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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 11/18/2013 2:12:12 PM   
british exil


Posts: 1521
Joined: 5/4/2006
From: Lower Saxony Germany
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The hotels did not not or could not vacate a room for the president?
How times have changed. I think if the president were to travel to a city today, a whole floor would be made free for him and his entourage.

Capt. Harlock still enjoying the thread, just did not realize how long the war lasted after Gettysburg. Keep the posts coming.

Your faithful and humble reader. (sounds a bit like back then)

Mat



_____________________________

"It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he pays for." Alfred Dunhill

WitE,UV,AT,ATG,FoF,FPCRS

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 991
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/19/2013 3:47:51 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4176
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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

The crowd at the ceremony for the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery is estimated at nine thousand people, including nine governors and three cabinet members. Edward Everett stood up to speak, and began, "Standing beneath this serene sky, overlooking these broad fields now reposing from the labors of the waning year, the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us, the graves of our brethren beneath our feet, it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice to break the eloquent silence of God and nature."

His hesitation quickly vanished, and he went on for over two hours, recounting the events of the battle and alluding to the battles of Marathon and Waterloo. Those who are curious can find the text of the speech at:
http://www.civilwarhome.com/everettgettysburg.htm

To be fair, this was a time when the majority of people had longer attention spans than are common today. (Each of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates ran three hours, with each man given 90 minutes total to speak.) When Everett went back toward his seat, Lincoln shook his hand to congratulate him, advanced to the speaker's stand, put on his steel-rimmed glasses, and read:


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.



Apparently the audience had not been expecting such a short speech. When the President had finished, they seemed to be caught off-guard, and there was silence for several seconds, until Lincoln moved back toward his seat. Then there came applause, but Lincoln interpreted the reaction as disapproval. "It is a flat failure, and the people are disappointed," he remarked to a friend. Edward Everett was much more impressed -- but it is unlikely that even he realized he had just heard the most famous speech in American history.




Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/19/2013 4:50:26 AM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 992
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/20/2013 4:45:28 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4176
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

Unbiased reporting of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was definitely not the order of the day. Depending on the political sympathies of their owners, the newspapers praised it or heaped scorn upon it. The New York Times reported that Lincoln had been showered with applause at several points during his delivery, which was untrue. On the other hand, the Chicago Times commented, "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States." But talent recognized genius: Edward Everett wrote to Lincoln, "I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."

At Chattanooga, weather was interfering with Sherman's efforts to get his troops up as soon as possible:

On the 20th, when so much was occurring to discourage--rains falling so heavily as to delay the passage of troops over the river at Brown's Ferry and threatening the entire breaking of the bridge; news coming of a battle raging at Knoxville; of Willcox being threatened by a force from the east--a letter was received from Bragg which contained these words: "As there may still be some non-combatants in Chattanooga, I deem it proper to notify you that prudence would dictate their early withdrawal." Of course, I understood that this was a device intended to deceive; but I did not know what the intended deception was.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


What was going on was, amazingly, a further diversion of Confederate troops to help Longstreet at Knoxville. Confronted by fortifications and a Union army nearly equal to his own and other Federals not very far away, Longstreet had not surprisingly asked for more men. There was some justice to his request, for the reinforcements he had been promised from Virginia had not arrived, and he had from the beginning stated that he needed a certain number to make sure of taking Knoxville quickly. But now the "besieging" Rebel army at Chattanooga would number only half that of the Yankees once Sherman's force was in position -- and it would be there in three days.

Incidentally, the forward units of Sherman's Army of the Tennessee were already linking up with troops from the Army of the Potomac. There was a considerable amount of "chaffing" from unit to unit, as it was noted that the men from the West were less orderly, and wore broad-brimmed hats instead of the classic military-style caps. But they were in rather better physical condition than the Easterners, having gone through the Vicksburg campaign.


< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/20/2013 8:23:55 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 993
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/23/2013 3:08:03 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4176
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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

At Chattanooga, the original "Cracker Line" bridge had broken. (Some credit it to the strain of crossing Sherman's troops and artillery, some to high water levels from rain, and some to rafts that the Confederates had pushed into the river for just that purpose.) But Sherman had finally brought his force into position. Grant decided it was time to move:

Hearing nothing from Burnside, and hearing much of the distress in Washington on his account, I could no longer defer operations for his relief. I determined, therefore, to do on the 23d, with the Army of the Cumberland, what had been intended to be done on the 24th.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


The Northerners put together a force of about 14,000 men in front of their lines. For a time it looked like a parade-ground assembly, so much so that the Confederates held their fire.

At two o'clock in the afternoon all were ready to advance. By this time the clouds had lifted so that the enemy could see from his elevated position all that was going on. The signal for advance was given by a booming of cannon from Fort Wood and other points on the line. The rebel pickets were soon driven back upon the main guards, which occupied minor and detached heights between the main ridge and our lines. These too were carried before halting, and before the enemy had time to reinforce their advance guards. But it was not without loss on both sides. This movement secured to us a line fully a mile in advance of the one we occupied in the morning, and the one which the enemy had occupied up to this time. The fortifications were rapidly turned to face the other way.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


Losses on either side added up to about 1,000 men in total, though the Yankees had more killed and wounded and the Rebels lost more in prisoners. Southern commander Braxton Bragg finally began to realize how much of a threat Grant's movements were. He called back some of the troops he had dispatched to aid James Longstreet at Knoxville, including the best division in his army under Patrick Cleburne. And he also ordered his main lines on Missionary Ridge to be fortified, something that should have been done weeks beforehand.

However, while the fortifications or "works" were finally being created, two peculiar decisions were made. First, the defending troops were split in two, with one half occupying a line of rifle-pits along the base of the ridge, and the other half on the heights. Second, the line of defense at the top was placed on the physical crest, the line of highest geographical points. It would have been wiser to place the men and guns along the "military crest", the shoulder of the ridge that would have allowed the clearest field of fire down the slopes.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 994
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/24/2013 2:27:16 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

After the success of Orchard Knob the day before, the next part of Grant's plan called for moves against the right and left flanks of the Confederate army. Sherman's force of three divisions was assigned to the Confederate right, and had to cross the Tennessee river to get there. The first part of this move went well enough. Sherman's men had marched behind hills, so that the Rebels were unaware of his move until their outlying picket guards were attacked in the dark.

By this time the Yankees were seasoned bridge-builders, as Sherman testified later in his report to the War Department: "...by daylight of November 24th two divisions of about eight thousand men were on the east bank of the Tennessee, and had thrown up a very respectable rifle-trench as a tete du pont*. As soon as the day dawned, some of the boats were taken from the use of ferrying, and a pontoon-bridge was begun, under the immediate direction of Captain Dresser, the whole planned and supervised by General William F. Smith in person. A pontoon-bridge was also built at the same time over Chickamanga Creek, near its mouth, giving communication with the two regiments which had been left on the north side, and fulfilling a most important purpose at a later stage of the drama. I will here bear my willing testimony to the completeness of this whole business. All the officers charged with the work were present, and manifested a skill which I cannot praise too highly. I have never beheld any work done so quietly, so well; and I doubt if the history of war can show a bridge of that extent (viz., thirteen hundred and fifty feet) laid so noiselessly and well, in so short a time. I attribute it to the genius and intelligence of General William F. Smith."

Now with light to see by, the advance force of Northerners charged, and overran the first set of Confederate lines. But then it was discovered that what the Yankees had taken was an isolated hill, rather than the end of Missionary Ridge. The true objective was strongly fortified, an unpleasant surprise since preliminary reports had indicated the Rebels had not bothered to entrench there. More, the defenses were manned by a crack division, which Bragg had recalled just the day before. The attack would have to wait until the next day.

On the Confederate left, the Northern troops under Joseph Hooker were already across the river. Grant had intended a move on Lookout Mountain to be a diversion, but "Fighting Joe" had 10,000 men and was not in the mood for a mere feint. He was at least smart enough not assault the mountain head-on, for it was all but unclimbable from the west, but ordered his advance to sweep around the north end and go up the still difficult but accessible terrain there.

