Friday, July 5, 2013

June 29, 1863

June  29, 1863

---Siege of Vicksburg, Day 38

---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 33

---Skirmish at Westminster:  Gen. Stuart and his cavalry are now operating due west of Baltimore, and are moving quickly now to effect a rendezvous with Lee.  Stuart senses that he is behind schedule.  His troopers destroy the telegraph line between Washington and the Union army, and ride on.  At Westminster, Maryland, 95 troopers of the 1st Delaware Cavalry are ordered to attack Stuart’s 4,000 plus force.  The sheer shock of the attack, however, throws Stuart’s brigades back on their heels: the Rebels retreat, and finally re-group to charge the tiny force of Yankees.  Fitzhugh Lee’s brigade charges once, twice, and are beaten back by the entrenched Delaware men.  On the third charge, the Federals are overwhelmed, and flee.  The gray riders catch up with them, and capture over 60 of them.  But this action has so delayed Stuart, that he orders a bivouac there overnight. 

Stuart's troopers push on by night.

---Meade orders the I, III, and XI Corps of the Army of the Potomac to march northward, with Gen. John Buford’s cavalry out ahead, and to make for Gettysburg.  Gen. John F. Reynolds of the I Corps is given command of this wing of the army.  Buford’s troopers skirmish this evening with the 52nd North Carolina Infantry, near Gettysburg.  The II, V, VI, and XII corps take other routes.

---Gen. Ewell makes plans for the men of his corps to attack Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania state capital, but orders from General Lee order him to re-join the rest of the army near Gettysburg.
Newspaper broadside about the Rebel invasion
---Elias Brady, of the 86th Indiana Infantry, writes home to his wife Martha, telling of the Army of the Cumberland’s operations near Murfreesboro, after they took 700 prisoners---and how, after an argument with a prisoner, he was ready to fight him:

I had a long talk with some of them some of them is very saucy and others ar tired of the war one man told me that they would fight us as long as they could find a corn to eat I asked him what they would do when we drove them out of Tennessee he said we hadent drove them out yet I told him that we would drive them out befor this battle is over he was very saucy we had it prety rough for a while the guard came along and made me stand back if I had a daired I would a went for his meat house. . . .

Brady then writes of the reasons, in his opinion, that the war is still going on, and the invasion of “Pencilvany”---and his loneliness:

Mat it is no use to grieve and fret it dont mend the mater but I would give all I expect to be worth if I could be at home injoying my self like I was a year ago there is but little time passes over but what I am thinking of and lonely Some of the boys injoy them selves here but I would rather be at home I could content my self better if they war trying to end the war but it is a speculating scheme our leading men ar making money and they dont try to stop the war their is men enough in the North to crush this rebellion in a short time why dont they bring them out I understand that the rebels ar in vading pencilvany I don’t cimpathise one bit with them if they would burn evry thing in the state it would be a good thing if as large a state as pencilvany cant protect her self she aught to suffer mabe this rade will open some of their eyes I think it will be a help to the union. . . . I whant you to write often I would like to get a letter evry mail if I could but that is out of the question  we get a daily mail here cant get a letter evry male I whant to get a letter evry third mail any way  write soon  good bye  

from your ever affectionate Husband
E Brady  

write soon Mat
Brady Loney Brady

---Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, of the 11th Iowa, is part of the Federal forces under Grant laying siege to Vicksburg.  He writes in his journal concerning the siege and a soldier’s daily life:

Monday, 29th—Fighting is still going on and our guns around Vicksburg seem to be making a new onslaught today. Our men blew up another rebel fort, but did not attempt to rush in, since the guns from the other forts are so arranged as to defend any other point along the fortifications. Everything on the outer lines has been quiet. I came in from picket this morning. The boys of my company are all in fine spirits, and although the blackberries are getting scarce, peaches and apples, which are plentiful around here, will soon be ripe.

---Horatio Nelson Taft, a clerk in Washington, writes in his diary of the palpable anxiety in the city and of the impending battle:

Monday June 29th 1863
The very atmosphere has been full of rumors today in reference to the movements of the rebels in P.a. & Maryland. Yesterday they captured a large wagon train (170 Six Mule Teams) within Ten Miles of this City. The train was on its way To Frederick M.D. The Rebels are probably in Harrisburg by tonight. A people which will refuse to turn out en mass to repel the invader deserves to have its capitol taken, and their Country laid waste. If nothing Else will “wake up” the inhabitants I hope that fire and plunder will. Genl Hooker has been superceded and Genl Meade is now in command of the “Army of the Potomac.” It is said today that Mr Stanton has been superceded as Sec’y of War by B. F. Butler. I hope it is so. This morning a Squad of Rebels came within six miles of Washington and came near capturing P M Genl Blair as he was coming to the City from his Country residence. They got his horse, which he was riding, he escaped in the woods. A Negro Regt (one thousand Strong) passed through the Av’e yesterday. I never saw a new Regt march better. We are expecting that communication will be cut off (with Baltimore) by tomorrow morning.

---Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle of the Royal Army writes in his journal of the good discipline in Lee’s troops to prevent plundering:

29th June (Monday).—We are still at Chambersburg. Lee has issued a remarkably good order on non-retaliation, which is generally well received; but I have heard of complaints from fire-eaters, who want vengeance for their wrongs; and when one considers the numbers of officers and soldiers with this army who have been totally ruined by the devastations of Northern troops, one cannot be much surprised at this feeling.

I went into Chambersburg again, and witnessed the singularly good behaviour of the troops towards the citizens. I heard soldiers saying to one another, that they did not like being in a town in which they were very naturally detested. To any one who has seen as I have the ravages of the Northern troops in Southern towns, this forbearance seems most commendable and surprising. Yet these Pennsylvanian Dutch don’t seem the least thankful, and really appear to be unaware that their own troops have been for two years treating Southern towns with ten times more harshness. They are the most unpatriotic people I ever saw, and openly state that they don’t care which side wins provided they are left alone. They abuse Lincoln tremendously.

Of course, in such a large army as this there must be many instances of bad characters, who are always ready to plunder and pillage whenever they can do so without being caught: the stragglers, also, who remain behind when the army has left, will doubtless do much harm.

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