Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 13, 1863

June 13, 1863

---Siege of Vicksburg, Day 22

---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 17

---Second Battle of Winchester, Virginia – Day 1:  Maj. Gen. Robert Milroy, the Federal commander at Winchester, has been given orders to evacuate the town rather than face a Confederate force of overwhelming advantage: the Second (II) Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia: three division under Early, Johnson, and Rodes under the command of Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell.  However, Milroy wants to ignore the order, and he is aided and abetted by his department commander, Gen. Schenk.  Milroy faces two divisions of Rebels with only about 6,900 men of his own.  Farther east is another brigade of 1,800 men under Brig. Gen. McReynolds.  As Ewell approaches Winchester, he sends Rodes and his division to the right to get McReynolds; Early and Johnson’s brigades approach Winchester itself.  South of town, Johnson’s infantry spars with a Federal brigade sent alone by Milroy, who still believed that only Southern cavalry was threatening his position.  McReynolds falls back, escaping Rodes’ trap, and re-joins Milroy’s force.  Rodes pushes on for Martinsburg.

---Charles H. Lynch, of the 18th Connecticut Infantry Regiment, records his impressions of that first day’s action at Winchester:

I ran to the Colonel’s quarters and heard the report. With a shout the Colonel called out “Fall in, fall in, double quick.” We soon formed in line, ready for orders. Left our camp on double quick time to meet the enemy. They opened fire on us and our camp with a battery well posted on a high hill about one mile from our camp. We held them in check for a while when orders came for us to fall back and take position in the line of battle that had been formed near the town. In the meantime the enemy had taken possession of our camp with all its equipage and our knapsacks that contained all our belongings, making a great loss to every man. The sudden appearance of so large a force was a surprise. We were under fire all day and were obliged to change our position at different points to meet the enemy, who were trying to get into Winchester. It was plainly seen that a large force of Confederates were surrounding the town and that we were in a bad fix, as we could see the gray in all directions and knew that we were more than outnumbered.

---The New York Times publishes this timely editorial about Copperhead meetings and rallies in the rest of the state of New York:

A Peace Meeting in Brooklyn.

A few of the followers of FERNANDO and BEN WOOD are trying hard to get up a “peace meeting” in Brooklyn, after the manner of the one held in New-York, but the organ of the Democracy — the Eagle — throws cold water on the enterprise, and thinks, in view of the prospective rebel raid into the Northern States, they had better postpone it for the presents. The Eagle thinks that, in case the rebels should march, through Pennsylvania to Buffalo, as they propose, if would not look well, while they are waging war in one end of the State, for the Democrats at the other end to hold a peace meeting at Fort Green.

---Assault at Port Hudson -- At Port Huson, Gen. Banks lines up 89 cannons to pound the Confederate fortifications, in addition to navals guns in the river pounding Port Hudson with cannon and mortars.  

U.S. Navy mortar boat on the Mississippi River near Port Hudson

 Late in the afternoon, several divisions are ordered forward, but Banks’ order had been issues so late, the attacks were uncoordinated.  The Federals lose 1,792 men to the Confederate 72. 

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