Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

December 11.—The annual report of the rebel Secretary of War was made public. He refers to the operations of the army in its several departments, and says that the campaign in Mississippi was certainly disastrous. It is difficult to resist the impression that its disasters were not inevitable. That a court of inquiry, to investigate the whole campaign, met in Atlanta in September, but in consequence of the vicinity of the enemy, requiring the presence of witnesses and judges at other points, it has been temporarily suspended. It is expected soon to reassemble. A deficiency of resource in men and provisions, rather than reverses in battle, caused the withdrawal of the army to Middle Tennessee. He alludes to desertion, straggling, and absenteeism, and says that the effective force of the army is but little over half or two thirds of the men whose names are on the muster-rolls. He recommends the repeal of the substitute and exemption provisions, and that all having substitutes be put back into the field, and that the privileges which Congress granted to put in substitutes can be regularly and constitutionally abrogated by the same power. He says that no compact was entered into between the government and the person furnishing a substitute, as has been alleged, but only a privilege which government accorded. Instead of complaining of such abrogation, the person ought to feel gratified at what has heretofore been allowed him. He recommends an abridgment of exemptions and the conscription of them all, making details according to the wants of society at home. He says that the three years’ men, when their terms expire, cannot be finally discharged, and should be retained, allowing them to choose the existing company under its present organization in the same arm of the service. He recommends the consolidation of such companies and regiments as are reduced below a certain complement. He pays a glowing tribute to the heroism, endurance, and unfaltering devotion of the soldier, and of the lamented dead who yielded their lives as sacrifices upon the altar of liberty, and closes by saying that our very reverses, showing a united and determined endurance of every thing for independence, must convince the enemy of the futility of his efforts to subdue us.—Richmond Examiner.

—The steamboat Brazil, while passing below Rodney, Miss., was fired upon by rebels onshore. Three women and one man were killed.

—Robert Ould, the rebel Commissioner of Exchange, addressed the following official letter to Brigadier-General Meredith, the agent of the National Government: “As the assent of the confederate government to the transmission, by your authorities and people, of food and clothing to the prisoners at Richmond and elsewhere, has been the subject of so much misconstruction and misrepresentation, and has been made the occasion of so much vilification and abuse, I am directed to inform you that no more will be allowed to be delivered at City Point. The clothing and provisions already received will be devoted to the use of your prisoners. When that supply is exhausted, they will receive the same rations as our soldiers in the field.”

—Major-General Burnside, in obedience to orders from the War Department, resigned the command of the army of the Ohio to Major-General John G. Foster.—The rebel government saltworks on West-Bay, Florida, were destroyed by an expedition from the United States armed vessels Restless and Bloomer. The government works were three quarters of a mile square, and one hundred and ninety-nine salt-works belonging to companies and private individuals, with five hundred and seven boilers, kettles, etc., the whole worth three millions of dollars.

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