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150 Years Ago: Monday, December 8, 1862


Sketch of 12-pounder NapoleonSource: Library of Congress

Sketch of 12-pounder Napoleon
Source: Library of Congress

John Beauchamp Jones receives correspondence in the Confederate War Department from General Robert E. Lee that states that in the recent campaigns he has suffered the effects of having inferior artillery and fixed ammunition. He has been able to somewhat catch up to the Union’s technology by having opportunities to capture the enemy’s batteries on several occasions, but he’s still at a disadvantage. He puts in a request for four twelve-pounder Napoleons to be sent to him immediately, as his next battle will be principally using artillery.

Lee also sends C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis a letter requesting more troops, to which Davis responds that he regretfully has none to give. If he did, they would most likely be sent to the Western theater where the need was becoming dire. “In Tennessee and Mississippi the disparity between our armies and those of the enemy is so great as to fill me with apprehension,” Davis writes. He mentions that he will be leaving immediately on a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee to meet with General Joseph E. Johnston to see what can be done about the situation.

In Mississippi, U.S. Major General Ulysses S. Grant orders Major General William T. Sherman and his corps to proceed downriver with Admiral David Dixon Porter’s river fleet to approach Vicksburg via the Yazoo River. He believes that this will outflank the Confederate army in northern Mississippi and weaken their position.

In Prairie Grove, Arkansas, C.S.A. Major General Thomas Hindman asks for time to take care of his wounded and bury his dead, which U.S. Major General James Blunt grants. However, Hindman instead uses the time for his army to retreat further away from the field towards Van Buren, as his army is out of supplies, the men have no food or ammunition and his artillery is badly depleted. As the Confederates march south, Hindman’s army of approximately 9,600 is reduced to 5,000 due to casualties, wounded men left behind, fatigue and desertion.

U.S. Commanding General Ambrose Burnside is working with his engineers to create two pontoon boat crossings, which he wants to start putting into place tomorrow night as long as they can do it quietly and avoid heavy artillery fire from the enemy. He has decided that crossing at the city of Fredericksburg is the best route for success.

About thecivilwarproject

Like many others, I have a passion for the Civil War era, and for decades have chosen to spend my much of free time researching this topic - particularly the people, as the human component is what I find most fascinating. The site is not a source of revenue for me, nor is it tied in with a company or individual behind the scenes. It is my own personal venture. It is because of this genuine bond of respect and affection I feel towards this period in our history that I created "The Civil War Project." If this is your first time visiting the site, I welcome you and thank you for your interest. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to contact me at thecivilwarproject@yahoo.com.

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