|Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, outside his tent|
—Lieut. Josiah Marshall Favill, serving in the Union army in the 57th New York Infantry Regiment, writes in his diary about the prospects for the coming battle, and how the Army of the Potomac always seems to be the Hard Luck outfit. Already the common soldier is taking stock of the situation before Fredericksburg:
|The Fredericksburg Campaign, showing the movements of both armies|
—On this date, Pres. Lincoln issues an executive order prohibiting the exportation of arms and ammunition out of the country, in order to prevent third parties from buying arms and selling them to the Rebels.
—Lieut. Robert Graham, of the 56th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, writes home to his father about their march up into southern Virginia near Norfolk in an attempt to limit the raids by Union troops on the countryside. Among other depredations, he notes the effect Yankees have on the slave population fleeing their plantations to go with the Northerners:
—The Richmond Daily Dispatch, ever optimistic over the Southern cause, publishes this gleeful editorial on the continuous round of changing generals in the Union command structure, and the innate capabilities of Northern soldiers:
We venture to predict that the late changes will be as fruitless as those which occurred before. It would be hard to say on what field Burnside has proved his superiority to McClellan. . . .
Whilst never regarding McClellan as a "Young Napoleon," he unquestionably understood the capabilities of his men, and the obstacles he had to encounter. Much better than the rabble of the North or their besotted Government. We have never been of those who regarded the Yankees as cowards, but they have not the military aptitude of the Southern people and cannot be improvised into soldiers. They are unfamiliar by education both with the idea of danger and the use of arms.
They were called upon to confront men who had been accustomed to both from their cradle and who are fighting in the holiest cause for which men ever drew a sword.
—Henry Adams, the grandson and great-grandson of Presidents, serves as secretary to his father, Charles Francis Adams, Sr., the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James. From the American legation in London, he writes to his brother Charles, Jr., an officer in the Union cavalry, serving with the 1st Massachusetts Cav. Reg. This letter reveals Henry’s own despair at prospects for a diminished and uncertain future, as well as his fallen faith in himself—and in the war’s efficacy and the Union cause. It is interesting to note how his ideas follow the Progressive’s desire for comprehensive planning for the State, as if it were a single organism:
I should care the less for all this if I could see your path any clearer, but while my time may prove to have been wasted, I don’t see but what yours must prove so. At least God forbid that you should remain an officer longer than is necessary. And what then? The West is possible; indeed, I have thought of that myself. But what we want is a school. We want a national set of young men like ourselves or better, to start new influences not only in politics, but in literature, in law, in society, and throughout the whole social organism of the country — a national school of our own generation. And that is what America has no power to create. In England the Universities centralize ability and London gives a field. So in France, Paris encourages and combines these influences. But with us, we should need at least six perfect geniuses placed, or rather, spotted over the country and all working together; whereas our generation as yet has not produced one nor the promise of one. It’s all random, insulated work, for special and temporary and personal purposes, and we have no means, power or hope of combined action for any unselfish end.
One man who has real ability may do a great deal, but we ought to have a more concentrated power of influence than any that now exists.
For the present war I have nothing to say. We received cheerful letters from you and John today, and now we have the news of McClellan’s removal. As I do not believe in Burnside’s genius, I do not feel encouraged by this, especially as it shakes our whole structure to its centre. I have given up the war and only pray for its end. The South has vindicated its position and we cannot help it, so, as we can find no one to lead us and no one to hold us together, I don’t see the use of our shedding more blood. . . .