Skip to content

1864 December 10: Thanksgiving with the 37th Wisconsin at Petersburg

December 14, 2014

A letter from Robert C. Eden, captain of Company B of the 37th Wisconsin Infantry, that appeared in the December 10, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.  Local soldier Samuel Harriman was colonel of the 37th.

Thanksgiving at Petersburg. 

FROM CAPT. “BOB” EDEN.

PREBLE’S FARM, VA., Nov. 26, 1864.

FRIEND LUTE;—”I have piped unto you, but you have not danced;” I have written letters unto you, but received answers none.

We, the 37th, tarry yet among strangers in a strange land ;  we dwelleth in tents, even pup tents, after the manner of the Ishmaelites ;  though I guess their tents were of the Sibley pattern, for a pup tent would not  have held all the wives of those days, and in a Bibley tent you can crowd in as many people as you please, only taking the precaution to tie the door, to keep them from “slopping over.”

On the 25th day of the current month a commissary wagon appeared in camp, bearing sundry barrels, which being safely delivered—at our camp, in their turn bore turkeys, chickens, pickles, apples, tobacco, &c., (especially the the latter)—a Thanksgiving Dinner, furnished to the whole Army of the Potomac by kind friends in the Eastern and Middle states.

We sat round, as the Commissary Sergeant unpacked the barrels, with full hearts and empty stomachs, the North wind, or some other tender feeling, making the water run from our eyes, and the eatables fetching it from our mouths.

It was a solemn sight, and I fell to thinking. Those lordly turkeys strutted defiantly upon the rich farms of Pennsylvania ;  those chickens perhaps represented (sex being appropriate) the one little ewe lamb of some poor but generous soul, and tender hearts were wrung as fair hands twisted their necks ; those pickles were, may be, put up by the best and fairest of her sex among the valleys of Connecticut, and as she peeled the onions, and thought of the soldiers, peradventure she wept ; those apples were peeled and strung amid much hugging of buxom maidens, and frolic and —— kissing, no doubt prevailed at their preparations, and my feelings here overcoming me, and seeking our smallest drummer boy, I cursed him bitterly, and the child wept, and relieved me much.

At four P. M., our festal board groaned beneath the weight of delicacies as the shingle units which hold the hard tack boxes of which it was made dropped out on the floor, owing either to weight of the delicacies, or to the Assistant Surgeon’s insisting on sitting on it.

And we fell to and eat, and as we eat, we became filled heart and body ;  in heart with gratitude to t he kind friends who furnished the feast, and in body with the good things they sent.

And we sat down and eat, and as we eat the sun set, and all the land was darkened, and we retired to our bunks and sleep that banishes care fell on us, and we dreamed of our grandmothers.

On Thursday, I paid a visit to Gen. BRAGG [Edward S. Bragg] and the different Wis. regiments in his command.  I found many old familiar faces, and some, alas !  I missed.—This war, LUTE, severs many old ties ;  we see a friend one day in the full enjoyment of health and strength, careless and happy.  We return after a few days, and find that the dark shadow has fallen on him, and that he has passed away from us forever into the unknown land.  War ! cruel war !  Homesteads deserted, family circles broken up, wives widowed, children orphaned, and aching hearts everywhere, are its fruits.

But the country is worth this, and more too, and the offerings of one generation will, let us hope, procure years of happiness for those yet to come.  A grand future is yet before us, dim and indistinct in the far hereafter, but coming surely and certainly, with the blessing of Peace on a united people, and those inexhaustible resources which we now can hardly picture even in imagination, will become extended and developed.  The war has been a hard and bitter lesson, but America will come forth out of the struggle, purified by the fiery test, odd delusions swept away, old errors banished, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Minnesota to the Gulf, the sun will rise and set upon a people, happy, prosperous, free and united.

We may not live to see that day, but like an old lady with the rheumatism, I “feel it in my bones;”—there’s going to be a change in the weather.

The above is an “episoad [sic] ;” we will return to our muttons, if you please.

I found Gen. BRAGG and the whole Fifth Corps in the condition you would express in three words—“virtuous and happy.”  The Gen., sided by his aides, was superintending the roasting of a turkey in an oven constructed, secundum artem,¹ of clay and stones.  I at once perceived the etymology of the word aide-de-camp.  They aid Generals when they are about to move or de camp, baste the turkey while it is roasting, and, when not otherwise employed, run on errands during a fight.

After a while the turkey was pronounced fit to eat, and having analysed the contents of a black bottle and pronounced them commissary whiskey, we sat down and enjoyed an excellent dinner.  Towards evening I returned homewards, following the line of works up to our Corps, which is situated about 3 miles from the Fifth, on the extreme left of our position.  The night was extremely dark and the road very rough and broken, and “I have for my country fallen,” was my exclamation more than once before I reached our camp.

You will probably suggest that this letter has a good deal of turkey about it.  May be it has, but I can’t help it.  The whole army for the last three days has talked turkey and eat turkey ;  it now “walks turkey,” and shortly expects to gobble JEFF. DAVIS [Jefferson Davis].  So mote it be !

