1864 September 24: Another New Regiment (44th), More Polk County Volunteers, Wisconsin’s 100 Day Men Return
Following are the smaller news items from the September 24, 1864, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.
From The Polk County Press:
ANOTHER NEW REGIMENT.—The Governor has authorized the raising of a new regiment to be known as the 44th, and has appointed Capt. Geo. G. Symes, of La Crosse, as Colonel ; Capt. O. G. Bissell, of Hartford, Lieut. Colonel ; Capt. W. Warner, of Shullsburg, Major ; and J. N. Brundage, of Grand Rapids, Quartermaster. They are all old soldiers, taken from the regiments at the front.
VOLUNTEERS.—Since the last call for 500,000 men there has been raised and forwarded from this County fourteen men, as follows :
TOWN OF FARMINGTON.
Wm. Wright, M. H. Peaslee, Samuel Tukesbury, Peter Cuenat, C. F. Nason, Seth Ayers.
TOWN OF OSCEOLA.
Albert Nason, John Brawn, Wm. Moody, Benj. Bergen, John Orne.
TOWN OF ST. CROIX FALLS.
Two Half Breeds and a Norweigean [sic], names we have not learned.
The towns of Alden and Lincoln are behind, and will probably stand the draft, which will take place between now and the 1st of October.—It commenced on the 19th inst., in all the Northern States.
THE MASS MEETING.—The Hudson “Star and Times” in speaking of the great Mass meeting, says that it promises to be the largest and most enthusiastic gathering ever held in the valley. Speeches will be made by Gov. Miller of Minn. [Stephen Miller], and Hon. Ignatius Donnelly. The Great Western Band, of St. Paul, and the Hudson City Band and Glee Club, will be in attendance and furnish music. The meeting will be held in the Court House Square, and commence at 2 o’clock.
— All persons intending to attend the Mass meeting at Hudson to-morrow (Saturday) will meet at the PRESS office to-night, (Friday) to complete arrangements.
FREE SPEECH.—The La Crosse “Democrat,” a McClellan paper [George B. McClellan], says in a recent editorial :
“Lincoln is a traitor and a murderer, and if he is elected to misgovern for another four years, we trust that some bold hand will pierce his heart with a dagger point, for the public good.”
The Beaver Dam “Argus,” of yesterday, and a McClellan sheet, quotes this extract, and comments upon it as follows : “History shows several instances where the people have only been saved by the ‘assassination’ of their rulers, and history may repeat itself in this country. The time may come when it will be absolutely necessary that the people do away with their rulers in the quickest way possible.”
Four years ago the sham Democratic party was voted down by the people. The States that chose Democratic electors thereupon rose in arms to destroy the Republic which they could no longer rule. Rebellion has proved a failure, and they now threaten assassination as a last resort against the decision of the people at the ballot box.—State Jn’l.
WHO IS PENDLETON?—The N. Y., “World” says “he is principally known to the country as a distinguished lawyer and a member of Congress.” It should say, rather, that he is chiefly known as the man who publicly “thanked God that he had never voted or given a dollar in support of the war, or in payment of Abolition Soldiers.” [George H. Pendleton]
The “Tribune” announces that it has been assured that Gen. Fremont [John C. Frémont] has determined to withdraw his name from the Presidential canvass. His letter of withdrawal will soon be published.
The President has appointed Gen. Sheridan [Phillip H. Sheridan] a Brigadier General in the Regular Army and assigned him to the permanent command of the Middle Department.
NEW YORK, Sept. 20.—An officer just from below brings a report derived from Gen. Herron’s [Francis J. Herron] Adjunct that Col. Scot,¹ commanding the rebel troops near Baton Rouge, sent a proposition to Gen. Herron to surrender from four to six thousand men, provided Herron would grant an uncodditionial [sic] pardon to the general officers of the command.
The rebels have captured Fort Smith, Arkansas together with 600 horses and mules, and 100 wagons loaded with provisions.
From The Prescott Journal:
HOW McCLELLAN’S SUPPORTERS TALKED AT CHICAGO.—The Chicago correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette says in reference to the conversation of the Democrats who attended the Convention :
“But the saddest thing in all this political talk, was the evident delight at our military failures. I do not write the words willingly ; for realizing profoundly that this rebellion can be put down by no party and by no effort that stops short of embracing the People of the North, I know how fully it is admitting that the end of these troublesome times is not yet in sight. But there could be no mistaking the tons of exultation in which the invasion of the North and the seige [sic] of the Capital, in the fourth year of the war, were paraded, and Grant’s flanking operations were laughed at, and the ability of Jeff. Davis [Jefferson Davis] was exultantly eulogized.”
The platform on which Gen. McCLELLAN accepts a nomination for the Presidency, declares that the war has proved a failure. Gen. McCLELLAN should not confound his own personal experiences with the general experience of the country. War as conducted by him was manifestly a failure. Under GRANT and SHERMAN it is a success.
It is one of the curious results of this war that the Northern cavalry have turned out better than the Southern. It is true, we are much superior in horses, but the Southern men have always been good horsemen, and it is the very place for them to show that dash and audacity, in which they claim superiority.