Thick clouds and fog rolled in to the area during the afternoon, preventing Grant and the main body of the Union army from seeing what was going on. Hooker was little help, sending messages that alternately boasted of success and pleaded for reinforcements. Finally, the "Battle Above the Clouds" wound down and the Yankees had achieved a decisive positional advantage. Hooker sent that "in all probability the enemy will evacuate tonight", and this time he was quite right. With the aid of a total lunar eclipse, the Rebels got most of their men off Lookout Mountain, but left behind 1,251 dead, wounded, and prisoners. The fight had cost the Yankees 408 casualties in all.

*"Tete du pont" translates to "bridgehead".




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 995
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/24/2013 5:00:46 AM   
Zap


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My, how the quality of speech of politicians have fallen. The gentlemen you quoted was so eloquent

Edward Everett stood up to speak, and began, "Standing beneath this serene sky, overlooking these broad fields now reposing from the labors of the waning year, the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us, the graves of our brethren beneath our feet, it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice to break the eloquent silence of God and nature."

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 996
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/25/2013 1:06:19 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4176
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

It could be argued that the successes of the previous two days meant that it was only a matter of time before Braxton Bragg and his Army of Tennessee had to fall back from Chattanooga. But Grant was never happy to wait it out, and Washington was still nearly frantic over the situation of Ambrose Burnside and his force:

The next day the President replied: "Your dispatches as to fighting on Monday and Tuesday are here. Well done. Many thanks to all. Remember Burnside." And Halleck also telegraphed: "I congratulate you on the success thus far of your plans. I fear that Burnside is hard pushed, and that any further delay may prove fatal. I know you will do all in your power to relieve him."
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


Both Grant and Bragg believed that the Southern position along Missionary Ridge was impregnable to direct assault. Therefore, Grant's plan was to roll up both flanks, with Sherman's corps going to the Confederate right, and Hooker's troops from the Army of the Potomac hitting the left. The Army of the Cumberland, commanded by George Thomas, would make a careful attack on the center to prevent reinforcements from being sent to the flanks, but would not press its assault.

The attack on the Confederate right quickly ran into trouble. There was another slope crowned by defensive entrenchments to be overcome. And this one was defended by a division commanded by Patrick Cleburne, very likely the best division in Bragg's army. Sherman's men tried several assaults, but were driven back with heavy losses. And here the Army of the Cumberland's part in the center failed, for reinforcements were pulled from Missionary Ridge to hold the Yankees back. Especially, the Rebels wheeled up artillery and began pounding the Federal infantry.

Meanwhile, Hooker and his force were encountering slow going, not from Confederate resistance, but from natural obstacles. The line of advance had to cross Chattanooga Creek, and the one bridge usable for an army had been burned. The Yankee engineers improvised a replacement, but found it would take too long to reinforce it to the point where it could bear the weight of cannons. Hooker decided to advance with just infantry:

Hooker . . . was detained four hours crossing Chattanooga Creek, and thus was lost the immediate advantage I expected from his forces. His reaching Bragg's flank and extending across it was to be the signal for Thomas's assault of the ridge. But Sherman's condition was getting so critical that the assault for his relief could not be delayed any longer.
[...]
I now directed Thomas to order the charge at once. I watched eagerly to see the effect, and became impatient at last that there was no indication of any charge being made. The centre of the line which was to make the charge was near where Thomas and I stood, but concealed from view by an intervening forest. Turning to Thomas to inquire what caused the delay, I was surprised to see Thomas J. Wood, one of the division commanders who was to make the charge, standing talking to him. I spoke to General Wood, asking him why he did not charge as ordered an hour before. He replied very promptly that this was the first he had heard of it, but that he had been ready all day to move at a moment's notice. I told him to make the charge at once. He was off in a moment, and in an incredibly short time loud cheering was heard, and he and Sheridan were driving the enemy's advance before them towards Missionary Ridge. The Confederates were strongly intrenched on the crest of the ridge in front of us, and had a second line half-way down and another at the base. Our men drove the troops in front of the lower line of rifle-pits so rapidly, and followed them so closely, that rebel and Union troops went over the first line of works almost at the same time. Many rebels were captured and sent to the rear under the fire of their own friends higher up the hill. Those that were not captured retreated, and were pursued. The retreating hordes being between friends and pursuers caused the enemy to fire high to avoid killing their own men. In fact, on that occasion the Union soldier nearest the enemy was in the safest position. Without awaiting further orders or stopping to reform, on our troops went to the second line of works; over that and on for the crest...
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


Grant had not intended that the advance go all the way to the top of Missionary Ridge. In fact, he asked Thomas sharply who had given the orders. "I don't know," Thomas replied, "I did not." But Grant decided not to issue a recall. The soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland had chafed under having to be rescued from a siege, and being assigned a secondary role in the battle. Now, they were determined to wipe out their previous defeat, and cries of "Chickamauga! Chickamauga!" rang out as they went up the slopes.

And now the problem of the geographic crest versus the "military" crest become very real and practical. From their unwisely placed entrenchments, the Rebels could not bring their full firepower against the Federals heading towards them. In minutes a stream of Northern soldiers poured over the top of the ridge, and the outnumbered Confederates broke and ran. The entire center of Bragg's army gave way, and about then Hooker's attack on their left flank began in earnest as well.

From this position, the only alternative to destruction was retreat, and the Southerners knew they would have to fall back for miles before they could make a stand. (Eventually they would go 30 miles or 48 km.) That meant abandoning both their headquarters and their main supply depot. The orders went out to burn the depot, and those orders meant the end of Braxton Bragg's command of the army.

When we arrived at Chickamauga Station, our brigade and General Lucius E. Polk's brigade, of Cleburne's division, were left to set fire to the town and to burn up and destroy all those immense piles of army stores and provisions which had been accumulated there to starve the Yankees out of Chattanooga. Great piles of corn in sacks, and bacon, and crackers, and molasses, and sugar, and coffee, and rice, and potatoes, and onions, and peas, and flour by the hundreds of barrels, all now to be given to the flames, while for months the Rebel soldiers had been stinted and starved for the want of these same provisions. It was enough to make the bravest and most patriotic soul that ever fired a gun in defense of any cause on earth, think of rebelling against the authorities as they then were. Every private soldier knew these stores were there, and for the want of them we lost our cause. Reader, I ask you who you think was to blame? Most of our army had already passed through hungry and disheartened, and here were all these stores that had to be destroyed. Before setting fire to the town, every soldier in Maney's and Polk's brigades loaded himself down with rations. It was a laughable looking rear guard of a routed and retreating army. Every one of us had cut open the end of a corn sack, emptied out the corn, and filled it with hard-tack, and, besides, every one of us had a side of bacon hung to our bayonets on our guns. Our canteens, and clothes, and faces, and hair were all gummed up with molasses. Such is the picture of our rear guard.
--Sam R. Watkins, "Co. Aytch" Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment


Both the officers and men under Bragg had resented his authoritarian style, but had been willing to follow his orders as long as he seemed to know what he was doing. As the word spread of the tremendous waste, that opinion changed. The Army of Tennessee would never again believe in the competence of Braxton Bragg.

Over the three days of fighting, the Union had sustained 5,824 casualties (753 killed, 4,722 wounded, 349 missing), while the Confederates lost 6,667 (361 killed, 2,160 wounded, 4,146 prisoners or missing). Though the losses indicate only a minor advantage for the North, strategically the battles were a decisive victory. The rail and river lines to Chattanooga were now clear to build a stockpile of supplies and a mass of troops, and the gateway to Georgia was open. First, however, there was the matter of Burnside's force at Knoxville.



Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/25/2013 2:10:39 AM >

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 997
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/26/2013 7:48:24 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

South of Chattanooga, both sides were regrouping after the stunning breakthrough of Missionary Ridge. The Confederate units had retreated in disorder, except for the force under Patrick Cleburne which had held off Sherman on the right wing, and then acted as rear-guard for the entire army. On this date, men were falling back into line as the units moved southward into Georgia. They had left much of the artillery behind, however, and were a long way from ready for another all-out battle.

