Condolence for the Many Gallent Fallen~July 4, 1863

Condolence for the Many Gallant Fallen~Abraham Lincoln, July 4, 1863

On this the 87th anniversary of American independence, fortunes change. General Lee, short of ammunition and having suffered terrible casualties, begins to withdraw. Vicksburg formally surrenders. Federal troops continue to advance in Tennessee. Confederates suffer a bloddy defeat in Arkansas. Northerners rejoice, Southerners worry. South Americans show support for Mexico in the struggle with France.

the Gettysburg battle as shown in Harpers Weekly

the Gettysburg battle as shown in Harpers Weekly

July 4– Saturday– New York City– George Templeton Strong comments on the Federal army stopping Lee’s advance at Gettysburg. “Defeat and failure in the desperate undertaking is a serious matter to the woman-floggers.”

July 4– Saturday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Confederate General Lee orders a retreat. “General Stuart, with the rest of the cavalry, will this evening take the route to Emmitsburg, and proceed thence toward Cavetown and Boonsborough, guarding the left and rear of the army. The commanding general earnestly exhorts each corps commander to see that every officer exerts the utmost vigilance, steadiness, and boldness during the whole march.” he also sends a report to President Jeff Davis. “The works on the enemy’s extreme right and left were taken, but his numbers were so great and his position so commanding, that our troops were compelled to relinquish their advantage and retire. It is believed that the enemy suffered severely in these operations, but our ownloss has not been light.” Rain falls all day, over 1.3 inches in total. High temperature reaches 72 degrees.

Confederate infantry on the march [modern re-enactment]

Confederate infantry on the march [modern re-enactment]

July 4– Saturday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– A saddened General George Pickett sends a letter to his sweetheart Salle Corbell in which he describes yesterday’s action by his soldiers. “My brave boys were full of hope and confident of victory as I led them forth, forming them in column of attack, and though officers and men alike knew what was before them, knew the odds against them, they eagerly offered up their lives on the altar of duty, having absolute faith in their ultimate success. Over on Cemetery Ridge the Federals beheld a scene never before witnessed on this continent, a scene which has never previously been enacted and can never take place again an army forming in line of battle in full view, under their very eyes charging across a space nearly a mile in length over fields of waving grain and anon of stubble and then a smooth expanse moving with the steadiness of a dress parade, the pride and glory soon to be crushed by an overwhelming heartbreak. Well, it is all over now. The battle is lost, and many of us are prisoners, many are dead, many wounded, bleeding and dying. Your Soldier lives and mourns and but for you, my darling, he would rather, a million times rather, be back there with his dead, to sleep for all time in an unknown grave.”

July 4– Saturday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Rachel Cormany describes the day. “At daybreak the bells were rung– Then all was quiet until about 8 o’clock when a flag was hoisted at the diamond. Soon after the band made its appearance & marched from square & played national airs– two rebels came riding along quite leisurely thinking I suppose to find their friends instead of that they were taken prisoners by the citizens– some 13 more footmen came and were taken prisoners. Those were willing prisoners– they had thrown their guns away before they reached this. The report has reached us that 6000 prisoners had been taken yesterday in Adams County near College Hill– also that Carlisle was shelled. It is getting very dark cloudy– I judge we will have a heavy rain. . . . Wild rumors of a dreadful fight are numerous.”

80 dead from Indiana in a common grave at Gettysburg

80 dead from Indiana in a common grave at Gettysburg

July 4– Saturday– Hanover, Pennsylvania– Union soldier Samuel Cormany: “The great battle closed and quieted with the closing day– Some firing at various points– Our Regiment lay on arms with Pickets out– on the ground where we had put in most of the day–Rather expecting attack momentarily– Rained furiously during the night– We had fed, eaten, and were standing ‘to horse’ when about 6 o’clock News Came– ‘The Rebs are falling back!’ and ‘Our Forces are following them’ and our Regiment went out towards Hunterstown reconnoitering. We found some confederates who had straggled, or were foraging, not knowing yet what had happened and was taking place– Of course, our Boys took them in— and we were ordered to camp . . . where we first lay on arriving near Gettysburg– Evening awfully muddy and disagreeable– I saw much of the destructiveness of the Johnies today.”

