Monday, January 14, 2013

January 12, 1863

January 12, 1863:  On this date, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate State of America, issues a long proclamation denouncing Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation, which (among other things) announces a policy of how to treat captured negro regiments in Federal service: All white officers who serve in such regiments will be executed---because capital punishment is the sentence for anyone who incites “servile insurrection---and all black men serving in Federal uniform will be sold into slavery or returned to their masters.

---Gideon Welles, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, writes in his journal about the loss of Galveston to the Confederates:

The rumor of the capture of the Harriet Lane with the little garrison at Galveston is confirmed. I am grieved and depressed, not so much for the loss of the Harriet Lane as from a conviction that there has been want of good management. It is about three months since we took Galveston, and yet a garrison of only three hundred men was there when the Rebel army approached the place. Some one is blamable for this neglect.

---Charles Wright Wills, an officer in the 103rd Illinois Infantry Regiment (formerly was in the 8th Illinois), writes home and emotionally excoriates the Copperheads back home in Illinois who are conducting a publicity campaign to give up the war and let the South go:

If any part of this army is ever called home to quell those Illinois tories, orders to burn and destroy will not be necessary. Since I have seen the proceedings of that traitorous legislature, I begin to understand why these loyal Tennesseans and Alabamians are so much more bitter against traitors than we are. It would make your blood run cold to hear the men in this army, without regard to party, curse those traitors. There is a gay time in prospect for those chaps. Don’t think I am much out of the way in saying that Merrick, Jem Allen, Dick Richardson, and the editors of the Chicago Times would be hung if caught within the lines of many Illinois regiments in this army. There are many officers who, while they doubt our ability to subjugate (that is the question) the South, would take an active part in ending the man who would propose to give the thing up. I come pretty near belonging to that party. . . .

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