Ulysses S. Grant guessed as much. He was a man who believed strongly in pursuing a defeated foe and inflicting as much additional damage as possible. But he had also pledged to the War Department and the President that he would relieve Burnside and his force at Knoxville at the earliest possible moment. He therefore split his forces, ordering a substantial column of George Thomas' Army of the Cumberland under General Gordon Granger to set out for Knoxville. Meanwhile, troops from the Army of the Potomac under Joe Hooker and from the Army of the Tennessee under William T. Sherman were to pursue the retreating Confederates under Braxton Bragg. But in the fighting of the past three days, units from the various armies had gotten mixed up as reinforcements were rushed to places in need from whatever troops were closest. Sending the troops back to their correct commanders took some time. In addition, Sherman's force had crossed the Tennessee River with only two days' rations, and now needed to forage. Happily, they came upon the main Confederate depot, which was still afire here and there, but had some useful cornmeal and fodder for the horses remaining.


In Virginia, George Meade and the Army of the Potomac were not yet ready to accept the end of campaigning season. Meade decided to turn Robert E. Lee's strategy of going around his right flank back upon his Southern foe. On this date, his troops began crossing the Rapidan River at three fords, hoping to either force the Army of Northern Virginia to shift from its entrenchments, or better still, get between it and Richmond.

But there was a reason that late Autumn was not considered good campaigning weather. Rains had fallen for three days before, and once again roads had turned to mud. On this date, they began to dry, but the Northerners could still only travel about half the distance they had hoped to. Nor did they have the advantage of surprise: alert Confederate scouts and cavalry had spotted the movements, and immediately reported them to Lee. Not surprisingly, the ever-aggressive Southern commander ordered a counter-attack.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 998
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/27/2013 4:16:45 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

In northern Georgia, the Union pursuit under Joseph Hooker found the Rebels, but soon wished they hadn't. Again, the division under Patrick Cleburne had been selected to act as rear-guard, and Cleburne had chosen his position well at a place called Ringgold Gap. The Southerners waited until the advance Federal troops were only 50 yards (46 m) from their lines, then let loose a volley that completely disrupted their foes.

Hooker tried to use his superior numbers by attacks on the sides, but the valley was too naroow to permit much maneuvering. After five hours of pitched battle, the Confederates withdrew in good order, burning the bridge on the other side of the gap. The Northerners had lost 509 men in total, while the Confederates had sustained only 221 casualties. When Ulysses S. Grant came up, he decided against any further pursuit, for he still had the problem of James Longstreet's force besieging Knoxville.


In Virginia, the Battle of Mine Run began as advancing Union troops encountered the Confederates. Here a Southern General began to show the ability that would win him a semi-independent command similar to what Stonewall Jackson had enjoyed:

I had received information that a body of the enemy's cavalry had crossed in front of Fitz. Lee at Morton's Ford, and had been cautioned by General Fitz. Lee to look out for my left flank against molestation of the enemy's cavalry, and supposing the party firing on Johnson's train might be a body of cavalry that had crossed at some of the fords below Morton's, I sent word to General Johnson that such was my opinion and directed him to attack and drive off the cavalry. He at once formed his division and moved forward to the attack, soon encountering, instead of a cavalry force, a very heavy force of infantry advancing towards the Bartlett's Mill road.

A very heavy engagement with both artillery and infantry ensued, in which Johnson's division encountered the enemy's 3rd corps under French, supported by the 6th corps under Sedgwick, and, after a very obstinate fight lasting until after dark, Johnson effectually checked the enemy's advance, driving his troops back, and maintaining full occupation of the road. His brigades behaved with great gallantry, encountering many times their own numbers, and by the check thus given to the enemy in this quarter saved the whole corps from a very serious disaster, for if the enemy had got possession of this road, he would have been able to come up in rear of the other division, while they were confronting the large force at Locust Grove.

[ . . .]

This affair satisfied me that the enemy's whole army was in the immediate neighborhood, and as Ewell's corps, under my command, was then in a most unfavorable position, I determined to fall back across Mine Run about two miles in our rear, where I had observed a good position as I passed on.
--Jubal Early, Autobiographical Sketch and Narrative of the War Between the States



Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan and several of his officers had been confined in the Ohio State Penitentiary after their capture. On this date Morgan and six other men pulled off a remarkable escape, digging a tunnel out of one of their cells, and then climbing the prison wall with a rope made out of their bed furnishings. They managed to board a train in nearby Columbus, eluding the pursuit. Morgan would eventually make his way through Kentucky back into the South. But there he would unhappily learn that his wife had given birth to their daughter the very day of his escape, but the baby girl had died within a few days.





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 999
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/28/2013 7:01:44 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4176
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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, both Robert E. Lee and George Meade had cause for unhappiness. Meade had managed to bring his entire Army of the Potomac across the Rapidan River, and outnumbered the Army of Northern Virginia by about 70,000 to 44,000. It was too late for an attack where much of the Northern army would be caught on the other side of the river. On the other hand, the Confederates had spent much of the previous night digging rifle-pits and putting down sharpened wooden stakes and other obstacles. It was also too late for an easy attack by Meade: as Jubal Early put it, the Southerners had "full confidence that we would be able to punish him severely for disturbance of us at this inclement season." And it was inclement weather, for the rains were falling again, and that night the temperature would drop below freezing.

In eastern Tennessee, it was getting cold as well. Both Yankees and Rebels had troops not clothed for late Autumn: Sherman's men had marched from Mississippi, and Longstreet's men had not received new equipment since their move from Virginia in September. But word of a major battle at Chattanooga had reached the Confederates besieging Knoxville, although for a few more days it was not clear what the results had been. On this date, Major-General McClaws asked Longstreet to delay an assault on Knoxville until the situation was more clear, going so far as to make the request in writing. Longstreet fired back that "I am entirely convinced that our only safety is in making the assault upon the enemy's position to-morrow at daylight, and it is the more important that I should have the entire support and co-operation of the officers in this connection."

Time also seemed to be running out for the Northerners. Grant had been given a message from Burnside, implying that he only had food enough to last until about December 3rd. Partly for this reason, Grant had called off the pursuit of Braxton Bragg's army, and ordered a relief column to Knoxville. But on this date, when it was supposed to depart, there was no move. General Granger, who was supposed to be commanding the force, beleived it was a bad idea, and General Thomas backed him up.

In truth, the Federal situation at Knoxville was not nearly so bad. Burnside was making some amends for his poor performance as head of the Army of the Potomac, and ingenious ways had been found to get more food into the town.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1000
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/29/2013 8:55:31 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

As a general, James Longtreet's strong point was being able to organize powerful assaults against enemy positions. But on this date, that skill somehow deserted him. In possibly the worst planned and executed battle of his career, Lonstreet sent about 3,000 Confederate infantry against Fort Sanders, a key stronghold for the area of Knoxville. But although the fort had a mere 440 defenders, it had been well prepared. A large ditch, twelve feet (3.5 m) wide and from four to ten feet (1–3 m) deep was just outside the fort's outer walls. Longstreet had seen this through a telescope, though he had misjudged its depth. What he had not seen was that telegraph wires had been strung out over the approaches to the fort, slowing down the Rebel charge (one of the first documented uses of defensive wire):

The assault was made by the brigades of Generals Wofford, Humphreys, and Bryan at the appointed time and in admirable style. The orders were, that not a musket should be discharged except by the sharp-shooters, who should be vigilant and pick off every head that might appear above the parapets until the fort was carried. The troops marched steadily and formed regularly along the outside of the works around the ditch. I rode after them with the brigades under General B. R. Johnson until within five hundred yards of the fort, whence we could see our advance through the gray of the morning. A few men were coming back wounded. Major Goggin, of General McLaws’s staff, who had been at the fort, rode back, met me, and reported that it would be useless for us to go on; that the enemy had so surrounded the fort with net-work of wire that it was impossible for the men to get in without axes, and that there was not an axe in the command. Without a second thought I ordered the recall, and ordered General Johnson to march his brigades back to their camps.
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


The recall apparently did not reach all of the Confederate units in time. A number of Rebels advanced into the fort's ditch, but they had not been equipped with scaling ladders, and the walls halted them while musket balls and grapeshot swept through their ranks. A very few manged to climb the walls, only to be promptly shot down or captured.

