Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18, 1863

June 18, 1863

---Siege of Vicksburg, Day 27

---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 22

---Gen. Halleck sends this note to Gen. Hooker, who is moving slowly in pursuit of where Lee is going---or has been, or is supposed to have been or is heading for.  We may detect the distinct note of anxiety in Halleck’s tone here:

June 18, 1863 - 11 a. m.
Major-General HOOKER,
Army of the Potomac:
     I can get no information of the enemy other than that sent to you.
     Rumors from Pennsylvania are too confused and contradictory to be relied on. Officers and citizens are on a big stampede. They are asking me why does not General Hooker tell where Lee's army is; he is nearest to it. There are numerous suppositions and theories, but all is yet mere conjecture. I only hope for positive information from your front. General Heintzelman has a signal line to Sugar Loaf Mountain, and is directed to send you all the information heobtains. General Kelly is observing the passes west of the Shenandoah, and will give you, through General Schenck, all information he can get. He is very reliable.

    H. W. HALLECK,

The Gettysburg Campaign:

---With a muted tone of mockery, the Richmond Daily Dispatch, published in the Confederacy’s capital, editorializes on the furor and turmoil that Lee’s northward invasion is causing in the North:

The Philadelphia Inquirer, of the 18th, gives a description of the excitement caused there the day before by the rumors of the rebel advance. The greatest activity in military matters prevailed. . . . The recruiting was lively, and large accessions were made to the ranks of the various regiments. In the morning, a company of colored men, under the following officers: Capt. Wm. Babe, 1st Lt. Wm. Elliott, 2d Lt. Thos. Moore, received orders for army equipments and transportation. They left in the afternoon. . . .

At the custom-house the most active preparations were being made. A table for recruiting purposes was placed in the middle of the spacious hall, also on the front portico, and recruits were enrolling with commendable rapidity. The employees and collector of the port, Col. W. B. Thomas, all appeared, in military caps, as though ready at any moment. . . . At the Mayor’s office . . . . There was one company of men belonging to the police department, composed of one hundred, that were ready for marching orders early in the day; they expect to leave the depot of the Reading railroad this morning. . . .

Perhaps there is no more stirring recruiting rendezvous in the city than is to be found in the marble structure on Chesnut street, above 4th, known as the Custom House. A strange contrast do the uniformed volunteers, reclining upon the steps, the flaming placards posted upon the corinthian columns, and the recruiting handbills adoring the walls, present to the peaceful avocations which are usually transacted within the marble walls. Recruiting officers are in attendance upon the outside and inside of the building. Blue jacketed sons of Uncle Sam blockade the entrance to the interior, and if a citizen steps within the precincts formerly dedicated to the reception of revenue duties and tariffs, he is instantly taken in charge by a file of sergeants, while the superior advantages of their respective companies are glowingly portrayed to the astonished civilian. The pursuits of the employees of the Custom House have been wonderfully changed within the past two or three days. Instead of the office coat and the long pen-handle projecting from the clustering hair which covers the ears of busy clerks, the bright blue uniforms of the United States volunteer forces are everywhere to be seen. . . .

---The New York Times reports on the same phenomenon in New York City:

Maj.-Gen. SANDFORD has detailed the Seventh, Eighth, Eleventh, Twenty-second, and Thirty-seventh regiments, under Brig.-Gen. HALL, and the Fifth, Sixth, Twelfth, Sixty-ninth, and Seventy-first regiments, under Brig.-Gen. YATES, to proceed forth-with to Harrisburgh, to report there to Maj.-Gen. COUCH, commanding the Department. He also proposes to send 500 artillerists of the Fourth regiment. . . . Early yesterday morning, the Armory of the Seventh Regiment N.Y.S.M., N.G., was the scene of much excitement and enthusiasm. This arose from the fact that this crack corps was to leave that morning at 7 o’clock for Harrisburgh, to report to Gen. COUCH. The large rooms of the building were crowded to suffocation with friends and relatives of the members. When on parade before marching, the appearance of Col. LEFFERTS among his men was the occasion for much enthusiasm, and he was warmly and enthusiastically greeted. . . .

The crack Seventh Regiment of New York State Militia was a sort of elite “gentleman's club” regiment, whose ranks were filled with the wealthy blue-bloods and aristocracy of the city.  It is said that their meals were catered by Delmonico’s, and their uniforms tailored by Brooks Brothers.  The Seventh is a milita outfit and, by custom, was clothed in gray, with kepis and natty cross-belts.
Men of the elite Seventh New York State Militia
---Maj. Gen. James McPherson, commanding the XVII Corps in Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, in a letter to Gen. Grant, answers his colleague Gen. John McClernand for the latter’s now-infamous Order that boasted of his accomplishments at the expense of McPherson’s and Sherman’s corps, implying that if McClernand’s troops had not advanced farther than they did, and broken through the Rebel works, if was because of inadequacies in the other troops.  McPherson delivers a stinging rebuke:

HDQRS. 17TH ARMY CORPS, DEPT. OF THE TENNESSEE, near Vicksburg, MISS, June 18, 1863.
Major-General GRANT,
Comdg. Dept. of the Tennessee:

GENERAL: My attention has just been called to an order published in the Missouri Democrat of the 10th instant, purporting to be a congratulatory order from Major General John A. McClernand to his command.

The whole tenor of the order is so ungenerous, and the insinuations and criminations against the other corps of your army are so manifestly at variance with the facts, that a sense of duty to my command, as well as the verbal protest of every one of my DIVISION and brigade commanders against allowing such and order to go forth to the public unanswered, require that I should call your attention to it. After a careful perusal of the order, I cannot help arriving at the conclusion that it was written more to influence public sentiment at the North and impress the public mind with the magnificent strategy, superior tactics, and brilliant deeds of the major-general commanding the Thirteenth Army Corps than to congratulate his troops upon their well-merited successes. There is a vain-gloriousness about the order, an ingenious attempt to write himself down the hero, the master-mind, giving life and direction to military operations in this quarter, inconsistent with the high toned principles of the soldier, sans peur et sans reproche. . . .

It little becomes Major-General McClernand to complain of want of co-operation on the part of other corps in the assault on the enemy’s works on the 22nd ultimo, when 1,218 men of my command were placed hors de combat in their resolute and daring attempt to carry the positions assigned to them, and fully one-THIRD of these . . . who fell in front of his own lines, where they were left [after being sent 2 miles to support him] to sustain the whole brunt of the battle from 5 p. m. until after dark, his own men being recalled. . . .

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


---As a result of McPherson’s note to Grant, Grant sends to McClernand to verify that McClernand issued such a statement.  McClernand affirms that he did.  Grant then relieves McClernand of command, effective immediately.

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