This Week in Georgia Civil War History
Dec. 13, 1863: A Georgia soldier wounded and captured in the Gettysburg campaign wrote to his father from his new prisoner of war camp in Ohio; he had just been moved there from Maryland.
"...The party of officers from Point Lookout reached this place on Wednesday last after a disagreeable journey. Dennis Sanders had reserved a place for me in his mess.
I contracted a severe cold, which has now nearly disappeared. Otherwise, I am in tolerable health.
I wish you to contrive me a supply of money. Either buy 'greenbacks' in Richmond and send by Flag of Truce and express or get a letter of credit upon some party in the North. ..."
Source: Anita B. Sams (ed.), With Unabated Trust: Major Henry McDaniel's Love Letters from Confederate Battlefields as Treasured in Hester McDaniel's Bonnet Box (The Historical Society of Walton County, Inc., 1977), p. 188.
An Atlanta merchant recorded in his diary the brutal treatment a slave could receive, and lamented the war was being fought for them.
"I forgot to say that yesterday I had to whip our woman Caroline for insubordination and impudence to her mistress. I am disgusted with negroes and feel inclined to sell what I have. I wish they were all back in Africa, or Yankee Land. To think too that this cruel war should be waged for them!
Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969 reprint of 1954 original volume), p. 557.
Click here to see the discharge order for a Georgia soldier released on this day, and here to see his pay record.
Dec. 14, 1863: The Georgia General Assembly passed an Act authorizing Georgia "Guardians, Trustees, Executors" to invest in Confederate bonds, lands, and negroes.
Full Title: Act to amend an Act entitled an Act to authorize Guardians, Trustees, Executors and Administrators to invest in Confederate bonds and in land and negroes, assented to December 16th, 1861.
1. SEC. I. The General Assembly of Georgia do enact, That the [Illegible Text] to authorize Guardians, Trustees, Executors and [Illegible Text] to invest in Confederate bonds and in lands and negroes, [Illegible Text] to December 16th, 1861, is hereby amended as follows: in [Illegible Text] to the investment in said Act authorized, Guardians, [Illegible Text], Administrators and Trustees are hereby authorized to [Illegible Text] in interest-bearing Treasury notes of the Confederate States, [Illegible Text] all such bonds as may have been and may hereafter be issued the Confederate States and by the State of Georgia; provided, [Illegible Text] before making any such investment as in said Act allowed, and [Illegible Text] this Act is allowed, the Exe'r., Adm'r., Guar'n or Trustee, so [Illegible Text] to invest, shall first make application to the Judge of the [Illegible Text] Court of the circuit in which he resides, or in case of the absence such Judge from the State, the Judge of any adjoining circuit [Illegible Text] leave to do so, whereupon the Judge is hereby authorized to [Illegible Text] testimony and argument either at term time or at chambers in [Illegible Text], as to which of the investments authorized is the best for [Illegible Text] interest of the wards, heirs, legatees or cestui qui trust; and all in his order direct in what securities or property the proposed [Illegible Text] shall be made; and whenever such investment shall be [Illegible Text] in bonds or interest-bearing notes of the Confederate States America, or bonds of the State of Georgia, the Executor, Administrator, Guardian or Trustee so investing, shall within twelve months thereafter, make a legal return thereof, in which he shall [Illegible Text] forth the prices paid, the time of the purchase and the name the seller; and whenever the investment shall have been made [Illegible Text] and negroes or other property, he shall set forth a [Illegible Text] description thereof, stating price, and from whom and when [Illegible Text], all which shall be entered on record by the Ordinary [Illegible Text] to like scrutiny and exceptions, with other returns of [Illegible Text] acting in any of the above mentioned capacities.
[Sidenote: Guardians, executors, administrators, &c., allowed to invest their funds in interest bearing notes of Confed. States & in any bonds of Government or the State, already issued or to be issued.]
[Sidenote: Must first make applicato Judge of Sup'r Court.]
[Sidenote: Within 12 months after investment full and specific returns to be made.]
[Sidenote: Same as to investment in land and negroes.]
SEC. II. Repeals conflicting laws.
Approval Date: Assented to Dec. 14, 1863.
