Thursday, April 4, 2013

March 30, 1863

March 30, 1863

--- Battle of Washington, N.C. - As part of Gen. Longstreet’s tidewater operations this Spring, under the direction of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Longstreet sends a column of troops under Gen. D.H. Hill to threaten the Federal hold on New Berne and Washington, two principal ports in tidewater North Carolina.  In Washington, on the Tar River, Union General John G. Foster and a brigade of 2,000 are posted.  Hill marches his brigades to this point and, on this date, launch an attack on the Union-fortified town.  Besides the infantry, Foster has three gunboats on the Tar River to help defend the town.  Rebel brigades under Richard Garnett and Johnston Pettigrew invest the town, and conduct an assault, but the Federal gunboats drive them back, and the Siege begins. 

---Gen. John McClernand sends troops to sieze Richmond, Mississippi on this date; the Yankees drive off a force of Rebel cavalry after a two-hour fight.

---Battle of Somerset, Kentucky – Federal troops under Gen. Quincy Gillmore encounter Rebel cavalry under Gen. Pegram.  After a sharp battle, the Revels are routed and driven with “great loss.”

---Rebel guerillas under a Col. Jenkins attack Point Pleasant, Virginia, in the western mountains, and are held off by a much smaller force---a mere company of the 13th Virginia Infantry (Union), who use the courthouse as a blockhouse for defense.  After suffering heavy casualties, the Rebels retreat. 

---Rebel War clerk John Beauchamp Jones writes more about the Richmond famine in his journal:
The gaunt form of wretched famine still approaches with rapid strides. Meal is now selling at $12 per bushel, and potatoes at $16. Meats have almost disappeared from the market, and none but the opulent can afford to pay $3.50 per pound for butter. Greens, however, of various kinds, are coming in; and as the season advances, we may expect a diminution of prices. It is strange that on the 30th of March, even in the “sunny South,” the fruit-trees are as bare of blossoms and foliage as at mid-winter. We shall have fire until the middle of May,—six months of winter!
I am spading up my little garden, and hope to raise a few vegetables to eke out a miserable subsistence for my family. My daughter Ann reads Shakspeare to me o’ nights, which saves my eyes.

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