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General Grant’s Whisky and “Fighting Joe” Hooker Replaced

June 21, 1863/2013
Volume 4, Issue 25 (141 Issues Since 15 October 2010)

General Grant’s Whisky

June 21, 1863. [The story goes that] A committee, just previous to the fall of Vicksburg, solicitous for the morale of our armies, took it upon themselves to visit the President and urge the removal of General Grant.543

Lincolniana “What for?” asked Uncle Abe.

“Why,” replied the busy-bodies, “he drinks too much whisky.”

“Ah!” rejoined Uncle Abe, “can you inform me, gentlemen, where General Grant procures his whisky?”

The committee confessed they could not.

“Because,” added Uncle Abe, with a merry twinkle in his eye, “If I find out, I’ll send a barrel of it to every General in the field!”


From “Uncle Abe on the Whisky Question,” from Lincolniana; or The Humors of Uncle Abe, quoted in The Union Reader, Richard B. Harwell, ed., (1958) pp. 261-62. (See page 61 of the link for the passage quoted here.)

Lincoln Replaces Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Potomac

June 27, 1863. As Lee’s army marched north into Pennsylvania panic spread through the region. On June 27, 1863, Lincoln replaced General “Fighting Joe” Hooker with General George Gordon Meade as commander-in-chief of the Army of the Potomac. Meade’s hot temper earned him his nickname, “the old snapping turtle.” The change in command, as it turned out, would come less than a week before the Battle of Gettysburg.

Major General George G. Meade replaced General "Fighting Joe" Hooker just before the Battle of Gettysburg.

Major General George G. Meade replaced General “Fighting Joe” Hooker just before the Battle of Gettysburg.

“Send Them Home Tenderly”

On June 30, 1863 the following poignant poem was published in the Poughkeepsie Eagle [New York] . Its author is unknown.

Send Them Home Tenderly

Send them home tenderly,
The sleepers at rest,
With hands meekly folded
On each silent breast;
Let them come back to slumber
Beneath northern skies,
Where true hearts may weep o’er them,
And prayer incense rise.

Send them home tenderly,
The noble and true,
Scarce gone from their hearthstones —
Scarce whispered “Adieu”
Gone forth for their country,
It’s rights to sustain,
But, all bleeding and lifeless,
Returning again.

Send them home tenderly,
Our martyr’d and brave,
With the stripes and stars round them,
All robed for the grave.
Bereaved mothers shall clasp them
In pride to their breast,
And the good of our nation
Shall weep where they rest.

Send them home tenderly,
Each wound gaping wide
Shall send myriads of voices
From the dark purple tide;
And strong hands shall be grasping
The bright, unsheath’d sword,
With fresh fervor to battle
For right and the Lord.


“William T. Sherman Instructional Unit,” Teaching American History, U.S. Department of Education Grant Program, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools

All three pieces in this edition of the Civil War Book of Days were submitted by Peter A. Gilbert, executive director, Vermont Humanities Council 

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