Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 8, 1863

January 8, 1863:

The Second Battle of SpringfieldMissouri – As the Confederates arise in the early hours for the attack on Springfield, Col. Jo Shelby writes in a grandiloquent fashion about the mood of the men: "The sun came up on the morning of the 8th like a ball of fire and the day was gloomy and chill; but Springfield loomed up before us in the distance like a beautiful panorama, and the men, catching the inspiration of the scene, forgot all their trials and hardships, and were eager for the rough, red fray." Marmaduke orders Shelby to attack with his brigade. His pickets drive in the Union skirmish line, and then a couple of regiments of Missouri cavalry charge the Rebel line, but are driven back. Shelby dismounts two regiments and has them proceed on foot toward Union lines. Even in his official report, Shelby’s poetic style prevails in his description of his men going forward:
There lay the quiet town, robed in the dull, gray hue of the winter, its domes and spires stretching their skeleton hands to heaven, as if in prayer against the coming strife, and, drawing near and nearer, long black lines came gleaming on, while the sun shone out like a golden bar, uncurling its yellow hair on earth and sky, stream and mountain, and lent the thrilling picture a sterner and fiercer light. My skirmishers advanced steadily, and now continual shots in front tell that the enemy are found and pressed sorely.
Federal artillery opens up on the advancing Confederates, and Marmaduke answers with two guns of their own. There are counterattacks by the Federals, and a charge against the Federal right by Col. Emmett McDonald’s regiment. Gen. Egbert Brown is wounded in the fighting. The Confederates gain control of a Union redoubt, and some houses as they drive back the blue line, but soon they come back with reinforcements and reclaim the lost ground. By night fall, Gen. Marmaduke sees that further attacks are futile, and decides to withdraw. Union Victory.

Losses: Killed Wounded Missing / Captured Total

Union 30 195 6 231

Confederate 80 200 12 292

—General Mansfield Lovell is dismissed from the Confederate Army for "incapacity."

—In answer to his earnest desire to be removed from command, Gen. Burnside has sent letters to Gen. Halleck and to the President asking to be relieved, since his generals oppose his ideas. Lincoln answers:
JANUARY 8, 1863

I understand General Halleck has sent you a letter of which this is a copy. I approve this letter. I deplore the want of concurrence with you in opinion by your general officers, but I do not see the remedy. Be cautious, and do not understand that the Government or country is driving you. I do not yet see how I could profit by changing the command of the Army of the Potomac, and if I did, I should not wish to do it by accepting the resignation of your commission.


—On this date, Pres. Jefferson Davis makes a public speech to a large crowd in Richmond. His comments on America’s government, on political liberty, and on the character of the Yankees are illuminating as to the tenor of Southerners’ feelings for their cause:
Friends and Fellow-citizens: Of the title as corrected, I am proud--the other I would scorn to hold.--[Applause.]
I am happy to be welcomed on my return to the Capital of our Confederacy--the last hope, as I believe, for the perpetuation of that system of government which our forefathers founded--the asylum of the oppressed and the home of true representative liberty.
Here, in the ancient Commonwealth of Virginia the great principles of human government were proclaimed by your ancestors; here great battles for freedom have been fought, when the grand system they founded was attempted to be overturned by those who got possession of a government which they could not comprehend, and which, in six months, they see themselves wholly unable to administer.

Anticipating the overthrow of that Government which you had inherited, you assumed to yourselves the right, as your fathers had done before you, to declare yourselves independent, and nobly have you advocated the assertion which you have made. . . . You have shown yourselves in no respect to be degenerate sons of your fathers. You have fought mighty battles, and your deeds of valor will live among the richest spoils of Time's ample page. It is true you have a cause which binds you together more firmly than your fathers were. They fought to be free from the usurpations of the British crown, but they fought against a manly foe. You fight against the offscourings of the earth.--[Applause.]

Men who were bound to you by the compact which their fathers and themselves had entered into to secure to you the rights and principles not only guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence, but rights which Virginia wisely and plainly reserved in her recognition of the government in which she took a part, now come to you with their hands steeped in blood, robbing the widow, destroying houses, seizing the grey-haired father, and incarcerating him in prison because he will not be a traitor to the principles of his fathers and the land that gave him birth.

Recently, my friends, our cause has had the brightest sunshine to fall upon it, as well in the West as in the East. Our glorious Lee, the valued son, emulating the virtues of the heroic Light-horse Harry, his father, has achieved a victory at Fredericksburg, and driven the enemy back from his last and greatest effort to get "on to Richmond." But a few, however, did get on to Richmond.--(Laughter.) A few, I trust, may come from every battle field to fulfil the pledge they made that they would come to Richmond-- but they will come as captives, not as conquerors. (Applause.)

In the West, too, at Murfreesboro you have gained a victory over hosts vastly superior to our own in number. . . . It is necessary that it should be tried in the severe erucible in which we are being tested, in order to cement us together. The enjoyments and comforts we have been compelled to renounce, the long months of deep anxiety each has felt, the unceasing labors that have tested our united energies, the sacrifices we have been subjected to in common, and the glory which encircles our brow has made us a band of brothers, and, I trust, we will be united forever. (Applause.)
Jefferson Davis

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