The American Civil War, day by day - Page 76 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15196063
As it happens, the battle has occurred at a time when the Northern public believes that too many brevet, or honoray, promotions are being handed out. General Grant will be greatly amused when the quartermaster whose department is in charge of the mules forwards the following recommendation to him: “I respectively request that the mules, for their gallantry in this action, may have conferred upon them the brevet rank of horses.”

:lol:

If I were Grant, I would have done it. :)
#15196192
October 29, Thursday

For the last three days of October, Fort Sumter receives the heaviest fire of the prolonged and bitter experience. Some 2,961 rounds pound the rubble and there are 33 casualties. But at month’s end the flag, often replaced, will still fly.

Fighting is confined to Warsaw and Ozark, Missouri; Cherokee Station, Alabama; and a Federal scout to November 2nd from Winchester to Fayetteville, Tennessee.

President Davis approves a request of Brigadier General N.B. Forrest to be detached from service with Bragg’s army to go into north Mississippi and west Tennessee. Davis himself is in Atlanta, Georgia, and busy writing various generals regarding the many controversies that have arisen in the West. His calls for “harmonious cooperation” do not seem very effective.
#15196301
October 30, Friday

Yesterday a makeshift steamboat pulling two barges loaded with rations and forage started up the Tennessee River from Bridgeport against the powerful current. Time after time the decrepit engine broke down, and the vessel drifted backward. But they kept on, “trembling and hoping.” All night through a driving rain the little boat churns painfully upstream “like a blind person.” By this morning’s dawn, the craft is tied up at Kelley’s Ferry. A soldier hears the cheering and hurries over to out why. “Has Grant come?” he asks a man at the landing. “Grant be damned!” says the man. “A boatload of rations has come!” At Chattanooga, “there were but four boxes of hard bread left in the commissary warehouses.” One load, of course, is not enough, and Grant moves quickly to get supplies flowing into Chattanooga. He instructs the superintendent of military railroads to send at least thirty carloads of rations daily from Nashville to Bridgeport; “the road,” he says, “must be run to its utmost capacity.” Still, the single line of track that runs between Chattanooga and the main Federal base at Nashville likely will be inadequate to carry all the supplies the army needs.

The shuddering thunder of guns echoes over Charleston Harbor as the Federal artillery blast Fort Sumter. Elsewhere, skirmishing occurs at Fourteen Mile Creek, Indian Territory; near Opelousas, Louisiana; at Ford’s Mill near New Berne, North Carolina; Catlett’s Station, Virginia; Salyersville, Kentucky; and Leiper’s Ferry on the Holston River, Tennessee.

Unconditional unionists of Arkansas meet at Fort Smith, naming a representative to Congress.
#15196395
October 31, Saturday

“If the rebels give me one week more time,” General Grant wired General in Chief Halleck after the fight at Wauhatchie, “all danger of losing territory now held by us will have passed away and preparations may commence for offensive operations.” Incredibly, Braxton Bragg will not only give the Federals time but obligingly weaken his own army by ordering General James Longstreet north to attack Major General Ambrose E. Burnside at Knoxville. The strategy is poor; but it does remove from Bragg’s sight another general who thinks him unfit for command. Longstreet’s departure, Bragg writes to President Davis today, “will be a great relief to me.” Longstreet is appalled by the order. His force numbers 10,000 infantrymen, along with Major General Joseph Wheeler’s 5,000 cavalrymen. Without more men he has little hope of prevailing against Burnside’s superior forces: 12,000 infantry plus 8,500 cavalry. Yet Longstreet’s departure will leave the Army of Tennessee with about 40,000 men along an eight-mile line facing a concentrated enemy that with General Sherman’s arrival will number almost 60,000. By separating the Confederate forces, Longstreet argues, “We thus expose both to failure, and really take no chance to ourselves of great results.” Before leaving, Longstreet tries to persuade Bragg to abandon the overextended lines around Chattanooga and move the army farther south in a better defensive position. From the new location, Longstreet could strike across the Tennessee River and sever Grant’s lines of communication. Bragg replies with a sardonic smile; Longstreet has his instructions. Any further discussion would be “out of order.”

