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1863 March 25: “Skedaddling to Canada, to escape conscription, has again commenced”

March 26, 2013

The week’s war news from the March 25, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal.

NEWS ITEMS.

— Gen. Hooker [Joseph Hooker] reports the health of the army as excellent.

— President Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln] has knocked too many men into cocked hats, and too few out of them.

— Hon. John F. Potter,1 of this State, has been appointed Governor of Dacotah Territory.

— Gen. Sigel [Franz Sigel] has been induced to withdraw his resignation, and will probably be assigned to his old command.

— Gen. Grant’s [Ulysses S. Grant] medical director says that the reporters have greatly exaggerated the sickness in the Vicksburg army.

— A report reaches us by way of Memphis that our forces have captured seven thousand rebels and eight transports, on the Yazoo river.

— Skedaddling to Canada, to escape conscription, has again commenced.  If these miserable dastards would only remain there, nobody would care.

— Disabled soldiers are to have the preference over all other applicants for Provost Marshalships under the conscription law.  This is as it should be.

— The Government contemplates establishing a camp of instruction at Annapolis for 100,000 men, which is an indication that the conscription law will soon be put in force.

— Gen. Burnside [Ambrose E. Burnside], like a loyal Democrat as he is, says in a recent letter, “the law of Congress making every man a soldier who is capable of bearing arms, should be enforced and submitted to.”

— The New York Evening Post contains a careful analysis of the probable political complexion of the next House, which proves almost beyond a doubt that the Administration will have a clear working majority, while the Senate will stand :  Republicans 20 ;  Democrats 9 ;  unionists, including such men as Sprague [William Sprague], Hicks [Thomas H. Hicks] and Conness.² 9.

— In this dark hour of our country’s trial, there is but one road to success and peace, and that is to be as firmly united for our government as the rebels are against it.  Do not place even one straw in the way, and remember that every word you speak to cause political strife, encourages the South, moves the arm and strikes the blow, which is aimed at the heart’s blood of our brothers and kindred.

— The silence of the telegraph in regard to the operations before Vicksburg is remarkable.  If we had been successful the news would have been allowed to go over the country by lightning, and as we can conceive of no good reason why a reverse should be kept from the people we may conclude that important operations are progressing which require secrecy.

 Gen. HOOKER was examined before the War Committee on the 11th inst.  The first question propounded was as to what cause he attributed the failure of the movement on the Peninsula.  He replied :  “As I am on my oath, I must answer the question.  The failure of that movement was owing to the incompetency of the commanding General.”³

From Madison.

MADISON, March. 20.

Special to the St. Paul Press.—In the Senate, the famous State Rights resolutions of 1859 were this morning rescinded and disavowed by a strictly party vote, the Republicans present all voting for the resolution to rescind, and the Democrats against it.

1.  John Fox Potter (1817-1899) was a lawyer, judge, and politician from Wisconsin. Potter was elected  to the United States House of Representatives as a Republican, serving from 1857 to 1863. He served as chairman of the Committee on Public Lands from 1861 to 1863, handling the Homestead Act of 1862. Potter was defeated for re-election in 1862. The Lincoln administration appointed him to be Consul General for the U.S. in Canada; he did not serve as the territorial governor of Dakota Territory.
2.  John Conness (1821-1909) served as a U.S. Senator from California from 1863-1869. He was a  Douglas Democrat who later became a Union Republican while serving in the Senate. Conness had the honor of being a pallbearer at President Lincoln’s funeral in 1865.
3.  He is referring to General George B. McClellan.

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