1863 January 14 and 17: Small Articles for the Week
Here are the week’s smaller articles from both the January 14 Prescott Journal and the January 17 Polk County Press.
The first article from the Journal is about the Battle of Springfield, which took place on January 8, 1863. What doesn’t get mentioned here is that the fighting was urban and house-to-house, which was rare in the Civil War. The battle was a Union victory.
From The Prescott Journal, January 14, 1863:
Good News from Missouri.
Rebels Repulsed at Springfield.
ST. LOUIS, Jan. 12.
Late last night, General Curtis [Samuel R. Curtis] received dispatches from Col. Crable, commanding Springfield, Missouri, that the rebels were repulsed in every advance, and force held the place.
We lost 17 killed; the number of the wounded is ascertained. We buried 35 rebels, more were taken off the field. They left a number of wounded on our hands.
But little of Springfield was destroyed. The rebels almost entirely destroyed the telegraph between Springfield and London Springs. Curtis has three columns of troops after the enemy.
Jefferson on Habeas Corpus.
Gov. Seymour¹ is exceedingly severe upon the President for suspending the writ of habeas corpus. A gentleman named Thomas Jefferson, supposed to be quite as good a Democrat, and possibly even better authority than Mr. Seymour, fully sustained Gen. Wilkinson in suspending the write of habeas corpus in New Orleans at the time of Aaron Burr’s expedition, saying many years afterward in reference thereto: “On great occasions, every good officer must be ready to risk himself in going beyond the strict letter of the law when the public preservation requires it. His motives will be a justification of the act.” If this be true of so small an affair as Burr’s conspiracy, what shall be said when a gigantic Rebellion in perils the very life of the nation.—N. Y. Tribune.
The Intelligence, not our venerable contemporary in this city, but a Maryland newspaper, says of Gov. Hicks [Thomas H. Hicks], the newly appointed U.S. Senator from that State:
Only a few days since he remarked in our hearing, that We can never have a stable Government and a peaceful Union as long as slavery exists in the country.
General Rosecrans [William S. Rosecrans] never entertained any doubt of the Murfreesboro battle. After the rebels were gone, he was complimented for his tenacity. “Yes,” said he, ” I suppose you know Bragg [Braxton Bragg] is a good dog, but Hold fast is better.” The lads call him “Old Hold-fast.” They will fight for him now, even more gloriously than before. All officers who deserted the field will be dismissed the service.
President Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln] at the request of Senator Sumner [Charles Sumner], gave that gentleman the pen with which he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, for transmission to Geo. Livermore of Cambridge, Mass., the well known antiquarian and anti-slavery writer.
The capital stock in trade of the opposition party, is making a fuss over summary arrests. During all this war, no man has been arrested or confined, who would take the oath of allegiance to the Government. Every man who will not do this, whether in Wisconsin or South Carolina, deserves something worse than summary arrest.
— There is one test of unconditional loyality [sic] that never fails: When you find a man so intent on finding fault with the loyal Government that he has no worse wrath to bestow on a conspiracy to break up the Union and destroy the Republic, set him down as a doubtful patriot.
No man, whose heart is in the right place, will permit his hostility to be diverted from the rebellion to those who are fighting it. He who thinks it a great crime to arrest a babbler of disloyal sentiments without “due process of law” than to strike down the flag of his country, will bear vigorous watching.
— An officer in one of the colored regiments in Louisiana, says in a recent letter: “You would be surprised at the progress the blacks make in drill and all the duties of sodiers [sic]. I find them better disposed to learn, more orderly and cleanly, both in their persons and quarters, than the whites. Their fighting qualities have not yet been tested on a large scale, but I am satisfied that, knowing as they do that they will receive no quarter at the hands of the rebels, they will fight to the death. As an old Democrat, I felt a little repugnance at having any thing to do with the negroes but having got fairly over that, am in the work. They are just as good tools to crush the rebellion with as can be got. There are three regiments in service: the first is composed of freemen, the second has some that were slaves, while the latter is composed almost wholly of the latter class.”
There is a universal growl of dissatisfaction among the butternut portion of the Democratic press and party,² because the President is run by the radicals. Every well informed man knows this to be false—knows that his policy has, at least until very recently, been in opposition to the wishes of those who placed him in power.
The Emancipation Proclamation was wrung from the President only by the pressure of an absolute military necessity. This fact is known, and yet the issuing of that Proclamation is claimed as proof that this war is waged only for the benefit of the negro. The fact is there is a class of politicians who stagger at no misrepresentation by which they can strengthen the feeling of opposition to the Administration.
EDITOR JOURNAL :—There is one little necessary fact that the families of soldiers or Justices of Peace should be made acquainted with. All soldiers’ names are recorded with the first name in full ; and the Secretary of State tells me that many of the certificates for State pay come there made out with just the middle names. For instance, William Atwood—when his right name is Charles W. Atwood. The consequence is, when the Sec’y looks the list over he finds they do not agree, and therefore they cannot be paid. If you can devise some way to get it through their craniums it will not only save them some trouble but the Sec’y of State much annoyance.
LT. L. DOW GUNN. [30th Wisconsin Infantry, Company F]
From The Polk County Press, January 17, 1863:
— Col. MURPHY [Robert C. Murphy] has been placed under arrest on account of the disgraceful affair at Holly Springs.
— LUTE TAYLOR in announcing his marriage says “that the parties are doing as well as could be expected.” Bully for LUTE. [Lute Taylor, you will recall, is editor of The Prescott Journal.]
— We continue the rebellion record on the second page, giving the leading events of 1862. It will be remembered we published the record of last year’s operation in a like form last winter. Cut it out and put it in your scrap book. It will be useful for future reference.³
— We shall give a list of the names of all who had enlisted from this county in a few weeks, both in Minnesota and Wisconsin regiments designating by marks those killed, wounded, discharged, prisoners, and those remaining in the service, also the number of the regiment to which they are attached, and there whereabouts.
— We see by a correspondence in the Milwaukee Sentinel, that the 4th Wisconsin regiment, have again embarked for Vicksburg. The letter states that they were then on board a transport bound up the Mississippi, and there is not much doubt but what they were in the recent fight at the rebel stronghold. From private letters received in this place we learn that the Hudson City Guards were with the expedition.
BIG APPROPRIATIONS.—The appropriation bills for this session of Congress will amount in all to about $1,000,000,000. That for the army already in is over $700,000,000, while the naval bill will ask for $70,000,000 more.
— The President has approved the bill admitting the new State of Western Virginia into the Union. This is a just act, and by it another tract of our beautiful country becomes free soil.
A “JOKE ON MURPHY.”—Prentice of the Louisville Journal closes up an article on the surprise of Col. MURPHY [Robert C. Murphy] at Holly Springs as follows:
“That Murphy must be a small Potato.”4
1. Horatio Seymour (1810-1886) was the 18th governor of New York for 1853-1854 and again from 1863-1864. Politically he was a Democrat and was one of the most prominent Democratic opponents of President Lincoln. Seymour was the Democratic Party’s nominee for U.S. president in 1868; he lost to Ulysses S. Grant.
2. Butternut was a slang term for a Confederate soldier. A butternut Democrat was one who at least was anti-war, if not actually a supporter of the Southern cause during the Civil War. It was also a way to smear any Democratic politician.
3. You can find the list for 1862 in the “Battles” tab at the top of the blog. The Polk County Press is not available for 1861, so the list for that year is not available.
4. “Murphy” is slang for a potato.