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1864 April 2: Albert Pike, Andrew Johnson, Lewis Parsons, Forrest and Grierson, Burnside and Hancock, Spies and Blockade Runners in Wilmington, and Much More

April 3, 2014

This week’s “News Items” column from The Prescott Journal of April 2, 1864, is lengthier than usual. News items not directly related to the Civil War have been left out.  Some items duplicate those in yesterday’s post from The Polk County Press.

News Items.

Gen. Albert Pike¹ has, it is said, made overtures for an amnesty.

The Secretary of the Treasury [Salmon P. Chase] has given positive orders prohibiting the shipment of American coal to Canada.

The report that Gen. Gordon Granger has been relieved of the command of the 4th army corps is untrue.  He is in front.

Thirty-two vessels are now ready for sea, but are waiting for crews.  The transfer of sailors from the army will it is supposed supply the demand.

Letters report that all kinds of titles of nobility are to be conferred by Maximillian on the secessionists who in large numbers attend him from Paris to Mexico.

The Nashville friends of Gov. Johnson [Andrew Johnson] confidently expect his nomination by the Republican Convention as Vice President on the ticket with Lincoln.

Col. Lewis B. Parsons² has been assigned to duty as Chief Quartermaster of the western river transportation, with headquarters at St. Louis.

The Post‘s special says that charges the Government has paid transportation for civilians to return home to vote is ascertained to be entirely false.

Six negroes were killed and a white man severely injured by the cars running off the track of the Memphis and Little Rock railroad.

Guerrillas have warned planters in certain localities along the Mississippi river, that they will not be allowed to raise crops with contraband negroes.

The Wilmington Journal of the 1st says Wilmington is full of Yankee spies and incendiaries.  Two fires occurred on the 28th ult.

Forrest [Nathan B. Forrest] is reported to be organizing for a movement to West Tennessee, and having obtained a large number of horses, is mounting his infantry.  Grierson’s cavalry [Benjamin H. Grierson] are watching him and will give him a warm reception if he advances northward.

The World’s special says the preparations for the projected expeditions of Generals Burnside [Ambrose E. Burnside] and Hancock [Winfield S. Hancock] will be directed to cease by Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant], and both commands be placed in condition for active co-operation with the army of the Potomac.  Gen. Hancock has already returned to his command.

An order has been issued from the War Department, that all men who have been transferred from their regiments to others for the purpose of serving out their time on account of re-enlisting, according to a former order, shall be immediately returned to the original organization.

The Herald’s Key West letter reports that the English blockade runner, Norman, while attempting to run the blockade of the Suwanee river, was run ashore to prevent her falling into our hands.  She was burned by the crew.  Some 55 bales of cotton were saved by our vessels.

Advices from Vicksburg of the 15th reports a large number of fires, and that several Government store houses had been set on fire by incendiaries.  On that day the large railroad depot and several adjoining buildings were burned consuming large quantities of Government property.

Gov. Vance [Zebulon B. Vance], in one of his recent speeches, stated that Gen. Lee [Robert E. Lee] depends on North Carolina for the support of his army.  He dwells on the importance of keeping the railroads in good condition on the ground that Lee could not remain in Virginia 48 hours after they should fail to perform their mission.

The Herald’s special says :  There is no probability that any sale of surplus gold in the treasury will be made until at least after the result of the Spring campaign shall have been ascertained.  The restrictions of the bill would of themselves prevent the immediate sale of any quantity sufficient to affect the market.

The pursuance of an earnest request by Admiral Farragut [David G. Farragut], the navy department has ordered that the sloop of war Brooklyn and double turretted [sic] monitor Onondaga, be prepared for service in the Gulf immediately.  The ships will proceed to sea this week.  Orders have been issued for the Canonicus, Tecumseh, and Sassacus monitors to follow immediately.

The Wilmington Journal, in speaking of the success of the blockade runners in getting into that port, says the statistics for the past year show that on an average only one out of twenty have been captured.  In rough weather the blockaders are obliged to go to sea, which with the exception of dark nights, is the most auspicious time for our skillful pilots, who, with the aid of our perfect system of signal lights seldom miss their mark.