As the third day of tremendous fire make service in Fort Sumter a nightmare, three skirmishes break out on other fronts: at Washington, Louisiana; Barton’s Station, Alabama; and Yazoo City, Mississippi.
#15196468
November 1863

Attention has turned from the midsummer fronts on the Mississippi and in Virginia and Pennsylvania to new theaters. Lee’s presence along Virginia’s Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers creates a potentially explosive situation, but at the moment the focus is on Chattanooga and Charleston. How Bragg will respond to Grant’s opening of a supply line to the threatened garrison and what countermeasures Grant will take are questions of intense interest North and South. At Charleston the guns have roared out once more against Fort Sumter during the last few days of October. How much more can the pulverized fort stand? If Charleston falls, what will it mean for each side? The blockade is becoming more of a strangling burden than ever, with frequent captures of blockade runners. Politically the North seems more stable, although there are dissident cries, and 1864 is a presidential election year. The Federal government now controls, or partially controls, large chunks of Southern soil, but the Confederate States of America still exists.

November 1, Sunday

786 rounds of artillery fire are thrown against Fort Sumter in the graceful arc of the mortars and the flatter, rapid trajectory of the rifled breaching batteries. One man is wounded. The garrison stands staunchly in the bombproofs, while the wreckage piles up outside.

Federal cavalry under William Woods Averell leaves Beverly, West Virginia, while another column will leave Charleston on the 3rd for an expedition toward Lewisburg, West Virginia. In Virginia another skirmish breaks out at Catlett’s Station. Other action includes fighting at Eastport and Fayetteville, Tennessee; Quinn and Jackson’s Mill, Mississippi; and a Federal scout from Bovina Station to Baldwin’s Ferry, Mississippi.

On the Gulf Coast Federal forces of General Franklin have retreated from Opelousas, Louisiana, harassed by General Green’s Texans as they go. Arriving at New Iberia, Louisiana, 100 miles west of New Orleans, the Federals go into camp for the winter, ending for a time the operation in the Bayou Teche area.

President Davis is returning to Richmond from his trip west. From Savannah Davis writes Bragg of his disappointment that Grant has opened the Chattanooga supply line.
#15196543
XogGyux wrote:Well, guys, this is some real suspense. I wonder how will it end? :lol:

Spoiler: show
The South loses.


Seriously though, I'm grateful to @Doug64 for providing us with this day-by-day narrative of how the Civil War unfolded. The history books tend to telescope events, which distorts how the participants in the War would have perceived and experienced it at the time. And it gives the context of the major battles and the political manoeuverings which shaped the War, which are otherwise opaque and difficult to understand. I for one have learned a lot.
#15196550
Potemkin wrote:
Spoiler: show
The South loses.


Seriously though, I'm grateful to @Doug64 for providing us with this day-by-day narrative of how the Civil War unfolded. The history books tend to telescope events, which distorts how the participants in the War would have perceived and experienced it at the time. And it gives the context of the major battles and the political manoeuverings which shaped the War, which are otherwise opaque and difficult to understand. I for one have learned a lot.

Ditto that, and thank you. Beyond the "what did they know and when did they know it," there's the other details on why people do things--like yesterday's idiocy on Bragg's part of sending Longstreet off to Knoxville instead of dealing with the Federals right there in front of them in Chattanooga, all so Bragg won't have to deal with yet another subordinate that doesn't like him. And then there's how close the South came to winning victories at times, like the second day at Gettysburg where time and again the Federals get the troops they need where they need them with five minutes to spare, sometimes at great cost (like the regiment Hancock ordered to assault an approaching brigade, that promptly obeyed with 80% casualties).

I'm strongly considering doing the same thing with WWII starting in 2023, when not only the days of the week but the leap years line up. Though that one wouldn't include battle reports that go on for pages, I don't think, so not as much personal detail. More like short news articles.
#15196578
November 2, Monday

President Lincoln receives an invitation to make a “few appropriate remarks” at the dedication of the new National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Although the time is short (November 19) and the invitation obviously somewhat of an afterthought, the President accepts.