After twenty minutes of slaughter, the Confederates fell back. They had lost 129 killed, 458 wounded, and 226 captured, against Union losses of only 8 killed and 5 wounded. The chance of taking Knoxville by storm was ended, and the chance of starving the Federals out was already gone. (Cattle were being herded into the town.)

But neither Ulysses S. Grant nor the Lincoln administration in Washington knew that. Returning to Chattanooga, Grant found to his consternation that the troops for the relief of Knoxville had not yet marched. He immediately decided to send Sherman and his force, even though those men had been "stripped for the fight", issued rations for only two days and not provided with tents for shelter from the cold nights.




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RE: Civil War 150th - 11/30/2013 3:40:59 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The news of the defeat at Missionary Ridge, and the end of the siege of Chattanooga, spread through the South. With the blockade tighter than ever, gloom was almost everywhere:

        Now, Charleston is bombarded night and day. It fairly makes me dizzy to think of that everlasting racket they are beating about people's ears down there. Bragg defeated, and separated from Longstreet. It is a long street that knows no turning, and Rosecrans is not taken after all.
        November 30th. - Anxiety pervades. Lee is fighting Meade. Misery is everywhere. Bragg is falling back before Grant. Longstreet, the soldiers call him Peter the Slow, is settling down before Knoxville.
-- Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary From Dixie


The Northerners still had their own anxieties. Grant calculated that the Union soldiers at Knoxville could only hold out until December 3rd, and it was unlikely that even Sherman and his fast-marching troops could get there by that time. To bluff James Longstreet and his army into raising the siege, he resorted to an extraordinary step:

I was so very anxious that Burnside should get news of the steps being taken for his relief, and thus induce him to hold out a little longer if it became necessary, that I determined to send a message to him. I therefore sent a member of my staff, Colonel J. H. Wilson, to get into Knoxville if he could report to Burnside the situation fully, and give him all the encouragement possible. Mr. Charles A. Dana was at Chattanooga during the battle, and had been there even before I assumed command. Mr. Dana volunteered to accompany Colonel Wilson, and did accompany him. I put the information of what was being done for the relief of Knoxville into writing, and directed that in some way or other it must be secretly managed so as to have a copy of this fall into the hands of General Longstreet.
--The Personal Memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 12/1/2013 6:44:19 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia continued to stare at each other. Robert E. Lee still felt confident that the Yankees would not have gone to all the trouble to cross the Rapidan River just to withdraw a few days later, so he held his forces on the defensive, confident they could defeat any assault, and ready to counter-attack afterwards.

But a withdrawal was exactly what Union commander George Meade decided to do on this date. He had the reports of his subordinates, and had seen some of the defenses for himself, and he also concluded that any attack he could deliver would lead to the useless slaughter of his men. He would have liked to move east instead, take Fredricksburg, and winter his army there. But General-in-chief Henry Halleck had specifically given orders against such a move, and it was a bad idea to go into winter quarters where the army was at the moment, since his supplies would have to cross the Rapidan. So, the orders were written to fall back across the river. The movement began that night, and for once the Confederates failed to detect it.


In eastern Tennessee, U. S. Grant's plan to alert the Confederates that help was on the way to Knoxville worked with surprising speed:

The impression seemed to be that it would not be prudent to undertake to join General Bragg. At the same time reports came from him to inform me that he had retired as far as Dalton, and that I must depend upon my own resources. We were cut off from communication with the army at Dalton, except by an impracticable mountain route, and the railway to the north was broken up by the removal of bridges and rails for a distance of a hundred miles and more. Deciding to remain at Knoxville, I called on General Ransom to join us with his main force, to aid in reinvesting it, or to hold it while we could march against a succoring force if the numbers should warrant. On the 1st of December, Colonel Giltner, commanding one of General Ransom’s cavalry brigades, reported that he had orders to join General Ransom with his brigade. On the same day a courier going from General Grant to General Burnside was captured, bearing an autograph letter for the latter, stating that three columns were advancing for his relief,—one by the south side under General Sherman, one by Decherd under General Elliott, the third by Cumberland Gap under General Foster.
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


Longstreet now knew he risked being caught between the hammer of Sherman and the anvil of Burnside. Complicating matters was the fact that, strictly speaking, Braxton Bragg was no longer in command of the Army of Tennessee. Realizing the army no longer believed in him, he had previously telegraphed his resignation, and on this date he made it more formal:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Dalton, Ga., December 1, 1863.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States, Richmond:


Mr. PRESIDENT: I send by Lieutenant Colonel Urquhart a plain, unvarnished report of the operations at Chattanooga, resulting in my shameful discomfiture. The disaster admits of no palliation, and is justly disparaging to me as a commander. I trust, however, you may find upon full investigation that the fault is not entirely mine. Colonel Urquhart will inform you on any point not fully explained in the report. I fear we both erred in the conclusion for me to retain command here after the clamor raised against me. The warfare has been carried on successfully, and the fruits are bitter. You must make other changes here, or our success is hopeless. Breckinridge was totally unfit for any duty from the 23rd to the 27th - during all our trials - from drunkenness. The same cause prevented our complete triumph at Murfreesborough. I can bear to be sacrificed myself, but not to see my country and my friends ruined by the vices of a few profligate men who happen to have an undue popularity. General Hardee will assure you that Cheatham is equally dangerous.

May I hope, as a personal favor, that you will allow my friend Colonel Urquhart to continue with me as a part of my personal staff? He has never acted in any other capacity, and is almost a necessity in enabling me to bring up my records. I shall ever be ready to do all in my power for our common cause, but feel some little rest will render me more efficient than I am now.
Most respectfully and truly, yours,
BRAXTON BRAGG,
General, &c


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 12/2/2013 3:51:44 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In eastern Tennessee on the outskirts of Knoxville, it was now clear to the Southerners under James Longstreet that the attempt to take the town would not be successful. But possibly something useful could be done against the Union forces elsewhere. The Union relief army marching towards them under Sherman was too big to engage with confidence, so Lonstreet turned his attention elsewhere:

Under the circumstances there seemed but one move left for us,--to march around Knoxville to the north side, up the Holston, and try to find the column reported to be marching down from Cumberland Gap, the mountain ranges and valleys of that part of the State offering beautiful fields for the manœuvre of small armies. The order was issued December 2.
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


But Sherman and his army were running into trouble on their way to Knoxville. The calculation was that the Union defenders of Knoxville would run out of rations on December 3rd, and now Sherman found that his infantry would not make it:

On the 2d of December the army moved rapidly north toward Loudon, twenty-six miles distant. About 11 a.m., the cavalry passed to the head of the column, was ordered to push to London, and, if possible, to save a pontoon-bridge across the Tennessee, held by a brigade of the enemy commanded by General Vaughn. The cavalry moved with such rapidity as to capture every picket; but the brigade of Vaughn had artillery in position, covered by earthworks, and displayed a force too respectable to be carried by a cavalry dash, so that darkness closed in before General Howard's infantry got up. The enemy abandoned the place in the night, destroying the pontoons, running three locomotives and forty-eight cars into the Tennessee River, and abandoned much provision, four guns, and other material, which General Howard took at daylight. But the bridge was gone, and we were forced to turn east and trust to General Burnside's bridge at Knoxville. It was all-important that General Burnside should have notice of our coming, and but one day of the time remained.

Accordingly, at Philadelphia, during the night of the 2d of December, I sent my aide (Major Audenried) forward to Colonel Long, commanding the brigade of cavalry at London, to explain to him how all-important it was that notice of our approach should reach General Burnside within twenty-four hours, ordering him to select the best materials of his command, to start at once, ford the Little Tennessee, and push into Knoxville at whatever cost of life and horse-flesh. Major Audenried was ordered to go along. The distance to be traveled was about forty miles, and the roads villainous.

