The following is the second of several reports from Wisconsin regiments in the field. It comes from the February 25, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.
The Battle of Hatcher’s Run,¹ took place February 5-7, 1865, west of Petersburg, Virginia. It was one in a series of Union offensives during the Siege of Petersburg. The Union plan was to send General David M. Gregg’s cavalry out to the Boydton Plank Road to destroy as many Confederate supply wagons as they could find while the V Corps and II Corps provided support and kept the Confederates occupied to the north and east. The 5th Wisconsin Infantry was part of the VI Corps, and the 6th and 7th Infantries were in the V Corps. Company B of the 6th was the Prescott Guards.
THE CAMPAIGN IN VIRGINIA.
Recent Battles South of Petersburg.
Affairs in Southwest.
The New Regime in Arkansas.
IMPORTANT MOVEMENTS OF TROOPS.
Affairs in Tennessee.
From the Fifth Regiment.
The Recent Potomac Army Movement—Was it
a Success ?—Three Days Fighting—The 6th,
7th and 36th Wisconsin Suffer Severely—The
5th has but two Casualties—The Army Telegraph.
Correspondence of the State Journal.
CAMP OF 5TH WISCONSIN, REGT., }
SOUTH OF PETERSBURG, Feb. 8th, 1865. }
In my last communication I mentioned that we were under marching orders, expecting to start very soon on an expedition, in what direction none could tell.
We left camp Sunday evening ; as was after ward ascertained to cover the advance of Gen. Warren’s corps (the 5th) [Gouverneur K. Warren], and Gen. Humphrey’s (the 2d) [Andrew A. Humphreys], together with a division of cavalry under Gen. Gregg [David M. Gregg], across Hatcher’s Run, in the direction of the Southside railroad. The 5th and 2d corps, until last night, have been fighting for three days, the first named having suffered very considerable loss. Only the first division of our cops participated in the movement, and they only as reserve, consequently their loss has been but slight. We have just got back to our old camp, near the remnants of the Weldon railroad, having left the field of battle last night at 1 o’clock.
It is very uncertain whether or not the object of the movement was accomplished, as it is only a matter of mere conjecture what was the object of the expedition, save in official circles. If it were to cut the Southside Railroad we failed ; if it was to keep Lee’s troops from going South, or to extend our line farther to the left we have succeeded—for no doubt we were opposed by a heavy force of Lee’s army, and while advancing some parts of our line we have extended it some tow or three miles farther, having made earthworks of considerable strength on the other side of the above-named “Run,” within a distance as variously stated of from five to ten miles of the South-side road. [Robert E. Lee]
The “Iron Brigade” of the 5th Corps, in which are the 6th and 7th Wisconsin Regiments, was in the hottest of the fight. Both of these regiments suffered very severely. The 36th, also, belonging to the 2d Corps, suffered severely, as is said.
Our regiment met with but few casualties. The following include all:
Private Riley C. Tyron, Co. G, missing and severely wounded, shot in the left side.
Private Chas. Beringer, Co. C, serious gunshot through right arm.
Private Geo. H. Worden, Co. F, leg broken by a falling tree.
Private Micheal Apel, Co. K, dropped down dead while on the march, from congestion of lungs and over-exertion.
One could scarcely fail to mark the strange accompaniments of the arts of civilization, with the scenes of war, as seem in the army telegraph in operation to each corps headquarters in the field, during the battle. The wire is made of several smaller wires closely twisted, and covered with gutta percha, made so hard that artillery wagons it is said, may be driven over it without in any way impairing it. This acts as a non-conductor, and thus they may fasten it as they do, to limbs and poles, almost anything, and almost any way. It is said that they load it upon the back of a mule with a pulley at the back of the saddle over which it runs out, and that leading the mule along where they want the wire and fastening as they go, they will put it up as fast a one can over estimated.
How strange the comment thus made upon the peace conference at Fortress Monroe ! More than ever must we believe that our armies are the makers of an enduring peace.
. .BB. C. HAMMOND, [Brant C. Hammond, chaplain of the 5th]
Chap. 5th Reg. Wis. Vols.
