Sunday, December 1, 2013

Civil War - 150 Years Ago This Week – December 1 - 7, 1863

Compiled by Jim Hachtel, President 

Gen. William T. Sherman Memorial Civil War Roundtable

December 1, 1863 - Southern spy Isabella “Belle” Boyd is released from the Federal Prison at Washington D.C. and is again warned to stay out of Union territory. She is suffering from typhoid fever leading to her early release.

December 1, 1863 - General Meade's Army of the Potomac crosses the Rapidan River officially ending the Mine Run campaign. The army enters winter quarters.

December 1, 1863 - Near Mount Sterling, Kentucky, Confederate General Samuel Jones' forces capture Union stores worth $700,000, 250 horses, and 100 prisoners without any loss of men. 

December 2, 1863 - General Robert E. Lee plans a strike on General Meade's army but finds the position completely deserted. General Lee was later quoted as saying, "I am too old to command this army; we should never have permitted those people to get away.”  General Lee was impressed with the strength of Meade's entrenchments and plans to use this tool if he has the opportunity.

December 2, 1863 - General Hardee succeeds General Braxton Bragg as commander of the Army of Tennessee in an emotional ceremony at Dalton, Georgia.

December 3, 1863 - General James Longstreet quits Knoxville, Tennessee and moves into winter quarters at Greenville, Tennessee. Union General Ambrose Burnside fails to pursue Longstreet's move. With Longstreet nearby, General Grant is forced to maintain a sizable Union force in Tennessee to monitor Longstreet's expected moves, possibly to join General Lee in Virginia.

December 4, 1863 - The bombardment of Fort Sumter continues with more than 1,300 rounds fired in the past seven days.

December 4, 1863 - General Longstreet begins to withdraw 15,000 of his men toward Virginia, moving northeast of Knoxville. Cavalry General James M. Shackleford follows with 4,000 troops.

December 5, 1863 - At Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina, a boat crew from the USS Perry is captured while searching for blockade-runners.

December 6, 1863 - General William T. Sherman and staff arrive at the command tent of General Burnside in Knoxville.

December 7, 1863 - The fourth session of the 1st Confederate Congress meets in Richmond, Virginia and following the acknowledgement of failures of the previous year officially proclaims:  "The patriotism of the people has proven equal to every sacrifice demanded by their country's need.” 

December 7, 1863 - The 38th Congress convenes in Washington, D.C. for their first session. Secretary Gideon Welles makes his third annual report of Naval strength. He reports 34,000 seamen, 588 warships displacing 467,967 tons and carrying 4,443 guns. These vessels claim the capture or destruction of more than 1,000 foreign and Southern blockade-runners plus several land batteries and fortifications.

December 7, 1863 - At New York, 15 Confederate sympathizers board the Union steamer “Chesapeake” scheduled to move to Portland. They take control of the Chesapeake and steam to Nova Scotia.