Many Dead & Wounded Lying by the Roadside~July 1863~the 5th & 6th

Many Dead and Wounded Lying by the Roadside~a citizen observer

Around Gettysburg and the vicinity there remain thousands of dead and wounded soldiers, dead horses, broken wagons and canon and abandoned instruments of war. Vicksburg is under military occupation after weeks of siege. In many Northern hearts there is generally jubilation and optimism. In the hearts of many Southerners sorrow for the dead and a continued belief in the abilities of General Lee. In the heart of Charlotte Forten Grimke there flows admiration for “the nobleness of soul” in Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. In the heart of Gideon Welles there rests distrust of anti-administration politicians. The heart of Rachel Cormany fills with joy and gratitude as she is reunited with her husband Samuel.

July 5– Sunday– New York City– George Templeton Strong writes; “A memorable day, even should its glorious news prove but half true. Tidings from Gettysburg have been arriving in fragmentary instalments but with a steady crescendo toward complete , overwhelming victory. If we can believe what we hear, Lee is smitten hip and thigh and his invincible ‘Army of Northern Virginia’ shattered and destroyed.”


July 5– Sunday– near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Union soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes writes: “Glorious news! We have won the victory, thank God, and the Rebel army is fleeing to Virginia. We have news that Vicksburg is fallen. . . . . We have had rain and the roads are bad, so we move slow. Every house we see is a hospital and the road is covered with the arms and equipment thrown away by the Rebels.” General Lee’s main body of troops is retreating toward Hagerstown Maryland.

July 5– Sunday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Jacob Stouffer writes to his daughter Mary. “I have many things to Say yet but have not time now as Jacob is waiting for this-I think too our mails will Soon Run again I think you can all come home Soon-yesterday we heard cannonading toward Waynesboro– the army had hard fighting at Gettysburg a few days ago. The Rebels were coming across the mountains with their wagon trains and Striking from Greenwood to Hagerstown-I will close by wishing you the blessing of God and his protections to you and all Godfearing Souls-my love to all enquiring friends.”

July 5– Sunday– near Fairfield, Pennsylvania– Confederate Jedediah Hotchkiss describes the battle at Gettysburg to Sara, his wife. “We renewed the fight on Friday [July 3] with no better success– though wekilled many of the enemy . . . our loss was also heavy & in the evening it was decided, in a council of war, to fall back & compel the enemy to come out to a fair field & also to send to Virginia the large train of wagons, horses, stores &c that we had captured – they were started yesterday & we fell back to the line of hills West of the town – the enemy did not follow & we spent the day moving our wounded, our trains &c – the success of the first day was great, of the two following days we cannot say that are gained anything by them.”

July 5– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– In the afternoon, President Lincoln and his son, Tad, visit General Daniel Sickles, who is recovering from his wound received at Gettysburg on July 2. The President congratulates the general on his courage and expresses regret that part of the wounded leg had to be amputated.

July 5– Sunday– Birdsong Ferry, Mississippi– General Sherman’s Federal troops press hard against General Johnston’s Confederates.

July 5– Sunday– Bolton, Mississippi; Bardstown, Kentucky; Woodburn, Kentucky; Yellow Creek, Tennessee; Warsaw, North Carolina– Raids, skirmishes and fire fights.

July 6– Monday– Readville, Massachusetts– Charles Douglass training with the 55th Massachusetts, writes to his father, Frederick Douglass. “I have just returned to camp from Boston where I spent the fourth and fifth. Yesterday, I went to Mr. Grimes Church and Dr. Rock read a letter that he had received from his wife who is in Philadelphia and that the Rebels were sending the Negroes south as fast as they advanced from our lines and that the colored people were rushing into Philadelphia and that yourself and Stephen Smith and other were doing all you could for them. I was glad to hear that– only keep out of the hands of the rebels.”

July 6– Monday– New York City– George Templeton Strong evaluates the situation. “The rebels are hunted out of the North, their best army is routed, and the charm of Robert Lee’s invincibility broken. The Army of the Potomac has at last found a general that can handle it, and it has stood nobly up to its terrible work . . . . Government is strenghtened four-fold at home and abroad. Gold one hundred thirty-eight dollars today, and government securities rising.”

July 6– Monday– Buffalo, New York– Violence erupts when dock workers, mostly Irish immigrants, attack black sailors and laborers.

July 6– Monday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– In a report to the War Department Union General George Meade writes, “The losses of the enemy were no doubt very great, and he must be proportionately crippled. My headquarters will be here to-night, and to-morrow I expect to be at Frederick. My cavalry have been attacking the enemy on both flanks, inflicting as much injury as possible.”

July 6– Monday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin submits a report to General Barnes about the bayonet charge made by the 20th Maine on Little Round Top on July 2nd. At the time he ordered the charge he had only 128 men still able to fight. In the charge they took 368 prisoners and forced the retreat of most of a Confederate brigade.

