Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 14, 1863

September 14, 1863
Chickamauga Campaign:  Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, commanding one of Rosecrans’ corps, is near Lee and Gordon Mills, in the Chickamauga Valley.  This letter of his to Rosecrans’ HQ reveals Crittenden’s nearly complete lack of information on the whereabouts of the Confederates, and his lack of awareness how vulnerable he is, not being in touch with any other corps of the army.  One blog speculates that the reason he “feels” no enemy in front of him is that Bragg is holding back until Longstreet’s divisions from Lee’s army can join him, before he will strike:

    HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS, Gordon's Mills, September 14, 1863-12.30 p. m.
    Brigadier General J. A. GARFIELD:
         I have this moment returned from the front. I am confident that there is no considerable force of infantry near me at this time. My reconnaissance to the front proves that there is none in that direction as far out as 5 miles. The firing which Oldershaw thought was from Wilder's, was from Van Cleve's front, mostly from two rebel guns. Van Cleve has not reported, but I am satisfied they are not about to attack me here to-day. Indeed, I think I can whip them if they do-all of them. We are, I think, in a position that they can turn, but I also think they dare not pass me. If they should I can join General Thomas, or rather he can join me, and our army get together here or at La Fayette. But this is mere speculation. I don't think they will come.
         As there is no force of ours at Ringgold, had you not better order Minty, if he is near you, to leave some force at Rossville? I am afraid cavalry may come in from toward Ringgold, and cut off my communication. I will send you dispatch as soon as I get detailed report from my different reconnaissances.
          Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

          T. L. CRITTENDEN,
          Major-General, Commanding.

—The New York Times reports on the new laws concerning the military draft, and the responsibilities of the drafted man:

    It has been decided that, under the thirteenth section of the Enrollment act, a party drafted, and wishing to furnish a substitute, or pay commutation, must do so on or before the day fixed for his appearance. The privilege expires with that day. If he fails to report, and is arrested as a deserter, he has a right to go before the Board of Eurollment, and prove that he is not liable to do military duty. If held to be liable, he cannot escape personal service. Also, under such circumstances, he is subject to be proceeded against as a deserter. …

—William H. Battle, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, writes to his son abouit the death of another son in the army:

    Chapel Hill
    Sept. 14th 1863
    My Dear Kemp I received your letter yesterday morning. It brought the pleasing intelligence that Patty and the children had borne the ride well, and that Raleigh was once more quiet. Along with your letter came another of a very different import. The letter came to your mother by flag of truce, and brought the heartrending news that another one of my children had fallen victim to this cruel war. You can well imagine what a terrible blow it is to us all. Your mother is nearly heartbroken, but she will bear it like a Christian as she is. Time and the consolation of religion will, I trust and believe, soften while it sanctifies the affliction, but the bright smile which in your childhood, you so often see on her face, will, I fear, never be seen there again. I send you a full copy of the letter as I know every word will be deeply interesting to you. We do not know the writer, but his letter bespeaks him a good Christian. We shall ask Mrs. Spencer to write a suitable obituary. She loved Lewis and no doubt will do justice to the subject. 
        Mr. W.H. Battle

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