Friday, July 5, 2013

June 30, 1863

June 30, 1863

---Siege of Vicksburg, Day 39

---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 34

---The Surgeon General determines that black troops are less susceptible to diseases in the field than white troops:

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 30, 1863.

DEAR Sir: The reports received at this office hare reference so far only to the troops serving in the Department of the Gulf. In that Department it appears that malarious diseases (intermittent, remittent and typhoid fevers, diarrhoea, dysentery, etc.,) affect the white troops to the extent of 10 8-10 per cent., whilst the negro soldiers are affected but to the extent of 8-10 of one per cent. The difference is, therefore, greatly in favor of the colored troops.

Yours sincerely, W.A. HAMMOND. Surgeon-General.

The opposing armies begin to close.
The Gettysburg Campaign

---Elements of the 52nd North Carolina and another Confederate infantry regiment skirmish with Union cavalry of the 3rd Indiana under Buford near Fairfield, just southwest of Gettysburg.  Buford pulls back and changes his route to the Emmitsburg Road, and approaches the town from the south.  Buford is convinced that the Confederates are at Cashtown (which they are) and that they are coming into Gettysburg tomorrow.  He sends a fast message to Gen. Reynolds to come up quickly while Buford holds with his cavalry---only two brigades under Gamble and Devin, and a battery of cannon.  He sends this letter to Gen. Meade:

Headquarters Army of the Potomac,
Gettysburg, June 30, 1863.
     I entered this place to-day at 11 a. m/   Found everybody in a terrible state of excitement on account of the enemy's advance upon this place. He had approached to within half a mile of the town when the head of my column entered. His force was terribly exaggerated by reasonable and truthful but inexperienced men. On pushing him back toward Cashtown, I learned from reliable men that [R. H]. Anderson's division was marching from Chambersburg by Mummasburg, Hunterstown, Abbottstown, on toward York. I have sent parties to the two first-named places, toward Cashtown, and a strong force toward Littlestown. Colonel Gamble has just sent me word that Lee signed a pass for a citizen this morning at Chambersburg. I can't do much just now. My men and horses are fagged out. I have not been able to get any grain yet. It is all in the country, and the people talk instead of working. Facilities for shoeing are nothing. Early's people seized every shoe and nail they could find.
     I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
     General Pleasonton.

---Buford’s troopers encounter Confederate infantry from Gen. Henry Heth’s division of Hill’s Corps, and Buford makes a fatal decision: to hold the ridge lines at Gettysburg until Reynolds and the infantry come up.  In the evening, after the skirmishing, Heth’s men withdraw towards Cashtown.

---Battle of Hanover -- Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s division of Union cavalry dashes north to Hanover, Pennsylvania, due east of Gettysburg.  Treated to a breakfast there by the town, the blue troopers ride north out of town towards York, when Stuart with Chambliss’s brigade attacks the last Yankee regiment in town and surrounds it.  Brig. Gen. Elon Farnsworth wheeled his Federal brigade around and headed back to Hanover to rescue the lone regiment: with a mounted charge, Farnsworth cleared the town of the Rebels, and nearly capturing Stuart himself.  As the Rebels gather reinforcements, Custer’s brigade arrives and with Farnsworth makes a stand against repeated attacks by the Confederates.  The bulk of Stuart’s gray troopers are further down the road, behind the huge captured wagon train, and there is a stalemate in the fight.  Both sides bring in more troops, but Stuart finds himself hemmed in, and he and only some of his staff leap a wide ditch to escape capture.  Having been embarrassed one again (after Brandy Station, Aldie, Upperville, and Middleburg) Stuart is once again stymied, and he has to withdraw and ride around Hanover the long way, thus delaying his reunion with Lee another day.  Kilpatrick loses 215 troops, and Stuart loses about 117, but it is clearly a marginal Union Victory.

Maj. Gen. Jeb Stuart
---Stephen Minot Weld, an officer on Gen. Howard’s staff, Eleventh (XI) Corps in the Army of the Potomac, reveals some of the movements of the Union forces near the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland:

Just after we started I was sent to Taneytown (9 miles from Emmetsburg), to headquarters. I delivered my dispatches to General Meade, and received orders for Generals Howard and Reynolds. Moritz’s Tavern is about 7 miles from Gettysburg, where our cavalry advanced this morning. General Reynolds has command of three corps again, First, Third, and Eleventh. General Sickles resumed command of his corps again to-day. Spent the night at the tavern. Corps marched about 5 miles.

---Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy in Washington, writes in his journal of division and struggle in the U.S. Cabinet, and also offers his opinion of General Halleck’s thinking on the Rebel invasion, revealing a strategic savvy all too rare in Washington:

Lee and his army are well advanced into Pennsylvania, and they should not be permitted to fall back and recross the Potomac. Halleck is bent on driving them back, not on intercepting their retreat; is full of zeal to drive them out of Pennsylvania. I don’t want them to leave the State, except as prisoners. Meade will, I trust, keep closer to them than some others have done. . . . There is no doubt the bridge at Columbia [on the Susquehanna], one and a half miles long, has been burnt, and, it seems, by our own people. The officer who ordered it must have been imbued with Halleck’s tactics. I wish the Rebel army had got across before the bridge was burnt. But Halleck’s prayers and efforts, especially his prayers, are to keep the Rebels back, — drive them back across the “frontiers” instead of intercepting, capturing, and annihilating them. This movement of Lee and the Rebel forces into Pennsylvania is to me incomprehensible, nor do I get any light from military men or others in regard to it. Should they cross the Susquehanna, as our General-in-Chief and Governor Curtin fear, they will never recross it without being first captured. This they know, unless deceived by their sympathizing friends in the North, as in 1861; therefore I do not believe they will attempt it.

---Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle, of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards, a visiting observer, writes in his diary of his first meeting with General Lee:

30th June (Tuesday).—This morning, before marching from Chambersburg, General Longstreet introduced me to the Commander-in-Chief. General Lee is, almost without exception, the handsomest man of his age I ever saw. He is fifty-six years old, tall, broad-shouldered, very well made, well set up—a thorough soldier in appearance; and his manners are most courteous and full of dignity. He is a perfect gentleman in every respect. I imagine no man has so few enemies, or is so universally esteemed. Throughout the South, all agree in pronouncing him to be as near perfection as a man can be. He has none of the small vices, such as smoking, drinking, chewing, or swearing, and his bitterest enemy never accused him of any of the greater ones. He generally wears a well-worn long grey jacket, a high black felt hat, and blue trousers tucked into his Wellington boots. I never saw him carry arms; and the only mark of his military rank are the three stars on his collar. He rides a handsome horse, which is extremely well groomed. He himself is very neat in his dress and person, and in the most arduous marches he always looks smart and clean.

In the old army he was always considered one of its best officers; and at the outbreak of these troubles, he was Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2d cavalry. He was a rich man, but his fine estate was one of the first to fall into the enemy’s hands. I believe he has never slept in a house since he has commanded the Virginian army, and he invariably declines all offers of hospitality, for fear the person offering it may afterwards get into trouble for having sheltered the Rebel General. The relations between him and Longstreet are quite touching—they are almost always together. . . . I believe these two Generals to be as little ambitious and as thoroughly unselfish as any men in the world. Both long for a successful termination of the war, in order that they may retire into obscurity. . . . It is understood that General Lee is a religious man, though not so demonstrative in that respect as Jackson; and, unlike his late brother in arms, he is a member of the Church of England. His only faults, so far as I can learn, arise from his excessive amiability.

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