1. Also known as Dabney’s Mill, Armstrong’s Mill, Rowanty Creek, and Vaughn Road.
1865 February 25: The Hampton Roads Peace Commissioners and Wisconsin’s Samuel Harriman’s Role in Escorting Them
The following is the first of several reports from Wisconsin regiments in the field. It comes from the February 25, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.
THE CAMPAIGN IN VIRGINIA.
Recent Battles South of Petersburg.
Affairs in Southwest.
The New Regime in Arkansas.
IMPORTANT MOVEMENTS OF TROOPS.
Affairs in Tennessee.
From the Thirty-Seventh Regiment.
The Situation before Petersburg—Deserters Stories
of Hard Times—A Great Scarcity of
Supplies—The Rebel Peace Commissioners—
Appearance of A. H. Stephens—His parting
words to Col. Harriman.
NEAR PETERSBURG, Va., Jan. 20.
Messrs. Editors :—It is clear and cold, with northerly winds, ground hard as a brick, noses turning red, white and blue, the smoke of our camps, when it does not stay below and get in you eyes, going up to heaven like the smoke of a furnace, the men all hutted, the Quartermaster’s teams all hauling wood, and the Army of the Potomac at rest.
The incessant picket firing which, up to a very recent period, had been the main drawback to our peace and happiness, has almost entirely ceased. Artillery duels are a tradition of the past, and the pieces of shell which, at rare intervals, drop into or around our camp, have taken of late not to hurting any one, and only remind us of anther kind of peace, which we are expecting to happen most any minute.
A steady dribble of rebel deserters continues to slop over their picket line, and trickle gently and easily into our lines. They all complain of short rations and want of clothing and shelter. Disaffection and discontent prevail throughout the whole army. They “don’t feel well,” they “want to go home,” for they fear the “bottom will fall out.” The fall of Fort Fisher is a terrible blow. A couple of Alabamians who came over last evening, say that for several months their rations have consisted of corn-meal, meat preserved in cans, and tobacco ; no coffee, no sugar ; and those rations, like a snake’s tail, or the hopes for the success of the cause, have, since the closing of Wilmington, been becoming “small by degrees and beautifully less, till now two “corn-dodgers” about the size of a piece of bread six inches by three inches, and an inch thick, with a quarter of a pound of meat, is considered by the Confederate authorities a generous ration for one man a day. This my informant stated was owing to our holding Cape Fear River, which he said “was the hole that moated the whole Confederacy and now we had plugged it.” He also related a ludicrous story of a man who deserted from the 8th Michigan because he could not get enough to eat and who tried to excite their compassion by a piteous tale of how he had only ten hard-tack or one loaf of soft bread, twenty ounces of fresh meat or twelve of pork with all the tea and coffee he could drink, for a day’s ration. Times in Petersburg he says are hardish.—Flour $5.00 a pound, wood $100 a cord, pens $3.00 a quart. Their teams and horses he says are used up, as the forage is excessively scarce, having to be hauled 100 miles. The South Side and Danville railroads are employed in hauling forage and rations for the cavalry and have hard work to keep them supplied as the engines and rolling stock are badly out of order with no means of repair and that they as well as the rails are about worn out. The canal along which wood is brought into the city in scows has been damaged by a freshet, as has also the Danville railroad and he thought that “times were getting hard in Virginny so he reckoned he’d travel.” And he did.
The 37th lieth still in the front line and it is waxing big and does picket duty, and there are added to it daily (by enlistment) such as shall be saved (from drafts.) Our only trouble is in getting a sufficient supply of fuel, as wood is not so plenty as it was, and so we have to haul a long distance over horrible roads. But we look for better times. Col. Harriman [Samuel Harriman] is now commanding the 1st Division of the 9th Army corps, and by his direction the South Coast Railroad is to be repaired and put in running order, which will furnish us with an unlimited supply of fuel.
The great event of the week was the arrival to-day of a flag of truce from Gen. Robert Lee, requesting the favor of a pass to City Point for Messrs. Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, R. M. T Hunter, of Virginia, and J. A. Campbell, of Tennessee. Rumor has it that this means peace, and we think rumor must have it bad, and cry peace when there is no peace, nor likely to be a peace till the Great Southern Skedaderacy is knocked to pieces.