--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman



In Washington, the outer dome of the U. S. Capitol building was close enough to completion to bear significant weight. On this date, the final section of the 19½-feet (6 meters) tall statue "Freedom" was installed on the top of the dome. When the statue was first designed, the figure was wearing a "liberty cap", the badge in ancient Rome of an emancipated slave. The Secretary of War at the time, none other than Jefferson Davis, would not permit it, so the headpiece was changed to a helmet with an eagle's head.





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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 1004
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/3/2013 3:26:23 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

It was night on the supposedly final day that Knoxville could hold out when the detachment of Union cavalry finally reached the town. But the men who greeted them were neither starving nor dispirited, and had had no intention of surrendering to the Confederates. They had stretched a boom across the river, which caught the rafts and small boats that the pro-Union citizens of eastern Tennessee had loaded with provisions and put in the water upstream. along with the cattle run into the town on the hoof, this not only fed the Union garrison but their horses and mules as well.

Even more, the Northerners were aware that James Longstreet and his army had begun the process of pulling out. What supplies the Rebels had left were loaded onto the wagons, and these began the journey to the north and east, away from the main Confederate army now at Dalton, Georgia. It is safe to say that few of Longstreet's Virginians were disheartened by that fact, for the move also brought them closer to home.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 1005
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/6/2013 3:37:38 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

After problems with bridges and unusually cold weather, Sherman finally reached Knoxville, to find that the Confederates had pulled out the day before:

Halting all the army, except Granger's two divisions, on the morning of the 6th, with General Granger and some of my staff I rode into Knoxville. Approaching from the south and west, we crossed the Holston on a pontoon bridge, and in a large pen on the Knoxville side I saw a fine lot of cattle, which did not look much like starvation. I found General Burnside and staff domiciled in a large, fine mansion, looking very comfortable, and in, a few words he described to me the leading events, of the previous few days,
[...]
Returning to Burnside's quarters, we all sat down to a good dinner, embracing roast-turkey. There was a regular dining table, with clean tablecloth, dishes, knives, forks, spoons, etc., etc. I had seen nothing of this kind in my field experience, and could not help exclaiming that I thought "they were starving," etc.; but Burnside explained that Longstreet had at no time completely invested the place, and that he had kept open communication with the country on the south side of the river Holston, more especially with the French Broad settlements, from whose Union inhabitants he had received a good supply of beef, bacon, and corn meal. Had I known of this, I should not have hurried my men so fast...
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


Burnside requested that Sherman leave the two infantry divisions with him to pursue Longstreet's army and drive it completely out of Tennessee. Sherman cheerfully assented, but General Granger, who would perforce have to stay with his men rather than returning to Grant's main army at Chattanooga, was unhappy. It seemed more the time to go into winter quarters, as the coming winter promised to be a harsh one.


At Charleston, South Carolina, things were bad for both sides. Though the huge "Swamp Angel" cannon had burst, other Union artillery pieces had taken up the task of bombarding the city. The area of the docks and several blocks north of them had been evacuated. There had also been a major fire in December of 1861 (probably started by accident), whose ravages had not yet been repaired.

For the Union navy blockading the city, the arrival of wintry weather made matters both unpleasant and downright dangerous. On this date, the Passaic-class monitor Weehauken, which had survived grounding, multiple shell hits, and even the explosion of a mine underneath her, did not survive a gale while riding at anchor. She had just received a new consignment of large-caliber shells, and it appears that a deck hatch had not been closed and dogged down afterwards. A rogue wave came across her deck, and she took in enough water to tilt her bow below the surface. In minutes she foundered, taking down with her 31 of her complement of 75 men.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 12/6/2013 4:39:22 AM >

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RE: Civil War 150th - 12/7/2013 6:50:20 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The members of the Confederate Congress re-convened, and Jefferson Davis sent his annual message to them. Not surprisingly, he tried to put a positive face on the events of the year, which had mostly been disastrous for the Southern cause. He played up the invasion of Pennsylvania, making it sound like flooded rivers, rather than Union soldiers at Gettysburg, had caused the retreat back to Virginia. He pointed out that the North had failed to capture Charleston or Fort Sumter, ignoring the fact that Sumter had been pounded into rubble-heaps and the blockade had reduced shipping in and out of Charleston harbor to almost nil. There was no denying to fall of Vicksburg and the loss of the entire Mississippi River, but he declared that “the resolute spirit of the people soon overcame the despondency.”

In truth, gloom was widespread across the Confederacy. Even though Braxton Bragg was being replaced, men were still deserting from the beaten Army of Tennessee. Diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut had recorded just three days before that a barrel of flour now cost a hundred and fifteen dollars in Richmond, whereas before the war just seven dollars could feed a small family for a week. Even Robert E. Lee was depressed about the "escape" of the Army of the Potomac back across the Rapidan River (even though it outnumbered his force by over three to two).

Davis' message also touched on the perennial shortage of manpower in the Confederacy. He proposed to reduce the number of exemptions which allowed men to avoid conscription into the Southern armies. (He did not mention the continual augmenting of enlistment terms; once a man was in Confederate service, he found the required time to serve was always increasing beyond what he had done.) If any job could be done by a negro, Davis said, it should be so done, and the white man previously in that position would be taken into the army.

The manpower shortage was going to get worse. Davis noted that prisoner exchanges had stopped in some areas. What he did not say was that the Northerners had discovered that a number of the prisoners captured at Chattanooga had also been previously captured at Vicksburg and paroled. They had not yet been properly exchanged with Union prisoners, but had gone back into the ranks in violation of the parole agreement. Both U. S. Grant and General-in-Chief Halleck were incensed, and had begun to stop the practice of paroling. This would mean both sides would need to build large prisoner of war camps to hold the captured men. Neither side was properly prepared, and there would be terrible consequences.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 12/8/2013 3:38:14 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In contrast to the dark mood in much of the Confederacy, optimism prevailed in the Lincoln administration and the upper ranks of the Union military. With the successes at Chattanooga and Knoxville, the end of the war now seemed possible with another summer's campaigning. And the end of the war brought up the question of how to bring the seceded states and their people back into the Union. There were a number of hard-line Republicans who saw the war as rebellion plain and simple, and wanted to treat the Confederates as losing rebels had been treated throughout history. In other words, the leaders would be hanged, others would be imprisoned or exiled, and there would be wholesale seizures of property.

But on this date, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation indicating considerably more leniency. There was to be no compromise on the matter of independence for the South; United States authority would be fully re-established. But most of the Southerners would be fully pardoned if they took a simple loyalty oath:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
A PROCLAMATION.


WHEREAS, in and by the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment;” and

Whereas, a rebellion now exists whereby the loyal state governments of several states have for a long time been subverted, and many persons have committed, and are now guilty of, treason against the United States; and

Whereas, with reference to said rebellion and treason, laws have been enacted by congress, declaring forfeitures and confiscation of property and liberation of slaves, all upon terms and conditions therein stated, and also declaring that the President was thereby authorized at any time thereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any state or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions and at such times and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare; and

Whereas, the congressional declaration for limited and conditional pardon accords with well-established judicial exposition of the pardoning power; and

Whereas, with reference to said rebellion, the President of the United States has issued several proclamations, with provisions in regard to the liberation of slaves; and

Whereas, it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States, and to reinaugurate loyal state governments within and for their respective states: Therefore–

I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is hereby granted to them and each of them, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and in property cases where rights of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:–

“I,____ ____, do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all acts of congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by congress, or by decision of the supreme court; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the supreme court. So help me God.”

The persons excepted from the benefits of the foregoing provisions are all who are, or shall have been, civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate government; all who have left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion; all who are, or shall have been, military or naval officers of said so-called Confederate government above the rank of colonel in the army or of lieutenant in the navy; all who left seats in the United States congress to aid the rebellion; all who resigned commissions in the army or navy of the United States and afterwards aided the rebellion; and all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war, and which persons may have been found in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacity...


