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1863 November 14: George W. Gore Discharged, Captain Gurley Captured, and Other News

November 20, 2013

Following are the smaller items from the November 14, 1863, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.

From The Polk County Press:

— G. W. Gore,¹ Co. F. 1st Wisconsin Volunteers, who has been in the service over two years, returned home on the Enterprise last Tuesday. Our readers have read his interesting letters from time to time in the Press, and he is well known among us as a true patriot.  Mr. Gore has received his discharge on account of loss of sight, caused by gun-smoke.  We bid him welcome home.

— A democratic editor in Nevada territory says of the defeat of his party: “We met the enemy yesterday—and are out on parole this morning.”

THE FISK EXPEDITION.—This expedition which has been reported as massacred by Indians, has arrived at Bannock City, Idaho Territory, in safety—all well.  This news will relieve many anxious friends residing in this vicinity.

— Reports from Richmond give positive assurance that the rebels are starving Union prisoners.  The government ought to retaliate by hanging an officer for every man who dies from inhuman treatment.

THANKSGIVING DAY.— There will be services held at the School House in this village on Thursday the 26th inst., at 11 o’clock P.M. in accordance with the Government Proclamation, setting aside that day as a day of Thanksgiving and Prayer.  Preaching by Rev. J. S. Akers.

— A Chattanooga correspondent of the New York Times writes: Gen. Crook [George Crook], on the evening of the 21st ult., succeeded in capturing Captain Greeley [sic],² near Huntsville, Alabama.—He is a notorious gorilla [sic] chiefly noted for his murder of Brigadier-General McCook,³ a year ago. He soon got his just deserts [sic].

— A Rebel Surgeon, who was beastly drunk when our forces captured Little Rock, Arkansas, found himself amoung [sic] the Yankees when he got sober, and remarked that it beat Rip Van Winkle, that a man couldn’t go to sleep in the confederate states without waking up in the United States.

— Deputy Provost Marshal Vincent [William J. Vincent] returned from La Crosse on Tuesday last.  He states our quotas under the present draft to be 24 including the 50 per cent. for exemptions.  It strikes us that this is rather steep, but presume that the commissioner knows his regular business.—As the draft took place on the 9th inst., we may soon expect a few prizes to be distributed among us.

WARLIKE.—The New York papers say that never since the organization of the navy of the United States has there been seen so many United States vessels of war in the harbor as at the present time.  There are now no less than sixty-two vessels, carrying four hundred and forty guns—a larger force than that of the entire United States navy before the outbreak of the rebellion.

— It is stated that Gen. Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] has at last been assigned a command.  Report has it that he has been ordered to relieve Gen. Foster [John G. Foster] in command of the Department of Southern Virginia and North Carolina.  The later officer being ordered to report at Washington.  As this department includes Fortress Monroe and the James river approaches to Richmond the gossips have it that the command may be made an exceedingly important one.

— Adjutant General Gaylord [Augustus Gaylord] had issued an order authorizing and giving directions for the organization of one or more companies of colored soldiers in our State.

— Slight skirmishing has taken place along the line of the Army of the Potomac, with results greatly in favor of the Union arms.

A MONUMENT TO THE SOLDIERS— The citizens of Bangor are to erect a monument of Concord granite, 27 feet high, in memory of the soldiers from what city who have fallen in defense of their country.4

— There are many stories current in camp as to what Gen. Rosecrans [William S. Rosecrans] replied to Gen. Bragg [Braxton Bragg] when he appeared before Chattanooga and demanded its surrender.  he accompanied the demand with the information that if not completed with he should shell the town.  Rosecrans received the flag and messenger with great courtesy, and returned for answer, “Shell and ___, this is none of my town.”

St. Croix Co. Election Returns.

Complete returns received from this County give the various Union candidates the following majorities: Whole State ticket 100, Elwell [Joseph S. Elwell], for Assembly, 110: Peabody, for Sheriff, 8: Baker, for District Attorney, 50:— Weld, for School Superintendent, 100: Hitz, for Clerk of court, 30: Fuller, for coroner, 50.

