Thursday, August 1, 2013

July 21, 1863

July 21, 1863

---Pres. Abraham Lincoln writes to Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, commander of the XI Corps on his disappointment with Meade’s pursuit of Lee:
     Executive Mansion,    My dear General Howard Washington, July 21. 1863.     Your letter of the 18th. is received. I was deeply mortified by the escape of Lee across the Potomac, because the substantial destruction of his army would have ended the war, and because I believed, such destruction was perfectly easy---believed that Gen. Meade and his noble army had expended all the skill, and toil, and blood, up to the ripe harvest, and then let the crop go to waste. Perhaps my mortification was heightened because I had always believed---making my belief a hobby possibly---that the main rebel army going North of the Potomac, could never return, if well attended to; and because I was so greatly flattered in this belief, by the operations at Gettysburg. A few days having passed, I am now profoundly grateful for what was done, without criticism for what was not done. Gen. Meade has my confidence as a brave and skillful officer, and a true man.     Yours very truly    A. LINCOLN 

---Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles writes in his journal about the use of the Navy in the Vicksburg and Yazoo campaigns, rightly identifying the Navy as a key element in these operations:
July 21, Tuesday. A dispatch from General Grant makes mention of large captures of cattle coming east from Texas, and of munitions going south to Kirby Smith. General Sherman is following up Joe Johnston. A dispatch from Admiral Porter says that he, in concert with General Grant, sent an expedition up the Yazoo and that it was a complete success. Grant in his dispatch makes no mention of, or allusion to, the Navy in this expedition, nor of any consultation with Admiral Porter, although without the naval force and naval cooperation nothing could have been accomplished.

---Kate Cumming, a nurse in the Confederate army hospital in Chattanooga, writes in her journal about the mood of restlessness there, and rumors that Bragg is about to abandon the city:

Yesterday Mrs. W. and I visited the soldiers’ grave-yard. That hallowed spot! There reposes the dust of men from every state in the South. There is naught to mark the places where these heroes sleep, save slight mounds of earth; at the head of each is a small piece of wood, numbered. . . . We returned by way of the river. The scenery on its banks is really enchanting.

“Not Katrine, in her mirror blue,
Gives back the shaggy bonks more true,”

than does the Tennessee the lofty and rugged hills that look down upon its placid waters.

We saw many of our men at work on the fortifications; they looked well, and were cheerful. They seemed to have little faith that their work would amount to any thing, and said they would not be at all surprised if by to-morrow they were ordered to evacuate Chattanooga, and that they were only given the work to do for fear they might forget how it was done.

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