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1864 August 27: Battle of Globe Tavern, Battle of Summit Point, Forrest’s Memphis Raid, Skirmish at Hurricane Creek, and Other News

August 27, 2014

The following roundup of the week’s war-related news is from the August 27, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.

The first item concerns what has become known as the Battle of Globe Tavern, also known as the Second Battle of the Weldon Railroad.  It was fought south of Petersburg, Virginia, on August 18-21, 1864, and was the Union Army’s second attempt to sever the Weldon Railroad.  A Union force under General Gouverneur K. Warren destroyed miles of railroad track while withstanding strong attacks from Confederate troops under Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and A. P. Hill.  It was the first Union victory in the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign.  (The First Battle of the Weldon Railroad is better known as the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road, which took place June 21-23, 1864.)

The second item refers to the Battle of Summit Point, also known as Flowing Springs or Cameron’s Depot.  The battle was part of Union General Philip H. Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, and took place on August 21, 1864, near Charles Town, West Virginia.  Although Sheridan’s army did withdraw, the result of the battle is considered inconclusive.

The item beginning “On Thursday last Gen. Forrest …” concerns Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest’s raid into Memphis, Tennessee, known now as the Second Battle of Memphis.   On August 21, 1864, at 4 o’clock in the morning, General Forrest led around 4-500 troops—including two of his brothers—in the raid.  One brother, Captain William H. Forrest,¹ rode his horse into the lobby of the Gayoso Hotel looking for General C. C. Washburn.  Having been tipped off, Washburn escaped out the back of the Hotel and down an alley.  Today there is an alley named “General Washburn’s Escape Alley” in Memphis.

After the embarrassing defeat at Brice’s Crossroads (June 10, 1864), Washburn had sent a large force to destroy the Confederate stronghold at Oxford, Mississippi.  General Forrest gave orders for General Chalmers [James R. Chalmers] to defend Oxford for as long as possible while Forrest lead the raid into Memphis, objectives being to capture the three Union generals listed below in the news item, to free Confederate prisoners being held in the Irving Block Prison, and to cause the recall of the Union forces attacking General Chalmers in northern Mississippi.  The raid did not succeed in its objectives except for the recall of the Union troops.²  Union General Stephen A. Hurlbut was later quoted as saying, “There it goes again! They superseded me with Washburn because I could not keep Forrest out of West Tennessee, and Washburn cannot keep him out of his own bedroom!”


The News.

— The rebels made on the 21st another attempt to drive Grant’s army from the Weldon road, but were unsuccessful.  They lost 500 or 600 in killed and wounded and 400 prisoners.  Our loss was about 150.  Our forces are strongly entrenched, but it is not likely they will be allowed to hold their important position without further contests.  A dispatch of the 22d states the rebels are making a desperate attempt to retake the Weldon road, but it is believed that they cannot dislodge us.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

—The rebels have appearently [sic] given up the attempt to dislodge Warren from the Weldon Road, and have retired to their works at Petersburg.  It is rumored that a cavalry dash on the Danville Road has been made.

— There has been severe fighting in the Shenandoah Valley, near Charlestown [sic], which resulted, according to the dispatches, to the advantage of the rebels, as our army retired.

LATEST.—The news from the Upper Potomac shows that Gen. Early is in large force, and has succeeded in driving our forces out of the Shenandoah Valley, with considerable loss, and that another Northern invasion is threatened.  [Jubal A. Early]

Forrest's Raid Into Memphis—The Rebels at the Gayoso House (Sketched by George H. Ellsbury), from "Harper's Weekly"

Forrest’s Raid Into Memphis—The Rebels at the Gayoso House.—(Sketched by George H. Ellsbury), from “Harper’s Weekly”³

— On Thursday last Gen. Forrest left Gen. Smith’s front [A. J. Smith] at Oxford, Miss., and on Sunday made his appearance in the streets of Memphis, calling ot [sic: at] the headquarters of Generals Washburne [sic], Buckland [Ralph P. Buckland] and Hurlbut, and the Gayoso House. Fortunately these generals were absent, so Forrest was soon after compelled to leave without paying his respects to them.  Washburne [sic] will doubtless issue a proclamation against such visits in future.


Forrest’s Raid Into Memphis—Rebel Attack on the Irving Prison.—(Sketched by George H. Ellsbury), from Harper’s Weekly and Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War³

— The rebels have possession of Martinsburg, and rumors are afloat that they are crossing the Potomac.  The people of Maryland are again fleeing to Pennsylvania for protection.³

— A dispatch from Atlanta states that the rebel force was 80,000 men, and their works very strong.  Continued efforts are being made to break Sherman’s communications, but so far no serious damage has been done.  [William T. Sherman]

— A dispatch from New York says that Sherman’s plans for the reduction of Atlanta are working to the best advantage.

— There is another report from New York, that President Lincoln has sent five Commissioners, three Republicans and two Democrats, to Richmond to arrange terms of peace.  We think there is some grounds for the report, for gold has fallen 4 per cent.  [Abraham Lincoln]

News Items.

On the 16th the following sums of money were sent from Washington for the payments of troops :

Maj. Paulding, Washington, $1,000,000
Maj. Brice, Baltimore, 500,000
Maj. Usher, Fortress Monroe, 500,000
Maj. Allen, Louisville, 1,000,000
Maj. Cumback, Cincinnati, 1,000,000
Maj. Leshe, New York, 500,000

— A member of Gen. Burnside’s staff states that the General is not relieved, but is on a twenty days’ leave of absence.  It is extremely doubtful, however, if such is the fact, that he will return to his late command in the Army of the Potomac at the expiration of that period.  [Ambrose E. Burnside]

— A correspondent of a Philadelphia paper, writing from this city, states that the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of this diocese, and Bishop Potter, have signed a petition to the President praying for an armistice.—N. Y. Times.

