The following smaller items are from The Polk County Press of June 6, 1863.
The news of the week is unimportant. The telegraph tells so many lies that it is useless to print the dispatches. Vicksburg is still closely besieged, and Gen. GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant] thinks himself able to take it. The President has revoked the order of Gen. BURNSIDE [Ambrose E. Burnside], which suppressed the Chicago Times. GRANT is said to be using 150 guns to the best ad vantage on Vicksburg. Taken all together, the news this week is of an encouraging character, though not very reliable.
— Companies E and G of the 30th regiment have been sent to Bayfield, on Lake Superior to look after the Indians.
— A letter from Sergt. E. H. Hoover,¹ written at Murfressboro, and dated May 21st, states that the boys who went in the 1st Wisconsin, from this county, were all well as usual.
Items from the Valley Papers.
— Col. DILL [Daniel J. Dill] returned home from last Thursday evening, to remain for a few days. We are glad to learn that his health is rapidly improving.—Prescott Journal.
— J. S. ELWELL, Esq., formely [sic] a worthy young man and the respectable editor of the Hudson North Star, but latterly, we believe, a teacher in the mission school for contrabands at Port Royal, returned a few days since.—Ib.
— CHAS. E. YOUNG, formely [sic] of the Prescott Transcript, has been in town for a few days. Charley is living in Chicago, which town he says beats both Prescott and the County Seat [Ellsworth].—Ib.
1. Elias H. Hoover, from Saint Croix Falls, enlisted August 30,1861, in the the Saint Croix Rifles, which became Company F of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry.
Following are the smaller items from the June 6, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal.
GEO. H. NICHOLS — Captain.
OLIVER GIBBS — 1st Lieut.
WM. R. GATES — 2nd Lieut.
It was decided that the Company be a Cavalry company. We think it will be a success.
— General Nye said, in his Utica speech, that Vallandingham [Clement C. Vallandingham] has not gone to he-ll, but has gone to the next place to it—he has gone South.
— The statement that General Hunter [David Hunter] has been superseded is denied by good authority in Washington.
A PAPER called the Copperhead has been started in New York. It advocates “State Rights,” “Free Speech,” the purgation of the Democratic party of all false and frivolous leaders, who would hang out the light of the wrecker to place the vessel of State upon shoals and quicksands, while the plunder runs into their coffers,” and the nomination of Clement C. Vallandingham for the Presidency by the Democracy.
VICKSBURG, it is announced is to be taken by the shovel and pick-axe. The events which we have so long wished for, and so sanguinely and soon expected, is thus necessarily postpone for weeks.
ITEMS FROM THE HUDSON STAR.—The Military Company that was going to be organized on such short notice here, is played out. It is rather rough on Hudson to be beat by such small towns as Osceola and St. Croix Falls, both of these places having organized good companies.
— Capt. D. M. [sic] WHITE [Daniel W. White], who left Hudson as Captain of the Hudson City Guards, arrived in town last Saturday.
C A V A L R Y ! C A V A L R Y ! !
Washington, D. C., May 22, 1863.
All men who desire to join any particular Regiment of Cavalry now in the field, are hereby authorized to present themselves at any time within the next thirty days to the Board of Enrollment in their respective Districts. The Board shall examine them, and determine upon their fitness for the Service, and if found to be fit, the Provost Marshall [sic] of the district shall give them transportation tickets to the general Rendezvous, at the Headquarters of the A. A. Provost Marshal General of the State. As soon as they present themselves at this general rendezvous they shall be duly mustered by a mustering and disbursing officer, and paid by him the bounty allowed by law.
JAMES B. FRY,
Provost Marshal General.
1. The Siege of Port Hudson, in Louisiana, started May 22, 1863, and will go until July 9.
Phineas was not Jerry’s only brother, he had an older brother, George W. George W. Flint, also from River Falls, was in Company A of the 20th Wisconsin Infantry. Unknown to Jerry, George had just died from disease on May 10, 1863, in Springfield, Missouri.
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 Parapet La
June 10th 1863
I have just learned of your wherabouts [sic] through Rossie [Roswell V. Pratt] and have determined to write to you. I wrote to you about a year ago but as I never received any answer I did not write again. I have wished to hear from you a great many times but never have. Our company is detached from the regiment and serving as Heavy Artillery on a battery about 10 miles above New Orleans. The regiment has been through all the battles of the Teche¹ under Gen. Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks] and is now before Port Hudson where they have already seen some pretty hard fighting.
The place is still in possession of the rebels but is thoroughly invested and must come clean.
Our first Lieut E A Clapp was was [sic] killed while acting aide-de-camp on Gen. Sherman staff.
I had a letter from Helen a few days ago. Mother and Phineas are with them. Dean has bought out his brothers tin shop and Phin is going to help him. I do not know as Mother will stay there. She thinks some of living with Uncle J’s folks. Helen lost another of her children last winter.²
I have heard of Thomas Randall’s death. His son we buried [sic] last summer at Baton Rouge. Poor George he was a good fellow and a fine soldier.³
My health is very good and has been the most of the time since we have been in this God forsaken country. I am troubled some with the Fever and Ague.
The weather is so hot that it is almost impossible to stand it. As Uncle Healy4 says “I can’t enjoy religion” a bit it is so hot.
I will not write much now for this may never reach you but if I receive an answer to this I will write longer next time.
Write soon if it is not more than a dozen words and give me a history of your military career.
Hoping this may find you well I remain as ever
Co. G. 4th Reg. Wis Vol
New Orleans La.
1. Jerry is referring to the Bayou Teche Campaign, a brief military campaign in April and May 1863 in Louisiana. Union forces were trying to trap Confederate units between the Bayou Teche and the Atchafalaya River.
2. Helen is Jerry’s sister. Dean is Royal L. Dean, her husband, who becomes a tinner by trade. Phin is Jerry’s brother Phineas Flint. Jerry, Phin, and Helen’s mother was Jerusha Pratt Flint.
3. Thomas Randall, from River Falls, was in George Flint’s company (Company A of the 20th Wisconsin Infantry); he died March 30, 1863, in St. Louis, Missouri, at age 45. George T. Randall, from River Falls, was in Jerry’s company (Company G or the 4th Wisconsin Infantry); he died August 7, 1862, in Baton Rouge, at age 24.
4. Possibly Manly Healy, from River Falls, who does not seem to have been an actual relative.
The following editorial-sounding piece is from the June 6, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal. It does not occupy the spot where the Journal usually puts its own editorials, and it is not credited to another newspaper. Compare its depiction of President Abraham Lincoln with that in the following small article about Clement C. Vallandigham, who has been sent to the Confederacy for treasonous actions.
The War and the President.
This war is a war to save the nation. It is a war not only for ourselves but for our children to the latest generation. It involves interests of almost infinite magnitude. The men in power at Washington are but dust in the balance when weighed against the destinies at stake. To whatever side they may shift, it is nothing in its bearings upon the obligations of the war. If the President usurps, impeach him, as the Constitution provides, by the House of Representatives, and try him by the Senate. If you do not choose to do that, then bear with him for the twenty-one months he will remain in office, or seek to change his conduct by arraying against him the force of public opinion. Take any of those parts that you please, if you think if you think [sic] the President wrong. But if you are a sane man, don’t be guilty of the madness, if you are a loyal man don’t be guity [sic] of the faithlessness of saying that if this creature of a day does this, or fails to do that, the rebellion should have its way and the nation go down.—You might as well say that if the priest at the altar does not rightly preform [sic] his duties, the Ark of the Covenant shall be broken; and if the ministers of the Church go astray, religion itself shall be adjoured [sic].
There was, in the whole, no demonstration ; but everywhere, as he passed, those who had heard of his coming, greeted him kindly, and with silent tokens of sympathy and respect.
Mr. Vallindigham looks cheerful, and seems to breath easy on escaping from the Lincoln despotism. He very properly desires to avoid public demonstration, and only asks that he may find a quiet refuge in our midst, until such time as the voice of his people, relieved from despotic government, shall call him again to their midst.
From the June 6, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal. We are introduced to another set of Confederate generals.
The Siege of Vicksburg.
PHILADELPHIA, June 4.
The Bulletin of this city has the following special :
CINCINNATI, June 4.
Our direct advices from Vicksburgh [sic] to the 30th of May. For several days previously, quiet had prevailed all along the line, broken only by occasional cannonading.
The Commercial has a dispatch dated the 30th, saying “Spades are once more trumps.” We are erecting earthworks, and are mining to blow the face out of one or two of the rebel forts, that are unapproachable otherwise. The idea of carrying the place by storm seems to be abandoned. The safer and surer plan of starving General Pemberton [John C. Pemberton] into submission now finds favor everywhere.
A deserter came into our lines this morning. He represents that he was sent by General Pemberton to communicate verbally with Generals Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston] and Loring [William W. Loring]. The former is supposed to be between Big Black river and Jackson.—The latter was near Port Gibson. He represents affairs in the city as growing desperate. About 18,000 effective men are there, two-thirds of whom are kept on the fortifications night and day, and not allowed to be idle an instant on any pretext.
Gens. Pemberton, Lee,¹ Reynolds,² Stevenson³ and others are in the city. Most of the sick left before its investment.
Over 100 women and children have been killed by our bombardment. The gunboats inflicted no injury on the city. Gen. Pemberton believed his rations wo’d hold out 30 days, but urged Johnson [sic] to come to his relief within 10 days at the fartherest [sic].
Cavalry horses have been turned loose and driven towards our lines owing to the scarcity of forage. There was ammunition enough to last 60 days, with the exception of gun caps—they were scarce.
All confidently expect superhuman efforts to be made by those outside to raise the siege. They consider Vicksburg the strongest place in the Confederacy.
Gen. Blair4 has met no enemy in force, and the reports of Johnston being near are disbelieved. Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks], with reinforcements, is reported near here, but like many other rumors, it may have little foundation in fact.
This morning the heaviest cannonading of the siege was kept up without intermission for nearly three hours. New batteries have lately been put in position and 150 guns are playing on the city.
At daylight this morning the firing was rapid beyond belief. The reports of the guns along the whole line averaged one a second for minutes together.
1. Stephen Dill Lee (1833-1908) graduated from West Point and served in the Seminole War and on the western frontier. He resigned his commission in 1861 to join the South Caroline Militia. He was P.G.T. Beauregard’s aide-de-camp who delivered Beauregard’s ultimatum to Union Major Robert Anderson. Lee commanded a light battery in Hampton’s Legion in Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army, was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1862, was the artillery chief for Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaw and then Brig. Gen. John B. Magruder. Lee participated in the Peninsula Campaign, Second Bull Run, and the Battle of Antietam where his artillery played a prominent role in defending the ground near the famed Dunker Church. In November 1862 he was promoted to brigadier general, and in May 1863 took command of Pemberton’s artillery defending Vicksburg. Lee was wounded at the Battle of Champion Hill. Lee was promoted to major general in August 1863 and lieutenant general in June 1864, the youngest Confederate lieutenant general during the American Civil War. After the War Lee became a planter in Mississippi, was the first president of Mississippi A&M College, and wrote extensively about the War.
2. Alexander Welch Reynolds (1817-1876) graduated from West Point and was a career military officer, serving in the Mexican War. When the Civil War started, he went AWOL from the U.S. Army rather than resign his commission and joined the Confederate Army, quickly being promoted to colonel of the 50th Virginia Infantry. Reynolds spent most of the War in the Western Theater in Kentucky and Tennessee. In December 1862 he was Reynolds, commanding a brigade in Carter Stevenson’s division when it was sent Vicksburg. During the Siege of Vicksburg his brigade held a portion of the southern-most sector near the “Salient Work.” Reynolds was promoted to brigadier general in September 1863 and led a brigade during the Chattanooga Campaign. He fought at the battles of Missionary Ridge, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Adairsville before being wounded in War. After the War, Reynolds was a colonel in the Egyptian Army, along with William W. Lorning and others.
3. Carter Littlepage Stevenson (1817-1888) graduated from West Point and was a career military officer who served in having spent much of his private fortune in support of the Union, was financially ruined the Seminole Wars, the Mexican War, and the Utah War. He resigned his commission when Virginia seceded from the Union in early 1861 and was commission a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate army. At Beauregard’s recommendation, he was promoted to colonel of the 53rd Virginia Infantry, and then to brigadier general in February 1862. Recognized again for his leadership ability, he was promoted to major general in October 1862 and led his division at the Battle of Perryville. In December, Stevenson with 10,000 men was sent to reinforce John C. Pemberton’s force at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and his division bore the brunt of fighting at the Battle of Champion’s Hill. During the Siege of Vicksburg, Stevenson commanded the right of the entire Confederate defensive line.
4. Francis Preston Blair (1821-1875) was a lawyer in Missouri who, before the Civil War, served in the Mexican War, was the attorney general for New Mexico Territory, served in the Missouri House of Representatives (1852-1856) and the U.S. House of Representatives (1856-1857, 1861-1862, 1863-1864), where he served as chairman of the Military Affairs Committee. He resigned from Congress in July 1862 to become a Union colonel of Missouri volunteers, and was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers in August and major general in November. Blair commanded a division in the Vicksburg campaign and in the fighting around Chattanooga, and was one of William T. Sherman’s corps commanders in his campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas. After the War, having spent much of his private fortune in support of the Union, Blair was financially ruined. In the 1868 presidential election, Blair was the Democratic candidate for vice president. From 1871-1873 he served in the U.S. Senate from Missouri.
The original letter is in the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Grand Gulf, Mississippi
June 5th, 1863.
Last evening’s mail brought us no letters, but we received several days since a letter from you of the 19th ult and one from David Burr. I see you have got that money; also that the postmaster compelled you to pay additional postage on that book. You say one end should have been open. Well in accordance with our postmaster’s own directions I tore the wrapper open full 3 inches that the postmaster might see what it was, & it seems to me if he were a well-disposed man, he would have been at the pains of examination. Really, I feel like “blowing him up” and should do so, were I not reminded of the Scriptural saying about the fool — that though you bray him in a mortar with a pestle yet will he return to his folly.¹ One thing for certain! — his paytriotism shall hereafter supply his pockets with spending money from some other source. [paragraph break added]
Our baggage has all come to us. There is now every appearance that we shall evacuate this place and go up to Warrenton or Young’s Point. The transports are busily loading with mules & horses, negroes, siege guns, baggage & convalescents. When these are off we shall go. The gunboats can take care of this place. There is no late news from Port Hudson or Vicksburg, both places are completely invested by our forces and the rebels can not get out. At the former place, the negro troops were used & report says they fought bravely, but lost heavily. I believe they can fight when trained in the drill & manual of arms. They save us an immense amount of fatigue duty also. The 1st Miss. (black regt.) has gone up the river. Grant’s rear [Ulysses S. Grant] is so threatened that it is feared he will have to back out of his position unless heavily reinforced. Not much firing has been done lately, except in the rear where Grant’s forces whipped Joe Johnson [sic] recently [Joseph E. Johnston]. I think his rear will be made secure. You must have patience up there — you have but little idea of what war is, or the difficulties to be encountered. Large armies move slowly. The rebels will cling to Vicksburg till all hope is gone,—we have only got to keep pricking away & then they will give themselves and all up. [paragraph break added]
A few days since 4 men, 76th Ills. were shot dead by guerrillas near Port Gibson while foraging. They surprised our boys, who had no arms with them, killed two instantly & wounded the others, & afterwards killed them also & this in spite of their entreaties not to do so. These are the kind of enemies with whom we have to contend. The 28th Ill. are out after them & probably the rebels will be made sorry for their misdeeds shortly. [paragraph break added]
We are feasting now [on] blackberries and plums & whatever else that comes in our way. The people & negroes have all left the country this side of Port Gibson. I am glad you like your mare so well. Of whom did you get her? Mr. Miles has been in Prescott, but by this time he must be ready to start back. When you have a good chance send us a lb. of good tea. At present we can get none at all. But I will close. Direct as before & write soon. Yours in health & affection,
P.S.— Cousin Louisa wrote us that 3 sons of Rev. J. Wilcox who died in Chicago 10 years ago, are in Grant’s Division, and that their mother lives at River Falls, Pierce Co., Wis. She wishes to know what connection they are to the Prof. and I refer who questions to you for an answer.
Homer wishes me to say he is on guard and can not well write to-day. You must not think him forgetful to you. He might write more, but like Mother, thinks he can’t. Let us know whether you have received that last money; $40.00 sent you the other at Prescott Bank. Yours in health and love, Edwin
1. Proverbs 27:22 “Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.” (KJV)
“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” (NIV)
Following are the smaller items from The Prescott Journal of May 30, 1863.
— Col. DILL [Daniel J. Dill] returned home last Thursday evening, to remain for a few days. We are glad to learn that his health is rapidly improving.
— A Panorama of the War, will be on exhibition at Dunbar’s Hall, this (Friday) evening.¹
— CHAS. E. YOUNG, formerly of the Prescott Transcript, has been in town for a few days. Charley is living in Chicago, which town he says beats both Prescott and the County Seat.
— Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] has got into the ante-room of Vicksburg. He will give the rebels the grip in a few days.²
— Gen. POPE [John Pope] went up to St. Paul on Tuesday last, accompanied by several members of his staff.
— Companies E and G of the 30th have gone to Bayfield, on Lake Superior to look after the Indians.
J. S. ELWELL, Esq., formerly a worthy young man and the respectable editor of the Hudson North Star, but latterly, we believe, a teacher in the mission school for contrabands at Port Royal, returned a few days since. JOE, please call around and relate your experience.
— St. Croix county has furnished 65 men in excess of her quota.
The authors of the rebellion are fast passing away. Among the dead are Albert Sydney Johnston, R. S. Garnett,3 Bernard E. Bee,4 Felix K. Zollicoffer, Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson, Obadiah Jenning [sic] Wise,5 Ben McCulloch, Earl Van Dorn, Robert E. Garland,6 Lawrence O’Brien [sic] Branch,7 Philip St. George Cooke,8 and a number of other maijor [sic] generals and brigadier generals who held less prominent position a when the rebellion broke out.
Col. Grierson [Benjamin H. Grierson] says of that portion of Dixie, which he has lately scoured: “No one can pass through that country without knowing that the Confeneracy [sic] is broken up. It is a mere shell with nothing in it.”
The following shows what style of fellows attended the Vallandigham [Clement L. Vallandigham] meeting at Indianapolis:
As the excursion trains were leaving in the evening, these butternuts fired at the houses on the Terra Haute Railroad. They fired at the Soldier’s Home, filled with disabled and broken-down soldiers. The bullets fell so thick and fast that those outside of the houses were compelled to take refuge behind the house on the Lafayette road. They fired upon Camp Carriagton [sic]. Luckily, the soldiers were nearly all absent, and only one person was slightly wounded. On the Peru, Central, Cincinnati and Belfontaine roads, they fired at the houses, and several persons barely escaped death.— One ball passed between the head of a woman sitting in her front yard, and the head of her little baby, whom she was holding in her arms, just grazing the temple of the child. By this time, Gen. Hascall had a section of artillery planted near the roads, near the corporation line, and brought the four latter trains to a halt, to be sent back to the depot, where a heavy guard was thrown around each train, and these cowardly rascals were compelled to disgorge about 1,500 pistols, mostly revolvers, and a large number of knives, which were taken possession of by Gen. Hascall.
Capt. SAM. HARRIMAN, of Co. A, 30th, is something of a wag as well as soldier. We saw him a few days ago, just as he had returned from an excursion to Polk county, to pay a lot of back taxes.
Said Sam: “The Scriptures contain a great deal of instruction on the subject of taxes. You remember the man who was invited to a banquet and could not go, because he had just bought the N.E. qr. of Sec. 17, town 24, range 18 west, and must go and look after it and pay the taxes.”
“I always thought,” said Sam., “that the man was a fool, that he did not go and get a warm meal, when asked; but he was right; for if he had waited to eat, the printer would have advertised it, and the treasurer sold it, and 25 per ct. been added, and likely as not the poor fellow “could not have redeemed it, and he would lost it all on a tax deed.” Sam. thinks taxes are literally a “big thing.”
Notice for Organizing Military Company.
The undersigned having been appointed by Hon. William Howes, County Judge of the County of Pierce pursuant to Section 11 of Chapter 542 of the General Laws of 1863, to organize a Volunteer Company in said Pierce County, I do therefore appoint Wednesday the 3d day of June 1863, at 7 o’clock P.M., as the time for the organization of said Volunteer Company, and all persons signing a call dated April 23d 1863, addressed to the Hon. William Howes, County Judge of Pierce Co, requesting the organization of such said Military Company, are hereby notified to be and appear at the Council Room in the city of Prescott, on said 3d day of June to perfect such said organization.
J. C. BUTTON.
1. In this context, a “Panorama” was an series of photographs showing the successive stages of the conflict. The example below is a panorama by George N. Barnard of Atlanta Before Being Burnt (1864), from the American Memory website, Library of Congress (digital ID pan 6a00027). You can see the different photographs that were joined together to create the single panoramic image.
2. Influenza, grippe being the French word for the flu.
3. Robert Selden Garnett (1819-1861) was a career military officer having graduated from West Point and served in the Mexican War and the Seminole Wars. Following the Battle of Rich Mountain on July 11, 1861, Garnett withdrew his troops under cover of darkness, hoping to escape to northern Virginia. The Federals pursued, and, during fighting at Corrick’s Ford on July 13, Garnett was killed. He was the first general officer to be killed in the War.
4. Barnard Elliott Bee (1824-1861) was another career military officer who graduated from West Point. Among his postings was one in 1855 to Fort Snelling in Minnesota Territory. He was mortally wounded at the First Battle of Bull Run, another one of the first general officers to be killed in the war. Bee is best known for giving Stonewall Jackson his nickname.
5. Henry Alexander Wise (1806-1876) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia (1833-1844), U.S. minister to Brazil (1844-1847), the 33rd governor of Virginia (1856-1860), and a Confederate general. Obadiah Jennings was the father of his first wife, Anne. Henry and Anne’s son, Obadiah Jennings Wise (1831-1862), was a captain in the Richmond (Va.) Light Infantry and was killed at Roanoke Island on February 9, 1862. The younger Wise was no doubt mentioned in this list because of his well-known father.
6. Samuel Garland (1830-1862) was a grandnephew of U.S. President James Madison. He was killed in action during the Maryland Campaign while defending Fox’s Gap at the Battle of South Mountain.
7. Lawrence O’Bryan Branch (1820-1862) trained at Bingham Military Academy in North Carolina and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina (1855-1861). On December 2, 1860, he was appointed President James Buchanan to the position of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, but declined the appointment. At the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, Branch saved General Robert E. Lee’s right flank from a crushing defeat. Soon after this victory he was killed by a sharpshooter.
8. Philip St. George Cooke (1809-1895) was a Union general. His son-in-law, however, was Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart. Cooke survived the War, Stuart won’t be killed until 1864.