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1863 November 7: Battle of Wauhatchie and Other News

November 7, 2013

The Polk County Press’ summary of the week’s news, from its November 7, 1863, issue.

The News.

Up to our latest dispatches by way of Mail, we have nothing of importance from the seat of war. there has been no fighting reported during the past week.  Returns from the Eastern elections indicate that Massachusetts has gone Union by a largely increased majority.  New York has undoubtedly gone Union.  The vote in New York city and Brooklyn shows a Union gain of 17,000.  From returns given in the St. Paul Press of the 4th we find that Minnesota has gone Union by a rousing majority.— Wisconsin has elected Lewis [James T. Lewis] by the home vote beyond a doubt.

The Union gain in Milwaukee is 2,200.  Three Union Assemblymen HUBBELL, CASWELL, and ZIMMERMAN are elected—all gain.  Other cities and counties show large Union gains.  Hannibal, Mo., has gone Radical Abolitionist two to one.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2.—The following was received to-day at the headquarters of the army :

CHATTANOOGA, Oct. 29, 11-30 P. M.  To Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck [Henry W. Halleck] :

Since the fight of the night of the 2d the enemy has not disturbed us.¹

Gen. Joe Hooker took many prisoners, among whom are 4 officers, and 103 men ;  he also captured nearly 1,000 Enfield rifles.  His loss is 350 officers and men, killed and wounded.  [Joseph Hooker]

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8.—the appointment of General Butler to the Department of which Fortress Monroe is at present the Headquarters is considered an earnest of a purpose to conduct the war in that quarter on what are briefly known as Butler principles.  [Benjamin F. Butler]

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3.—All the able bodied troops under Gen. Martindale,² the Military Governor, are to be relieved from duty here and sent to the field. Their place will be supplied by the Invalid corps. The 157th Pennsylvania has already been relieved, and will leave to-day.

And on another page of the same paper:

The News.

NEW YORK, Oct. 29th.—A Chattanooga letter to the Herald says that deserters continue to come into our lines, notwithstanding the extraordinary measures taken by Bragg to prevent them.  [Braxton Bragg]

Nine men and a commissioned officer, Tennesseans, came in yesterday.  The officer, who is intelligent and apparently honest, tels [sic] a tale which is cheering and inspiring to all good Union men, and which corroborates previous information.

He says a full brigade of Tennessee troops, with their General at their head, attempted to come through our lines in a body one day last week.

A fight of a most sanguinary character ensued, in which artillery, musketry and bayonets were used for 3 or 4 hours, resulting in the overpowering the discontented Tennesseeans [sic] after some 800 men had been slaughtered on both sides.  The sound of the cannon had been heard in our lines at the time, but nobody could explain the meaning of the brisk fire, so close to the enemy’s rear.  The officer says the matter was hushed.

The health of the army at Chattanooga, notwithstanding the extraordinary hardships it has experienced, is very good.

A large field hospital is established near town, and the sick receive the best of care and food.  Grant is doing a great and good work here.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1.—The following was received this morning at the headquarters of the army :

To Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck—

CHATTANOOGA, Oct. 29.—In the fight of last night¹ the enemy attacked Gen. Geary’s Division, posted on the Waupatchie [sic], on three sides, and broke his camp at one point, but was driven back in the most gallant style by part of his force, the remainder being held in reserve.  [John W. Geary]

Howard, whilst marching to Geary’s aid, was attacked on both, flanks, the enemy occupying in force two commanding hills on the left and right of our army.  [Oliver O. Howard]

He threw forward two of his regiments and took both at the point of the bayonet, driving the enemy from his breastworks, and across Lookout Creek.

In this brilliant success over their old adversary, the conduct of officers and men of the 11th and 12th corps is entitled to the highest praise.

(Signed) GEO. S. THOMAS, [George H. Thomas]
Major General.

KNOXVILLE, October 30.—Our forces which occupied Loundon have retired to the north side of the river, and now occupy the heights commanding London.  Other dispositions unchanged.

Hawkins’ Band of Guerrillas Attacked and Defeated.

NASHVILLE, October 30.—Lieut. Col. Snively of the 1st Middle Tennessee Infantry³ attacked Hawkins, a guerilla chief near Penny Factory, and routed and pursued him to Centreville, where Hawkins made another stand and attacked the Federals while crossing the river.

Hawkins was again routed and pursued until his force was disposed with the loss of 20 killed and 66 prisoners, including Griffith, formerly editor of the “Nashville Union and American.”  Our loss was trifling.

NEW YORK, Nov. 1.—To Col. Robert Nugent. A. A. P. M. General, New York :

The representations made by Dean Richmond and Peter Cagger, in a printed circular, dated Oct. 27th, 1883, in respect to the action for the Provost Marshal General [P.M.G.] are untrue.  It is not true that the State of New York is charged with a deficiency for every citizen who paid the $300 commutation money and received no credit therefor.  On the contrary the State receives the same credit for a man who has paid commutation as if the drafted citizen had gone in person or furnished a substitute.

In like manner, towns which have raised the money to pay their quotas, receive the same credit as if actual substitutes had been furnished.

The President has ordered that every citizen, that has paid $300 commution [sic] shall receive the same receipt therefor as [i]f he had furnished a substitute, and is exonerated from military service for which he was drafted, to wit :  for three years.

As the misrepresentations of Dean Richmond and Peter Cagger have been published and circulated for electioneering purposes, it is proper that you give them immediate correction.

JAS. [James] B. FRY, P. M. G.

1.  This describes the Battle of Wauhatchie, which took place October 28-29, 1863, along the border of Tennessee and Georgia. The “2d” is a typographical error.
General Ulysses S. Grant had recently relieved General William S. Rosecrans of his command and replaced him with General George H. Thomas. Grant and Thomas initiated the “Cracker Line Operation” on October 26, 1863. It was designed to open the road to Chattanooga from Brown’s Ferry on the Tennessee River so supplies could get through to the Union army in Chattanooga. Simultaneously the Union troops would advance up Lookout Valley, securing the Kelley’s Ferry Road. Meanwhile, General Joseph Hooker marched with three divisions from Bridgeport and on October 28 Hooker’s column entered Lookout Valley, to the astonishment of Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg and James Longstreet. Hooker, while his force passed through Lookout Valley on October 28, detached General John W. Geary’s division at Wauhatchie Station to protect the line of communications to the southwest as well as the road west to Kelley’s Ferry. In one of the few night battles of the Civil War, the Confederate forces attempted to dislodge the Union force defending the ferry and close their supply line, but were defeated.
2.  John Henry Martindale (1815-1881) graduated from West Point but resigned from the Army a year later to study law, which he then practiced in New York state. In August 1861, Martindale was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers in the Union Army, and participated in all the battles of the Peninsula Campaign. After the retreat from Malvern Hill, he was brevetted a major general of volunteers, and appointed Military Governor of Washington, D. C., a post he held from November 1862 to May 1864.
3.  The 10th Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was originally recruited and designated as the 1st Middle Tennessee Infantry, largely from Irish-Americans.

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