— A Mobile paper states that Chalmers defeated a body of Federals at Abbeville, Miss., recently ;  while a Memphis dispatch announces that Smith gained a victory over Forest [sic], at Hurricane Creek, Mississippi, on the 13th.

— A letter from a Federal officer of high rank, conversant with the military situation, avers that Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston] has been replaced by Hood [John Bell Hood], at Atlanta, not because the former was not the better man, but to release him to what the rebel leaders regard a far more important mission—no less than to head the invasion of Pennsylvania.  The evidences are on the increase that give a probability to this view.

— Captain William Livingston, charged with being a rebel spy, was hung in the jail-yard at St. Louis on the 19th.  He died repeating the Lord’s Prayer and protesting his innocense [sic].  The execution caused much surprise, as Gen. Rosecran’s [sic: William S. Rosecrans] promised the prisoner’s wife that he would be respited for a week, and probably have the sentence commuted.  It is believed that an order for a respite, through the neglect of some surbordinate [sic], did not reach the officers having charge of the execution.  The deceased was respectably connected in Missouri.

1.  William Hezekiah Forrest (1825-1871) was a younger brother of General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877). Before the Civil War he lived in Memphis where he was in the slave trade with brothers Nathan B. and Aaron H. (1828-1864). William joined the Confederate Army in June or July, 1861, along with brothers Nathan B. and Jeffrey E. (1837-1864). William served as a cavalry officer and rose in rank to captain and then major. He led the charge against Colonel Abel D. Streight’s column at the Battle of Sand Mountain (Alabama), where he was wounded April 30, 1863. William skirmished for two miles before he received a ball through his thigh, breaking the bone.
2.  As of August 27, 2014, there was a fine discussion of the raid on a CivilWarTalk forum (“General Washburn’s Escape Alley,” posted May 26, 2014). For printed resources, try Notes of a Private, by John Milton Hubbard, Forrest’s Cavalry Corps, C.S.A. (Memphis: E.H. Clarke & Bro., 1909); available digitally on the Internet Archive, and The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N. B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry, by Thomas Jordan and J. P. Pryor (Memphis: Blelock & Co., 1868); available digitally on the Internet Archive.
3.  The September 10, 1864, issue of Harper’s Weekly included these two illustrations on page 588. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls’ Chalmer Davee Library has microfilm copies of Harper’s Weekly for 1858-1865 (UWRF online catalog).  The second illustration (Irving Prison) also appeared in Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil, page 574, with the caption “Forrest’s Raiders Attacking Irving Prison.”  Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, by Alfred H. Guernsey and Henry M. Alden (Chicago: McDonnell, 1866-68) is available in the UWRF Archives (E 468.7 .G87 1866).

1864 August 20: More Wisconsin Casualties from the Battle of Atlanta, Suffrage for Soldiers in Pennsylvania, Horace Greeley Speaks Out on the Peace Talks

August 26, 2014

Following are the smaller news items from the August 20, 1864, issues of The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press.

From The Prescott Journal:

Finger002  No man ever yet saw an American who hated slavery who upheld the rebellion ;  and no one ever saw an American who justified and wished to perpetuate slavery who had not at least a sneaking tenderness for the rebel cause.  For all practical purposes, the rebellion and slavery are related as mother and child.

Finger002  The people of Pennsylvania voted on Tuesday of last week on the question of extending the right of suffrage to soldiers in the field.  The returns are meagre but leave little doubt of the success of the proposition.  Old benighted Democratic Berks, however, gave 1,500 majority against it.

WOUNDED.—A New York paper in a list of wounded, gives the names of Adjutant E. A. Campbell, 7th Wisconsin, back ;  Jacob Deiner, E, 6th Wis., abdomen ;  and Jacob Faith, A, 7th Wis., arm.¹

SHUT OUT.—Recruiting agents to fill the quotas of other States having “invaded” the State of Illinois, Gov. YATES [Richard Yates] served notice to quit, strictly prohibiting all such sort of business.  Such agents ought also to be excluded from this State.

WORKS WELL.—Retaliation has had the effect of inducing the rebels to abandon their barbarous game of placing captured Union officers under the fire of our own guns in Charleston.  Our authorities, it will be remembered, retaliated by placing under the fire of the rebel guns in Charleston harbor the same number of capture rebel officers as they had placed under our fire.  We now learn that this has resulted in effecting an exchange of the officers in question on both sides.  Our officers were received with due honors on board Admiral DAHLGREN’s fleet [John A. Dahlgren], and have been sent North.  Among those released we are glad to learn is Col. C. H. LaGrange, of the 1st Cavalry.²

MR. GREELEY [Horace Greeley], in an article in the Tribune of the 5th inst., fully confirms what we stated the other day, that the President offered to receive accredited commissioners from the rebel authorities, bearing propositions of peace, without reference to the nature of the propositions in question.  He says the President consented to receive “whatever proposition agents duly accredited from Richmond might see fit to offer, and I went to Niagara fully authorized to proffer a safe conduct and accompany to Washington the persons specified, on the understanding that they were empowered to submit, and would submit, terms of pacification ;  and there were no conditions beyond that.”

And the Copperheads keep up a clamor over the false and unfounded pretext that the President has refused to receive propositions for peace.

From The Polk County Press:

Late Interesting Items.

