On Tuesday, October 13, 1863 Abraham Lincoln was pleased to learn that voters in the North had rejected the Peace Democrats and Northern Copperheads. Especially satisfying for Lincoln was the defeat of Clement Vallandigham, the notorious Copperhead who ran for governor of Ohio, despite having campaigned by mail while in exile in Canada.
While Jefferson Davis visited with Bragg in north Georgia, Abraham Lincoln remained in Washington, D.C., maintaining a continuing dialogue with numerous politicians and his field generals. With Lee’s army threatening Washington, D.C., the president sent many messages to George Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac.
On Tuesday, October 6, 1863 Confederate President Jefferson Davis left Richmond, Virginia on a trip to Charlestown, South Carolina and to north Georgia to visit Braxton Bragg’s army besieging William Rosecrans’ Union forces at Chattanooga.
On Monday, October 12, 1863 Abraham Lincoln wired General George Meade, asking “What news this morning?” Rumors had reached Washington, D.C. about the Army of Northern Virginia’s movements, and the president was very concerned.
On Friday, October 9, 1863 Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began crossing the Rapidan River in an attempt to move against Washington, D.C. Lee hoped to take advantage of Meade’s army, reduced in size due to reinforcements sent to Rosecrans in the West, while also preventing any further transfers.
The size of the Army of the Potomac still greatly exceeded that of Lee’s force, but the North feared Lee’s military prowess. On October 10, Abraham Lincoln wired George Meade, asking “How is it now?”
During the early days of October 1863 Confederate cavalry raiders actively harassed Union forces throughout the South. Confederate cavalry under General Joseph Wheeler, having previous destroyed a Union supply train, skirmished near Readyville, Tennessee and then destroyed an important railroad bridge over Stone’s River near Murfreesboro, temporarily disrupting the Union supply line to its troops in Chattanooga.
On Monday, October 5, 1863 at Charlestown, South Carolina the Confederates carried out a daring naval raid against the blockading Union fleet. At approximately ten o’clock on a hazy October night, the CSS David, a torpedo boat commanded by Commodore W.T. Glassell, rammed her torpedo into the side of the unsuspecting, wooden hulled ironclad the U.S.S. New Ironsides.
Correspondence from Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis over Chickamauga highlighted the confidence, or lack thereof, which both men had for their respective army leaders.
On October 3, 1863 Davis wrote Braxton Bragg, citing the differences of opinion between Bragg and General Leonidas Polk and noting, “opposition to you both in the army and out of it has been a public calamity in so far that it impairs your capacity for usefulness…”
In October 1863 Union General Nathaniel Banks attempted once more, following his spectacular defeat earlier at Sabine Pass, to gain a foothold in Texas.
Under orders from the Union War Department, Banks on Saturday, October 3, 1863 ordered Union troops under General William B. Franklin to move northwest from New Iberia, Louisiana and Berwick Bay area to probe toward Texas with the intention of establishing a land route for a potential invasion of East Texas.
October 1863 brought at bit of temporary relief to the Confederate nation. Its forces had successfully halted Union drives against Charlestown, South Carolina and East Texas and had won at Chickamauga, bottling up Rosecrans Union army at Chattanooga.