A GOOD CAMPAIGN DOCUMENT.—The Democratic party claim that the soldiers are warmly in favor of McClellan. We advise them to circulate their platform among them. Doubtless they would like to stack arms at Atlanta, Mobile and Richmond.
The McClellan and Pendleton Platform goes for offering JEFF. DAVIS terms of peace while in arms against the Government. The Lincoln and Johnson Platform refuses to extend terms of peace to DAVIS until he allows a willingness to lay down his arms. Which do you prefer ?
According to General McCLELLAN’S letter of acceptance, he goes for the Union on the basis of a compromise with the Slave Power ! ABRAHAM LINCOLN goes for the Union on the basis of the extermination of the Slave Power as the only basis upon which the Union can be safe. Choose between them.
1. Possibly John Sims Scott, colonel of the 1st Louisiana Cavalry.
1864 September 24: General Hooker—“Some are crying peace; but there can be no peace where there is no peace!”
The following is from The Prescott Journal of September 24, 1864.
Some of the Copperhead papers are stating that Gen. HOOKER [Joseph Hooker] supports the Chicago nominations. How much truth there is in the report let the subjoined speech indicate.—The hero of the Battle in the Clouds [the Battle of Lookout Mountain] was at Watertown, N. Y., on a short visit to some relatives there when the news of the victory of Atlanta came. In the evening, the people got out the old Wide-Awake torches of 1860, formed a procession, and called upon the General. He came forward and addressed them as follows :
“FELLOW-CITIZENS. You have come here to rejoice at the success of the Union arms, in which I am ready to join you heart and hand. My business is fighting not speech-making ; but let me now tell you that the army of Sherman [William T. Sherman] is invincible, and cannot be disheartened. We must treat this rebellion as a wise parent would a vicious child—he must whip him into subjection—no milder discipline will answer the purpose. Some are crying peace ; but there can be no peace where there is no peace ! This Union must be preserved, and there is no way of preserving it but by the power of our arms—by fighting the conspiracy to death.
This rebellion is tottering now while I speak ; it is going down, down, and will soon tumble into ruin. Politicians may talk to you about the cause of the war, but I say put down the insurgents—first whip them, and then talk about the cause of it if you have nothing else to engage your attention. I believe in treating the rebellion as Gen. Jackson treated the Indians—whip them first and treat with them afterwards. The Union cannot be divided, let politicians talk as they may ; for if division commences, where are you to end? First, the South would go, then the Pacific States, then New England, and I hear that one notorious politician has advocated that the City of New York should secede from the Empire State. In such case, there would be no end to rebellion. Gentlemen, every interest you have depends upon the success of our cause, every dollar you possess is at stake in the preservation of this Union. It will better accord with my feelings to see the limits of our glorious country extended, rather than circumscribed, and we may feel it a national necessity to enlarge our borders at no distant day. This Union, gentlemen, cannot be dissolved, as long as the army have guns to fight with ; furnish men and muskets, and the Union is secure. Fellow citizens, thanking you for the honor of your call and the patriotic spirit you manifest, I bid you a cordial good-night.
1. “[Portrait of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, officer of the Federal Army],” by the Brady National Photographic Art Gallery (Washington, D.C.), ca. 1860-65. A digital copy is available from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
1864 September 24: Atlanta Occupied — “There was something soul-stirring in that one long, loud shout of victory”
The following letter describes the Union entry into Atlanta and what they found. It appeared in the September 24, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.
The 22nd Wisconsin Infantry included men from northwest Wisconsin, primarily in Company C but also scattered in other companies. Unfortunately, we do not know who the letter-writer “Fair Play,” was. General Joseph Hooker’s XX Corps, which gets a paragraph here, included the 3rd Wisconsin, 22nd Wisconsin, 26th Wisconsin, and 31st Wisconsin infantries.
THE WAR IN GEORGIA.
The Occupation of Atlanta.
Affairs on the Lower Mississippi.
The Success is Georgia—Feeling the way to Atlanta—
Entrance of the City—Rejoicing of our Troops—
The Welcome of his People—How they Suffered—
The City very much Damaged—Great Destruction of Property by Hood—
Thousands of Deserters coming in—Our Troops enjoying themselves.
Correspondence of the State Journal.
ATLANTA, Ga., Sept. 4, 1864.
After a campaign of four months of weary marches, hard fare, and the loss of many brave men, we are happy to write from this place. Yes, the “Gate City” that “Hood felt able to hold,” “THE place where he was going to stand,” has been occupied by Yankee soldiers. Sherman has succeeded, and the rebel army is routed, whipped, and driven out. Atlanta is ours. [John B. Hood, William T. Sherman]
from the 3d division, 20th army corp stationed at Turner’s Ferry during the late movement, commanded by Col. John Coburn, who has commanded the 2d brigade during the campaign, started from the Ferry at 6 a.m. of the 2d inst. and proceeded in the direction of Atlanta. The column of 900 men moved out on the Atlanta road, the skirmishers and flankers extending away to the right and left, “feeling the way” through woods and over by-roads. We saw nothing until within sight of our old works, where some few cavalry of butternut persuasion were discovered by our advance, and routed with a loss of two captured. Here occurred a little skirmishing of the old sort. Our line halted to rest and the column got into position, for an advance.