Lincoln also provided for the re-establishment of state governments loyal to the Union. Which, incidentally, would be needed to pass a certain Constitutional amendment being discussed in back rooms among the Republican Party.

(The full text of the proclamation can be found at:
http://www.freedmen.umd.edu/procamn.htm )

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 12/8/2013 4:41:44 AM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 1008
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/11/2013 4:14:32 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Although Ambrose Burnside had performed credibly fighting James Longstreet's attempt to recapture Knoxville, independent army command did not seem to suit the be-whiskered Union general. He had requested to be replaced even before the Confederate move, but his replacement understandably found it difficult to get to Knoxville while the siege was going on. But on this date, he was formally relieved by Major General John G. Foster, who interestingly sported a similar beard style.



Foster's assignment was now to go after Longstreet's force and drive it completely out of Tennessee. But the Confederates were not anxious to go: they were now in the area that had provided the food for Burnside's men during the Knoxville campaign. After the hardships of the siege of Chattanooga, the chance to fill their stomachs was not one to be given up without a fight.



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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

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Post #: 1009
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/14/2013 2:42:46 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The change of command in the Union Army of the Ohio, and Sherman's retrograde move back towards Chattanooga, had unsurprisingly taken the momentum out of the Federal pursuit of James Longstreet and his men. The Northern cavalry was probing the Confederate rear, but the Northern infantry was much slower in coming up. Learning of this situation, Longstreet determined to cut off and capture a force of Yankee troopers at a town called Bean's Station.

Longstreet was not interested in merely pushing the Northerners back: he wanted to capture the entire force and their supplies. But luck was not with the hungry and cold Rebels:

My column, though complaining a little of short rations and very muddy roads, made its march in good season. So also did Jones on the west of the mountain, and Martin on the other side of the Holston; but the latter encountered a brigade at May’s Ford, which delayed him and gave time for the enemy to change to a position some four miles to his rear. As we approached the position in front of the Gap, Giltner’s cavalry in advance, General B. R. Johnson met and engaged the enemy in a severe fight, but forced him back steadily. As we were looking for large capture more than fight, delay was unfortunate. I called Kershaw’s brigade up to force contention till we could close the west end of the Gap. The movements were nicely executed by Johnson and Kershaw, but General Martin had not succeeded in gaining his position, so the rear was not closed, and the enemy retired. At night I thought the army was in position to get the benefit of the small force cut off at the Gap, as some reward for our very hard work. We received reports from General Jones, west of the mountain, that he was in position at his end of the Gap, and had captured several wagon-loads of good things. As his orders included the capture of the train, he had failed of full comprehension of them, and after nightfall had withdrawn to comfortable watering-places to enjoy his large catch of sugar and coffee, and other things seldom seen in Confederate camps in those days. Thus the troops at the Gap got out during the night, some running over the huge rocks and heavy wood tangles along the crest, by torch-light, to their comrades, some going west by easier ways. So when I sent up in the morning, looking for their doleful surrender, my men found only empty camp-kettles, mess-pans, tents, and a few abandoned guns, and twelve prisoners, while the Yankees were, no doubt, sitting around their camp-fires enjoying the joke with the comrades they had rejoined.
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox Memoirs of The Civil War in America


It is doubtful that the Union troopers enjoyed the joke very much, for the fight was not over. The two sides were still close enough to make further combat virtually inevitable.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 12/15/2013 6:43:40 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In eastern Tennessee, the Confederates were still hoping for a significant capture of Union cavalry near Bean's Station. But when the Rebels advanced on this date, they discovered that the Northerners had received infantry reinforcements overnight. Hours of daylight were lost deciding what to do. Eventually it was determined that the Southerners still had a numerical advantage, so an attack should go forward.

After some effort, the Confederates managed to get a few cannon to the top of a hill where they could effectively fire on the Union lines. But coordination with the other Southern units was lacking. Without pressure from enemy infantry, the Northerners manged to retreat in fairly good order, and at the end of the day had linked up with still more reinforcements.

The Rebels had control of the town of Bean's Station, but the place was much the worse for wear. a number of houses had been burned during the fighting, and the hotel, which had temporarily been turned into a redoubt by the Yankees, had been heavily damaged when the defenders had been shelled out of the place by Confederate artillery. Since they had been mostly fighting on the defensive, the Federals had inflicted a few more casualties than they had received, about 900 Rebels lost against 700 Yankees.

Union commander General Foster now began to regret that Sherman had left only two divisions to augment the Army of the Ohio. He believed that Longstreet had been reinforced from Virginia, which was true, but only by a brigade or so. Grant's instructions to Foster were to "drive Longstreet as far East as you can", but it was looking as if Bean's Station was as far as Longstreet could be driven.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 1011
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/18/2013 5:02:02 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The telegraph had made possible almost instant communication half-way across the continent, if the communicators were lucky. U. S. Grant and Edwin Stanton had been able to hold the 1860's version of instant messaging, but the Southerners tended not to be so fortunate. Though it had been sent two days before, on this date General Joseph Johnston received the communique relieving him from his current command and assigning him to head the Army of Tennessee. After the Army of Northern Virginia, this was the most important command in the Confederacy.

Jefferson Davis had struggled mightily with the decision, for he and Johnston loathed each other. In fact, Davis had all but begged Robert E. Lee to go west and take the position. But Lee had no intention of leaving his beloved home state, and rightly pointed out that the impact to the morale of the Army of Northern Virginia would cancel almost any possible gain from such a move. That left only three men with the seniority for the command: Johnston, Samuel Cooper, who was too old for field command, and P.G.T. Beauregard, whom Davis had grown to detest as much as Johnston. Eventually, there was no real choice: Johnston had the experience in the western theater.

Johnston was directed to travel to Dalton, Georgia, where the Army of Tennessee had established camps for the winter season. He was told that he would find further instructions there. There was little need for them, for it would be immediately plain to Johnston that the army needed re-building before it could do anything useful.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1012
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/19/2013 7:25:14 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In eastern Tennessee, the rains had begun again, and both armies found that it was all they could do to keep (moderately) warm, and to forage for food. Neither side was properly equipped for winter, and there were serious shortages of tents, blankets, coats, and above all, shoes. There was the occasional skirmish between cavalry patrols, but serious combat was at an end until spring. However, Confederate commander James Longstreet decided that it was time to do some housecleaning of subordinate officers who had displeased him.

Especially he wanted to get rid of Major General Lafayette McClaws, whom he blamed for the failure of the assault at Fort Sanders. (In your humble amateur historian's opinion, this was unfair, for Longstreet's own memoirs identified the cause as his recall order after learning of the defensive wire.) On this date, this led to an exchange of letters between the two former West point classmates, written in coldly correct style.

McClaws went, but would lodge a formal protest in Richmond. In this McClaws was correct, because although Longstreet had been told he could act independently, he did not have the full authority of an independent command. In particular, he was not authorized to relieve officers at will, unless formal charges were filed and a court-martial held.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 12/19/2013 8:30:29 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1013
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/22/2013 2:49:42 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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Late December, 1863:

In Virginia and in Tennessee, the major armies of both North and South were going into winter quarters. U. S. Grant moved his headquarters from Chattanooga to Nashville, giving him more reliable communications with his extensive command. Gordon Meade actually pulled his entire Army of the Potomac back from the Rapidan River to the Rappahannock, so that he could be nearer the rail-head that gave him most of his supplies. And in eastern Tennessee, James Longstreet was much of the same mind. He decided to abandon Bean's Station, which had cost him almost a thousand casualties to capture, and move even further to the east and a rail-head of his own. It was a fortunate move, for the hardships his men had been undergoing were almost immediately improved:

