1864 April 9: The Boys of Company F “achieved a bloodless but decisive victory over an unruly crowd which greatly outnumbered them”
The following letter from the 30th Wisconsin Infantry in Dakota Territory appeared in the April 9, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal. The Winnebago Indians—also called Ho-Chunk—were removed to Dakota Territory along with the Dakota (Sioux) Indians. Through the period of forced relocations, many tribe members returned to previous homes, especially in Wisconsin, despite the U. S. Army’s efforts to prevent that and their repeated roundups and removals.
T H E I N D I A N W A R.
Letter from Co. F, 30th.
CROW CREEK AGENCY, D. T.
March 6, 1864.
ED. JOURNAL :—Believing that both yourself, and readers, are interested in Co. F, I give you an account of an occurrence which took place at this post this morning, in which our Co. and Capt. MEACHAM [Edgar A. Meacham] were conspicuous actors.
The U. S. Indian Agent left here for Washington about three weeks since, leaving the Agency in charge of one of his employees. The Winnebago Indians have become dissatisfied with the country and their treatment here, and for some time past have been slipping away from the Post, in small bands, by night.
They were well aware that if they permitted a knowledge of their plans to reach the authorities at the Post, efforts should be made to detain them, as it is the intention of Government to keep them here, after expending so large an amount of money in fitting up the Agency ; consequently they have until recently, chose to leave quietly in the darkness of night. But those who had already undertaken the experiment had been so successful in the accomplishment of their designs without being molested, that a large number concluded to try it, and do it too by daylight. About half past eight o’clock this morning the acting U. S. Indian Agent and the U. S. Winnebago Interpreter waited upon the the commander of the Post, and informed him that the Indians had about 50 canoes launched and packed, and were about starting down the river. And he, the acting agent, demanded the assistance of the military power to prevent their departure. A squad of soldiers from Co. F. 30th, and Co. K, 6th, were immediately called out to render the required service. But allow me to state here the reason that matters had progressed thus far, unknown to either the Indian Agent or military command, was because the Fort in which we are quartered is not situated exactly on the bank of the river, but at a distance of perhaps one-fourth of a mile ; the Indians being camped in the timber, between the Fort and the river. Consequently they had been enabled to get their preparations well under way before acknowledgement of them reached the authorities.
But a very few moments elapsed after the assistance was demanded, before a squad of fourteen men, under charge of Sargent [sic] McCarthy,¹ and headed by Capt. M. marched from the Fort to the point where the Indians were about to embark. The Captain told them they would not be permitted to leave, and ordered them to remove their traps back to their lodges. This they flatly refused to do. He then told them that if they persisted, he should order the men to fire, and stop as many as they could with bullets. This seemed to have no effect on them, and they professed themselves determined to go at all hazards. Capt. M. then told them he had done talking, but his threats would be put in execution. The Indians said he was very foolish for coming down there to stop them, they out numbered his men a great deal, were better armed, and could kill every one of the whites on the ground. They professed not to fear death, and again stated that they could not be stopped by all the troops at the Agency.
The Missouri at this point is quite wide. In the center of the river is an extensive sand bar, upon the further side of which the channel is situated, while upon this side of the bar is a kind of bayou about nighty feet in width. To be able to get down the river with their canoes the Indians would be obliged to paddle around the head of this bar, cross the river, and go down on the further side.
Serg’t McCARTY was ordered to land his squad on the bar, across the bayou, and if the Indians refused to halt, to shoot as many as they could. A messenger was sent to the Fort for a reinforcement, which reported promptly at the [spot?].² Meantime, the Indians who were not expecting to leave, expressed their determination to assist their friends and went to their lodges and procured their guns, bows, and arrows.
About this time the prospect looked fair for some fun, and serious fun it might have proved too, if the Indians had not yielded. They outnumbered us ten to one, were well armed, and no doubt could have done good execution. But things were otherwise ordered, as you will see.
Meantime the canoes had pushed out, crossed the river, and commenced moving down stream. But as they neared our squad, the command was given—HALT! They at first only ceased paddling, but soon commenced backing water to hold the canoes against the current and then headed them ashore. They were then ordered to take the canoes to the point of embarkation, and seeing the bayonet lowered to a charge, they concluded that direction was the better part of valor, and slowly obeyed the order.—On their arrival at the shore the men were ordered to disburse and leave the squaws to take care of the trumpery.—This order they also obeyed, after our boys had been brought to a charge bayonet and some of them had felt a little cold steel in the vicinity of the breached at.
As soon as the squaws had packed the effects back to the camp, and the work of reconstructing the lodges fairly commenced, the boys were ordered back to the Fort, having the satisfaction of feeling that they had achieved a bloodless but decisive victory over an unruly crowd which greatly outnumbered them.
* * * *
Before I close, allow me to mention a little affair which took place one side as the more important movements were in progress.
Two of the Winnebago ladies, (sometimes scandalously called squaws) taking offense at each other for some real or imaginary wrong, commenced an altercation which soon brought on blows. One of the afore mentioned ladies had an infant, (commonly called pappoose [sic],) in her arms at the commencement of the dispute, but as it became more exciting, her antagonist rushed upon her, wrenched the child out of her arms, and threw it over the bank, a distance of ten or twelve feet. The mother’s maternal anxiety was surpassed by her desires to resend the insult, and without looking for her child, which was picked up by some other lady, sadly bruised, (it has since died,) she fell to with a will, and soon whipped her enemy beautifully.
