Saturday, January 4, 2014

November 28, 1863

November 28, 1863

---Battle of Mine Run, Virginia.  Day 2.  As the day dawns, the Federals find a well-designed fortified Rebel line with overlapping fields of fire.  Union artillery begins shelling the Rebel lines, while the blue troops probe for weaknesses.  Meade is reluctant to order what would clearly be a disastrous assault.  

---On this appointed day for attacking the Federal bastion of Fort Sanders in the fortified city of Knoxville, Tennessee, heavy rains slow the Confederate positioning. 

---Gen. John Hunt Morgan, the infamous Rebel raider, escapes from the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus with six of his officers by cutting through the floor and crawling out of the sewer.  The group eventually reaches Toronto, Canada in safety.

---Mary Boykin Chestnut, having returned to Richmond from South Carolina, moves into an apartment there, mentioning in her journal some household business, and then makes some candid remarks about some of her slaves:

Isaac, Molly’s husband, is a servant of ours, the only one my husband ever bought in his life. Isaac’s wife belonged to Rev. Thomas Davis, and Isaac to somebody else. The owner of Isaac was about to go West, and Isaac was distracted. They asked one thousand dollars for him. He is a huge creature, really a magnificent specimen of a colored gentleman. His occupation had been that of a stage-driver. Now, he is a carpenter, or will be some day. He is awfully grateful to us for buying him; is really devoted to his wife and children, though he has a strange way of showing it, for he has a mistress, en titre, as the French say, which fact Molly never failed to grumble about as soon as his back was turned. “Great big good-for-nothing thing come a-whimpering to marster to buy him for his wife’s sake, and all the time he an—” “Oh, Molly, stop that!” said I. . . . Those old gray-haired darkies and their noiseless, automatic service, the result of finished training—one does miss that sort of thing when away from home, where your own servants think for you; they know your ways and your wants; they save you all responsibility even in matters of your own ease and well doing. The butler at Mulberry would be miserable and feel himself a ridiculous failure were I ever forced to ask him for anything.

---Kate Cumming, a Confederate Army nurse, based in northern Georgia, writes in her journal as the wounded from Chattanooga come pouring in:

November 28.—A gloomy day, but still gloomier news. I can not see one gleam of light either on nature’s horizon or the nation’s. Alas! for the fate of our brave army. It has had a battle; and, after fighting desperately, had to retreat leaving the wounded in the enemy’s hands. It is bad enough to be wounded, and with friends; but wounded and a prisoner, how dreadful that must be! May God comfort them, and be their stay in affliction! For once, the sight of the wounded coming in makes me perfectly happy, for I know that they at least are not in the hands of the enemy. The hospital is again filled with the same sad spectacle—men mutilated in every possible way.

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