150 Years Ago Amanda Wilson Wrote — April 16 – 18, 1861

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2011

Amanda Wilson was horrified as her friends' brothers volunteered to fight.

150 Years Ago Amanda Wilson Wrote — April 16 – 18, 1861

April 16 (Tues.): A very disagreeable day. Home all morning feeling gloomy.[1] How soon may Husband and brother be taken![2] Tis hard, but God knoweth best what is for the good of all. Spent the afternoon with Mrs. Hailburt. Evening – Husband and I went to the Philharmonic Concert.[3] Will dined with us. How very melancholy and sad. My poor hear is almost broken. May God bless us!

April 17 (Wed.): A cold windy, dusty day. Took music lesson in the morning. Emma Bickham called, her heart almost broken, her brother going to leave for war.[4] May God protect him and return him safely again to his home and friends – and such is my wish for all, but with little hope is it made.[5] Went down town with Mrs. Hailburt. Evening at home.

April 18 (Thurs.): Disagreeable weather. Very windy and dusty. Went over to Minnie’s and spent the day. Walked all the way over and back, very sad. Would that peace could be restored![6] Abbie Crane called in the afternoon. Mr. Stone, Sallie and Caroline spent the evening with us. Mrs. Carlton and Mrs. Morrison called, also.


[1] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 15 April 1861, p. 2. The Commercial noted: “Last night thousands upon thousands of people gathered around and in front of the Commercial and Gazette offices. As the dispatched from Washington, Charleston, and other parts were received, they were read to the multitude from second story windows.” The article continued, “The first dispatch announcing the surrender and the hauling down of the American flag was received with emphatic marks of disfavor.”

[2] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 16 April 1861, p. 2. Articles quickly followed revealing Cincinnati’s reaction: “Great activity prevails among all the military companies of the city. In every armory last evening, the men were drilling with full ranks, and crowds of citizens were seeking admission into the various companies. The ranks of every company could be filled all at once.”

[3] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 16 April 1861, p. 1. The paper noted the theater’s ads: “ SMITH & NIXON’S HALL – Monday Evening and every evening, HOOLEY & CAMPBELL’S MINSTRELS! – From – NIBLIO’S SALOON, BROADWAY, N.Y. The most Talented and Versatile Company in Existence, comprising the CREAM OF THE PROFESSION.”

[4] Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion , 1861 – 1865 (Cincinnati: Wilstach, Baldwin and Co., 1886), vol. 2, p. 21. On 17 April 1861, William Bickham enlisted into Company G, 1st Ohio Infantry. He was listed as 22. Private Bickham would become seriously ill and obtain a surgeon’s discharge, because of disability on 22 February 1862.

[5] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 17 April 1861, p. 2. The Commercial recorded Ohio’s first call for volunteers: “PASSAGE OF THE WAR BILL – Two thousand Ohio Volunteers Ordered to Washington.” The article explained: “Increased activity was infused into our citizen soldiery yesterday by a telegraphic order … to detail three companies of the 1st Cincinnati Battalion for immediate service, and hold them in readiness for marching orders within 48 hours. The Companies designated were the Rover Guards, the Zouave Guards, and the Lafayette Guards.” The article continued: “The Guthrie Grays and the Continentals are much disappointed at not receiving orders as early as their comrades of the 1st Battalion.”

[6] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 18 April 1861, p. 1. The paper followed the day’s events, writing, “Nobody killed at Charleston … The guns on Fort Sumter were splendidly fought by Anderson’s men, and yet it appears that any of the Confederate troops were killed, and only a few were wounded. But this can only be accounted for by the superior skill and science with which the batteries were constructed … The experience acquired by modern warfare, especially in the Crimea, had rendered the effective working of batteries comparatively safe.”

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