September 5-6, 1863: “[Men] are wanted everywhere, but where will they come from?”

By now, Bragg was aware of the Union crossings, and had informed President Davis in Richmond of that fact. Battle was expected daily, and the talk of making a decisive effort in Georgia grew. Captain Robert Garlick Hill Kean was head of the Confederate Bureau of War, stationed in Richmond from early in 1862 until the very end, April 1865. Kean was a close observer, close to the halls of power, and recorded what he saw in his diary. 

 September 5, 1863, Richmond:

“The on dit now in ‘official circles’ now is that General Lee with a part of the Army of Northern Virginia is going to Tennessee, [and] that [General Joseph E.] Johnston has been relieved and has reported to the court of inquiry at Montgomery. This last is a very decisive step at the present junction. Lee and the President have been riding around inspecting the fortifications of Richmond for a week past. Bragg and Hardee command in Alabama now.

Curiously, another court of inquiry was meeting near Chattanooga. The Texans of Deshler’s Brigade, Cleburne’s Division, now in Hill’s Corps, Army of the Tennessee; had originally been captured at Arkansas Post. That ignominious defeat stigmatized them, and rankled. Captain Samuel T. Foster of the 24th Texas Cavalry noted, in a post-war recollection based on memory of his lost diaries of the time, that as late as September 6th the issue was still being investigated. 

The yanks are advancing on this place [Chattanooga] with a view to going into Georgia and Alabama. The Confederacy wants more men. Lee wants men. Bragg wants men. They are wanted everywhere, but where are they to come from?

Hardee’s [now Hill’s] Corps moves up on the E. T. & Va. [Ga.] RR to a place called Tiner’s [Tyner’s] Station, and go into camp. Here the General Court Martial meets for the purpose of investigating the surrender of Ark. Post. Nearly every officer that was there are summoned as witnesses, and all tell it just about as I stated it.All the investigation could not ascertain who gave the order to raise the white flag on the Fort. . . They came very near finding where it started, but not who started it. Nor will it ever be known in this world.

Foster was proved correct. Very soon, other, more pressing issues, would arise. 

3 Responses to “September 5-6, 1863: “[Men] are wanted everywhere, but where will they come from?””

  1. Pat McCormick Says:

    One does wonder, however, how much longer Fort Hindman would have held out without the seemingly premature white flags. I’m guessing Churchill would have had to capitulate sooner rather than later.

    I’ve read enough excerpts of Foster over the years, in various battle studies, that I get the impression it must be a very interesting read.

  2. Dave Powell Says:

    You should read him, Pat. Good first-person account. He gets quoted a lot (Not as much as Sam Watkins, but then, who does?) but usually for the battle stuff. Doing a day-by-day timeline brings to light little tidbits like this one.

  3. Closing In on Chickamauga in the Words of the Soldiers Themselves | Emerging Civil War Says:

    […] Back in Richmond, bureaucrats were feeling less sanguine. The manpower pinch was acute, wrote Captain Robert Garlick Hill Kean, head of the Confederate Bureau of War: “[Men] are wanted everywhere, but where will they come from?” […]

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