Lincoln expresses concern over the possibility of violence at the November elections in some states, including Maryland. In a letter about newspaper comments, the President writes, “I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it.”

Shelby’s Confederate Iron Brigade complete their successful raid into Missouri. They have fought and plundered their way to Boonville on the Missouri River, 750 miles north of their starting point, capturing Federal detachments, destroying supply depots, and burning bridges and railroad cars—in all, almost $2,000,000 (2021 $43,126,349) worth of property and supplies. When they rejoin Sterling Price’s army in Arkansas, now wearing captured Federal uniforms and sprigs of red sumac as insignia in their hats, they bring back several hundred sympathizer recruits. Shelby has lost 150 of his own men, but the Iron Brigade has enlarged its reputation for verve and daring. “You’ve heard of Jeb Stuart’s ride around McClellan?” its veterans boast. “Hell, brother, Jo Shelby rode around Missouri!

By now, the Army of the Potomac has finished repairing the train tracks and bridges destroyed by the last campaign and is back on the Rappahannock. As well, it has been reinforced to a strength of 84,321 effectives, whereas Lee is down to 45,614 as a result of sickness brought on by exposing his thin-clad veterans to cold and rainy weather on the march. Unaware that the odds have lengthened again to almost two-to-one, Meade takes a long look at the rebel defenses and, finds them formidable—Lee’s soldiers have been as hard at work as his own, but with shovels rather than sledges. So Meade proposes a change of base downstream to Fredericksburg, which he says would not only put him back on the direct path to Richmond but would also avoid the need for crossing a second river immediately after the first. Lincoln is prompt to disapprove. He has been willing to have the army fight a third Bull Run, but it seems to him only a little short of madness to invite a Second Fredericksburg. So Meade looks harder than ever at what faces him here on the upper Rappahannock, where, if anywhere, he will have to do his fighting.

Distinguished citizens, military units, and the general public welcomes President Davis to Charleston, while from the harbor comes the sound of 793 Federal shells exploding about Fort Sumter. While Charleston “was now singled out as a particular point of hatred to the Yankees,” Davis says he “did not believe Charleston would ever be taken.” If it should be, he urges that the “whole be left one mass of rubbish.”

Frustrated again in Louisiana, General Banks decides to try another water-borne expedition to the Texas coast. This time the Navy and elements of his army will seize the mouth of the Rio Grande, closing that part of the Mexican border to Confederate commerce, then occupy other points along the coast. Today, Federal troops land at Brazos Santiago, where the Rio Grande flows into the Gulf of Mexico. They soon take Brownsville and close the area to further Confederate-Mexican trade. The Federals also establish beachheads at Corpus Cristi, Matagorda, Indianola, and Port Lavaca. But while the expedition accomplishes more than the fiasco at Sabine Pass, the benefits to the Union cause are paltry nonetheless. On the Rio Grande, the occupation of Brazos Santiago and Brownsville simply means that trains of cotton-filled wagons follow more westerly routes, crossing the river upstream. In the same manner, European arms continue to flow into Texas. As for the coast, that was already blockaded by the US Navy, holding the beachheads merely ties up numbers of Banks’s troops.
#15196591
XogGyux wrote:Well, guys, this is some real suspense. I wonder how will it end? :lol:

I predict that waging war against civilians (you know, Terrorism) will win Lincoln's war. But it will be a big headache for Lincoln the Tyrant.
#15196646
Scamp wrote:I predict that waging war against civilians (you know, Terrorism) will win Lincoln's war. But it will be a big headache for Lincoln the Tyrant.

Waging war against civilians? Hey, don't knock it - it's what enabled us to win the Second World War. Lincoln was way ahead of his time. :up:
#15196672
November 3, Tuesday

Still the sound of guns crash over Charleston Harbor as 661 rounds add to the tremendous total of artillery fire already expended on Fort Sumter.

In the lowlands of the Gulf Coast of Louisiana a fierce engagement is fought at Bayou Bourbeau on Grand Coteau, and a skirmish at Carrion Crow Bayou nearby. In the Louisiana engagement Confederates drive back Federal troops but reinforcements regain the position. Federal losses are put at 604, of which 536 are captured or missing; total Confederate casualties are set at 181.

