Monday, July 29, 2013

July 10, 1863

July 10, 1863

---Meade’s troops concentrate around Boonsboro, with the Rebel cavalry contesting their every move.  There is skirmishing on several fronts in the area today.

---George  Michael Neese, a Confederate artilleryman, writes in his journal of some of the skirmishing around Boonsboro, in which his battery took part:

The Yankees advanced again this morning on the National Road, and we moved about two miles below Funkstown and opened fire on their advancing cavalry. We did not hold our position very long, as the enemy had too many dismounted sharpshooters crawling up on us, and their long-range rifles rendered our position untenable for artillery, and we retired. . . . The Yankees advanced on us again, and we opened fire on them, and held our ground until we fired the very last round of ammunition we had; then we moved back across the Antietam.

---Gen. Meade, slowly moving in Lee’s wake, writes to his wife, and mentions some of the pressure he is getting from Washington:

I also see that my success at Gettysburg has deluded the people and the Government with the idea that I must always be victorious, that Lee is demoralized and disorganized, etc., and other delusions which will not only be dissipated by any reverse I should meet with, but would react in proportion against me. I have already had a very decided correspondence with General Halleck upon this point, he pushing me on, and I informing him I was advancing as fast as I could. The firm stand I took had the result to induce General Halleck to tell me to act according to my judgment. . . .

---Gideon Welles, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, again frets about the sluggish pursuit of the Rebels, who are still stuck by high waters on the Maryland side of the Potomac:

July 10, Friday. I am assured that our army is steadily, but I fear too slowly, moving upon Lee and the Rebels. There are, I hope, substantial reasons for this tardiness. Why cannot our army move as rapidly as the Rebels? The high water in the river has stopped them, yet our troops do not catch up. It has been the misfortune of our generals to linger, never to avail themselves of success, —to waste, or omit to gather, the fruits of victory. Only success at Gettysburg and Vicksburg will quiet the country for the present hesitancy. No light or explanation is furnished by the General-in-Chief or the War Department.

---Sarah Morgan, now living behind Yankee lines in New Orleans, writes a most exasperated passage in her journal:

July 10th.
Shall I cry, faint, scream, or go off in hysterics? Tell me which, quickly; for to doubt this news is fine and imprisonment, and if I really believe it I would certainly give way to my feelings and commit some vagaries of the kind. My resolution is formed! . . . I’ll stand on my head if necessary, to prove my indifference; but I’ll never believe this is true until it is confirmed by stronger authority.

Day before yesterday came tidings that Vicksburg had fallen on the 4th inst. The “Era” poured out extras, and sundry little popguns fizzled out salutes. . . . O dear, noble men! I am afraid to meet them; I should do something foolish; best take my cry out in private now. May the Lord look down in pity on us!

---On this date, Gen. Gillmore near Charleston orders Gen. George Strong and his large brigade of 2,500 men to land on Morris Island.  Strong establishes a strong beachhead at the southern end of the island.

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