Col. HARRIMAN has left us on a twenty days furlough, business affairs imperatively demanding his presence at home.  I have been trying to find a pretext for a similar leave of absence, but having no business and no home, cannot do it.

But I have written about as much nonsense as you will care to print, or your subscribers to read, and as I do not believe in making the Press an engine of oppression, I will cease from inflicting.

Ever yours,          .R. C. E.

1.  A Latin phrase meaning “according to the art, or according to the accepted practice of a profession or trade.”

1864 December 10: A Sword for General Joseph Bailey

December 13, 2014

From the December 10, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

A Sword for Gen. Bailey.

It will be remembered that last summer, during the unfortunate Red river campaign, the vessels of the Mississippi squadron were caught by the low water above the falls at Alexandria, and for a time it was feared they would be lost.

By the skill and energy of Col. BAILEY [Joseph Bailey], of the 4th Wisconsin—Acting Engineer of the 19th Army Corps—in planning and superintending the construction of a dam across the river, however, the vessels of the squadron were all released.  For this achievement, Admiral PORTER [David D. Porter] expressed the warmest thanks and praise in his official reports, and Col. BAILEY was breveted a Brigadier General and in that capacity rendered efficient service in the recent operations in Mobile bay.  Our correspondent with the Mississippi squadron wrote at the time that the officers of the Navy purposed uniting in some testimonial of their gratitude to Col. BAILEY for what he had done and appreciation of the man and his services.

This testimonial has taken the form of an elegant and costly sword, with a rich scabbard and belt, from the celebrated firm of TIFFANY & Co., New York. The scabbard of the sword bears the following inscription :

“Presented to Brevet Brigadier General Joseph Bailey, U. S. Volunteers, by Read Admiral David D. Porter, commanding Mississippi Squadron, as a mark of respect for his indomitable perseverance, energy and skill, in constructing a dam across Red river, enabling the gunboats under his command to float out in safety.”

The letter of Admiral PORTER, offering the sword, was dated at Georgetown, D. C., Sept. 18th, and expressed the warmest pleasure in thus acknowledging the service performed by Gen. BAILEY, and his readiness at all times to give due credit to the army for any service rendered the navy.

Gen. BAILEY’S reply, dated “Headquarters, District of West Florida, Barrancas, October 23d,” tenders his heartfelt thanks for the gift, modestly attributes much of the success on Red River to the good will with which Army and Navy joined hands to save the Mississippi Squadron ;  expresses his sense of the importance of the Army and Navy working in unison and good feeling ;  his desire to do all in his power to aid in crushing this rebellion ;  his high regard for the officers of the Mississippi Squrdron [sic], and his trust never to bring dishonor on the sword of which he is the recipient.

As circumstances prevented the personal presentation, and acceptance of the gift, Gen. BAILEY suggested that it should be sent to Gov. LEWIS [James T. Lewis], to await his orders.  It has arrived here, and may for the present be seen at the Executive office.  Its bestowal is a compliment of high value, and it affords pleasing evidence of the entente cordiale which should always exist between those who fight for the Union, whether on land or water.—State Journal.

1864 December 10: Wisconsin Proclamation to Correct the Enrollment Lists for the Draft

December 13, 2014

The following proclamation by Wisconsin Governor James T. Lewis about the enrollment lists related to the draft appeared in The Polk County Press of December 10, 1864.  The Proclamation also appeared in the December 24th and 31st, 1864, issues of The Prescott Journal.  (It was the only item in the December 31st issue, the rest of the two-page issue being advertisements and tax lists.)

STATE OF WISCONSIN.

By James T. Lewis, Governor.

PROCLAMATION.

WHEREAS, Under the recent call for troops, considerable complaint was made of the excessive enrollment of the State ;  and whereas, by special authority obtained from the War Department, the draft was temporarily postponed, in order that the enrollment lists might be properly revised and corrected ;  and whereas, the time allowed for this purpose was necessarily short and it was found impossible in the more distant parts of the State to accomplish the same prior to the day fixed for the draft ;  and whereas, authority is now given by the Provost Marshal General for the further correction and revision of the enrollment lists, by striking therefrom the names of all persons improperly enrolled and by adding thereto the names of all persons liable to draft which have been omitted as hereinafter specified ;  and whereas, this is a matter in which the people of the State are deeply interested, now therefore to the end that the troops hereinafter called for from this State (if any) may not be disproportionate to those called for from other states, and that the quotas assigned to the States may be justly and equally distributed between the several towns and wards thereof, I, James T. Lewis, Governor of the State of Wisconsin do issue this my proclamation, requesting and recommending that all good citizens, and particularly the town, city and village authorities shall make timely and persistent efforts to thoroughly revise and correct the enrollment lists of their respective localities, and as to the manner of doing this and the authority therefor, I would call special attention to the following extracts from Circular No. 39 Provost Marshal General’s Office bearing date the 15 inst.

