The Fight To-day Progressed Favorably~November 1863~22nd to 26th

The Fight To-day Progressed Favorably~ Ulysses S Grant

The war in Tennessee changes drastically as Federal forces under Grant capture both Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge outside of Chattanooga, gaining an important Union victory and forcing Bragg’s Confederates to retreat.

A Philadelphia newspaper praises Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg. A Richmond newspaper claims that Southern prisoners-of-war are being ill-used by the Yankees. Lots of people exchange letters with family and friends. The first modern Thanksgiving is observed in the North on the last Thursday of November as President Lincoln requested. He himself is ill and confined to bed in the White House.

November 22– Sunday– Worcester, Massachusetts– “What an interesting letter thee has sent me! thank thee for it, and Mrs Kirkland says I must also thank thee for our friends. She and Mrs McKaze were with us last Sunday, and I read it to them. Dear Lucy you ought both to keep a journal of the events so wonderfully working about you– and you in them, God bless you! I thank him that he put it in your hearts to go and bless his poor suffering people. What a wonderful deliverance they are having. Not as my father and all of us hoped by moral power changing the heart of the master– not as we feared by bloodhounds and fiery torch of insurrection when endurance had passed human limit, neither is their deliverance being wrought out by a thunderbolt of God’s wrath, but by the wrath and wickedness of their oppressors which is now turned to destroy themselves so that the wrath and wickedness of man is becoming the glory of God in the freedom of his long suffering devoted people who in the times of tribulation ever trusted in him. Their entire life should now be thanksgiving that their deliverance has been wrought out without one stain upon their hands and souls. Be not afraid of working up this feeling too much in them, they cannot be too thankful– Let them shout Glory to God who has gotten us the victory! Let them sing unto the Lord new songs for he hath triumphed gloriously. Their souls touched with a live coal from off the holy altar will open to the truths you teach them.” ~ Letter from Rebecca B. Spring to her cousin Lucy Chase who is teaching escaped slaves in Virginia.


Quaker women

Quaker women

November 22– Sunday– outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee– “This is another beautiful Sunday for the season and might be pleasantly spent by me with you, but every thing is monotonous here. . . . There is a move, perhaps of some great importance, going on here, if we could understand it. A good many of our troops have in the last few days gone on top of Lookout Mountain and, perhaps, over it for aught we know, and some seem to be moving to our rear, for what purpose we do not know but suppose the Enemy is trying to flank us on our left. . . . . Something is going to be done here soon, but what I am not able to say, but I think that one Army of the other will have to fall back soon. Should our Army fall back, a great many of our men will desert– a thing they are now doing to some extent but not like the will if we start back towards Atlanta, Georgia.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John Farris to his wife, Mary.

November 23– Monday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– “On behalf of the States interested in the National Cemetery here, I request of you the original manuscript of the Dedicatory Remarks delivered by you here last Thursday. We desire them to be placed with the correspondence and other papers connected with the project. (Please append your Certificate to them.)” ~ Letter from David Wills to President Lincoln.

Gettysburg Address

November 23– Monday– Knoxville, Tennessee– “I am camped in two miles of Knoxville. The Yankees still hold the city. We had orders to charge their breast works last night at 10 o’clock but the orders were countermanded and we did not make the attempt. I think it will take a hard fight to get the enemy out of that place. I was very glad that we did not attempt to storm their works last night for I thought it very likely that it would be the last works that I would storm.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier William Stilwell to his wife Molly.

November 23– Monday– outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee– A force of 14,000 Federal troops drives the 634 Confederates from Orchard Knob, pushing them back to the base of Missionary Ridge.

November 24– Tuesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– “I wish to be in Washington to try and if possible to get my son released, or be able to minister to his wants. He in connection with eight other of our citizens, were taken prisoners by the Rebel army on there retreat from the battle of Gettysburg. My son had been in the nine months service, and had been discharged a few weeks previous to the Rebel invasion, and was making arrangements to again enter the service, and for which I am anxious for his freedom. Any thing you could do for me would be thankfully received.” ~ Letter from Mr W. H. McDowell to Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, the radical abolitionist.

November 24– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– “Last Sunday we were out walking & met the Count [Adam Gurowski, 1805 to 1866, an eccentric Polish exile] the first time since you left. He immediately asked for you, & I told him where you were, he asked if you were coming back etc. & when I told him that I had heard & should write you, he said ‘My Gott, I did not know that he was such a poet, tell him so, I have been trying every where to find him to tell him myself.’ So you see. He said tell him he must write more poems. I wish that you were back here in your old room for my sake, for I miss you & shall. I should have gone to the Hospital today if it had not rained, and I shall go to-morrow I think, rain or shine. . . . I count upon your return, and on our all being together much, very much this winter, and on some good talks, & good times reading your Drum Taps. You must publish that book.” ~ Letter from Ellen “Nellie” O’Connor to her friend Walt Whitman who is visiting his family in Brooklyn, New York.