— It is stated that there were six tons of powder in the mine exploded under the rebel works in front of Petersburg.  [Battle of the Crater]

— There are at present some 3,000 workmen employed in the Springfield arsenal.  Before the war about six hundred muskets were turned out in a month ;  but now as many thousand are turned out in a week.

— Returns have been recieved [sic] from all but five counties of the vote in Pensylvania [sic] on the constitutional amendment to allow soldiers to vote, and they show, for the amendment 194,306, against it 103,664.

— The report of Gen. Kelly’s [sic: Benjamin F. Kelley] victory over the rebel raiders is fully confirmed by an official dispatch.  He captured the rebel commander, who subsequently escaped, and the rebel artillery, 450 prisoners, 400 horses, battle-flags, &c.

— According to Gen. Logan’s report [John A. Logan] the battle before Atlanta on the 22d was terribly disastrous to the rebels.  They made seven distinct charges which whre [sic] repulsed, and lost 10,000 men, while our total loss was only 3,521.

— The movement to call a Republican national convention at Buffalo on the 22d proxime,³ to nominate a candidate for President in place of both Fremont [John C. Frémont] and Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln], has resulted in a failure—the meeting held for that purpose, in Hamilton, Ohio, being a perfect fizzle.


  • E. Andre Campbell, adjutant of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry from July 5 to November 17, 1864. He was wounded at Petersburg and resigned because of his wounds on November 17.
  • Jacob Deiner, from Ellington, had been a private in Company E of the 6th since June 28, 1861. He is listed in the roster as being killed in action July 30, 1864, at Petersburg.
  • John Faith, from Lodi, was a private in Company A of the 7th since enlisting December 30, 1863. He was wounded at Petersburg and died from his wounds on July 31, 1864.

2.  Oscar H. La Grange, from Green Lake, became colonel of the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry February 5, 1863. He will be brevetted a brigadier general of Volunteers on March 13, 1865.
3.  From the Latin proximus meaning next, or immediately following.

1864 August 25: “Only think, a rifle loaded with 16 cartridges and fired all in a minute if desired, and loaded in another”

August 25, 2014

There is obviously something missing toward the bottom of this letter from Edwin Levings with the 12th Wisconsin Infantry in Georgia.  Page 3 ends in mid-sentence and what follows on the next page is labeled “6” and picks up two weeks later.  The original letter is in the Edwin D. Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and when we find the stray page, we will add it to this post.

Near Atlanta Ga Aug 25th, 1864.

Dear Father ;

                         Yesterday’s mail brought us a letter from you of the 14th inst.  All your letters lately have come through in nine or ten days.  We like to have them thus often.  The distance seems shortened, in fact, we seem almost to be at home, when hearing from there so often.

I doubt I can write a decent letter this morning.  I have been trying to solve a geometrical problem and failed.  I was successful with one I saw in the Rural and felt so pleased about it that I attempted another.  I never studied Geometry, I suppose you know, and I found the solution of the problem involved more knowledge of that branch than I am likely to possess during my soldier life, at least, I am sure I would like that study and perhaps may send for a book after we are paid off.

We shall probably be armed with the Henry rifle, a 16 shooter.¹  Most all the Regt. want that arm and can get it whenever the money is ready.  The price is $41.  Col. Bryant [George E. Bryant] has written to Gen. Sherman [William T. Sherman] to see if he will allow one of the paymasters at Marietta to come & pay us, so we can get the guns.  I have seen the rifle and fired it, and it is unhesitatingly pronounced the neatist and most effective gun in use.  Only think, a rifle loaded with 16 cartridges and fired all in a minute if desired, and loaded in another.  It has many other advantages.  The cartridges are metallic and, of course, water proof.  The cartridge box is small & will hold 100 rounds.  There are no caps nor baynet [sic] to carry.  Gov’t. furnishes the cartridges.  We have both signed for them.  If a soldier is killed & his gun recovered it is sent to his friends, or sold, according as he may have previously expressed the wish, and the money sent to his friends.  [paragraph break added]

1860 Henry repeating rifle

1860 Henry repeating rifle

The military situation here is changing for the better, I understand.  The left wing and center of the army is falling back to a new line of works, that fact being to straighten the line by letting the left rest on the Chattahoochee above Marietta, and allowing the right to swing further around the city.  You can see this arrangement the better secures our communications while it is certain to cut off those of the rebels.  This done, the rebels must fight us on our own ground, or skeddadle when they will surely be destroyed.  Either movement will result in their destruction.  The 17th corps, in the center, withdraws to the new line this evening about ½ mile distant.  At first thought this movement would seem like a confession of weakness on the part of Sherman, but you will remember the destruction of the rebel army, not the possession of the city, is …


6                    Sept. 10th,  Could not mail till I will say a little more.  We have about 540 men present — about 450 doing duty.  The recent battles will not make our permanent loss over 100, so that we have left about 900 men.  Half of them are of no account to us at present, and a good many never were and never will be.  Co. A  has lots of well men along the R. R. lines who won’t come to the front till made to come ~ perfect sneaks.  I hate to say it, but it is truth, & they are our recruits, with hardly an exception.  They are horrified at the idea of bullets & so make excuses or get detailed where bullets don’t sing their requiem.  Just so in the Co. with a few, — never in a fight yet & never mean to be if they can help it — sick or going to be, can hardly get them on picket & when there won’t fire a shot if they can help it.  I have a perfect contempt for such men.  Don’t send any more such men down here.  I am glad to say not all our recruits are such cowards.  There are some of them as good substantial, reliable men as carry a musket.  But it is a fact 1 veteran is worth 3.  Yet a doz. such men as I first mentioned, but enough of this.  [paragraph break added]

We are both well.  Hope you will write often.

