Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 10, 1863

September 10, 1863

---Battle of Bayou Fourche / Little Rock – During the night, Federal troops are able to build a pontoon bridge across the Arkansas River downstream from Little Rock, and the Rebels move artillery there to contest the crossing.  The Union artillery proves superior, and sweeps the field.  Infantry well-placed by Gen. Davidson also keep the Rebels at bay.  The Union men cross, and deploy.  Gen. Price has a total of 7,000 to face Gen. Steele’s 12,000 men, about 6,000 infantry under Steele himself and 6,000 cavalry under Davidson.  The Federals deploy in a strong line with their right flank anchored on the river, and facing north.  The Rebels under Marmaduke attack and prevail for a while, but counterattacks by Steele’s forces drive them steadily back on Little Rock.  Price evacuates Little Rock, and Steele’s Federals occupy the city.

---Battle of Davis Cross Roads (Dug Gap), Georgia:  Gen. James Negley and his Federal division from Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland moves up into Dug Gap to test the Rebel presence there.  Gen. Thomas Hindman skirmishes with Negley, with Patrick Cleburne’s division in support.  The Rebels wait for additional reinforcements.

---Mary Boykin Chestnut, of South Carolina, is witness to Longstreet’s troops who are now en route to join Bragg in Georgia, and her reflections on their fate:

At Kingsville I caught a glimpse of our army. Longstreet’s corps was going West. God bless the gallant fellows! Not one man was intoxicated; not one rude word did I hear. It was a strange sight—one part of it. There were miles, apparently, of platform cars, soldiers rolled in their blankets, lying in rows, heads all covered, fast asleep. In their gray blankets, packed in regular order, they looked like swathed mummies. One man near where I sat was writing on his knee. He used his cap for a desk and he was seated on a rail. I watched him, wondering to whom that letter was to go—home, no doubt. Sore hearts for him there.

A feeling of awful depression laid hold of me. All these fine fellows were going to kill or be killed. Why? And a phrase got to beating about my head like an old song,”The Unreturning Brave.” When a knot of boyish, laughing, young creatures passed me, a queer thrill of sympathy shook me. Ah, I know how your home-folks feel, poor children!

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