To-day we have been an eye-witness of one of the strangest and at the same time most impressive of the many strange sights of this war. A flag of truce has been parleying with the rebels for the last three or four days, negotiating the admission of Messrs. Stephens & Co. within our lines. To-day the event culminated. About 5 o’clock P. M. the white flag went down to the front again, and soon the breastworks and picket lines were thronged with a crowd of our boys anxious to catch a glimpse of the head men of rebeldom.
The scene was an impressive one. In front, just over the woods that crown the opposite side of the ravine that separates our main line from that of the rebels, the setting sun, looking red and lurid through the smoke of a thousand camps, hung like a ball of fire.—The rebel works were crowded by hundreds of their men, looming up to almost unnatural proportions, so strongly were they thrown into relief by the red glare of the sunset behind them. In the rear were our works, with all their mazy intricacies, of ditches, covered ways, “zig-zags &c,” with the bristling palisades and abattis in their front and a crowd of boys in blue behind them quiet and still looking even somewhat grave and anxious, and the whole scene warm and bright in the reflection of the ruddy glow in the west. And now the white flag is seen coming down the hill, the centre of a group of some six or seven individuals, and as they cross the picket line and are fairly arrived within the lines of the Union armies the sun drops down behind the hill. On they come, up the Suffolk and Petersburg Pike, which stretches across the ravine and up the opposite bank like a white line. Colonel Harriman escorts Alexander H. Stephens, an old thin, careworn looking man, stooping, perhaps under the weight of years, but more likely under the weight of mental anxiety that has oppressed him for the last four years. Well may he look careworn, good cause has he to seem bowed by trouble. Those humble graves scattered thick along each side of the road as he enters our lines, those pinched, shivering forms he has left behind in the rebel lines, these frowning forms armed with the most effectual instruments of destruction the ingenuity of man has been able to devise ; the fertile fields of Virginia lying devastated and laid waste before his eyes, are all a specimen of what his ambitious and vain schemes have brought on the country.
Next to the rebel Vice-President came Col. Lydig, Assistant Adjut. at General 9th Corps, conducting R. M. T. Hunter, of Va., and A. C. Campbell, of Tennessee, and last of all, Col. Hatch, Assistant Rebel Commissioner for the exchange of prisoners. And so they passed by to where an ambulance was in waiting, which conveyed them to Meade Station to take the cars on the U. S. military railroad for City Point. Their ultimate destination is Washington, though the object of their mission is, of course, not known to the multitude. That it is the immediate conclusion of the war and the declaration of peace, is hardly probable, though it may eventually lead to such an end is, we hope, the case, though even about this we hardly dare be too sanguine.
On their first entrance within our lines, the envoys were, as may well be imagined, somewhat embarrassed and uneasy, but the kind reception they met with soon put them at their ease, and on taking leave at the cars, Mr. Stephens adddressed [sic] Col. Harriman as follows : “Good bye, Colonel, I shall always remember your face ; thank you much for your kindness and courtesy, and I trust we may soon meet again under happier auspices than now.” The party then left for City Point under the care of Colonel Babcock of General Grant’s staff.
You will know, long before we do, the object and results of their mission, so I will refrain from speculating thereon and remain,
Yours, &c., R. C. E.
From The Prescott Journal of February 25, 1865, comes this article on the planned Soldiers Home in Milwaukee.
A Permanent Home for Wisconsin Soldiers.
To the People of Wisconsin :
It is proposed to establish in Milwaukee a Permanent Home, the object of which shall be to furnish temporary rest and refreshment to soldiers passing through Milwaukee on their way to and from the field of active operation, and an Asylum for soldiers honorably discharged from the service, who have no home, and disabled by wounds or sickness, are unable to support themselves.
Chartered by the Legislature, it is designed to make it an Institution of the State, yet the property of the people, reared by their liberal contributions, and fostered by their tender care.