Yours affectionately, E. D. Levings

1.  Benjamin Tyler Henry patented, in 1860, the first practical, lever action repeating rifle. It has a reliable .44 caliber rimfire metallic cartridge and produced a rapid and highly accurate fire. The first Henry rifles were in the hands of Union soldiers by mid-1862.

Edwin Levings letter of August 25, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Edwin Levings letter of August 25, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

1864 August 20: Organizing the 43rd Wisconsin, Letter from John F. Newton, the Situation of Atlanta

August 23, 2014

Following are a few unrelated articles—except they are all too large for our usual “small items” post.  All are from The Prescott Journal of August 20, 1864.

Another New Regiment—Organization of the Forty-Third.

The Governor has organized the 43d Wisconsin infantry.  The following officers have been appointed :

Colonel—AMASA COBB, of Mineral Point.
Lieut. Colonel—BYRON PAINE, of Madison.
Major—SAMUEL B. BRIGHTMAN, of Milwaukee.
Adjutant—JOHN J. BUCK, of Waupan.
Quartermaster—JNO. B. EUGENE, of Green Bay.
1st Assistant Surgeon—CHARLES C. HAYES, of Madison.

The following 2d Lieutenants are appointed
Co. A—Chas. M. Day, of D, 24th Reg.
..”   B—L. V. Nanscawen, of I, 29th Reg.
..”   C—John Brandon.  [from the 5th Iowa Cavalry]
..”   D—Francis A. Smith, of E, 29th Reg.
..”   E—George Witter.
..”   F—Henry Harris, of H, 12th Reg.
..”   G—Henry A. Reed.
..”   H—Thos. O. Russell, Q. M. Serg’t, 13th Reg.
..”   I—Orrin L. Turgman [sic: Ingman], of D, 23d Reg.
..”   K—Chas. Lemke, of 2d Battery.

Col. COBB is the present Member of Congress from the 3d District.  He was formerly Colonel of the 5th Wisconsin, and had command of the regiment when it distinguished itself by its brilliant conduct at the battle of Williamsburgh [sic].  The Lt. Colonel, BYRON PAINE, at present one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the State, while he has seen no service, possesses qualifications which will render him, we have no doubt, one of the most efficient as well as most popular officers.  He resigns one of the most important and honorable offices in the State to take a subordinate position in the army.  His example will inspire others, and his name attract many to the ranks of the 43d.

Letter from Louisville.

We have received an interesting letter from JOHN F. NEWTON, now at Louisville, but can only find room for the following extracts :

Politics you hear but little of here, but there is no doubt but there will be some hot work here in November, at the Presidential election.  All parties are waiting anxiously to see the result of the Chicago Convention, and I presume when we hear from it we shall hear more politics.

People, especially those who are interested in copper-mines, are very careful how and what sentiments they utter, for they know not but what the next minute may bring them where the[y] can study the style of architecture of certain rooms with iron doors, bars at the windows, and a man to wait on them.

The police courts seem to have their share of business, for hardly a day or night passes but that some one is ventilated with either knife or ball.

The military authorities have been very busy for the past few days in “gobbling up” quite a number of the citizens of Louisville, being members of a society known as the “Sons of Freedom,” and the said arrests have caused no little excitement here.

Large numbers of rebel prisoners pass through the city almost daily, on their way to Northern prisons.  I have seen as many as twelve hundred within three days.  They are generally a villainously dirty looking set, but a gentleman informed me that it was the color of their clothes that made them appear so, but I guess I know dirt from colored cloth.—There are many fine looking men among them, and they go through the city quietly, and looking well pleased with the prospect of good quarters and plenty to eat, when they arrive at their destination.  It is to be hoped that many more of the “butternut gentry” will soon partake of the hospitality of our government.

The Situation of Atlanta.

A correspondent of the New York Times, writing from Sherman’s front [William T. Sherman], on August 1st, thus describes the “situations” there:

To tell the truth, we are somewhat puzzled at the stubborn front presented by the enemy.  Hood [John Bell Hood] has been dreadfully worried since our encroachments, and has experienced three disastrous defeats.  To which, according to the rebel newspapers, he has sustained a loss of at least 26,000 men.  Yet he keeps up a bold front and audaciously stands his ground, to the great dissatisfaction of  of our skirmish line, which made three unsuccessful attempts to advance yesterday.

We cannot, with the least chance of success, attempt to carry the enemy’s fortifications by assault.  There are yet two ways to effect this dislodgment.  If our right swings round on the Macon road, he must, it is believed, come out of his works and fight as on an open field, or make his escape to the north and east as best he can.  If, however, in that case, the enemy persists in declining to fight or evacuate, then Gen. Sherman must provide his army with twenty days rations and go clean around as he did at Buzzard Road and Allatoona.  The “pot-hook” is bound to win.

1864 August 20: Recruiting, Volunteers, Bounties, Quotas, and the Draft

August 22, 2014

Following are all articles concerning new recruits, quotas, and the draft, from the August 20, 1864, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.

From The Prescott Journal:

— Prescott has filled her quota—20 men—which is doing exceedingly well for so short a time.  Great credit is due to E. S. Falkinburg and C. P Barnard, recruiting officers, for their untiring exertions in raising the requisite number of men.  Prescott is once more “in out of the wet.”  Diamond Bluff filled her quota on Tuesday last.  They paid a bounty of $300 per man.

Finger002  Clifton’s quota is thirteen men.  A bounty of $200 is paid in Greenbacks to each volunteer, cash down and no grumbling.  This is a good opportunity to secure a large bounty and steady employment for one year.