The attention of the Board of Enrollment is called to Section 6 of the act amendatory of the Enrollment Act which is in the following words. Viz :

Section 6.  And be it further enacted, that Boards of Enrollment shall enroll all persons liable to draft under the provisions of this Act, and the Act to which this is an amendment, whose names have been omitted by the proper enrolling officers; all persons who shall arrive at the age of twenty years before the draft ;  all aliens who shall declare their intention to become citizens ;  all persons discharged from the military or naval service of the United States who have not been in such service two years during the present war ;  all persons who have no been exempted under the provisions of the second section of the act to which this is an amendment, but who are not exempted by the provisions of this act ;  and said Boards of Enrollment shall release and discharge from the draft all persons who, between the time of the enrollment and the draft shall have arrived at the age of forty-five years, and shall strike the names of such persons from the enrollment.

It is to be borne in mind by the Boards, that their duties in regard to the correction of the enrollment do not cease with its revision as recently completed or now in progress.  On the contrary, the revision and correction of these lists is a continuous duty, to which the labors of all Boards must be directed.  The names of all persons liable to do military duty taking up their residence in a sub-district, as well as all in the sub-district who from time to time become liable, shall be added to the Enrollment lists ;  and the names of persons who enlist into the military or naval service, or remove permanently from a district, or whose liability terminates while in it, will be stricken off ;  and in case of removal, whenever it is practicable the Board of Enrollment of the district to which the person removes will be notified, and he will be enrolled by that board.

The Board of Enrollment shall have copies of the enrollment lists open to the examination of the public at all proper times, and shall give the public notice that any person may appear before the Board and have any name stricken off from the lost, if he can show the satisfaction of the Board, that the person named is not properly enrolled on account of—

1st.  Alienage ;  2d.  Non-residence ;  3d. Over age ;  4th.  Permanent disability of such a degree as to render the person not a proper subject for enrollment under the law and regulations ;  5th.  Having served in the military or naval service two years during the present war and been honorably discharged.

Civil officers, clergymen and all other prominent citizens, are invited to appear at all times before the Board to point out errors in the lists and to aid in the correction and revision thereof.

And also to the following extracts from instructions to Col. Lovell [Charles S. Lovell], A. A. Provost Marshal General of this State accompanying said circular.

It is plainly for the interest of each sub-district to have stricken from the lists all names improperly enrolled, because an excess of names increases the quota called for from such sub-district, and that it is equally for the interest of each person enrolled in a given sub-district to place upon the lists of all persons liable to do military duty, because the greater the number to be drawn from the less the chance that any particular individual will be drawn.

It is the personal interest of every enrolled man that the quota in which he is concerned shall not be made too large and that his own chance for draft shall not be unjustly increased.  Both these objects will be attained if all parties will aid in striking out the wrong names, and putting in the right ones.  Especially is this interest of those drafted men who, by putting in substitutes themselves liable to draft, have secured exemption which, by the terms of the law, holds only until the present enrollment is exhausted in their sub-districts.

Men who are over forty-five years of age and in consequence excused by law from the performance of duty in the field, owe it to the cause and to the country to take a zealous and active part in the correction of the enrollment lists—a military service of the first importance.

The law requires that quotas shall be assigned in proportion to the enrollment ;  and the fairness and justice of this mode of determining the amount of military service due from each and every section of the country cannot be doubted, if the enrollment is made as nearly perfect as it is practicable to make it.  The amount of service due to the nation from every town and county is thus laid fairly and plainly before the citizens and I am sure that a higher motive than selfish interest will prompt all to do their share in perfecting the enrollment, and securing a just and efficient execution of the laws for raising troops, whenever it becomes necessary to apply them.

Confer with the state and local authorities, and present the foregoing views to them, and secure if possible, prompt and practical assistance from them in perfecting the enrollment lists.  The subject should receive the attention of the town, precinct, and ward meetings and committees.

Deputy Provost Marshals and special agents will be required to devote all the labor possible to this service in their respective counties.  They must communicate with the local authorities, clergyman, and other prominent citizens, as to the accuracy of the present lists, and the corrections necessary to be made.

As far as practicable they should be required to visit each sub-district, carrying with them a copy of the list for such sub-district, which should be compared with the poll books of the sub-district, and having corrected it, a true copy plainly written, should be posted at the places of voting in the sub-district, with a notice attached thereto, calling upon the citizens to suggest any further corrections that may have been overlooked.

In testimony whereof, I have hereto subscribed my name and caused the great seal of the State of Wisconsin to be affixed.  Done at Madison this twenty-eighth day of November, in the year of our Lord on thousand eight hundred and sixty-four.

JAMES T. LEWIS.

1864 December 10: Progress on Sherman’s Grand March

December 12, 2014

This report on Union General William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea and reports from Confederate newspapers come from the December 10, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

Sherman’s Grand Expedition.

Official Order Relating to the March.

Important and Interesting Details.
____________________

SHERMAN’S ORDERS FOR HIS MARCH.

Special Field Order—No. 120.

HEADQ’RS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISS., }
IN THE FIELD, KINGSTON, GA., Nov. 9, 1864. }

I.  For the purpose of military operations this army is divided into two wings, viz :  The right wing, Major General O. O. Howard commanding the Fifteenth and Seventeenth corps ;  the left wing, Major General H. W. Slocum commanding the Fourteen and Twentieth corps.

II.  The habitual order of march will be, whenever practicable, by four roads, as nearly parallel as possible, and converging at points hereafter to be indicated in orders.  The cavalry, Brigadier General [Judson] Kilpatrick commanding, will receive special orders from the Commander-in-Chief.

III.  There will be no general trains of supplies, but each corps will have its ammunition and provision train, distributed habitually as follows :  Behind each regiment should follow one wagon and one ambulance ;  behind each brigade should follow a due proportion of ammunition wagons, provision wagons and ambulances.  In case of danger, each army corps should change this order of march by having his advance and rear brigade unencumbered by wheels.  The separate columns will start habitually at seven A. M., and make about fifteen miles per day, unless otherwise fixed in orders.

IV.  The army will forage liberally on the country during the march.  To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather near the route travelled corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn meal, or whatever is needed by the command ;  aiming at all times to keep in the wagon trains at least ten days provisions for the command and three days forage.  Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants or commit any trespass ;  during the halt or a camp they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes and other vegetables, and drive in stock in front of their camps.  To regular foraging parties must be entrusted the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road travelled.

V.  To army corps commanders is entrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down :—In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no destruction of such property should be permitted ;  but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army corps commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to the measure of such hostility.

VI.  As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely without limit ;  discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly.  Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack mules for the regiments or brigades.  In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive of threatening language, and may, when the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts ;  and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

VII.  Negroes who are able bodied and can be of service to the several columns, may be taken along ;  but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one, and that his first duty is to see to those who bear arm.

VIII.  The organization at once of a good pioneer battalion for each corps, composed, if possible, of negroes, should be attended to.  This battalion should follow the advance guard, should repair roads and double them if possible, so that the columns will not be delayed after reaching bad places.  Also, army commanders should study the habit of giving the artillery and wagons the road, and marching their troops on one side ;  and also instruct their troops to assist wagons at steep hills or bad crossings of streams.

IX.  Captain O. M. Poe, Chief Engineer, will assign to each wing of the army a pontoon train, fully equipped and organized, and the commanders thereof will see to its being properly protected at all times.

.       .By order of
.            .Major General W. T. SHERMAN.
H. M. DAYTON, Aid de Camp.

GEN. SLOCUM’S ORDER TO HIS WING OF THE ARMY.

HEADQUUARTERS TWENTIETH CORPS, }
ATLANTA, GA., Nov. 7, 1864. }

 When the troops leave camp on the march about to commence they will carry in haversack two days’ rations salt meat, two days’ hard bread, ten days’ coffee and salt and five days’ sugar.  Each infantry soldier will carry sixty rounds of ammunition on his person.—Every effort should be made by officers and men to save rations and ammunition ;  not a round should be lost or unnecessarily expended.  It is expected the command will be supplied with subsistence and forage mainly from the country.  All foraging will be done by parties detailed for the purpose by brigade commanders, under such rules as may be prescribed by brigade and division commanders.  Pillaging, marauding, and every act of cruelty or abuse of citizens will be severely punished.  Each brigade commander will have a strong rear guard on every march, and will order the arrest of all stragglers.  The danger of straggling on this march should be impressed upon the mind of every officer and man of the command.  Not only the reputation for the corps, but the personal safety of every man will be dependent, in a great measure, upon the rigid enforcement of discipline and the care taken of the ration and ammunition.

By the command of          Maj. Gen. SLOCUM.
H. W. PERKINS, Asst. Adjt. Gen.

REBEL ACCOUNTS OF SHERMAN’S PROGRESS.

According to late rebel papers Sherman’s demonstration toward Macon was a feint.  No attack had been made on that place up to Wednesday last, but when a short distance from it he turned north-eastward towards Milledgeville, the capital of the State, which town, it is reported, his cavalry captured Sunday night, subsequently burning the capitol building and the penitentiary.  It is also said a strong force of his army made a demonstration on Augusta, within twenty miles of which place his right was repulsed.  The movement on Augusta is also considered a feint to distract attention from Sherman’s first real objective point, which is surmised to be Savannah.  It is prophesied that he will move as directly as possible on the latter city from Milledgeville, and the belief is expressed that the large Union fleet which has been collected in James river is destined for Savannah, and will meet Sherman there.  The Augusta Chronicle of the 19th inst. stated that a large fleet of union transports had already arrive off the Georgia coast.

The report of the burning of Milledgville is said, by Richmond editors, to lack confirmation, though, it is believed, that a portion of Sherman’s force has been there.  A dispatch to the Savannah News, of the 19st inst., reiterates that it was captured on Monday last, and the State House, Governor’s Mansion, and Penitentiary there were burned.  The town of Gordon was also captured by the Yankees.

The Augusta Constitutionalist of Monday evening says that “passengers by the Georgia train last evening reported that the Oconee bridge, five miles above Gordon, was burned at noon yesterday by a small party of the enemy’s cavalry who retired, after they burned down the bridge, to their camp on the north side of the river.  The force of the enemy on the line of this road is estimated at 15,000, advancing slowly and cautiously.”

The Richmond papers think the slow progress of Sherman, who they claim had gone but 75 miles in 15 days, gives much ground for hope.

The Richmond Dispatch of the 23d says :—”One body of Sherman’s army has advanced to within a short distance of Augusta, and the other struck the Georgia Central railroad, leading from Macon to Savanna at two points, within a few miles of Macon, and at Gordon, the junction of the Georgia railroad, and Gordon and Milledgeville branch railroad.  Sherman is everywhere laying waste [to] the country with fire and sword, showing clearly that it is his determination to take no step backward.”

The Enquirer of the 23d says of Sherman :  “This only he has gained—and it is no small gain when viewed in connection with his plans for the winter,—that Hood [John Bell Hood] is far off to the west, only feebly threatening his rear flank, and with a hostile army under Thomas between him and Atlanta.  It may that this was the position which Sherman had in view when he boasted that he would soon have Hood where he wanted him.  It is certain that his pursuit has been but a series of feints, and that the door to west Tennessee was purposely left open to allow the eager looks of our gallant men in that direction.—Sherman will try to possess himself first of Macon.  He could thus obtain command of the road which leads from Macon eastward to Augusta and the seat of Government, westward to Mississippi, thus effectually destroying our communications with trans-Mississippi.  He would, moreover, cut off Hood and his army from their base of operations, supplies, and means of conferring with the seat of government.  In these respects the move is formidable, and it is of no use to shut our eyes willfully to the danger.  Far better to look it in the face and prepare for resistance with vigor.”

The Dispatch says :  “Georgia will have to taste the bitter cup that so long has been at our lips, but her revenge is at hand, and an opportunity to show her loyalty, gallantry, and all the highest virtues is at hand, for Sherman will place himself in the most perilous situation that can be conceived.  He has cut himself off from his communication.  A very few weeks of warfare must exhaust his resources.”

The Richmond Examiner thinks that the ruthless conduct of the great national army will tend to cement Georgians in support of the rebel government, and cause the lukewarm and halting to immediately take up arms and become its most uncompromising defenders, and that the State, after passing through this ordeal of fire, will come forth purified and purged of its love for the old Union.  The Richmond Whig, though, is not so hopeful as its cotemporary [sic], and says :  “We cannot say that we feel an absolute conviction, although, indeed, our hopes are strong, that Sherman will fail in achieving his final object.”  It says that “Sherman is a man of undoubted ability and astuteness, and he would never have commenced his march from Atlanta had he not believed he could finally reach the coast in safety.”

The panic created, both in Georgia and South Carolina, by the march of the irresistible conqueror is something which has had no parallel during the war.  A levy en masse of Georgia and South Carolina militia has been ordered, and desperate efforts were being made to concentrate at Augusta an army sufficient to present some opposition to Sherman’s advancing columns.

The Augusta Constitutionalist of the 22d says :  “a raiding party of the enemy tapped the rad 10 miles east of Macon and destroyed a lumber train.  Freight trains were turned back in haste.  Heavy cannonading and musketry fire were heard east of Gordon.  It was supposed Gen. Wayne¹ at Gordon had been attacked.  Milledgeville had been entirely evacuated by our forces before the enemy entered.  Everything of value was brought away.”

The Augusta Dispatch of the 21st says :  “The movement of Sherman on Milledgeville was a feint for the purpose of concentrating our forces there, and the raid on the Central was for the purpose of keeping them there, whilst the whole force of the enemy moves upon and captures Augusta or Savannah.”

The Augusta Constitutionalist gives the progress of a column under Slocum.  About 10,000 cavalry visited Madison, on the Georgia state road, and burned it on the 20th.  An engine was sent up the road, and found the enemy at Buck’s Head, 11 miles nearer Augusta.  On the 19th some of these men were within 15 miles of Augusta, probably a raiding party.

The Augusta Chronicle of the 20th says, “a large cavalry force left Greenville, S. C., bound across the country in the direction of Atlanta, with a view of cutting off a Yankee column moving down the Georgia road in this direction.  It is said Breckinridge [John C. Breckinridge] was to leave upper East Tennessee with his troops the 12th, for the Georgia line.  With Hood in his rear, Breckinridge on his flanks, and 30,000 veteran troops on his front, Sherman cannot escape.”

The Augusta Constitutionalist says :  “As we write, the glad and familiar shout of veteran troops, just arriving from the South Carolina depot, comes up from the streets.  If Sherman’s men retreat this way they will hear the whistle of bullets from the trusty guns which have often been pointed at fanatics on the banks of the Potomac and James.  Before our readers see this, other glad shouts will be heard in our streets.”

A Georgia paper abuses, in strong language, Jeff. Davis [Jefferson Davis] and the Richmond authorities for not sending troops into the State to impede Sherman’s movements, crying in despair, “Is Georgia to be left to take care of herself ?”

The rebel papers show the division of sentiment, distraction and the panic which Sherman’s operations have created in the South, and authorize us in anticipating the most decisive and glorious results from them.

1.  Henry Constantine Wayne (1815-1883) graduated from West Point in 1838 and joined the artillery. Later that same year he participated in the Aroostook War over the boundary of Maine. In 1841, he became the assistant instructor of artillery and cavalry at West Point where he remained for two years. In the Mexican War he was brevetted for his bravery at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco. After the Mexican War, Wayne relayed an idea to then-Senator Jefferson Davis about using camels for transportation in the West. When Davis became Secretary of War in 1853, he decided to experiment with the camels and Wayne was chosen to lead an expedition to the Middle East to purchase camels and experiment with the animals in the deserts of the western United States. When the Civil War started, the project ended.  When Lincoln won the presidential election, Wayne resigned his commission and joined the Confederate Army. He was appointed the adjutant and inspector-general of Georgia and was responsible for putting the army of Georgia into order. In December 1861, Wayne was commissioned a brigadier general. After being ordered to Manassas, Virginia, Wayne resigned his commission as a brigadier general and instead stuck to his duties as adjutant and inspector-general until the end of the War. He did briefly see action during the Savannah Campaign (Sherman’s March to the Sea), commanding Confederate troops at the Battle of Ball’s Ferry (November 23–26, 1864). In this action, he was unsuccessful in stopping Union forces from crossing the Oconee River in Wilkinson County, Georgia.

1864 December 10: Rebel Agents Try to Fire-Bomb New York City

December 11, 2014

A group of Southern operatives attempted to burn New York City on November 25, 1864.  The plot was orchestrated by Jacob Thompson and the operatives infiltrated Union territory from Canada.  On the night of November 25, the group attempted to simultaneously start fires in 19 hotels, a theater, and P.T. Barnum’s museum. The objective was to overwhelm the city’s firefighting resources by distributing the fires around the city.  Most of the fires either failed to start or were contained quickly.

This account is from the December 10, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

The New York Incendiaryism.

It is ascertained that most of the persons engaged in the recent attempt to burn New York came from Canada—most of them from Toronto and vicinity.  Most of the conspirators were officers in the rebel army, and had served as guerrillas in Kentucky and Missouri.  The movements of the incendiaries were arranged very uniformly.  At each of the hotels they appeared in the character of travelers desiring rooms for a few days.  They carried small black leather valises, put a fictitious name on the hotel books, and carried their own baggage to their rooms.

The buildings fired were the Astor House, Belmont, Hanna, Lovejoy, Tammany, Metropolitan, St. Nicholas, Fifth Avenue, United States, New England, Lafarge and St. James Hotels and Barnum’s Museum.  Fires were also discovered in some vessels at the wharves.

The original plan was to simultaneously fire hotels at the lower and upper portions of the city, and while the fire department and police had their attention attracted to these portions of the city, to fire hotels and other public buildings at more central points.  The next step would have been to have fired shipping, beginning with hay barges alongside ships and steamers.  During this, three of the gang were to attempt the destruction of the iron-clads now in the harbor.  They had provided themselves with numerous appliances, among which was a large quantity of Greek fire.  As nearly as possible, these steps were to be taken together, or so close upon each other as to render detection by the police almost impossible.  The failure in nearly all cases is attributed to the incendiaries neglecting to open windows. In every hotel the windows and transoms were tightly closed, thus giving no air to the flames.

The detectives say the whole force detailed for the work had not arrived in time.  It was fixed for Sunday, December 4th, but fears of discovery and frustration led to the premature attempt.

Among those arrested is the treasurer of the gang, with a considerable sum in gold in his possession.

Gen. Dix [John A. Dix] issued an order in relation to the plot, in which he says :  “A nefarious attempt has been made to set fire to the principal hotels and other places of public resort in this city.  If this attempt had succeeded, it would have resulted in a frightful sacrifice of life and property.  Evidences of extensive combination and other facts disclosed to-day show it to have been the work of rebel emissaries and agents.  All such persons engaged in secret acts of hostility can only be regarded as spies, subject to martial law and to the penalty of death.  If they are detected they will be immediately brought before a court martial or military commission, and if convicted, they will be executed without the delay of a single day.”

1864 December 10: Great Victory Over Hood at the Battle of Franklin

December 11, 2014

This report on the Battle of Franklin comes from The Polk County Press of December 10, 1864, with brief notice in The Prescott Journal of the same date.  The Battle of Franklin took place on November 30, 1864, at Franklin, Tennessee—part of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign.  It was one of the worst disasters of the Civil War for the Confederates.

