On January 8, 1863, Confederate forces failed to dislodge Union supply and medical facilities in Springfield, Missouri. The attack force of approximately 1,700 Confederates was commanded by Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke.
Facing the attack was a Union force of 2,000, which had the advantage of solid defensive fortifications and the higher ground. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the slaveholding state of Missouri had declared itself to be an “armed neutral.”
The American Civil War exposed profound evils in American society. While General Ulysses S. Grant played a central role in the war’s outcome, he also perpetrated one of its more unfortunate infamies.
On January 6, 1863, President Lincoln rescinded Order #11, recently issued by Grant in December, which barred all Jews from the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. In issuing the order, Grant accused Jews of profiteering from the black market trade in cotton.
Unlike previous conflicts, the American Civil War saw the rapid transmission of news, thanks to the invention of the telegraph. Within three days of the Emancipation Proclamation becoming official, the public was already offering divergent interpretations.
On January 4, 1863, Reverend Nathanial Hall of Dorchester, Massachusetts told his congregation that the moral stain of slavery had “poisoned the whole atmosphere of American social life.” As a result of slavery, freedom and justice in the country had become paralyzed.
On January 3, 1863, the three-day Battle for Stone’s River concluded. The battle had seen Confederate General Braxton Bragg attempt to assume a commanding position in middle Tennessee.
Twice, Bragg moved against Union positions under the command of Major General William J. Rosecrans. With the benefit of artillery and superior positioning, Rosecrans prevailed both times, and Bragg finally withdrew. After having faced a string of disappointments in the previous year, the Union enjoyed a boost in morale in the battle’s aftermath.
On January 2, 1863, the outcome of the bloodiest conflict in the nation’s history remained very much in doubt. In the West, the previous year had seen the Union capture the critical port of New Orleans, and Ulysses S. Grant prevail, albeit barely, at the battle of Shiloh. But in the East, the war remained a stalemate.