Finger002  There has been a report in circulation that Father Abraham [Abraham Lincoln] had called for 300,000 more men.  This is untrue.  He will probably dispose of the one on hand before ordering another draft.—Many were considerably exercised over the news, and probably would have enlisted had a “good” opportunity offered itself.

From The Polk County Press:

GONE TO WASHINGTON.—The Madison “Journal” says Adjutant General Gaylord [Augustus Gaylord] has gone to Washington.  His business is to induce the War Department to order a correction of the enrollment lists in the States where justice seems to require it.

ENLISTED FOR OSCEOLA.—John Brawn, David Orne, Wm. Moody, and Benj. Bergen,¹ have enlisted to the credit of Osceola.  They are all good men, and will make splendid soldiers.  Osceola wants one more man, and offers superior inducements.  Who is the lucky individual ?  Apply soon.

— Volunteering is brisk in this Co. [Pierce] as most of the towns are making efforts to fill their quotas.— Prescott

— The people of Chippewa Falls, we are told, are moving to engage the Chippewa Indians to relieve them of the coming draft.  In this valley we have sent nearly every man that can well be spared ;  and if this proposition is satisfactory to our red brethren, let us and them go ahead.  This Indian proposition reminds us of what parson Brownlow [William G. Brownlow] says ;  a matter we endorse fully :

“And if I had the power, sir, I would uniform in the Federal hibillments² [sic] every wolf and panther and catamount and tiger and bear in the mountains of America ;  every crocodile and every negro in the Southern Confederacy, and every devil in hell and pendemonium [sic].”—Eau Claire Free Press.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT IT.—It is rumored that the Draft Commissioners of the Sixth District contemplate holding a session at Hudson after the draft, at which place drafted men of the northern portion of the district will be allowed to report.  Such an arrangement ought, without fail to be made and carried out.  There is no good reason why the convenience and interest of the people—of individuals—should not be consulted, when the public interests will not thereby suffer.  At least one half of the drafted it is understood will not be held to service.  It is certainly much easier and would seem to be more economical on the part of the Government, for the three men comprising the board of draft commissioners to come to some central place in this region for all the purposes of their business with the people of the region, than for multitudes to repair to La Crosse from the upper counties, in this season of difficult and expensive travel.  It is easier to Mahomet³ to come to the mountain, than for the mountain to come to Mahomet.

RECRUITING.—We learn that several citizens of Polk county contemplate enlisting in Minnesota.  We would call their attention to an order from the Secretary of War forbiding [sic] such doings, whereby it would seem, that any officer recruiting men from this State for Minnesota, is liable to arrest.  The order will be found on first page.

The Secretary of War forbids
the Recruiting of Men in one
State to be Credited TO ANOTHER.

The following telegram from Pro. Marshal Gen. Fry [James B. Fry] to Col. Averill, at St. Paul, fully explains itself :

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 1864. }

Col. J. T. Averill, A. A. Pro. Marshal, St. Paul, Minnesota :

The Secretary of War has forbidden the recruiting of men in one State to be credited to another, except as provided by act of July 4th, 1864, foo [sic] recruiting in States in rebellion.  He directions that you see to the execution of this order in your State, and if necessary arrest recruiting officers or agents who may be found violating it.

Make this known to the Governor.
.                     .JAMES B. FRY,
.                 .Provost Marshal Gen.

Josh. Billings on the Draft.

Josh. Billings is out with an official on the draft question.  Says he :

Widder wimmen and their only son, is exempt, provided the widder’s husband has already served 2 years in the war, and is willing to go in agin ;  bleve the Supreme Corte has decided this thing forever.

Once more ;  if a man should run away with his draft, he probably wouldn’t ever be allow to stand the draft agin ;  this luks severe at first site, but the moar yu ink at it the more yu can see the wisdom into it.

Once moarly ;  Xmpts are those who have been drafted into the Stait prizzen for trying to get an honnist livin by supportin 2 wives tu onct ;  also, all of them peepil who are erazee, and unsound on the goose ;  also, all nuspaper correspondents and fools in general.

Once morely agin ;  No substitue will be ackceptid who is less than 3 or moar than ten feet high ;  he know how to chaw tobacker and drink poor whiskee, and musn’t be afeerd of the itch or the rebels.  Moral character ain’t required, as the government furnishes that and rashuns.

Conclusively ;  a person cannot be drafted more than twice in two places without his consent ;  but all men has a right to be drafted at least onct.  I don’t think even a writ of habeas corpus can deprive a man this last blessid privilege.

1.  Jonathan H. Brawn, David Orne, William Moody, and Benjamin Bergeron all ended up in Company D of the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry. All four are listed in the roster as being from La Crosse and enlisting on September 2, 1864.
2.  Hibillement, a French word meaning an “outfit.”
3.  Muhammad, in Medieval Latin, Polish, or French.

1864 August 20: Indian Hostilities and Military Fort Building on the Plains

August 21, 2014

Along with fighting the Civil War, the United State Army was also fighting an Indian War on the Great Plains.  In yesterday’s post we saw several references to General Alfred Sully fighting Indians in Idaho Territory.  The articles here on Indian affairs are from the August 20, 1864, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.  The first two describe hostilities with various Indian tribes in Nebraska and Colorado.

During the summer of 1864, Indians in Dakota Territory were angry and apprehensive because of the previous year’s  military expeditions—the Sibley and Sully Expeditions of 1863—which had severely injured area Dakota, Lakota, and Yanktonai bands of the Sioux nation.  In response, the Indians increased their attacks on Northern Plains transportation routes, including the Fisk Expeditions to the Idaho gold fields and steamboats traveling on the Upper Missouri.  In the summer of 1864, General Sully returned to the Upper Missouri to build a series of military forts.

