December 13, 1863
---Gen. James Longstreet, now the de facto commander of the Department of Eastern Tennessee, considers taking offensive. Having learned that Sherman and his force had returned to Chattanooga, Longstreet considers it possible to mount an operation against the Federals in East Tennessee, even though the Federals outnumber his forces. The Confederates are at Rogersville, and Longstreet’s plan is to strike a small Yankee force—some cavalry under the command of Brig. Gen. Shackelford--at an important crossroads at Bean’s Station, just 28 miles southwest of Rogersville. In spite of heavy rains that turn the roads into mud again, Longstreet puts his men (whose shoes have worn out) on the road. A Rebel cavalry probe with a brigade of infantry moves to with three miles of Bean’s Station, but Shackelford believes it to be only cavalry, as his men skirmish with the Rebel troopers.
---The New York Times publishes an editorial offering some thoughtful speculation upon the subject of imminent Union victory:
OUR PROSPECTS FOR PEACE AND REUNION.
After every grand defeat of the rebel army the Northern public turn their anxious gaze southward, to see if they cannot discern some promising sign of rebel repentance, some desire on their part to give up the wretched job they have undertaken — some symptom of their returning and suing for their “rights,” in another manner and in another direction from those in which they have so long been hopelessly pursuing them. We have looked always in vain. Not after Antietam or Gettysburgh — not after Vicksburgh or Chattanooga — not since the shutting up of the whole coast of the Confederacy, or its rending in twain by the opening of the Mississippi, or the piercing of its vitals at Knoxville — not though they have been floored again and again, and been driven back until they now fight in a corner, with their ramshackle edifice tumbling about their ears, — have we had any hopeful indication that the Confederates were prepared even to listen to proffers of peace. The rebels swore they would fight to the last ditch, and it looks as if, at least, some of them meant to carry out their threat. Chattanooga was the key of the last ditch, but still they show fight.
---John Beauchamps Jones, a clerk in the Confederate War Department, adds some gloomy reflections on the failing Confederate currency, in his journal:
DECEMBER 13D.—Rained last night—and this morning we have warm April weather and bright sunshine.
It is getting to be the general belief among men capable of reflection, that no jugglery can save the Confederate States currency. As well might one lift himself from the earth by seizing his feet, as to legislate a remedy. Whatever scheme may be devised to increase the value of the Confederate States paper money, the obligor is the same. For the redemption of the currency (now worth about five cents in specie to the dollar), every citizen, and every description of property, has been pledged; and as the same citizens and the same property must be pledged for the redemption of any newly created currency, there is no reason to suppose it would not likewise run the same career of depreciation. Nor can bonds be worth more than notes. Success in the field, only, can appreciate either; for none will or can be paid, if we fail to achieve independence.