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1863 March 28: Update on Colonel Murphy

March 29, 2013

A resolution in the Wisconsin Legislature “respecting the conduct of Col. Murphy” at Holly Springs.  It appeared in the March 28, 1863, issue of The Polk County Press.

THE LEGISLATURE.—We find the following in the legislative report of the Madison Journal :


By Mr. BARRON [Henry D. Barron], a resolution requesting the Governor to communicate any information in his possession respecting the conduct of Col. Murphy, or any Wisconsin officers at Holly Springs.

Mr. SHARPSTEIN moved to suspend the rules and act on the resolution now, which prevailed.

A debate sprung up on the resolution.  Mr. WERB opposed the resolution.  It was a matter with which we had nothing to do.  Mr. SHARPSTEIN advocated the resolution.  Mr. JONES wanted the resolution to pass.  Mr. LAPHAM held that this House had no jurisdiction over the subject, and that an inquiry into the subject could do no good.  Mr. BARRON advocated the resolution.  Col. Murphy was on of his constituents.  Every man ought to feel an interest in vindicating a Wisconsin officer from charges of treasonable conduct.  Mr. BINGHAM opposed the resolution, on the ground that it was occupying the attention of the House with a subject that did not belong to it, and over which it had no control.  Mr. SANBORN was strenuous for the passage of the resolution.  Mr. WEBB moved to table the resolution—lost.  Mr. STARKS moved to postpone until afternoon—lost.  Mr. BINGHAM said it was very proper for gentlemen to be informed on every subject.   But he was a little curious to understand what information certain members here were so anxious to get.  If it was for the purpose of obtaining the military judgement of this House upon Col. Murphy’s conduct he was opposed to the resolution.  If it was merely for information members could get as thoroughly informed by calling on the Governor without occupying the time of the House.  If the Governor was in possession of matters that should come before this House he would doubtless send it here.  He hoped members would attend to, and not go out of their way in order to take supervision of the military affairs of the country.  Mr. ROUNTREE opposed the resolution as irrelevant.  Mr. BARRON supported the resolution, saying that it was not proposed to take any action respecting Co. Murphy.  The resolution simply requested the Governor to lay such facts as he had in his possession respecting the Holly Springs affair before the House.  This was not a mere personal matter, but intimately concerned the honor and reputation of the State.  Mr. WEBB moved to amend by adding that the order of Gen. Grant dismissing Col. Murphy be also transmitted to the House, which prevailed.  The resolution was adopted.  Ayes 61 ; Noes 23.

The Governor in compliance with the above laid before the legislature a letter from R. C. MURPHY, late of the 8th Reg., defending himself from charges preferred against him by Gen. GRANT, for the surrender of Holly Springs, which His Excellency explained was all the evidence he had in the case.

We do not notice much else of interest in the legislative proceedings.  Among the recent bills, Mr. BARRON has introduced one for a State road from Superior City to St. Croix Falls.

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