1863 January 24: Battle of Arkansas Post, Death of Local Soldier George Martin, and News from Nashville
Our final back-log article (for this week) from the River Falls Citizens’ Reporter of January 24, 1863.
CAPTURE OF ARKANSAS
The ram Storm arrived at Cairo, on the 17th, confirming the capture of that Post. The attack was made on Friday by our gunboats; and the land forces, who marched to the rear of the Rebel fortifications.
Three balls entered the port holes of the Lexington, killing four men. The main fort, represented as very strong, surrendered on Saturday.—Union forces captured six regiments in the works, and at day-light on Monday two Texan regiments, not knowing that the place had surrendered, came in to reinforce it, and were also captured.
Nearly all the ammunition taken by the rebels from steamer Blue Wing some days since, was recaptured.
Gen. Church [sic: Churchill]¹ commanding the post was captured among the other prisoners.
A special dispatch from Nashville says that the Rebel Gen. Forrest [Nathan B. Forrest]² with 4,000 men and 17 pieces of artillery, attacked and captured five of our steamboats coming up the Cumberland, and laden with commissary stores; and they also captured the gunboat Slidell. Several of the boats contained wounded soldiers, who in jumping from them while burning, were shot in the water. The negro crew were stripped of their clothing, tied to trees and cow-hided, and left to starve on the shore. The boats, after being robbed of valuables, were anchored in the channel and burned.
Death of Geo. Martin.
Our citizens have received the sad intelligence of the death at Madison, on the 15th inst., of GEORGE MARTIN—an old and much respected resident of River Falls. Mr. M. volunteered in the service of his country when a resident of River Falls.
Gen. Butler [Benjamin F. Butler], in his N. O. [New Orleans] farewell address, concludes as follows:
“Months of experience and observation have forced the conviction that the existance [sic] of Slavery is incompatible with the safety of yourselves, or of the Union.
— 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.
— The speech of Gov. Morton [Oliver Morton] at the Union Meeting in Indianapolis, displays his true Jackson spirit; and every loyal man will, if necessary, rally under the star and stripes, to crush the traitors whether North or South, who rise up at the life of the nation. The Republic must live, even though Slavery die.
— It is believed in Richmond that Gov. Seymour [Horatio Seymour], of New York, will not let any more troops leave that State, and hopes of other States doing likewise are entertained.
— Among the amendments to the financial and army bills, are appropriations of $5,000 for artificial limbs for crippled soldiers, and sanctions the expenditure of nearly $150,000 for ice, fruits, and other comforts for the sick; also $400,000 to $500,000 for private physicians and medicines, and $75,000 for soldiers acting as cooks.
1. Thomas James Churchill (1824-1906) had served in the Mexican War and then settled in Arkansas where he became a planter. When the Civil War started, he was elected colonel of the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles and led his troops at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. In 1862 he was promoted to brigadier general and took part in Kirby Smith’s Kentucky Campaign. Returning to Arkansas in late 1862, he was placed in charge of the fortifications at Arkansas Post. After the War he will be the 13th governor of Arkansas.
2. Forrest was accused of, but never formally charged with, war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow for allowing forces under his command to massacre hundreds of black Union Army and white Southern Unionist prisoners.