Great Victory Over Hood.

A battle of great importance has been gained.  Hood [John Bell Hood], some days ago, crossed the Tennessee, and advanced upon Nashville, our forces under Thomas [George H. Thomas] and Schofield [John M. Schofield] retreating with a view to securing an advantageous position. A position eminently satisfactory in this respect seems to have been found at Franklin, fifteen miles south of Nashville, which our forces reached on the 30.  At four o’clock on the afternon [sic] of that day, they were attacked by two corps of the enemy, who, after four desperate charges, occupying three hours’ time, were repulsed with terrific slaughter,—estimated by Gen. Schofield in his official report at five or six thousand men—our loss, owing to advantages of position, being not more than one tenth of that number.

At 7 P.M., immediately after this disastrous repulse of the enemy, Scholfield received heavy reinforcements, which he threw after the shattered army of the enemy, turning defeat into a complete rout.

This decisive discomfiture, added to all of Hood’s past misfortunes, will probably put an end to his projects in Tennessee and will put a compplete [sic] extinguisher on his hopes of effecting a junction with Breckinridge [John C. Breckinridge] in East Tennessee.

The December 10, 1864, Prescott Journal had this report:

— Schofield’s victory in Tennessee, is complete.  His army captured 30 battle-flags, and several cannon.  The rebel loss will reach 8,000.  Our loss will not exceed 1,500.  Active operations are going on in Tennessee, and in fact, in all the departments.  The rebellion is, by all the indications at hand, about “played.”  Glory !

"Battle of Franklin" by Kurz & Allison, from the Library of Congress

“Battle of Franklin,” from the Library of Congress¹

1.  “Battle of Franklin: November 30, 1864 ….” This digital image is from an original 1891 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.

1864 December 10: Summary of the News from Soldiers Celebrating Thanksgiving to a Plot in Memphis to the 9th and 18th Wisconsin Infantries Returning Home

December 10, 2014

Following is the weekly summary of war-related news from The Polk County Press of December 10, 1864, and a much smaller roundup of news from The Prescott Journal of the same date.

The “Message” referred to in the first item is President Abraham Lincoln’s message to Congress, what we today call the State of the Union Address but in those days was a written message.  We will be posting it next week when the Journal prints it.

From The Prescott Journal:

THE NEWS.

— Congress met on Monday last, and the Message was delivered the next day.  The Message is a brief, clear, common sense document.  It gives a satisfactory exhibit of our condition and relations with other Governments, and on the absorbing question of the Rebellion, it announces the purpose of adhering to the policy hitherto pursued.  That policy embodies the conviction and purpose of the American people.  We shall give the Message in full next week.

— Gov. LEWIS has issued an important proclamation, calling upon the citizens and the local authorities to thoroughly revise and correct the enrollment in their several localities.  [James T. Lewis]

— SHERMAN has doubtless reached the coast, and his magnificent movement is an assured success.  [William T. Sherman]

—HOOD, who was badly beaten at Franklin a few days ago, has gathered up his forces, and a battle is expected near Nashville.  [John Bell Hood]

From The Polk County Press:

News Summary.

— Valandigham [sic] announces in the Dayton papers that he has resumed the practice of Law.  [Clement L. Vallandigham]

— The government of Canada, in consequence of alleged rebel procedures in that province, has issued a proclamation forbiding [sic] the exportation, carriage coastwise or by inland navigation, of arms and ammunition.

— The President has issued a proclamation opentng [sic] the ports of Norfolk, Virginia, and Fernandia and Pensacola, Florida, to domestic and foreign commerce.

— The “Times” Nashville correspondent says that Beauregard’s army consists of 25,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry.  [P.G.T. Beauregard]

—The Milwaukee “Sentinel” says that Gen. Pope [John Pope], who has so worthily administered the affairs of this Department for some time past, has been requested by the Secretary of War to report in person at Washington.  It thinks this means that he is to be assigned an active command somewhere.

— The 9th Wis. Vol. returned to Milwaukee on the 29th ult., to be mustered out, their time having expired.  They receive a reception such as their patriotic record merits.

— Thanksgiving day was observed by all classes of people throughout the Country in a manner seldom if ever before known.  Our exchanges are filled with accounts of dinners, sermons, &c.  Harvey Hospital, at Madison had a rousing Thanksgiving dinner and an appropriate address.  Thanksgiving in the army passed off finely in all the departments.

— The gallant 18th regiment have arrived, on veteran furlough.  They received a cordial wellcome [sic].

— Judge Wright,¹ of Georgia, formerly a member of the United States Congress, has passed through Nashville to Washington, to see what can be done towards bringing about a peace.  He reports the common people as for peace.  The Georgia Legislature convenes in a few days, when efforts will be made to save to [sic: the] State by coming back into the Union.

— Among the significant articles in the rebels newspaper is one in the Richmond “Whig” of the 20th inst., urging the little real importance to the Confederacy of Richmond.  This is evidently put forth to check the shock its fall will produce.

