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occasion. I would like to speak in terms of praise due to the many brave officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the Union and liberties of their country from the beginning of the war. These are trying occasions, not only in success, but for the want of success. I dislike to mention the name of one single oficer, lest I might do wrong to those I might forget. Recent events bring up glorious names, and particularly prominent ones; but these I will not mention. Having said this much, I will now take the music.
The President, a few days afterwards, wrote to General Grant the following letter :
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, July 13, 1863. Major-General GRANT:
MY DEAR GENERAL:- I do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service you have done the country. I write to say a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you should do what you finally did-march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like, could succeed. When you got below, and took Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river, and join General Banks, and when you turned northward, east of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment, that you were right and I was wrong.
A. LINCOLN. These victories, together with others, both numerous and important, which were achieved in other sections of the country, gave such strong grounds of encouragement and hope for the speedy overthrow of the rebellion, that, on the 15th of July, the President issued the following proclamation for a day of National Thanksgiving : By the President of the United States of America.
A PROCLAMATION. It has pleased Almighty God to hearken to the supplications and prayers of an afflicted people, and to vouchsafe to the Army and the Navy of the United States, on the land and on the sea, victories so signal and 80 effective as to furnish reasonable grounds for augmented confidence that the Union of these States will be maintained, their Constitution preserved, and their peace and prosperity permanently secured; but these victories have been accorded, not without sacrifice of life, limb, and liberty, incurred by brave, patriotic, and loyal citizens. Domestic affliction, in every part of the country, follows in the train of these foarful bereavements. It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of the Almighty Father, and the power of His hand equally in these triumphs and these sorrows.
Now, therefore, be it known, that I do set apart Thursday, the sixth day of August next, to be observed as a day for National Thanksgiving, praise, and prayer; and I invite the people of the United States to assemble on that occasion in their customary places of Worship, and in the form approved by their own conscience, render the homage due to the Divine Majesty, for the wonderful things He has done in the Natio behalf, and invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit, to subdue the anger which has produced, and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion; to change the hearts of the insurgents; to guide the counsels of the Government with wisdom adequate to so great a National emergency, and to visit with tender care, and consolation, throughout the length and breadth of our land, all those who, through the vicissi. tudes of marches, voyages, battles, and sieges, have been brought to suffer in mind, body, or estate, and finally, to lead the whole nation through paths of repentance and submission to the Divine will, back to the perfec
oyment of union and fraternal peace. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this 15th day of July, in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of [L. 8.) the independence of the United States of America the eightyeighth.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President:
WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
In other portions of the field of war, our arms, during the year 1863, had achieved other victories of marked importance which deserve mention, thongh their relation to the special object of this work is not such as to require them to be described in detail.
After the retreat of the rebel General Lee to the south side of the Rapidan, a considerable portion of his army was detached and sent to re-enforce Bragg, threatened by Rosecrans, at Chattanooga; but, with his numbers thus diminished, Lee assumed a threatening attitude against Meade, and turning his left flank forced him to fall back to the line of Bull Run. Several sharp skirmishes occurred during these operations, in which both sides sustained considerable losses, but no substantial advantage was gained by the rebels, and by the 1st of November they had resumed their original position on the south side of the Rapidan.
After the battle of Murfreesboro, and the occupation of that place by our troops, on the 5th of January, 1863, the enemy took position at Shelbyville and Tallahoma, and the winter and spring were passed in raids and unimportant skirmishes. In June, while General Grant was besieging Vicksburg, information reached the government which led to the belief that a portion of Bragg's army had been sent to the relief of that place; and General Rosecrans was urged to take advantage of this division of the rebel forces and drive them back into Georgia, so as completely to deliver East Tennessee from the rebel armies. He was told that General Burnside would move from Kentucky in aid of this movement. General Rosecrans, however, deemed his forces unequal to such an enterprise ; but, receiving re-enforcements, he commenced on the 25th of June a forward movement upon the enemy, strongly intrenched at Tullahoma, with his main force near Shelbyville. Deceiving the rebel General by a movemeut upon his left ilank, Rosecrans threw the main body of his army upon the enemy's right, which he turned so com. pletely that Bragg abandoned his position, and fell back rapidly, and in confusion, to Bridgeport, Alabama, being pursued as far as practicable by our forces. General Burnside had been ordered to connect himself with Rosecrans, but had failed to do so. Bragg continued his retreat across the Cumberland Mountain and the Tennessee River, and took post at Chattanooga, whither he was pursued by Rosecrans, who reached the Tennessee on the 20th of August, and on the 21st commenced shelling Chattanooga and making preparation for throwing his army across the river. A reconnoisance, made by General Crittenden on the 9th of September, disclosed the fact, that the rebels had abandoned the position, which was immediately occupied by our forces, who pushed forward towards the South Indications that the rebel General was receiving heavy re-enforcements and maneuvring to turn the right of our army, led to a concentration of all our available forces, and, subsequently, to the appointment of General Grant to command the whole army thus brought together. On the 19th of September, General Rosecrans was attacked by the rebel forces--their main force being directed against his left wing under General Thomas, endeavoring to turn it so as to gain the road to Chattanooga. The attack was renewed the next morning, and with temporary success— Longstreet's Corps having reached the field and poured its massive columns through a gap left in the centre of our line by an unfortunate misapprehension of an order; but the opportune arrival and swift energy of General Granger checked his advance, and the desperate valor of Thomas and his troops repulsed every subsequent attempt of the enemy to carry the position. Our losses, in this series of engagements, were 1,644 killed, 9,262 wounded, and 4,845 missing-a total swelled by the estimated losses of our cavalry to about 16,351. The rebel General immediately sent Longstreet against Burnside, who was at Knoxville, while he established his main force again in the neighborhood of Chattanooga. On the 23d of November, General Grant moved his army to attack him, and on the 25th the whole of the range of heights known as Missionary Ridge, held by Bragg, was carried by our troops after. a desperate struggle, and the enemy completely routed. This was a very severe engagement, and our loss was estimated at about 4,000. Generals Thomas and Hooker pushed the rebel forces back into Georgia, and Granger and Sherman were sent into East Tennessee to relieve Burnside and raise the siege of Knoxville, which was pressed by Longstreet, who, failing in this attempt, soon after retreated towards Virginia.
Upon receiving intelligence of these movements the President issued the following recommendation :
EXECUTIVE Mansion, WASHINGTON, D. C., December 7, 1863. Reliable information being received that the insurgent force is retreat ing from East Tennessee, ander circumstances rendering it probable that the Union forces cannot hereafter be dislodged from that important position; and esteeming this to be of high national consequence, I recommend that all loyal people do, on receipt of this information, assemble at their places of worship, and render special homage and gratitude to Almighty God for this great advancement of the National cause.
On the 3d of October, the President had issued the following proclamation, recoinmending the observance of the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving:
o stoja? The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unoqualled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict, while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. The needful diversion of wealth and