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1863 October 24: Rosecrans Removed

October 24, 2013

Following is a summary of the week’s war news from The Polk County Press of October 24, 1863.

The News.

Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans (cropped), from the Library of Congress

Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans (cropped), from the Library of Congress¹

Gen. ROSECRANS [William S. Rosecrans] has been removed from the command of the Department of the Cumberland, and ordered to report to Cincinnati.¹  The Departments of the Cumberland, the Ohio, and the Mississippi have been united, and Gen. GRANT placed in command.— Gen. THOMAS is temporarily in command at Chattanooga.  GRANT, THOMAS, GRANGER, BURNSIDE, HOOKER, SLOCUM, and HOWARD, will make a pretty strong team, and if they give a “long pull, a strong pull,” and what is of vital importance, “a pull all together,” they will be sure to start old BRAGG on his gulfward march.²

Gen. BANKS and Gen. FRANKLIN [William B. Franklin], have landed at Point Isabel, at the mouth of the Rio Grande, and will move up to Brownsville, incidentally to prevent illegitimate traffic, but mainly for the purpose of watching the operations of the French in Mexico.³

Gen. BURNSIDE gives an account of a series of brilliant operations in his department, which resulted in the expulsion of all the rebel forces in East Tennessee.

There has been six days’ hard fighting on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, in Mississippi, in which the rebels were whipped handsomely with a loss to them in killed alone, of about six hundred men.

The War Department offers a bounty of $402 to every veteran who shall re-enlist, and $302 to raw recruits for old regiments in the field.  The recruit will have the choice of the regi- [sic: regiment] in which he will serve.

1.  The Union army managed to escape complete disaster at the Battle of Chickamauga, but Rosecrans’ days were numbered. Even though Bragg had not destroyed the Army of the Cumberland, but the Battle of Chickamauga was the worst Union defeat in the Western Theater. Thomas urged Rosecrans to rejoin the army and lead it, but Rosecrans was physically exhausted and psychologically a beaten man and he remained in Chattanooga. Grant, as commander of the newly created Military Division of the Mississippi, was given the choice of replacing Rosecrans with Thomas, which he did. Rosecrans was sent to Cincinnati to await further orders, but ultimately he would play no further large part in the fighting. He was given command of the Department of Missouri from January to December 1864, where he will be active in opposing Sterling Price’s Missouri raid.
The portrait of General Rosecrans is from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. It is the work of the Brady National Photographic Art Gallery in Washington, D.C., and was taken during the Civil War (1861-1865).
2.  Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant, George H. Thomas, Gordon Granger, Ambrose E. Burnside, Joseph Hooker, Henry W. Slocum, and Oliver O. Howard.  Confederate General Braxton Bragg.
3.  General Nathaniel P. Banks was put in charge of the Red River campaign, a doomed attempt to occupy eastern Texas. Banks in 1863 disagreed with this strategy, and instead wanted to mount sea expeditions to capture the Galveston area and Mobile. By 1864, when preparations for the Red River expedition were far advanced, General Henry W. Halleck began referring to the Red River expedition as Banks’ plan, in order to dodge responsibility for what became an expensive failure. Banks will be removed from command in April 1864.

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