WE ENTER THE CITY.
Col. Colburn having made proper disposition of the forces and gave necessary instructions, the expedition moved forward over our old works, through abattis, pit-falls, over the rebel works—now deserted—down and up, until at the very edge of the city, the Mayor and City council came out and surrendered the city to Col. J. Colburn, with remarks appropriate. The Mayor requested the Colonel to wait a few minutes, as there was some rebel cavalry about town. Col. Colburn told him that he should move in immediately, and did so, the rebel cavalry leaving hastily enough at the approach of our skirmish line.
came out to meet us. The long looked for Yankees had really come. The star spangled banner once more floated over the city. On went the skirmishers to the south side of the city, the column moving up White Hall street to the City Hall. Then could you have heard that cheer ! Oh, Messrs. Editors, there was something soul-stirring in that one long, loud shout of victory. The people gathered around us and one’s right arm was in danger. Women cursed the rebels who had abused and plundered them of everything. Men began to crawl from their places of concealment, from the rear guard of Hood’s army who were left to conscript and bring up able-bodied men. Our hands were full of work to take care of the deserters who had managed to “flink” the cavalry. There are many good Union people here now, a great many mechanics and merchants from the North here, hailed our coming with an unusual greeting.
shows signs of war unmistakably. Beautiful houses and public buildings are battered by our shells. The stores have been robbed by the rebels, who,
“Loth to leave, determined to leave nothing.”
Fences had been burned, the gardens plundered, and everything justified the voice of the citizens, who said had Hood staid [sic] there another day they would have had nothing left. The people had to resort to “gopher-holes,” or bomb-proofs, for protection during the hours of bombardment. One woman told me that for ten days the family had lived under ground, so exposed were they to our shells. Many have been killed or injured by the shot going through their houses. Yet for all this there are many who have undergone what they have, rather than leave, hoping soon to be inside our lines. Thank God they hoped not in vain. What must these poor people have suffered.
There are many fine buildings here. The city is beautiful for its shade trees and shrubbery. There have been extensive manufactories here of munitions of war, and the building that contained the State Iron Works is an extensive affair, though the machinery has been removed. But I will not attempt to describe just now the buildings. The principal public institutions are the City Hall, Female Seminary and Medical College.
THE TWENTIETH CORPS.
Most of the corps came up during the night of the 2d, and the tramp, tramp of the soldiers, the rumbling of the artillery, and the cheer after cheer of each successive regiment told plainly that Atlanta is ours, and “Hood is played out.”
Gen. Slocum and Gens. Geary, Williams, Ward, Knipe, Ruger, and the other brigade commanders have established themselves here. The 2d Massachusetts is doing Provost duty here, their Colonel being Provost Marshal of the city. Gen. Slocum commands the post. [Henry W. Slocum, John W. Geary, Alpheus S. Williams, William T. Ward, Joseph F. Knipe, Thomas H. Ruger].
THE DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.
Hood seems to have vented his rage on being obliged to abandon Atlanta in the destruction of property. He massed about one hundred cars, five engines, and twenty-eight car-loads of ammunition at the immense rolling mill, and in one vast fire destroyed over two millions of dollars worth of property, and that such as the Southern Confederacy could not spare or replace. Piles of ammunition, guns, etc., were thrown into wells, mud-holes, and stored up in cellars, &c. All this tells truly that Hood was surprised to find Sherman in his rear.
are occupying convenient camps in and about the city. The men are in fine spirits, got plenty of tobacco, and already the streets are full of army teams and stores. The blue-coats and shoulder-straps are very plenty and there is much in the appearance of Atlanta to correspond with the occupation of Nashville by our army.
THE PRESENT SITUATION.
The battles of the 31st ult. and 1st inst. were sanguinary. The rebel Hood finds himself driven back, headed off, and whipped completely. Deserters are continually coming in who report the rebel army very disheartened. We have over two thousand deserters from different regiments, all the way from the 1st Confederate down to the Georgia militia.
There is a fresh breeze to-day—the shower of yesterday has cooled the air. There is a warm sun shining. The bands are playing, the soldiers are going to church, and everything looks and feels like the good old times. The news is encouraging from Sherman. All honor is due our army and its good General.
More anon, FAIR PLAY.
The following article comes from the September 24, 1864 issue of The Polk County Press. It concerns the Battle of Opequon, often called the Third Battle of Winchester, which was fought on September 19, 1864, in Winchester, Virginia, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Confederate General Jubal A. Early raided the B&O Railroad at Martinsburg, West Virginia. Meanwhile, Union General Philip H. Sheridan advanced toward Winchester, crossing Opequon Creek. When the two forces met, the main assault continued for several hours and casualties were very heavy. When the Confederate left flank was turned, Early ordered a general retreat. There were serious casualties among the general officers on both sides.
A Great Battle and a Splendid Victory !
SHERIDAN DEFEATS EARLY !
