Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Thursday, October 29, 1863 : More fighting today at Centerville, Tennessee, as Major General George H. Thomas’ (U.S.) Cavalry attack and rout of the Confederates, killing, wounding and capturing close to 90 Rebels. More skirmishes at Cherokee Station, Alabama, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and in Missouri at Ozark and Warsaw, and from Winchester to Fayetteville in Tennessee. Jefferson Davis (CSA) grants Nathan Bedford Forrest's request for an independent command, in north Mississippi and West Tennessee. This frees him from General Braxton Bragg (CSA). Friday, October 30, 1863 : The flat-bottomed steam ship returned to Chattanooga at night towing several barges full of 40,000 rations. It arrived just in time as the soldiers in the town only had half a breakfast ration left. The citizens in the town only had four boxes of hard bread left for all of them. Saturday, October 31, 1863 : The Richmond Examiner explains the Confederacy’s failure to attack Knoxville, while “the hogs of East Tennessee, affording 25 millions of pounds of pork, are now being slaughtered for the Yankee armies,” on the Southern army’s lack of shoes for their soldiers. In Bolivar, Tennessee, John Houston Bills writes: “E. G. Coleman & T. A. Parron robbed on the highway at the Otter Slide by two armed guerillas, the former of $55 & the latter of $25 & a bottle of whiskey, they both submitted at the point of the gun. Matters are growing more serious daily, the Morals of the Country are ruined & soon no one will be safe.” October 1863 was another hard month for both side of the Mason - Dixon line as 5,364 more lives are taken. Winter is setting in but the fighting continues. Sunday, November 1, 1863 : President Lincoln prepares an order concerning draft: “It is ordered that every citizen who has paid the $300 commutation shall receive the same credit therefor as if he had furnished a substitute, and is exonerated from military service for the time for which he was drafted, to wit, for three years.” Draftees were beginning to think it was a poor man’s war. More fighting at Fayetteville and Eastport, Tennessee, and other skirmishes at Quinn and Jackson's Mill, Mississippi. Monday, November 2, 1863 : John Houston Bills, (The Pillars) diarist, settler, planter and merchant writes: “Leon Bills passed through town early this morning, going North to his command. It is reported the Yankees will be in town, today. I commence sowing wheat today at both of my places - hope to get all in this week. At 11a.m., about 80 of Hursts (6th Tennessee) Regt. enter town with Jno R. Wood, a prisoner, for debt $1500 to one of their men, Reynolds. I become responsible for the person of Wood & his is allowed the town. 10 of the Feds sent to me for dinner.” Judge David Wills of Gettysburg invites President to dedicate National Cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 with “few appropriate remarks.” Naval forces under Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, (U.S.) supported Army troops at Brazos Santiago, Texas, where the Union secured a valuable position on the Mexican border. As a result of this operation, Brownsville, Texas, was also evacuated. Tuesday, November 3, 1863 : Four minor battles occurred in 1863 at Collierville, Tennessee, during a three-month period. Today, the largest, when Confederate Brig. General, James R. Chalmers, leading a cavalry division riding up from Mississippi, learned that only one Union regiment was left to defend Collierville, he decided to attack. General Chalmers (CSA) soon discoveres that the Union forces were larger than first thought, when they opened fire with their repeating Colt revolver rifles and repulsed the attack. Chalmers reports the loss of 6 killed, 63 wounded, 26 prisoners, while Union casualties were held to 60. In the meantime, the Memphis & Charleston Railroad remained open to Tuscumbia, Alabama, for Union troop movements. In Bolivar, Tennessee, John Houston Bills continues in his diary: “The Regt. comes into town late on yesterday & takes Jno Wood with them to the river. Early today, he is turned loose and allowed one hour to raise $1500 in Gold or $2500 in U.S. notes, on failure the town to be sacked & houses of a half dozen of us burned. Wood is insolvent & can do nothing, finally after the plundering has commenced Dr. Wood, his father, borrows the Gold & pays the debt, a sad commentary on the War & ominous of what may be expected before we see the END.” By November 1863, Major General Hurlbut was becoming anxious about all the activity within his command. He wrote to General Stevenson (U.S.) “Try to find out where Hurst is, and get him under your command. Both the 6th and 7th Tennessee have behaved badly.” It

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