General Grant has a solution to Chattanooga’s supply issues in mind. Besides the railroad line that runs directly from Nashville to Chattanooga, another rail line leads south from Nashville to Decatur, Alabama; from there the Memphis & Charleston line runs eastward to Chattanooga. It is a roundabout route, and the track has been wrecked almost beyond hope by Confederate cavalry and guerrillas, but Grant will have another access to his supply base if he can repair the rails. To provide the muscle for the mammoth job, Grant looks to General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops. Sherman has been making his way slowly eastward from Memphis, repairing the railroad as Halleck ordered. It is an impossible task; the road runs through hostile country, and often Sherman’s work is destroyed as soon as he finishes it. Today Grant orders Sherman to abandon his position and move his troops forward. To oversee the rebuilding project Grant names Brigadier General Grenville M. Dodge, a division commander under Sherman. In civilian life Dodge had been a railroad surveyor and engineer, and he is accustomed to difficult assignments. But he has never been given a more awesome task than this one. The road from Nashville to Decatur passes over a broken country, cut up with innumerable streams, many of them of considerable width, and with valleys far below the roadbed. All 182 bridges and culverts over these have been destroyed, and 102 miles of track taken up and twisted by the Confederates.

Confederate cavalry operate through the 5th against the important Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Skirmishing develops at Collierville and Lawrenceburg, Tennessee; Quinn and Jackson’s Mill on the Coldwater, Mississippi; and Confederates scout about Catlett’s Station, Virginia. Federal troops under Alfred N. Duffie leave Charleston, West Virginia, to join Averell’s Beverly expedition.

President Lincoln writes Secretary Seward in Auburn, New York, that dispatches “from Chattanooga show all quiet and doing well.”
#15196798
November 4, Wednesday

The usual skirmishing continues near Neosho and Lexington, Missouri; Falmouth, Virginia; Rocky Run, North Carolina; Cackleytown, West Virginia; Maysville, Alabama; Motley’s Ford on the Little Tennessee River, Tennessee; and in the Pinal Mountains on the Gila River, Arizona Territory. Federal expeditions and scouts operate from Houston to Jack’s Fork and in Reynolds, Shannon, and Oregon counties of Missouri; and up the Chowan River, North Carolina.

President Davis visits James Island and forts and batteries around Charleston.
#15196904
November 5, Thursday

Despite the two-to-one odds his army faces in its risky position within the constricting V of the rivers, General Lee awaits Meade’s advance with confidence and as much patience as his ingrained preference for the offensive will permit. “If I could get some shoes and clothes for the men, “he says, “I would save him the trouble.” In electing to stand on the line of the Rappahannock—shown in the past to be highly vulnerable at Kelly’s Ford, where the south bank is lower than the north—he has evolved a novel system of defense. Massing his troops in depth near the danger point, he has prepared to contest a crossing there only after the blue infantry has moved beyond the effective range of its artillery on the dominant north bank, and in furtherance of this plan (patterned, so far, after the one he used with such success at Fredericksburg, just short of eleven months ago) he maintains at Rappahannock Station, five miles upstream, a bridgehead on the far side of the river, fortified against assault by the labor-saving expedient of turning the old Federal works so they face north instead of south. A pontoon bridge near the site of the wrecked railroad span, safely beyond the reach of enemy batteries, makes possible a quick withdrawal or reinforcement of the troops who, by their presence, are in a position to divide Meade’s forces or attack his flank and rear in case he masses them for a downstream crossing. Ewell’s corps guards all these points, with Early in occupation of the tête-de-pont, Rodes in rear of Kelly’s Ford, and Johnson in reserve; Hill’s is upstream, beyond Rappahannock Station. For more than two weeks, since October 20th, Lee has waited in his Brandy headquarters for Meade’s arrival. Today his outpost scouts send word that blue reconnaissance patrols are probing at various points along the river.

Federals reduce the bombardment of Fort Sumter to slow, occasional firing.