When an appeal has been made to your patriotism it has never been made in vain.—Those noble charities, the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, attest your liberality, and it is our pride that Wisconsin, in proportion to her population and wealth, in contributions of this kind, of all the loyal States, leads the van. But the time is coming when the duties of these charities will have been performed ; when our scarred and war-worn Veterans will return ; when many of those who went forth in the vigor of youth and prime of manhood, wasted by disease, or maimed in battle, will have no homes. Shall we, who have been protected by the living rampart which they have thrown between us and war’s desolation, sit down and quietly say to them : The counties have their poorhouses ; the cold charities of the world are open to you to beg where you will ?”—or shall we, with grateful hears, say : “Wisconsin’s soldiers are Wisconsin’s sons, and as the mother takes to her heart her first-born, with willing hands we gather into our folds our helpless warriors, our proudest and happiest duty to repay the sacrifices they have made for us ?” Their wasted forms, their maimed bodies, their heroic sacrifices, their gallant achievements, and their undying patriotism, all appeal to us. PEOPLE OF WISCONSIN ! Through the charity which we seek to foster, we ask you, Shall that appeal be made in vain ?
For the purpose of raising money for the construction of a suitable building, a Fair, designed to embrace contributions from all parts of the State, will be held at Milwaukee, commencing on the 28th day of June next. All the appliances of art and genius, taste and skill, will be sought to make it attractive. Several thousands of dollars have been already raised to defray the expenses incident to so large an enterprise.
We call upon the people to give in proportion to their means.
The farmer, of the produce of his farm—horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, grain, vegetables, eggs, butter, milk, cheese—anything that will realize money.
The merchant of his stock ; the mechanic of the fruits of his cunning handiwork.
Let women weave the fairy fabrics which render beauty more attractive.
Let contributions of the product of the mane, the field, the forest, the loom, and the ocean, indicate an appreciation of that patriotic spirit which has protected these interest from utter desolation.
We want evergreens, flowers and fruit—contributions of whatever is rare and beautiful in nature and art ; relics from the battlefield, and the tattered flags, which in a hundred triumphant conflicts have made our soldier sons immortal.
For our tables we want in abundance, everything that can gratify the taste or tempt the palate.
We ask citizens of foreign birth to join us. Let the German give us something from the Fatherland, and the Irishman from the Gem of the Ocean, and the Scandinavian from the northern home, to make our Fair both profitable and attractive.
During the Fair, places of amusement will be open, and the musical talent of the city will lend its aid.
If any county desires a separate department for the display and sale of its contributions, a place will be provided. Please notify the Secretary of the fact before the second Wednesday of April next.
All articles forwarded must be directed : “Soldiers’ Home, Milwaukee, (for the Fair),” [there is a line missing here on the microfilm due to a fold in the newspaper] -tary, containing a schedule of articles sent and their value.
A separate department will be provided for the sale of such articles as may be sent to be disposed of with tickets or raffling. Those making donations of this character will please notify the Secretary of their wishes in that respect.
Those desiring to contribute money, who live out of Milwaukee, can forward it directly to the Treasurer, John J. Tallmadge, Esq., Milwaukee.
Let every social, Christian, and charitable association in the State, take the matter in hand, and stimulate the prosecution of labors which shall result in material benefit to this great work.
Bear in mind that we seek to establish an institution organized under the fostering care of the State. It is to last during the generation in which we live. It is to establish a home where helpless men, yet in their youth, may grow gray, and in their second childhood recount to a generation yet unborn, the glories of that triumph which saved a nation, and preserved us and them a home.
. .E. L. BUTTRICK, Sec’y.
JOHN J. TALLMADGE, Treasurer.
1. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a campaign to save the old Soldiers Home in Milwaukee. Their website is: http://www.savingplaces.org/treasures/milwaukee-soldiers-home#.VPOwZS4YHXN.
The following editorial on the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution comes from the February 25, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.
The passage by Congress of the amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting slavery in the United States, except for the crime, is a triumph of all that is noble in our Government over all that is disloyal and base. It marks a new era in the life of the Nation, or more correctly speaking, a return to the principles upon which the Government was based. This act is not so much an amendment to the Constitution, as it is an authoritative exposition of its true meaning and intent.
Every man who has ever read the debates of the Convention which adopted the Constitution of the United States, knows that it was the universal belief and the almost universal desire that Slavery—a noxious plant grafted upon colonial soil by European greed—would soon die out under the benign influence of its freedom-breathing spirit. For this reason, some little concessions were made to it, but all mention of the word was carefully excluded, and the Constitution wisely and purposely so framed and worded that slavery might pass away and there would be nothing in our organic law to tell that it ever existed—it should leave no trace or stain to mar the beauty or impugn the juice of our National law.
