Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 22, 1863

June 22, 1863

---Siege of Vicksburg, Day 31

---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 26

---The Richmond Daily Dispatch reports that Vicksburg repulsed a massive assault by Federal troops on the Confederate fortifications.  There seems to  be no record of a Federal assault on Vicksburg for that date, other than a massive artillery duel.  False alarms and inflated reports of rumors of fights is apparently stock-in-trade for the newspapers of the day.

---The Bermuda Royal Gazette reports today that Clement Vallandigham, the recalcitrant former Ohio congressman exiled by the U.S. Government, arrives in Bermuda via the blockade runner Lady Davis.  It is reported that the Copperhead celebrity intends on traveling to Canada.

---Osborn Oldroyd of the 20th Ohio Infantry, just outside of Vicksburg, writes in his journal about being issued rations, and holds forth on the subject of hardtack---the infamous, hard, unleavened cracker issued by the Army as the bread ration to soldiers:

When hard tack was first issued there was but one way to eat it, and that was dry, just as it reached us. Practice, however, taught us to prepare a variety of dishes from it. The most palatable way to dispose of hard tack, to my taste, is to pulverize, then soak over night, and fry for breakfast as batter-cakes. Another good way is to soak whole, and then fry; and still another is to soak a little, then lay it by the fire and let grease drop on it from toasted meat, held to the fire on a pointed stick. This latter is the most common way on a march. Sometimes the tack is very hard indeed by the time it reaches us, and it requires some knack to break it. I have frequently seen boys break it over their knees. Just raise your foot up so as to bring the bent knee handy, and then fetch your hard tack down on it with your right hand, with all the force you can spare, and, if not too tough, you may break it in two. But one poor fellow I saw was completely exhausted trying to break a hard tack, and after resorting to all the devices he could think of, finally accomplished it by dropping on it a 12-pound shell. The objection to that plan was, however, that the fellow could hardly find his hard tack afterward.

The Gettysburg Campaign

---Louis Lėon, of the 53rd North Carolina Infantry, marching with Ewell’s Corps, notes the events of the march in his journal, as they pass Greencastle, Pennsylvania:

June 22—Left this morning at 8 o’clock, got to Middleburg, Pa., at11, passed through it, and got to Green Castle at half past one. Eleven miles to-day. The people seemed downhearted, and showed their hatred to us by their glum looks and silence, and I am willing to swear that no prayers will be offered in this town for us poor, ragged rebels.

Routes of march on the Gettysburg Campaign.  Click to enlarge.

---Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle, of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards, has attached himself to the Army of Northern Virginia for the purpose of observation.  He writes in his diary about his ride this day with Pender’s division of A. P. Hill’s Corps:

22d June (Monday).—We started without food or corn at 6.30 a.m., and soon became entangled with Pender's Division on its line of march, which delayed us a good deal. My poor brute of a horse also took this opportunity of throwing two more shoes, which we found it impossible to replace, all the blacksmiths' shops having been pressed by the troops.

The soldiers of this Division are a remarkably fine body of men, and look quite seasoned and ready for any work. Their clothing is serviceable, so also are their boots; but there is the usual utter absence of uniformity as to colour and shape of their garments and hats: grey of all shades, and brown clothing, with felt hats, predominate. The Confederate troops are now entirely armed with excellent rifles, mostly Enfields. When they first turned out, they were in the habit of wearing numerous revolvers and bowie-knives. General Lee is said to have mildly remarked, "Gentlemen, I think you will find an Enfield rifle, a bayonet, and sixty rounds of ammunition, as much as you can conveniently carry in the way of arms." They laughed, and thought they knew better; but the six-shooters and bowie-knives gradually disappeared; and now none are to be seen among the infantry. . . .

I saw no stragglers during the time I was with Pender's Division; but although the Virginian army certainly does get over a deal of ground, yet they move at a slow dragging pace, and are evidently not good marchers naturally. As Mr Norris observed to me, "Before this war we were a lazy set of devils; our niggers worked for us, and none of us ever dreamt of walking, though we all rode a great deal."

---A Democrat newspaper in Seneca County, New York, publishes this editorial that takes it rather ill that the Lincoln government is apparently concealing bad news from the Northern public:

The new from Virginia is startling. The Confederate army under LEE has abandoned Fredericksburg, crossed the Rappahannock, and, appearances indicate that they have determined on an invasion of the North. – In the absence of all intelligence from Washington it is difficult to tell what is going on. It is certain, however, that a part of LEE’s forces appeared in the Shenandoah Valley during the latter part of last week, and that on Friday last they attacked Gen. MILROY at Winchester, defeating and driving him from that place with great loss of life. Gen. MILROY admits a loss of 2,000 killed and wounded. His force was 10,000 strong. All his artillery was captured by the enemy. . . .

During all these disasters to our armies, we have heard nothing from “Fighting Joe Hooker,” though it is stated that his army has fallen back upon Washington. Gen LEE seems to be doing pretty much as he pleases, having out-generaled Hooker at all points. The refusal of the Washington authorities to permit anything to come over the wires has filled the public mind with alarm.

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