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1864 January 23: Known Desertions to the Rebels, and Other News

January 23, 2014

The following summary of the week’s war news is from the January 23, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.

The News.

The President has approved and signed the act extending the bounties to the 1st of March.

Assistant Adjutant Gen. Townsend [Edward D. Townsend] has made out a report containing a list of all known desertions of non-commissioned officers and privates of the regular army to the rebels.  The number is only twenty-eight, of whom twenty are from the 8th Infantry.  He has also compiled a list of the officers of the regular army who have left the service by resignation or desertion to engage in the rebellion.—The total is 277, of whom 183 have entered the rebel service ;  72 have presumed to have done so ;  one was dismissed for surrendering his command in the face of the enemy ;  one made an attempt to desert to the rebels ;  242 have resigned ;  26 were dismissed ;  and 9 dropped.

One W. H. White, army contractor, has been sentenced, at Washington, to pay a fine of $3,000 and be imprisoned not exceeding two years, as the Secretary of War may decide, for wilful [sic] neglect of duty in delivering inferior haversacks.

The National Union Committee, appointed by the Chicago Convention, will meet at Washington on the 22d day of February.

The rebel army is encamped between Orange Court House and Gordonsville [Virginia] and is well provided with provisions, though said to be suffering greatly for clothing.

Private information from rebel sources has been received at Washington, stating that Charleston is being gradually destroyed by the fire of our batteries.  On the 26th of December two blocks of buildings on King street belonging to the estate of the late Senator Butler were destroyed.  Several large warehouses occupied by the rebel government and filled with army supplies, were destroyed about the same time.


FORTRESS MONROE, Jan. 19—A confederate quartermaster has been discovered to be a defaulted to the amount of 500,000.

The Richmond Enquirer of the 12th says :  “Where are we drifting?  The tendencies of the hour are dangerous.  The proceedings at Richmond are well worth the attention of our people.  At this moment Congress holds in its hand the destiny of the Republic.  It has the determination of the question whether it shall live or die.  The debates and proceedings of Congress furnish us much occasion for painful solicitude.  The nervous panic prevails, rather than the cool and grave deliberation becoming such a body, in its anxiety to restore the currency and fill up the army.  The danger is imminent that Congress will bankrupt the country and overthrow the frame work of society.—The proposition of the special committee of finance to tax the present value of the confederacy to the am’t of $700,000,000, should be entitled an act to sell out, at public auction, for taxes, all the real estate of the confederacy to the people who have speculated and accumulated fortunes by the war ;  while the bill reported from the Military Committee might be justly entitled an act to establish an irresponsible despotism at Richmond, and starve the country, including the army.

The Richmond editor is evidently getting his eyes opened.  A despotism has already encompassed the vile nest of treason,—the so-called Southern Confederacy.


NEW YORK, JAN. 20.—The New Orleans Era gives the statement of a Union refugee just from Mississippi.  He says fully one half the population of that State at home are strongly Union, and the women are especially bitter against Jeff. Davis [Jefferson Davis].  Hundreds of Mississippians were in the woods to escape conscription.  The Era has intelligence from Texas through Rev. Mr. McRea of Port Lavaca, who says there is an overwhelming Union sentiment in Western Texas.  A number of Union men have been impressed by order of Magruder [John B. Magruder] for publishing a book called “Common Sense.”  Fears for their safety were entertained, as the Sons of the South had offered to hang them.  Much mutiny exists among the rebel soldiers in the Western portion of Texas.

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