Saturday, January 4, 2014

November 30, 1863

November 30, 1863

---General Braxton Bragg receives a telegram informing him that he is indeed relieved of duty of the Army of Tennessee, as per his own request.

---Mine Run, Virginia: As Gen. G.K. Warren leads the II Corps and several divisions of the III Corps into his assault, he find the Confederate lines much improved and strengthened, and calls off the attack.  As he stands down, so does Gen. Sedgwick, and they both persuade Meade to cancel the offensive---which he does.

---Mary Boykin Chestnut makes some remarks upon the war, the gloom pervading Richmond society, and upon the adverse fortunes of the Confederate cause at this time:

I gave a party; Mrs. Davis very witty; Preston girls very handsome; Isabella’s fun fast and furious. No party could have gone off more successfully, but my husband decides we are to have no more festivities. This is not the time or the place for such gaieties. . . .

Mr. Venable, of Lee’s staff, was at our party, so out of spirits. He knows everything that is going on. His depression bodes us no good. To-day, General Hampton sent James Chesnut a fine saddle that he had captured from the Yankees in battle array. . . .

My husband says he hopes I will be contented because he came here this winter to please me. If I could have been satisfied at home he would have resigned his aide-de-camp-ship and gone into some service in South Carolina. I am a good excuse, if good for nothing else.

Old tempestuous Keitt breakfasted with us yesterday. I wish I could remember half the brilliant things he said. My husband has now gone with him to the War Office. Colonel Keitt thinks it is time he was promoted. He wants to be a brigadier.

Now, Charleston is bombarded night and day. It fairly makes me dizzy to think of that everlasting racket they are beating about people’s ears down there. Bragg defeated, and separated from Longstreet. It is a long street that knows no turning, and Rosecrans is not taken after all.

November 30th.—Anxiety pervades. Lee is fighting Meade. Misery is everywhere. Bragg is falling back before Grant. Longstreet, the soldiers call him Peter the Slow, is settling down before Knoxville.

General Lee requires us to answer every letter, said Mr. Venable, and to do our best to console the poor creatures whose husbands and sons are fighting the battles of the country.

---James A. Graham, a North Carolina soldier serving in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, writes home to his mother from the battlefield of the fighting so far in the Mine Run Campaign:

Nov 30th 1863

My dear Mother,

I have no doubt that you have heard long before this that we were fighting and, as I have an opportunity to send a letter, I will write to let you know what is going on.  We left camp before day Friday morning and marched till about 12 o’clock when we came to where our Cavalry had engaged the yankees.  Walker’s Brigade of our division was ordered to the front as skirmishers and our Brigade, Kirkland’s and Davis’ held as their support.  We were shelled pretty severely that evening and had several killed and wounded in our Reg’t. Nobody hurt in my company. Wilcox’s division relieved us that night and we have since been held in reserve.  On Saturday and Sunday there was no fighting at all and only a little artillery firing and skirmishing today.  I expect the big battle will come off tomorrow.  We have a very good position about half a mile in rear of our ad-vanced line and I think there was a great probability that we will not be needed in the front and I certainly hope so.

If we do have to go into it I hope that I may come out as well as I have done heretofore.  I shall do my duty at any rate.

I saw brother Joe yesterday evening.  He has gotten well.  His battery is on the left of Anderson’s division in the front.

I have not time to write more – I will write again as soon as the fight is over or as soon as I get another chance.

Praying that I may come out unhurt and that God will spare me to return home again I remain

Your affectionate son

James A. Graham

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