Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 23, 1862

December 23, 1862:  Having attempted to restore his lines of communication and supply after Van Dorn’s raid on his supply base, Grant is convinced that he can no longer continue the expedition into Mississippi and that capture of Vicksburg by a long overland route is impractical.  He decides to cancel the move.  His troops begin their retreat back up into Tennessee. 

---Gen. Joseph Johnston writes to Pres. Davis his views of what should happen in the West, hinting that he wants command of the Confederate troops in Arkansas as well, in order to save Vicksburg:

Our great object is to hold the Mississippi. The country beyond the river is as much interested in that object as this, and the loss to us of the Mississippi involves that of the country beyond it. The 8,000 or 10,000 men which are essential to safety ought, therefore, I respectfully suggest, to be taken from Arkansas, to return after the crisis in this department. I firmly believe, however, that our true system of warfare would be to concentrate the forces of the two departments on this side of the Mississippi, beat the enemy here, and then reconquer the country beyond it, which he might have gained in the mean time.

---Confederate troops of the Army of Northern Virginia take up a collection for the people of Fredericksburg in the wake of the Yankee’s looting and despoliation of December 12.  Gen. Longstreet issues a letter of thanks to the men of the Washington Artillery battalion:

Near Fredericksburg, Va., December 23, 1862.

Colonel J. B. WALTON,
Commanding Battalion Washington Artillery:
    COLONEL: By direction of the lieutenant-general commanding, I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your check for $1,391, the contribution of the troops of your battalion to the fund for the relief of the Fredericksburg sufferers. In making this acknowledgment I and directed to express his admiration for the generous and feeling manner in which your command has responded to the call for relief. The members of the Washington Artillery show that they have hearts to feel as well as hearts to fight.
     I have the honor to be, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    G. M. SORREL,
    Assistant Adjutant-General

---On this date, Miss Mattie Ready marries Col. John Hunt Morgan (now a Brig. General) in highly publicized wedding in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

---Pres. Jefferson Davis, in a moment of ire against Benjamin Butler and his depredations in New Orleans, issues a proclamation that Butler’s officers “be declared not entitled to be considered as soldiers engaged in honorable warfare, but as robbers and criminals, deserving death; and that they and each of them be, whenever captured, reserved for execution.”  Union officers will summarily executed, and any black troops serving under Union command would also be subject to the same fate, whether a black soldier had ever been a slave or not.  Davis’s anger dealt mostly with the use Butler has made of several regiments of Louisiana Native Guards---all made up of free black men, mostly mulattoes. 


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