He Captures 2,500 Prisoners, five Guns and 9 Battle Flags.
WINCHESTER, Va., Sept. 19.
To Lieutenant General Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] :
I have the honor to report that I attacked the forces [of] Gen. Early over the Berryville Pike at the crossing of Opequan [sic] Creek, and after a most stubborn and sanguinary engagement, which lasted from early in the morning until 5 o’clock in the evening, completely defeated him, driving him through Winchester, capturing about 2,500 prisoners, five pieces of artillery, nine army flags and most of their wounded.
The rebel General Rhodes and Gordon were killed and three other general officers were wounded. Most of the enemy’s wounded and all of their killed fell into our hands.¹
Our losses are severe ; among them Gen. D. A. Russell [David A. Russell], commanding a division in the 6th corps, who was killed by a cannon ball. Gens. Upton, McIntosh and Chapman, are wounded. I cannot tell our losses.²
The conduct of the officers and men was most superb. They charged and carried every position taken by by [sic] the rebels from Openquan [sic] Creek to Winchester.
The rebels were strong in numbers and very obstinate in their fighting.
I desire to mention to the Lieut. General commanding, the gallant conduct of Gens. Wright [Horatio G. Wright], Crook [George R. Crook], Torbett [sic: Alfred T. A. Torbet], and the officers and men under their command. To them the country is indebted for this handsome victory. A more detailed report will be forwarded.
P. H. SHERIDAN,
Maj. Gen. Commanding.
Full details of casualties will be given when received
(Signed) .E. M. STANTON [Edwin M. Stanton],
. .Sec’y of War.
LATER AND BETER [sic].
HARPERS FERRY, Sept. 22.
To E. M. Stanton:
Reliable news from the front state our army was crossing Cedar Creek yesterday at 2 P. M.
There has been no further fighting.
The following list of rebel generals killed and wounded is correct :—Gens. Rhodes [Robert E. Rodes], Ramsur [sic],4 Gordon [John B. Gordon], Terry [William Terry], Goodwin [sic: Archibald C. Godwin], Bradley Johnson, and Fitzhugh Lee.
From all I can learn the number of prisoners will approach 5,000.
Indications are that the rebels will not make a stand short short [sic] of Stannton [sic]. They are evidently too much pressed to make a fight.
(Signed) J. D. STEVENSON,
The loss to the enemy in killed, wounded and prisoners will, it is believed, reach not less than 10,000, while the circumstances of the enemy’s defeat leave Early’s army in a condition little short of absolute ruin and demoralization. The bearing of the operation on the greater problem immediately before Gen. Grant, is of capital importance and goes far to decide the fate of Lee’s army and of Richmond. [Robert E. Lee]
A disdatch [sic] just rec’d from Gen. Sherman [William T. Sherman] at Atlanta says everything continues well with him.
The reports to-day show that the draft is proceeding quietly in all the States. In most of the districts vigorous efforts are continued to fill the puotn [sic: quota] by volunteers before the drafted men are mustered in.
(Signed) E. M. STANTON,
. .Sec’y of War.
1. Union Brigadier General David A. Russell was killed, and Brigadier Generals Emory Upton, John B. McIntosh, and George H. Chapman were seriously wounded.
2. Confederate Major General Robert E. Rodes and Colonel George S. Patton, Sr. were killed. Major General John B. Gordon was not injured in the battle and lived until 1904. Major General Fitzhugh Lee, Brigadier Generals William Terry and Archibald Godwin, and Colonel William Wharton were wounded.
3. “Battle of Opequan [sic] or Winchester, Va.—Sept. 19′ 1864—Union: (Gen. Sheridan) … Conf. (Gen. Early).” This digital image is from an original 1893 Kurz & Allison print, available at the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. The UWRF University Archives & Area Research Center has in its Special Collections a copy of Battles of the Civil War: The Complete Kurz & Allison Prints, 1861-1865, Birmingham, Ala.: Oxmoor House, 1976 (Oversized E 468.7 .B3 1976), which includes a copy of this print.
4. Stephen Dodson “Dod” Ramseur (1837-1864), at one point, the youngest general in the Confederate Army, had graduated from West Point in 1860. Ramseur fought at the Battle of Malvern Hill (Seven Days Battles), where he was severely wounded in the arm. General Robert E. Lee, impressed with Ramseur’s performance at Malvern Hill, promoted him to brigadier general in November 1862, when he was only 25. He then fought at the Battle of Chancellorsville (May 2, 1863), where Ramseur was again wounded, this time in the leg. On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Ramseur’s brigade, in an assault south from Oak Hill against the Union’s right flank, hit the defenders in the rear, routing them and driving them back through the town. At the Battle of the Wilderness, Ramseur’s brigade drove Burnside’s troops back over a half mile, and the Battle of Spotsylvania, his brigade counterattacked Hancock’s Corps and he was wounded again in the arm. Ramseur assumed command of Jubal A. Early’s division when that general took over from Ewell after Spotsylvania. He fought at Cold Harbor and was the first division to intercept Grant before he could capture Petersburg. A month after the Battle of Opequon, Early routed two thirds of the Union army at the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19 where Ramseur displayed great bravery in rallying his troops. He was mortally wounded in that battle and died the next day.
