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1863 January 28 and 31: Colonel Murphy Dismissed from Service

February 3, 2013

The following smaller articles are from The Prescott Journal of January 28, 1863, and The Polk County Press of January 31, 1863.

From The Prescott Journal:

— It is reported that Gen. Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] is to be restored to the command of the Gulf.

— The Porter [Fitz John Porter] court martial found him guilty of every charge which Gen. Pope [John Pope] had preferred against him.  The effect will be to change public opinion very greatly in Pope’s favor.  A member of the court martial said as the evening court adjourned, “he believed Pope’s campaign before Washington was the most brilliant of the war.”

— A correspondent, writing from Murfreesboro to the Cincinnati Commercial, makes our loss in the Murfressboro battle as follows: Killed, 1.702; wounded, 7, 770; missing, 4,000.  A large share of the missing were stragglers captured by the enemy’s cavalry in the rear of our arms.

— Col. R. H. Murphy [sic: Robert C. Murphy], by order of Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant], dated Holly Springs, Jan. 8. is dissmissed [sic] from the service for cowardice and imbecility.

— A party of Chippewa chiefs left St. Paul for Washington a few days ago, accompanied by Gen. Webb, Indian Agent.¹  They sport the beautiful names of Antoice Buffalo, Me-zhe-na-wag, Kessh-ke-ta-wa, Adaw-wa-ge-zing, Naw-gaw-na, O-be-g-w-o-a, and Aw-mons-e.

— Col. MURPHY has been disserviced [sic] for cowardice and imbecility.  This is a strange affair.  We have hitherto believed the Col. to be a brave, loyal and efficient officer.

— There is plenty of fun ahead.  The ladies of the Soldier’s Aid Society are to give an Oyster supper and evenings entertainment soon; there is to be a Grand Masquerade Ball here on the 10th of next month; a Dancing party at River Falls on the 20th; and there is to be a Grand Masonic Ball at Hastings on the 23d of February.

— A letter in the Wisconsin from the 19th regiment, speaks of the capture of Sergant Copp [Joseph M. Copp] and  private Pierce [Elgreen C. Pierce] of this county.  The soldiers had procured some fresh meat, and they were out foraging for salt when they were “gobbled up” by the guerrillas.  Copp is a son of W. J. COPP, of Clifton.

From The Polk County Press:

Col. Murphy.—We see by late dispatches in the St. Paul papers, that Col. R. MURPHY, formerly of this County, has been cashiered by Gen. GRANT for “cowardice and inability,” at the late surrender of Holly Springs.  We suppose in due time the facts of the case will be laid before the people.  We exceedingly regret that Col. MURPHY has fallen into disagree,— not for any personal feelings in regard to him as a friend,—but that our County after furnishing so many brave men—men who have faced death on the battle field time and time again—brave men—who are still in the field, or under the sod filling honorable graves, that it should be said that it also sent a coward is realy [sic] to [sic] bad.  We hope for the good name of the one, and the credit of the other, that circumstances will yet bring to light, that he is innocent, and that the disgrace now apparent, will be blotted out.

—The Governor’s Message is so lengthy that it is impossible for us to give our readers but a short synopsis of it.  The “Madison Journal” in speaking of this document says:

“The closing portion of the Message breathes the spirit of genuine patriotism.  There is no false ring in it.  It is an earnest expression of unconditional loyalty to the Union and the Constitution, in refreshing contrast with the ambiguous tone of those who, placing party before country, would rather witness the ruin of the one than the exclusion of the other from political supremacy.”

We have read the Message carefully and pronounce it worthy of our Governor, the State, and its loyal people.

— The verdict in Gen. FITZ JOHN PORTER’s case has been approved by the President.  Contrary to former reports, the court found him guilty of the charges preferred, and he was accordingly cashiered, and dismissed from the service.

 1.  Luther Ezra Webb (abt. 1826-1880) was the Indian agent for the Chippewa Indians of Lake Superior, in Bayfield, Wisconsin, from 1861 to 1868.

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