Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 5, 1863

March 5, 1863

---Battle of Thompson’s Station:  Near Spring Hill, Tennessee, Col. John Coburn and his 2,800-man brigade have been put back on their heels.  Coburn begins an advance on Van Dorn’s line, and is met with enfilading artillery fire from Forrest’s guns.  The Rebels counterattack, and drive the Federals back.  As Coburn pulled back, Forrest enveloped one flank, and another Southern brigade enveloped the other.  Soon, Coburn’s men---now low on ammunition---found Rebels in their rear.  Coburn’s artillery and cavalry had already retreated, and so Coburn felt that surrender was his only choice.  Confederate Victory.

Losses:                     Union                                   Confederate

                                    1,906                                                 357

---George Templeton Strong, a Wall Street lawyer, writes in his journal:

Wall Street is in great commotion today.  Gold suddenly down to near 150! . . . This fall is an important event, probably.  It may, however, prove to be nothing but a temporary fluctuation.

War news very little and not good, though people seem generally in a sanguine fit just now.  I can’t tell why.

---Major Alexander Biddle, of the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteers, writes home to his wife from camp near Falmouth, Virginia, concerning his duties with the regiment in winter camp as temporary commander while his colonel is absent, and of haircut discipline:

Camp near Belleplains Virg

Head Qrs 121 Reg P.V.

Thursday March 5, 1863

Dear Julia

I have just finished a long business letter to Tom in reply to one from him. To day I received orders for a Brigade drill on Saturday at one Oclock – it is now the Coldest weather we have yet had and I sometimes marvel how it is I keep as well as I have done – The newspaper today seemed to indicate some good news from Vicksburg – to day we saw a balloon up for good two hours WSW in the direction of Falmouth I have been on a new Division Court martial for the last three days which to day occupied me until ½ past two O’clock – Every afternoon I contrive to give them some exercise in the manual on the parade ground but we have so many detailed from our regiment that it hardly has men enough left for Camp duties – I have not heard from the Colonel for some days past but have been looking out for him almost every day – there is a great deal to be done towards appointing new Officers and reorganizing the force which I feel some delicacy about arranging if it is to be reviewed such as recommending officers for promotions to the Governor The new regiments have all arrived and I have no doubt but that the force will present a very fine appearance when brought together – The other day I had a complaint made by our surgeons of the man who would not cut his hair &c – I picked out another incorrigible and gave him a pair of scissors and told him to cut this fellows hair and when that was done let him cut the others – I wish you could have heard the Doctors laugh after the report was made to me – One thing is certain they will not want hair cutting for three months to come judging from the close crop they exhibited…

---John Beauchamp Jones, of Richmond, Virginia, writes in his journal on several heads---including the sorrowful food supply in the city:

Our dinner to-day (for seven, for the servant has an equal share) consisted of twelve eggs, $1.25; a little corn bread, some rice and potatoes. How long shall we have even this variety and amount? Bad beef in market, this morning, sold at $1.25 per pound.




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