Monday, January 27, 2014

January 22, 1864

January 22, 1864

---George Templeton Strong of New York City writes in his journal concerning the weakening of the rebellion, and the plight of Union soldiers in East Tennessee, where lack of supplies has put them into a desperate situation.  Strong is a leading member of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and this is more than a personal concern:

Conscription [in the South] will be vigorously pushed, and there will be a desperate convulsive effort to overwhelm us at some weak point—probably in East Tennessee, where Longstreet seems offering battle already.  A Captain Leggett . . . is just from Knoxville and says our men there and at Chattanooga are in most fearful destitution on much less than half rations and with no hospital supplies at all. . . .  We have been straining hard to get supplies forward, but transportation cannot be had in any way or on any terms.  Wagon trains are impracticable over the mountain roads, and the one line of single-track railroad on which Grant’s army depends in unequal to the movement of ordnance stores alone.  The road is worn out.  Trains traverse it at the rate of five miles an hour and run off the track on an average twice a day.  The country is stripped, and its loyal population is perishing for want of food.  What immeasurable misery this causeless rebellion has brought on our people!

Thank God, the signs of reaction and reorganization grow stronger every day. . . . Barring military disaster, we may expect to see Free State governments established in Arkansas and Louisiana before next May. . . .

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