150 Years Ago Amanda Wilson Wrote — July 4-11, 1861

Posted on Tuesday, July 5th, 2011


Cincinnati celebrated the 4th of July with a massive military parade.

150 Years Ago Amanda Wilson Wrote — July 4 – 11, 1861

July 4th, 1861 (Thurs.): Beautiful weather for the ‘Military Parade’, and they made a fine appearance.[1] How proudly and yet how sadly I looked upon them – terrible thoughts that they are thus prepared to fight their own brothers – yet – are almost sure to acknowledge them as such. Evening at home with Husband. May we soon have peace.

July 7, 1861 (Sun.): Very oppressive day. Some rain. Funeral procession of our volunteers passed our house in the afternoon. He accidently shot himself with his gun. His company marched in uniform.[2] At home all day. Evening out walking with Obed. Very bad cold.

July 8, 1861 (Mon.): A very cold raining morning, but clear and hot afternoon. At home all day, sewing, etc. Evening – out walking with Obed. Feeling badly from severe cold. Rumors of battles being fought.[3] How dark and cloudy everything looks. Our once happy country, who can tell what is in store for thee!


[1] Cincinnati Daily Gazette, 5 July 1861, p. 2. The 4th of July parade contained all of Cincinnati’s militia companies, combined into one formation. The Gazette wrote: “The above companies formed into line with remarkable precision, and although separate organizations, moving as if perfectly familiar with each other’s peculiar maneuvers, made one of the most imposing military pageants that we have ever witnessed in Cincinnati.” Obed Wilson’s militia unit, the Teachers’ Rifle Company, was the seventh command to pass the reviewing stand, as the entire formation was composed of 17 different companies. The Teachers’ Rifle Company consisted of 50 men, was armed with ‘Minié muskets’, and was led by Captain Locke.

[2] The Daily Times, 8 July 1861, p. 3. The Times noted the accident, writing: One of the Montgomery boys was accidently killed yesterday – a Mr. Johnson, of Company D. He was engaged in cleaning his gun, with the muzzle upon a rock, and the lock at full cock. The gun exploded, and there being no outlet for the charge, the barrel burst, and a portion penetrated the heart.”

[3] Cincinnati Daily Gazette, 8 July 1861, p. 1. The Gazette followed the activities occurring around the nation’s capital, writing: “The rumor current in Washington, today, that our troops have advanced within three miles of Fairfax, in incorrect.” The article corrected: “The grand army will advance three divisions.” The Gazette noted, “Where the three columns will combine cannot be stated, but we may venture to say that it will be a point beyond Fairfax Court House.” The story ended with: “An escaped slave reports the rebels at Fairfax retreating.”

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