The larger article below, from the Journal, is a letter from the 30th Wisconsin Infantry at Fort Wadsworth in “Dacotah” Territory (now called Fort Sisseton, located in present-day South Dakota).  The fort was formally established on August 1, 1864, by Major John Clowney and three companies (B, E, K) of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry. It was named to honor General James Samuel Wadsworth, who was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864. The fort was strategically located atop a tableland called Coteau des Praries.  The post was renamed Fort Sisseton, on August 29, 1876—after the local Sisseton Dakota Indians—when it was discovered that the original name conflicted with a Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island in New York.

The 30th Wisconsin Infantry included many northwest Wisconsin “boys” in companies A (Saint Croix Guards) and F (Salomon Tigers) and scattered other soldiers from northwest Wisconsin in companies D, I, and K.  Of those, only Company K was with Major Clowney.  Fort Rice, in present-day North Dakota, was established on July 7, 1864, and the first structures were built by companies A, C, H, and I of the 30th Wisconsin under Colonel Daniel J. Dill.  When Confederate General John Bell Hood invaded Tennessee, the 30th Wisconsin was called east, with only Company I staying in Dakota Territory at Fort Union.

From The Polk County Press:


OMAHA, Aug. 11.

W. H. S. Hughes, Adj. Gen’l of Nebraska, has issued an order calling for two regiments of mounted infantry for Indian service, for four months to report to Brig. Gen. Hurford, and Brig. Gen. Coe, as soon as possible.¹  The following is the address of Gov. Saunders² to the citizens of Nebraska :  “News from our western borders is alarming.  Numerous trains of emigrants and freighters have been attacked, the owners have been killed, their wagons destroyed, stock run off, &c.  No less than four different points on the route between our territory and Denver were attacked in one day.  Indians are now known to be infesting those roads for a distance of several hundred miles.

All available troops have been sent forward.  We need more men in order to punish those savages, and give security to our frontier settlements.  In order to meet this want I have thought proper to call upon the able-bodied militia of the Territory to organize a few companies of minute men, who can, and will, if necessary, move at a moment’s warning to the scene of these depredations, to assist in punishing these murderers and robbers, or in driving them from the country.  I make this appeal hoping it will be responded to with willingness on their part.  The Adjt. Gen. has to-day issued a special order from these headquarters, giving particulars in regard to the manner of organizing and reporting these companies.



NEW YORK, Aug. 13.—The Herald’s Washington special says the Commissioner of Indian Affairs is informed by Gov. Evans³ of Colorado, that he is satisfied that nearly all the Indian tribes of the plains are combined in war against the whites, and it will be the largest Indian war this country has ever had, extending from Texas to the British Possessions.

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 13.—Gen. Curtis [Samuel R. Curtis] has returned from Fort Leavenworth.  White men supposed to be rebel emissaries, have been among the Indians, distributing gold, and inducing them to rise against the whites.

From The Prescott Journal:

MORE DEPREDATIONS.—A few days since a party of Sioux Indians made their appearance in Blue Earth Co. Minn., murdering and carrying away thirteen whites, stole eighteen horses, and succeeded in getting away unharmed.  They are pursued, and will probably be overtaken and scalped.

From the 30th Wisconsin—Interesting from Dacotah Territory.

Correspondence of the State Journal.

July 29, 1864. }

The 30th Wisconsin volunteers having been so long stationed at Camp Randall, had formed many intimate associations.  Our name had become as familiar with you as household words.  Those associations, we trust, have not yet lost their interest at home.  After the slightly overdrawn picture, I noticed in your paper, of the sufferings endured by a portion of our command on our trip hither, I am tempted to intrude myself on your patience, deeming that a brief description of the locality of the destined goal in the far-off land of the Dacotahs, to which the command of Major Clowney4  has joined, will not be unacceptable.

Fort Wadsworth is to be located on a point between 45° and 40° north latitude, and in longitude 97° west, amid a cluster of beautiful lakes, laid down at random on the maps, on the Coteau des Prairies.5  Away from these lakes the country is bare and broken, the soil poor and rocky, the vegetation consisting principally of stunted buffalo grass and the treacherous cactus plant.  But the cluster of little lakes away in among these dry hills, surrounded by grassy, fertile valleys, and small groves of stately trees, form enchanting pictures, fit scenes for the inspiration of poet or painter.  You, with your beautiful lakes at Madison, may be able to form some conception of the scene.  Fancy a cluster of beautiful lakes, such as Lake Mendota, of clear, sparkling water, and a beach of sand and gravel ;  around the shores the landscape dotted with every variety of hill, valley, forest and prairie ;  around the margin, capes, promontories and peninsulas, covered with groves ;  islands rising up in oval forms from the centre, covered with trees and luxuriant shrubbery ;  then, in the various windings and turnings in the labyrinth, one sees straits, harbors, bays and channels, all in a miniature picture.  The effect of these visions of beauty is only heightened by the uninviting wilderness surrounding.

Of many of these lands[c]apes, ours is a chosen one.  In beauty I think it excels any I have seen, and as a defensive position, when fortified with proper care and guarded by soldierly vigilance, with a sufficiency of stores on hand, we think it may bid defiance to the whole Sioux [Dakota] nation, with their savage confederates thrown in.  We are on a table land, nestled among a cluster of these gens of the desert, a little peninsula connected with the main land by a strip of but a few rods wide.  Our peninsula extends from north to south about the distance of a mile and from east to west not quite half a mile.  In the centre of this the grounds are laid out for the fort.  A square, 676 feet deep by 61_ feet wide, is to be occupied by the various buildings of the fort, and outside of the embankments and rifle-pits are being thrown up.

