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1863 April 1 and 4: Union Leagues Established in Pierce County, and Other News Items

April 7, 2013

Following are those small items—mostly local—from the April 1, 1863, Prescott Journal and the April 4, 1863, Polk County Press.

From The Prescott Journal:

Union Leagues.

We are happy to see that Union Leagues are being organized very generally throughout the county.  We have already noticed the formation of the County League.  A League for this city was organized nearly two weeks ago and is in active operation.  Its officers are S. Collins, President; J. S. White, Vice President; G. H. Hawes, Secretary ; A. Wehrman, Treasurer.  The League meets every Saturday evening.

A League has been organized at the village of River Falls, with the following officers—W. A. Tower, President ;  L. N. Powell and A. C. Morton, Vice presidents ;  G. W. Cairns, Secretary ;   S. D. Dodge, Treasurer.

A League has also been formed in School District No 2 of River Falls. Officers—Hosea B. Bates, President ;  E. Hammond, Vice President ;  T. T. Glass, Secretary.

Other Leagues have been formed of which we have not the list of officers.  Speed on the good work.


Last fall, when John R. Freeman was a candidate for County Treasurer, some of his opponents denounced him as a secessionist, but of course the charge was denied.  Last week, in White & Jay’s law Office in this city, John endorsed Calhoun’s famous Nullification Resolutions¹ as a good sound democratic doctrine, which he endorsed.  Comment is unnecessary.

A Reaction.

We every day see evidence that the loyal democrats of this county will refuse to be crowded on to the disloyal platform laid down in the Resolutions passed at the County Seat.  A prominent democrat said to us a few days since,  “While this war lasts, I will neither vote for such resolutions, nor for any man who votes for them.”

Difference of  Opinion.

The Resolutions of the Pierce County Democratic Club denounce the Conscript Law as making “patriotism a matter of dollars and cents.”  Mr. Lusk [David M. Lusk] has publicly denounced it as an “act copied from the despotism of the old world.”  Mr. D. S. Smith, as strong a democrat as Mr. Lusk, says he regards the Law as humane and beneficent in its provisions, and had he been a member of Congress he would have voted for it.  Mr. Smith is right.

Worthy of Note.

No one claims that the mass of Northern Democrats are disloyal, but it is worthy of note that whatever is craven, and cowardly, and disloyal, naturally gravitates into that party.  Men who, like Judge Foster, for instance, stood back in unconcern when rebellion first raised its frightful head—men who have discouraged enlistments, who have never attended a war meeting, men who have never given a cent to aid the destitute families of volunteers—all such men are now bawling themselves hoarse in advocacy of the Democratic party.  It is noteworthy.

Important Decisions.

The Supreme court of this State announced three very important decisions last week.

The first declares the law of Congress authorizing the draft, to be constitutional.

The second declares that he who exercises the right of suffrage, and has declared his intentions to become a citizen, is liable to be drafted and must bear arms.

The third declares the law enabling soldiers to vote to be constitutional.

The Administration and the Government.

Beardsley [Joseph W. Beardsley], Lusk  and others, who are venomous in their opposition to the Administration, still claim to be extremely patriotic toward the Government.

The Nashville Union—a loyal paper in a rebel State, says:

“The idea of sustaining the Government in time of a perilous war, and righting to the death the Administration by which the war must be carried on, is the offspring of a weak brain or a calm heart.  It is like lauding virtuous the abstract, and picking your neighbor’s pocket in practice.”  Is not the assertion of the Union correct?

What the Matter is.

John R. Freeman, a few days since endorse J. Calhoun’s famous Nullification Resolutions as good “sound democratic doctrine.”  John did not understand what these resolutions meant.  “That’s what the matter.”—So, we doubt not, many loyal democrats.

From The Polk County Press:

The Republicans of this county [Pierce County] met in Mass Convention at Prescott on Tuesday last, and organized a Republican County League.  Vice Presidents were appointed in every town in the county ;  and it is expected that there will be a League formed immediately in every town and ward in the county.—River Falls Reporter, Pierce County.

Captain Louis Muller,² company E., First Minnesota, returned home a few days since on a short furlough.  Captain Muller was Orderly Sergeant of Company B., at its organization, and from a Lieutenancy in that company was chosen Captain of company E., which position he now holds.—Ib.

Admiral Porter is striking out for the Yazoo by a new route.  The passage through Deer Creek will bring him to the Yazoo below Yazoo City.  If he has succeeded in making the passage with five iron-clads, we may look for the speedy clearance of the Yazoo.

The Supreme Court of Wisconsin has decided in favor of the right to draft foreign born persons and that soldiers are entitled to vote.

A deserter from our army who returned to Indianapolis as a spy,  has been captured and sentenced to be shot.  The President has approved the sentence  and he will soon be executed.

1.  In the early 1830s, South Carolina announced that it had the right to override, or nullify, federal legislation if it chose to do so. An open split on the issue developed between President Andrew Jackson and Vice President John C. Calhoun, who was the most effective proponent of the constitutional theory of state nullification.
2.  Louis Muller (1835-1863) was a clerk in Stillwater when he enlisted April 29, 1861. He will be killed July 3, 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg.

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