Grant, at Chattanooga, hopes Sherman will arrive in time to allow the Federals to strike Bragg before Longstreet can attack Burnside. For Longstreet, as his men pack to move north today, he writes a note to General Simon Bolivar Buckner asking for any information the general can offer about the Knoxville area. Longstreet gloomily concludes in the note that “it was to be the fate of our army to wait until all good opportunities had passed, and then, in desperation, seize upon the least favorable movement.” The trains that are supposed to carry his men to Sweetwater, roughly midway between Chattanooga and Knoxville, fail to arrive. Longstreet, tired of waiting, starts his troops toward Knoxville on foot, hoping their transport will catch up with him.

As Longstreet starts toward Knoxville, the Lincoln Administration, having tried for weeks to get Burnside to abandon the place, now becomes determined to hold the town; and the Federal high command also grows deeply concerned about Burnside’s welfare. General Grant will write that his superiors “plied me with dispatches faster than ever, urging that something should be done for his relief.” Grant indeed tries something: He calls on General George Thomas to mount an attack on Bragg’s lines at Chattanooga, in the hope that it will cause Bragg to recall Longstreet. But Grant is told that the attack is impossible—there aren’t enough healthy horses left in Chattanooga to pull Thomas’ artillery. Grant can only encourage Burnside to hold fast until some way can be found to send him help. But Burnside responds with calm confidence. The Army of the Ohio is in no trouble, he assures Grant, and can hold out as long as its ammunition lasts. In fact, Burnside thinks he might be able to help Grant: By meeting Longstreet south of Knoxville, engaging the Confederates and giving ground slowly, he can protract the affair and keep Longstreet out of the forthcoming battle at Chattanooga. Grant is delighted and instantly accepts the suggestion. Burnside will leave a strong force behind to bolster the Knoxville defenses and set out with about 5,000 troops to meet Longstreet.

Mosby, the irrepressible Confederate raider, is active most of November in northern Virginia. Also in Virginia, near the main armies, a skirmish breaks out at Hartwood Church. Other fighting is at Neosho, Missouri; at Vermillionville, Louisiana; Mill Point, West Virginia; Loudon County, Moscow, and La Fayette, Tennessee; and Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Two Yankee vessels seize three blockade runners off the mouth of the Rio Grande, an example of the increasing effectiveness of the blockade. Three other runners are taken off Florida and South Carolina.

President Lincoln writes General Banks, commanding in Louisiana and Texas, of his disappointment that a constitutional government has not yet been set up in Louisiana and urges Banks to “lose no more time.” He emphasizes that such a government must “be for and not against” the slaves “on the question of their permanent freedom.”
#15197020
November 6, Friday

Moving over the mountains of West Virginia from Beverly, heading for Lewisburg, Federal forces under Brigadier General William W. Averell encounter Confederates blocking the road at Dropp Mountain. Averell divides his force, sending a major portion of his men on a lengthy detour to the rear of the Confederates under Brigadier General John Echols. In midafternoon the two Federal forces attack and the Confederates are forced to pull away down the pike or scatter into the woods. The engagement enables the Federals to proceed toward Lewisburg, West Virginia, to effect part of Averell’s overall plan to clean out the remnants of Southern opposition and destroy important railroad links between Virginia and the Southwest.

At the same time a skirmish takes place at Little Sewell Mountain, West Virginia. Bank’s Federals extend their holdings near the Mexican border around Point Isabel and Brownsville, Texas. Other fighting breaks out near Rogersville, Tennessee, and Falmouth, Virginia.

President Davis, en route to Richmond, stops at Wilmington, North Carolina, where he says he recognizes the importance of the harbor, the only one really open for trade, even though it is strongly blockaded. In an inspector’s report from the Trans-Mississippi, Davis is told, “The morale of the army is good and the feelings [sic] of the people is better than it was” in Arkansas, now separated from the remainder of the Confederacy.
#15197132
November 7, Saturday