July 6– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– William Heyser records the day’s news. “We hear a decisive battle was fought at Gettysburg. That Lee is withdrawn towards the Potomac and that enormous amounts of supplies and prisoners have been captured. The news gave rise to the ringing of bells and general convivial [feelings] in the streets. It appears the contest raged for 3 days and was the most desperate of the war. As Lee withdraws towards the Potomac, we hear of skirmishes along the way. . . . . Reports that the Pine Stump Road is filled with broken Rebel wagons and caissons, filled with ammunition much of which is thrown in the mud with a view of destroying it. Also many dead and wounded lying by the roadside, indicating a hasty retreat. . . . [A Confederate physician] tells me most of the best men of the South were in this battle, now most of them gone.”

wives pray for their soldier husbands

July 6– Monday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Rachel and Samuel Cormany are happily reunited. Rachel describes it this way: “I was sitting reading, Pussy [nickname for her little girl] playing by my side when little Willie Wampler came running as fast as he could to tell me a soldier had come to see me & sure enough when I got to the door Mr Cormany just rode up. I was so very glad to see

him that I scarcely knew how to act. He was very dirty & sweaty so he took a bath & changed clothes before he got himself dressed A. Holler & Barny Hampshire called– next Rev. Dixon & Dr Croft & others. Eve we went down into the parlor to hear some of the girls play– Mr. C was very much pleased with the music.” Samuel remembers the meeting: “I told Corporal Metz I intended going on– To Chambersburg– To see wife and Baby– and would report in the morning again. He understood and I slipped away . . . . on approaching Chambersburg I was assured there were still squads of rebs about town– Near town I was met by town folk inquiring about the battle. I was the first ‘blue coat’ they had seen and the first to bring direct news of the Enemy’s defeat as communications had been cut. As I struck the edge of town, I was told ‘The Rebel rear-guard had just left the Diamond.’ So I ventured out 2nd Street and ventured to strike Main near where Darling and Pussy lodged and behold They were at the door– had been watching the Reb Rear leaving town– and Oh! The surprise and delight thus to meet after the awful battle they had been listening to for passing days– My horse was very soon stabled. My Cavalry outfit covered with hay– and myself in my citazens clothes– So should any final ‘rear’ come along, I would not be discovered. To attempt to describe my joy and feelings at meeting and greeting my dear little family must prove a failure. We spent the P. M and evening very sweetly and pleasantly, but only we had a few too many inquiring callers.”

July 6– Monday– Hagerstown, Maryland; Boonsborough, Maryland; Williamsport, Maryland– Union cavalry skirmish with elements of General Lee’s retreating column; most of the Union infantry and artillery remain with General Meade in Pennsylvania.

July 6– Monday– on the march somewhere in Maryland– Confederate General George Pickett writes to his sweetheart Sallie Corbell. “I can’t write you a love-letter to-day, my Sally, for with my great love for you and my gratitude to God for sparing my life to devote to you, comes the overpowering thought of those whose lives were sacrificed of the broken-hearted widows and mothers and orphans. The moans of my wounded boys, the sight of the dead, upturned faces, flood my soul with grief and here am I whom they trusted, whom they followed, leaving them on that field of carnage . . . . This is too gloomy and too poor a letter for so beautiful a sweetheart, but it seems sacrilegious, almost, to say I love you, with the hearts that are stilled.”

July 6– Monday– Martinsburg, West Virginia– Confederate soldier Samuel Carson writes to Annie Harris “We have had another big fight at Gettysburg Pennsylvania. Our loss is very heavy indeed, lost a great many officers.”

July 6– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Gideon Welles writes optimistically and with criticism of two prominent Democratic politicians. “The army news continues to be favorable. Lee is on the retreat, and Meade in hot pursuit, each striving to get possession of the passes of the Potomac. . . . . The papers this evening bring us the speeches of the two Seymours, Horatio and Thomas Henry, on the Fourth at New York. A couple of partisan patriots, neither of whom is elated by Meade’s success, and whose regrets are over Rebel reverses.” [Horatio Seymour is Governor of New York; Thomas Seymour is former Governor of Connecticut. Both are Democrats and critics of the Lincoln Administration.]

July 6– Monday– Huntington, Indiana– Members of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society of pro-slavery and pro-Confederacy activists, break into the supply depot and steal guns and ammunition.

July 6– Monday– St Helena Island, South Carolina– Charlotte Forten Grimke has a fine day. “Did not neglect my invitation to tea with the officers of the 54th.” Arriving with several other women they “were just in time to see the Dress Parade. T’is a splendid looking regiment. An honor to the race. Then we went with Colonel Shaw to tea. Afterward sat outside the tent and listened to some very fine singing from some of the privates. Their voces blended beautifully. ‘Jubilo’ is one of the best things I’ve heard lately. I am more than ever charmed with the noble little Colonel. What purity, what nobleness of soul, what exquisite gentleness in that beautiful face! As I look at it I think ‘The noblest are the tenderest.’ I can imagine what he must be to his mother.”


July 6– Monday– dateline: Vicksburg, Mississippi– A reporter for the Chicago Journal writes: “Vicksburg is to be hereafter, as the rebels made it, a military post– nothing more. Commercial non-intercourse with the loyal North will mark its history during the rebellion. Their experiment of establishing and permitting trade and traffic in a rebel city was well and thoroughly tested at Memphis. . . . All kinds of goods and medicines, and even ammunition, were furnished the rebel army, and fortunes were made in the contraband trade. None of that business can be carried on here. The rules are strict, and the mailed hand of an earnest General will enforce them.”

July 6– Monday– London, England– Birth of Reginald McKenna, who will serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1915 and 1916.

July 6– Monday– Paris, France– Across the country the parliamentary elections conclude. The supporters of Emperor Napoleon III win 74.22% of the popular vote.

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