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1864 July 16: Why Secretary Chase Resigned; Expectations for Fessenden; Confidence in Grant; News of Colonels Poole and Allen

July 21, 2014

From the July 16, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

From Washington.

The Resignation of Mr. Chase—The Faults and Weaknesses of the late Secretary—
Things Expected of Mr. Fessenden—Closing Hours of Congress—
The Cabinet—Wisconsin [__] Fund—Confidence in Grant—Col. Poole and Col. Allen—
Term of Service of the Fifth Wisconsin Expired.

Correspondence of the State Journal.

WASHINGTON, July 1, 1864.

The resignation of Mr. Chase [Salmon P. Chase] yesterday took everybody by surprise, and for a time occasioned some sensation ;  but it is followed by a feeling of relief and even satisfaction, since Senator Fessenden [William P. Fessenden] has been appointed his successor.  No one was more surprised to find him out of office than the distinguished Secretary himself.  He had so long been accustomed to have his imperious and frequently unreasonable demands granted both by the President and Congress, and had come to regard himself so indispensable to the Administration, that he could continue to dictate his own terms.  He demanded exclusive control in all matters pertaining to the New York sub treasury, as he has beretofore in the  House; he wished to put Mr. Field¹ in place of Mr. Cisco;² Mr. Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln] advised otherwise; Mr. Chase demanded it as his exclusive prerogative, and for the second or third time tendered his resignation, expecting, of course, conciliatory Father Abraham would yield, as usual, but this was the “feather which broke the overladen camel’s back;” he was taken at his word, and while at the capitol engaged with the Finance Committee, not dreaming of any change, the name of his successor was sent in.

Whatever may be said of Mr. Chase’s ability and integrity, his imperious temper, his arrogance, his dogged determination to have his own way regardless of his friends, his towering ambition, his utter inability to discriminate character, unfit him for a safe administration of a position of patronage and power.  No department of the government has so many corrupt and unprincipled attaches and none has fostered more traitors and rebel sympathisers [sic] than the Treasury under his administration.  When his attention was called by the Potter Committee³ of Congress to the rebels and traitors in his Department, he replied, “if he was not competent to determine his own business, Congress had better take charge of it.”  When a distinguished Senator called upon him to remonstrate against his retaining a known corrupt assistant, he replied in high temper “I do not thank any one to talk to me thus about my assistants.”  By flattery and deceit, innumerable agents have obtained his confidence and been employed, (under the extraordinary powers conferred upon him by Congress,) whose moral, political and financial characters would dishonor any government.  His trade regulations have been a most fertile source of advantage to the rebels and of disaster to our arms, while the persons selected to administer them have caused the valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi and the Atlantic coast to ring with loyal curses against political, moral and official delinquency.

Gen. Washburne [sic: C. C. Washburn] has interposed the strong arm of military power at Memphis, but the evil has been incalculable and still continues from Cincinnati to New Orleans, save within his jurisdiction, as well as at Norfolk, Beaufort, and all down the Atlantic coast.  If Mr. Fessenden accepts the position, his character affords some guaranty of a change for the better.  The corrupt [__] within the Department, which have been whitewashed and smothered by a recent committee, and the schemes of fraud so long carried on under “permits,” &c., will receive a wholesome check under the new administration ;  while the National credit will sustain no damage by the rupture which has so long been threatened and finally occurred.

Congress is in the last throes of dissolution and a few more days will close its inharmonious but not fruitless session.  I am more than gratified that it has finally wiped out the infamous fugitive slave law, though it could not adopt the constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery, because of the love of northern Democrats for the institution which has so long been the corner stone of their political hopes.  It has been impossible for the friends of the government to act as a unit on any measure of general importance and no caucusing could bring together the majority into a solid phalanx against the opposition.  The most “radical” Republicans would sometimes be found voting with Copperheads and then against the most “conservative” would be taking the lead to radicalism.  On all measures of finance and taxation, as well as those pertaining to the conduct of the war there has existed a great diversity of opinion among the Unionists, which has emboldened the opposition until the rankest treason has been openly proclaimed by many who cam into Congress claiming to be War Democrats.

The action of the Baltimore Convention produced for a time a salutary effect and, I have no doubt, was the inducing cause of the final repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law.  But disappointed ambition had its representatives in both Houses, who have not failed to favor unjust aspersions upon prominent men in the Administration.  In the midst of the conflict of politicians and the want of harmony among the leading friends of the Union as to the best measures for its restoration, it is gratifying to notice the firmness of the popular mind on behalf of the Administration, and the determined purpose of the people to fight “on the same line” and under the same standard bearer until peace shall be conquered.

Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Seward [William H. Seward] and Mr. Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton] have gained great strength in the popular estimation, from the unswerving consistency of their course amid the storms of conflicting congressional opinion.  It is generally conceded that Mr. Blair [Montgomery Blair] will have to leave the Cabinet, though he has ceased to obtrude his obnoxious views on the slave question.  “My Maryland” having determined that henceforth no more slavery shall exist within her borders, Mr. Blair will no longer attempt to resist the popular current of freedom, but the people will require his overthrow for his past sins.

The effect of the change in the Secretary of the Treasury upon the stock market is the opposite of what was anticipated here, and the repeal of the gold bill also had a strange effect upon the price of gold.  Nothing, however, will establish stability in these matters but a decided triumph of Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] at Richmond.

The resolutions for a settlement of the five per cent due Wisconsin from the sales of public lands, after passing the Senate by a two thirds vote, will have to lay over to the next session in the House among the unfinished business.  Your correspondent, “T” [?] labored hard to show my reference to the old canal claim was incorrect.  He cannot, however, escape the conclusion, that an acceptance of the first proposition of settlement would have saved the State more than four times the amount in interest now lost.

Since the return of the President and Assistant Secretary of War Dana [Charles A. Dana], from a visit to the army, a more firm confidence has been inspired in the ultimate success against Richmond.  Gen. Grant seems confident and feels strong enough in men and means to secure the fall of the rebel capital.

Col. POOLE4 has returned here after a few weeks service at the “White House” and vicinity and is now acting as Provost Marshal in this city.  Col. ALLEN5 has finally completed his labors in connection with the examining board for officers in the colored regiments and his health, though precarious, is so far recovered that he desires again to go into active service in the field.  His regiment will be here, on their way home, in about a week, their term of service having expired.  Col. COBB6 received some time since a handsome little testimonial of the regard of his old command, consisting of a badge in the form of a gold cross surmounted by a silver eagle.  On the cross is inscribed to “Col. AMASA COBB, from the soldiers of the 5th Wis. Vols.”  Postmaster LAWRENCE is still confined, but it [is] rumored that he will soon have his trial, and also that there is no existing evidence that implicates him in the robbery of the safe and subsequent events.

R.

1.  Maunsell Bradhurst Field (1822-1875) was Chase’s Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1861 to 1865. Because he had literary interests and co-authored a romantic novel (Adrian; or The Clouds of the Mind, a Romance; available online on Google Books), Chase opponents charged that Field was not respected by the financiers. But he had served as an assistant to Cisco (see next footnote) for many years and was now Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
2.  John J. Cisco (1806-1884) was the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in New York under Democratic Presidents Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, and Lincoln kept him on because of his connections with the the moneyed interests of the nation. Due to his health, he decided to resign in May of 1864. His position was one of the richest patronage plums in the Federal government and his resignation set in motion a tug of war between Chase and his New York enemies.
3.  The Potter Committee was the common name for the Select Committee on Loyalty of Clerks and Other Persons Employed by the Government. Representative John F. Potter, of Wisconsin, proffered the resolution that established the investigative committee. The committee existed from July 8, 1861, to March 3, 1863.
4.  DeWitt Clinton Poole (1828-1917), from Madison, had been the lieutenant colonel of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry.
5.  Benjamin Allen, from Pepin, was colonel of the 16th Wisconsin Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh and resigned in July 1863 and was replaced by Cassius Fairchild.
6.  Amasa Cobb, from Mineral Point, was colonel of the original 5th Wisconsin Infantry from May 1861 to December 1862 when he resigned. In August 1864 he will become colonel of the 43rd Wisconsin Infantry.

1864 July 20: “You may rest assured the boys were getting uneasy”

July 20, 2014

The original letter is in the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University Archives and Area Research Center.

Camp 4th Wis Cavalry
Morganzia [sic]¹ La. July 20th, [1864]

Dear Brother,

                          I received a letter from you last night and as I have not much to do to day I propose to write a few lines in return.

The weather is very hot & sultry so that I have but little ambition to do anything.  We have been expecting to move from here daily for three weeks, but here we are yet.

There is not much prospect I think of moving immediately.

