Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 24, 1864

February 24, 1864

—Gen. George Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, sends three divisions under Gen. John Palmer south through the mountain passes to make a demonstration against Joseph Johnston’s Army of Tennessee. Several of Palmer’s brigades spar and maneuver in the tangle of hills between Chattanooga and Dalton, and Palmer plans on renewing the engagement tomorrow.


—Alexander G. Downing, of the 11th Iowa, is on the march with the Army of the Tennessee and Sherman in central Mississippi. He details his foraging activities for the day:
Wednesday, 24th—The army left the Hillsborough bivouac over different roads. Our brigade went in advance of the Sixteenth Corps to assist the engineers in laying the pontoons across the Pearl river. This is a good section of the country for forage. We selected twelve men from our entire headquarters’ guard of twenty-eight to go out on forage, and they brought in six hundred pounds of bacon, twenty-five live chickens, one hundred pounds of honey and other articles. Several of us are up tonight cooking the chickens, which with the other things will fill our haversacks. We shall live well now. We are camping on a large plantation.

—Josiah Marshall Favill, a young immigrant from England serving as an officer with the 57th New York Infantry Regiment (and currently detached as a member of the II Corps staff in the Army of the Potomac), writes in his journal of the splendid ball and festivities the Corps gives for the officers of the corps, and all of the general officers and their staffs of the army, including the cavalry:
February 24, 1864. The great ball, reception, and review all came off with the utmost distinction. A special train brought out an immense throng of notables, who in many cases remained over for the review on the 23d and Kilpatrick’s fine cavalry charge. Amongst the distinguished guests were Vice-president Hamlin and his daughter Sarah, a most agreeable young lady; Mrs. Governor Curtin, her daughter, and a bevy of beauties from the state capital. Guests of our headquarters: Mrs. Governor Sprague [nee Kate Chase], radiant in all her glorious beauty, acknowledged to be the handsomest woman in America, and at present the star around which the fashionable world revolves; her husband, Governor Sprague; a large party from the British embassy; Mrs. Chancellor Walworth, of New York; O. A. Brownsen, of Brownsen’s Review; Colonel and Mrs. Carrol; Mrs. Senator Hale and daughters; Senator Wilkinson and party; Mrs. and Judge Miller, of the United States Supreme Court, and hundreds of others, together with every general officer in the army and their staffs. It was a wonderful success without a drawback. The music was furnished by our band and that of the Fourteenth Connecticut, and was delightfully spoken of by all. "Gayly sped the feet and sweetly smiled the lips" of the brave and beautiful and honored of the republic. Swiftly passed the hours of the festal night, and with the matin song of lark and blue bird and the courtesies of parting, the morning light looked in upon a "Banquet Hall deserted."

Miss Alvord was especially in my charge, but everybody danced with everybody else, and I had the distinguished honor of dancing once with the queenly beauty, Mrs. Sprague, and the superb and beautiful Miss Curtin, who was by the way sought after by every one. Nothing could surpass the kindness of the ladies; they were in no wise exclusive, and the youngest lieutenant received as much consideration as the oldest and most conspicuous general. This surprised us most agreeably and completed the enchantment, which will live forever in the memory of those of us who had the honor to belong to the grand army and participate in its festivities.
The following day the entire Second corps and Kilpatrick’s division of cavalry were reviewed in the presence of a great throng of officers and ladies. There were as many as two hundred ladies mounted in the cavalcade, which followed in the retinue of General Meade, the reviewing officer. . . .
Army of the Potomac Winter Ball, Feb 1864 (Harper's Weekly)

No comments:

Post a Comment