November 24– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “The employees of the Laboratory are about to perfect the establishment of a bake-house, slaughter-house and general store-house, where all the necessary provisions will be accumulated, and issued to the workmen and their families in part pay for their labor. The plan is a most excellent one, which, we understand, will go into operation in a very short time. There are employed at these works about twelve hundred persons, composed of females, men and boys.” ~ Richmond Sentinel

November 24– Tuesday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– In a day-long fight, Federal troops capture Lookout Mountain. Total casualties for the Union are 408 dead, wounded and missing while the Confederate losses reach 1251. Remaining Confederates re-enforce positions on Missionary Ridge. “The fight to-day progressed favorably. Sherman carried the end of Missionary Ridge, and his right is now at the [railroad] tunnel, and left at Chickamauga Creek. Troops from Lookout Valley carried the point of the mountain, and now hold the eastern slope and point high up. I cannot yet tell the amount of casualties, but our loss is not heavy.” ~ Report by Union General Ulysses Grant telegraphed to Washington, D.C.

battle at Lookout Mountain

battle at Lookout Mountain

November 25– Wednesday– New York City– “Last evening Henry Ward Beecher spoke again at our Academy of Music. Proceeds for benefit of Sanitary Commission. . . . . it was a vile rainy night– rebel weather– so the house was thin and our net proceeds will not exceed two thousand one hundred dollars or about one-half what we counted on. The speech was admirable and well received. I adjourned . . . to Dr Bellow’s, where were the orator and some half-dozen others, including Mrs Harriet Beecher Stowe, whom I found very bright and agreeable.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

November 25–Wednesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Press carries an editorial entitled, “Words for History,” which calls President Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech “perhaps the highest point in our history.” The whole ceremony had been “sublime.” The president has “never stood higher and grander, and more prophetic.” It was proper that “on that historic height” he should “utter words such as these.” The paper reprints the entire text of President Lincoln’s remarks.


November 25– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– “Your despatches as to fighting on Monday & Tuesday are here. Well done. Many thanks to all. Remember Burnside.” ~ Telegram from President Lincoln to General Ulysses S. Grant.

November 25– Wednesday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– In hard fighting, General Grant’s Union forces capture Missionary Ridge, thus securing all the area surrounding Chattanooga. Federal losses total 5824, Confederate losses 6667.

battle on Missionary Ridge

battle on Missionary Ridge

November 25– Wednesday– Chattanooga, Tennessee– “I have heard from Burnside to the 23rd, when he had rations for ten or twelve days. He expected to hold out that time. I shall move the force from here on to the railroad between Cleveland and Dalton, and send a column of 20,000 men up the south side of the Tennessee, without wagons, carrying four days’ rations and taking a steam-boat loaded with rations, from which to draw on the route. If Burnside holds out until this force gets beyond Kingston, I think enemy will fly, and, with the present state of the roads, must abandon almost everything. I believe Bragg will lose much of his army by desertion, in consequence of his defeat in the last three days’ fight.” ~ Report sent by Union General Ulysses Grant to Washington late this night.

General Grant

General Grant

November 26– Thursday– New York City– “How then could such a system [as slavery] make head against the spirit of such a Gospel? It was a huge mistake, demonstrated to be such by the overruling power, that has already turned slavery into the heaviest burden the rebellion has to bear. Forty thousand strong, the emancipated slaves have turned their arms against their masters, and hundreds of thousands strong, the unemancipated, have been driven into the corner States, where the diminished form of the rebellion now crouches . . . . Who can fail to foresee the issue of this great problem of slavery to the Confederacy itself? Who can help seeing that its corner-stone was laid on sand, that the noisy proclamation was a blatant falsehood, and the projected system a stupendous mistake ?” ~ Part of a Thanksgiving sermon preached by Reverend Dr Alexander H Vinton, age 56, rector of St Mark’s Protestant Episcopal Church.[Vinton holds an MD from Yale and studied theology at General Theological College of New York. By 1863 he has been in the ministry for 28 years and ranks as one of the leading preachers of the Episcopal Church and a strong supporter of the Union cause.]

November 26– Thursday– Washington, D. C.– Thanksgiving Day– President Lincoln is ill with a mild form of smallpox and confined to his bedroom.

November 26– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– “Yesterday morning one hundred and twenty-four Confederate Surgeons, who have been returned from the different bastilles of the North, arrived in this city by the steamer Schultz. The statements which they make in reference to their own treatment, and that of our prisoners, particularly the wounded, are in keeping with other statements published of the heathenish treatment to which they are subjected. One of these Surgeons, with whom we had a long and interesting interview, was captured at Williamsport, Maryland, in July last, where he had been left, in conjunction with others, in charge of some two hundred of our wounded. These men were nearly all so badly wounded that it was deemed advisable not to attempt their removal to Virginia, although abundance of time had been allowed to do so had their condition permitted it. In a few days after the occupation of the town by the Yankees, an order was issued for the removal of all these wounded to Hagerstown. The Surgeons remonstrated, but to the purpose. The next day brought a peremptory order for their removal, and, in their helpless and nearly exhausted condition, they were packed off to Hagerstown and piled away, without comfort, in the Court-House, and a guard placed around the building. . . . . One Surgeon with whom we conversed was for a time in charge of the wounded at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The treatment received there was in the main kind and humane, very little difference being made in the treatment of our own and the enemy’s wounded. The country people around the place sent in many delicacies, and the Yankee surgeons permitted them to be distributed among our wounded. Of the treatment at Fort McHenry, as a general thing, the darkest picture ever drawn by the New York Herald of ‘Life at the Libby,’ conveys but a feint conception. The rations consist of hard tack (except where it is completely excavated by worms), meat once a day, and a kind of slop in the morning which the Yankees politely style coffee. No fire has yet been allowed in the quarters of the officers, although the weather has been quite severe.” ~ Richmond Dispatch.

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