"In the fall of 1863, after the great national successes at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Gettysburg, the President of the United States appointed a day if Thanksgiving to God for the victories that had crowned the national arms.
The Bulletin, a Union paper published in Memphis, Tennessee, made a simple announcement of the fact, and remarked that there were many, no doubt, in that city who would heartily join in celebrating the day. This suggestion drew upon the editor's head the following blowing and defiant philippic from the pen of one of the fair citizens of Memphis:
EDITOR BULLETIN: You call attention to Lincoln's appointment of a day of Thanksgiving for the successes which have blessed our cause, and you hope the day will be properly observed. By 'our cause' you mean the Union cause. I wonder how you think the people of Memphis can thank God for the successes of the Union Abolition cause. You pretend to think that a great Union sentiment has sprung up in Memphis, because you say that upwards of eleven thousand persons have taken the oath of allegiance. Let me tell you, if they have taken it, they did not do it of their own free will, and they don't feel bound by it; they had to take it under a military despotism, and don't feel bound to regard any oath forced upon them in that way. Do you believe that any preacher in Memphis will appoint services in his church at Lincoln's dictation? Let one dare to try it and see how his congregation will stand it. They know better. They know full well that the people of Memphis give thanks over Union disasters with sincere hearts, but don't rejoice at Union victories as they call them. The women of Memphis will stick to the Confederate cause, like Ruth clung to her mother-in-law, and say to it 'Where thou goest, I will go, where thou livest I will live, where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried.' But where are your great successes? Your own papers say that Lee brought off a train of captured spoils twelve miles long, and that Morgan destroyed seven or eight millions of dollars' worth before all of Ohio and Indiana could stop him. Pretty dear success, this. Still I won't rejoice over it at Lincoln's dictation. But wait till President Davis' day comes round. Perhaps by that time Meade may get another whipping, and if you don't see rejoicing and thanksgiving then, you may well believe that you and your officious local fail to see half that exists in Memphis. Now you won't publish this, perhaps, because it don't suit you. You can say the reason is, because I don't put my real name to it. You can do as you please about it. I choose to sign it,
Mary Lee Thorne