The scenery on each side of us is of a character previously described.  Hills, valleys, groves and mild placid waters.  Groves narrowing into thin strips, sometimes in straight margins, at others crescent shaped, then widening out into a broad belt.

From the point of view occupied by our company on the east, we behold a picture excelling anything we have ever seen.  At our feet, separated by a steep grade, is a large lake about a quarter of a mile distant, a strip of timber extends out into the lake.  In this there is a break about the centre, revealing another sheet of water beyond ;  beyond this, timber and water again ;  thus continuing a succession of lakes, points, parks, and groves, terminating in hills, in a back ground, at a misty distance of 18 miles.

In the center of our parade ground, or square to be enclosed by the fort, is a circular mound of proportions so uniform that one would suppose them to be thrown up by the hand of a gardner [sic].  On this little mound occurred the following little incident :

JULY 29th, 1864.

I-ha-o-jaw-jaw, chief of the Sissatoes [sic], of Lac Traverse Sioux, accompanied by a body guard of brawny red men, dressed in gaudy attire—some in buckskin hunting shirts, ornamented with fine bead work, some with red blankets thrown around their bare shoulders, some with red sashes wound around their heads, others with antique head dresses, ornamented with feathers and other trinkets pleasing to the eye of the savage.  They rode into camp in true military style, alighted from their ponies and were received in the center of the camp ground by Major Clowny [sic], Adjutant Preistley6 and an interpreter.  The Indians, Major, Adjutant and interpreter sat on the ground.  After sitting in grave silence for a few moments, the soldiers meanwhile being kept at a respectful distance by the guard, Chief I-ha-o-jaw-jaw arose and approached the Major, shook him by the hand, likewise afterward the Adjutant and interpreter.  After the chief, each of the warriors, according to rank, arose successively and shook hands with the Major, Adjutant and interpreter.  The ceremony of shaking hands being ended, I-ha-o-jaw-jaw again arose, approached the Major and made a speech as follows :

“We have never been as well satisfied as now.  Whatever happened below was not the work of my band.  We did not join in the council to massacre whites.  We are not responsible for it.  Our fear of the consequences of it drove us away.  We hear that our Great Father has permitted those who did not join in the former massacre, to hold their former intercourse with the whites.  This affords the great satisfaction I speak of.  We see you now, and it is like seeing our Great Father.  We are much pleased at the meeting.  Our Great Father has a very long arm, and it has reached us here—we are under its shadow to-day.  We can only live when under the influence of our Great Father’s hand.  We look upon ourselves as the people of our Great Father.  The Indians of the North-west have a difficulty—we are ready to espouse the cause of the whites.  To the Great Father, whose representative you are to us, we go for protection and care.  We have been driven from our fields and hunting grounds.  We could not plant our corn—we do not know how we are to live through the coming winter.  We wish this to be made known to our great father, that we suffer not and die not for want of food.”

We were not present to hear the reply of the Major, but understood that I-ha-o-jaw-jaw was promised protection and that his statement with regard to food should be sent to the Great Father for consideration!


P. S.—The ridiculous picture drawn of our sufferings from Fort Snelling to Fort Ridgley is the subject of many amusing comments by the boys.  We have been trying to learn who were the soldiers that threw aside their guns and rushed frantically into the water.  None but your correspondent having had the pleasure of witnessing the interesting sight.  He must have had a more fortunate point of observation, back with the train, in the rear, from an ambulance or wagon.          D.

1.  According to the Illustrated History of Nebraska ( p. 177):  “A hundred Indians attacked a wagon train, killing, sacking, and burning with characteristic savagery. On the 11th of August, 1864, Adjt.-Gen. W. H. S. Hughes [William H. S. Hughes (1838-1901)] called for a regiment of six companies to be raised each side of the Platte [river], sixty-four men to a company ;  the North Platte companies to report to Brig.-Gen. O. P. Hurford [Oliver Perry Hurford (1830-1913)] at Omaha, and the South Platte to report to Col. Oliver P. Mason [Oliver Perry Mason (1828-1891)] at Nebraska City.”  Isaac Coe (1816-1899), brigadier general of volunteer militia, was at this time in charge of the 2d Brigade of Nebraska militia (p. 385). Illustrated History of Nebraska: A History of Nebraska from the Earliest Explorations of the Trans-Mississippi Region, by Julius Sterling Morton, Albert Watkins, George L. Miller, (Lincoln, Neb.: Jacob North & Company, 1907); available digitally on the Internet Archives.
2.  Alvin Saunders (1817-1899) was the Civil War governor of Nebraska Territory, serving from 1861 to 1867. He also served as a U.S. senator from Nebraska from 1877-1883.
3.  John Evans (1814-1897) was the second governor Colorado Territory from 1862 to 1865. Originally he was a medical doctor practicing in Indiana and Illinois. His wealth garnered him a fair amount of political power. He founded the Illinois Republican Party, becoming a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, who appointed him the territorial governor of Colorado in 1862. In 1864 Governor Evans appointed the Reverend John M. Chivington as colonel of the Colorado Volunteers and sent him with 800 cavalry troopers to attack a group of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians led by Black Kettle and camped along Sand Creek. The “Sand Creek Massacre” took place on November 28, 1864, when Colonel Chivington ordered his men to attack the encampment, killing about 53 unarmed men and 110 women and children and wounding many more. Governor Evans decorated Chivington and his men for their “valor in subduing the savages.” Evans fought off rumors that it was an unprovoked massacre, but in 1865 after an army and two Congressional investigations into the massacre, the U.S. Government admitted guilt and Evans was forced to resign. Important here is that Evans was implicated in creating the conditions for the massacre to occur by issuing a proclamation on August 11, 1864, “authorizing all citizens of Colorado, either individually or in such parties as they may organize, to go in pursuit of all hostile Indians on the plains” … and “also, to kill and destroy, as enemies of the country, wherever they may be found, all such hostile Indians.” (The Sand Creek Papers at the Tutt Library, Colorado College, include a copy of the August 11, 1864, proclamation; accessed August 21, 2014.)
4.  John Clowney (1816-1885), from Mineral Point, was commissioned the major of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry on September 8, 1862. Besides being in charge of this fort-building expedition in the Dakotas, he was on command of the Post at Frankfort, Kentucky, from March 8 to September 20, 1865, when the regiment mustered out.
5.  French for “hills of the prairies.” The fort sat atop the Coteau des Prairies.
6.  Thomas Priestly (d. 1890) was also from Mineral Point. He originally enlisted September 9, 1861, in the 11th Wisconsin Infantry where he was the 1st sergeant of Company E.  From there he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant of Company B of the 30th Wisconsin on September 8, 1862, and captain of Company B on January 27, 1865. He mustered out with the company on September 20, 1865.

