A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Tuesday 30th

30 December 1862
31 December 1862
Wednesday 31st



A fine, bright day for the close of the year. Not spent altogether profitably by me. Habitually disposed to analyze my life, it strikes me often how large a portion of it escapes only to be forgotten. In the legation I had a visit from Mr Wilson who talked of his experience in France and in this country. All against us, and thereupon he grows discouraged in the prospect at home. To avoid this alternative I try to mix in some other elements of thought, especially at this close of another year. On looking back, we do perceive alternation of fortune, but certainly in the war we are in a very different situation at the close from what we were in at the beginning. The Trent difficulty was just moving itself from our breast. Afterwards we obtained the control of all the Mississippi excepting Vicksburg, and the sounds of North Carolina as well as the harbour of Norfolk and the control of the Potomac. Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri have come out of the struggle on our side. Surely this is progress, if not so rapid as was expected, still progress. The draw-back to it all is the revolution of opinion which has come from the erring judgment of an incompetent but well meaning head. This and the absence of a good military leader are our great misfortune. This evening American newspapers down to the 20th mention the fact of Mr Seward’s resignation. This opens a wholly new set of reflections for the incoming year. I diverted my mind by a few more chapters of “My Novel.”

I have cause to be profoundly grateful to the Divine Being for the continuance of his mercies to me and mine through the year which has carried private sorrow as well as public grief into the hearts of so many families. Surely this national chastening will inure to use in some purification and exaltation for the future. Great as is the trial, we yet may humble trust, it will lead to gain of high objects more than compensating for all the sacrifices. In that hope let us bear with meekness the crosses that may be set upon us, and learn more and more to aspire for the nobler life that is to come.264

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA62d365