The worst trouble here is our mail.  We are two hundred miles above New Orleans and yet all our letters have to go there before we can get them.  The mail received last night was the only one for fifteen days.  You may rest assured the boys were getting uneasy.  Many of the troops at the post have gone to Fortress Monroe I suppose for the purpose of joining Grant’s army.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

I suppose you had a big thing the 4th of July.  I wish you could have seen me lying in this infernal hole without a particle of excitement.  I thought about the good times you were having.  The next few days after that though I had excitement.  I was with a scouting party of 400 men to go out to Simmsport [sic].²

We did not see any Rebs going out but skirmished half of the way back.  Nobody hurt of course.  I gave the benefit of one round from my revolver.

Maj. Peck³ of this regiment has resigned which will bring our present Capt.4 [to?] Maj.  Knowles [Warren P Knowles], if he remains in the service a [sic] will be Capt and your humble servant 1st Lt.  The honorable vets of Co. “G” were discharged a few days ago and have gone to the City to get their pay.  I suppose they will start home.  Winchester5 played one of the most contemptible tricks with Rossie [Roswell V. Pratt] that I ever new [sic].  He went to the Post Office in the City and got out Rossie’s letters and opened them to see if there was any news.  This he did after having asked permission and being flatly refused.  It will be well for him that he does not show his head in this camp again.  Pratt is a favorite with the boys and they will stand with him to the last.  The letters were from his wife and of course he did not wish every one to read them.

Whitefield is here, in good health but still has a good many of his old tricks.  No man will tent with him if there is any other good place.  His clothing looks like the devil all the time.  You can judge who it is agreeable for, having him here or not.  He is as well as any one and does as much duty.  Why can’t he be somebody.  Charly6 is tough as a nut.  He has just come in from a two day scout.  There is work to do at this place as sure as you live.  I am tottally [sic] without money not having had pay since my return to duty.  I have pay due me from the 29th of Feb. as Sergt., 1st Sergt. and Lt. but I am owing about a hundred which will reduce it when it does come.

Give my best respects to everybody that is human, that is in my estimation.

                                                                              Write Soon,
                                                                                         ..J. E. Flint
To: P. C. Flint                                                                              .“Co. G” 4th Wis Cavalry
River Falls                                                                                .Morganzia [sic] La.

1.  Morganza is located in Pointe Coupee Parish in Louisiana. The village of Morganza had been burned to the ground by Union troops in October 1863, but it was now the site of a Union Army encampment.
2.  In May of 1864, General Edward R. S. Canby had relieved General Nathaniel P. Banks and assumed command in Simmesport, Louisiana. Simmesport is located in Avoyelles Parish.
3.  Erastus J. Peck, from Oconto, had originally been the captain of Company H and was promoted to major on March 10, 1864.
4.  The captain of Company G at this point was James Keefe, from Hudson. He was promoted to major on July 22, 1864, but Warren P. Knowles was not commissioned captain until February 25, 1865.
5.  William H. Winchester, from River Falls, was the Chief Bugler.
6.  Probably Charles Knowles.

Flint Letter 1864-7-20

Jerry Flint letter of July 20, 1864, from the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center

 

 

 

1864 July 16: Martial Law Proclaimed in Kentucky

July 19, 2014

The following proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln appeared in the July 16, 1864, issue of The Prescott JournalProclamation 113, which declared martial law and a further suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Kentucky, was dated July 5, 1864.

Martial Law in Kentucky.

By the President of the United States of America :

A PROCLAMATION.

WHEREAS, by a proclamation which was issued on the 15th day of April, 1861, the President of the United States announced and declared that the laws of the United States had been for some time past, and then were, opposed and the execution thereof obstructed in certain States therein mentioned by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in the marshals by law ;  and

WHEREAS, immediately after the issuing of the said proclamation the land and naval forces of the United States were put into activity to suppress the said insurrection and rebellion ;  and

WHEREAS, the Congress of the United States by an act approved on the 3d day of March, 1863, did enact that during the said rebellion the President of the United States, whenever in his judgment the public safety may require it, is authorized to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in any case throughout the United States or in any part thereof ;  and

WHEREAS, the said insurrection and rebellion still continue, endangering the existence of the Constitution and Government of the United States ;  and

WHEREAS, the military forces of the United States are now actively engaged in suppressing the said insurrection and rebellion in various parts of the States where the said rebellion has been successful in obstructing the laws and public authorities, especially in the States of Virginia and Georgia ;  and

WHEREAS, on the 15th day of September last the President of the United States duly issued his proclamation, wherein he declared that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus should be suspended throughout the United States in the cases where, by the authority of the President of the United States, military, naval, and civil officers of the United States, or any of them, hold persons under their command or in their custody, either as prisoners of war, spies, or alders or abettors of the enemy, or officers, soldiers, or seamen enrolled or drafted or mustered or enlisted in or belonging to the land or naval forces of the United States, or as deserters therefrom, or otherwise amenable to military law or the rules and articles of war or the rules or regulations prescribed for the military or naval services by authority of the President of the United States, or for resisting a draft, or for any other offense against the military or naval service ;  and

WHEREAS, many citizens of the State of Kentucky have joined the forces of the insurgents, and such insurgents have on several occasions entered the said State of Kentucky in large force, and, not without aid and comfort furnished by disaffected and disloyal citizens of the United State residing therein, have not only greatly disturbed the public peace, but have overborne the civil authorities and made flagrant civil war, destroying property and life in various parts of that State ;  and

WHEREAS, it has been made known to the President of the United States by the officers commanding the national armies that combinations have been formed in the said State of Kentucky with a purpose of inciting rebel forces to renew the said operations of civil war within the said State and thereby to embarrass the United States armies now operating in the said States of Virginia and Georgia and even to endanger their safety :

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws, do hereby declare that in my judgment the public safety especially requires that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, so proclaimed in the said proclamation of the 15th of September, 1863, be made effectual and be duly enforced in and throughout the said State of Kentucky, and that martial law be for the present established therein.

I do therefore hereby require of the military officers in the said State that the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus be effectually suspended within the said State, according to the aforesaid proclamation, and that martial law be established therein, to take effect from the date of this proclamation, the said suspension and establishment of martial law to continue until this proclamation shall be revoked or modified, but not beyond the period when the said rebellion shall have been suppressed or come to an end.

And I do hereby require and command as well all military officers as all civil officers and authorities existing or found within the said State of Kentucky to take notice of this proclamation and to give full effect to the same.  The martial law herein proclaimed and the things in that respect herein ordered will not be deemed or taken to interfere with the holding of lawful elections, or with the proceedings of the constitutional legislature of Kentucky, or with the administration of justice in the courts of law existing therein between citizens of the United States in suits or proceedings which do not affect the military operations or the constituted authorities of the Government of the United States.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed

Done at the city of Washington, this 5th day of July in the year of our Lord, 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the 88th.

Signed,                        ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

WM. H. SEWARD, Sec’y of State.

1864 July 16: Jubal Early’s Raid Results in Two Battles—Leetown and Monocacy

July 18, 2014

From the July 16, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

On July 3, 1864, the Battle of Leetown was fought in and around Leetown, Virginia between Union Major General Franz Sigel and Confederate Major General Jubal A. Early. Federal troops were retreating in the face of Early’s relentless advance down the Shenandoah Valley during his Second Valley Campaign. Hoping to buy time to concentrate Union forces and supplies, Sigel ordered Mulligan to hold Leestown for as long as humanly possible and then conduct a fighting retreat as slowly as possible to cover the other withdrawing Union units.

The Battle of Monocacy was fought on July 9, 1864, outside Frederick, Maryland, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864.  Confederate forces under General Jubal A. Early defeated Union forces under General Lew Wallace.  The battle was part of Early’s raid through Maryland, attempting to divert Union forces away from General Robert E. Lee’s army under siege at Petersburg, Virginia.

FROM PHILADELPHIA.

PHILADELPHIA, July 5.

The Inquirer publishes a special dispatch from Gettysburg of the 4th stating that much excitement prevails there and in the country south of Harrisburg, in consequence of rumors that a large body of rebels are making a raid on Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, and had already crossed the Potomac.

Yesterday morning at 6 o’clock Sigel was attacked at Leetown and Darkville, Virginia, by a large force of the enemy, said to be under Early and Ransom,¹ and driven from his position with slight loss.  Sigel says there were 2,600 cavalry.  The number of infantry is not known.

A dispatch just received by the Government says that fifteen rebel cavalry men were seen within five miles of Hagerstown this p. m.  Other reports considered reliable say there are no rebels this side of the Potomac.  It is the object of the enemy to advance as far as possible into Pennsylvania and steal horses.

BALTIMORE, July 5.

It was reported and believed yesterday morning that Hagerstown was in the possession of the rebels, telegraph operators having left their post under alarm.  The operators, however, returned about 1 o’clock in the afternoon and reported all was quiet, and that there were no rebels nearer than Falling Waters and Williamsport, from six to ten miles distant from the Potomac, where it was said fighting was going on yesterday afternoon.  The same account also says fighting was going
on at or near Sharpsburg.  The Federal forces being commanded by Gen. Sigel.

Previous reports from Harper’s Ferry had located Gen. Sigel during Sunday night at Shepardstown, to which point he had fallen back from Martinsbnrg, and where a junction was formed with him by Mulligan [James A. Mulligan] with a force from the Leetown.  The fight on Sunday was ten miles below this point.  A force, it was thought, would move to the Maryland side of the Potomac to secure the Maryland Heights if attacked by the rebels.

An attack was made on Harper’s Ferry about 9 or 10 o’clock yesterday morning by a force estimated at 7,000 cavalry with more than as many infantry.  Gen. Webber [sic: Max Weber], however, set about making a vigorous defence, and up to last accounts was holding his own.

Nothing had been heard up to 2 o’clock p. m. at Harper’s Ferry from either Sigel or Mulligan’s forces, which is accounted for, perhaps, by the Hagerstown story of their being again engaged opposite Shepardstown, to which point they must have been followed by the rebels.  After 2 o’clock in the p. m. the wires were interrupted near Harper’s Ferry on the east side, and the operator at
Point of Rocks was understood to report that a body of rebel cavalry had crossed the Potomac there, and interrupted the telegraph.  In the mean time the excitement at Frederick, Md., continuing.  All the sick from the hospitals with the provost guard of the town were removed, the former going to Annapolis.—Government stores, also horses removed from Frederick, as they had been previously successfully removed from Harper’s Ferry.  No reason is given for this movement from Frederick as no hostile force were known to be within 20 miles of the place, except a cavalry detatchment near Point of Rocks 12 miles off.

General Tyler [Erastus B. Tyler] remained at Monocacy, in command of Gen. Wallace’s forces at that point, being the extreme western limit of that department.  He is protecting the great rail road bridge of the Monocacy river three miles from Frederick.

"Bridge over Monocacy, Scene of Lew Wallace battle with Early, 1864," from Library of Congress

“Bridge over Monocacy, Scene of Lew Wallace battle with Early, 1864,” from Library of Congress²

No sign of the enemy had appeared up to last night.  The true object and extent of the whole
movement are as yet all a mystery.

It is known from refugees from Martinsburg, Winchester and other places in Virginia, that the rebels are remorselessly and relentlessly enforcing the conscription.  The capture of supplies and the division of the re-inforcements going to Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] are very probably the reason of the raid.  Provisions and all kinds of supplies are no doubt very scarce in Virginia at present, and the rebels hope to make a large haul on this side of the Potomac, but they have evidently been disappointed thus far.

Major Gen. John [sic: Jubal] Early commands the expedition, which is composed of cavalry, infantry and artillery.  Gen. Ransom is believed to have charge of the cavalry, as he is said to be Stuart’s successor [J.E.B. Stuart].  The object of the enemy may be inferred to be an important one on the part of Gen. Lee.

The infantry force said to be under command of Gen. Early himself.  Ewell’s late corps probably now numbers not less than 12,000 men [Richard S. Ewell].

From Point of Rocks we learn that the entire rebel force that visited that place yesterday did not exceed 1,000 cavalry, supposed to be under command of Mosby [John S. Mosby], whose object was to rob and destroy __ captured after committing many robberies the same way they came.  The telegraph operators restarted last night from the mountains where he had concealed himself, and sent __ __ dispatches announcing the extent of the rebel depredations.

WASHINGTON, July 5.

Intelligence from the upper Potomac states that the citizens of upper Maryland are terribly frightened, and are fleeing with their property in all directions.  The danger thus far seems apprehended more than real, for for Frederick even is not occupied as reported, and a rebel command has not occupied permanently any town on the Maryland side of the Potomac.  The enemy is supposed to be part of Ransom’s (late Stewart’s [sic: Stuart]) cavalry, with infantry from Ewell’s Corps.

ALBANY, July 5.

The President informs Gov. Seymour [Horatio Seymour] that a rebel force, estimated at 15,000 or 20,000 strong, have invaded Maryland and taken Martinsburg and Harper’s Ferry, and are threatening other points ;  that the public safety requires a call upon state executives for a militia force to repel the invasion, and he calls upon the state of New York for 12,000 militia as its quota, to serve one hundred days.

 1.  Robert Ransom, Jr. (1828-1892) graduated from West Point in 1850, attended cavalry school at Carlisle Barracks (1850-1851), and was assistant instructor of cavalry tactics at West Point (1854-1855). He resigned his commission in the U.S. Army on January 31, 1861, and initially served as a captain in a North Carolina regiment before being appointed colonel of the 1st North Carolina Cavalry. In March 1862 he was promoted to brigadier general and fought in the Peninsula. He led his North Carolina brigade in the September 1862 invasion of Maryland and participated in the capture of Harpers Ferry and the Battle of Antietam. He was placed in temporary command of the division and led it through the Battle of Fredericksburg, where the division successfully defended Marye’s Heights. In May 1863 he was promoted to major general. In May 1864 he led a division in the defense of Drewry’s Bluff. During the summer of 1864, Ransom was sent to command the cavalry in the Shenandoah Valley, under Jubal A. Early, where he participated in the battles of Monocacy and Fort Stevens. He was relieved of command in August 1864 due to illness and never returned to front line service.
2.  Drawing of the “Bridge over Monocacy, Scene of Lew Wallace battle with Early, 1864,” by Alfred R. Waud, from the Morgan collection of Civil War drawings in the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

1864 June 28: “Many are killed and wounded on both sides. It is rather rough here for new beginners.”

July 17, 2014

The following letter from George W. Davis of Farmington—now with the 7th Wisconsin Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia—was published in the July 17, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.  Many of the wounded listed here were wounded before the new recruits joined the regiment at Petersburg.  June 18, 1864, was the last day of the Second Battle of Petersburg, by the 28th, the Siege of Petersburg was under way, foreshadowing the trench warfare of World War I.

Our Army Correspondence.

IN THE TRENCHES, FRONT NEAR }
PETERSBURG, June 28th ’64. }

S. S. FIFIELD, Jr.,—Dear Sir :—I arrived here with my squad of recruits on the 25th inst., all right.  Found the remnant of the old 7th regiment here, under fire, where they have been constantly engaged since the 18th,—on which day our brigade made a charge on the enemy’s works and got repulsed with heavy loss.  Our regiment went in with 170 men and came out with 120.

We are now lying behind our breastworks, holding our position,—under a heavy fire—without water, except we choose to go half a mile for it exposed to the enemy’s fire from the moment we leave the works.  There are more men killed and disabled at present in going for water, and carelessly exposing themselves, than from doing their duty in the trenches.  When a soldier raises his head above the breastworks, he is sure to have a bullet sent close to his ears, if not close enough to sting.—Thus many are killed and wounded on both sides.  It is rather rough here for new beginners.  I wish you could come here and spend a day or two, then you would have a better idea of a soldier’s life than you ever can by reading, or from the report of old soldiers.  I am not able to say that I am sorry I enlisted—do not know how I shall stand a charge—but there is something exciting all the time that keeps one from being down hearted.

I enclose you a list of the men who left Polk county with me, giving those wounded and sick, with the particulars as near as I can learn them.

Yours truly, GEO. W. DAVIS.

(The following is the list referred to above : )—ED.

COMPANY F.¹
Peter Francis, killed on field, May 5.
A. H. Connor, wounded severely.—Shot through thighs May 17, now in hospital.
E. Whitney, went to hospital before first battle—returned to regiment June 10,
was shot through leg June 18; now in hospital.
Richard Turnbull, detailed dressing wounds in hospital; never been in battle.
Orrin Weymouth, shot through leg while going for water; not dangerous, now in hospital.
Peter Delp— all right—on duty.
Michael McHugh,    do           do
John Rice,    do           do
COMPANY G.²
Joseph Razor, killed on field.
Frank Shaw, died in hospital May 23d of wounds received in battle.
Charles Razor, wounded; in hospital.
John Singog,    do           do
John B. Le Prairie,    do           do
Gus Metwaos,    do           do
Thomas Hart,    do           do
John R. Day, sick in hospital.
John Moses,    do           do
George Samuel,    do           do
James Rice,    do           do
Joseph Cadott, sick but still on duty.
Alex Cadott, all right and on duty.
Charles Hart,    do           do
John Buck,    do           do
Joseph Morrow,    do           do

The 7th regiment is in the 1st brigade, 4th division, 5th Corps.   G. W. D.

1. Company F (all men who enlisted January 18, 1864):

  • Peter Francis, from Farmington, enlisted January 18, 1864; killed May 5, 1864, at the Battle of the Wilderness.
  • Andrew H. Connor, from Saint Croix Falls, enlisted January 18, 1864; wounded at Laurel Hill [part of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House].
  • Edwin E. Whitney, from Farmington, wounded at Petersburg.
  • Richard H. Turnbull, from Saint Croix Falls, discharged June 2, 1865, for disability.
  • Orrin Weymouth, from Saint Croix Falls, wounded at Petersburg and died from his wounds July 25, 1864.
  • Peter Delp, from Saint Croix Falls, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Michael McHugh, from Saint Croix Falls, wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness.
  • John Rice, from the Town of Sterling, wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness.

2.  Company G (all men who enlisted in late February/early March of 1864):

  • Joseph Razor, from Osceola,* killed May 12, 1864, at Laurel Hill.
  • Frank Shaw, from Osceola,* wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness, died May 25, 1864.
  • Charles Razor, from Burnett County, wounded at Laurel Hill.
  • John Singog [Singgoy], from Burnett County, wounded at Jericho Ford [Battle of North Anna], died June 17, 1864.
  • John B. Le/La Prairie, from Osceola,* wounded at Petersburg.
  • Gus [George] Metwaos, from Osceola,* wounded at Petersburg and again at Gravelly Run.
  • Thomas Hart, from Burnett County, wounded at Laurel Hill.
  • John R. Day, from Burnett County, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • John Moses, from Osceola,* taken prisoner December 11, 1864.
  • George Samuel[s], from Burnett County, wounded at Petersburg and again at Gravelly Run.
  • James Rice, from Osceola,* no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Joseph Cadott, from the Town of Sterling, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Alexander Cadott, from the Town of Sterling, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Charles Hart, from Burnett County, will desert November 30, 1864.
  • John Buck, from Burnett County, will die April 8, 1865, from disease.
  • Joseph Morrow, from Osceola,* taken prisoner December 11, 1864.

* Many of the men listed as being from Osceola were more likely from Burnett County and only enlisted in Osceola.

1864 July 16: The Sinking of the “Alabama” in the Battle of Cherbourg

July 16, 2014

Following is the summary of the week’s war-related news from the July 16, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.

The Battle of Cherbourg, fought on June 19, 1864, in the English Channel off Cherbourg, France, resulted in the sinking of the famous Confederate raider CSS Alabama by the USS Kearsarge.

Following that item is news of Confederate General Jubal Early’s raid through the Shenandoah Valley and into Maryland in July, 1864, attempting to divert Union forces away from General Robert E. Lee’s army that was under siege at Petersburg, Virginia.

The News.

The following is a summary of the most important news received since our last issue :

— Hon. S. P. CHASE [Salmon P. Chase] has resigned the office of Secretary of the Treasury, and Hon. WM. P. FESSENDEN, of Maine, has succeeded him in the Cabinet.

— Congress adjourned sine die¹ at noon of Monday, the Fourth of July.  Before adjourning it passed a new Conscription bill.  Under this act, drafts may be made for one, two or three years ;  bounties of $100, $200, and $300 are to be awarded for one, 2 and 3 years’ service respectively.  Commutation is no more ;  but every one drafted may serve in person or by substitute, and fifty days’ notice must be given before enforcing the draft.  Each State is at liberty to obtain substitutes in the States in insurrection and have them credited on her quota.

— The pirate Alabama has been met by our gallant navy, and sent to “Davy Jones’ locker.”  The winning ship is the U. S. Sloop-of-war Kearsage [sic: Kearsarge].  The engagement took place on the coast of France, off Cherbourg.  SEMMES [Raphael Semmes], the pirate Captain, made his escape in an English yacht.

Destruction of the Alabama, from "Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War"²

Destruction of the Alabama, from “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War”²

— The rebels are making a serious raid into Maryland.  The despatches³ regarding the situation are principally made up of rumors.  It appears certain, however, that a large force of rebels have invaded the North, and that several severe engagements have taken place in the vicinity of Baltimore and Washington.  Telegraph and railroad communication between Baltimore and Philadelphia, and Baltimore and Washington, has been cut off, and the greatest excitement prevails in those cities.

In Philadelphia the wildest rumors prevail, and it is reported there that Washington has been captured.  No faith is placed in the rumor, and as the last quotations show a decline in gold in New York, it is undoubtedly a secesh lie.

There is no mistake, however, but what the rebels are doing great damage in Maryland, destroying large amounts of property, both public and private.  Our forces are not idle and we trust soon to hear of the utter defeat of the rebels.

Gen. SULLIVAN [Jeremiah C. Sullivan] has re-captured Martinsburg, Va., with 1,000 prisoners and a large amount of plunder.

Gen. SHERMAN [William T. Sherman] has driven the rebel army of JOHNSON [sic: Joseph E. Johnston] across the Chattahoochee river, taking 2,000 prisoners.

GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant] is still around Petersburg, with BEAUREGARD [P.G.T. Beauregard] and his army penned up.  He is playing Vicksburg over again, and will soon have him bag and baggage.

1.  A Latin phrase meaning that Congress, in this case, had adjourned without setting a time to reconvene.
2.  “Destruction of the Alabama,” from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, by Alfred H. Guernsey and Henry M. Alden (Chicago: McDonnell, 1866-68):426; available in the UWRF Archives (E 468.7 .G87 1866). This also appeared in the July 23, 1864, issue of Harper’s Weekly.
3.  This is probably a good time to repeat that the newspapers of this time used “dispatch” and “despatch” interchangeably, so we do not bother putting [sic] after the later.
4.  Martinsburg is now in West Virginia.  The The Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad Roundhouse and Station Complex were located there.

1864 July 9: News of Local Soldiers John Otis, John Goldsberry; Wisconsin Sick and Wounded at Vicksburg

July 15, 2014

Following are the smaller news items from the July 9, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

Finger002  We regret to learn that John Otis,¹ of Co. A, 12th Reg., son of Franklin Otis, Esq., died in hospital a short time ago.  No soldier ever entered the service with purer motives, and his death is a severe affliction to his aged parents.

Finger002  JOHN GOLDSBERRY, Co. F, 37th, has returned home on furlough, having been wounded before Petersburg, June 17th.  Johny made a quick trip to Dixie and back.

Finger002  Henry E. Sinyzer has been appointed 1st Lieut. Co. E, 6th Reg., vice Chas. P. Hyatt, promoted.  The Lieut. has fairly won the position.

Finger002  Fremont [John C. Frémont] is called the “Pathfinder,” but he evidently is off from the right path to the White House.

Finger002  There was a large Fremont Ratification meeting in New York a few days since.  The material for the meeting was borrowed from the Democrats.—Gen. McClellan [George B. McClellan], was cheered much more than Fremont.  It is unlucky fro Fremont that the mass of his supporters are to fill up the time until they have a nominee of their own.

Finger002  S. S. Fifield, of the Polk County Press, was in town this week.  We are glad to see him so well recovered from his recent severe illness.  [The reason we have not had articles from the Press.]

Finger002  An interesting letter from “BOB” EDEN, Capt. Co. B, 37th Reg., will be found on the inside of this paper.

Finger002  Two years ago the Copperhead press strongly opposed the $300 commutation as a measure to favor the rich and drag the poor into the army ;  and now that it is repealed, they are violent in denunciation of the repeal.  What will suit them?

DEATH OF CAPT. HUNTER.—Capt. J. W. Hunter,² of the Third Wisconsin, formerly of this place, who was wounded in one of the late battle in Georgia, has died of his wound.—Monroe Sentinel.

Sick and Wounded Soldiers at Vicksburg.

The following is a list of sick and wounded soldiers in hospital in Vicksburg, from June 14th to June 18th, furnished by Mrs. C. A. P. HARVEY, Wis. State agent :

John Baker, H, 33d regiment.
A. Antoine,³ F, 14th do
R. H. Douglass,4 E, 8th do
E. E. Pauline,5 L, 2d cavalry.
George Hewitt, E, do
G. Haydy, H, do
H. Belch, H, do
Henry Jung, H, do
H. L. Brooks,6 M, do
___ Kanouse,7 F, do
Orson Mills, C, do
James E. Cronk, M, do

1.  John A. Otis, from Trimbelle, died June 11, 1864, in Rome, Georgia, from “disease.”
2.  James W. Hunter, from Monroe, was captain of Company F of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry. He died June 8, 1864, at Chattanooga, from wounds received May 25.
3.  Abram Antoine, from Fort Howard, died June 11, 1864, in Vicksburg.
4.  Robert H. Douglass, from Salem, died June 8, 1864, in Vicksburg.
5.  Ernest Pauline, from Fountain City, died June 12, 1864, on the Hospital steamer H.W. Thomas.
6.  Perry L. Brooks, from Porter, died August 17, 1864, in Vicksburg.
7.  Thomas Kanouse, from Richland Center, was discharged with a disability on July 3, 1864.

 

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