We were over by the 20th, and before Christmas were in our camps along the railroad, near Morristown. Blankets and clothes were very scarce, shoes more so, but all knew how to enjoy the beautiful country in which we found ourselves. The French Broad River and the Holston are confluent at Knoxville. The country between and beyond them contains as fine farming lands and has as delightful a climate as can be found. Stock and grain were on all farms. Wheat and oats had been hidden away by our Union friends, but the fields were full of maize, still standing. The country about the French Broad had hardly been touched by the hands of foragers. Our wagons immediately on entering the fields were loaded to overflowing. Pumpkins were on the ground in places like apples under a tree. Cattle, sheep, and swine, poultry, vegetables, maple-sugar, honey, were all abundant for immediate wants of the troops. When the enemy found we had moved to the east bank, his cavalry followed to that side. They were almost as much in want of the beautiful foraging lands as we, but we were in advance of them, and left little for them. With all the plenitude of provisions and many things which seemed at the time luxuries, we were not quite happy. Tattered blankets, garments, and shoes (the latter going—many gone) opened ways, on all sides, for piercing winter blasts. There were some hand-looms in the country from which we occasionally picked up a piece of cloth, and here and there we received other comforts, some from kind and some from unwilling hands, which nevertheless could spare them. For shoes we were obliged to resort to the raw hides of beef cattle as temporary protection from the frozen ground. Then we began to find soldiers who could tan the hides of our beeves, some who could make shoes, some who could make shoe-pegs, some who could make shoe-lasts, so that it came about that the hides passed rapidly from the beeves to the feet of the soldiers in the form of comfortable shoes. Then came the opening of the railroad, and lo and behold! a shipment of three thousand shoes from General Lawton, quartermaster-general! Thus the most urgent needs were supplied, and the soldier’s life seemed passably pleasant,—that is, in the infantry and artillery. Our cavalry were looking at the enemy all of this while, and the enemy was looking at them, both frequently burning powder between their lines.
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1014
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/23/2013 4:30:05 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

General Joseph Johnston had been informed he would received further instructions when he arrived at Dalton, Georgia, to take command of the Army of Tennessee. On this date in Richmond, President Jefferson Davis took pen in hand to provide some of those instructions. He does not seem to have been aware that Secretary of War James Seddon had already dispatched a similar missive. And the two letters were very different, for Davis' message was an astonishing example of wishful thinking:

General:

This is addressed under the supposition that you have arrived at Dalton, and have assumed command of the forces at that place. The intelligence recently received respecting the condition of that army is encouraging, and induces me to hope that you will soon be able to commence active operations against the enemy.

The reports concerning the battle at Missionary Ridge show that our loss in killed and wounded was not great, and that the reverse sustained is not attributable to any general demoralization or reluctance to encounter the opposing army. The brilliant stand made by the rear-guard at Ringgold sustains this belief.

[...]

The official reports made to my aide-de-camp, Colonel Ives, who has just returned from Dalton, presented a not unfavorable view of the material of the command.

The chief of ordnance reported that, notwithstanding the abandonment of a considerable number of guns during the battle, there was still on hand, owing to previous large captures by our troops, as many batteries as were proportionate to the strength of the army, well supplied with horses and equipment; that a large reserve of small-arms was in store at readily-accessible points; and that the supply of ammunition was abundant.

Comparatively few wagons and ambulances had been lost, and sufficient remained for transportation purposes, if an equal distribution were made throughout the different corps. The teams appeared to be generally in fair condition. The troops were tolerably provided with clothing, and a heavy invoice of shoes and blankets daily expected.

The returns from the commissary department showed that there were thirty days provisions on hand.

Stragglers and convalescents were rapidly coming in, and the morning reports exhibited an effective total, that, added to the two brigades last sent from Mississippi, and the cavalry sent back by Longstreet, would furnish a force exceeding in number that actually engaged in any battle on the Confederate side during the present war. . .
The effective condition of your new command, as thus reported to me, is a matter of much congratulation, and I assure you that nothing shall be wanting on the part of the Government to aid you in your efforts to regain possession of the territory from which we have been driven. You will not need to have it suggested that the imperative demand for prompt and vigorous action arises not only from the importance of restoring the prestige of the army, and averting the injurious and dispiriting results that must attend a season of inactivity, but from the necessity of reoccupying the country, upon the supplies of which the proper subsistence of our armies materially depends. . . It is my desire that you should communicate fully and freely with me concerning your proposed plan of action, that all the assistance and cooperation may be most advantageously afforded that it is in the power of the Government to render.

Trusting that your health may be preserved, and that the arduous and responsible duties you have undertaken may be successfully accomplished, I remain

Very respectfully and truly yours,

Jefferson Davis.



Nearly everything in Davis' letter was wrong. Food and equipment were lacking, and men were still deserting at a rate faster than stragglers were coming in. More, the government in Richmond would not be all that helpful, refusing to appoint the man Johnston wanted for the crucial task of organizing the gathering of supplies. It was to be expected that Johnston would not fulfill Davis' "desire that you should communicate fully and freely with me concerning your proposed plan of action".

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1015
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/25/2013 2:13:00 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The war was now well into its third year, and it was plain to even the optimistic Northerners that at least one more summer campaigning season would be needed to defeat the Confederacy. Both sides would need men, and both were having trouble with those whose terms of enlistment had expired. The value of experienced soldiery over raw recruits had been made only too clear, but how to keep the veterans in the ranks? The South took a "blunt instrument" approach. and simply changed the expiration dates of the enlistments, so that men who had signed up for one year or so found themselves serving for the duration of the war. The Lincoln administration had already played loose with the Constitution, and so could not afford to give its political enemies another issue to raise. Happily, they found that men were much more willing to re-enlist if they were giving a month or so of furlough to see their families. For the Army of the Potomac especially, this killed the two proverbial birds with one stone. Men at home in the Northern states did not require food or firewood at camp, and drain of supplies was significantly lessened.

The need to keep experienced men was especially great in the Union cavalry. The common wisdom at that time was that it took two years to make a cavalryman when starting with a man who had never ridden a horse, which was the case for many Northerners. Happily, the re-enlistment drives were having considerable success, both because of the furloughs and because Union fortunes were looking bright at this stage of the war. On this date, Captain Kennedy of the 9th New York Volunteer Cavalry found an excellent symbolic way to celebrate the advances: he held the swearing-in ceremony for his men who had "re-upped" at Culpepper Court House, Virginia.


For the second year, the famous cartoonist Thomas Nast (who would do much to bring down the corrupt "Tammany Hall" regime after the war) produced an image of Santa Claus giving presents to Union troops. Published in Harper's, these illustrations would set the modern image of Santa.





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1016
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/27/2013 3:20:50 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

Having arrived in Dalton, Georgia, the evening before, Joseph Johnston officially took command of the Army of Tennessee. He had his work cut out for him: the men were poorly fed and demoralized, there were not enough weapons to fully equip even the reduced numbers after the defeat at Chattanooga, and there was even a shortage of horses and wagons to bring in more supplies. With some of the cavalry still with James Longstreet, and some of it detached with Nathan Bedford Forrest, scouting reports as to the position and numbers of the Union forces were scant. The best estimate was that the Yankees had about 80,000 men arrayed against Johnston's army, a number which he had no hope of defeating in an offensive.

But an offensive was exactly what the administration in Richmond was requesting. Although President Davis' self-delusional letter had not yet reached Dalton, waiting for Johnston was a letter from Secretary of War James Seddon. This missive was more realistic in that it anticipated the deficiencies, saying: "It is apprehended the army may have been, by recent events, somewhat disheartened, and deprived of ordnance and material. . . It is desired that your early and vigorous efforts be directed to restoring the discipline, prestige, and confidence of the army, and to increasing its numbers; and that at the same time you leave no means unspared to restore and supply its deficiencies in ordnance, munitions, and transportation. It is feared also that under the grave embarrassments to which the commissariat is exposed, both from the deficiencies of supplies in the country, and the impediments which unfortunately the discontents of producers and the opposition of State authorities to the system of impressment established by the law of Congress have caused, you may find deficiencies in and have serious difficulties in providing the supplies required for the subsistence of the army. You will use all means in your power to obtain supplies from the productive States around you..."

