This Week in Georgia Civil War History
Dec. 6, 1863: Below is the pay record for a Georgia surgeon - $324 for two months' service.
Courtesy of the Georgia Archives
Dec. 7, 1863: The Richmond Times Dispatch printed an item on there being a general conscription in Georgia of every able bodied male over the age of fifteen for defense of the state. The same newspaper printed a detailed report from their correspondent with the Confederate army in Georgia, highlighted by news of the Union advance being halted at the Battle of Ringgold Gap.
Dec. 8, 1863: United States President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, offering to Georgia citizens (and those of the other seceded states) a full pardon and restoration to the Union if they would take an oath of loyalty and accept the end of slavery. Some high ranking Confederate officials and military leaders were excluded from the offer. It also stated that if 10% of a state's population would take the oath and hold elections, the results of those elections would be recognized by the U.S. government. This proclamation is evidence of the relatively simple and generous terms of reconstruction Lincoln intended whenever the Civil War would end.
The Confederate Union of Milledgeville reprinted a letter from a Columbus newspaper, still confident that an independent South was in the future, and hearkening back to the struggles for American independence in 1776 - equating them with the struggles the South was then enduring.
The Southern Recorder of Milledgeville printed the farewell address of General Braxton Bragg and subsequent address of General William J. Hardee to his new command, albeit temporarily, the Confederate Army of Tennessee. He praised them for their past service, and offered encouragement for the future.
Dec. 9, 1863: The Southern Banner of Athens printed an item indicating one local company was so busy doing government work it had no room for local customers.
The Athens Manufacturing Co. having taken twenty-five thousand pair of pants to dye for the Government, they will not be able to dye any more yarns or garments for our customers.
R. L. Bloomfield, Agent.
Union forces began probing the lines of native Georgian General James Longstreet's army in his winter camp in northeastern Tennessee; this would result in several days of skirmishing.
The Richmond Times Dispatch printed the message of Confederate President Jefferson Davis to the Confederate Congress.
Dec. 10, 1863: A Georgia soldier stationed in Virginia wrote home to his wife that he had found a comfortable place to hopefully spend the winter - the final resting place of a former U.S. President.
"...The old fellow here says he wants us to stay as long as the Army stays here and we may spend the winter here. I said in Lou's letter that this was the birthplace of Madison but I was mistaken. His parents were living here at the time of his birth, but I see from his history that he was born while on a visit to some of their friends in another country. This has once been a grand and noble place and many traits of its grandeur can be seen yet, but since the war it has been taken but little care of and the beauty of the place, such as the fancy garden, yards &c is almost entirely neglected. The dwelling is situated on a beautiful eminence and commands a grand view of the mountains and the country scenery around. It has been erected more than a hundred years and is built of pure granite. It is a very large house and has about 20 rooms in all. The grave yard is quite interesting to look at. Madison, with many of the family, is buried there. It is enclosed and belongs to the State of Va. The monument over the grave of Madison is about 20 feet high and is of plain granite, nothing showy about it. ..."
Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), p. 102.
Dec. 11, 1863: The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution instructing their Committee on the State of the Republic to consider establishing a Volunteer Navy in Georgia to serve for the Confederacy.
Full Title: Resolution in reference to a Volunteer Navy.
Resolved by the General Assembly of Georgia, That the Committee on the State of of the Republic, are hereby instructed to consider what action it may be prudent and proper for the authorities of Georgia to take, for the encouragement of the organization of a Volunteer Navy, for the service of the Confederacy, and to increase the number of vessels and seamen engaged in the Naval service; and to report by bill or otherwise, as early as practicable upon the subject.
[Sidenote: As to a volunteer navy.]
Approval Date: Assented to Dec. 11, 1863.
The Richmond Times Dispatch printed a report from their correspondent with the Confederate army in Georgia; it mentioned some minor military movements, and featured information on the army's news, albeit temporary, commander William J. Hardee.
Dec. 12, 1863: A Georgia soldier with Longstreet's corps in Tennessee wrote to his wife, telling her first of their retreat from Knoxville, then of how much he missed their family.
"...I knew you must be very uneasy. I was, dear Molly, in great danger but God delivered me out of all and brought me out without being hurt. I wrote you all the particulars. After our engagement, we learned that Bragg had fallen back from Chattanooga, that the enemy were marching on our rear in heavy force and that in a short time would be upon us front and rear, so there was nothing left us but to retreat as fast as possible. We left at dark on the night of the 4th and marched all night, one of the coldest times I ever saw...
Dear Molly, I cannot tell how much I want to see you and the children although I confess that I have lost many of the sweet remembrances of home and friends. I confess that I can hardly realize that I have a sweet wife and two little children. This may seem very strange to you who [are] at and home and [with] those little blessings of heaven around you, but it is nevertheless a fact. This truly is a world of forgetfulness. I often stray off to some sweet place and sit down to think of days that is past and gone, yes, the day when my work was done and come home to meet your smiling face at the door, yes the happiest days of my life. I try to call them to memory but it seems almost like a dream. ..."
Source: Ronald H. Moseley (ed.), The Stilwell Letters: A Georgian in Longstreet's Corps. Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2002), pp. 235-236.
This week's edition of Harper's Weekly printed a brief report on the military status in north Georgia, from the northern viewpoint, and a Chattanooga battlefield map.
Images Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
Harper's Weekly also printed a map of General Ulysses S. Grant's operations, which featured Georgia prominently.
Image Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
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