But slavery proved peculiarly profitable in some of the states. Contrary to public expectation, it grew in strength and its advocates became arrogant as it grew strong.
It is not necessary to trace its progress—how it gradually assumed the control and dictated the policy of the Government, until it became a monster of collosal [sic] proportions—a blot upon our fame—a disgrace to our civilization—a reproach to our christianity [sic]—a libel upon our professions—a distorter of our peace—a traitor to our Government.
But it was strong. Twelve years ago you could count on your fingers the men in public life who dared openly and boldly resist its encroachments. Good men prayed for its overthrow, and the mass of the North saw its evil, but it was so hedged about with enactments, an entrenched behind statutes, that no way for its extinction seemed open. Honorable, law-abiding men could see no hope, except as the long train of years might bring noblet principles into practice, and slowly obliterate the evil.
To-day what a change from four years ago ! The National Capitol no longer holds a slave. Maryland and Missouri have joined the fair sisterhood of Free States. Kentucky longs to be delivered from the curse which has enslaved her. The great apostle of Free Soil sits Chief Justice in our highest court, and an American Congress has solemnly resolved that slavery shall die.
It is a proud thing to live in such a day, when the principles of our Government are potent realities instead of “glittering generalities.”
Henceforth no American need blush for the shame of slavery. It may linger for a while ; the amendatory act may not be ratified at once, and pass into organic law, but slavery is outlawed, dethroned, doomed. The Government has purged itself of its opprobium [sic] and shame, and reiterated anew the sublime truths enunciated by the founders of the Republic.—It is fitting that joy should fill the heart of every American citizen for this most righteous legislation, and he should give thanks as for a great victory won.
The following summary of national news related to the war comes from The Prescott Journal of February 25, 1865.
Enormous frauds have been found in the rebel Treasury Department. The Treasurer and stated the whole indebtedness of the Confederacy at $114,000,000 ; but accusations of cash liabilities to the amount of $400,000,000, have been found to exist.
The Commercial’s Washington special says, officers from the fleet off Mobile report great activity in the removal of torpedoes and other obstructions in the harbor. It was confidently expected that the rebels would evacuate the city. The fleet is working its way up the harbor.
Private advises from Richmond represent matters there as in a very bad way for the rebels and the difficulty of supplying the people and the army with half rations is daily becoming almost insurmountable, and the evacuation of Richmond is becoming more imminent and probable.
Richmond papers state that a large Yankee force had landed at Smithfield, on the North Carolina coast and have brought locomotives with them, evidently intending to use the railroads to facilitate their military operations after they shall have captured Wilmington.
The World’s Washington correspondent reiterates a former statement that the rebels would soon evacuate Richmond and the Atlantic coast and fall back to the mountains interior. He now says Lee [Robert E. Lee] and Beauregard [P. G. T. Beauregard] will command two grand armies, and that preparations are making for an overwhelming attack on Sherman [William T. Sherman].
The Commercial’s Newbern, North Carolina, correspondent says that an expedition to fitting out there which in all probability will make an advance upon Goldsboro. If captured it will give us all of southeastern North Carolina. Lt. Ware, of Gen. Palmer’s staff, was accidentally shot by Capt. Horn, of the 12th N. Y. [John M. Palmer]
The telegraph is again working to Denver. The Indians, in small bands, are at different points all along the road from Fort Kearney westward. The main body has gone up the North Platte. Col. Collins,¹ with his command had a series of engagements with the Indians between Julesburg and Laramie, which lasted for six days. The Indians are estimated to number 2,000, while our soldiers number about 200, not sufficient to follow and chastize the savages.
The Herald’s dispatch from Sheridan’s headquarters show that though everything remains comparatively quiet in the Shenandoah valley, the strictest vigilance is still exercised by the National forces there, and the country is frequently patroled by scouting and reconnoitering parties. The regular rebel troops are stationed at different points in the upper put of the Valley, but the guerrillas are prowling around in some of the counties between the Blue Ridge and Alleghany mountains. [Philip H. Sheridan]
It appears that the rebels have lingering in their prisons many Southern Union men, civilians charged with Union proclivities.—These men have no friends who, under the existing state of affairs in the South, dare intercede for them, and the consequence is they are made to suffer as badly as our soldier prisoners. It is said our Government has a number of civilian prisoners. Efforts are making to get up an exchange which will release these sufferers. It will require, however, much effort in their behalf, and it is hoped all good citizens will aid the undertaking.
