Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One Man's Opinion of the Mine Run Campaign

Today at Brandy Station: December 7, 1863

I have a few letters in my collection for Michael S. Austin, a Lieutenant in the 5th New Jersey Infantry. On this day he wrote to his father thanking him for shipping a box of goods, including butter ("Butter is good – and I am sure most officers would like to mess with me while it lasts.")

But what interested me was his commentary concerning General George Gordon Meade's decision not to continue the fight at Mine Run:

"Much censure is cast upon Gen Mead[e] for the apparent failure of the late campaign. Those who were more closely connected & interested in that affair, are satisfied that it terminated as it should have done, after they saw what they had first to overcome – considering, that there was a chance that the [?] might be repulsed – in which case a rout would, almost, have been a certain thing. Today there are 15,000 men living, & of service, if properly used. In the case contemplated, that number of men would have been lost to the enemy & country, with a great chance of defeat."

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