1864 September 26: Jerry Flint — “The cavalry at this post is ordered to prepare for the field immediately but its destination is of course a secret”
A letter from Jerry Flint with the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry in Louisiana, to his brother Phin (Phineas) in River Falls, Wisconsin. The original letter is in the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University Archives and Area Research Center.
Camp 4th Wis Cavalry
Baton Rouge La Sept 26th 1864
I received a letter from you several days ago but being unwell at the time I was obliged to postpone answering it immediately. Lt. Knowles [Warren P. Knowles] is to start for River Falls in a few days, and I will improve the opportunity to send a letter by him.
All the company property is turned over to me and I am now Commanding Company. It is rather more responsibility than I like to have, but shall have to stand it. Our sick men in the Hospital are to receive furloughs and I suppose you will soon see them up there. Some of them are rather to [sic] healthy looking, in my opinion, to be used that way when better men have to do their duty for them. But I am not “boss” of these things. It is now approaching the termination of the sickly season, and I think that men who stand it through this month will come out all right. Such has been my experience in this Country at any rate.
Charley¹ is quite unwell but I am in hopes he will not be seriously ill. I cannot forbear to again express my high appreciation of him as a soldier. He is no shirk, but always ready and willing. In fact, he will do duty many times when he is unable rather than be reported sick. He stands very high with the veterans, and that is saying considerable in favor of a recruit. Whitefield is in very good health and has been most of the time. I have but little opportunity to see much of his actions, as I do not tent near him and the rest of the boys would not say anything before me. But at any rate he is not quite as noisey [sic] as formerly. Rossie [Roswell V. Pratt] is the same good boy as ever, and if possible I am going to have him tent with me while Warren is gone. I think him one of the treasures of earth. Henry has been “shaking” some but I think it will not last him long.
The cavalry at this post is ordered to prepare for the field immediately but its destination is of course a secret known only to our Leaders. If we start as soon as expected I shall probably to not get an opportunity to write again very soon. Times are very busy just previous to starting on an expidition [sic] ! Our sabres are all to be ground sharp and all equipment put in perfect order.
The boys talk politics considerable now the “Chicago Platform” being distributed freely through the camp. McClellan [George B. McClellan] stock does not run into very high figures, but still it has some “bidders.” His letter of acceptance is sound enough but the platform upon which he stands I do not think can bear him up through the canvass. He is a very good man but has fell into bad company. I believe him a much sounder man than Freemont [sic: John C. Frémont]. I think I shall vote for Abraham [Abraham Lincoln] although I did want to cast a big vote for Benjamin.²
We have not been paid yet and the boys are begginning to get wrathy of over the matter. It is useless though to growl and we will try and console ourselves that there will be the move coming by and by.
A friend from Natchez lent me ten dollars to day which will enable me to procure postage and I have paper enough for present purposes which I drew of the Quartermaster.
I received a letter from Helen³ last night. She was staying at Uncle Arial’s while they were visiting with “you all” (Niggertalk). Give my love to Grandmother & Aunt Lydia and in fact all the family. Tell Mother I have not forgotten her if I have not written as much as I should have done. I will do better as soon as I can. My love to Elmira and Little Lucy. Tell Lucy to write to me.
It is Sunday evening and I imagine the folks having a sing at Uncl [sic] Joseph’s. How a person’s memory will go back sometimes and dwell on old scenes and associations. But it will not do to reflect, for when the man becomes unmaned [sic]4 he will make but a poor soldier. Thoughts of peace and the happy days of old hardly correspond with my present surroundings, and should not be indulged in too much.
The chaplain5 had preaching to-night in front of his tent, but I did not go over for he is a bigger fool than I am, and that is certainly useless foolishness.
Well tattoo6 sounded some time ago and I am beginning to yawn. So hoping this may find you well and enjoying a reasonable proportion of God’s choisest [sic] blessings I remain as ever
Your affectionate Brother
1. Charles G. Knowles was the “Charley” who was a recent recruit. Charles P. Nichols has also been referred to by Jerry in letters as “Charley,” but he was a veteran.
2. General Benjamin Butler, a prominent Radical Republican who was considered as a possible opponent of Lincoln. Butler was an ally of Lincoln and early in 1864 Lincoln had asked Butler to run as his Vice President.
3. Jerry’s and Phin’s sister.
4. Today we generally think of unmanned space craft, or something similar. But unmanned can also mean a person deprived of qualities traditionally associated with men, such as self-control or courage, which are important attributes in war.
5. George W. Honey, from Sheboygan Falls.
6. A tattoo is a drum version of taps–which is the bugle version—and lets the soldiers know that it is “lights out” time, or time to go into quaters.
1864 September 24: First News of the Battle of Opequon, the Beefsteak Raid, and Price’s Missouri Raid Begins
The following summaries of the news comes from The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal of September 24, 1864.