From The Prescott Journal:

—The sickness of our foreman, Mr. Gates compels us to issue a meager paper today as it is impossible to procure extra help.

— The Draft in Minnesota has been postponed till Jan. 5th.

—The Draft is an important subject of conversation now.  We can give no important information as to when, if ever, it will commence in this District.

— The report of the capture of Fort Sumpter [sic] turns out to be a hoax.

—A battle has been expected in Virginia for a day or two past, but at last advices, “quiet prevailed.”

— Maryland follows the fall fashions and elects unconditional Union candidates to Congress.

— Dunn Co. gave 150 Union Majority, T.C. Pound is elected to the Assembly from Dunn, Eau Claire and Chippewa counties.  Grant Co. gave 2,300 majority, and increase of 1,300 over Harvey’s majority.

Co. B, 6th Regiment.

We are indebted to Lieut. HYATT [Charles P. Hyatt] for the returns from this Company.  The vote was as follows:  Union State Ticket, 20;  Winn 20, Elwell 20, Young 16, Thayer [Charles Thayer] 18, Hatch [W. T. Hatch] 1.

1.  George W. Gore, from Saint Croix Falls, enlisted in the St. Croix Rifles (Company F of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry, 3 Years) on August 1, 1861.  He was discharged October 26, 1863, for a “disability.”

Frank B. Gurley in 1866

Frank B. Gurley in 1866²

2.  Frank B. Gurley (1834-1920) enlisted in the Confederate Army as a private and his company was assigned to a battalion commanded by Nathan Bedford Forrest. Soon after the battle of Fort Donaldson, Gurley was ordered home to recruit a new company, of which he was elected captain. The company became Company C in the 4th Alabama Calvary. On August 5, 1862, Brigadier General Robert L. McCook’s brigade of Federals begin to march south from Tennessee into Alabama, with McCook traveling in a wagon behind the main brigade with only a small cavalry escort. This small group was attacked by Gurley’s “guerrillas” and McCook was wounded, dying the next day. This small military skirmish was turned into a cold-blooded murder by the Northern press and—as we see here—aroused especially bitter feelings toward Frank Gurley. The press claimed that Gurley shot McCook while he was lying sick and helpless in an ambulance. Because of the political influence of the McCook family in the army and government, Frank Gurley became one of the most wanted “criminals” in the country. Gurley, however, did not realize how intensely he was hated in the North. In October 1863 Gurley was captured by Union troops and kept under poor conditions in prison while awaiting trial. But a fair trial was impossible, considering the anger and prejudice against Gurley, and he was found guilty of murdering General McCook. Gurley remained in prison for a year expecting to be hanged. Then in January 1865 he was mistakenly exchanged with other Confederate officers who had been prisoners-of-war.
This information about Gurley and the photograph come from a story on Gurley on the gurleyalabama.contactex.net website.
3.  Robert Latimer McCook (1827-1862) organized and was the colonel of the 9th Ohio Infantry, a regiment primarily composed of recent German immigrants. He commanded a brigade at the battles of Rich Mountain and Carnifex Ferry in 1861 and Mill Springs in January 1862. McCook was severely wounded at Mill Springs. McCook was promoted as a brigadier general of volunteers in March 1862, while still away from the army recovering from his injury. He rejoined his command before his wound had fully healed, and found that he could no longer travel long distances on horseback. McCook died from a mortal wound in the intestines, having been shot in a skirmish with the 4th Alabama Cavalry near Huntsville, Alabama. Northern versions claimed he was shot by Confederate guerrillas while lying helpless in an ambulance, but a Southern version disputes this.
4.  “Soldiers Monument, a 20-foot high obelisk near the entrance of the Mount Hope Cemetery, may be the oldest Civil War monument in the United States. It was dedicated in 1864, when the body of Bangor native Stephen Decatur Carpenter was laid to rest. Although his body was moved to a family plot at their request in 1881, those killed in action as well as veterans filled the plot, and in 1907 the Grand Army of the Republic fort and monument was dedicated, followed in 1960 by the 2nd Maine Regiment memorial near the gates of the cemetery.” (For more details and a photograph of the Monument, see the Maine Memory Network website.)

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