Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 1, 1864

February 1, 1864

—In response to the Administration’s considering promoting Ulysses S. Grant, the U.S. Congress votes to restore the rank of Lieutenant General, which has only been held twice before—by George Washington and by Winfield Scott.  Congress is reluctant to do this, but Rep. Elihu Washburne, Grant’s congressman and patron, shepherds the bill through.

—Lloyd Jenkin Jones, an artilleryman from the 6th Wisconsin Artllery, stationed at Huntsville, Alabama, writes in his journal of the misery of the private soldier in winter camp:
    Huntsville, Monday, Feb. 1. Very heavy rain last night accompanied with strong wind, and my last turn from three to five was very uncomfortable. Cleared off early and we had a fine day. Excused from drill in forenoon. Dress parade and battery drill at 4 P. M. Put us through on quick time, which was wearisome. Broke ranks to eat a supper of sour, clammy bread and coffee, which of course caused dissatisfaction among the boys. Mail arrived, but none for me.

—A colonization scheme for Ile a Vache off the coast of Hispaniola is finally scrapped.  Pres. Lincoln orders a ship to go take the settlers back to the U.S.

Battle of New Bern, N.C.  Because his army was alarming close to running out of supplies, Gen. Lee orders Gen. George Pickett to take his division, reinforced, to New Bern, North Carolina, and attempt to capture the huge warehouses of Federal military stores there.  Gen. Pickett is reported to have his three brigades, under Corse, Kemper, and the late Armistead’s brigade, plus three more brigades under Hoke, Ransom, Clongman, and Barton.  He also has sixteen cannon and a small force of cavalry.  In New Bern is a small Federal force of 3,500 infantry and some artillery under Brig. Gen. Innis Newton Palmer, who believes he can hold the town.  Pickett (who has been put in command of the Department that covers southeastern Virginia and coastal North Carolina) has been busy, and has nearly 13,000 men, and 14 ships.  Confederate troops under Brig. Gen. Seth Barton approach the outskirts of New Bern, North Carolina from the southwest and drive in the Union pickets.  Two other Confederate columns approach from different directions.  But Barton hesitates to attack because he believes the Union forces within are greatly superior to his.  He writes to Gen. Pickett with his concerns.  Gen. Hoke, who is with Pickett north of the town, pushes forward to Bachelor Creek, driving off the Federal force there, and closing up on the north bank of the Neuse River, above the city of New Bern.  However, the Federal artillery is shelling Barton, south of town, and Barton believe the fortifications held by the Yankees are much too strong to attack, and he does not push his advance.  
Brig. Gen. Seth Barton, CSA

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