Yours truly, MORE ANON
1. Augustus E. McCarty, from Prescott, enlisted August 13, 1862. He was first promoted to corporal and then to sergeant. He mustered out with the company on September 20, 1865.
2. The printing on this issue of the newspaper was not very good and this is out best guess as to what the word should be. The “ot” at the end is plain, it is just the first two letters that are hard to make much of.
From the April 9, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal. The last item mentioned took place on March 2, 1864; it was not a named battle.
It is understood that Gen. Seymour [Truman Seymour] assumes the full responsibility of the Florida disaster.
Donnelly, a notorious guerrilla of London Co. Va., has been arrested and sent to the Old Capitol Prison.
Out of 1,771 applications, 784 have been selected for commissions in negro regiments by the examining board.
The commission to investigate the conduct of Gen. Rosecrans [William S. Rosecrans] at Chickamauga, fully exonerated him from blame.
The military committee of the House have decided to report in favor of increasing the pay of soldiers to $18 per month and of sergeants to $30.
The Tribune’s despatch says, Gen. W. [sic] S. Ferry¹ has succeeded Gen. Sickles [Daniel E. Sickles] in command of the Lehigh department, with headquarters at Reading [Pennsylvania].
Lieut. Col. Sanderson² has been sent to Fort Warren. It will be remembered he is accused of betraying plots of Union prisoners to escape from Richmond to the rebel authorities.
The gunboat Conestoga collided with the Gen. Price on the 10th [of March] in the Mississippi, a short distance below Natchez. The Conestoga, with a cargo of ammunition was sunk. The boat and cargo are a total loss.
The Ways and Means Committeee [sic] have adopted an amendment to the National Banking bill allowing National Banks to issue $12 and $13 notes until special payments are resumed, when they will be called in.
The Herald’s correspondent from the fleet off Mobile has a rumor that Farragut [David G. Farragut] is to withdraw his fleet, being satisfied the city cannot be taken by water. Thirty-five or forty of the rebels who mutinied in Fort Morgan have been shot.
Lieut. Col. Sanderson² is under arrest, on a charge preferred by Col. Streight [Abel D. Streight] of disclosing to the rebel authorities plot of the Union prisoners to escape from Libby Prison. None of his friends have any doubt of his innocence.
The committee on the conduct of the war are investigating the Florida expedition. The evidence already given, establishes the fact that neither the President nor any one else in Washington is responsible for its disastrous termination.
Reports have reached here that the rebels are preparing for another piratical expedition from some of the small inlets of Chesapeake Bay. The utmost vigilance is required of the gunboats, and it is believed the next party trying such an experiment cannot fail of falling into our hands.
Vicksburg advices of the 7th state that all boats at that place have been pressed into Government service. It is reported that movements will be made via the Red, Black, and Washita [sic: Ouachita] rivers to Monroe, thence by land to Shreveport, Louisiana. Gen. Steele will co-operate from Little Rock. [Frederick Steele]
Information deemed reliable says Longstreet’s headquarters are at Greenfield, Tenn. [James Longstreet], Buckner’s at Bull Gap [Simon Bolivar Buckner], and the main forces between those two points, and their pickets 8 miles above Morristown. Gen. Vaughan [sic: John C. Vaughn] is at Rogersville and Gen. Jones³ at Long’s Mills, eight miles below Jonesville, Va.
Full details of Gen. Sherman’s expedition are published in the Herald and Tribune. Some 150 miles of rebel railroad communication were destroyed. This was its main object. The future reoccupation of Mississippi by the rebels in the force is an impossibility. The subsistence of our force has drawn off more than the surplus above the immediate wants of the home population. Our entire loss was not over 150. [William T. Sherman]
The Herald’s Norfolk letter says the late expedition resulted in the destruction of King and Queen’s county court house, where the gallant Dahlgren [Ulrich Dahlgren] was ambushed and murdered. The defeat of the 5th and 9th Va. cavalry by the expedition has already been stated. The notorious guerrilla, Bob Colton, was among the killed. We had none killed, and but half a dozen wounded.
Gen. Fisk,4 commanding the department of St. Louis, has just returned from a tour of inspection in south-west Missouri. He reports numerous bands of guerrillas have been committing depredations in that section and south-east Kansas, and that some bands are preparing for more extensive operations in the spring. Energetic measures will be taken to drive out or destroy all such bands and establish law and order throughout this department.
Peace has been ratified with the North Carolina Cherokees, and those recently captured say that they were induced to take up arms under the belief that they were fighting for the U. S. Government. Two were permitted to go in search of the band and represent the real facts. Their chief, Lacca-Kaneechee, came in a few days since, with 80 of the tribe, and accepted the amnesty. Since the return of the Indians to loyalty, the rebels have committed numerous outrages on them. Some 20 have been thrown into prison. The rest are concealed in the mountains.
A special to the Tribune says : The Court of Inquiry appointed to investigate the conduct of Generals McCook [Alexander McDowell McCook], Crittenden [Thomas L. Crittenden] and Negley [James S. Negley] at the battle of Chichamauga, has reported the results of its investigation to the War Department. They find that Gen. McCook did his entire duty in the battle proper, but made a mistake arising from an error of judgement in going into Chattanooga. Gen. Crittenden is held entirely blameless, and the Court speaks in commendatory to [sic] terms of his conduct. His forces had been sent piecemeal to Gen. Thomas [George H. Thomas] and he found himself without a command before leaving for Chattanooga. Gen. Negley is also exonerated.