Hereafter deserters from the rebel army coming within our lines, are not to be committed to prison if they prove to be bona fide deserters, but will be dismissed upon taking the oath of allegiance, and furnished with transportation north, or employed on the various fortifications.  Within a week past some 300 or 400 have been released from the old Capitol prison and sent to Philadelphia and New York.

Eight or ten regiments of re-enlisted veterans from Missouri and others Northwestern States, passed through Saint Louis, Mo. during the past week, all of which were feasted by the veteran reception committee, and received a cordial welcome by the citizens generally.  Nearly 2,000 new recruits from different States, have passed through here during the same time, en route South, to join regiments in the field.  The 3d Michigan cavalry, about 1,800 strong have also gone South.

The Secretary of War [William H. Seward, Sr.], in a communication in response to a Senate resolution, says no orders concerning elections were ever issued from his office.  He encloses a letter from Assistant Adjutant General Townsend [Edward D. Townsend], reporting that he has given no orders to Provost Marshals in Kentucky, Delaware, Maryland or Missouri, relative to elections in those States.  Also a letter of the same tenor from Provost Marshal General Fry [James B. Fry], which letter, however, excerpts a dispatch of October 31st, to Ass’t Provost Marshal Jeffries³ at Baltimore, as follows: “Direct your Provost Marshals to give their aid in carrying out Gen. Schenck’s [Robert C. Schenck] orders for preserving the purity of the elections at the polls in Maryland.”

1.  Albert Pike (1809-1891) taught school, was a writer, a lawyer, and an eminent Freemason before the Civil War. Pike served in an Arkansas regiment during the Mexican-American War, and fought a duel with his former commander after he was discharged. Before the War he was an advocate of slavery but was firmly against secession. Nevertheless he joined the Confederacy when the War started. Pike was commissioned a brigadier general in November 1861, and given a command in the Indian Territory, where he had previously negotiated several treaties. With Gen. Ben McCulloch, Pike trained three Confederate regiments of Indian cavalry. Although initially victorious at the Battle of Pea Ridge in March of 1862, Pike’s unit was defeated later in a counterattack. Pike fled Arkansas and resigned in July 1862 to avoid various charges stemming from the battle. His resignation was accepted in November and he returned to Arkansas. After the War Pike was an influential early leader in the Ku Klux Klan.
2. Lewis Baldwin Parsons (1818-1907) was “Assistant quartermaster in Union Army who became Chief of Rail and River Transportation during the Civil War. Brought order and efficiency to the business of supplying the western armies with steamboats and barges by eliminating the charter system of hire. Reforms and regulations aroused considerable complaint, especially from steamboat interests. Also a lawyer, Ohio and Mississippi Railroad manager (1857-1878) and Southern Illinois farmer. Active in state Democratic Party politics (1876-1884) and candidate for lieutenant governor in 1880.” Parsons’ papers are available at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.
3.  Noah Lemuel Jeffries (1827-1896) a New York lawyer before the war, he joined the Union army in Mansfield, Ohio, and was promoted to 1st lieutenant on 14 October 1861, and also commissioned an officer in Company S, New York 59th Infantry Regiment on 14 October 1861. Jeffries was promoted to captain on 18 April 1862, and participated in the battles at Williamsburg and Fair Oaks and was severely wounded during the Seven Days’ battles. In 1863 he was assigned to General Robert P. Schenk who commanded the Middle Department, which included Batltimore. He was promoted to major on August 13, 1863, and appointed Acting Assistant Provost Marshall General for Maryland and Delaware serving in that position until August 17, 1864. Jeffries was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 26 November 1863, to colonel on 12 February 1864, and was brevetted brigadier general on 30 March 1865. He mustered out on 26 August 1866. As Acting Assistant Provost Marshal for Maryland, he led the search for the conspirators accused in the assassination of President Lincoln (April 14, 1865).  After the War, Jeffries opened a law practice in Washington, D.C., and served on a committee to consider West Virginia’s war claims. In September of 1867 President Andrew Johnson appointed him as register of the United States Treasury and he held that position until March of 1869. After his service to the government he returned to his law practice.

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