The Herald’s Washington special says “officers from the forces operating against Mobile, who have arrived here, confirm the reported evacuation of that place. Hundreds of deserters have come off to the army and to the fleet and unanimously agree in the statement, that nearly all the rebel troops have left that place, and that the city will be surrendered whenever a demand for it shall be made, even if the force by which it is backed up shall not be a very large one. The cotton has all been removed from the city into the interior. Our fleet are busily engaged in removing obstructions, and expect to be able to reach the city by the 1st of March.”
In a prize case before the United States District Court, it was charged in a libel that a certain vessel was forfeited by reason of having entered the port of Norfolk in violation of the regulations prescribed by the secretary of the Treasury and the several intercourse proclamations of the President. The cargo was landed December 1863, and the seizure of the vessel was not made until the following June. During the interval the vessel made three or four innocent voyages. The turning point in the case was the question whether the vessel, made guilty by the language of the admiralty law, by the violation above mentioned, was purged by the innocence of the subsequent voyages, coupled with the delay of the Government in making the seizure. The court held the forfeiture as complete at the moment the cause of it arose, and this cause is the act violating the law. Sentence of condemnation was accordingly pronounced.
The Richmond Examiner of the 10th inst., in an article on Southern railroad connections, endeavors to show how Lee’s army may be supplied from North Carolina and Georgia without the assistance of the Weldon road.
The Herald’s Paris correspondence states that two formidable naval rams, Sphynx and Cheops, built at Bordeaux some time ago, have been fitted out in the most complete manner for our Southern rebels, with the heaviest class of guns and full crews, and under the new names of Stonewall and Rapidan, were to sail in the beginning of the month from a little island off the coast of France for this port. It was believed they were of so staunch a character that they would experience no difficulty in passing all the batteries in our harbor and coming right up to the city, which it is reported to be designed by their commanders to lav under heavy contribution or to destroy. This scheme is said to have been concocted and assisted in its prosecution under a secret treaty between the Emperor Napoleon and the Jeff. Davis’ government. [Jefferson Davis]
Richmond papers of the 9th contain severe denunciations upon the course of Jeff. Davis in advising his Cabinet that they should not resign in deference to the expressed desire of the rebel Congress, as they (the Cabinet) are responsible only to him, and not to Congress or the people. The papers demand a reform on the part of the Executive, claiming that although their armies were numerous and valiant enough to defy subjugation, and the material resources of the country ample for the supply of the army and the people, yet the first have been scattered and the latter surrendered, until the armies in the field are insufficient to breast the invasion, and supplies are growing more limited daily.—The capture of Savannah is claimed as a disgrace to the Confederacy, and there is a painful total want of confidence in the administration of affairs in Richmond. In the rebel Congress, on the 6th, Wigfall and Hayne [sic]² made a furious onslaught on Davis. [Louis T. Wigfall]
1. Lieutenant Colonel William Oliver Collins (1809-1880), for whom Fort Collins, Colorado, was named, was the the able and popular commander of the 11th Ohio Cavalry, headquartered at Fort Laramie. He was the son of Oliver and Mary Chapin Collins, born in Somers, Connecticut, August 23, 1809. He attended Wilbraham Academy and graduated from Amherst College in the class of 1833. He studied law in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was admitted to the bar in 1835, practicing law in Hillsboro, Ohio, before the Civil War, and was a member of the Ohio Senate (1860-1862). After the War he was a prosecuting attorney in Highland County, Ohio, and later president of the Cincinnati and Hillsboro Railroad. He died in Hillsboro, Ohio on October 26, 1880.
2. Landon Carter Haynes (1816-1875)represented Tennessee in the Confederate States Senate (1862-1865). As a senator, he sought higher pay for troops, and introduced legislation that would allow pay for Confederate prisoners of war to be sent to their families. He supported conscription, but sought exemptions for members of state militias and overseers of plantations with twenty or more slaves. He supported the continued suspension of habeas corpus, but called for an end to martial law. Haynes favored fiscal conservatism, and called for the sale of cotton and tobacco to buy back Confederate-issued bank notes.
