Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 8, 1863

April 8, 1863

---The USS Keokuk, having been badly damaged in the previous day’s battle, sinks offshore near Charleston.

---Near New Carthage, Louisiana, just south of Miliken’s Bend on the Mississippi, there is heavy skirmishing between the Federal troops of John McClernand’s corps and Rebel troops there, near James’ Plantation.

---Gen. John G. Foster and his troops are still under siege in Washington, North Carolina, by Confederate troops under Gen. D.H. Hill.

—Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, having already ejected Thomas Knox, a reporter for the New York Herald, from his camp in past weeks, now writes a letter to Knox after President Lincoln has allowed Knox to return to the front and Sherman’s corps, if Sherman will permit it. Here is the general’s answer:
Come with a sword or musket in your hand, prepared to share with us our fate, in sunshine and storm, in prosperity and adversity, in plenty and scarcity, and I will welcome you as a brother and associate. But come as you now do, expecting me to ally the honor and reputation of my country and my fellow Soldiers with you as the representative of the press, which you yourself say, makes so slight a difference between truth and falsehood, and my answer is Never.

—Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles has dark forebodings as he awaits news of the attack on Charleston Harbor:
April 8, Wednesday. An oppressive and anxious feeling in relation to movements at Charleston. It has been expected an attack would be made the first week in April. We hear nothing. The Rebel authorities permit their papers to publish nothing, nor will they allow the flag of truce to bring us their papers. This intensifies the desire to learn something of proceedings.

---George Templeton Strong writes in his journal about political events in New York City and about the progress of the war. Not yet having heard the bad news from Charleston, he speculates also on the naval attack there:
. . . The grand meeting of anti-conscription Copperheads at Cooper Union last night was large but not lively. Fernando Wood & Co. were depressed by the Connecticut elections. Very sad that Charles O’Conor should be found in such company.

We are looking for weighty news from Charleston. We must be repulsed there, I think (barring miracles0, but many sensible people believe that the mass-meeting called for the 11th in Union Square to commemorate that anniversary will have news of the recapture of Sumter to rejoice over. I trust their judgment may be better than mine, and thank Heaven that I have no rudiment of a prophetic gift.

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