He had about 38 days left in the Marine Corps and in Viet Nam. 38 days to start living again, to see the world, and home... It makes you wonder.

August 9, 1886

Mormon Abraham H Cannon wrote in his diary:

I saw Frank [Cannon] and his wife. The former has just been released from the county jail where he has been confined three months for his assault upon [U.S. District Attorney William H] Dickson...

August 9, 1855

James Mason Hutchings wrote a letter to the editor of the Mariposa Gazette:

Having just returned from taking views of the Yo-Semity Valley and its waterfalls, it may not be uninteresting to your readers to mention a few little facts concerning the trip... As past experience had taught us that there are two ways to every place - a right and a wrong way - and as some chances were against our taking the right one, we took especial pains to find the right one; everybody knew it, but nobody could tell us how to get upon it...

August 9, 1680

The headmen of three pueblos loyal to Spain wrote to the governor of New Mexico:

[T]he Christian Indians of this kingdom are convoked, allied, and confederated for the purpose of rebelling, forsaking obedience to His majesty, and apostatizing from the holy faith; and that they desire to kill the ecclesiastical ministers and all the Spaniards, women, and children, destroying the whole population of this kingdom.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

August 8, 1944

Sgt John McBride, a B-17 waist gunner, wrote in his diary:

[W]e flew over France again, this time to drop our bombs about 300 yards from the Canadian forces in an effort to wipe out the German resistance hindering their advance. In dropping our bombs the lead bombardier was misled by the smoke pots used as front line markers, so he unfortunately released the bombs slightly before the proper time. The result was that several men in the Canadian army received bomb fragments in the arms and chest...

August 8, 1884

Presidential nominee Grover Cleveland wrote:

I believe that the public temper is such that the voters of the land are prepared to support the party which gives the best promise of administering the government in the honest, simple, and plain manner which is consistent with its character and purposes. They have learned that mystery and concealment in the management of their affairs cover tricks and betrayal...

August 8, 1878

From an article in Georgia's Dublin Post:

A little child of Hiram Porter, colored, living on the place of Mr RH Carswell, died one day last week from the effects of Morphine. A small package of medicine had been found in the road and carried home, the medicine was mistaken for quinine, and administered to the sick child. The child died, but not until its death was it discovered that morphine had been given instead of quinine. This adds another to the long list of deaths from ignorant and careless use of medicine.

August 8, 1855

During an outbreak of yellow fever at Portsmouth, VA, the Reverend James Chisholm wrote in his journal:

The ominous sick wagon, with its tall white canopy, dashes up and down the empty streets; and the black hearse, bearing its coffined burden (or burdens, for sometimes there are more than one carried out at a time), rattle by one with an indecent and revolting haste, not one emblem of sorrow, or accompaniment of human sympathy, relieving its sinister effect. [Today] there were eleven burials, not funerals, for in these woful days man receives an interment but little better than the burial of a dog...

August 8, 1851

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote in his journal:

To-day, Herman Melville and the two Duyckincks came in a barouche, and we all went to visit the Shaker establishment at Hancock. I don't know what Julian expected to see, -- some strange sort of quadruped or other, I suppose, -- and probably he was a little disappointed when I pointed out an old man in a gown and a gray, broad-brimmed hat, as a Shaker...

August 8, 1774

Freeholders of Rowan County, NC, resolved:

That the African Trade is injurious to this Colony, obstructs the Population of it by freemen, prevents manufacturers, and other Useful Emigrants from Europe from settling among us, and occasions an annual increase of the Balance of Trade against the Colonies.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

August 7, 1964

During the Freedom Summer, college student Jinny Glass wrote in her diary:

Today was certainly an emotionally packed day. Jo woke me at 5:15 am for today was the day I was going to Mississippi. But I had a lump in my throat because indeed I was sad to leave...and somewhat frightened to dive into the unknown of Miss. What was in store for me? What would the conditions be? What would I be able to contribute? Is this really right? (Certainly it’s morally wrong if you listen to a southerner)...

Dr Joseph Ellin, professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University, wrote to his parents from Hattiesburg, MS:

Generally the whites are fantastically scared. Bob Beech got some Southern Miss prof to have an interracial group to his house, and what a comedy, with not turning on the porch lights when we came in so no one would see, and the general nervousness that none of his friends would unluckily drop by, etc... And everybody admired his courage for having us at all, which only shows what things are like.

