Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 22, 1864

April 22, 1864

---Red River, Louisiana: Skirmishing throughout the day spells trouble for the retreating Federals in Banks’ Red River expeditionary force, as the army slogs on downriver towards Alexandria. Gen. Banks, the Federal commander, had planned on an orderly retreat from Grand Ecore and Natchitoches, but Gen. Taylor and his Rebels were hot on the pursuit. Banks orders a warehouse of supplies put to the torch, and the fire spreads to the rest of Grand Ecore. Taylor has been relieved of most of his infantry by Gen. Kirby-Smith, who was directing the pursuit of Gen. Steele’s Federals in Arkansas, and so Taylor is pursuing Banks with mostly two understrength division of cavalry. The smoke of the fleeing Yankees leads Taylor to believe he has an opportunity: he might be able to trap the Federals as they try to cross the Cane River crossings---a tall order, considering that Banks had nearly 30,000, and Taylor only had 5,500. With Gen. John Wharton’s cavalry nipped at his rear guard, and Gen. Hamilton Bee’s cavalry harassing his advance, Banks’ strung-out column makes poor time. At Monett’s Ferry on the Cane River, Bee’s Rebels dig in on the bluffs above the crossing.


---Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, commander of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac, receives orders to ready his command for immediate marching orders.


---The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes an editorial on the new Yankee Chief, Ulysses S. Grant, and hopefully dismisses him as a negligible commodity:
Gen. Grant.
–Among military men at the North Grant is not regarded as a genius. The new Fremont organ in New York, the New Nation, devotes a considerable space in every issue to a denunciation of the policy which has placed the whole military operations of the Federals in the control of a "second-rate General." One General Cluseret, an old French army officer, now in the Federal service, writes a series of articles to this paper on Grant. He shows that Grant blundered for months over an unnecessary canal, opposite Vicksburg, wasting thousands of lives thereby, and abandoning the project eventually; that the victory at Chattanooga was due to the previous disposition of the Federal troops by General Rosecrans, and that General Buell really commanded at Shiloh. General Cluseret pronounces Rosecrans the only eminent military genius in the Federal army. Just now Rosecrans is on the retired list for his Chickamauga disaster.

---The Richmond Daily Dispatch also publishes an editorial about the Confederate capture of Dr. Mary Walker, the first female licensed physician (and an Army assistant surgeon) in the United States:
–Dr. Mary E Walker, Assistant Surgeon in the Yankee army of Tennessee, captured a few days ago near Tunnel Hill, was received in this city last evening, and was committed to the female department of Castle Thunder. She was dressed in male attire, except a Gipsey hat, and wore a handsome black Talma. As she passed down the streets to the Castle in charge of a detective the odd figure she cut attracted a great crowd of negroes and boys, who beset her path to such a degree as much to obstruct her progress. She was very indignant at having been taken prisoner, protesting that at the time of her capture she was on neutral ground.

In answer to this, Dr. Walker herself writes to the Daily Dispatch herself, correcting their error vis a vis her dress:
Castle Thunder, Richmond, April 21st, 1864.
Editor of Richmond Dispatch:

–Will you please correct the statement you made in this morning’s Dispatch, in regard to my being "dressed in male attire." As such is not the case simple justice demands a correction.

I am attired in what is usually called the "bloomer" or "reform dress, " which is similar to other ladies’, with the exception of its being shorter and more physiological than long dresses.

Yours, etc., etc.,
Mary E. Walker, M. D.,
52d Ohio Vols, U. S. A.

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