Look at Pharaoh’s Army Going to the Red Sea~June 1863~the 27th & 28th

Look at Pharaoh’s Army Going to the Red Sea~a woman in Chambersburg commenting about passing Confederate soldiers

In an almost prophetic comment, a Pennsylvania woman sneers at passing Rebel soldiers, comparing them to the hosts of Pharaoh in pursuit of the children of Israel. Union General Hooker fusses and is replaced by General George Meade, a daring move by President Lincoln on the eve of a major battle. Confederate General Lee orders his soldiers to refrain from theft or looting. However, whether out of need or spite or bitterness some in the Army of Northern Virginia help themselves at gunpoint to all kinds of things, needful and decorative. An observer from England makes a keen and pro-Southern analysis. The presence of black soldiers in the Union army causes the South to take a belligerent stand on prisoners of war. Confederate forces are losing ground in Tennessee.

June 27– Saturday– New York City– George Templeton Strong writes in his diary. “I fear Joe Hooker, drunk or sober, is no match for Lee, and that his army, though in excellent order and condition, is discouraged by its repeated failures.”

June 27– Saturday– camp north of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Sir Arthur James Fremantle arrives at the camp of Confederate General James Longstreet. “I entered Chambersburg at 6 P. M. This is a town of some size and importance. All its houses were shut up; but the natives were in the streets, or at the upper windows, looking in a scowling and bewildered manner at the Confederate troops, who were marching gayly past to the tune of Dixie’s Land. The women (many of whom were pretty and well dressed) were particularly sour and disagreeable in their remarks. I heard one of them say, ‘Look at Pharaoh’s army going to the Red Sea.’ Others were pointing and laughing at Hood’s ragged Jacks, who were passing at the time. This division, well known for its fighting qualities, is composed of Texans, Alabamians, and Arkansians, and they certainly are a queer lot to look at. They carry less than any other troops; many of them have only got an old piece of carpet or rug as baggage; many have discarded their shoes in the mud; all are ragged and dirty, but full of good humor and confidence in themselves and in their general, Hood. They answered the numerous taunts of the Chambersburg ladies with cheers and laughter. One female had seen fit to adorn her ample bosom with a huge Yankee flag, and she stood at the door of her house, her countenance expressing the greatest contempt for the barefooted Rebs.”

General James Longstreet

General James Longstreet

June 27– Saturday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Confederate General Lee issues orders regarding the conduct he expects from his soldiers. “There have . . . been instances of forgetfulness on the part of some, that they have in keeping the yet unsullied reputation of the army, and that the duties exacted of us by civilization and Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than in our own. The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, and through it, our whole people, than the perpetration of the barbarous outrages upon the innocent and defenseless, and the wanton destruction of private property, that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country. Such proceedings not only disgrace the perpetrators and all connected with them, but are subversive of the discipline and efficiency of the army and destructive of the ends of our present movements. It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemy, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain. The commanding general, therefore, earnestly exhorts the troops to abstain with most scrupulous care from unnecessary or wanton injury to private property; and he enjoins upon all officers to arrest and bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend against the orders on this subject.”

General Robert E Lee, 1863

General Robert E Lee, 1863

June 27– Saturday– Franklin County, Pennsylvania– Amos Stouffer updates his journal: “A cloudy, rainy day. The rebs are still in my vicinity . . . . About home the Rebs are thick as may be. Some 20,000 marched past here . . . . Their wagon trains were a couple [of] miles in length. They had 18 pieces of Artillery. . . . Our army at Harrisburg . . . is reported 60,000 strong. Mostly militia. Some of our drafted men are there.”

June 27– Saturday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– A reporter describes activities in the city. “Governor Curtin, General Couch, and several prominent citizens of the place were in close conversation this morning. All the important State documents remaining here have been ordered to be shipped to Philadelphia. It is evident that the military commanders here rely somewhat upon Hooker’s army to disconcert and defeat the rebel invaders.”

