Friday, March 22, 2013

March 18, 1863

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:
A correspondent of the Petersburg Express, writing from Salisbury, N. C., on the 18th instant, says that about 12 o'clock on that day a rumor was afloat that the wives of several soldiers now in the war, intended to make a dash on some flour and other necessaries of life belonging to certain gentlemen who the ladies termed "speculators."-They alleged that they were entirely out of provisions and unable to give prices now asked to give Government prices. The letter adds:
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:
. . . I will write no more tonight hope to get time to add more tomorrow. The mail goes Saturday I could fill a good many sheets if I had time
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:
Reconstruction. The tenacity with which the Yankees cling to the idea of reconstructing the old Union, at the very moment they are devising schemes for prosecuting with new vigor the work of bloodshed and desolation, is one of the most astonishing things of this unparalleled war. For two years has our soil been drenched in the blood of our sons and brothers; our dwellings burned, our fields devastated, our women insulted and outraged, the very altars of our religion and even the tombs of our dead desecrated, and yet they expect us once more to hug to our hearts as brethren of the same political family the monsters who have committed these deeds. There can be no better proof of their own utter heartlessness than their belief that men can do such foul wrong to their dead kindred as reconstruction implies.

No comments:

Post a Comment