In other words, Johnston would be largely on his own. He could only draw supplies from sources nearby, and since the Southern States were supposed to be more independent than the Northern ones, he had no power to command them. Nonetheless, Seddon had continued: "The movements of the enemy give no indications of a purpose to attack your army, and it is probable that they may mean to strengthen themselves in the occupation of the portions of Tennessee they have overrun. It is not desirable they should be allowed to do so with impunity, and, as soon as the condition of your forces will allow, it is hoped you will be able to resume the offensive. Inactivity, it is feared, may cause the spirit of despondency to recur, and the practice of desertion and straggling to increase..."
In point of fact, as Johnston well knew, nothing would be worse for morale than pointless casualties against a larger and better-equipped enemy. He had hoped to receive orders clarifying his authority and responsibilities. But Seddon had given him no additional power, and his suggestions and recommendations were of no use to Johnston, who could see clearly for himself what was practical and what was not. Like many generals, Johnston had already felt that civilian control of the military was at best an annoyance, and in many cases a serious impediment. Towards the end, Seddon had included: "...you are invited to communicate freely with the department, and to disclose your conceptions of the military situation, and how the most efficient cooperation may be given you..." But Johnston's policy had been to tell Richmond as little as he could manage about his operational plans, and this letter made his resolve stronger.


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1017
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/28/2013 5:50:29 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Although Joseph Johnston was irritated by Secretary of War Seddon's useless letter of "instructions", he decided to reply "immediately and gravely". Apparently, the letter had not even been properly signed, and Johnston used that point to return it to Seddon. He also stated that: "The duties of military administration that you point out to me shall be attended to with diligence. The most difficult of them will be the procuring supplies of food. Foreseeing this before leaving Mississippi, I applied for permission to bring Major W. E. Moore with me, to be chief commissary of the army. The reply of the adjutant and inspector general was, that Major Moore had been collecting supplies in Mississippi so long that it was deemed inexpedient to transfer him. General Cooper was mistaken. Major Moore has not served long in Mississippi, nor collected large supplies there. He made his reputation in this army. Major Dameron directs the purchase and impressment of provisions in Mississippi. . . I therefore most respectfully repeat my application."

Johnston rejected the idea of an advance, but he had to do so without outright defiance of his instructions: "This army is now far from being in condition to 'resume the offensive.' It is deficient in numbers, arms, subsistence stores, and field transportation. In reference to the subsistence of the army, you direct me to 'use all means in my power to obtain supplies from the productive States around me.' Let me remind you that I have little if any power to procure supplies for the army. The system established last summer deprives generals of any control over the officers of the quartermaster’s and subsistence departments detailed to make purchases in the different States. I depend upon three majors in each State, neither of whom owes me obedience. Having no power to procure means of feeding, equipping, and moving the army, I am also released from the corresponding responsibilities. I refer to this matter in no spirit of discontent — for I have no taste, personally, for the duties in question — but to beg you to consider if the responsibility for keeping the army in condition to move and fight ought not to rest upon the general..." It was a way of putting the ball back in the court of the War Department; if they refused to grant him additional authority, as Johnston was confident they would, he had an excuse for not mounting any offensive.


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1018
RE: Civil War 150th - 12/31/2013 12:09:38 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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End of 1863:

There would be few New Year's Eve celebrations in Richmond. The defeats of Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga had brought home to everyone that the North had gained the upper hand. Even the Richmond Examiner put in a headline: "To-day closes the gloomiest year of our struggle", and President Davis' policies were being openly questioned by several state Governors.

In Virginia and eastern Tennessee, the already cold weather was getting even worse. It would be the harshest winter of the war in this theater. Although the men in James Longstreet's army had more shoes now than during the autumn, there were still shortages. Longstreet observed that the freezing cold "had made the rough angles of mud as firm and sharp as so many freshly-quarried rocks, and the poorly protected feet of our soldiers sometimes left bloody marks along the roads."


At Dalton, Georgia, however, things were looking up for the Army of Tennessee. To say that Joseph Johnston made a good impression on the men is putting it mildly:

But now, allow me to introduce you to old Joe. Fancy, if you please, a man about fifty years old, rather small of stature, but firmly and compactly built, an open and honest countenance, and a keen but restless black eye, that seemed to read your very inmost thoughts. In his dress he was a perfect dandy. He ever wore the very finest clothes that could be obtained, carrying out in every point the dress and paraphernalia of the soldier ... He was the very picture of a general.
[...]
Wild riot was the order of the day; everything was confusion, worse confounded. When the news came, like pouring oil upon the troubled waters, that General Joe E. Johnston, of Virginia, had taken command of the Army of Tennessee, men returned to their companies, order was restored, and "Richard was himself again." General Johnston issued a universal amnesty to all soldiers absent without leave. Instead of a scrimp pattern of one day's rations, he ordered two days' rations to be issued, being extra for one day. He ordered tobacco and whisky to be issued twice a week. He ordered sugar and coffee and flour to be issued instead of meal. He ordered old bacon and ham to be issued instead of blue beef. He ordered new tents and marquees. He ordered his soldiers new suits of clothes, shoes and hats. In fact, there had been a revolution, sure enough. He allowed us what General Bragg had never allowed mortal man—a furlough. He gave furloughs to one-third of his army at a time, until the whole had been furloughed. A new era had dawned; a new epoch had been dated.
--Sam R. Watkins, "Co. Aytch" Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment


Of course, the furloughs meant that an offensive was out of the question until the last third of the army had returned. As such, Johnston was disobeying his instructions from the War Department, which were repeated when he received the totally unrealistic letter from President Davis. But Johnston was providing himself with good cover; nothing would come of his evasion.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1019
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/1/2014 12:21:37 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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January 1, 1864. - One more year of Stonewall would have saved us. Chickamauga is the only battle we have gained since Stonewall died, and no results follow as usual. Stonewall was not so much as killed by a Yankee: he was shot by his own men; that is hard. General Lee can do no more than keep back Meade. "One of Meade's armies, you mean," said I, "for they have only to double on him when Lee whips one of them."
General Edward Johnston says he got Grant a place - esprit de corps, you know. He could not bear to see an old army man driving a wagon; that was when he found him out West, put out of the army for habitual drunkenness. He is their right man, a bull-headed Suwarrow [Generalissimo Alexander Suvarov of Russia]. He don't care a snap if men fall like the leaves fall; he fights to win, that chap does. He is not distracted by a thousand side issues; he does not see them. He is narrow and sure - sees only in a straight line.
-- Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary From Dixie



New Year's Day in Washington, D.C. was much more optimistic. The prevailing feeling was that the South could no longer win militarily, and one more summer of campaigning would see at least the fall of Richmond, if not the end of the Confederacy. Almost everyone seemed to overlook the possibility that the North could still lose the war from a blunder or sheer exhaustion. To the unhappiness of Mary Lincoln, the public was invited into the White House. Along with Washington high society, there were many of the poorer denizens of the city, and a number of soldiers on furlough, wanting to shake the President's hand. This meant muddy boots trooping through much of the White House, but Mrs. Lincoln had the foresight to order yards of brown cloth laid over the carpeting she had re-decorated with.

Elsewhere in Washington, Secretary of State Seward hosted a more exclusive party of his own, knowing that foreign ambassadors and other dignitaries preferred not to rub shoulders with the lower classes. And there was a third party held for the elite of Washington and other Northern cities at the mansion of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase.

For 1864 was to be a Presidential election year, and Lincoln's re-election was far from a certainty. No less than three men who had tried to become President instead of Lincoln in 1860 had been in his Cabinet. Simon Cameron, having demonstrated he was unequal to the job of Secretary of War in the crisis, was no longer there. William Seward, having made a considerable mark on American history as Secretary of State, no longer wanted the top job. (Indeed, he would never again seek office after he stepped down from the Secretary's chair.) But Salmon Chase's ambition was undiminished. He was a more radical anti-slavery man than Lincoln, and he was already putting the word out that he would have moved faster towards abolition, and still might if elected.


< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 1/1/2014 1:22:22 AM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
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