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1864 March 5: Sherman Defeats Polk at Meridian and Captures Selma

March 6, 2014

The following summary of the week’s war news comes from the March 5, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.  1864 was a leap year, so our week now starts on Wednesday instead of Thursday—still Saturday in 1864.  We have so many articles from the February 27th issues, plus the Edwin Leavings letter of March 5, that this “week” will start on Thursday as usual.  But next week look for the new newspapers articles on March 12.

The second item below refers to the Battle of Meridian, which was fought February 14-20, 1864.  Union General William T. Sherman captured Meridian, Mississippi, inflicting heavy damage to it and to most of central Mississippi as he marched across the state and back again.

The News.

GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant] has advanced from Chattanooga towards Dalton, capturing Tunnell [sic] Hill after a severe fight.  Our loss is said to be light.  Our forces were within three miles of Dalton on the 26th ult., and severe fighting had taken place in which our forces were uniformly victorious.

SHERMAN has captured Selma, Ala., and at latest accounts was advancing on Montgomery, spreading consternation and terror throughout that State.  He defeated Polk [Leonidas Polk] at Meridian, cuting [sic] the rebel army in two and driving it before him.  He quarters his soldiers on the country he passes thro’.  He has probably captured Montgomery ere this.

The Army of the Potomac is said to be on the move, and will make a serious attempt to dislodge Lee [Robert E. Lee] from his position.

The rebel steamer Tuscaloosa has been seized by the British authorities, on the ground that she formerly belonged to the United States ;  had not condemned, and had been brought into an English port in violation of the neutrality laws.

The Congressional committee to whom was referred a bill to prevent military interference in elections, reported that the evil complained of was mostly imaginary, and legislation on the subject was not needed.

The long-heralded Freedom National Convention has met at Louisville, and adjourned after passing a series of radical resolutions.  The Kentucky delegation have called a convention of that State to appoint delegates to the Baltimore convention.

The supreme court have decided that they will not interfere in the Vallandigham [Clement L. Vallandigham] case.  Pugh¹ had better turn his attention to increasing the dime contrabutions [sic] for poor old Clement.

Very near one hundred and ten thousand new recruits have been formally mustered into the service since the 1st of November last, and many more thousands are known to be enlisted, although not mustered in.  For the past few weeks the enlistments have averaged 2,000 a day.  Of the number formally mustered in to the service, New York has furnished about 16,000 Ohio 16,000, Indiana and Illinois 12,000 each, Missouri about 7,000 and Pennsylvania only the same number.

Governor Stone [William M. Stone], of Iowa, has issued a proclamation hrohibiting [sic: prohibiting] persons liable to draft from leaving the State for Idaho.

A dispatch from Arkansas says, that while Col. Wood’s² 1st Arkansas were on the march to Mechanicsville a colored soldier straggled and was captured by the rebels and inhumanly butchered.  Col. Wood captured a rebel Lieutenant and two men, one of whom confessed to complicity in the murder of Col. Wood took them to the very spot where the colored soldier had been killed, and had them blindfolded and shot.

The President has received a dispatch from Conneticut [sic] announcing that the Union Convention had elected delegates to the National Convention, and instructed them to vote for Lincoln.

Returns received at the general land office show that 3,475 acres of public land were taken up in Minnesota in the month of January.

The Democrats in Connecticut have re-nominated Seymour,³ for Gov.  The Union men have re-nominated Gov. Buckingham,4 who beat him so bad last year.

1.  George Ellis Pugh (1822-1876) was a Democratic politician in Ohio, serving in the Ohio House of Representatives (1848-1850), as the 3rd Ohio attorney general (1852-1854), and as a U.S. senator from Ohio (1855-1861). Pugh lost his bid for re-election in 1860 to Salmon P. Chase, who became Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury. He is best known as a member of the counsel for the defense of Clement L. Vallandigham in 1863. During the Civil War, he fell into disfavor with the citizens of Ohio because he was a Democrat and for defending Vallandigham. Pugh ran in 1863 for lieutenant governor and in 1864 for the U.S. House of Representatives, losing both races.
2.  William F. Wood was colonel of the 1st Arkansas Volunteer Infantry (African descent), an organization of African-American troops that was also known as the 46th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops.
3.  Thomas Hart Seymour (1807-1868) was a lawyer and a Democratic politician who served as the 36th governor of Connecticut from 1850 to 1853, and as Minister to Russian from 1853 to 1858. Seymour made two unsuccessful attempts to return to the governorship, in 1860 and 1863. Then in 1864 he was unsuccessful in gaining the Democratic nomination for President, losing to General George B. McClellan.
4.  William Alfred Buckingham (1804-1875), a Republican politician, was the 41st governor of Connecticut from 1858 to 1866, and after the Civil War served as one of Connecticut’s U.S. senators from 1869 until his death in 1875. During the Civil War he was a strong supporter of Lincoln and the war effort.

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