1864 August 20: First News of the Second Battle of Deep Bottom, and Other News

August 20, 2014

The following is the weekly summary of war news from The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal of August 20, 1864.

The item about General Winfield S. Hancock refers to the Second Battle of Deep Bottom (also known as Fussell’s Mill, New Market Road, Bailey’s Creek, Charles City Road, and White’s Tavern).  It was fought August 14-20, 1864, during the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign.  During the night of August 13–14, a force under the command of General Hancock crossed the James River at Deep Bottom.  They wanted to threaten Richmond and to attract Confederate forces away from the Petersburg trenches and the Shenandoah Valley.  What is mentioned here is just that initial move across the James River.

From The Polk County Press:

The News.

— The official report of Admiral Farragut [David G. Farragut] gives the particulars of the capture of the rebel iron-clad Tennessee and the passage of the forts.  They are not materially different from previous accounts.

— Official intelligence has also been received of the surrender of Fort Gaines and the abandonment of Fort Powell.  Both are now occupied by our forces and General Canby [Edward Canby] is besieging Fort Morgan, Mobile Harbor.

— The rebels under Col. Johnson¹ crossed the Ohio near Shawneetown, Ill., on the 13th, and captured five steamers,² which were saved from destruction by the payment of several thousand dollars each.  Some of the steamers were loaded with fat cattle belonging to the government.

— Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] by a sudden movement has placed his army on the north bank of the James River, and it is announced that his advance is within seven miles of Richmond.  On the 12th inst., Gen. Hancock with 2d corps made an advance, carried two lines of the enemies’ works, capturing six guns and four mortars.—The 23d  Mass. Regiment captured 70 prisoners.  It is expected that severe fighting will soon take place.  Thus far the movement is reported to be a success.

— From Sherman’s army [William T. Sherman] we have the news that a raid is being made on his communications by the rebels.  It is said that the old General has made preparations to meet them.—Meanwhile the siege of Atlanta goes on with vigor.

— Gen. Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] is operating against Fort Darling.  He is digging a canal.

— Sheridan [Philip H. Sheridan] is making good headway up the Shenandoah Valley. It is said he has found the rebel General Early [Jubal Early] entrenched at Strasburg and that a battle is imminent.

— It is rumored that Gen. Sully [Alfred Sully] has been defeated by Indians on Knife River, Idaho Territory.

From The Prescott Journal:

The News.

— The rebel General Wheeler [Joseph Wheeler] has made an attack on Dalton, 30 miles below Chattanooga. The fight was going on at last accounts.

— Hancock has moved his forces within seven miles of Richmond, and is making  havoc with the enemy’s works.  Grant and Meade [George G. Meade] are directing operations.

— It is rumored that Grant has removed his siege guns from Petersburg, and is making preparations to besiege Richmond from the north bank of the James.

— It is said that Gen. Sully had met the Red Skins at Knife River, and had been terribly defeated.

1.  Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson (1834-1922) was born in Kentucky and moved to Texas in 1854 where he became a noted Indian fighter and supplied Butterfield Overland Mail stations. When the Civil War started, he returned to Kentucky and joined Nathan B. Forrest’s cavalry. He later received a promotion to colonel of a regiment of Partisan Rangers that often operated deep behind Federal lines in Kentucky, harassing Union supply lines and isolated garrisons. He received his nickname by using two joints of stovepipe to simulate a cannon when he and 12 men raided Newburgh, Indiana. In 1863, Johnson assumed command of a brigade in the cavalry division of General John Hunt Morgan and Johnson participated in Morgan’s Raid. Following the Confederate’s defeat at the Battle of Buffington Island, Johnson led nearly 350 men to safety across the Ohio River. On August 21, 1864, he was blinded by an accidental shot from one of his own men. Subsequently Johnson was captured by Union troops and imprisoned for most of the rest of the War. Despite being blind, he returned to Texas where he founded a town, established a company, and worked to harness the water power of the Colorado River.
2.  The steamers were the Kate Robinson, Jenny Perkins, Nightingale, Famine, Brandon and Clara Hall.  They were all aground and were captured with a large amount of stock on board. The boats were compelled to pay several thousand dollars each to save them from destruction.


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