Thursday, May 21, 2015

Winter Camp 1863-64

Second Michigan Infantry

The extreme suffering from cold and hunger of Burnside's army at Knoxville was without a parallel in the whole war. Following is a memorandum of an inspection of one brigade which unquestionably represented the condition of Burnside's entire army at that time: 
Regiments in the brigade: Second Michigan Infantry, One Hundredth Pennsylvania, Twentieth Michigan Infantry, Seventh Michigan Infantry, Provost Guard
Without underclothing: 374
No shoes: 386
No blankets: 65
No overcoat: 471
No tents: 218
No socks: 657
No pantaloons: 295
No coats: 186
(Source: Michigan in the War, Michigan. Adjutant-General's Department, State Printers, 1882)


Michigan Seventeenth Infantry

On the raising of the siege the regiment participated in the pursuit of the enemy as far as Bean's Station, but falling back to Blain's Cross Roads, it there encamped until the 16th of January 1864. From the commencement of the retreat to Knoxville, during the siege and the movements subsequent thereto, and while at Blain's Cross Roads the regiment endured much hardship and privations. Living on quarter rations foraged from an almost destitute country, their sufferings were greatly increased by the want of clothing. On an inspection made during the intensely cold weather in January it was found that some were entirely without shoes, and others nearly barefooted, a large number were without overcoats, and but few had a change of underclothing. The regiment marched to Strawberry Plains on the 16th of January. On the 20th, our forces having withdrawn the regiment, was left to guard the crossing of the Holston river. January 21st, it was engaged in skirmishing with the enemy, but on the following day fell back to near Knoxville, skirmishing with the rebel cavalry during the movement. On the 24th, it broke camp near Knoxville and participated in the advance to Morristown, falling back to Mossy creek March 2d, where it remained until the return to Morristown on the 12th. On the 14th, with a small body of cavalry, the regiment engaged in a reconnaissance to the bend of Chucky river, seven miles from Bull's Gap, where the enemy were in force. Finding two battalions of rebel cavalry posted at the mouth of Lick creek, the regiment forded the stream and forced the enemy's position, the rebels fleeing and leaving their camp baggage and a number of arms and horses. Marching from Knoxville the regiment on the 21st proceeded to Nicholasville, Ky. (Source: Michigan Seventeenth Infantry)

Longstreet's Winter Headquarters in Russellville Link

The highest praise is due to officers and men of both battalions for gallantry on the field and the patience and fortitude with which they endured their labors and exposure to the inclement weather, with only the summer allowance of blankets and tents, and in great need of clothing and shoes."
"The artillery horses suffered severely and some were lost for lack of horseshoes. Our only source of supply for over a month what could be collected from dead horses." Report of Col E Porter Alexander C 8 Artillery Chief of Artillery (Congressional Serial Set, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1891, p. 481)

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