Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 26, 1863

April 26, 1863

---Battle of Cape Girardeau, Missouri:  Brig. Gen. John Marmaduke of the Confederate Army led his force of 5,000 into southern Missouri.  He moves against the heavily-fortified river town of Cape Girardeau on the Mississippi.  After struggling though a swamp in a downpour, Marmaduke finally is able to deploy his troops, and launches a full frontal assault on the Federal works.  Defending is Union Gen. John McNeil and 4,000 Union troops from Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.  The Rebels, mostly Texas cavalry, make the charge mounted, and are mowed down by charges of canister and rifle volleys.  More charges and countercharges were made, and Marmaduke finally withdraws his shattered regiments.  Union Victory.

Losses:         Union – 12                          Confederate -- 325

---Grierson’s Raid – Grierson learns that the rebel Gen. Pemberton, in command in Mississippi, in a panic, has sent reinforcements to Jackson and all other points he can think of along Vicksburg’s supply line, he decides to carry a diversion.  The equivalent early a whole division of Rebels have been sent to chase after the Yankee raiders.  On this morning, Grierson decides to make a daring turn in his route, and dash in closer to Vicksburg, so he turns his column to the southwest, crossing the Leaf River and entering the town of Raliegh.  From there, they ride to Westville, where they stop for the night.


---Virginia:  Constant rains for the last two weeks have delayed Gen. Hooker’s scheduled plans for getting under way with his planned offensive:  To flank Lee and force him to come out of the Fredericksburg fortifications south into open country.  The rains have let up, and Hooker hopes to get his troops on the road by tomorrow, the 27th.  His plan---the V Corps under Meade, the XI under Howard, and the XII under Slocum, are to march upstream toward Kelly’s Ford on the Rappahannock just due east of Culpeper Court House, the II Corps under Couch to the U.S. ford near the confluence of the Rappahannock and Rapidan; the I (Reynolds), III (Sickles), and VI Corps (Sedgwick) would remain near Falmouth.  The idea was that the left wing under Sedgwick would make a demonstration across the river to threaten Fredericksburg and the right wing under Hooker would cross the fords, advance through the Wilderness, and get in Lee’s left rear to “turn” his line.  Hooker will have nearly 120,000 men in play against the Confederates, who number less than half of that.

Hooker's Planned Move
---James H. Gooding writes to the Mercury on the progress of the 54th Massachusetts, the new black regiment in training at Camp Reading:

The past week’s report of the 54th is encouraging, if not stirring. The number of recruits for the past week is 66 making a total of 740 men. Indeed, to see the men on dress parade, one would think there was a full regiment, when there is not more than 630, the balance being required for guard or fatigue duties. The most of the companies are now quite proficient in the manual of arms, and perform the evolutions with as much precision as a great many older troops. Soldiers and officers from other camps say they never thought it possible for men to learn in so short a time as much as these men have. The camp was visited by several members of the Legislature the past week, who expressed themselves highly pleased with the efficiency, discipline and cleanliness of the men; and one gentleman paid us a compliment by saying our barracks looked neater than those on the other side of the railroad. But the praise for that is due to Col. Shaw, whose quick eye detects anything in a moment out of keeping with order or military discipline. It is the best way to begin, saving a deal of trouble in the end; without order, the best men on earth would be worthless for military purposes.

Rev. Mr. Jackson is still with us, laboring for the soles, if the uppers are neglected — because there are men in this regiment who forget that there are other combs besides Combe on the understanding. Now Messrs. Editors, we want some more New Bedford men; if they don’t make up their minds very soon, the gate will be shut; every week the number wanted becomes less, and will our New Bedford men see those from other States earning their right to manhood? Where are all the loud orators, whose patriotic appeals said go to the war, we are with you? Come out, ye brave men, we want to see ye. And where, oh! where are the leaders of men? Why don’t they send one representative to the war? so they can say, “We filled our quota.” Don’t let the Journal of Commerce, and other powerful organs, have a chance to tell the truth about you, when they say “The colored man don’t know what’s good for him.” Rise up from your lethargy, and prove by your works that they know not what they say, or else — go and bag your heads.

---Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle, a British officer visiting the American war at the behest of the Crown, writes in his journal about his adventurous journey across Texas:

26th April (Sunday).—At 11.30 A.M., McCarthy drove me in his buggy to see the San Pedro spring, which is inferior in beauty to the San Antonio spring. A troop of Texan cavalry was bivouacked there.

We afterwards drove to the “missions” of San Jose” and San Juan, six and nine miles from the town. These were fortified convents for the conversion of the Indians, and were built by the Jesuits about one hundred and seventy years ago. They are now ruins, and the architecture is of the heavy Castilian style, elaborately ornamented. These missions are very interesting, and there are two more of them, which I did not see.

In the afternoon I saw many negroes and negresses parading about in their Sunday clothes—silks and crinolines—much smarter than their mistresses.

At 5 P.M. I dined with Colonel Bankhead, who gave an entertainment, which in these hard times must have cost a mint of money. About fourteen of the principal officers were invited; one of them was Captain Mason (cousin to the London commissioner), who had served under Stonewall Jackson in Virginia. He said that officer was by no means popular at first. I spent a very agreeable evening, and heard many anecdotes of the war. One of the officers sang the Abolition song, “John Brown,” together with its parody, “I’m bound to be a soldier in the army of the South,” a Confederate marching-song, and another parody, which is a Yankee marching-song, “We’ll hang Jeff Davis on a sour-apple tree.”

Whenever I have dined with Confederate officers they have nearly always proposed the Queen’s health, and never failed to pass the highest eulogiums upon Her Majesty.

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