August 7, 1873

Emma Spaulding Bryant wrote to her husband:

When I was sick in Augusta you did not scruple to send old Dr Em in to see me with the expectation that he would treat me for uterine difficulties which of course presupposed the 'examination' (of which you have such a distorted idea)... The only cases in which my person was ever exposed in the least degree to the gaze of any man but you were slightly in Portland when Dr Fitch examined me with the speculum...and at the birth of our first baby when a Dr of your selection raised the clothes in applying the cloths to me after birth...

August 7, 1742

From the records of the Moravian community at Bethlehem, PA:

A single man, Samuel Mau, a former servant in Oley, has reported to us that his master, to whom he still owes f6-10, had given him a few days off to find another master of his own choice. Otherwise, he would be inclined to sell him to another owner...

August 7, 1638

From the court records of Plymouth Colony:

Whereas Thomas Boardman, liueing incontinently with Luce, his now wyfe, and did begett her with child before they were marryed together, which, vpon examination, was confessed by them both, the said Thom. Boardman was censured to be seuerely whipt, which was performed accordingly...and the said Luce, his wyfe, to be censured when shee is deliuered, as the Bench shall think fitt.

Friday, August 05, 2005

August 6, 1912

Addressing the Progressive National Convention, candidate Theodore Roosevelt said:

The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly on what should be said on the vital issues of the day.

August 6, 1864

Mary Boykin Chesnut of South Carolina wrote in her diary:

Archer came, a classmate of my husband's at Princeton; they called him Sally Archer then, he was so girlish and pretty. No trace of feminine beauty about this grim soldier now. He has a hard face, black-bearded and sallow, with the saddest black eyes...

August 6, 1862

Colonel Rutherford B Hayes wrote from Camp Green Meadows:

In the midst of a severe thunder-storm the guard-tent was struck by lightning. Eight men were knocked flat, cartridge boxes exploded, muskets were shattered... The eight were all badly hurt, but dashing cold water on them they revived... One said as he came to 'Where are they? Where are they?'...

August 6, 1826

Trader John Work wrote in his journal:

Visited [Kettle] falls today, where the Indians are fishing. They are now taking about 1000 salmon daily. They have a kind of basket about 10 ft long...of a square form suspended at a cascade in the fall where the water rushes over a rock. the salmon in attempting to ascend the fall leap into the basket...

August 6, 1816

Thomas Jefferson wrote to Mrs Samuel Smith:

I have ever thought religion a concern purely between our God and our consciences, for which we were accountable to him, and not to the priests. I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives... For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read...

August 6, 1637

From court records of the Plymouth Colony:

John Allexander [and] Thomas Roberts were both examined and found guilty of lude behavior and uncleane carriage one w[ith] another, by often spendinge their seede one vpon another, w[hich] was proued both by witnesse & their owne confession... John Allexander was therefore censured by the Court to be seuerely whipped, and burnt in the shoulder w[ith] a hot iron, and to be perpetually banished...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

August 5, 1944

Sgt Raymond J Mainka, a B-17 waist gunner with the 100th Bomb Group, wrote in his diary:

Bombed Magdeburg, Germany with five 1,000 pound bombs. Our plane has been hit in a good many places. One plane right off our tail blew up to bits and another went down in flames. The shells burst all around us so much it was awful. But honestly I was scared. I mean no one could pray any more then I did...

Sgt William Crozier, a B-17 ball turret gunner with the 100th Bomb Group, wrote in his diary:

Three airplanes behind us in our formation blew up on the bomb run. Flak hit us all over our ship... That is the most scared I have ever been. I was doing nothing but praying the whole time and so was everybody else...

August 5, 1877

President Rutherford B Hayes wrote in his diary:

The strikes have been put down by force; but now for the real remedy. Can’t something [be] done by education of the strikers, by judicious control of the capitalists, by wise general policy to end or diminish the evil? The railroad strikers, as a rule, are good men, sober, intelligent, and industrious...

August 5, 1863

Confederate soldier Van Buren Oldham wrote in his diary:

Sometime since a Mrs P Williams was arrested and found in army uniform and passing herself as Lieut Buford. She was sent to [the] castle. No charges being preferred against her. She was released and is now in Chattanooga with her uniform and still persists in being known as Lieut Buford.