General Lee receives a report from his outpost scouts that the entire Army of the Potomac is approaching the Rappahannock in two main columns, one headed for the north-bank bridgehead, the other for Kelly’s Ford. The report, which is just what he has expected and planned for, reaches him about noon. After notifying General Hill to be on the alert for orders to reinforce Ewell, he rides from Brandy to Early’s headquarters near the south end of the pontoon bridge affording access to the works on the north bank. When Early explains that he is sending another of his brigades to join the one already across the river, Lee approves but he also takes the precaution of ordering Hill to shift his right division over to the railroad so that it will be available as an additional reserve. Similarly, when he learns a bit later that the bluecoats have crossed in force at Kelly’s Ford, he instructs Edward Johnson to move in close support of Rodes. Old Jubal goes over to the north bank late in the afternoon and returns to report that the Yankees have made so little impression there that one of his brigade commanders has assured him that, if need be, he can hold the position against the whole Federal army. Dusk comes down, and presently, in the gathering darkness beyond the river, Lee and Early see muzzle flashes winking close to the works on the north bank. A south wind carries the noise away, and anyhow the pinkish yellow flashes soon go out. Convinced that this brief twilight action has been no more than a demonstration, probably to cover the advance on Kelly’s Ford—in any event, no enemy has ever made a night attack on his infantry in a fortified position—Lee rides back to Brandy under the growing light of the stars, well satisfied with the results so far of the reception he has planned for Meade along the Rappahannock.

Unwelcome news awaits him at headquarters, in the form of a dispatch from Ewell. The greater part of two regiments assigned by Rodes to picket duty at Kelly’s Ford has been gobbled up by the Federals, who have since laid a pontoon bridge and are sending substantial reinforcements across to the south bank. A loss of 349 veterans is not to be taken lightly, but aside from this the situation is about what Lee has expected. The thing to do now is make threatening gestures from within the bridgehead, which should serve to hold a major portion of Meade’s force on the north bank, and shift two divisions of Hill’s corps eastward to strengthen Rodes and Johnson for an all-out fight in the rear of Kelly’s Ford. That is the preconceived plan, whereby Lee intends to fall on a segment of the blue army, as he has done so often in the past, with the greater part of his own. Before this can be ordered, however, still worse news—indeed, almost incredible news—arrives from Early. Massing heavily at close range in the darkness before moonrise, the Federals stormed and overran the north-bank entrenchments, killing or capturing all of the troops in the two Confederate brigades except about six hundred who swam the river or ran the gauntlet over the pontoon bridge. The loss will come to 1,674 men: and with them, of course, goes the bridgehead itself, upon which the plan for Meade’s discomfiture depends. Nor is it the only offensive that has been wrecked. Obviously the army cannot remain in its present position after daylight, exposed on a shallow extended front with the Rapidan in its rear. Lee is upset but keeps his poise, thankful at any rate that Early set the floating bridge afire to prevent a crossing by the bluecoats now in occupation of Rappahannock Station. Orders go out for Hill to retire by crossing the railroad between Culpeper and Brandy, while Ewell falls back toward Germanna Ford, contesting if necessary the advance of the blue force from Kelly’s.

In addition to the main fighting on the Rappahannock, some Union pickets are captured near Warrenton. In West Virginia a skirmish flares near Muddy Creek. Averell’s Federal expedition makes contact with other Northern troops under A.N. Duffie and captures Lewisburg, West Virginia. In Arkansas through the 13th there is an expedition by Federals from Fayetteville to Frog Bayou which involves some skirmishing.
#15197238
November 8, Sunday

The Union advance across the Rappahannock in Virginia continues with fighting at Warrenton, Jeffersonton, Rixeyville, Muddy Creek near Culpeper Court House, Brandy Station, and Stevensburg. None of the fighting in this familiar territory is heavy but it does indicate that Meade and Lee are not entirely idle, but are maneuvering and awaiting a proper opportunity.

In West Virginia the Federal expedition from Beverly fights at Second Creek, on the road to Union. In Louisiana Teche country there is a skirmish at Vermillionville and fighting at Bayou Tunica or Tunica Bend.

In an important command change, Major General John C. Breckinridge supersedes Lieutenant General D.H. Hill in command of II Corps in Bragg’s Army of the Tennessee—another attempt to alleviate the ill-feeling between Bragg and his generals.
#15197376
November 9, Monday

The brief furor of activity decreases for the moment, although skirmishing takes place in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory; near Bayou Sara and Indian Bayou, Louisiana; and near Weldon, North Carolina, and Covington, Virginia. A Federal expedition moves from Williamsburg toward New Kent Court House, Virginia, east of Richmond.

