Friday, August 9, 2013

August 3, 1863

August 3, 1863

---On this date, Pres. Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States issues a blanket pardon and amnesty for any deserted Confederate soldiers who will voluntarily return to their duties, as published in the Richmond Daily Dispatch.  Davis paints a fairly now-standard lurid picture of pillage, destruction, rape by freed slaves, and eventually genocide if the Yankees win:

You know too well, my countrymen, what they mean by success. Their malignant rage aims at nothing less than the extermination of your selves, your wives, and children. They seek to destroy what they cannot plunder. They propose as the spoils of victory that your homes shall be partitioned among the wretches whose atrocious cruelties have stamped infamy on their Government. They design to in site servile insurrection and light the fires of incendiarism whenever they can reach your homes and they debauch the inferior race hitherto docile and contented, by promising indulgence of the vilest passions as the price of treachery. Conscious of their inability to prevail by legitimate warfare not ring [willing] to make peace lest they should be hurled from their seats of power, the men who now rule in Washington refuse even to confer on the subject of putting an end to outrages which disgrace our age, or to listen to suggestion for conducting the war according to the usages of civilization.

He then cuts to the chase, promising that if the deserters simply report back to camp, that the Confederacy will have something close to “numerical equality” with the Yankees---which is quite a statistical stretch, even for Pres. Davis:

Fellow-citizens, no alternative is left you but victory, or subjugation, slavery, and the utter ruin of yourselves, your families, and your country. The victory is within your reach. You need but strai [stretch] forth your hands to grasp it. For this and all that is necessary is that these who are called to the field by every motive that can move the human heart, should promptly repair to the post of duty, should stand by their comrades now in front of the foe and thus so strengthen the armies of the Confederacy as to ensure success. The men now absent from their posts would, if present in the field, suffice to creat[e] numerical equality between our force and that of the invaders — and when with any approach to such equality have we failed to be victorious?
An unidentified Confederate soldier

 ---George Michael Neese of the Confederate artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia writes in his journal of a chance encounter with General Lee:

August 3 — In camp. General R. E. Lee passed our camp to-day; he rode leisurely along the road unaccompanied by any one, and seemed as unconcerned as an old farmer going to his daily toil.

---Kate Cumming, a nurse at a temporary Confederate Army hospital in northern Georgia, writes in her journal of the difficulties in the facility, particularly with the supervising physician and government regulations:

August 3.—I am beginning to think that we shall not be able to remain here, as Dr. A. has proved himself a real Pharaoh—expecting brick without straw. We have many sick, and much to do. Our servants are still sick, and when we ask Dr. A. for more, he tells us the government will not allow him to grant the request.

The poor government is blamed for every thing. I have many a time heard it charged with faults which I thought were owing to subordinate officers. . . . I have never been able to ascertain whether head-quarters meant General Bragg, the surgeon-general, or President Davis. I think sometimes it is only a mythical term, merely used to frighten us. If not, I think it is a pity that those worthies have not something of more importance on which to spend their time. I have often thought that they are surely not aware of the price of paper, or they would be a little more sparing of their dispatches. I wish they would send me a few blank sheets, as I find it difficult to get enough for my private use.

We have no wash-house. When I asked Dr. A. for one, he told me that his grandmother and mother never had any but the canopy of heaven for theirs, and he did not intend having any other in the hospital. I argued the case with him as best I could; I told him that a hospital was not a private house, and it was our duty to do all in our power to promote the health of the attendants as well as the patients; and that whoever washed ought to have a covering of some kind; and the clothing, whether dirty or clean, needed to be covered in case of rain. I found him inexorable.

I feel confident that the doctor has never had charge of a hospital before. . . .

---John Beauchamp Jones, of the Confederate Ward Department, writes in his journal of the discouraging flood of deserters in the Southern army:

Mr. W. H. Locke, living on the James River, at the Cement and Lime Works, writes that more than a thousand deserters from Lee’s army have crossed at that place within the last fortnight. This is awful ; and they are mainly North Carolinians.

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