August 5, 1777

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

We have never since the Evacuation of Boston been under apprehensions of an invasion from them eaquel to what we sufferd last week. All Boston was in confusion, packing up and carting out of Town, Household furniture, military stores, goods &c. Not less than a thousand Teams were imployd a fryday and Saturday -- and to their shame be it told, not a small trunk would they carry under 8 dollors and many of them I am told askd a hundred dollors a load...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

August 4, 1945

Aboard the USS Charles S Sperry, fireman Edward Varden wrote in his diary:

There were 219 men picked up off the Indianapolis. 90% were stretcher cases. They still don't know what happened for sure. They were all alone, no cans protecting her...

August 4, 1871

In Kansas, the Emporia News reported:

The Arkansas Traveler says that 400 calves were shot out of one herd, during the drive from Texas to Kansas, last month. All young calves are shot as fast as they are born, so as to be rid of and allow the cows to be driven.

August 4, 1857

In a speech at Canandaigua, NY, Frederick Douglass said:

If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning... This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will...

August 4, 1852

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote to Mrs Henry Cowles regarding the education of two former slaves at Oberlin College:

I enclose you herewith a check for 20 which with the $30 I sent will make 50... you may buy two scholarships with it so that when these two have been educated there two others may succeed them. I foresee an opening in this way to accomplish much good. Twenty five dollars of this money was given by the sewing society of the Salem St Church Br Edward Beecher minister & the scholarship may stand in their name. The other may stand in mine...

August 4, 1822

James Madison wrote to William T Barry:

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives... Learned institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

August 3, 1887

From an article in the Oregon City Enterprise:

The practice of playing ball on Sunday is not only very immoral, but it disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood when it is practiced...

August 3, 1883

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

Two house visits; visited a sick woman in Jersey City; there I heard and saw the most appalling conditions over which broods heathendom’s most inky darkness; sin, really coarse sins, sins against the sixth commandment committed by children four years and up...

August 3, 1864

At Chambersburg, PA, Benjamin Schneck wrote to his sister:

We are all safe, though homeless... I have a borrowed shirt, one straw hat, + so-on. My Library, even my Papers + Manuscripts... all gone... every house down on both sides for 7 Squares, is gone. So with Main Street for nearly 1/2 mile, Queen Street, part of Washington, etc... such a scene of Ruin! No imagination can conceive it...

August 3, 1804

From Lewis & Clark's message to the Oto:

[T]he great chief of the Seventeen great nations of America, has become your only father; he is the only friend to whom you can now look for protection, or from whom you can ask favours, or receive good councils, and he will take care that you shall have no just cause to regret this change; he will serve you, & not deceive you...

August 3, 1540

Francisco Vazquez de Coronado wrote of the Battle of Hawikuh:

I ordered the musketeers and crossbowmen to begin the attack and drive back the enemy from the defenses... But the crossbowmen broke all the strings of their crossbows and the musketeers could do nothing, because they had arrived so weak & feeble that they could scarcely stand on their feet. On this account the people who were on top were not prevented at all from...doing us whatever injury they were able... they knocked me down to the ground twice with countless great stones which they threw down from above, and if I had not been protected by the very good headpiece which I wore, I think that the outcome would have been bad for me...

August 2, 1919

Following four days of rioting during the Red Summer, the Chicago Defender, a black weekly, reported:

Provident hospital...situated in the heart of the 'black belt,' as well as other hospitals...are filled with the maimed and dying every hour, every minute, every second finds patrols backed up and unloading the human freight branded with the red symbol of this orgy of hate...

August 2, 1865

Ruth Shackelford, during her wagon train journey from Missouri to California, wrote in her diary:

I was very sick all night and haven't been up since Sunday. The mountain fever is a mean, low, lingering fever. We passed a grave on the side of the road. I could not go to see the name. It is a doleful place to be left in... There is another lone grave apiece from where we are camped...

August 2, 1864

During the Union army's siege of Petersburg, VA, civilian Joseph Waddell wrote in his diary:

The slaughter of the enemy is said to have been terrible, yet so blood-thirsty have our people become, that a feeling of regret is expected that it was not greater. The Yankees for the first time brought negro troops against Gen. Lee's army, and the poor wretches advanced shouting, 'No quarter! Remember Fort Pillow!'

August 2, 1862

A Union soldier wrote from Jackson, MS:

These are in a most wretched condition. They are destitute of clothing — they are not half-fed — there is not a pound of tea to be had for gold, and coffee is $2.50 per pound. The troops subsist chiefly on corn bread and molasses. Half the men would desert to-day, if they thought they could get away in safety; but Bragg keeps a closer watch on them than he does on the enemy. He is a coarse and vulgar tyrant, and I should not be surprised to hear any time of his having been shot by his own men...