When the Army of the Potomac draws near, the two corps of the Army of Northern Virginia halt, still within the V of the Rapidan and the Rappahannock; but when General Meade doesn’t press the issue Lee resumes his withdrawal. President Lincoln, pleased by the Union advances in West Virginia and Virginia, wires Meade, “Well done.”

A fairly heavy early snowstorm falls in Virginia as President Davis returns to Richmond from his southern trip.

President Lincoln attends the theater and sees John Wilkes Booth in The Marble Heart.
#15197506
November 10, Tuesday

This morning the Army of Northern Virginia crosses the Rapidan. The army is back in the position it left, marching west and north around the enemy right, a month ago yesterday. The blue-clad veterans are elated; their 461 casualties amount to less than a fourth of the number they have inflicted. French has moved with speed and precision on the left, seizing Kelly’s Ford before the rebel pickets even had time to scamper rearward out of reach, and Uncle John Sedgwick, on the right with his own and Sykes’s corps, has performed brilliantly, improvising tactics which result in the capture not only of the fortified tête-de-pont, thought impregnable by its defenders, but also of the largest haul of prisoners ever secured by the army in one fell, offensive swoop. Meade’s stock rises accordingly with the men in the ranks, who begin saying that Bobby Lee lad better look to his laurels, though there is presently some grumbling that the coup hasn’t been followed by another, equally vigorous and even more profitable, while the rebs were on the run. Conversely, there is chagrin in the Confederate ranks. The double blow has cost a total of 2,033 men: more, even, than Bristoe Station and in some ways even worse than that fiasco, which at least had not been followed by an ignoble retreat. Now it is Ewell’s turn to be excoriated, as Hill had been three weeks before. Early and Rodes are both intensely humiliated, and though Lee doesn’t berate them or their corps commander, any more than he berated Little Powell in a similar situation, neither does he attempt to reduce their burden of guilt by assigning any share of the blame to the men who have been captured and are now on their way to prison camps in the North. Quite the contrary, in fact; for he observes in his report to Richmond that “the courage and good conduct of the troops engaged have been too often tried to admit of question.”

Both the elation on the one hand and the chagrin on the other will soon be replaced by a sort of mutual boredom on both sides of the familiar Rapidan, where the two armies return to their old occupation of staring at one another from the now leafless woods on its opposite banks—what time, that is, they aren’t engaged in the informal and illegal exchange of coffee, tobacco, and laugh-provoking insults. If there is less food on the south bank, there is perhaps more homesickness on the north, the majority of soldiers there having come a longer way to save the Union than their adversaries have come to save the Confederacy. Presently there is rain and more rain, chill and dripping, which serves to increase the discomfort, as well as the boredom, despite the snug huts put up as a sign that the armies have gone into winter quarters.

Since the 7th Fort Sumter has received 1,753 rounds in the Federal bombardment in Charleston Harbor. Confederate casualties are limited to a few wounded. For a week, expeditions operate from Benton to Mount Ida, Arkansas, and from Springfield, Missouri, to Huntsville, Carrollton, and Berryville, Arkansas. Both are part of extensive Federal attempts to clear up Confederate guerilla activities and raids in Missouri and Arkansas. In Mississippi Federal operations from Skipwith’s Landing to Tallulah Court House lasts four days.
#15197629
November 11, Wednesday

Major General Benjamin F. Butler returns to active Federal command, superseding Major General John G. Foster in the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. The ill-famed former commander at New Orleans orders the arrest of anyone annoying loyal persons by “opprobrious and threatening language.”

To the North Confederates raid Suffolk, Virginia, with modest results. Skirmishing flares in the Fouché-le-Faix Mountains of Arkansas; Greenleaf Prairie, Indian Territory; near Natchez, Mississippi; and again at Carrion Crow and Vermillion bayous in the Teche country of Louisiana.

President Davis suggests to General Bragg that he “not allow the enemy to get up all his reinforcements before striking him, if it can be avoided....” The President is deeply concerned about the situation in Chattanooga and Charleston
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