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1864 February 27: Ill-Will Among Members of the St. Croix Rifles

March 1, 2014

Following are two letters from members of the Saint Croix Rifles—Company F of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry (3 years).  They were published in the February 27, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press, more than a month after the first letter was written by George W. Gore.  That letter was sent to Elias H. Hoover¹ in Alabama where it stirred up bad feelings in Company F and a response was sent off to Editor Fifield for the Post.

Gore was from the Saint Croix Falls area and had been discharged for a disability in October of 1863.  Another letter by Gore was published in the Post a little over a year ago, reporting on the Battle of Stones River.

Army Correspondence.

BRIDGEPORT, Ala., Feb. 6th, 1864.

S.S. FIFIELD, Editor Polk County PRESS ; DEAR SIR :—The enclosed letter has just been received, and the undersigned members of Company F, 1st Wis. Infantry, having been informed of its contents, asked the privilege of taking the same in charge, and accordingly send it to you, knowing you to be a friend to the solider, with the hope that you will give it an insertion in your paper.  This letter is a gross libel on our Captain [Maurice M. Samuel] and every member of our company.

We feel proud of our Captain, as in all the positions he has held in the army he has discharged his duties with fidelity and promptness, which fact reflects great credit upon himself and honor upon his Command.

Indeed we should show ourselves unworthy of so brave and gallant a Captain did we allow such a vile slander to go unrebuked—a slander all the more vile, coming as it does from a man much indebted to Capt. Samuel for his discharge and other favors.

In regard to Sergeant LILLIS,² of whom we also feel proud, there never was a better or braver soldier.  He has nobly earned, and we trust will soon receive a commission.

But we are glad to be rid of Mr. GORE, who has proved himself to be neither a good soldier nor a gentleman.  His letter proves him to be what we learned from association with him, viz : worthy the scorn of all patriotic citizens.  We could say much of him but we trust at no distant day we shall be permitted to meet him face to face.

 . . . . .Very respectfully,
. . . . . . . . . your obedient servants,

Elias H. Hoover¹ E. Warendorph
John F. Lenfest M. W. Coe
Gus Marlett James McCabe
D. P. Hewit Peter O’Connor
Thomas O’Connor F. A. Peobody [sic]
John A. Hunter John Crowley
James Smith John Wyett
Leonard Wilbur S. W. Peterson
Wm H. Cowan Briant Brown
Geo. W. Carson Geo. Mallowney
Geo. W. Babcock James Guilroy
John D. Putnam John B. Butler


And signed by every member of the Company present.

(The following is the letter referred to in the above communication.  We publish it at the earnest request of the boys of Company F, striking out the last sentence which is very personal upon one of our drafted citizens.  If MR. GORE feels grieved on account of our publishing his letter he will recollect that we hold ourself responsible, as we have his original letter in our possession—ED.)

SODOM, POLK Co., Wis., Jan. 17, 1864

SERGT. E. H. HOOVER,—Dear Sir :—Yours of the 27th of December is received and in answer I will inform you, I was not at all surprised at its contents.  You may remember I told you it was ten chances to one that my coat would be stole, but you would not believe it.  I strongly suspect that it was some of the “Forty Thieves” that got it.  Perhaps old Ali Baba himself.  I feel grateful to God that I am out of the company of such plundering villains and I hope the war will never end ’till they are killed off.  I hope the infernal scoundrel who stole my co at may get a ball through him before many days are over.  I think you are right about reenlisting. —LILLIS has been spreading himself like a turkey Gobler, and has so disgusted everyone that he could not get a man, though enough have volunteered to fill our quota.  “VINCE”³ starts to-day with a sweet crew, whom he bought like “niggers” with the town and county money at $300 a head.  Among them are Orin Weymouth, Eli Tuttle, Mike McHugh, Charles Murgaw, John Rice and a lot of like trash.  It is a great thing for the State but a bad one for the country at large.  I have written twice to the Captain, but have got no answer as yet, and there is a report in SODOM that Henry wrote to his mother that his father was very ill.  As you mention nothing about it I suppose it was only the Gonorrhea or Siphylis.  If he has not gone to H—1 yet, ask him if he got my letters.  Old R———s is busy marrying the Indians who volunteered, so that their squaws can draw the State pay.  I have never been from home since my return, and doubt much if I shall go out ’till I leave the accursed place.  The Sodomites are exulting over their skill in evading the draft by buying “niggers” and Indians, and can now sleep easy again.

Hoping you are well, I remain yours, &c.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . G.W. GORE.

1.  Elias H. Hoover, from Saint Croix Falls, was a sergeant. He also will muster out when his term expires in October 1864.
2.  Sinon P. Lillis, from Saint Croix Falls, was the 1st sergeant of Company F. He will muster out when his term expires in October 1864.
3.  William J. Vincent, from Saint Croix Falls, was the 1st lieutenant of Company F until he resigned in February 1862. He has been servings as the Deputy Provost Marshal for the counties in northwestern Wisconsin. Pembroke V. Wise, who you may remember was recently discharged and returned to Prescott, had followed Vincent as the 1st lieutenant.

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