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1863 September 5: More on the Sacking of Lawrence, and Other National News Items

September 10, 2013

Following are some national items from both The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal of September 5, 1863.

From The Polk County Press:

The News.

The news of the week is somewhat of the sensation order.  First we have reports of the capture of Forts Sumter and Wagner—then its denial. There has been very heavy fighting done in Charleston Harbor by both our land batteries and the fleet, and Fort Sumter, which the gallant Anderson defended, and which is the bolt which holds the greatest harbor of the confederacy, now lies a shapeless mass of ruins.  Beyond a doubt Gen. Gilmore [sic: Quincy A. Gillmore] and Admiral Dahlgreen [Ulric Dahlgreen] will reduce the fortifications of Charleston, and again place the old thirty-four starred banner over that vile rattlesnake’s nest. News from other quarters is of no importance, and is chiefly made up of exciting telegrams invented by the lying correspondedts [sic] to sell the papers.

The identical flag which Maj. Anderson [Robert Anderson] was compelled to lower at Fort Sumter, is in the hands of Gen. Gilmore [sic], to be run up the moment the Fort is reoccupied.  Let the dear old flag wave were it was desecrated, if no more than a single stone remains of the scene of its humiliation.

Five Hundred Thousand negro Soldiers for Jeff. Davis.

The telegraph announces that Jeff. Davis [Jefferson Davis], after consultation with the Governors, has concluded to call into the rebel service 500,000 black men, and to give them their freedom and fifty acres of land.

The Daily News holds up its hands in horror at the “black cloud” which is in the distance.  The example of the federal administration “bids fair to recoils upon us with a force of which no man has yet dreamed.”  Now, the News has heretofore been consistent in its assertions that the slaves would not fight.  Our neighbor must take one side or the other of the “kettle argument,” either that the slaves will fight, or that they won’t, or that there are no slaves to fight with.  Into which horn will you go?

The truth probably is, that the whole thing is a canard, got up for effect.  Counting one able-bodied negro to eight of the population there were less than 500,000 arms-bearing slaves in all the Southern States at the breaking out of the rebellion.  To-day, counting out the slaves that have escaped, and those that have joined the Federal Army, or are within our lines, it is not probable that there are 200,000 able-bodied slaves left in Jeff. Davis’ dominions, and these are melting away before the advance of our armies.

So it is useless to argue that Davis cannot get the Negros, though they had the disposition to fight for him ad he the power to liberate them, and the 25,000,000 acres of land to give them—equal to a State larger than Ohio.  Perhaps this is the “last card” we have heard threatened ;  if so, we are well convinced it is neither a high one nor trump. — Milwaukee Wisconsin.

From The Prescott Journal:


— The Rebel Steamer Osceola, foundered at sea, Sept. 1, with a cargo worth $200,000.

—Mr. Watts,¹ the newly elected Governor of Alabama, is a Union Whig.—The defeat of Gov. Shorter,² the secession candidate, is regarded as a significant indication of the public sentiment in that State in favor of the Union.

—Fort Sumpter [sic] is not yet in our possession.

—No war news of importance this week.

The Sacking of Lawren[c]e.

Nothing in the previous history of the war equals in cold-blooded atrocity the recent sacking of Lawrence, Kansas.  One hundred and twenty eight bodies of unarmed, defenseless men, murdered in cold blood, have already been founded. Men were shot in the presence of their families.  Some, even, were stabbed in the arms of their wives, who vainly sought to shield them.

They did not murder white women and children, but they burned a negro baby with as must gust as Camanches [sic] would have exhibited upon a similar occation [sic: occasion].  This occured [sic] at the Eldridge House.  “We will burn the G—d d—d little brat,” they said—and they did so.  The editor of the Leavenworth Conservative says he saw the charred remains, black as the hearts of its murderers.

About $2,000,000 of property was destroyed.  Massachusetts street being a mass of smoking rains.

GENERAL ROSECRANS ON SLAVERY.—The following extracts from a letter written by Major-General W. S. Rosecrans, detailing his opinions on the slavery question, which his actual experience in the field has forced him to adopt, is published in the Philadelphia Press.  It should be remembered that General Rosecrans was, prior to the war, an unvarying democrat.  Writing from Murfreesboro, he says :

I am glad to see the splendid stand you have taken against slavery, with all its horrors, barbarities and shocking immoralities.  Slavery is dead, and nothing can resusitate [sic] it.  To understand this fully you should pay us a visit.  *  *  Slavery is doomed, and those who now uphold it will soon be held up to public odium and execration.  No statesman will vindicate it, no friend of human progress will stretch forth a hand to break its fall.  *  *  *  Almighty God has certainly ordained the destruction of slavery in this country, where it has been more offensive and immoral than in any other.


1.  Thomas Hill Watts (1819-1892) was the 18th governor of Alabama and served from 1863 to 1865. In the 1850s Watts was pro-Union, but played an important role in the secession of Alabama. In 1861 he organized the 17th Alabama Infantry, but resigned to become the Confederate attorney general.
2.  John Gill Shorter (1818-1872) was the 17th governor of Alabama, serving from 1861 to 1863.

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