July 4– Saturday– on the road south from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Sir Arthur James Fremantle describes the Confederate withdrawal. “The iron endurance of General Longstreet is most extraordinary; he seems to require neither food nor sleep. Most of his staff now fall fast asleep directly they get off their horses, they are so exhausted from the last three days’ work.” Of the Union failure to counterattack, he writes, “But this, of course, could make no difference to General Lee’s plan; ammunition he must have–he had failed to capture it from the enemy (according to precedent;) and as his communications with Virginia were intercepted, he was compelled to fall back towards Winchester, and draw his supplies from thence. [Union] General Milroy had kindly left an ample stock at that town when he made his precipitate exit some weeks ago. The army was also encumbered with an enormous wagon train, the spoils of Pennsylvania, which it is highly desirable to get safely over the Potomac. Shortly after 9 P. M. the rain began to descend in torrents.– Lawley and I luckily got into the doctors’ covered buggy, and began to get slowly under way a little after midnight.”

July 4– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln issues a proclamation to the nation, praising the success of the Army of the Potomac and declaring that they deserve “the highest honor, to promise a great success to the cause of the Union, and to claim the condolence of all for the many gallant fallen; and that . . . on this day He whose will, not ours, should ever be done be everywhere remembered and ever reverenced with profoundest gratitude.”

July 4– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles on the day’s events: “I was called up at midnight precisely by a messenger with telegram from Byington [editor and owner of a newspaper in Norwalk, Connecticut and a stringer for Horace Greeley’s Tribune], dated at Hanover Station, stating that the most terrific battle of the War was being fought at or near Gettysburg, that he left the field at half-past 6 p.m. with tidings, and that everything looked hopeful. The President was at the War Department, where this dispatch, which is addressed to me, was received. It was the first word of the great conflict. Nothing had come to the War Department. There seems to have been no system, no arrangement, for prompt, constant, and speedy intelligence. . . . . Later in the day dispatches from Haupt and others state that Lee with his army commenced a retreat this a.m. at three o’clock. Our army is waiting for supplies to come up before following– a little of the old lagging infirmity. . . . Two intercepted dispatches were received, captured by Captain Dahlgren. One was from Jeff Davis, the other from Adjutant-General Cooper, both addressed to General Lee. They disclose trouble and differences among the Rebel leaders.”

July 4– Saturday– St Helena Island, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke: “Spent a delightful evening with Dr Rogers and Colonel Higginson.”

July 4– Saturday– McMinnville, Tennessee– Bettie Ridley Blackmore describes her flight from advancing Yankees. “When we reached McMinnville . . . the reports we had heard were confirmed-Bragg was retreating to Chattanooga, without a fight. Gloom hung like a pall over the little village-only a few persons could be seen as I rode down the full length of Main Street. Our Soldiers had all left &all Southern sympathizers-(men I mean) who could possibly get off had gone– business was suspended– doors all closed-the Federals constantly expected.”

July 4– Saturday– Helena, Arkansas– Confederate troops attack the Union garrison here in an attempt to relieve pressure on Vicksburg. but are repulsed with heavy losses of 1,636 killed, wounded and missing while the total losses of the Federal defenders are 206.

July 4– Saturday– Vicksburg, Mississippi–Confederate forces formally surrender. General Pemberton turns over to General Grant 29,495 Confederate soldiers, 172 cannons and 50,000 rifles Union casualties for the battle and siege of Vicksburg were 4,835; The full campaign, since March 29, has claimed 10,142 Union and 9,091 Confederate killed, wounded and missing.

General Ulysses S Grant

General Ulysses S Grant

July 4– Saturday– Vicksburg, Mississippi– Mary Longhborough, a resident who has survived the siege, living most of the time in the shelter of a cave, describes the day. “[My husband] came up, with a pale face, saying: ‘It’s all over! The white flag floats from our forts! Vicksburg has surrendered.’ He put on his uniform coat, silently buckled on his sword, and prepared to take out the men, to deliver up their arms in front of the fortification… I felt a strange unrest, the quiet of the day was so unnatural. I walked up and down the cave until [my husband] returned. The day was extremely warm, and he came with a violent headache. He told me that the Federal troops had acted splendidly; they were stationed opposite the place where the Confederate troops marched up and stacked their arms; and they seemed to feel sorry for the poor fellows who had defended the place for so long a time. Far different from what he had expected, not a jeer or taunt came from any one of the Federal soldiers. Occasionally, a cheer would be heard; but the majority seemed to regard the poor unsuccessful soldiers with a generous sympathy.

July 4– Saturday– Callao, Peru– Residents hold a charity benefit to raise money for Mexican relief. Decorations include pictures of President Juarez of Mexico and President George Washington of the United States.

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