The Battle of Bean's Station in Tennessee took place, culminating the Knoxville campaign. Since the withdrawal from Knoxville, Union forces had been probing the Confederate lines, resulting in some heavy skirmishing. Today, General James Longstreet, native Georgian and commander of the Confederate army in Tennessee, launched an assault on the trailing Union forces, driving them back towards Knoxville. He considered another assault the following today, but found the Union forces too well entrenched. Both armies settled in for their winter camp after this engagement.
The Richmond Times Dispatch printed an article on the tax bill passed by the Georgia legislature, and a biography of native Georgian General William J. Hardee.
Dec. 15, 1863: The Southern Recorder of Milledgeville printed a brief synopsis of the latest war news - winding down as winter approached.
And to help the soldiers get through the winter, The Confederate Union of Milledgeville printed an appeal from the Georgia Hospital and Relief Association to help provide blankets for soldiers.
The Confederate Union also printed an editorial placing blame for the recent defeats not on the Generals, but on demoralization of soldiers because of a lack of support.
The Richmond Times Dispatch printed a detailed review of General Braxton Bragg's last campaign; Georgia is mentioned prominently in the article.
Dec. 16, 1863: A Georgia soldier stationed in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling how much he missed her and their son, and talking about how he was situated - guarding a house during the winter break in fighting.
"...I was truly glad to hear from you again and to hear that all were well and that my noble boy was so smart and improving so fast. There is no use talking how bad I want to see you and him and all of you, but I see no chance now for me to get a furlough this winter. My health is excellent and I am still here guarding this house and premises, and am getting on finely. ...
I am grateful to you for sympathizing for me when it is cold, but do not indulge in grieving for me, for often when you imagine I am suffering badly, I am comfortably situated. The winter here has been very mild so far for this country, though we have had ice three or four inches thick, we have had no sleet or snow yet. ... I am delighted with the idea of getting the clothes and many good things you sent me. I hope I will get them safely. I feel and know that I have got the best wife and the best Mother in the world. ..."
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), pp. 103-104.
A Columbus man wrote of two of his sons serving in the war effort; one had been at the battles around Chattanooga; one was either sick or wounded.
"On the 25th November (ultimo) we had a verse at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Got badly whipped. Eugene was in it and thinks we ought to have handled the place but our men failed to sustain themselves as they did at Chicamauga. It has given us quite a backset and inspirited the enemy. Willis has not returned to his command. His physician advised him not to go back yet."
Source: John Banks, Autobiography of John Banks, 1797 - 1870 (Austell, Ga.: privately printed by Elberta Leonard, 1936), p. 30.
Dec. 17, 1863: General James Longstreet relieved fellow Georgian General Lafayette McLaws of duty for what he considered poor preparation for the Battle of Fort Sanders (see November 29). McLaws would demand a trial by court martial and would ultimately be cleared of the charges.
General LaFayette McLaws
The Richmond Times Dispatch reprinted a detailed report from a Mobile, AL newspaper on the recent defeat at Chattanooga.
Dec. 18, 1863: The Richmond Times Dispatch printed two brief reports on the situation in Georgia - here and here. No one seemed to know what to expect next.
After helping break the siege at Knoxville, Union General William T. Sherman returned to Chattanooga.
Although he would not officially take command for another nine days, General Joseph E. Johnston was appointed commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee on this day, replacing temporary commander and native Georgian William J. Hardee.
General Joseph E. Johnston
A private in Georgia's 28th Regiment received a furlough on this day; he likely never returned as there was no further record of him.
Another private, this one in Georgia's 15th Regiment, did not fare so well. He was captured near Knoxville on this day, and would die from disease while being held in Illinois.
Dec. 19, 1863: The Richmond Times Dispatch reprinted a romantic poem a north Georgia girl had penned to some of her admirers in the army there.
'Tis hard for youens to sleep in camp,
'Tis hard for youens to fight;
'Tis hard for youens thro' snow to tramp,
In snow to sleep at night;
But harder for weans from youens to part,
Since youens have stolen weans hart.
This week's edition of Harper's Weekly provided some brief updates on the war situation as the Union prepared for its eventual invasion of Georgia.
Images Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
Harper's Weekly also printed a report on the battles at Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge, including a sketch of the storming of Missionary Ridge.
Image Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
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