March 18, 1863
---Battle of Kelly's Ford, Virginia: Although not the biggest cavalry battle in the war, this is one of the more significant, since it is the first time the Yankee riders are able to best the Rebels in a direct, pitched battle. Averill and 3,000 Union cavalry move near Culpeper Court House, where Averill leaves some troopers to guard that flank. With 2,300 he rides to Kelly's Ford and attempts to cross, but 60 Rebel sharpshooters are taking down too many men in blue with each attempt. Finally, Maj. Chamberlain of Averill's staff leads a charge across the ford with only 20 volunteers from the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry Regiment, and succeed in capturing the ford. The Federals cross to the south side of the river, where they are soon met by 800 Rebel troopers under Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. Averill forms a line, and repels attack after attack by the Rebels. Lee moves back to get reinforcements, but Averill withdraws back across the river, having dealt the Rebels a blow that will be felt. Union Victory.
Losses: Union 78 Confederate 133
---On this date, a crowd of as many as 80 women in Salisbury, North Carolina, gather to demonstrate for food: flour shortages and prices make it nearly impossible for soldier's wives, especially, to find enough food for their families. According to the Richmond Daily Dispatch:
Accordingly, about 2 o'clock they met, some 50 or 75 in number, with axes and hatchets, and proceeded to the depot of the North Carolina Central road, to impress some there, but were very politely met by the agent, Mr. -, with the enquiry: "What on earth was the matter?" The excited women said they were in search of "flour," which they learned had been stored there by a certain speculator. . . . The old gentlemen seeing their determination to have the flour, compromised the matter by saying if they would desist he would give them ten barrels, which he readily did. . . .
—Charles W. Hill, a young married soldier in the 5th Massachusetts Infantry, serving in coastal North Carolina, writes home to his wife Martha. After a good deal of news about battles and rumors of battle, of officers, camp gossip, and related news, he closes his letter with these rather poignant devotions in his "P.S." from a lonely soldier:
Good night to you all
From your own "Johnny" (C W Hill)
I want to see you very much but I think it the wisest way is just [feel?] that it can not be now and wait patiently for the time to come. Let us each cheerfully do the work before us whatever it may be and the time will not seem long I love to feel as I always have been able to that I can rely [?] on your love and [dis]regard what ever others may think or say. It makes a man feel strong to know that he is all the world to somebody But I must stop
—An editorial in the Richmond Daily Dispatch savages the Yankees for even thinking that the South will ever undergo "Reconstruction"—or the knitting of the two parts of the country again: