On Monday, November 2, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln received an invitation to participate in the dedication of a new cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for those who had fallen there during July’s battle.
The ceremony’s date, November 19, was less than three weeks away, and Lincoln’s invitation came as an afterthought by the ceremony’s organizers, since the original intention of such a ceremony was to emphasize the states which would share the expense of the project, not the nation.
On Saturday, October 31, 1863 President Jefferson Davis entered Savannah, Georgia to an exuberant torchlight procession which was followed by a reception at the local Masonic Hall. The beleaguered Confederate president who had not seen such adoration for several weeks on his western tour must have been pleased by his greeting.
On Thursday, October 29, 1863 Confederate President Jefferson Davis, while in Atlanta, Georgia, approved a request of General Nathan B. Forrest which would detach Forrest’s command from Braxton Bragg’s army besieging Chattanooga in order to conduct a raid into north Mississippi and west Tennessee.
It was a well known fact that Bragg and Forrest had experienced personal difficulties and detaching Forrest’s cavalry from Bragg’s army would resolve yet another conflict within Bragg’s command.
Late October 1863 witnessed yet another, continuing Union bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charlestown, South Carolina. On Tuesday, October 27, a total of 625 Federal artillery shells were fired at Fort Sumter.
During the night of October 28-29, 1863 Confederate troops under General James Longstreet attempted to disrupt the “Cracker Line,” resupplying Union held Chattanooga by attacking at Wauhatchie, Tennessee.
From New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 23, 1863 Commodore Henry Bell, commander of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, informed Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles by letter that Union General Nathaniel Banks had requested transports to convey himself and a force of Union troops to the mouth of the Rio Grande River in Texas, with the express purpose of occupying the island of Brazos Santiago at the mouth of the river.
On Saturday, October 24, 1863 General Ulysses Grant ordered a supply line to be opened at Brown’s Ferry on the Tennessee River. If successful, Union bases in Alabama could more directly supply Chattanooga rather than using the lengthy, more difficult mountain trails north of the Tennessee River.
On Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24, 1863 both the Confederate and Union leadership made important command decisions. While on a tour of the western states, President Jefferson Davis at Meridian, Mississippi relieved General Leonidas Polk from command of a corps in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.
On Tuesday, October 20, 1863 after conferring with Union Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Ulysses Grant left Louisville, Kentucky for Chattanooga, Tennessee. At Stevenson, Alabama Grant conferred with William Rosecrans who Grant had replaced in command at Chattanooga and continued on his way toward that city.
The mountain roads on which he traveled were almost impassable due to their muddy condition, and Grant clearly suffered from an injury to his leg which occurred earlier in New Orleans when his horse fell on him.
As Lee retreated from the Manassas area, Jeb Stuart and his cavalry ambushed and routed Union General Judson Kilpatrick and the Federal cavalry at Buckland Mills, Virginia on Monday, October 19, 1863.
The Federal cavalry was driven back some five miles, in what Confederates derisively called "The Buckland Races." The following day, when Stuart’s cavalry retired across the Rappahannock River, Lee’s short campaign against Washington, D.C. officially ended.