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

February 8th, 1863.

We are under marching orders again—ready to move at a minute’s notice. The Ninth Army Corps is detached from the Army of the Potomac and is ordered to report to General Dix, at Fortress Monroe. The supposition is we go on an expedition somewhere —rumor says Vicksburg. The first detachment has gone, and we are awaiting the return of the transports. The men are well pleased with the idea of going farther south. For myself, I say any place but this. When we came here the country was a wilderness, covered with a heavy growth of scrub pine. Now it is a desert with scarcely a tree, and not a fence rail for miles in any direction.

It seems that Richmond has lost its strategic importance, and the “decisive blow” which was to have fallen there has been transferred to five other points, viz: Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Rosa’s and Foster’s expeditions, and Charleston. “If these prove successful,” say the Washington papers, “the rebellion will end in thirty days.” God grant them all success.. When I survey the past history of the war I can see but little in the immediate future to encourage hope. The conviction is forced upon me that if the North subdue the South, the war has but just begun. It can and will be done, but time and persevering effort only will accomplish it. The people are too impatient. They demand important victories now, while some fortified place—Vicksburg, for instance—can only be taken by siege, and siege means weeks and months of waiting.

Government, urged on by the people, acts as if the salvation of the country depends on all this being accomplished before the fourth of March. But I see nothing but failure in haste.

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