Thursday, January 16, 2014

December 19, 1863

December 19, 1863

---Gen. Longstreet, in East Tennessee, finds that his troops are nearly out of rations and other supplies.  Although he wants to drive on to Knoxville again, he also realizes that the Yankees he beat at Bean’s Station are backed up the entire IX Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. John Foster (having replaced Burnside).  Longstreet’s men are in condition to mount an offensive against a superior force while lacking tents, shoes, and basic equipment.  His aide, Maj. Moxley Sorrel, says, “It is distressing in the extreme that we should lose so great an opportunity to lift up our poor country, merely for the lack of shoes and clothing for our men.” Longstreet is miffed over the failure of his men to destroy Shackelford’s troopers at Bean’s Station, and so he relieves from division command his long-time subordinate Lafayette McLaws, who is told to go to Georgia to await further orders.  Longstreet also asks for a court-martial for  Brig. Gen. Jerome Robertson, the commander of the Texas Brigade, as well as Evander Law, commander of another brigade. 

The Federals, however, in the same area are also in trouble, lacking basic supplies of most kinds.  Union soldiers take to raiding the homes of loyal Tennesseans and pilfering food.  Foster telegraphs Grant for more supplies.

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