Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 25, 1863

June 25, 1863

---Siege of Vicksburg, Day 34

---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 29

---This morning, Jeb Stuart and his three brigades of Rebel troopers set out on their big ride around Hooker’s army.  His troopers skirmish with Union infantry guarding a large wagon train. 

---Louis Lėon, an infantryman from North Carolina in Ewell’s corps, finds himself at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the farthest north that Lee’s men will penetrate.  He writes in his journal about the march and the reception by the town:

June 25 – Marched on, passed through Leesburg, Canada, Hockinsville, and Centerville, all small villages. We got to Carlisle, Pa., at sundown. Marched 21 miles to-day. This city is certainly a beautiful place. It has 8,000 inhabitants, and we were treated very good by the ladies. They thought we would do as their soldiers do, burn every place we passed through, but when we told them the strict orders of General Lee they were rejoiced. Our regiment was provost guard in the city, but were relieved by the 21st Georgia Regiment, and we went to camp at the U. S. barracks. So far we have lived very good in the enemy’s country. We stayed here until the 30th, when we took the Baltimore pike road, crossed South Mountain at Holly Gap, passed through Papertown and Petersburg. We then left the Pike and took the Gettysburg road – 17 miles to-day. This has been a hard day for us, as we were the rear guard of the division, and it was very hot, close and very dusty, and a terrible job to keep the stragglers up.

---Battle of Hoover’s Gap, Tennessee:  Beginning yesterday, Gen. Rosecrans has directed Gen. George Thomas to march his corps to this and a few other gaps in the Highland Rim range of hills in central Tennessee, in order to force Bragg’s right flank.  Thomas’s troops approach this location, but leading out in front are the mounted infantry of Col. John T. Wilder of Indiana, whose men are equipped with the repeating Spencer rifle.  Wilder arrives first, and drives off the Rebel cavalry posted there.  In the meantime, infantry from the brigade of Gen. Bate from A.P. Stewart’s division arrives, and attacks Wilder, who is now entrenched on higher ground.  Bate is driven back with heavy losses, but is later joined by another brigade under Bushrod Johnson, and the two brigades launch another assault, also repulsed with heavy losses.  Thomas sends a note asking Wilder to withdraw, but Wilder insists on staying.  He is reinforced by troops under Rousseau and Brannan.

---A Unionist woman living in Vicksburg, records in her journal the bloody effects of the Yankee bombardment, and how it finally unnerved her:

June 25.- A horrible day.The most horrible yet to me, because I’ve lost my nerve. we were all in the cellar, when a shell came tearing through the roof, burst up-stairs, tore up that room, and the pieces coming through both floors down into the cellar, one of them tore open the leg of H.’s pantaloons. This was tangible proof the cellar was no place of protection from them. On the heels of this came Mr. J. to tell us that young Mrs. P. had had her thigh-bone crushed. When Martha went for the milk she came back horror-stricken to tell us the black girl there had her arm taken off by a shell. For the first time I quailed. I do not think people who are physically brave deserve much credit for it; it is a matter of nerves. In this way I am constitutionally brave, and seldom think of danger until it is over; and death has not the terrors for me it has for some others. Every night I had lain down expecting death, and every morning rose to the same prospect, without being unnerved. It was for H. I trembled. But now I first seemed to realize that something worse than death might come: I might be crippled, and not killed. Life, without all one’s powers and limbs, was a thought that broke down my courage. I said to H., “You must get me out of this horrible place; I cannot stay; I know I shall be crippled.” Now the regret comes that I lost control, because H. is worried, and has lost his composure, because my coolness has broken down.

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