Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 5, 1864

April 5, 1864
Confederate soldiers in the western theater, 1864


---Red River Campaign:  Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor, CSA, is in command of the Confederate ground forces opposing Banks’ expedition.  But so far, Taylor has not had enough troops to cause the Yankees very much trouble.  Taylor is gathering his troops 39 miles south of Shreveport at Mansfield, Louisiana: two under-strength divisions of infantry and a small division of cavalry, amounting to no more than 9,000 men.  Gen. Banks approaches with (according to reports0 as much as 30,000 Federals.  In Shreveport, Gen Edmund Kirby-Smith, Taylor’s department commander, gathers two more brigades from Gen. Sterling Price’s army, but keeps them back from Taylor, placing them under the command of Gen. Thomas Churchill and posting them at Keachi, halfway between Shreveport and Mansfield.  Taylor knows that Banks will have to select the road that goes through Mansfield to find the best route to Shreveport, and so he waits, and hopes that enough reinforcements reach him before Banks and his 30,000 Federals do.

Routes of approach in the Red River Campaign, central Louisiana

---Welsh-born Jenkin Lloyd Jones, of the 6th Battery, Wisconsin Artillery, writes in his journal of the first time he has received official military punishment:

Huntsville, Tuesday, April 5. Did not rain to-day but we had but little sunshine. Watched in the hospital from midnight till 4 A. M. with Andy Herron, suffering from severe attack of erysipelas in the face and head. Changed wet cloths on his face every fifteen minutes. While drilling in company in front of officers’ tents, under the order of Sergeant, I and David Evans were taken out of the ranks and Corporal Malish put over us to drill us in front of tents for two hours by order of Captain. He was sitting in front of his tent and said we laughed in the ranks. It being the first time I ever was punished, I was much hurt in feelings, much more so as it was for a crime that I am not aware that I ever committed, and was not observed by any except Captain who was eight or ten rods off. He was out of humor at the company drill and (it being very muddy) as is customary, he must visit his wrath upon somebody. After two hours’ marching as culprits before the whole camp, we were dismissed, but I felt no guilt, as my conduct was not improper.

---A letter from a Savannah newspaper is re-printed in the Richmond Daily Dispatch, and reveals a stunning disregard for the suffering of wounded black troops, after the Battle of Olustee:

The negroes at the Olustee battle

–A correspondent of the Savannah New, who was at the battle of Olustee, Florida, says of the spot held by a negro regiment that the dead negroes were strewed about in little companies of seven or eight together. He says:

Here one sat erect against a tree, his eyes staring, and his legs and arms stiffened out before him Here a negro had crawled into some brush to die; his back was bowed up like a hoop, his face to the ground, and he resting entirely on the points of his extended fingers and toes. The eyes of all were wide open, and the whites of those of “Cuffee,”as well as his teeth, were displayed with a peculiar grimace. The wounded negroes were all very humble — the slaves dejected in the extreme. The Northern negroes, at first, spoke as to their equals, but soon found it would not do. Said one of a group to a Confederate soldier standing by, “I say, my friend, just let me put my arm around your neck, and raise me up a little.” Confederate soldier–”Don’t call me your friend, d — n you. I’d just as soon blow your brains out as not, and I would’nt touch you with a ten foot pole.”

United State Colored Troops


---George Michael Neese continues his trip home for his furlough:

April 5 — I took stage-coach in Staunton this morning at six o’clock and arrived in New Market at six this evening. It snowed very fast until noon to-day, and the snow is about four inches deep here at New Market.

---On this date, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan is given command of the cavalry corps of the Army of the Potomac.

---Leverett Bradley, of the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, writes in his journal of the visit in the city of Washington to see a play:

Apr. 5th. Went to the theatre on Monday, where Edwin Forrest was playing Macbeth. It was the first time I ever saw him. It was splendid. I must say there is a charm in tragedy that captivates me.

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