- 18 Feb 2021 13:38
February 19, Thursday
Skirmishing breaks out as Grant’s army continues reconnaissance and scouts north of Vicksburg. Main fighting is near the Coldwater and Yazoo rivers. There is a skirmish at Leesburg, Virginia; a four-day Federal scout in Barton and Jasper counties, Missouri; a skirmish near Rover, Tennessee; and a Union expedition from Indian Village to Rosedale, Louisiana.
At Liverpool and Carlisle in Britain two mass meetings support Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
General Johnston had no more returned to Mobile, Alabama, after his inspection of Bragg’s Army of Tennessee at the end of January than he received instructions from Confederate Secretary of War James A. Seddon to go back to Tullahoma, order Bragg to Richmond, and take personal command of the army. Once again, however, a seemingly clear-cut course of action soon becomes muddled. Arriving in Tullahoma, Johnston finds Bragg distraught by the illness of his wife, who is believed to be dying. Johnston considerately delays the execution of his orders, but then finds his own health failing; by the time Bragg is able to return to duty, Johnston is unfit for it. Declaring himself unable to serve in the field, Johnston goes off to recover and leaves Bragg in command by default.
In the weeks after the battle at Stones River, Bragg has managed—as usual—to avoid unpleasant realities. He rejects responsibility for his defeat and places the blame on his commanders, especially Cheatham, Breckinridge, Polk, and Hardee. He does not see that his sour, suspicious nature has infected an army that has fought well and deserves better. Bragg simply turns his back on Murfreesboro and goes on with drilling and training his men. In his eyes, the battle just delays the opportunity to deal the army a crippling blow. He knows that Rosecrans will have to take Chattanooga in order to control Tennessee and invade Georgia from the west. and when the Federals move against Chattanooga, Bragg and the Army of Tennessee will be waiting for them.
Besides the situation with the Army of Tennessee, President Davis also continues to be anxious about the Vicksburg situation.
“Ours may become the first civilization destroyed, not by the power of enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity.”