— Wood is $100 per cord in Richmond and many families are without fuel.

— Exchanged prisoners, of the late 10,000, are arriving at Annapolis.

— Official returns from all the counties in Illinois have been received at the Secretary of State’s office.  The total vote for Lincoln is 180,595 ;  total for MClellan [George B. McClellan] 158,830 ;  Lincoln’s majority 30,775.

A remonstrance has been received by the Chamber of Commerce from the merchants of Bahia against paying the $50,000 reward for the capture of Florida.

— The “Herald’s” New Orleans cerrespondent [sic] gives brief account of a brilliant affair in Louisiana.  Gen. A. [__], commanding the Union forces at Baton Rouge, returned to that point on the 22d ult., from an expedition to Liberty and Brookville bringing with him three pieces of artillery, 700 and 800 horses and mules and 200 prisoners, including the entire staff of Gen. Hodge,² all of which were captured after spirited engagement with the enemy.

— According the the “World’s” Fortress Monroe correspondent, the Florida had been ordered to Norfolk, to coal, and just before starting she was run into by the transport steamer Alliance, and very seriously damaged.

She was in a very bad condition when captured, and the steamers pumps were kept constantly going.

— After the last collision she filed [sic] at the rate of eight inches an hour.  An additional pump was set at work and every effort made to keep her afloat but all to no purpose, and before she could be towed to shoal water, she went down.

— A suspicious vessel has been seized at Portland, Maine.

— Memphis papers give detailek [sic] accounts of a plot by rebel agents to burn the Memphis & Charleston railroad depot, and Government stores, valued at $2,000,000.  The plot was discovered by U.S. Detectives, to whom the matter was entrusted by Gen. Washburne [sic: C. C. Washburn] and the incendiaries were captured in the act of firing the building.

— An arrangement has been entered into by which the confederate government is permitted to send one thousand bales of cotton to New York and sell it there,—the proceeds to be applied to the purchase of necessaries and comforts for rebel prisoners.  The business is to be conducted by rebel officers paroled for the purpose.

— The army correspondent of the “Tribune” says guns have been sent to the front which will throw shells into Richmond from our nearest position.  The shells is [sic] inflammable to an extraordinary degree, and it is thought the rebels will be burned out with them.

— Attorney Gen. Bates has resigned his position in the Cabinet.  Subsequently the President appointed Judge Advocate Holt to the vacancy, but he has declined the honor.  [Edward Bates, Joseph Holt]

LATEST.

News from Sherman is glorious ! He has marched through Georgia like a giant, and left a wide and desolate path behind him ! His army has been uniformly victorious in all its engagements. They have captured towns, cities, villages, stores, cotton, horses, cattle, mules, negroes, etc., etc., and destroyed nearly every railroad running through the State.—Sherman has done his work thoroughly, and it is announced that his army has arrived safe on the coast and is in communication with the navy. We shall give the particulars next week. We then shall, probably, have the pleasure of announcing the capture of both Savannah and Charleston.

—Ex Secretary Chase has been appointed Chief Justice, vice Taney, deceased.  This is good news.  [Salmon P. Chase, Roger B. Taney]

1.  Augustus Romaldus Wright (1813-1891) was a politician and lawyer in Georgia, and served as judge of the superior court of the Cherokee circuit (1842-49) and as a judge of the superior court of Georgia (1855-57). In 1856, Wright was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served one term from 1857–59. Later he served as a delegate to the Georgia Secession Convention and the Confederate Secession Convention, and in the First Confederate Congress. Wright organized “Wright’s Legion” of Georgia volunteers and was colonel of the 38th Georgia Infantry Regiment (CSA). After the War, Wright served as a member of the Georgia constitutional convention (1877).
2.  George Baird Hodge (1828-1892) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1845, was an acting lieutenant, but resigned his commission in 1850. He became a lawyer in Kentucky and was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives (as Democrat) in 1859. Hodge enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861, but soon after was chosen to represent Kentucky in the Provisional Confederate Congress (1861-62). Hodge represented Kentucky in the House of Representatives of the First Confederate Congress (February 1862 to February 1864). In his military career, he was promoted to captain and assistant adjutant general in Breckinridge’s First Kentucky Brigade. Hodge received a promotion to major in May 1862 for gallantry at the Battle of Shiloh and served as a cavalry brigade commander under Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Wheeler commended Hodge for his service during the Middle Tennessee Raid. Forrest, however, relieved Hodge of his command, charging him with incompetence and cowardice, but he was acquitted of the charges and reinstated to field command. Hodge was promoted to colonel in May 1863 and to acting brigadier general in November 1863 but the promotion was not confirmed; his commission was finally approved in 1865. In 1864 he was assigned command of the District of Southwest Mississippi and East Louisiana, a post he held until the end of the war. After the War he served in the Kentucky Senate (1873-77) and spent his last years growing oranges in Florida.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 296 other followers