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1863 December 19: Frank Kelley Shot During the Mine Run Campaign, Plus Various Veterans Home Recruiting

December 23, 2013

Following are the smaller items from the December 19, 1863, issues of The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press.

The first item mentions a skirmish that was part of the Mine Run Campaign, which went from November 27 to December 2, 1863.  It was an unsuccessful attempt by the Union Army of the Potomac to defeat the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.  It was the last hostilities for the year in the Eastern Theater.  On December 12, 1863, General George G. Meade wrote to his superior, General Henry W. Halleck, “that in my judgment nothing more can be done this season.”¹

From Prescott Journal :

— PLUCKY.—Frank Kelley,² of this county, a member of Co. B. 6th Reg. was wounded in a skirmish during the recent movement of Meade’s army.  The Regiment was guarding a supply train which was attacked.  Just as Frank was in the act of firing, a ball struck his left elbow, splintering the bone and coming out near the shoulder.  Frank dropped down, got a rest for his gun, and shot a rebel, just to square his account.  His arm is amputated, but he will not return home until the company does.

— The drafted men from this part of the county mostly left for La Crosse, on Wednesday and Thursday.  They mostly want by private conveyance and left here in high spirits.

— It is probably that a bounty of $100 or upward will be raised by subscription in most of the towns in this county, for the volunteers.  The people are earnest about the matter.  Pierce—every town in it—ought to raise her quota by volunteering.

— We learn that a family in Diamond Bluff, Mr. NILES and his two sons,³ subscribed $300 towards the bounty for volunteers.  Nobly done !

— We intended to have published the Enrollment List of this county in this issue, but as it is too late to answer the purpose of a notice, and is hardly accurate enough for reference, we omit it.

THE President [Abraham Lincoln] has pardoned E. W. Gantt of Arkansas, formerly a Brigadier General in the Confederate service.  Mr. Gantt is one of the foremost citizens of Arkansas, and his recent public addresses to the people of that State, which have been published by the press, urging them to return to the Union, and recognizing slavery as the evil cause of the Rebellion, and the necessity of its abolition as a condition of reconstruction, have had it is said a great influence in preparing the public mind in that State for a restoration of their constitutional relations with the Government.

— Jas. WALSINGHAM, is one of the live Union men of this county.  He recently got up a bee, and chopped a pile of wood, shout a big as a small house, for one of his neighbors who was drafted.

— We learn that R. M. SANDS4 will pay his commutation, and not go into the army, as he finds it impossible to dispose of his business.

— The cold winter is before us, and all the necessaries of life command a high price.  There are many mothers in this county, with a flock of little ones whose husbands are in the army.  Will those at home see to it that these do not suffer for food or suitable clothing.  Take care of the soldiers’ families.  In River Falls and Pleasant Valley, the good work has been commenced.  Let it be continued every town.

— LONGSTREET’s retreat is proving most disastrous.  His men are deserting by hundreds ;  he has been compelled to to [sic] abandon his siege train of six guns, and starvation and nakedness stare them in the face.  [James Longstreet]

The 12th Wis. Regiment.

Capt. O. T. MAXSON of Co A., 12th Wis., is now in this county on recruiting service for that Regiment.

There has not been a more favorable time for enlisting since the war commenced.  The large bounties—the prospect of a speedy close of the war—the certainty of the impending draft, are all weighty reasons in favor of enlistment.  The 12th Regt. has a high standing, and will not fail to get its share of new volunteers.


— We publish to-day an order, stating distinctly that each town stands on its own footing with regard to the next draft, and that if any town volunteers its quota, there will be no draft in that town.  This order will be read with pleasure and will add a new stimulus to volunteering.

— The Richmond Whig of a late date says,  “It is not impossible but the South may be overrun.” We should think it was not.

— Gen Schofield [John M. Schofield] has been removed at last, and ordered to report at Washington.  The President upholds the loyal Missourians who are struggling to advance the cause of freedom.

—Bayard of Delaware, is a consistent Copperhead.  He refused to take the anti-rebellion oath and will probably retire from public life as a consequence.

— Rebel Congressmen from North Carolina, had written private letters to Washington, previous to be the promulgation of the President’s Proclamation asking upon what terms rebel States would be permitted to return.


From The Polk County Press:

The News.

We have received nothing of importance from the seat of war.  Our exchanges are all behind time, and for this reason we are unable to make up our usual summary.

— Deserters say LEE’s army does not not [sic] exceed 35,000 men, who are building log huts for winter quarters along the line of the Rapidan.  [Robert E. Lee]

— There is an impression in some quarters that the government bounties offered to volunteers will not all be paid unless the person volunteering, serves his full time—three years.—This impression is erroneous.  All the bounty will be paid, even if the war closes immediately after enlistment ;  and all the bounty will be paid to legal heirs if the soldier dies in the service.

OUR QUOTA.—In answer to a vigorous and somewhat uncomplementary [sic] protest from Judge Barron, against the unfairness of the quota set to this country, Provost Marshal COOPER replies as follows :—“The quota of your county was fixed at Washington and it is a matter over which I could exercise no control.  But one thing I do know, the Sixth Congressional District received credit for all the men she has sent.”  [Benjamin Cooper]

— C. E. Mears has recently become associated with Sam. Fifield in the Polk Co. Press.—The Press has also been greatly improved in its mechanical appearance.—Hudson City Times.

— The vote of the Second cavalry for this county is as follows :  Barron for Assembly 2 ;  Union county Ticket, two votes for each candidate.  For County Commissioner, A. A. Heald, two votes.  [Henry D. Barron]

— The War Meeting at the School House, last Saturday evening did not accomplish its object.  We think now that all other localities are offering large bounties for volunteers, that the citizens of Polk county are doing very wrong in not taking some measures towards raising their quota.  It is not too late yet.  We believe that should the County Board meet immediately and offer a good large bounty, the volunteers would be forth-coming.  Unless something is done soon, men who intend to enlist will go elsewhere, and those who are now neglecting to take hold like good and patriotic citizens, and helping to raise our quota, deserve to be the victims of the next draft.


For Company F, 1st Wis. Volunteers, twenty-five able-bodied men, to serve for three years, unless sooner discharged.  Liberal inducements offered.  Enquire of
.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .        .   . .Sergt. SINON P. LILLIS.5

— The Prescott “Journal” says the officer who served the notices on the drafted men in the county thinks that about half of them will go into the service.

— Jeff. Davis’ [Jefferson Davis] annual Message has been delivered to his Rag-tag and Bob-tailed Congress.  It is said to be very mournful.  Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] has delivered to the “rebs” their annual threshing.  It is said to be a very severe one.

— The grandsons of Thomas Jefferson are all rebels ;  the granddaughters, save one in New york, are Unionists as well as their husbands, and two of them have sons in our armies.

— A California Judge said recently from the bench that “the rebels have been prospecting for hell, and struck it rich at Vicksburg and Gettysburg.”  To which the “Denver News” says :  “It seems to be panning out pretty well just now all over their diggings.”

— The list of causes for exemption from the draft is growing small by degrees and beautifully less.  By the 1st of January the following will probably be the only classes of persons exempt from musket shouldering :

    1. Dead men who can establish proof of their demise by two reliable witnesses.
    2. The deceased grandfather of a large family.
    3. Men with no legs, no arms, no heads, and no bodies.
    4. The late uncle of a Maj. Gen.
    5. Women with two at the breast.
    6. Blind men who can’t see the point of the bayonet.
    7. Babies, over ten years of age.

HURRAH ! The author of the following evidently “lost his grip” over the news from Grant :

Hurrah for the Ulysses, the bravest, the best !
Hurrah for the heroes the men of the Wes t!
Hurrah for the Hoosier !  Hurrah for the Buckeye ?
Hurrah for the Badger ! Hurrah for Kentucky !
Hurrah for the Yankee, Scotch, Irish and German !
Hurrah for old Hooker and Thomas and Sherman !
[You of course never drink, but now take some—today]
Hurrah everybody for ev-e-ry-body !

1.  The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 29, Part II–Correspondence, page 557; available in the UWRF Archives (E 464 .U6).
2.  This is actually Isaiah F. Kelly (not sure if there is a second “e” or not), from Trimbelle, in Pierce County.  He enlisted in Company B of the 6th Wisconsin. Isaiah F. “Frank” Kelley was born in Pennsylvania about 1840; he was 21 when he enlisted on May 10, 1861. He was promoted to corporal on December 13, 1862. He participated in the battles of South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Fitzhugh’s Crossing, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Mine Run. He was slightly wounded at Gettysburg (July 1, 1863), returning to the regiment on October 12, 1863, and was severely wounded at Mine Run on  November 27, 1863, his left arm having to be amputated. He was discharged on January 12, 1864, because of his wounds.
Two more Kelleys were also in Company B of the 6th, but none of them appear to be related. James Kelley from Menomonie (Dunn County) was a brother of Francis (Frank) Kelly, who was at this time in Company K of the 5th Wisconsin. They were both born in Albany, New York. James enlisted on May 10, 1861, and was promoted to corporal on September 5, 1862. He was severely wounded at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, and died from those wounds.
Philo Kelly was born in Salisbury, New York, on February 9, 1837. He was from El Paso, in Pierce County, when he enlisted in late December 1863, and was mustered into Company B of the 6th Wisconsin on February 23, 1864, in Madison. He was appointed corporal on December 1, 1864, and was at the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House. He was discharged on July 14, 1865. He died April 20, 1919, and is buried in Rock Elm (Pierce County).
3.  The father was Joseph R. Niles and his two sons were John R. and Edwin, both of whom were of drafting age, but neither served in the Civil War.
4.  Richard Montgomery Sands (d. 1900) came to Maiden Rock in 1856. He was “one of the most active business men in the community, and became one of the best known and most respected men in Pierce county. He was always active in politics and served the county one term as sheriff.” (From his obituary in the Pierce County Herald, September 27, 1900.)
5.  Sinon Patrick Lillis (sometimes misspelled “Simon”) was born January 22, 1842, in Ireland, probably in County Clare. He was living with his parents and siblings in St. Croix Falls in 1860, but nothing much can be found about him after he mustered out in October 1864. At the time he applied for a passport in 1880, he was married and had a daughter.

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