Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25, 1862

July 25, 1862: The Confederate armies in the Western Theater are divided up into fragmentary departments, as are the Union forces there. Braxton Bragg commands the Army of Mississippi, Earl Van Dorn commands the garrison of Vicksburg, and there are 20,000 men under Edmund Kirby-Smith at Knoxville. Bragg has sent 9,000 to garrison Mobile, 14,000 to Vicksburg, and 11,000 under Sterling Price to harass the Yankees at Corinth and Memphis, which left Bragg with only 30,ooo for operations. But Bragg begins to move his troops by train down through Mobile and up to Chattanooga, to head off Buell’s Army of the Ohio. The Rebels fear Buell’s incursion toward Chattanooga, but have not quite realized that between the raids of Forrest and Morgan, and Buell’s practice of slowly repairing railroads and garrisoning every point across central Tennessee and northern Alabama, that his army has been frittered away to the point of bringing the Yankee advance to a halt.

—Gen. Bragg gives orders to hold a court-martial investigating Gen. George B. Crittenden’s reported drunkenness at the Battle of Mill Springs (a Southern defeat) in late March.

—Gen. John Pope issues another of his infamous orders, to the effect that Federal troops would no longer be used to protect the property of Virginians (which, to most observers, was tantamount to giving the Federal soldiers free hand at foraging and looting):

No. 13.
Washington, July 25, 1862.
Hereafter no guards will be placed over private houses or private property of any description whatever. Commanding officers are responsible for the conduct of the troops under their command, and the Articles of War and Regulations of the Army provide ample means for restraining them to the full extent required for discipline and efficiency.
Soldiers were called into the field to do battle against the enemy, and it is not expected that their force and energy shall be wasted in protecting private property of those most hostile to the Government.
No soldier serving in this army shall hereafter be employed in such service.
By command of Major-General Pope:

Colonel and Chief of Staff

—In the July issue of Atlantic Monthly, Nathaniel Hawthorne, noted novelist and former U.S. Consul in Liverpool, publishes "Chiefly on War Matters," an essay of his only visit to the war front. He includes a description of a young Federal officer, and ventures some analysis of the effects of war on the youth of America:
While we drove onward, a young officer on horseback looked earnestly into the carriage, and recognized some faces that he had seen before; so he rode along by our side, and we pestered him with queries and observations, to which he responded more civilly than they deserved. He was on General McClellan's staff, and a gallant cavalier, high-booted, with a revolver in his belt, and mounted on a noble horse, which trotted hard and high without disturbing the rider in his accustomed seat. His face had a healthy hue of exposure and an expression of careless hardihood; and, as I looked at him, it seemed to me that the war had brought good fortune to the youth of this epoch, if to none beside; since they now make it their daily business to ride a horse and handle a sword, instead of lounging listlessly through the duties, occupations, pleasures—all tedious alike—to which the artificial state of society limits a peaceful generation. The atmosphere of the camp and the smoke of the battlefield are morally invigorating; the hardy virtues flourish in them, the nonsense dies like a wilted weed. The enervating effects of centuries of civilization vanish at once and leave these young men to enjoy a life of hardship, and the exhilarating sense of danger. . . .
—A Wisconsin officer with Buell’s army in northern Alabama writes home to his wife, showing how the Confiscation Acts had not yet permeated the consciousness of certain Federal commanders, who were still following the letter of the Fugitive Slave Law:
Woodville, on the M & C. R. R.
Alabama, July 25, 1862
That infernal Slave order is enough to make one curse the government that allows it to be issued. A few days ago a rebel came here with an order to take away his slave–The order was given by Gen. Rousseau who now commands our Division– I was away from camp at the time, but the captain in command allowed the master to take his slave away
To-day, a notorious rebel lawyer came here, wishing to hunt through camp for his slave — but I refused to allow him to do so, and told him, if the slave were in camp, he should not have have him, if, as I supposed, we had received informations from him.
He told me he had been assured that he could go through our lines and into our camps to find his property– I assured him he could not go through mine. He will go to Huntsville, and probably report me, when I may be arrested. If so, I will give the whole pro-slavery, hunting crew a fight– I will appeal to the President. If not arrested, I will resign, rather than disobey orders.
Poor Miles, who was so badly wounded about three weeks ago, died day before yesterday — and yet, one of the gang that killed him and Capt. Moore, whom we arrested and sent to Huntsville, was released by Gen. Buell, and an order given for his horse– Oh, such conduct makes my blood boil!
---Daniel L. Day, of the 25th Massachusetts Infantry, is still in garrison duty in coastal North Carolina. He writes of one of the incidents that cheer up a soldier’s heart from the drudgery of the daily routine:

Gen. Foster has his wife and daughter with him here, which must make it very agreeable for him. Mrs. Foster is engaged in works of love and mercy around the hospitals, while Miss Foster, a young lady of some 16 or 17 years, is pretty much engaged in horseback ridding and having a good time generally. She is quite a military character, as we notice that when she and the general ride past here, she always returns the salutes from the sentinels as gracefully as the general. She frequently rides past here alone, and the sentinels along the street take great pride in honoring her with a present arms, a compliment which she never fails to acknowledge, by a graceful wave of her hand and her face wreathed with smiles.

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