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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Saturday, 18th

18 July 1863

Monday 20th

20 July 1863
19 July 1863
Sunday 19th

When I came down from my dressing room this morning, I found on my table a private telegram which as usual I opened with trepidation. It proved however to be an announcement from Mr Seward that Vicksburg had surrendered on the 4th of this month. Thus has this great object been accomplished, and the control over the Mississippi is practically restored to our hands. For Port Hudson can hardly resist much longer, considering the aid General Grant and Admiral Porter can now contribute to General Banks. The effect of this is to make the original project of the Confederacy impracticable, and to put us in possession of the whole tier of Southwestern Slaveholding States. The combination with which the rebellion began is therefore broken up. We now go into the last stage of the contests with the parts. General Grants movements have certainly been masterly from the time he landed at Grand Gulf. I did not wait for the general telegram, but went off on one of my expeditions to church in the city. This time I fell into St Michael’s, cornhill. This is another of Sir Christopher Wren’s erections with the exception of the Tower which is ancient. The interior is very fine, and from late renovation is in admirable order. The light is managed with his usual skill, and that in spite of the observation caused by painted glass windows. There is one round window over the altar, but instead of the usual round ones in the clerestory, they assume a curved form with the monotony of a circle. The shape is regular, with a double row of composite columns to support the roof. No ornament of the pulpit, but the pews are of carved oak. I thought it on the whole the prettiest interior I had yet seen. The attendance was very full. The services much as usual, but I joined in them with an humble, a penitent and a thankful heart for the mercy shown to my countrymen in their hour of need. The sermon on about the customary level. When I got home at half past one, I found the rest of the news which was also important. It appears that immediately after the same battle of the 3d, at Gettysburg, General Lee determined upon a night forced march toward the Potomac. It was in a heavy rain415 and with troops badly fatigued, whilst in the mean time the Potomac from the effects of the rain rose several feet, so as to make it not fordable. At the last accounts General Meade was in pursuit and possibly there may be another action before he can cross the river. In the mean time large numbers of prisoners and deserters are coming in. It is not too much to expect that by the time Lee gets back to Richmond, he will be shorn of half the array with which he set out. In the present state of the South this cannot be replaced. Thus my prediction is verified that the second invasion is over. I fancy it will not be tried again. Grateful indeed should we be to Divine Providence for the favorable turn this matter has taken. The change of command was a hazardous measure but it has saved the Administration from the effect of its former errors in the appointments subsequent to McClellan. I felt an instinctive impulse in its favor when I first read it. We are yet to see however whether Meade is more than prudent and energetic officer. Thus far he has done well. We had many visitors, most of them highly excited by the news. Mr Walker and Mr Kinney dined with us. The former was much elated and talkative.

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=DCA63d200