Friday, February 24, 2012

Feb. 24, 1862

Feb. 24, 1862: Nashville, Tennessee - At last, Gen. Buell’s Army of the Cumberland (lately "of the Ohio") enters Nashville and drives out the last Confederate cavalry left to impede their advance. Nashville remains in Federal hands throughout the remainder of the war, and becomes a major depot for Federal operations. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, CSA, retreats south to Murfreesboro with his 20,000 men.

—Gen. Nathaniel Banks, in command of a reinforced division of the Army of the Potomac, sends the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment to build a rope-bridge across the Potomac River into Virginia, and occupy the town of Harper’s Ferry. One man manages to get across.
Gen. Nathaniel Banks, of whom we shall hear more anon

—Private George Michael Neese of Virginia, an artilleryman in Chew’s Battery in the Army of Northern Virginia, writes about the coming of Spring and the onset of military campaigning again, rather poetically, in his journal:

The weather is beginning to grow warm, mild, and sunny. The boys are in good spirits and lively, and seem to be utterly unmindful of the hardships and dangers, deadly encounters and bloody conflicts, that are the attending concomitants of an active and vigorous campaign, which from all ominous appearances is ripe and nearly ready to open, for the breezes that sweep from the north already bear on their bosom the sounding echoes of the approaching footsteps and measured tread of a formidable and determined invading foe. Soon, ah, too soon, the demons of war will be brandishing their glittering blades and fiendishly slashing for human blood, and the dead and dying be scattered over the fields that are now ready to don the blooming livery of spring.
But hie away, ye gloomy reveries, distracting thoughts, and perplexing fears, and let the soothing touch of hope revive my drooping spirits. The war cloud may burst with all its fury and the red fiery eye of battle may glow in all its fiercest wrath, yet I may withstand all its destructive ravages, pass through all its fiery ordeals unscathed and untouched, and live to see the last fragment of war cloud drift away and dissolve in the radiant glow of freedom’s peaceful light.

—Mary Boykin Chestnut of South Carolina writes in her diary: "Congress and the newspaper render you desperate—ready to cut your throat. They represent everything in our country as deplorable. Then comes someone from our gay and gallant army. The spirit of our army keeps us up, after all. Letters from the army revive you. They come as welcome as flowers in May. Hopeful and bright, utterly unconscious of our weak despondency."

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