We have some particulars of the late expedition up the Ouachita river. The gunboats Ouachita, Osage, Conestoga, Lexington, Fort Hineman [sic: Hindman] and Cricket composed the expedition. Trinity was found strongly fortified. The Ironclad Osage, in advance, was allowed to pass without interruption. The flag-ship Hineman [sic] followed, when a heavy fire was opened upon her which after a time obliged her to return in a damaged condition with a loss of 2 men killed and 8 wounded. The flag was then transferred to the Ouachita whose powerful guns silenced the enemy’s battery, which consisted of three 82-pounders. But little difficulty was experienced in driving the enemy from his position at Harrisonburg. Our forces burned the town.
1. Orris Sanford Ferry (1823-1875) was a Connecticut lawyer who was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the 12th Regiment of Connecticut Militia during the Mexican War but he did not fight in any battles. He was a Connecticut state senator (1855-1857), the state’s attorney for Fairfield County (1856-1859), a U.S. Representative from Connecticut (1859-1861), and after the War a U.S. Senator from Connecticut (1867-1875). When the Civil War broke out, Ferry was one of the men who formed the Cassius Clay Guard to protect the rebels from burning the U.S. capital. Then in July of 1861 he became colonel of the 5th Connecticut Infantry. In early March 1862, Ferry led his troops across the Potomac River, and attacked the Confederates at Winchester, Virginia, which lead to what became the First Battle of Winchester. He also participated in the Peninsula Campaign, the Valley Campaign, and the Battle of Cedar Mountain. Ferry was well praised for his ability as a leader and as a military strategist and was promoted to brigadier general in March, 1862. He was also the head of the District of Lehigh, from August 20, 1863 until May 1864, and served as the head of the District of Philadelphia from December 16, 1864 until July 15, 1865. Ferry was brevetted a major general of volunteers in recognition of his services during the Peninsula Campaign. He resigned from the military on July 15, 1865.
The image of “Orris S. Ferry” is from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (LOT 4192).
2. James Monroe Sanderson enlisted in Company S of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry. He was commissioned a 1st lieutenant on September 4, 1861, and was the regimental quartermaster. three days later, on September 7, he was promoted to captain and became an officer in the U.S. Volunteers Commissary of Subsistence Department. On July 15, 1862, he was promoted to major and became an officer in the U.S. Volunteers Aide-de-Camp. On January 1, 1863, Sanderson was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Volunteers Commissary of Subsistence Department. He was dismissed on June 6, 1864, and reinstated to the Commissary of Subsistence Department on May 27, 1865. He was honorably mustered out time on August 15, 1865.
Colonel Sanderson was confined in Libby Prison, along with Colonel Streight, and escaped in the famous tunnel. But while there, he was in charge of the food for the men in two of the rooms. Knowing something about cooking, and being in the Commissary Department, he helped prepare the food and make it as tasty as possible. But some of the officers accused him of hoarding food or not giving them the best food he could. When that accusation did not lead anywhere, he was accused of issuing a statement sustaining the contention of the Confederate authorities regarding the rations issued the prisoners. He was denounced by a mass-meeting of officers held in the prison who declared that their food was insufficient to sustain life. At some point he and Streight, who by all accounts had opposite personalities, had some sort of altercation. After the escape, and before Sanderson had even made it home, Streight accused him of disclosing the plot of the Union prisoners to escape to the rebel prison’s authorities. You will notice in his record that he was dismissed from service for nearly a year, and during that time a Military Commission was convened. In 1865, Sanderson had printed all of the evidence he collected, called My Record in Rebeldom, as written by Friend and Foe, Comprising the Official Charges and Evidence before the Military Commission in Washington, Brig. Gen’l J. C. Caldwell, Pres’t, Together with the Repost and Finding of the Court, printed for private circulation and future reference by James M. Sanderson (New York: W.E. Sibell, 1865).
Sanderson’s image is also from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (LC-B813- 1515 C [P&P]).
3. William Edmondson “Grumble” Jones (1824-1864) graduated from West Point and was a career military officer until he resigned in 1857 to become a planter. At the start of the Civil War, Jones joined the 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment as a captain, commanding a company he had raised. On May 9 he was promoted to major in Virginia’s Provisional Army, and later that month both Jones and the regiment were transferred into the Confederate Army. Jones served under Col. J.E.B. Stuart in the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861. The following month he was promoted to the rank of colonel was given command of the 1st Virginia Cavalry. In March 1862 Jones was given command of all cavalry in the Valley District. Jones’s cavalry was distinguished in the Second Bull Run Campaign, and he was wounded in a skirmish at Orange Court House (August 2, 1862). He was promoted to brigadier general on September 19, 1862, and on November 8, was assigned to command the 4th Brigade of Stuart’s Cavalry Division in the Army of Northern Virginia. On June 9, 1863, he fought in the largest cavalry engagement of the war, the Battle of Brandy Station. In October of that year, J.E.B. Stuart’s ongoing dissatisfaction with Jones resulted in Stuart having Jones court-martialed for insulting him. Although Grumble was found guilty, Robert E. Lee intervened, and Jones was transferred to the Trans-Allegheny Department in West Virginia. Jones recruited a brigade of cavalry there and campaigned in eastern Tennessee with General James Longstreet during the winter and spring of 1864. In May, Jones assumed command of the Confederate forces in the Valley Campaigns of 1864. In the Battle of Piedmont (June 5, 1864), Jones was shot and killed while leading a charge.
4. Clinton Bowen Fisk (1828-1890) was a merchant, miller, and banker in Coldwater, Michigan, until the financial Panic of 1857; he then moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and started working in the insurance business. An abolitionist, Fisk was appointed colonel of the 33rd Missouri Infantry of the Union Army In September, 1862 and was commissioned brigadier general in November after organizing a brigade. He served most of the American Civil War in Missouri and Arkansas, commanding first the District of Southeast Missouri and later the Department of North Missouri. The primary duty of these commands was opposing raids into Missouri by Confederate cavalry and guerrillas. After the War, Fisk was appointed assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau for Kentucky and Tennessee. After authorizing legislation expired for the Freedmen’s Bureau, Fisk returned to his native New York and became successful in banking. In 1874 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him to the Board of Indian Commissioners. Fisk was a leader in the temperance movement and was the Prohibition Party’s candidate for president in 1888. Fisk University is named for him.
1864 April 9: General Grant “is just now the great sensation in the city” and Other News from Washington
From the April 9, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.
Gen. Grant in Washington—The Missouri Faction—New Hampshire Election—
Gov. Randall—Gov. Doty—Disaster in Florida—Recklessness of Gen. Seymour—
Congressional matters [sic]—Wisconsin Men at the Capitol.
Correspondence of the State Journal.
WASHINGTON, March 10, 1864.
The arrival of Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] is just now the great sensation in the city, and whether he will remain here, or continue in the field is a question on every tongue. He was hardly known to be in the city when he appeared at the President’s levee last night. His entrance, as soon as it became known, caused a tremendous excitement in the crowded rooms of the White House, and such was the rush to him that a modest man could not get within forty feet of him, while the occupants of crinoline,¹ who happened to be in the crowd, were squeezed quite to their hearts content and to the ruin of their gay habiliments.
The General came in about 10 o’clock unheralded, and soon the Secretaries not present were sent for, and came to welcome the distinguished hero of thirty-seven battles. He bears his honors well and looks hale and hearty, as though he could shoulder his new responsibilities without damage and meet the requirements of his place where so many failed. What will be done with Halleck [Henry W. Halleck], or what his position is to be is matter of earnest speculation. It is confidently hoped that many evils arising from his personal hostility to certain earnest men and strong measures will be cured by the appointment of General Grant to the first position under the Commander-in-Chief.
The controversy which is now kept up between the rival factions in Missouri, has entered upon the floor of Congress and provoked some feeling. So far as it partakes of personalities between the members it had better been excluded. But I confess, radical as I am, and with all my sympathies with the opposition to Schofield & Co. [John M. Schofield], the more I see of the case the stronger the conviction that rivalry and personal, rather than public considerations are inciting nausea. I cannot forget that the now so-called conservative champion, General Blair [Francis P. Blair], was the first to raise the banner of Emancipation in Missouri, and to stem manfully and boldly the pro-slavery torrent, while many of these now radical abolitionists were arrayed under the black flag of slavery, and doing their worst to destroy the germ which the former so successfully planted. I cannot sympathize with those who are seeking to embitter this controversy and extend it abroad for the purpose of using it against Mr. Lincoln, and in favor of some of his rival aspirants. Better far to conciliate and harmonize these local and personal conflicts between parties in the same great common cause of freedom.
The glorious result in New Hampshire was not expected here, and demonstrates how much can be done by proper effort. The representatives from there spoke discouragingly, but called for aid, and the response has been effective and satisfactory. Gov. Randall,² who attained such distinction as an effective laborer and speaker in the New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut canvases, was pressed into the service in New Hampshire, and all who have heard him on the stump can fully credit the report that he was among the most powerful of the speakers in that canvass.
By the way, at the time of leaving the city on his way north, the Governor was the subject of a pretty severe practical joke. While procuring his ticket at the railroad depot he was very quietly relieved of all his loose money to the amount of $140! He undoubtedly neglected to read the notice so prominently posted there : “Beware of pick-pockets ;” so I suppose he alone is responsible for the loss. He nevertheless went on his mission though robbed and moneyless.
Gov. Doty,³ now of Utah, has been here for some weeks, leaving the administration of affairs of his office in the hands of Amos Reed, Secretary of the Territory. He went out as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Utah, in which capacity he rendered most important service in reconciling the Indians and securing their loyalty. Several valuable and important treaties negotiated by him with different tribes in Utah have been ratified by the Senate. No man is better fitted for his present position, and he will acquit himself creditably and to the honor of the nation. He looks ten years younger than when he went out—the influence of the climate, &c., having removed all his old rheumatism and renewed his age.
The disaster in Florida is a serious and unexpected one, and wholly unnecessary, and apparently attributable to rashness and over anxiety on the part of West Point General commanding to achieve a name as a fighter. He was most reckless, and the lesson he has learned has cost the nation heavily. The loss in killed, wounded and prisoners will be near 2,500 from all private accounts. It seems to have been so unnecessary that one gets exasperated at the thought of it. The force suddenly thrust down there from Charleston and Savannah could not long have been spared to remain there, and if Seymour had invited an attack at his station at Barber, he could have successfully repelled it against heavy odds. Had the enemy refused to advance upon him, he could have remained until the rebel force was defeated by necessary demands elsewhere and then made a successful advance. There appears also to have been a great want of skill in the management of his forces, though in personal courage he is not wanting. [Truman Seymour]
A strange fatatity [sic] seems to attend all the operations on the Atlantic coast. The commanders of the army and the navy in the Southern department have seemed to be generally unequal to their responsibility, and an inscrutable providence has struck down the only two men sent there, who were able to cope with the many difficulties to be encountered—viz: Gen. Mitchell and Admiral Foote [Andrew H. Foote]. Thus far it has been the most expensive and the least effective department of the service. The blockade, however, in now rendered perfect at Charleston and along the entire coast save at Wilmington, North Carolina.
If a respectable force is kept at Jacksonville it will open the St. John’s River country and secure supplies of lumber and turpentine, &c., and will divide the forces and attention of the enemy and be of great ultimate advantage. But there is no use of talking of or relying upon the “Union element of the South ;” save among the negroes, it is not there. Slavery has tainted the moral and political atmosphere to such a degree that the whiskey drinking “cracker” and the swaggering slaveholder are alike embittered against the “Yankees,” and will fight until exhausted. Every tallow-faced female throughout the South is a preacher of vengeance and thoroughly possessed by the demon of slavery. Even while living upon the liberality of the government and protected from the suffering resulting from the rebellion, they breathe out curses upon the heads that feed them, and foam in vindictive rage at the flag which shields them. While there is a vestige of hope, they will fight and will only yield to advancing civilization, when the strong arm of federal power demonstrates the advantages of freedom and the blessings, moral and physical, of the Republican Institutions.
The whiskey question having been temporarily disposed of by Congress, the gold question has taken its place, and both attract the personal attention of speculators. The proposition of Mr. Boutwell4 to put the excess of government gold into circulation by anticipating the payment of interest, seems to obviate the objections existing against authorizing the sale and U have little doubt but this will finally be adopted.
The bill before the Senate granting lands to Minnesota for a railroad from St. Paul to Lake Superior is contested by our Senators who are faithfully guarding the interests of Wisconsin and are seeking to obtain the grant for her to open the road from Tomah to Superior.
Gen. Simeon Mills5 arrived here on Tuesday, and J. R. Brigham6 of Milwaukee has been here some days, it is understood on business connected with the Milwaukee Post Office, to which C. L. Sholes7 was appointed some time since, but whose appointment was suspended. D. H. Richards is here representing the Canal Company8 and a number of Wisconsin lawyers in attendance upon the Supreme Court.
The impeachment of Andrew J. Miller seems not to be very probable this session; not certainly for the want of adequate evidence so much as from the persistent efforts of interested lawyers and parties representing non-residents, and who derive a good business from connection with that court. I fear the blighting curse has rested so long upon the people of that State that it can only be removed by God himself.
. . . . . . . .R.
1. By 1850, the word “crinoline” had come to mean a stiffened petticoat or rigid skirt-shaped structure of steel designed to support the huge skirts of a woman’s dress into the required fashionable shape worn in the 1850s and 1860s. The “occupants of crinoline” would have been the society ladies in their party dresses with the large hoops.
2. Former Wisconsin Governor Alexander W. Randall, who at this time was in Washington, D.C., because he was the assistant postmaster general.
3. Wisconsin’s second governor, and Utah Territory’s 5th governor, James Duane Doty (1799-1865).
4. George Sewall Boutwell (1818-1905) was the 20th governor of Massachusets (1851-1853), the first Commissioner of Internal Revenue (1862-1863), a U. S. Representative from Massachusetts (1863-1860), the 28th U. S. Secretary of the Treasury under Grant (1869-1873), and a U. S. senator from Massachusets (1873-1877). Secretary Boutwell controversially reduced the national debt by selling Treasury gold and using greenbacks to buy up Treasury bonds, and Representative Boutwell was instrumental in writing and passing the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U. S. Constitution.
5. Simeon Mills (1810-1895) was a Wisconsin state senator best known for introducing the bill that became the charter for the University of Wisconsin. an efficient businessman, he served as clerk to various government agencies and as Wisconsin paymaster during the Civil War.
6. Jerome Ripley Brigham (1825-1897) was a Wisconsin lawyer, city attorney of Milwaukee (1880-1882), state assemblyman (1877), member of the Milwaukee board of city fire and police commissioners (1885-1888), and a regent of the University of Wisconsin (1870- 1875).
7. Christopher Latham Sholes (1819-1890) was a Wisconsin newspaperman, politician, and inventor. Sholes helped to organize the Free Soil and Republican parties in Wisconsin, supporting both Lincoln and then Johnson. He was state senator (1848-1849, 1856-1857) and state assemblyman (1852-1853). During the Civil War, Sholes also served for a time as Milwaukee postmaster, and was later port collector and commissioner of public works.
8. Daniel H. Richards (1808-1877) was one of the founders of the Milwaukee Advertiser. The Milwaukee and Rock River Canal Company, “which had for its purpose the construction of a canal connecting Lake Michigan by way of the Waukesha lakes with the Rock River, and thus establishing a waterway to the Mississippi River. Congress made a land grant for the purpose, surveys and estimates were made and during the twelve years preceding the admission of the state to the Union repeated efforts had been made to carry out the enterprise. … During the twelve years from 1836 to 1848, when the prospect was abandoned, the only actual work done besides making surveys was the construction of a dam across the Milwaukee river at Milwaukee. … The advent of railroad building was the chief influence in bringing about an abandonment of the canal project.” Bonds had been sold to pay for the building of the canal and there were claims against the State of Wisconsin—who had issues the bonds—filed with the U.S. Congress, with D. H. Richards listed as a claimant. (For more information, see the Dictionary of Wisconsin History entry for the Canal Company.)
1864 April 9: If General Grant “achieves brilliant and decisive victories” during the Summer Campaigns, Lincoln Will Win Re-Election, Plus Other News
From the April 9, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.
(We condense the weekly telegraphic despatches, as they appear in the St. Paul Pioneer and Press, giving a summary of each day’s report, commencing each weekly summary where we left off the week before, and thus giving our readers a continuous chain of the most important news.)
From the Pioneer, March 31st.
— Richmond papers of the 25th say a large federal force under Burnside [Ambrose E. Burnside] has landed at Washington, North Carolina. Burnside was in Chicago on the 18th, and could not have been in North Carolina on the 25th, but it is quite likely that a portion of his Corps (the Ninth,) which was ordered to rendezvous at Annapolis, may have arrived, and is destined for important work in connection with Grant’s operation [Ulysses S. Grant].
— The statement is again made of exertions in Washington to postpone the meeting of the Republican National Convention from June to September, and from Baltimore to Philadelphia. This movement is instigated by members of Congress opposed to Mr. Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln]. They argue, and with some plausibility, that if the result of the summer campaign is unfavorable, that Mr. Lincoln’s chances of election will be very slim, and that if Gen. Grant achieves brilliant and decisive victories, he will be borne into the Presidential chair by irrepressible popular enthusiasm, despite all the previous arrangements of political wire-pullers.
— Forrest, on the 20th, was reported eight miles back of Columbus.— His captures at Union City numbered only 250 men. [Nathan B. Forrest]
— An express train which left Louisville on Monday, guarded by seventeen soldiers, was captured by ten guerrillas, and two passenger cars burned. The cowardly seventeen surrendered to ten without firing a gun. Kentucky is now under command of General Burbridge [Stephen G. Burbridge], and if half of what we have heard of this officer is true, we may expect that the whole state will be overrun before long.
— Gen. Grant has reviewed a portion of the Army of the Potomac, and was enthusiastically received.
— There is a story (for the marines) about an encampment of Unionists in central Florida, and engagements they have had with the rebels, &c.— Gen. Seymour had a taste of Florida. Unionism a few weeks ago, and we are inclined to the opinion that this encampment is composed of the same material. [Truman Seymour]
— Gen. Banks has degraded from his rank, and confined at Dry Tortugas, an officer of the regular army, attached to the Corps d’ Afrique, for an attempted violation of powerless women. Gen. Banks well observes that the country does not wish in its service men who disgrace the uniform they wear. [Nathaniel P. Banks]
Friday, April 1st.
— There has been a serious affray at Charleston, Cole County, Illinois between the “Copperheads” and Union citizens and soldiers. Several persons have been killed and wounded. The commencement of the affair seems to have been accidental, but later reports say the “Copperheads” are entrenching at various places.— This, however, is a favorable indication, that their ability to do mischief is not very great. The section where the affair occurred is largely settled by Kentuckians, Virginians, North Carolinians, and their descendents, and there are many among them who are rebels at heart. Thousands of troops have been sent to the scene of action, and the rebels will soon be attended to as they deserve.
— A bill has been introduced into the U. S. Senate to pap the costs of the Minnesota Indian War.
— General Florida-blundre-Seymour has returned to Hilton Head, having been relieved of his command by Gen. Hatch. [John P. Hatch]
—The great Copperhead riot is not quite as serious as first reported.
— Gen. GRANT and “BALDY” SMITH have gone down to Fortress Monroe. [William F. Smith]
— Gens. Buell, Negely, McCook, Crittenden, Newton,¹ Sykes, and ten Brigadiers, have been ordered to report to Gen. Sherman. General Buell relieves Gen. Schofield in East Tennessee.
— There is a rumor that Gilmore is about heading in person another movement in Florida. [sic: Quincy A. Gillmore]
—The World predicts offensive movements on the part of the rebels this spring. An invasion is to be made in two columns, one against Cincinnati, and another into Pennsylvania.
— Natchitoches, La., has been captured, and a sufficient amount of cotton to cause a decline in the price of that article in New Orleans.
1. John Newton (1822-1895) was a graduate of West Point and a career military officer with the Corps of Engineers. He taught engineering at the Military Academy (1843-1846) and constructed fortifications along the Atlantic coast and Great Lakes (1846-1852). Newton helped construct Washington defenses and participated in the Peninsula Campaign, and the battles of South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and the Chancesllorsville Campaign, where he was wounded. At the Battle of Gettysburg, he replaced the slain General John F. Reynolds in command of the I Corps and led it through the defense of Pickett’s Charge. He retained command of I Corps until the Army of the Potomac was reorganized in 1864, when he was sent to the Army of the Cumberland. In the Atlanta Campaign he served under Sherman, who regarded him highly. At the Battle of Peachtree Creek (July 20, 1864), he prevented a dangerous Confederate movement against Sherman and his rapidly constructed works allowed him to turn back the Confederate thrust. After the capture of Atlanta, Newton left active field duty and commanded the District of Key West and the Tortugas of the Department of the Gulf from 1864 to 1866. His last campaign resulted in a defeat at the Battle of Natural Bridge (March 6, 1865) in Florida. After the War he returned to the Corps of Engineers and in 1884 was appointed Chief Engineer.
1864 April 2: Catching Deserters, Confederate Prisons, News of Soldiers Oliver Gibbs, William Cook, Edgar Treadwell, and Much More
Following are the smaller items from the April 2, 1864, issues of The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press.
From The Prescott Journal:
The 12th Regiment has been in Madison for some time, waiting for their pay. Co. A will be here in a few days, and arrangements will doubtless be made to give them the warm reception they so well deserve.
Oliver Gibbs, Jr., of Prescott, Pierce county, Wisconsin, has been appointed to a $1400 clerkship in the Adjutant General’s Office. He has been occupying a temporary clerkship for several months. He is a very worthy recipient of public employment and his many friends will rejoice at his success.
A LEADING GERMAN, remarking upon the canvas [f]or the Presidency, says that while “the leading men of the Germans are for Chase or Fremont, the men who do the voting are for Lincoln.”
On Tuesday next the citizens of Prescott will vote on the question of levying a tax to pay $100 each to the veterans who have filled our quota under the last call. It is but justice that this bounty be paid.
UNION PRISONERS.—A. D. RICHARDSON writes from prison in Salisbury, N. C. that one hundred and fifty citizens, prisoners, are confined there ; also a number of army hostages, including Capt. REED,² of the 3d Ohio. The prisoners are all in good health, and tolerably well treated.
The Union prisoners at Atlanta, Ga., were detected in digging a tunnel out of the prison. There is a similar report concerning Union prisoners confined in Columbia, N. C.
Peace has been ratified with the North Carolina Cherokees. Those recently captured say that they were induce to take up arms under the belief that they were fighting for the United States government. Since the return of the Indians to loyalty the rebels have committed numerous outrages upon them.
THE NEGRO TROOPS AT OLUSTEE.—A Florida correspondent of a Charleston paper says that in the recent battle “The Yankee darkies fought like the devils.”
A letter from Florida to the New York Evening Post says that Gen. Seymour fell into a trap from having confidence in the native citizens, who assured him that the rebel forces had left the State. He may have had great confidence in those citizens, but nobody will ever again have any in him. [Truman Seymour]
From The Polk County Press:
FASTING.—JEFF. DAVIS has appointed the 8th of April for a day of fasting and prayer throughout the Rebel dominions. [Jefferson Davis]
STILL ANOTHER CAPTURE.—PROVOST Marshals SEYMOUR, of Stillwater, and C. B. WHITING, of Taylor’s Falls, arrested two men by the name of GUS. JOHNSON, of the 2d Iowa, and PEASE, of the 1st Minnesota Battery, on Friday the 25th ult. They were captured in the lumber camps on Yellow river. Deserters will soon think this “wooden” country is a hard road to travel.
— President Lincoln was among the contributors to the Brooklyn Fair. He sent an autograph letter commending the enterprise, and wishing it every success. A gentleman standing by when the letter was read, offered to give one hundred dollars for it.–The offer was accepted. [Abraham Lincoln]
TENNESSEE.—At the recent election in Tennessee some 40,000 votes were polled, and nearly all the officers elected are believed to be staunch Union men, and in favor of immediate emancipation.
RE-ENLISTED.—The Fifth Minnesota regiment has re-enlisted for the war. This makes five veteran regiments and two batteries from that State. About two-thirds of the 1st Regiment have also re-enlisted.
FROM MADISON.—The 17th Regiment reached Madison on Friday morning, the 18th.
CAPTURED.—One of QUANTRELL’S [sic: William Quantrill] guerrilla villains, named VANDEVERE [sic: Vandiver], has been arrested by a Kansas detective, in St. Paul. He is a notorious murderer, thief, and villain, and was engaged in the sack of Lawrence, Kansas. He will swing.
DESERTER CAUGHT.—A man by the name of BURT, a deserter from the 18th Wisconsin regiment, was arrested by Deputy Provost Marshal VINCENT, at Taylors Falls, on Wednesday the 30th ult. Mr. VINCENT started with him for La Crosse on Friday last. [William J. Vincent]
FROM THE CAVALRY BOYS.—A letter from GEORGE CLARK, dated Rolla March 17th, 1864, says that the boys have all reached their company except E. C. TREADWELL. They left him behind at Memphis, Tenn., sick in hospital. JEROME FISH was sick in hospital at Rolla, Mo. The rest are all well and getting along finely.³
— Lieut. J. R. Meigs, son of Quartermaster General Meigs [Montgomery C. Meigs], has been appointed Chief Engineer of Gen. Sigel’s department, with the rank of Captain and A.D.C. Capt. Meigs is but twenty-two years old, graduated second in his class, and Gen Sigel [Franz Sigel] has entire confidence in his capacity. Gen. Sigel has applied for Gen. Stahl [sic: Julius H. Stahel] and Col. Wyndham4 to be assigned to his command. Gen. Averill [William W. Averell] has command of all the cavalry in Sigel’s department.
— Increased activity in military affairs is reported in Washington.—Troops and ambulances are ordered to the front, and it is reported that Gen. GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant] intends to place all the general officers on duty at once.
1. George H. Nichols, from Prescott, was the first chief bugler of the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry. He was discharged with a disability on July 16, 1862. William T. Cook, also from Prescott, was promoted to chief bugler on June 1, 1863, and transferred from Company M. He was taken prisoner on March 10, 1864, at Big Black, Mississippi.
