Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 13, 1863

August 13, 1863

---George Templeton Strong, of New York City, ponders in his journal the irony of the immigrant Irish in the city opposing the war and the Negro, who has been badly treated in America, supporting it.  It is interesting to note that his use of the “N” word does not seem to carry with it the disdain that the word usually signifies:

Nigger recruiting prospers.  Rumors of a Corps d’Afrique to be raised here.  Why not?  Paddy, the asylum-burner, would swear at the dam Naygurs, but we need bayonets in Negro hands if Paddy is unwilling to fight for the country that receives and betters him in his poverty and transmutes him into an alderman and a wealthy citizen.  If he back out, let us accept, with contrition and humiliation, the services of this despised  and rejected race, and be thankful that it is willing to enlist in the cause of a nation from which it has received only contumely and persecution.

---In Arkansas, Gen. Sterling Price, now the ranking field commander for the Confederacy in that state, announces his intention to launch a campaign that would sweep the Yankees from Arkansas and invade up into Missouri.  Gen. Frederick Steele, the Union commander of troops along the White River, east of Little Rock, plans a counteroffensive, until the Federals learn that Price is more brag than bite.  Desertion has been plaguing the Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi area, especially since the fall of Vicksburg has cut them off from the eastern states.  Gov. Flannagan of Arkansas puts out a call to all able-bodied men to report for military service, hardly anyone heeds the call.  Steele advances his troops from Helena, and Rebel bases at Jacksonport and Clarendon are abandoned without anyone firing a shot.  Steele stops at the White River, content that Price is not, in fact, launching an invasion with his skeleton crew.

---On this date, three Union gunboats---the Lexington, Cricket, and Mariner, ascend the White River in Arkansas, and take the Rebel gunboats Tom Suggs and Kaskaskia, as well as destroying some mills and a bridge.

---Oliver Willcox Norton, of the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry, writes home and relates a humorous incident about the commander of his brigade:

Beverly Ford, Va., Thursday, August 13, 1863.
Dear Mother:—

I received your letter of the 5th night before last. Yesterday it was so hot that I could not write or do anything else but lie in the shade and sweat. I don’t know where the mercury stood, but I think it must have been above 100. It was as hot as any day we had on the Peninsula except one. Last night we had a furious thunder storm. The ground was completely soaked and I had fun enough this morning to last me a week.

Yesterday Colonel Rice had a large force of men putting up booths or shades of poles and brush over the tents. This morning they all fell down one after another and smashed down the tents. The colonel’s was the first, just about daylight. He came crawling out under the edge sans everything but shirt. He came in such a hurry that he could not keep his perpendicular and went sprawling in the mud. Then Lieutenant Grannis’ tent came down and he came out in the same cool dress like a mouse from a shock of corn.

---Mr. Theodore Wagner, of Charleston, South Carolina, in concern for that besieged city, offers a $100,000.00 reward to stir some enterprise toward sinking the USS New Ironsides, the USS Wabash, or $50,000.00 for “one of the monitors.”

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