Prior to the Civil War, he served several terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives, including one term as Speaker (1849-1851). In the early 1840s, Haynes worked as editor of the Jonesborough-based newspaper, Tennessee Sentinel, garnering regional fame for his frequent clashes with rival editor, William G. “Parson” Brownlow. After the Civil War, Haynes moved to Memphis, was granted amnesty by Andrew Johnson, and practiced law.
The following editorial from the St. Paul Daily Press was reprinted by The Prescott Journal in its February 25, 1865, issue.
(From the St. Paul Daily Press.)
Charleston is evacuated. The egg of cockatrice¹ has been crushed in its nest. Not quite four years ago, on the 12th day of April, 1861, the same city of Charleston fired the signal gun of the slaveholder’s rebellion—set the match to the train of revolutionary elements she had been preparing for thirty years.
Charleston was drunk with joyous exultation then ; champagne flowed in torrents ; the bells rang ; ladies waved handkerchiefs ; people cheered ; it was glorious. She had put forth her mailed² hand, and at a single blow, struck down the National authority in eleven Southern States. And it was so easily done !
Not quite four years have passed ; the champagne has not flowed so cheerily ; the bells have not rung so merrily since then. It was not done so easily after all ! Hundreds of thousands of Southern men and boys have perished in atonement for that act of mad ambition. Every Southern household has been draped in mourning. Nearly all her towns are in ruins. Her fields are desolated. Her wealth is ashes. Her people are fugitives and vagabonds on the face of earth. Woe and horror have settled in a thick cloud over every Southern home. And slowly, day by day and hour by hour, the nursed vengeance of the nation has been creeping through the blackened heavens and the war-blasted earth towards the cradle of the rebellion, as if reserving it a terrific catastrophe of retribution, commensurate in its awful proportions with the gigantic crime of which the doomed city had been guilty, and the fearful horror she had caused.
She boasted that she was going to make a Saragossa defense, and we inwardly thanked God for the obstinacy that justified the razing her in fire from the face of the earth. We were going to honor her overmuch. The result has proved that she was not equal to the occasion. She has no ambition for the martyr’s crown, except in figures of speech.
The thunderbolt fell indeed, but she dodged it. Fire and brimstone were ready to burst upon her—and she evacuated. The sublime expiation, of a hero death were something too good for this traitor city. Her name is to go down to posterity with no such glorious epic famous Troy or Saragossa, but linked with derision and shame to the latest generation, as the Bob Acres4 of the Rebellion.
1. A cockatrice is a medieval mythical beast that looks like a two-legged dragon with a rooster’s head.
2. Chainmail armour.
3. [Charleston, S.C. The Mills House, with adjacent ruins], George N. Barnard, photographer, April 1865. From the Photographs and Prints Division, Library of Congress.
4. Bob Acres is a character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s play The Rivals. Acres was a coward, whose “courage always oozed out at his finger ends.”
As Union General William T. Sherman marched through South Carolina, the situation for Charleston became ever more precarious. On February 15, 1865, Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard ordered the evacuation of remaining Confederate forces. Then on February 18, the mayor surrendered the city to General Alexander Schimmelfennig¹ and Union troops finally moved in.
The Polk County Press will not have an article about Charleston until next week; meanwhile they did published in their February 25, 1865, issue a large headline, with flag, about the fall of “Babylon” (Charleston). The following article is from The Prescott Journal of February 25, 1865.
From The Polk County Press:
The rebels set fire to the cotton and in its destruction consumed two-thirds of the city. The explosion of ammunition in the fire killed many of its citizens, and destroyed millions of property. One hundred guns fell into our hands. We are unable to give the particulars in this issue—will give a full account next week.
From The Prescott Journal:
ALL THE FORTS IN OUR POSSESSION !
General Anderson’s Flag Again Raised over Fort Sumter !
Rebels Left Fortifications Uninjured and 200 Guns !
The City on Fire and Two-Thirds Destroyed !
NEW YORK, Feb. 21.—The steamship Fulton, from Port Royal 17th, Charleston 18th, arrived this morning. Charleston was evacuated by the enemy on the night of the 17th, leaving the several fortifications uninjured besides 200 guns, which they spiked. The evacuation was first discovered at Fort Moultrie in the morning at 10 o’clock. Part of the troops stationed at James Island crossed over in boats, and took possession of the city without opposition. Upper part of the city on fire.
