Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Camp Parks, Ky., August 20th, 1863.

I received a letter from a friend in Michigan last evening, saying: “If you were in Michigan, or could see the situation from the standpoint of the North, you would be less hopeful of the speedy termination of the war.” If by “speedy” is meant a single campaign, as was promised us one year ago, I do not now believe in it, but nothing but the most signal failure can change my faith in the ultimate success of our cause. We have steadily gained ground from the first. The series of reverses that attended our arms the first year of the war has forced our government to accept the inevitable, seemingly against its will. I do not forget the violent opposition to the Emancipation and Confiscation Acts, passed by Congress in December, 1861, by Northern men of undoubted loyalty, nor the President’s timid recommendations in his inaugural address to that Congress. I remember well that reverses and disasters attended all our efforts until the government was compelled, as by an overruling Providence, to free the slaves of rebels, which includes them all; and that from the moment these measures became the fixed policy of the government, reverses ceased. It is not the issue of a battle or campaign that gives me hope, but the successes that have attended our arms all through the month of July were attended by such peculiar circumstances as to force upon me the conviction, “There IS a destiny that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will.”

Previous post:

Next post: