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1863 December 5: 30th Wisconsin Infantry, General Washburn in Louisiana, Sanitary Fairs, Surgeon General Hammond, and Other News

December 11, 2013

The smaller items from The Polk County Press of December 5, 1863.

FROM COMPANY A, 30TH REGIMENT.— We have received a lengthy correspondence from a member of this company, which we are unable to put in type owing to its length and the press of work this week in our office.  The boys are all well.  They are at present at Fort Howard, Green Bay, where they will probably remain some time.  They have been in Milwaukee guarding the Provost Marshals’ office during the draft.  They expect to be engaged in picking up deserters and conscripts during the winter months.

— The disaster which befell our arms recently in Louisiana, has been wrongly attributed to Gen. Washburne’s [sic: Cadwallader C. Washburn] being surprised.  It was Burbridge¹ and not Washburne [sic] that was attacked.   Gen. Burbridge commands the 4th Brigade of the 13th Army Corps.  The first division of his brigade was the portion surprised.  Gen. Washburne [sic] commands the 1st Brigade of the same Army Corps, and hence the mistake.  He came up afterwards and repulsed the enemy.

— Judge Whiting,² solicitor of the war department, has decided that drafted men have the right, after examination by the surgeon, to pay their commutation or furnish a substitute.  A contrary opinion has prevailed.

— General Rosecrans [William S. Rosecrans] has been assigned to the command of the Department of Baltimore, vice General Schenck [Robert C. Schenck], who takes his seat in congress from Vallandigham’s [Clement L. Vallandigham] old District.

— Sanitary Fairs are becoming fashionable.  Preparations are making in Boston for one to take place in Music Hall, early December.  Donations are already beginning to flow in.  Preparations are also making in other cities for fairs.  Let the good work go on.

—Surgeon Gen. Hammond³ has returned from a tour of inspection to the Department of the Gulf and Mississippi, and reports the former to be in excellent condition.  No cases of yellow fever had occurred among the troops, and but few in the fleet.  The city of New Orleans is probably the cleanest city in the country.

— The War Department has ordered the printed lists of persons enrolled in each Congressional District shall be made and posted where the people can see them, for the purpose of insuring an accurate register.  Exempts who find their names in the list may apply at once for relief.

— The amount of work now progressing at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is immense.  Something like forty vessels are now in the stream and on the stocks preparing for sea as rapidly as possible.  There are nearly six thousand on the pay-rolls of the different departments, and their monthly wages cannot fall much short of $200,000.

— Among recent captures of blockade runners we note the streamer Mail, from Bayport, Florida, bound to Cuba with 176 bales of cotton. Also, the steamer Martha Jane, near the same place, with 27,000 pounds of Sea Island cotton and $1.200 in gold.— Also, the schooner Herald, from Nassau, off Frying Pan Sholes, with 350 bags of salt and 125 kegs of soda.

1.  Stephen Gano Burbridge (1831-1894), a lawyer from Kentucky, became a controversial Union general. In 1864 he was given command to deal with the growing problem of Confederate guerrilla campaigns in Kentucky. Burbridge issued an order that  declared: “Whenever an unarmed Union citizen is murdered, four guerrillas will be selected from the prison and publicly shot to death.” He became known as “Butcher” Burbridge or the “Butcher of Kentucky.”
2.  William Whiting (1813-1873) was a lawyer from Boston. He served as solicitor of the War Department 1862-1865. In 1868 he was a presidential elector, and in 1872 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts, serving from March 4, 1873, to his death on June 29 of that same year. He wrote The War Powers of the President and the Legislative Powers of Congress in Relation to Rebellion, Treason, and Slavery (Boston, 1862; 10th ed., with large additions, 1863). He urged that the U. S. government had full belligerent rights against the inhabitants of seceded states, and without going beyond the Constitution could confiscate their property, emancipate their slaves, and treat them as public enemies.
3.  William Alexander Hammond (1828-1900) was the 11th Surgeon General of the United States Army, serving from 1862-1864. He was a reformer. Hospitals were ordered to maintain much more complete records; he proposed a permanent military medical corps, a permanent hospital for the military, and centralized issuance of medications; and he recommended that the service age of recruits be fixed by law at twenty years.

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