Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 4, 1864

January 4, 1864

---Fort Sumner, New Mexico:  U.S. troops under Gen. Carleton’s command engage in a substantial fight with Navajo warriors and rout them, killing about 40 and wounding 25.

---The Confederate Congress issues resolutions today to give official thanks from both houses to General Robert E. Lee for his gallant performance and victories since he took command of the Army of Northern Virginia.

---Mary Boykin Chestnut records in her diary of her husband’s report of North Carolina’s bid to have representatives treat with the U.S.:

My husband came in and nearly killed us. He brought this piece of news: "North Carolina wants to offer terms of peace!" We needed only a break of that kind to finish us. I really shivered nervously, as one does when the first handful of earth comes rattling down on the coffin in the grave of one we cared for more than all who are left.

Although Gov. Vance of North Carolina is starting negotiations mostly for appearance’s sake—so that other nations will see that the Confederacy’s desire for peace is genuine—there is much talk this winter about the fading fortunes of the C.S.A.

---Oliver Wilcox Norton, formerly of the 83rd Pennsylvania Vol. Inf., and now an officer with the 8th United States Colored Troops, notes in his journal of the effect of a crack regiment of negroes encamped in a loyal state where slavery is still legal, as Delaware is at this time:

Sunday morning I got my tents up from the cars and we pitched a camp in one of the most beautiful pine groves I ever saw. Our camp was thronged with visitors, and darkies who wanted to enlist. There are hundreds of them, mostly slaves, here now, anxiously waiting for the recruiting officer. The boys are singing— Rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,Shouting the battle cry of freedom.Down with the traitor, up with the star, etc. They sing with the heart, and the earnestness they put into the words is startling. Cool as I am I found myself getting excited as I heard their songs this afternoon and saw the electrifying effect on the crowds of slaves.

---An editorial in a Richmond newspaper gives an account of the worsening manpower shortage in the Confederate army:

A gentleman who has travelled of late extensively in the Confederacy informs us that he has met everywhere a vast number of soldiers — as large a number, he thinks, as there are in camp — who are now absent from their duty. This agrees with the reports we receive from every quarter, and which are confirmed by the declaration of the Secretary of War, that the larger part of the army are absent from their posts. A friend of ours met lately with fifteen able-bodied gentlemen in one group who had managed to obtain trifling contracts, or be detailed, or obtain some other pretext for escaping their duties in the field. In some of the counties of Virginia we hear that service in the ranks is looked upon as disreputable, and that the man is considered green who cannot keep his sons or pets out of the army. In other quarters we hear of the enrolling officer permitting everybody to pass. These absentees, be it remembered, are all within the ages prescribed by the conscript law, and, if brought back to their duties, would make the forces of the Confederacy more than sufficient to cope with the enemy. . . .

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