Monday, April 29, 2013

April 28, 1863

April 28, 1863

---Central VirginiaChancellorsville Campaign: Having camped near Hartford Church during the night, Hooker’s troops (V Corps, XI Corps, and XII Corps) continue their march in relative silence: the Confederates apparently have no idea that Hooker is stealing the march.  Howard’s XI Corps arrives near Kelly’s Ford by 4:30 PM.  A string of Federal pontoon boats arrive via the Rappahannock river, and are ready to cross the river by that evening.  The Federal infantry begins their crossing.

Hooker's original plan
Although Stoneman's cavalry has not taken up his disruptive post in Lee's rear, as per the original plan, Hooker has every confidence in the success of his planned move: so far, the Rebels are clueless. 
Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, USA, commander of the Army of the Potomac

---In the Vicksburg theater, Gen. Grant suggests that Sherman’s troops make a demonstration (i.e., an assault that is not expected to succeed) against Haynes Bluffs (near the place of his earlier defeat at Chickasaw Bluffs) in order to create a feint for Grant’s movement across the river south of Vicksburg.  Grant knows that such a feint will be interpreted by the American public as a military defeat, yet Sherman answers in this vein:

I will take, ten steamers and ten regiments, and go up the Yazoo as close to Haynes’ as possible without putting the transport under the rifled guns of the enemy. We will make as strong a demonstration as possible. The troops will all understand the purpose, and will not be hurt by the repulse.

The people of the country must find out the truth as they best can; it is none of their business. You are engaged in a hazardous enterprise, and, for good reasons, wish to divert attention; that is sufficient to me, and it shall be done. I will be all ready at daylight, and shall embark the men the moment Captain Breese notifies me he is ready.

Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, USA

---As he travels through Seguin and Gonzalez, Texas, Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards makes observations in his journal about the traveling habits of Southerners:

. . . In the afternoon tobacco-chewing became universal, and the spitting was sometimes a little wild.

It was the custom for the outsiders [passengers who sat on the outside of the stagecoach] to sit round the top of the carriage, with their legs dangling over (like mutes on a hearse returning from a funeral). This practice rendered it dangerous to put one’s head out of the window, for fear of a back kick from the heels, or of a shower of tobacco-juice from the mouths, of the Southern chivalry on the roof. In spite of their peculiar habits of hanging, shooting, &c, which seemed to be natural to people living in a wild and thinly-populated country, there was much to like in my fellow-travellers. They all had a sort of bonhommie honesty and straightforwardness, a natural courtesy and extreme good-nature, which was very agreeable. Although they were all very anxious to talk to a European—who, in these blockaded times, is a rara avis—yet their inquisitiveness was never offensive or disagreeable.

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