Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 12, 1864 (Monday): A Hard Winter In Eastern Tennessee

Bridge at Strawberry Plains, Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, January 12, 1864.
Major General U. S. GRANT:
   The cold weather and high rivers have made things worse; many animals are dying daily; the pontoon bridge at this place has been broken twice since you left by high water and floating ice. As soon as the bridge at Strawberry Plains is done and weather moderates I shall move two corps to Dandridge to obtain forage and corn and wheat. Everything is eaten out north of Holston River, also nearly everything is eaten up at Mossy Creek. My move to French Broad River is therefore rendered imperative. Some quartermaster stores have arrived, but not in sufficient quantity. No rations by last boats. Am entirely destitute of bread, coffee, and sugar. Have telegraphed this to General Thomas. Trust you may be able to raise the amount of supplies by river. The weather is intensely cold, with one inch of snow on the ground.

     J. G. FOSTER,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 32, Part 2, Pages 71.

Foster's account is a good example of why winter campaigns were simply not practical in most cases.  Subsisting man and beast was difficult and moving a force of any size over poor roads and swollen rivers often was impossible.


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