1864 April 2: Fort DeRussy Captured, and Other War News
Following is the weekly summary of war news from the April 2, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.
We condense the weekly telegraphic despatches, as they appear in the St. Paul Pioneer and Press, giving a summary of each day’s report, commencing each weekly summary where we left off the week before, and thus giving our readers a continuous chain of the most important news.
Sunday, March 20th.
Rumors in adundance [sic] of unusual activity in the rebel army of the Po[t]mac. An advance up their old route through the Shenandoah valley is anticipated by our Generals. It is tho’t that Lee [Robert E. Lee] will endeavor to strike before GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant] and his reinforcements arrive to oppose him.
— Prentice, of the Louisville Jour., thinks there is some foundation for the rumors of a conspiricy [sic] in Kentucky in favor of the rebels. There is said to be an organized movement on foot to squelch it.
— There is increased activity reported in the Gulf Department, and it is rumored that Western Louisiana and Southern Arkansas are to be totally cleared of rebel troops. General BANKS [Nathaniel P. Banks] has ordered an election to be held April 6th, to elect delegates to a constitutional Convention.
— The Naval Committee of the House has entirely exonerated the Navy Department from Senator Hale’s¹ charges of mismanagement.
— All of the veteran regiments of Ohio belonging to the Department of the South have been ordered to the Army of the Potomac, by Grant.
— Arkansas has formally adopted its new free state constitution by 5,000 more votes than were required by the President’s proclamation.
Tuesday, March 27th — no report Monday.
— A dispatch to the N. Y. World, states by authority, that Gen. Grant will take command in person of the Army of the Potomac.
— It is stated that hereafter rebel deserters will be employed to work on fortifications, forts, etc.
— A plot for the capture of President Lincoln by the rebels has been brought to light. [Abraham Lincoln]
— Thirty-two naval vessels are now ready for sea but awaiting crews. The transfer of sailors from the army will, it is supposed supply the demand.
— Letters from the army of the Potomac say that the rebel raid excitement had subsided. Stuart [J.E.B. Stuart] tried the Fredericksburg, Raccoon and Morton’s fords, drove in our pickets, but was repulsed and severely punished.
— Deserters say that Admiral Farragut [David G. Farragut] has captured Fort Gaines, with a garrison of 1,200 men. Not reliable.
— The rebel army of West Virginia is said to be preparing for an unknown movement.
— Gen. Hurlbut [Stephen Hurlbut] has given the city authorities of Memphis to understand that they must clean up that city.
— Kentucky is said to be again threatened with a rebel raid.
— The Wilmington (N. C.) Journal of the 1st says that Wilmington is full of Yankee spies and incendiaries, two fires, etc.
— Deserters continue to come into the lines of the Potomac army from 8 to 12 per day.
— Gen. Grant has ordered that the recruiting for cavalry regiments shall cease.
— A special despatch to the Herald says there is no probability that any sale of the surplus gold in the treasury will be made, until at least after the Spring campaign shall have been ascertained.
Thursday, March 24th.
— It is stated that only about one in twenty of the blockade runners in twenty are captured. The rebels get most of their foreign supplies through this channel.
— The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Brig. Gen. Henry H. Sibley, of Minnesota.
— General Grant does not seem to be in favor of scattering our forces all over the continent, in the shape of expeditions up unheard of rivers to unheard of towns for unimportant purposes. He has accordingly put an end to the embryo expeditions of Gens. Burnside [Ambrose E. Burnside] and Hancock [Winfield S. Hancock], and ordered them to send the men they have recruited to the Army of the Potomac.
— The Richmond Examiner claims that an engine has passed over the road recently destroyed by Sherman [William T. Sherman]. This is either false or else the reported damages were exaggerated.
Friday, March 25th.
— An arrival of 900 prisoners at Annapolis gives additional proof of the horrible manner in which they have been treated in Richmond.
— An engagement took place on the 10th two miles east of Fort Pillow, between 60 federals and 100 guerrillas, in which the enemy were routed with a loss of 60 killed and wounded.
—Admiral Dahlgren has again returned from Fortress Monroe without the body of his son [Ulrich Dahlgren]. The rebel authorities say they cannot find it.
— Fort Derousy [sic],² a formidable rebel work on Red River, was captured by our forces on the 15th ult., after a brilliant assault. It contained then guns of large calibre, some smalls arms and a large quantity of ammunition. Three hundred and twenty five prisoners were captured. The capture of this post, it is presumed, opens the Red River to our gunboats and transports. It is said there are several rebel iron clads up the rive, but as Admiral Porter [David D. Porter] has at his command some twenty iron clads and about two hundred guns, they will probably be destroyed. The ultimate object of the expedition is not yet developed.
— Gen. Grant has commenced the reorganization of the Army of the Potomac by relieving aid and ordering to other Departments, Generals Pleasanton [sic: Alfred Pleasonton], Sykes [George Sykes], Newton [John Newton], French [William H. French] and Meredith. he has also issued a stringant [sic] order against the use of intoxicating liquors by persons employed in the military railroad service. The erection of stockades along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad is considered an indication that the overland route to Richmond is not to be abandoned.
— The Committee on the Conduct of the War find nothing against Gen. Meade [George G. Meade].
— The N.Y. World’s correspondent from Baltimore gives a detailed statement of the rebel forces of each department, the aggregate of disciplined troops being 275,000.
— The Pennsylvania Democratic State Convention have gone in for McClellan [George B. McClellan].
1. John Parker Hale (1806-1873) served in the U. S. House of Representatives from New Hampshire (1843-1845) and in the U. S. Senate (1847-1853 and 1855-1865). He was one of the first senators to make a stand against slavery. Hale’s daughter Lucy Lambert Hale was engaged in 1865 to John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.
2. Fort DeRussy was a Confederate stronghold on the lower Red River near Marksville, Louisiana. The fort was named for Colonel Lewis G. DeRussy, the oldest West Point graduate to serve in the Confederate Army. The fort yielded to the Union Army, led by General A. J. Smith, on March 14, 1864.