Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 3, 1864

February 3, 1864

—Battle of New Bern, N.C.:  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.  But with all of this, he cannot seem to find a way to take New Bern from the 3,500 Yankees within.  The Rebels attack some outlying posts, capturing a small number (about 53 or so) North Carolina Unionist troops, including 22 former Confederates.  Gen. Pickett has these men tried by court-martial and shot.  Union prisoners taken, in total, is near  300.  Pickett decides, after all, that he cannot take New Bern, and orders a retreat back towards Kinston.  Union Victory. 

Losses:         Killed         Wounded        Captured/Missing
U.S.                 13                  26                     364
C.S.           about  300 total

—On this date, Sherman’s two corps (about 27,000 men strong) begin to march east toward Meridian, on a raid in force to clean the Rebels out of eastern Mississippi.  Gen. Leonidas Polk of the Confederate Army awaits him with only 12,000 infantry, plus smaller cavalry commands under S.D. Lee and Nathan B. Forrest. 

—Sarah Morgan, a Rebel young lady living at her Unionist brother’s home in Federal-occupied New Orleans, writes in her journal of the unexpected advent of an old friend, a recently-paroled prisoner:

    Wednesday, February 3d.
    Last night we were thrown into the most violent state of commotion by the unexpected entrance of Captain Bradford. He has been brought here a prisoner, from Asphodel, where he has been ever since the surrender of Port Hudson, and taking advantage of his tri-weekly parole, his first visit was naturally here, as he has no other friends.
    Poor creature, how he must have suffered! The first glance at his altered face where suffering and passion have both left their traces unmistakably since we last met, and the mere sight of his poor lame leg, filled my heart with compassion.

—In New York City, at the Cooper Institute, the famed orator Anna Dickinson gives a speech.  The New York Times prints a column about the event:

    Lecture by Miss Anna Dickenson.
    A crowded audience assembled at the Cooper Institute last evening to listen to the lecture of Miss ANNA E. DICKENSON on the ” Lessons of the Hour,” the same lecture as was delivered in Washington a short time since. The doors were opened at seven o’clock, and a continuous crowd poured into the hall, so that it was nearly filled in a quarter of an hour, and before half-past seven there was no possibility of obtaining an entrance, so that very many who had purchased tickets previously, both to reserved and other s eats, were compelled to leave, causing much dissatisfaction. . . .
    WM. CULLEN B[R]YANT was then nominated as Chairman. He made a few eloquent remarks, closing by saying that, when the Hebrews stood on the opposite shore of the Red Sea, we read that the prophetess of the tribes, the sister of Aaron, poured forth in the presence of the people, an anthem of the Great Deliverer to nations. “He hath triumphed gloriously. The horse and the rider are thrown into the sea!” That was her word for the hour. . . . and it is my office (said the speaker) to present to you to-night a speaker who has her word for the hour. He then introduced Miss DICKINSON to the audience. . . .
    Miss DICKINSON was simply and neatly dressed in black. She came forward with merely a small slip of paper in her hand with the head-notes of her lecture upon it, and referred to it, very seldom. The lecture was nearly the same as that delivered in Washington. At the end of a remark asserting for the utter removal of Slavery, she said: “You can afford to cheer that, for Mr. LINCOLN cheered it at Washington,” a remark which called out great laughter. The last portion of her lecture was made up to a great extent, of allegorical comparisons and illustrations from incidents in the war and in history, in favor of her. In her appeal to young men to enlist, she recited the story of the Roman youth who saved Rome by leaping into the yawning chasm. Miss DICKENSON retired amid applause.

—Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, writes in his journal in Washington about a number of subjects, including Sec. Salmon Chase’s growing ego and thirst for power.  He also writes an interesting assessment of Lincoln’s limitations and focus at this time:

    The President does not conceal the interest he takes, and yet I perceive nothing unfair or intrusive. He is sometimes, but not often, deceived by heartless intriguers who impose upon him. Some appointments have been secured by mischievous men, which would never have been made had he known the facts. In some respects he is a singular man and not fully understood. He has great sagacity and shrewdness, but sometimes his assertion or management is astray. When he relies on his own right intentions and good common sense, he is strongest. So in regard to friends whom he distrusts, and mercenary opponents, in some of whom he confides. A great and almost inexcusable error for a man in his position.

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