Previous to the enemy evacuating they fired the upper part of the city by which 6,000 bales of cotton were burned, and it is supposed that before the fire could be subdued two-thirds of the city will be destroyed.
A fearful explosion occurred in the Wilmington depot, cause unknown, by which several hundred citizens lost their lives.
The building was used for commissary purposes, and situated in the upper part of the city.
Admiral Dahlgren was the first to run up the city, where he arrived at about 3 o’clock. Gen. Gilmore [sic] followed soon after and had an interview with General Schemelfenning [sic], he being the first general officer in the city, and for this at present is in command.
The remains of two iron-clads were found, which the enemy destroyed by blowing them up.
Previous to the evacuation the blockade runner Cyrena had just arrived at Nassau, and fell into our hands, and two others were expected to run in on the night of the 18th. The first flag over Sumter was raised by Capt. Henry M. Bragg, A. D. C. on General Gilmore’s [sic] staff.
The houses in the lower part were completely riddled by our shot and shell. The wealthy part of the population have deserted the city, and now all that remain are of the poorer class, who are suffering from want of food.
A movement had been made by a force under Gen. Hatch [John P. Hatch], which resulted in the capture of six pieces of artillery.
The Tribune’s correspondent, who arrived by the Fulton, gives the following account :
CHARLESTON HARBOR, Feb. 18.—Early last evening Brig. Gen. Schemelfenning [sic], commanding the northern district of the department of South Carolina, discovered some indications which led him to believe the rebels were about to evacuate Charleston and its defences.
He accordingly ordered his pickets and picket boats to keep a bright look-out and report immediately any movement on the part of the enemy. About half past 3 A. M. this morning a terrific explosion took place in Charleston, which shook every ship in the harbor and off the bar.
Almost simultaneous with the explosion flames broke out and could be distinctly seen in different parts of the city.
It appears the first explosion occurred at the Wilmington depot, the fire from which rapidly communicated with adjacent buildings, causing a general conflagration of all the dwelling houses in the vicinity.
It was while the unfortunate inhabitants were trying to extinguish the fire that the second explosion took place, which resulted so disastrously, causing terrible loss of life amongst the women and children, who are represented as having been horribly mutilated.
This morning Gen. Schemelfenning [sic] landed his forces and occupied the city and its defences. The formidable earthworks on James Island are found abandoned, and the guns spiked.
At ten o’clock this morning a detachment was sent to take possession of Fort Sumter, and raise the flag which General Anderson [Robert Anderson] hauled down nearly four years ago.
At 4 o’clock the flag was raised amidst cheers. As fast as forces could be thrown into the city they were set to work to put out the fire, which, up to the time of leaving, was raging fiercely in different parts of the city.
Old man, women and children are rushing frantically to and fro in agonized despair at the loss of their homes and the killing and mutilating of their friends. It is impossible to estimate the amount of cotton destroyed by the rebels.
Several thousand bales were collected in different parts of the city, and set on fire almost simultaneously with the principal depot.
It was the opinion of Gen. Gilmore’s [sic] staff that in all probability two thirds of the city would be destroyed before the fire could be extinguished with the imperfect means for subduing it at hand.
The last rearguard of the rebels left Charleston at 4 A. M. this morning.
1. Alexander Shimmelfenning (1824-1865) was a Prussian soldier and political revolutionary who emigrated to the U.S. in 1854. He worked in the U.S. War Department, where he associated with the Forty-Eighters (German military officers in the failed revolution of 1848 who fled to the United States), many of whom, like him, ended up serving in the Union Army. When the Civil War started, he raised a regiment of Germans from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh called the 1st German Regiment (of Pennsylvania), later designated the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry. Shimmelfenning fought at the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He commanded the District of Charleston during Sherman’s March to the Sea, and he had the honor of accepting Charleston’s surrender on February 18, 1865. During his time of service in the swamps about Charleston, Schimmelfennig contracted a virulent form of tuberculosis, which ultimately led to his death on September 5, 1865, in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, where he visited a mineral springs sanatorium in an effort to find a cure.