Thursday, August 1, 2013

July 24, 1863

July 24, 1863

---Morgan’s Raiders pass through Washington, Ohio, pursued by Union troops under Gen. Shackleford, with Gen. Lew Wallace moving to block possible crossings over the Ohio River.  Morgan moves on toward Cadiz and---it appears---Steubenville.

Morgan Raids Washington, Ohio
courtesy of Harper's Weekly
---Battle of Big Mound, Dakota Territory -- Brig. Gen. Henry Hastings Sibley, with a force of over 2,000 Federal troops, advances from Minnesota into what is now centeral North Dakota, to confront Chief Standing Buffalo and about 1,500 warriors of a coalition of the Santee (or Eastern), Yankton, Yantonai, and Teton Sioux (Lakota).  Also present is Inkpaduta, chief of the Santee, who bears implacable hatred of the whites.  Sibley finds the encampment after a long march, and asks for peace talks.  Fighting breaks out before this can happen, however, between warriors of Inkpaduta and the Sioux scouts with Sibley; and the Mounted Rangers then pursue the fleeing Indians, while Sibley's infantry destroy the Sioux supplies and equipment.  

---On this date, Gen. Henry Halleck writes to Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, commander of the Army of the Cumberland, whose inaction since the Battle of Stones River has prompted Halleck to be frank with Rosecrans’ precarious position:

Washington, D. C., July 24, 1863.
Major-General ROSECRANS, Nashville:
     GENERAL: The tone of some of your replies to my dispatches lately would indicate that you thought I was unnecessarily urging you forward. On the contrary, I have deemed it absolutely necessary, not only for the country but also for your own reputation, that your army should remain no longer inactive. The patience of the authorities here has been completely exhausted, and if I had not repeatedly promised to urge you forward, and begged for delay, you would have been removed from the command. It has been said that you are as inactive as was General Buell, and the pressure for your removal has been almost as strong as it has been in his case. I am well aware that people at a distance do not appreciate the obstacles and difficulties which they would see if nearer by; but, whether well founded or without any foundation at all, the dissatisfaction really exists, and I deem it my duty, as a friend, to represent it to you truly and fairly; and I think I ought to do so, if for no other reason, because it was at my earnest solicitations that you were given the command.
     Yours, truly,

    H. W. HALLECK,

---Edmund Strother Dargan, a representative from Alabama in the Confederate Congress, writes this heart-felt letter to Sec. of War James A Seddon, expressing his view that the abolition of slavery be offered to Britain and France in exchange for their intervention, since he sees no chance of victory otherwise:

     MOBILE, July 24, 1863.

    DEAR SEDDON: The disastrous movement of Lee into Pennsylvania and the fall of Vicksburg, the latter especially, will end in the ruin of the South without foreign aid in some shape. Mississippi is very nearly subdued and Alabama is nearly exhausted. By winter both States will be overrun. The policy of Grant burning and destroying all before him calculated to support life will end in starvation, and at an early day. We are without doubt gone up; no help can be had. I have ever believed that England and France would interfere to make the separation complete on condition that slavery was abolished; not without. If we are overrun, slavery will be abolished and we ourselves destroyed. Now, I greatly prefer the former to the latter condition. So would the country. It may be that England and France will not interfere on any terms, but all as yet do not know that. It may be that they will. All efforts ought to be made to ward off the disastrous fate that will follow their success over us, and it is high time this effort was made, for I assure you that the loss of the Mississippi River, separating us entirely from the West; their immense army, with power now to increase it, owing to their success, to any amount, while ours is not only diminished but poorly fed, will end in our overthrow. The failure of the Government to re-enforce Vicksburg, but allowing the strength and flower of our Army to go North when there could be but one fate attending them, has so broken down the hopes of our people that even the little strength yet remaining can only be exerted in despair, and a slight change in the policy of Lincoln would end our revolution and hopes. If anything can be done on any terms in Europe, delay not the effort. If nothing can be, God only knows what is left for us. I write you this from no other reason than to exhibit to you the true condition of things here. I would not have you to speak of this to any one except the President. You may show it to him if you think proper.

    Yours, truly,

    E.S. DARGAN.

---Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, his corps spread along the west bank of the Big Black River in Mississippi and taking their ease after the arduous labors of the Vicksburg siege, brings his family down from Ohio to stay with him.  In an unusually sunny mood, the general writes in his journal of a visit from some Confederate cavalry officers who are delivering under a flag of truce a dispatch from their government to General Grant:

One day a flag of truce, borne by a Captain B...., of Louisville, Kentucky, escorted by about twenty-five men, was reported at Messinger's Ferry, and I sent orders to let them come right into my tent. This brought them through the camps of the Fourth Division, and part of the Second; and as they drew up in front of my tent, I invited Captain B.... and another officer with him (a major from Mobile) to dismount, to enter my tent, and to make themselves at home. Their escort was sent to join mine, with orders to furnish them forage and every thing they wanted. B.... had brought a sealed letter for General Grant at Vicksburg, which was dispatched to him. In the evening we had a good supper, with wine and cigars, and, as we sat talking, B.... spoke of his father and mother, in Louisville, got leave to write them a long letter without its being read by any one, and then we talked about the war. He said: "What is the use of your persevering? It is simply impossible to subdue eight millions of people;" asserting that "the feeling in the South had become so embittered that a reconciliation was impossible." I answered that, "sitting as we then were, we appeared very comfortable, and surely there was no trouble in our becoming friends." "Yes," said he, "that is very true of us, but we are gentlemen of education, and can easily adapt ourselves to any condition of things; but this would not apply equally well to the common people, or to the common soldiers." I took him out to the camp-fires behind the tent, and there were the men of his escort and mine mingled together, drinking their coffee, and happy as soldiers always seem. I asked B.... what he thought of that, and he admitted that I had the best of the argument. Before I dismissed this flag of truce, his companion consulted me confidentially as to what disposition he ought to make of his family, then in Mobile, and I frankly gave him the best advice I could.

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