2. Benjamin C. G. Reed, captain of Company E, 3rd Ohio Infantry.
3. These are some of the Polk County men who joined Company D of the 2nd Cavalry in January 1864; George S. Clark, Edgar C. Treadwill, and Jerome Fish.
4. Sir Percy Wyndham (1833-1879) was an Englishman who had served in the French navy, the Austrian army, and Giuseppe Garibaldi’s Italian army. He was knighted by King Victor Emmanuel for his help in defeating the Neapolitans at the Battle of Milazzo (July 20, 1860). In the spring of 1861, he offered his services to the Union cause and General George B. McClellan recommended him as colonel of the 1st New Jersey Cavalry. Sir Percy, as he was called, was captured during the 1862 Valley Campaign, paroled two months later, and was given a brigade. His most memorable performance was at the Battle of Brandy Station (June 9, 1863), where he personally led his brigade’s charge up Fleetwood Hill. Although his troopers were badly outnumbered, he personally rallied a rear guard and held off two charges, beating back the Confederates both times. Sir Percy was mustered out on July 5, 1864.
This image of “Percy Wyndham, 1st N.J. Cav” is from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division (LC-B813- 3762 A). We have slightly cropped the top of the image.
The following report on the battlefield and cemetery at Gettysburg is from the April 2, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.
The Battle-ground of Gettysburg.
THE BODIES OF OUR SOLDIERS
A letter from Gettysburg in the Baltimore “Sun” says :
All the bodies of the Union soldiers have now been disinterred from the pits and trenches where they were hastily thrown after the battle, and carefully buried in their appropriate places in the cemetery.
The total number of bodies thus removed and entombed is three thousand five hundred and twelve. About one thousand of them are unknown, and deposited in that part of the enclosure set apart for those unrecognized. Nearly or quite a fourth of the whole number of the slain belong to the State of New York. Many of the unknown bodies have since been recognized, their names having been discovered from letters, photographs, medals, diaries, clothing, and other things found upon the corpses. Quite an amount of money, in small sums, ranging from the fractional part of a dollar up to fifty dollars, was also found upon these bodies by those who disinterred them. Thirty-six dollars in gold were found in the pocket of one, and thirty to forty dollars—paper and gold—in the garments of others, besides many relics, mementoes, &c. All this money and these relics have been taken care of by the committee, properly labelled, and held in safe-keeping for the relatives, should they ever be discovered. An elegant hunting-case gold watch and five or six silver watches were also found upon different bodies.
The Cemetery Association will be fully organized as soon as the charter, now before the Pennsylvania Legislature, becomes a law, authorizing the power of incorporation. Workmen are busily engaged improving the grounds, and will continue until the place is completed.
Mr. Willis [sic]¹ further informs me that he received a letter on Saturday last from a committee of First United States Army Corps, stating that the members of said corps had now raised a sufficient sum of money to enable them to erect a suitable monument somewhere on the battle-field where their brave commander, Gen. Reynolds, fell, in commemoration of his gallant services. The committee favors the idea of erecting it on the spot where their chieftain was slain, but it is not considered eligible on account of its being out of the way. The suggestion is therefore made to erect it on an elevated position within the cemetery, and this probably will be acceded to.²
1. David Wills (1831-1894), a lawyer and judge in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was the principal figure in the establishment of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. He had purchased, on behalf of the state of Pennsylvania, seventeen acres for a cemetery and was in charge of the Gettysburg Cemetery dedication in November, 1863, at which President Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.
2. Today there are four different bronze monuments at Gettysburg of General John F. Reynolds, as well as a granite monument that marks the spot where he fell. The bronze portrait statue pictured here, by sculptor J.Q.A. Ward, is located in the National Cemetery. “It was the first bronze portrait statue placed on the Gettysburg battlefield,” and was dedicated on August 31, 1872.”Within months after Reynolds’ death, a committee was appointed to raise funds for the placement of a memorial where Reynolds fell. With contributions from both officers and enlisted men, nearly $5700.00 was raised for the memorial which when completed would cost just over $15,000. The bronze used for the Reynolds would be made of melted down cannons used during the Civil War.”
The image and information are from the Gettysburg Sculptures website. The Levi Mumper albumen photograph is from the 1890s and this digital version has been copyrighted by Gettysburg Sculptures.
The following letter to the editor appeared on the front page of the April 2, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.
The Co. Volunteer Aid Fund.
ED. JOURNAL :—The Board of Supervisors at their last meeting, passed a resolution relating to the County Volunteer Aid Fund, discriminating in its character it bestows aid from the County upon those only who were married at the time they enlisted, and upon widowers in the service who have children under fifteen years of age, dependent upon them for support. Widowed mothers who had some dependent upon them for support, are now cut off. Indigent fathers, step fathers and foster-fathers must now look to some other source for aid.
The rule adopted may bear hard in some instances, but on the whole I deem it just. It is better that a few should suffer, rather than have our money swindled out of our pockets by hundreds and even thousands of dollars, by those who have no just claim upon us. It is true, too true, indeed, that not one in five of those whose names are found upon the record of “actually dependent,” “absolutely indigent,” “wholly unable to support themselves,” are what they claim to be. They would resent it with indignation, were we to intimate such a thing to them, either publicly or privately. I can only say of them, that their boldness is only equalled [sic] by that of some of the war widows, married after their husbands enlisted, who have deliberately sworn that they were married before they enlisted.
I learn that the draft on this Fund, before the Board took any action, was about $1000 a month. Tax-payers, look at the record !
JUSTICE. . . . . .