Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March 26, 1863

March 26, 1863
---Gen. Pegram of the Confederate army is raiding deep into Kentucky, while Nathan Bedford Forrest conducts raids of his own behind Rosecrans’ lines in central Tennessee.  Yesterday, he attacks the town of Brentwood, and the Yankees there---a regiment of Wisconsin infantry, under command of Col. Edward Bloodgood---immediately surrender.  The Rebel troopers carry off supplies and destroy the railroad depot.  Then, Forrest sends an officer to a railroad bridge nearby over the Little Harpeth River, who demands that Yankee garrison’s surrender as well.  This colonel accepts the deception, and surrenders his regiment of Michiganders.  Forrest, in one day, captures 750 Yankees, losing only 4 dead and 13 wounded in the attack on Brentwood.  With his loot and prisoners, Forrest departs the area in haste, as a Union cavalry force is on his heels.
---Gen. Robert E. Lee writes to the Confederate Secretary of War Seddon about the scarcity of rations in the Army of Northern Virginia, detailing his own efforts to secure food for his men, and clearly putting the problem where it belongs---with Seddon’s department.  Lee concludes his letter:

The troops of the portion of the army have for some time been confined to reduced rations, consisting of 18 ounces of four, 4 ounces of bacon of indifferent quality, with occasionally supplies of rices, sugar, or molasses. The men are cheerful, and I receive but few complaints; still, I do not think it is enough to continue them in health and vigor, and I fear they will be unable to endure the hardships of the approaching campaign. Symptoms of scurvy are appearing among them, and to supply the place of vegetables each regiment is directed to send a daily detail to gather sassafras buds, wild onions, garlic, lamb's quarter, and poke sprouts, but for so large an army the supply obtained is very small. I have understood, I do not know with what truth, that the Army of the West and that in the Department of South Carolina and Georgia are more bountifully supplied with provisions. I have also heard that the troops in North Carolina receive one-half pound of bacon per day. I think this army deserves as much consideration as either of those named, and, if it can be supplied, respectfully ask that it be similarly provided.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, you obedient servant,


---As U.S. naval gunboats and transports are being pushed through the Yazoo Pass to make their slow, laborious way down to reinforce the Union forces in front of Fort Pemberton, artilleryman Jenkin Lloyd Jones writes in his journal about the tough going in river channels that are narrow and twisting in a heavy forest:
On Yazoo Pass, Thursday, March 26. A fine day. Health poor. Nausea and diarrhea very bad. Advanced very slowly to-day, the current being swifter than before, so that we are just tossed from tree to tree. Obliged to use the capstan continually. A limb took off one of the escape pipes, another entered the cook room on the second floor. It is with great trouble the men can save themselves from falling limbs. One fell on two boys which came very near proving serious. Passed at 2 P. M. by the “Hamilton Belle”, dispatch boat.

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