Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 3, 1864

January 3, 1864

---Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant leaves Knoxville to check on the delay in Gen. Foster’s intended offensive against Longstreet.  While inspecting the troops in the field, he finds an army in rags and in want of basic necessities, lacking any winter clothing and adequate rations.  Forage is so scarce as to threaten the lives of nearly all of the army’s draft animals.  Grant asks Thomas, in Chattanooga, to forward as many supplies as can be spared from the Army of the Cumberland. 

---Sergeant Alexander Downing, of the 11th Iowa Infantry Regiment, writes in his journal about re-enlistment, and of the ongoing quest to get Union soldiers to do so, lest the armies melt away as the enlistment terms expire during this winter and spring:

Sunday, 3d—It cleared off this morning and it got quite cool. I was at my post this morning, standing in water a foot deep. When our relief came they had to go back almost to town before they could cross the swollen creek to reach our post. The “Veteran” excitement was raging when we got back to camp. This afternoon we had a meeting of our regiment, when Major Foster made a speech on the subject of re-enlisting, and I re-enlisted. A large number in our brigade and throughout the Seventeenth Army Corps have re-enlisted. Abraham Brown of our company died yesterday, here in the Vicksburg hospital. He was a good man.

---In Richmond, Mrs. Judith White McGuire, apparently upon entering into volunteer nursing duties, writes in her journal of the sad and scarred women she is able to gather to assist her, in the wartime capital:

January 3.—Entered on the duties of my office on the 30th of December. So far I like it well. “The Major” is very kind, and considerate of our comfort; the duties of the office are not very onerous, but rather confining for one who left school thirty-four years ago, and has had no restraint of the kind during the interim. The ladies, thirty-five in number, are of all ages, and representing various parts of Virginia, also Maryland and Louisiana. Many of them are refugees. It is melancholy to see how many wear mourning for brothers or other relatives, the victims of war. One sad young girl sits near me, whose two brothers have fallen on the field, but she is too poor to buy mourning. I found many acquaintances, and when I learned the history of others, it was often that of fallen fortunes and destroyed homes. One young lady, of high-sounding Maryland name, was banished from Baltimore, because of her zeal in going to the assistance of our Gettysburg wounded. The society is pleasant, and we hope to get along very agreeably. I am now obliged to visit the hospital in the afternoon, and I give it two evenings in the week. It is a cross to me not to be able to give it more time; but we have very few patients just now, so that it makes very little difference.

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