Chronological History of the American Civil War

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was not in a particularly good position either as it was having major problems enforcing conscription (the draft). Sunday, December 27, 1863 : President Lincoln spends the day visiting Confederate P.O.W.'s at Point Lookout, Maryland. In West Tennessee, several small skirmishes between Brig. General Benjamin H. Grierson's (U.S.) Cavalry and Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest's (CSA) Cavalry, as they were all scattered at the following places Collierville, Grissom's Bridge, Huntington, Moscow near La Fayette, Tennessee. Monday, December 28, 1863 : Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest seems to have skirted around the Union army, and avoided a major fight. General S. A. Hurlbut (U.S.) is upset with General Grierson for neglect of orders in not destroying bridge over Wolf in rear of LaFayette. Forrest had taken the road leading south, about 1 mile east of Collierville. His force was reported at 4,000. In East Tennessee, Brig. General Samuel D. Sturgis (U.S.) while encamped at Mossy Creek and forward towards Talbott's Station, received a report that a brigade of Confederate cavalry had gone into camp that afternoon near Dandridge south of Mossy Creek. The Congress of the Confederacy faced up to the fact that the struggling new nation was basically broke, and also increasingly short of manpower. To correct the former, there was passed what was called the “tax in kind” taking from every state one-tenth of all agricultural produce. To correct the manpower shortage, the system whereby a man could purchase a substitute to take his place in the army was abolished. This accomplished little as virtually every white man who could serve was either already doing so, engaged in vital industry or agriculture, or exercising passive resistance to the draft by taking to the hills if a recruiter entered the area. Tuesday, December 29, 1863 : Maj. General William T. Martin (CSA), commander of Lt. General James Longstreet's Confederate cavalry, encamped at Panther Creek near Morristown, attacked the small Federal force at Talbott's Station at 9:00 a.m. Pushing the Union forces back to Mossy Creek until around 3:00 p.m, General Sturgis’ (U.S.) Federal troops began driving the Confederates back out of Mossy Creek towards Talbott's Station and Panther Creek. By dark, the Confederates were back to their original location at Panther Creek. Martin chose to retreat from the area back towards Morristown for the winter. After the victory at Mossy Creek, the Union held the line about Talbott's Station for some time. Casualties for the Union was 151, Confederate unknown. Near Little Rock, Arkansas, seventeen year old David Owen Dodd is found to be without a pass; Union soldiers questioned him, and discovered that he was carrying a notebook with the locations of Union troops in the area. He was arrested and to be tried by a military tribunal. Wednesday, December 30, 1863 : Napoleon Bonaparte, the French conqueror was once quoted as saying, “They march on their stomachs.” And now things were getting worst in both camps, North & South. The first signs of scurvy were reported in both camps along with frequent outbreaks of dysentery. Fresh fruit and vegetables were almost unheard of. Surviving on just hard-tack and beef jerky, was not getting the men fed properly. John Houston Bills, Bolivar, Tennessee settler, planter, and diarist does some quick calculations and realizes he has only about ⅓ the meat needed to feed the 80 or so people depending on him for their care. What the Yankees didn’t take, the Southern Cause did. Even the governor of North Carolina, Zebulon B. Vance took pen in hand, and wrote to President Jefferson Davis, “I have concluded that it will perhaps be impossible to remove [the discontent of his people], except by making some effort at negotiation with the enemy.” This was not the sort of "Happy New Year" note Davis was hoping for. Thursday, December 31, 1863 : Not much to celebrate in Richmond either, tonight. The Richmond Examiner, was being so bold as to put it in a headline: “To-day closes the gloomiest year of our struggle.” After Gettysburg, after the loss of the Mississippi River, after the fall of Chattanooga, few saw much hope for improvement. The paper also carries these stories: the Confederate army in East Tennessee has gone into winter quarters; Longstreet’s men are said to be without shoes, despite the fact that the weather is extremely cold and the mountains are covered with snow; and some 300 cases of smallpox are reported

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