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

December 18.—The Richmond Despatch of this day contained the following: “We can assure such members of the confederate Congress as feel disposed at this decisive crisis in the national affairs to give undue prominence to querulous complaints and denunciations of the government, that they do not represent the public sentiment of the country—nay, so far from that, they are arousing in the minds of a people whose salvation depends upon the harmony and cooperation of all the public servants, deep and stern dissatisfaction.

“At this solemn moment, when every patriot should be willing to postpone all minor differences to a period when the enemy shall not be thundering at the gates, the country has a right to demand that the voice of faction shall be hushed, and that every man shall smother his private griefs, and give his heart and hand to the common salvation.

“We are all embarked in the same vessel, we are all tossing upon the same stormy sea, and, in the event of shipwreck, none has as much to lose as the officers of the ship, and especially the man whom we have ourselves called to the quarterdeck, and who has every conceivable motive to do the utmost for our preservation that human wisdom and energy can accomplish.

“Would to heaven that, for a time at least, till this hour of imminent peril be passed, the voice of dissension and discord could be hushed, and the counsels of patriotism and prudence govern the pulsations of every heart, and the utterance of every lip. We can assure Congress, that nothing so disheartens the true friends of the country as the fault-finding abuse heaped upon the public servants, at a time when we should all be engaged in beating back the public enemy.

“It would be mournful enough that our cause should be borne down by our vile and dastardly foes, but a far deeper humiliation, an unspeakable disgrace, that it should perish by our own hands. But the people will not let it perish either by the hands of indiscreet friends or open foes, and we warn them both to stand clear of an avalanche which will inevitably fall upon their own heads.”

—Captain Leeper, commanding National scouts in South-East Missouri, overtook three guerrillas, belonging to Reeve’s band, near Black River, and succeeded in killing the entire party.

—A fight took place at Fort Gibson, between a party of guerrillas, under Quantrell, and six hundred National troops, belonging to the Indian brigade, commanded by Colonel Phillips. The engagement lasted five hours, and resulted in the complete defeat of the guerrillas.

—The chaplains of General Lee’s army held a meeting at Orange Court-House, Va., to-day. Most interesting reports were made, showing a high state of religious feeling throughout the army. The great success of the army is due to the religious element which reaches every corner of it; whilst, on the other hand, I am very much disposed to fear, from what I have been told by officers who have served in the army of Tennessee, that the lack of success of that army is due, in a large measure, to the want of religious influence upon the troops.—Cor. Richmond Despatch.

—In the Virginia House of Delegates, Mr. Hutcheson offered a series of resolutions deprecating the Amnesty Proclamation of President Lincoln as “degrading to freemen, that, having calmly counted the cost and weight, the dangers and difficulties, necessary for the achievement of the rights and independence they covet, the people of the Old Dominion spurn with contempt the proffered pardon and amnesty.”—Five military executions took place in the respective divisions to which they belonged, in the army of the Potomac.—Commodore Gershom J. Van Brunt, of the United States navy, died at Dedham, Mass.

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