The big news of the week is the Battle of Opequon, often called the Third Battle of Winchester. Both newspapers make mention of it in these small news items. The battle was fought on September 19, 1864, in Winchester, Virginia, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Confederate General Jubal Early raided the B&O Railroad at Martinsburg, West Virginia. Meanwhile, Union General Philip Sheridan advanced toward Winchester, crossing Opequon Creek. When the two forces met, the main assault continued for several hours and casualties were very heavy. When the Confederate left flank was turned, Early ordered a general retreat. As you will see in the news item from the Journal, there were serious casualties among the general officers on both sides.
The items about captured cattle refer to what is called the Beefsteak Raid, which took place September 14-17, 1864, as part of the Siege of Petersburg. Always lacking in supplies, Confederate Major General Wade Hampton led a force of 3,000 troopers on a 100-mile raid to acquire cattle that were intended to feed the Union Army. Hampton’s force captured 2,468 cattle, along with 11 wagons and 304 prisoners. The Union did not recover the cattle.
The item on Sterling Price in Missouri is the beginnings of Price’s Missouri Expedition. In September of 1864, Confederate General Sterling Price left Camden, Arkansas, and marched north with his “Army of Missouri” to liberate his home state. If Price was able to seize St. Louis it would be a big blow to President Lincoln’s re-election and a boost to Southern morale. The Army of Missouri was organized into three divisions, led by Generals James F. Fagan, John S. Marmaduke, and Joseph O. Shelby. The first battle of the Expedition will come on September 27 at Fort Davidson, also known as the Battle of Pilot Knob.
From The Polk County Press:
As will be seen in another column, Gen. Sheridan has achieved a splendid victory over the rebel Gen. Early in the Shenandoah. This is most cheering news.
— A despatch from Buffalo gives the particulars of another attempt of our Canada “brothers” to release rebel prisoners on Johnson’s Island. They managed to capture two small steamers, the Philo Parsons and Island Queen. They also expected the capture the U. S. Steamer Michigan, but this part of the programme failed, and six of the plotters were arrested. The rebels finding that their plans had fallen run the captured vessels for Canada, and partially destroying them.
— The subscriptions to the different Government loans, come in faster than they can be attended to. The Government will not be cramped for money.
— Large re-enforcements are going forward to Gen. Grant’s Army of the Potomac, and matters there are looking very favorable. [Ulysses S. Grant]
— Gen. Grant is now with the army of the Shenandoah.
— The city of Wilmington, Del., has gone largely Union at its city election. Its first Union victory.
— News from Europe speaks of a great monetary panic.
— Another pirate is at work on the Banks of Newfoundland.
— Another great fire has taken place in Broadway N. Y. City, causing a loss of $250,000.
— Gen. Grant and Admirable [sic] Bailey¹ are both coming to New York, where they will be met by Gens. Dix [John A. Dix] and Franklin [William B. Franklin], and Admirals Porter [David D. Porter] and Stringham [Silas H. Stringham]. The design of the consultation cannot now be made public.
— The Draft has commenced in Minnesota.
— The Eleventh Minnesota were to leave St. Paul, ‘en route’ to Nashville, on Thursday.
— The New York “News” of a very recent date says : “We are happy to be able to announce that preliminary steps are being taken by the friends of Peace, to call a National Convention of the Democracy to place in nomination candidates for President and Vice President.”
The “Freeman’s Journal” makes the same announcement, declaring that unconditional Peace candidates will be nominated.
Other authorities, and apparently good ones, state that Fernando Wood has pronounced for McClellan [George B. McClellan] and that Vallandigham [Clement L. Vallandigham] has become reconciled, and is about to take the stump again.
If this be true, it would be interesting to know upon precisely what conditions these gentlemen have relinquished their opposition.
— The “Herald’s” Washington special says Secretary Fessenden [William P. Fessenden] will resign his position, and that either Chase [Salmon P. Chase] or Rrobert [sic] J. Walker² will be appointed October 1st.
— The “Tribune’s” Washington special says Gen. Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] has effected an arrangement for exchange of sick and wounded of both armies.
— The “Post’s” Washington special says the commissioners appointed by the Union prisoners in Georgia, to urge an exchange of prisoners of war, have arrived here, and will soon meet the President.
— The rebels made a dash on Harrison’s Landing a few days ago, and captured 3000 head of cattle, but were afterward overtaken and recaptured by a portion of the 5th corps, together with 700 prisoners.
— John Mitchel, the Irish exile, is said to be serving as a conscript private with an ambulance corps in the rebel army.
— The “Herald’s” correspondent in front of Petersburg, with the 9th corps, 13th, says : “Deserters continue to report great dissatisfaction among the rebel soldiers. A new regulation has been established, that is, if a rebel soldier advances beyond his post without his musket, he is to be fired upon by his comrades. If he comes forward with his piece, of course he is likely to be fired on by our pickets.”
— Sterling Price is moving towards Missouri with 5,000 troops, and intelligence of his entrance into the State is hourly expected. Magruder [John B. Magruder], Shelby and Dobbins4 are co-operating with him, and a portion of their forces are at or near Cape Girardeau. The village of Iron Mountain was captured by a detatchment [sic] of Marmaduke’s command on Tuesday.
— The Chicago “Times” got up a bran [sic] new sensation lie, to the effect that recruits and substitutes are to be branded on the small of the back with the letter “J.” Its foundation for the story is the alleged suggestion of some alleged doctor, who is alleged to be in the employ of the War Department. No such suggestion, if ever made, was ever acted upon, and the whole thing is a despicable rebel canard. Got up to prevent enlistments and excite resistance to the draft.
From The Prescott Journal:
— The new of the past week is very favorable. Operations in Grant’s department are going on successfully. The rebels on Monday captured nearly 6,000 head of cattle from Grant, but they were re-taken and the enemy severely punished.
—Sheridan has won a splendid victory over the rebel Gen. Early in the Shenandoah Valley. The following dispatch tells the story :
HARPER’S FERRY, Sept. 20.
To E. M. Stanton :
I have just heard from the front that Sheridan has defeated the enemy, capturing 2,500 prisoners, five pieces f artillery and five battle flags. Rebel Generals Gordon and Rhodes [sic] were killed, and three others wounded.5 Our loss was about 2,000. Gen. Russell, of the 6th corps, was killed. Gen. McIntosh lost a leg.6 The enemy escaped up the valley under cover of the night. Sheridan is in Winchester.
(Signed,) J. D. STEVENSON.
LATER.—Later news give even more favorable accounts of Sheridan’s victory. He has completely routed Early’s force, taking over 5,000 prisoners. Seven rebel Generals were killed and wounded.
1. Theodorus Bailey (1805-1877) was appointed a midshipman in 1818 (at the age of 12 ) and saw his first sea duty between 1819 and 1821 the frigate he was assigned to cruised to the western coast of Africa to protect the new colony of former slaves established by the United States (now Liberia). Between 1821 and 1827 his tours of duty included protecting shipping from pirates. In 1827 he received a commission as a lieutenant, and in 1833 was assigned to a 3-year cruise around the world searching for shipwrecked and stranded American seamen. From 1838-1840 he served in the New York Navy Yard. After the Mexican War broke out (spring 1846), Bailey received his first command, the sloop Lexington, and led his command in a blockade of the coast around San Blas in Lower California and made a successful raid on the town in January of 1847. In 1849 he was promoted to commander and in 1855 to captain. At the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the Gulf Blockading Squadron with his ship, the Colorado. During the push to take New Orleans the city went off on 24 April, Bailey commanded one of the gunboat divisions during the fight to pass Forts Jackson and St. Philip. Once that feat had been accomplished, he continued on upriver to demand and receive the city’s surrender on the 25th.
2. Robert John Walker (1801-1869) was an economist and statesman from Mississippi, who was a passionate defender of slavery who also supported the Union cause during the Civil War. He served as a U.S. senator from Mississippi (1835-1845), the U.S. secretary of the treasury (1845-1849), and the 4th Territorial governor of Kansas (1857). During the Civil War, as financial agent of the United States (1863-1864), he did much to create confidence in Europe in the financial resources of the United States, and was instrumental in securing a large loan from the German Confederation.
Fessenden had only started his service as secretary of the treasury on July 5, 1864, and will remain until March 3, 1865, when he will be succeeded by Hugh McCulloch.
3. Archibald “Arch” S. Dobbins (1836-ca. 1869) owned a plantation near Helena, Arkansas, before the Civil War. In 1862 Dobbins joined a Confederate regiment commanded by Thomas C. Hindman, who made Dobbins a colonel on his general staff. Following that he was given command of a cavalry brigade that became known as “Dobbins Cavalry” (formally the 1st Arkansas Cavalry). Dobbins’ brigade was assigned to General Lucius M. Walker’s division and fought in major engagements, raids, and skirmishes throughout eastern and northeastern Arkansas. After Walker was killed in a duel with fellow General John S. Marmaduke, Dobbins assumed command of Walker’s division. Dobbins refused to serve under Marmaduke, and Marmaduke had him arrested and court martialed. Despite a guilty verdict, Dobbins never officially surrendered his command and continued to operate his cavalry brigade out of the Helena area.
5. Union Brigadier General David A. Russell was killed, and Brigadier Generals Emory Upton, George H. Chapman, and John B. McIntosh were seriously wounded.
6. Confederate Major General Robert E. Rodes and Colonel George S. Patton, Sr. were killed. Major General Fitzhugh Lee, Brigadier Generals William Terry and Archibald Godwin, and Colonel William Wharton were wounded. Patton was the grandfather of World War II’s General George S. Patton, Jr.
Major General John B. Gordon, uninjured in the battle (died in 1904), was forced to leave his wife behind in Winchester as he struggled to keep his troops intact during the full retreat. She managed to escape Union capture.
7. “The Confederate Rout at Winchester,” from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, by Alfred H. Guernsey and Henry M. Alden (Chicago: McDonnell, 1866-68):710; available in the UWRF Archives (E 468.7 .G87 1866).
1864 September 24: “Mr. Halverson confirms the stories about the shocking treatment our men receive in the rebel prisons,” specifically Andersonville
There are so many good choices in this letter to use as the heading for this post! Edwin Levings is in good form with this letter to his cousin, Charlotte “Lottie” Levings. The original letter is in the Edwin D. Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Camp of the 12th Wis. Vols.
Near Atlanta Ga, Sept 24th / ’64
Dear Cousin Lottie;
Yours of August 30th was duly rec’d and perused with much pleasure; and for its kind and free expression receive my thanks.
Having a little while this morning in which to write, I hasten to answer; but I should say being minus the material to make a letter of much interest, I hardly know what to say. I have a fear that, as you probably hear from me not unfrequently via Father and Mother, my letters to you are much like old stories. I will not allow it, however, to prevent me from writing to you, for I love to receive your letters and will answer them all, though but poorly.
You speak of Cousin Elbert’s marriage. We did not know of it till your letter came, not having rec’d any letters from Cousins Louisa and Emma for some time. I never made our to write to him. Will you say to him for me — long life and much happiness to you and wife. I wish he had waited til “this cruel war is over.” I could not write to him, now, without thinking he is married, could I?¹
By a letter from Father yesterday I learned you are to lose Prof. Wilcox.² I am very sorry, for he will be greatly missed in River Falls. The Sabbath school, the church, and society there will all feel they have parted with a most valuable member. Who can fill his place? I shall always feel he has been greatly wronged, that he was compelled by the malice of evil minded person to exile himself from home and friends. Nobly has he stood up against the shafts of persecution wishing no one evil, but doing good to all as opportunity offered. There are some persons who seem incapable of appreciating a good man; and it is a fact that none of us fully know the worth of such a man till he has gone from our midst. God bless him wherever he goes.
Will you have the kindness to inform Mr. Roberts’³ family that the Co. has received some intelligence about him which, perhaps, they have not heard. Private Halverson4 whom we thought was killed in the battle of the 21st July, returned to the Co. last night. He was taken prisoner and sent along with Mr. Roberts to Andersonville Ga., and the other day was exchanged. Mr. Roberts a few days before, thinking Gen. Sherman’s [William T. Sherman] men were not to be exchanged soon managed to be sent off for exchange to Charleston or Belle Island. He was well and kept up good courage. If he had waited a few days he would have been exchanged here. Mr. Halverson confirms the stories about the shocking treatment our men receive in the rebel prisons. He said there were 35,000 of our men there huddled together in one inclosure. That they died at the rate of 120 to 130 per day, that their daily ration consisted of but pt. meal, a bit of bacon and a little salt.
Most of the inhabitants of Atlanta have been sent to the rebel lines. Gen. Sherman does not intend to feed them with one hand and fight them with another as has been done. You ought to see them as they go out in our ambulances to the rebel lines, old and young, fair and homely, exiled from their homes with a few old tables, chairs, &c by the destestable Yankees. Serving them right, I say. They are a bitter race and if they would have their independence they must take some other means than war and treason to get it.
An old citizen said to one of our boys recently that if we had captured the city of Atlanta by charging the rebel works it would have been a great victory for our arms; but that the way we did take it was a disgrace to us.
We have good news from our Eastern armies — that Gen. Sheridan [Philip Sheridan] has achieved a great victory. Good ! Every rebel defeat, while it adds to the discourgement [sic] and demoralization of their armies, adds to the discomfiture and shame of the “peace men” at home. This war can not go on much beyond this year, for I feel confident that our victories and the coming elections will give the rebels and “peace men” such a quietus that they will give up the struggle as a lost game.
Our non-veterans will be going home abut the 20th next month. They feel confidant that the veterans will not have to stay in service another year. I do not think it will be longer than that.
We have considerable rainy weather now, and some of the boys have begun to have the chills. Homer has had several, but is well now. We have drawn a few new tents and expect more.
I feel myself dull to-day and guess I had better stop writing. Will you please write often and accept with best wishes from your Cousin,
1. Myron Elbert Levings (b. 1843) was the son of Edwin’s and Homer’s Uncle John Denison Levings (1811-1891). He probably went by his middle name because there were so many Myrons in the family. Elbert married Nancy Fidelia Charter on May 1, 1864. Cousins Lucy Louisa (b. 1840) and Emma Eliza (b. 1842) were sisters of Lottie (Charlotte Amelia, b. 1845) and Hattie (Harriet Lucinda, b. 1849), the daughters of Edwin’s and Homer’s Uncle Alpheus Hall Levings. After the Civil War, Lottie married Jerry Flint’s brother, Phineas C. Flint.
2. Benjamin Wilcox (1816-1875), originally from Connecticut, was the head of the River Falls Academy from 1856 to 1864. In the 1860 Federal census of River Falls, Wilcox is listed as a “professor of languages.” He had living with him two children—Edward and Willis, both born in New York—from his first wife, and three more—Helen, born in New York, and Grace, born in Wisconsin—with his second wife, Caroline.
3. Samuel C. Roberts, from New Richmond, was taken prisoner at Atlanta on July 16.
4. Torbion Hulverson (official roster), was a mis-spelling of Torbjorn Halverson. He was from Martell (Pierce County), and had only enlisted on January 25, 1864, before being taken prisoner in late July at Atlanta.