June 27– Saturday– Sandy Hook, Maryland– About 1 p.m. Union General Hooker telegraphs General Halleck in Washington. “I have now imposed upon me, in addition, an enemy in my front of more than my number. I beg to be understood, respectfully, but firmly, that I am unable to comply with this condition with the means at my disposal, and earnestly request that I may at once be relieved from the position I occupy.”

June 27– Saturday– Fortress Monroe, South Carolina– It is reported that “The issue between Commissioners [Union and Confederate officials who negotiate prisoner exchanges] has been made up on the subject of the recent act of the Confederate Congress, which declares punishment upon all our officers and men commanding Negro or mulatto troops, and upon such troops themselves. The Confederate authorities, who have used the services of Negroes and half-breeds– Indians and Negroes – have been notified by Colonel Ludlow [the Union Commissioner] that the United States Government will throw its protection around all their officers and men, without regard to color, and will promptly retaliate for all violations of the cartel and the laws and usages of war.”

June 27– Saturday– Manchester, Tennessee– Union forces occupy the town. Since the 24th of this month through today’s operations, Federal troops have tangled with and pushed back the Confederates at Liberty Gap, Guy’s Gap, Fosterville, Beech Grove, Shelbyville. and Fairfield, strengthening the Union hold in the middle of Tennessee and effectively preventing these Confederate forces from attempting to relieve besieged Vicksburg.

June 27– Saturday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– Union sappers begin digging another mine under a Confederate fortified position. Sensing the renewed Union effort, Confederates begin to counter-dig. On the ramparts, Confederate General Martin E Green, of Missouri, age 48, is killed by a Union sharpshooter.

trenches before Vicksburg

trenches before Vicksburg

June 28– Sunday– Frederick, Maryland– At 7 a.m. Union General George Meade receives orders giving him command of the Army of the Potomac as President Lincoln has accepted the resignation of General Hooker.

General George Meade

General George Meade

June 28– Sunday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Confederate General Longstreet rests his men. One of them, Franklin Gaillard, writes to his son. “It is very funny to pass through these Yankee towns to see the long sour faces the people put on. The girls some of them wear little United States flags. Others more indecent hold their noses and make faces. Our men go on and pay no attention to them. They only laugh at them when they make themselves ridiculous. Things are very cheap here in their stores but they will not take our money and General Lee has issued very stringent orders about private property. He is very right for our Army would soon become demoralized if they were allowed to do as many of them would like to. Many of them think it very hard that they should not be allowed to treat them as their soldiers treated our people. But we must not imitate the Yankees in their mean acts.”

June 28– Sunday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Rachel Cormany describes the conduct of some Confederate soldiers from Georgia. “They took the hats & boots off the men-Took the hat off Preacher Farney. Took $50. off Dr Sneck & his gold watch valued very highly– took the coats off some, they totally stripped one young fellow not far from town– a Mr. Skinner. We have to be afraid to go out of our houses.”

June 28– Sunday– Franklin County, Pennsylvania– From his little camp in the mountains, Amos Stouffer keeps his eyes on movement by the Confederate forces. “A fine warm day. The Rebels are marching down the valley. I can hear their drums and wagon trains quite plain from my camp as they are going down the pike towards Carlisle. . . . This evening they are reported to be in Carlisle. . . . To day the rebs robbed the mill of several hundred bushels of corn & oats. About 15,000 rebs marched past.”

June 28– Sunday– 5 miles north of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Confederate officer L. M. Blackford writes to his father, William Blackford. “I spent some hours in Chambersburg, which is a pretty town of 5600 inhabitants. The stores were all closed when we entered the place, but many of them were opened by threats of violent entrance by armed force if it was not done quickly. When opened, guards in most instances–not all–were posted at the door and but a limited number allowed to enter at a time. . . . . At some of the stores the soldiers got in, and not being restrained by a guard, took a good many things without pay. There was, in short a good deal of lawlessness, but not as much as might have been expected under the circumstances. I did not know of more than 6 or 8 stores in all being opened. I secured some needed things, for our messmenage, and for myself a handsome black felt hat . . . . Our whole party re-hatted themselves. . . . . The army is in splendid condition: marches almost wholly without straggling, and is in the highest spirits. Lee is making a bold stroke for peace. Pray that it may succeed.”

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