1863 January 17: The Latest War News
Following is The Polk County Press summary of the week’s latest war news, from its January 17, 1863, issue. It is in two parts, the first being on the front page of the paper and the second in the editorial spot on the second page. A small portion of the first part—about Vicksburg—is a repeat of what appeared in the January 14, 1863, Prescott Journal.
The Latest News.
A dispatch from Nashville dated the 9th says: “Col. LOOMIS¹ is just from the front and says the spirit of untiring vigilance and activity that characterizes the Commander-in-Chief, has been infused into the whole army. All the operations are eminently satisfactory, and such as give joy to the heart of every loyal man.”
Prisoners from the front are constantly arriving. 199 privates and thirty officers came in to-day under charge of Major MOTLEY.
Gen. ROSECRAN’S [William S. Rosecrans] army known as the 14th corps has been subdivided into three corps, the 14th, 21st, and 22d. This will increase the rank of all Staff officers of Generals commanding the wings.
The reported abandonment of the siege of Vicksburg is confirmed.—The enemy’s fortifications on the front facing the Yazoo river are reported impregnable. The rebels were reinforced by 60,000 men, and had 160 pieces in their batteries besides field artillery. Our loss is between 2,500 and 3,000. A council of war have decided to attack another point, but its publicity is forbidden.
A dispatch from St. Louis, dated the 12th says that to last night Gen. CURTISS [sic: Samuel R. Curtis] received a dispatch from Col. Crables, commanding at Springfield, Mo., that the rebels were repulsed at every advance and our forces held the place. We lost 17 killed.—We buried 35 rebels. More were taken off the field. They left a number wounded. But little of Springfield was destroyed.
The rebels almost entirely destroyed the telegraph between Springfield and Load Spring. CURTISS [sic] has three columns of troops after the enemy.
A dispatch from Newbern, Jan. 6, reports 4,000 rebels at Goldsboro and Kingston. The rebel-british-pirate, Alabama, came within 12 hours of being captured last month. December 11th, the Alabama reached Desert Island, Bon Quilla one of the leeward islands, where she coaled and left on the 13th. The San Jacinto arrived there the day after.
According to a Herald dispatch, forty vessels have been fitted out and loaded in British ports, with arms and supplies for the South, and are now at sea with the intention of running the blockade.
The Richmond papers report that we are about to make a grand demonstration upon Goldsboro or Wilmington.
The Pennsylvania legislature has elected CHAS. R. BUCKALEW,² to the United States Senate.
The Senate has adopted a resolution calling upon the President for all the correspondence between our Government and England concerning the capture of British vessels containing contraband goods, for the South.
Secretary CHASE [Salmon P. Chase] says that the reason why the soldiers have not received their pay is because he is not authorized to raise the loan by practicable methods under the existing laws. Since July 1st there has been paid to the troops $70,885,523, to the Quartermaster’s department, $110,482,480, and to the Commissary Department $30,617,493.
A very mournful catastrophe occured [sic] at Harperville, Broom County, New York, on the 12th inst. A party of 37 ladies and gentlemen were skating on a pond in what vicinity, when the ice gave way and 27 of them were drowned.
The Third Minnesota Regiment has been paid off and ordered South.
Alexander Ramsey, Governor of Minnesota, is nominated as the Republican candidate for United States Senator. The Governor received 20 and Hon. JAS. SMITH, Jr., 20 votes.
GEN. BUTLER [Benjamin F. Butler] had a public reception at Boston on the 13th inst., and addressed the people.
The New York Tribune says Editorially, “a letter from a well informed source at Paris, received by the Asia, states that a few days before the letter was written, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dronyn du L’Huys, visited the Emperor and advised him that a modification of the policy of the Empire was required by the pubic, that he could not change, and therefore tendered his resignation, recommending Lavedette as his successor. That the modifications needed, were, in the first place, great liberty in regard to Italy; secondly, the withdrawal of the French army from Mexico, and treaty with that power; and thirdly, the joining in a note, to be signed also by England and Russia, to the Confederate authorities, taking ground that as the rebellion had now continued nearly two years without success, that the interest of humanity and civilization required them to lay down their arms. The writer says that after opposing these propositions, the Emperor, upon further consideration, took a more favorable view of the policy indicated. The writer asserts in the strongest manner, that notwithstanding the unexpected and surprising character of this information, it is strictly true.”
It is reported from St. Louis, that passengers from Springfield state that a portion of the Army of the Frontier, lately in Arkansas, had arrived in that place. Gens. Blunt [James G. Blunt] and Heron [sic: Francis J. Herron] brought over Boston Mountain a considerable quantity of molasses and sugar, captured from the rebels.
Advices from Havana state that the French iron-clad frigate La Normandie had arrived from Vera Cruz, en route for Martinique, to await orders. During her stay at Vera Cruz, she lost 350 of her crew of 650 men, by yellow fever, including her commander, Capt. De Russell.
Over 6000 rebel prisoners and 10 commissioned officers were brought into Nashville on the 6th inst.
Our loss in killed, wounded and prisoners, will not reach 10,000. The rebel loss is double ours. In one field where the divisions of Negley [James S. Negley] and Breckenridge [sic: John C. Breckinridge] met with the bayonet, two thousand dead rebels were left behind when their fellow traitors were driven from the field. The wounds of our soldiers were mostly slight. The best buildings in Nashville are used as hospitals, and the wounded are well cared for.
There is four feet of water on the shoals of the Cumberland, and the river is still rising.
Another account of the battle of Murfreesboro gives the rebel loss as follows: Killed in Wednesday’s battle 5,000; Thursday’s battle 700; on Friday 1,600, and Saturday night 1,000.
President Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln] congratulates Gen. Rosecrans as follows:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 1863.
To Major General Rosecrans:
Your dispatch announcing the retreat of the enemy has just reached here. God bless you and all with you. Please tender to all, and accept for yourself, the nation’s gratitude for you and their skill, endurance and dauntless courage.
Signed: A. LINCOLN.
Secretary Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton] also congratulates the General and the army.
1. Cyrus Orlando Loomis (1821-1872), at this time colonel of the 1st Michigan Artillery. In January 1863 he was appointed the chief of artillery on the staff of Major General George H. Thomas, 1st Division, Center Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
2. Charles Rollin Buckalew (1821-1899) served as a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from March 4, 1863 to March 4, 1869. He was a lawyer and a Democratic politician. He was the most influential early advocate of proportional representation in the United States.