Chronological History of the American Civil War

P a g e | 156

south by Holly Springs. Forrest escaped north with about 500 men. We have lost no men nor trains, and have, so far, 40 prisoners. I cannot learn with certainly of any infantry below this cavalry movement.” General Hurlbut goes on to write: “I learn from telegraph that Saulsbury is burned, and the enemy there. Hold your ground; if overmatched drop to Moscow and rally everything there. Reach Hatch if possible, and let him close on our friends and do them justice.” Thursday, December 3, 1863 : In Bolivar, Tennessee, John Houston Bills, settler, planter and merchant, writes in his diary: “ At an early hour hear of the Coming of Forrest & his Command, by 10 a.m. all are here, say 800 with cannon and baggage, waggons, ambulances, etc. We are required to feed Man and beast, between 30 & 40 men & about 75 horses feed on me, they also visit my Cornucopia place & take all the meat my people have. We have a hard day of it, but the soldiers behave well, steal nor horses nor mules that we hear of.” The next morning General Forrest crosses the Hatchie River in route for Jackson, Tennessee. Lieut. General James Longstreet, (CSA) moves his Confederate forces toward Russellville, Tennessee, for winter quarters, which ends the Knoxville, Tennessee campaign. Friday, December 4, 1863 : Persistent heavy rain made Longstreet’s withdrawal very difficult for his troops, who had to endure very harsh conditions. Union bombard of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, continues with over 1,300 rounds the last several days. Near Moscow, Tennessee, the Federal infantry, including the U.S. Colored Troops of the 2nd West Tennessee Infantry (U.S.), manned a nearby fort. It guarded a large wooden railroad bridge, and a plank wagon bridge that both spanned the Wolf River. Today, Confederates soldiers attacked the bridge and were driven off after a short fight that left 30 Confederate dead and 54 captured, with only 7 Union soldiers killed and 20 captured. Saturday, December 5, 1863 : General Longstreet (CSA) still trying to muster all his men into winter quarters but this led to skirmishes around the Clinch River, particularly at Walker’s Ford and more fighting occurred at Raccoon Ford, Virginia, and Crab Gap, Tennessee. Sunday, December 6, 1863 : In a report from Jackson, Tennessee to General Joseph E. Johnston, (CSA) Brigadier-General Nathan Bedford Forrest writes: “I have the honor to report the safe arrival of my command at this place; also to state that I am highly pleased with the prospect before me. I have never seen a more healthy spirit manifested anywhere than is shown by the people here. I have already about 5,000 men, and if I am unmolested until the 1st day of January will, I think, have 8,000 effective troops in the field. The Federals are and have been conscripting (drafting) in Southern Kentucky, and of 130 conscripted at Columbus over 100 have escaped and joined my command. They are coming in daily at the rate of 50 to 100 per day, and as soon as it becomes known that my command is here large numbers will leave the Federal lines to join us.” Just off Charleston Harbor, in South Carolina a strong wave swamps and sinks the blockading Union ironclad, the U.S.S. Weehawken . It goes down with all hands, two dozen sailors. Monday, December 7, 1863 : Congress in the North and South are now in session again. In Richmond, Virginia, the report from President Davis was grim. Foreign relations had not improved, which meant they basically didn’t exist. Finances were in dire straits, the prisoner-of-war exchange system remained in limbo, and the army had suffered “grave reverses,” but the level of patriotism remained high. In Washington, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, reported that the naval blockade was solid “commencing at Alexandria, Virginia, and terminating at the Rio Grande.” Steamer Chesapeake (U.S.) en route to Portland, Maine, was seized off Cape Cod by Confederates disguised as passengers. In the exchange of gunfire that transpired the ship’s second engineer was killed and three others wounded. The “new” crew was now faced with the problem that neutrality regulations forbade the bringing of prizes into British waters. The “crew” still took the Chesapeake to Saint John, New Brunswick, but was unable to load coal for the voyage south to North Carolina, as planned. As a result, the steamer made its way further north to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tuesday, December 8, 1863 : President Lincoln announced the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction to Congress. He offered a full amnesty to those who fought for the Confederacy except to former Federal army officers, who had resigned their commission to fight for the South. Anyone who was

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter