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1864 September 17: McClellan’s Acceptance Speech

September 20, 2014

The following is also from the September 17, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.


McClellan’s Letter of Acceptance. 

Made up of Glittering Generalities. 

Copperhead Platform Avoided. 

No Dissent Expressed from it. 

Union Must be Preserved. 

Peace on any Other Basis is Impossible. 

NEW YORK, Sept. 8.

The Committee appointed by the Chicago Convention to notify Gen. McClellan [George B. McClellan] of his nomination, met this morning at the St. Nicholas Hotel.  Nearly all the members of the committee were present.  At one o’clock the committee left the hotel and proceeded in carriages to the mansion of Gen. McClellan in 81st street where they were received by the General and Col. Lansing.  After the ceremony of introduction and a brief interview, the committee presented to General McClellan a copy of the proceedings of the Chicago Convention and a letter advising him of his nomination.

The General accepted the nomination, and his letter to that effect is a as follows :

ORANGE, N. J. Sept. 8.

To Hon. Horatio Seymour and others, Committee, etc. :

GENTLEMEN—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter informing me of my nomination by the Democratic National Convention recently held at Chicago, as their candidate at the next election for President of the United States.

It is unnecessary for me to say to you that this nomination comes to me unsought.  I am happy to know that when the nomination was made, the record of my public life was kept in view.  The effect of long and varied service in the army, during war and peace, has been to strengthen and make indelible in my mind and heart the love and reverence for the Union, Constitution, laws and flag of our country impressed upon me in early youth.  These feelings have thus far guided the course of my life, and must continue to do so until its end.  The existence of more than one Government over the region which once owned our flag is incompatible with the peace, the power, and the happiness of the people.  The preservation of our Union was the sole avowed object for which the war was commenced.  It should have been conducted for that object only, and in accordance with these principles which I took occasion to declare when in active service.  Thus conducted the work of reconciliation would have been easy, and we might have reaped the benefits of our many victories on land and sea.

The Union was originally formed by the exercise of a spirit of conciliation and compromise.  To restore and preserve it, the same spirit must prevail in our councils and in the hearts of the people.  The re-establishment of the Union, in all its integrity, is and must continue to be the indispensable condition in any settlement.  So soon as it is clear and even probable, that our present adversaries are ready for peace, upon the basis of the Union, we should exhaust all the resources of statesmanship practiced by civilized nations, and taught to the traditions of the American people, consistent with the honor and interests of the country, to secure such peace, re-establish the Union, and guarantee for the future the constitutional rights of every State.  The Union is the one condition of peace–we ask no more.

Let me add what I doubt not was, although unexpressed, the sentiment of the Convention, as it is of the people they represent, that when any one State is willing to return to the Union, it should be received at once, with a  full guarantee of all its constitutional rights.  If a frank, earnest and persistent effort to obtain those objects should fail, the responsibility for superior consequences will fall upon those who remain in arms against the Union.  But the Union must be preserved at all hazards.  I could not look in the face of my gallant comrades of the army and navy, who have survived so many bloody battles, and tell them that their labors and the sacrifice of so many of our slain and wounded brethren had been in vain; that we had abandoned that Union for which we had so often periled our lives.  A vast majority of our people, whether in the army and navy or at home, would, as I would, hail with unbounded joy the permanent restoration of peace, on the basis of the Union under the Constitution without the effusion of another drop of blood.  But no peace can be permanent without Union.

As to the other subjects presented in the resolutions of the Convention, I need only say that I should seek, in the Constitution of the United States, and the laws framed in accordance therewith, the rule of my duty, and the limitations of Executive power; endeavor to restore economy in public expenditure, re-establish the supremacy of law, and by the operation of a more rigorous nationality, resume our commanding position among the nations of the earth.  The conditions of our finances, the depreciation of the paper money, and the burdens thereby imposed on labor and capital, upon the necessity of a return to a sound financial system; while the rights of citizens and the rights of States, and the binding authority of law over President, Army and People, are subjects of not less vital importance in war than in peace.

Believing that the views here expressed are those of the Convention and the people you represent, I accept the nomination.  I realize the weight of the responsibility to be borne, should the people ratify your choice.  Conscious of my own weakness, I can only seek fervently the guidance of the Ruler of the Universe, and, relying on His all-powerful aid, do my best to restore union and peace to a suffering people, and to establish and guard their liberties and rights.

I am, gentlemen,
. . . . . . .Very respectfully,
. . . . . . . . . . .Your obed’t servant,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .GEO. B. McCLELLAN.

1864 September 17: McClellan’s Nomination, the Chicago Platform, and a Copperhead Conspiracy

September 19, 2014

The following reprinted article from the New York Herald appeared in the September 17, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

The New York Herald on McClellan’s Nomination. 


The Copperhead Conspiracy to Inaugurate a Revolt in the North. 

The New York Herald, the most widely circulated, and the most influential Democratic newspaper in the United States, thus speaks of the Chicago peace platform, the nomination of Gen. McClellan [George B. McClellan], and the Copperhead conspiracy to inaugurate an insurrection in the North.  The force of the article is not diminished by the fact that the Herald is a violent opponent of the Administration and for some time past has been advocating an armistice.  But the proposition for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” is a step beyond where it is willing to go :


We have not the slightest doubt that there is a mutual understanding between the Seymours [Thomas H. Seymour], the Woods [Fernando Wood], Vallandigham [Clement L. Vallandigham] and the rebels. This understanding is shown in the secession platform adopted by the Chicago Convention, and in the nomination of Mr. Pendleton [George H. Pendleton], of Ohio—who is a practical secessionist—for Vice President. We have now driven the rebels completely to the wall. Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] has the best of them at Richmond, and General Sherman [William T. Sherman] has succeeded in capturing Atlanta. This is not the time, then, that any reasonable man would be talking about ” an immediate cessation of hostilities.” We are in favor of an armistice, like that between Prussia and Denmark, where both sides hold their ground and are ready to begin the conflict at any moment, but there is a vast deal of difference between such an armistice and the “immediate cessation of hostilities” which the Chicago platform requires. Nothing can explain such a platform except the hypothesis that it was dictated by Jeff. Davis [Jefferson Davis] to the peace Democrats, and that these peace men foisted it upon the Chicago Convention as the price of their endorsement of General McClellan’s nomination.

For three years past the Herald has sustained and defended the hero of Antietam.  We have done full justice to his generalship, his statesmanship, his honesty and his patriotism.  But when McClellan takes his stand upon a cowardly peace platform, we are at a loss how to follow him and defend him.  This the General has not yet done, and we hope that he will never be foolish enough to do it.  We advise and urge him to come out boldly and declare that his only platform is his past record as a Union General, and that his sentiments are those expressed in his letter from Harrison’s Landing and his  at West Point.  If he hesitates to do this he is lost.  There must be no prevarication nor equivocation.  The rotten Chicago platform must be kicked to pieces, and McClellan’s own platform substituted.  He had better a thousand fold decline the nomination than to accept it upon such conditions as those imposed by the Convention.  The Chicago Platform invites defeat, it must be broken up, either by McClellan himself or by the voice of the people at the polls.

We candidly and sincerely believe that the peace copperheads at the North do not desire election of McClellan any more than the Southern secessionists declared the election of Douglas [Stephen A. Douglas] or Breckenridge [sic: John C. Breckinridge] in 1860.—They bitterly opposed McClellan at Chicago, and openly denounced him as a tyrant and a usurper.  Finally they accepted him upon condition that they should have the platform and the Vice President.  But even now the copperheads are not earnest in his support.  There is no saying but that Mr. Lincoln may be elected by a small majority and in that event the Copperheads intend to raise a revolution at the North.  This they can very readily do if the people do not beware of the trap.  Suppose the election to be decided by only a few thousand votes, then the Democratic minority will be nearly as strong as the Republican majority.  In fact, the minority will be stronger ;  for the Democrats will fight, while the Abolitionists will not.  What then is to hinder a revolution ?  Is it the army ?  The moment the army is withdrawn to put down an insurrection here the rebels will come out of their intrenchments and capture Washington.  This, as we understand it, is part of the Copperhead plan, and if successful it will put an end to the Government of the country.

That this idea of a vast northern conspiracy between the copperheads and the rebels is no more bugbear, is evident from the fact that the Chicago Convention, instead of adjourning sine die,¹ as conventions usually do, adjourned to meet again at the call of the Executive Committee.  This is equivalent to the organization of a revolutionary body.  Our merchants and capitalists so consider it ;  for they are closing up business, shipping their goods back to Europe, turning their property into gold, sending their property across the water, and in every way preparing to leave the country as soon as the revolution begins.  These movements are not to be lightly considered.  They mean mischief and show that trouble is brewing.  Gen. McClellan can avert that trouble and restore public confidence if he have the pluck and sagacity to ignore the Chicago platform and come out boldly as a Jackson Democrat on the platform of  his past record.  Then he will have a fair chance of election, because he will not be bound to a cowardly policy if he be elected.  But what could Washington himself do if he were to pledge to negotiate for “an immediate cessation of hostilities ?”  The Chicago platform will encourage the rebels to hold out until election, and, as things stand at present, the Peace Copperheads have promised them one of two things :  either the election of Mr. Lincoln and a Northern insurrection—in which case the rebels will have the upper hand of us ;  or, in the event of McClellan’s election, “an immediate cessation of hostilities,” in which case the rebels will have everything their own way.  General McClellan can destroy these schemes by framing his own platform out of it.  Then a northern insurrection will be impossible ;  and, if the people do their duty in the meantime, there will be no rebellion left to make terms with, and no Jeff. Davis in existence to receive an offer for “an immediate cessation of hostilities.”  This is as great a crisis as that as Harrison’s Landing or at Antietam.  Let Little Mac² reflect deeply and act wisely.

1.  A Latin phrase meaning to adjourn with no future date of meeting assigned.
2.  “Little Mac” was a nickname for McClellan.

1864 September 18-19: Ed Levings — “All the talk is about the elections and the military campaigns”

September 18, 2014

A letter started by Homer Levings and finished by his older brother Edwin.  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 near Atlanta Ga, Sept 18th

Dear Parents,

                          It has been a long time since I have had the pleasure writing to you, but I hope that we will have the privilege of writing to you now, for a while a[t] least, though I do no expect we that we [sic] shall lay here long.  I do not propose to write any news however, for Ed has told you everything.  It is Sunday and everything quiet, we are having a nice shower at the present time.  It reminds that the rainy season is upon us again.  It will be bad, I think, for this army, without tents and exposed to all kinds of weather.  I see a¹ good many of the boys are coming down with the ague [fever] again, it is a dreadful sickness.  Ed told you to send me some allumb² but I shall not need it now, for I have some sinc [sic].³  [paragraph break added]

He wrote, [“]We read yours of the 29th ult., last night[”], it must have been delayed somewhere, for we have had letters of a later date.  You speak of buying Comodores’ team, I think by the discription [sic]  you gave of them that it would be a good piece of property to own, but I suppose it would be necessary to dispose of the mare and colt, and I do not suppose that it would be very easy matter while the fear of the draft prevails.  I see that most of a good many of the papers [are] anxious to have the draft postponed so that the quotas may be filled by volunteering.  I think that it is the worst thing that can be done for it gives those miserable cowards and copperheads a chance to stay at home, while if there was a draft they would stand a chance [to] come into the field well as the rest.

[Edwin takes over:] 19th.  Homer says to me close his letter for him as he does not feel first rate this afternoon. I will add a word or so.

We expect to be paid this week.  Whether we shall receive any installments of bounty, I can not tell.

You speak of Commodore’s horses.  If they suit you and you could do better by buying them than keeping the mare & colt, then you should make the trade.  Were I you, I would make the trade if I though I could better myself by so doing.  We can soon aid you with what money you want for what purpose, or anything else.

Every body in the army now, the Tenn. army, at least, is in confident mood as to speedy end of the rebellion.  All the talk is about the elections and the military campaigns.  Maine & Vermont have given heavy Union majorities and it is believed the other States will do likewise.  Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln] & Johnson’s [Andrew Johnson] election is looked upon now with far more confidence than awhile ago.  The hellish designs of the Peace Democracy & Copperheads are clearly understood.  We know what they intend.  The Chicago platform of these men is a very nice thing on the outside.  The Union they mean is the “Union as it was,” that is, with slavery which is to again resume sway over the nation.  McClellan [George B. McClellan] says he will make “the Constitution and the laws the rule of his conduct.”  Yes, he knows that to outstep the limits of the Constitution as Mr. Lincoln is doing, will crush the rebellion forever.  He knows this is the only & right way to do it, but for the sake of policy, the interest of the Democry [sic], both North & South, that it may rise into power, he pledges himself to make the “Constitution & laws the rule of his conduct.”  No wonder his supporters are pleased, “The Union of all hazards.”  They would make it appear that a Union on the basis of dishonorable peace, though they do not say so, is far better than that the war should go on till the rebels are made to accept our own terms & the Union be thus preserved !  Their platform is only a mask of their real designs.  [paragraph break added]

We are in good spirits.  We have delayed our letters longer than intended.  Write soon.  Yours &c., E.D. & H.W. Levings

1.  Homer’s poor handwriting makes this look like one word: Iseea.
2.  If you have never read a “Homer letter,” he was a terrible speller. This is alum, which was used to treat fever, among other things.
3.  This was probably another misspelling by Homer and should be zinc, which was also used to cure fevers.

Homer Levings letter of September 18, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Homer and Edwin Levings letter of September 18, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

1864 September 17: “The News of the War is Not Very Exciting” — A Lull in the Battles

September 17, 2014

The following news summary is from the September 17, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.  There does not seem to be much happening.

The News.

The news of war is not very exciting.  Gen. SHERMAN is resting his army at Atlanta, and will soon make another demonstration against the rebellion.  His communications with Chattanooga have been restored, and he is in telegraphic communication with Washington.  [William T. Sherman]

GRANT is watching LEE as a cat watches a mouse.  If LEE comes out of his hole before GRANT stops it up he will be “gobbled.”  If GRANT is successful in stopping up the hole, LEE will be smothered.  Of course.  [Robert E. Lee]

SHERIDAN is fighting, with good success, with the rebels in the Shenandoah valley.  [Philip H. Sheridan]

GOLD is from 219 to 227, very unsettled owing to speculation.

The News Paragraphs. 

The weather is excessively hot, at Memphis, and numerous fatal cases of sun-strokes have occurred, including six soldiers.

The New Ironsides, which has been under repairs for some time past at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, has left that port active for duty.

At the request of the War Department the 189th Illinois, 100 day men, have consented to extend their services fifteen days beyond the regular term of their enlistment.

The Union men along the river below New Madrid have organized and armed themselves under Granville Hays, and already have had several fights with guerrillas, killing a considerable number of them.

Richmond papers say that in the battle near Atlanta our troops were at first repulsed, but finally drove the enemy back with heavy loss, including Generals Anderson,¹ Patten² and Hardee [William J. Hardee].

The Union citizens of Tennessee, hold a convention at Nashville, to-day, to consider the propriety and means of reorganizing civil government in that State, and to take part in the Presidential election.

Benj. G. Harris, who goes for McClellan and secession, calls McClellan a “tyrant.”—And so the Quaker Democracy has to choose between two “tyrants”—Lincoln and McClellan.  Alas for the Quaker Democracy !

The Richmond Examiner, in reviewing the prospect for peace at the hands of the North, says :  “One material Yankee success now, and that peace party at the North which our soldiers have created, and now sustain, wold sink overwhelmed, abashed and silenced, under a renewed and universal shriek for war.”

Gen. Herron [Francis J. Herron] has returned from an expedition to Redwood, seven miles from Baton Rouge on the Clinton road, where he had a fight with the enemy, inflicting a loss of 150 men, besides destroying a large amount of stores.  Our loss was thirty, killed and wounded.

The Chicago Convention sneers at our “four years failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war.”  So with far greater show of truth might Benedict Arnold, in 1784, have sneered at our “six years failure to secure our independence by the experiment of war.”  It is the last year which determines whether a war is a success or a failure.

The Boston Journal denies the statements, for which there was very excellent authority, that Col. Charles P. Stone had resigned his commission in the army, and that his wife is of a rich secesh family in Louisiana.  The Journal says he has gone to the front to report to General Warren [Gouverneur K. Warren], and that his wife’s family were loyal Louisianians, whom, for their loyalty, were despoiled of their property by the rebels.

The Herald’s City Point correspondence of the 4th says Richmond papers affect to ridicule the idea of a single line of railroad being vital to their occupation of Petersburg and Richmond, but a general despondency betrays itself.  In the same issue a correspondent writes from Reams Station battle ground, several days after the withdrawal of our forces, and speaks sorrowfully of the thorough destruction of nine miles of the railroad track and iron by Hancock’s corps [Winfield S. Hancock], and pronounces its repossession by the rebels hopeless and impossible.  He says the crops adjacent to the road on both sides are utterly destroyed the entire distance.  The fences were destroyed by using them to fire the bimers of the track, and houses and barns generally reduced to smouldering ashes.

1.  James Patton Anderson (1822-1872), known as Patton Anderson, was a medical doctor and then lawyer in Kentucky, and a politician, serving in the Mississippi House of Representatives with Jefferson Davis, as a U.S. Congressman from the Washington Territory (1855-1857), and a delegate at the Florida state secession convention to withdraw from the United States. He fought in the Mexican War, serving as lieutenant colonel of the 2nd Battalion, Mississippi Rifles (1848). Just prior to the start of the American Civil War, Anderson was appointed a captain in the Florida Militia. Anderson was one of three delegates from Florida to the Provisional Confederate Congress. He accepted a commission as the colonel of the 1st Florida Infantry on April 1, and initially served under Braxton Bragg in Pensacola. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in February 1862 and was assigned to the Western Theater, fighting at the battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chckamauga, and Chattanooga. In February 1864 he was promoted to major general. During the Atlanta Campaign. He led a division in Leonidas Polk’s Corps in the Army of Tennessee at the battles of Ezra Church, Utoy Creek, and in the early stages of the Battle of Jonesboro before suffering a serious wound on August 31. He returned to duty in April 1865, against his physicians’ orders, and served with his men during the Carolinas Campaign and for the remainder of the war until their surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina, later in the spring of 1865. Anderson eventually died in relative poverty in Memphis, due primarily to lingering effects of his old war wound.
2.  There was not a Confederate general with the surname Patten. They were probably mistaking Anderson’s middle name, which he used as his first name, to be another general.

1864 September 10: “Democracy sees the ‘wickedness’ of the Administration; Why does it fail to see the wickedness of the Rebellion”

September 16, 2014

The following smaller items are from the September 10, 1864, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.

From The Polk County Press:

— Democracy [the Democratic Party] sees the “wickedness” of the Administration.  Why does it fail to see the wickedness of the Rebellion.

— Will Gen. McClellan follow Fremont’s  example and resign his position in the army?  If so his nomination will have accomplished one good result.  [George B. McClellan and John C. Frémont]

— Democracy says Abolition stands in the way of Union.  Davis says it does not; they do not care for Slavery ;  it is Independence they want.  His authority is the best.  [Jefferson Davis]

— The Democracy blame Lincoln for not negotiating.  The Rebels will not negotiate until the right of Secession is acknowledged.  Therefore, the Democracy blame Lincoln for not acknowledging the right of Secession.  [Abraham Lincoln]

— The country is engaged in a death grip with rebels.  In the crisis of the conflict Democracy would loosen the grip, alleging that the foe will return.  If they do not furnish the offer of the foe to yield, what is their allegation but a false and traitorous attempt to loosen that grip for the sake of that foe?

— We are informed that Douglas Co. has filled her quota.

RECRUITING.Recruiting has been quite brisk during the past two weeks.  The town of Farmington, we understand, has filled her quota.  William Kent, esq., took down to La Crosse, last week, five men for the town of Osceola.  P. B. Lacy, also took down three men for the town of St. Croix.

A DESERVED PROMOTION.We are gratified to learn that our excellent Governor has appointed Quartermaster Sargeant [sic] FRED. A. DRESSER, Thirtieth Regiment, First Lieut. and Quartermaster, vice S. STARR, promoted.

Quartermaster DRESSER is from this town.  He entered the service as a private in Co. A. when the Regiment was first formed, and by close attention to his duties, his marked business qualifications, and his faithful labors, has won the esteem of his superior officers, and promotion.

— Democracy says we can now have Peace and a restored Union.—If they do not prove it, they stand convicted of slandering their country and imperilling [sic] its existence, for the sake of party gain.

From The Prescott Journal:

FIRST WISCONSIN CAVALRY.This noble regiment was at Cartersville, Ga., guarding the line of railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta, on the 22d ult. [last month, i.e. August].  After the McCook raid, in which the regiment suffered severely in the loss of officers, it was ordered back from the front to Cartersville, to rest and recruit the men and horses, at which place they were gladdened by the return from captivity of their gallant Colonel, O. H. LA GRANGE [Oscar H. La Grange], than whom no officer is more deservedly popular with both officers and men.  In a letter written since rejoining the regiment Col. L. says :  “In reviewing the operations of the summer’s campaign, while we are called upon to mourn the loss of most valuable officers, there is a melancholy pleasure in knowing that they sacrificed themselves to save their men, and the sacrifice was not in vain.  Our loss in enlisted men has been remarkably light for the amount and kind of service we have been called upon to perform.”

A later report states that the regiment has been ordered to Chattanooga, for the purpose of being recruited and remounted.

FERNANDO WOOD AND THE WISCONSINNERS.—The Chicago Tribune says that “FERNANDO WOOD was introduced to the Wisconsin delegation on Saturday.  One of the delegation remarked that Wisconsin was for peace, but the delegation was not satisfied how it could be obtained.  Mr. WOOD replied, ‘Gentlemen, we can have no peace except through an armstice [sic] and a national convention.  Let the Democratic Convention adopt one resolution embracing these propositions, and we will succeed with any candidate.  After the armstice [sic] convention is called, let it decide upon the terms of peace.’  This was received with much favor by the Wisconsin delegates.”



1864 September 15: “Madame Rumor says Sherman is ordered to push out after Hood as soon as possible”

September 15, 2014

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 15th / ’64

My Dear Parents ;

                                  Yours of the 1st inst. was rec’d day before yesterday ;  also, that of Cousin Lottie.  As I have not yet mail’d my last letter to you I will write another to send off with it, so here it is — as follows.

We are all enjoying ourselves firstrate.  Our camp, which is beautifully located on the East side of the R. R. and equidistant from Atlanta and Eastport, is in the shade of small pine, hickory, and oak trees and near a little creek, along which are numerous springs of most excellent water.  Everything about camp has the air of neatness and order.  The breastworks in front are finished, and we have more rations than we know what to do with ; and we are quietly awaiting the issue of new clothes and the arrival of some of Uncle Sam’s pay agents.  A large bakery is building and soon we shall have soft bread.

It may interest you to know the difference between campaign rations and camp rations.  The former consists of hard bread, beef, bacon, beans, dessicated potatoes, sugar, coffee, salt, pepper, with occasional tastes of vinegar, whiskey & so on.  The latter of the same, with rice, Irish potatoes occasionally, and fish, krout [sic: sauerkraut], soft bread or flour, or both, and molassess [sic].

Madame Rumor says Sherman [William T. Sherman] is ordered to push out after Hood [John Bell Hood] as soon as possible, and that our stay here is likely to be shortend [sic].  It may be so.  Possibly it is feared the general may take advantage of our resting spell and send off troops to Richmond or Mobile.  He dare not risk an open engagement with this army, for he well knows what would be the result ; and he is equally aware that that [sic] he can do nothing with it even when stronly [sic] entrenched.  Despairing of assistance and of successful operations, it seems more probable he will disperse his army to be of use where it can be given.  You do not know, I guess, how nice a trap Sherman had set for him on the first inst.  Had the 23rd Corps been up to time, Hood and his army would have all been gobbled.  The position of the contending armies on that day I will sketch for you.  Our head generals were feeling finely over their prospective success and I think old Hood’s hair stood up straight when he saw the danger.

Map from page 4 of Edwin Levings' September 15, 1864, letter, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Map from page 4 of Edwin Levings’ September 15, 1864, letter, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

This was the plan.  While the 4th and 23rd corps were swinging around in the rear of the rebels, and the 17th corps was moving to a position on the right of the 16th, represented by the dotted line A. B., the 14th Corps was to move forward its right & make a connection with the 15th Corps.  When the 23rd had occupied the line represented by C. D. it was to announce the fact by opening the ball and immediately the 14th Corps was to charge down the R. R. and then a general pressing in was to follow.  It was 3 o’clock P. M. and the 23rd Corps being 2 hours behind time & observing the rebels getting away did not get the position intended & attempted to head them off on the line E. D.  The 17th Corps was on hand.  You know the result of the movement.  The 14th charged & did good work, as it was.

Politics are discussed by us with great interest.  At present all eyes are directed to the doings of the Chicago Convention.  Many fear McClellan [George B. McClellan] will be elected, some think he will run about as Douglas [Stephen A. Douglas] did.  They await the election in great suspense, believing everything hinges on this issue.  It makes us feel bad to see so many Union men faltering just at the time when energies are most needed, at a time when they can be most valuable.  Their sacrifices are not equal to ours and, if I may use the expression, “Can they not watch with us one hour” ?  I have hope that the country will be saved.  If God has not given us over to our own ways we shall come out as redeemed people.  The are a most perverse people and unwilling to do God’s will, and the evils and calamities of war are meant to bring us to our alligiance [sic] to Him.  We can not tell what is ahead, but I apprehend there are to may be privations and sufferings more sever than we have yet had ere we come out of the struggle.

The Capt. and some other officers, I understand, have sent in their resignations.  The boys will not mourn his departure at all.  1st Lt. Charles Reynolds is a much better officer and far better liked.  Lt. Kelsey is also well liked.¹

You ask, Mother, if we lost our medicine, and if you shall send us some.  We lost the homeopathy medicine during the battle of the 22nd July.  We both think it best you do not send any at present, at least, if at all.  Not that it has grown into disfavor with us.  I have my doubts about wanting to use it any more in Dixie.

Col. Bryant [George E. Bryant] who commands the Brigade will soon leave us.  It will be difficult to find a Col. in whom there is a firmer confidence — all think highly of him & hate to have him go home.

We both have good health, I am more fleshy than at the opening of the campaign.  Homer says you may send him by letter a little pulverized alum² which he wishes to have on hand in case he would have the ague [fever].

Yours &c,          Edwin D. Levings

1.  The captain at this time was Orrin T. Maxson, from Prescott; he resigned as of September 18, 1864. Charles Reynolds, from Madison, currently the 1st lieutenant, became the captain as of October 7, 1864. Wallace Kelsey, officially listed as being from Owatonna (Minn.) was currently the 2nd lieutenant and would become the 1st lieutenant as of October 7, 1864, and be replaced as 2nd lieutenant by Alva McKee, officially from Rockford (Minn.).
2.  Pulverized alum was used to stop bleeding, for diphtheria, for croup, and for offensive foot sweat!

Edwin Levings letter of September 15, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Edwin Levings letter of September 15, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

1864 September 10: Editorial Against the St. Paul Pioneer as Copperheadish

September 14, 2014

The following articles are from the September 10, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

Finger002  The St. Paul Pioneer for about two years past has seemed to have two political editors.  One, a loyal man, generally kept the paper true to the support of the Government, but occasionally he would be away a day or two, and the other, a copperhead, would get in some copperhead editorial.  Now the loyal editor seems to have gone away altogether, and the other fellow has it all his own way.

Finger002  The Pioneer of Sept. 7th, calls this war “four years of unmitigated calamity and disaster.”

We wonder what terms it would apply to the rebels’ experience.  It was a disaster to wrest the Mississippi and the Crescent City from rebel hands !  It was a disaster when Pemberton [John C. Pemberton] passed his sword to Grant [Ulysses S. Grant], and Vicksburg ceased to rest like an incubus on the Nation’s hope !  It was a disaster when at Gettysburg, the rebel legions, dreaming of the sack of cities and the ravage of the North, were rolled back in a tide of their own blood, rent, broken, and reeling under the terrible blow !  It was an “unmitigated disaster” when Sherman [William T. Sherman] replied to the deliberate lie of the Chicago Convention that the war was a failure, with the announcement, echoed in thunders of rejoicing all over the North, “Atlanta is ours—fairly won !”  It is, in the view of this copperhead politician, an “unmitigated calamity and disaster” but we have retaken nearly three-fourths of our stolen territory, and that the war, with its attendant waste and suffering, has been carried on in the rebellious territory, and not in our own.

Shame on the miserable liars who seek to belittle the grandeur of the Nation’s achievments [sic], and dim the glory of the national arms.  This war has brought to the loyal North unmeasured sorrow and uncounted loss, but it has been successful beyond anything writ in history, and loyal men, and loving, true-hearted women feel compensated for their loss by the proud conciousness [sic] of unshrinking fealty to Country, Liberty, and God.


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