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1864 April 9: Generals and Guerrilas, Cherokees and the Conestoga

April 11, 2014

From the April 9, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.  The last item mentioned took place on March 2, 1864; it was not a named battle.

News Items.

It is understood that Gen. Seymour [Truman Seymour] assumes the full responsibility of the Florida disaster.

Donnelly, a notorious guerrilla of London Co. Va., has been arrested and sent to the Old Capitol Prison.

Out of 1,771 applications, 784 have been selected for commissions in negro regiments by the examining board.

The commission to investigate the conduct of Gen. Rosecrans [William S. Rosecrans] at Chickamauga, fully exonerated him from blame.

The military committee of the House have decided to report in favor of increasing the pay of soldiers to $18 per month and of sergeants to $30.

The Tribune’s despatch says, Gen. W. [sic] S. Ferry¹ has succeeded Gen. Sickles [Daniel E. Sickles] in command of the Lehigh department, with headquarters at Reading [Pennsylvania].

Lieut. Col. Sanderson² has been sent to Fort Warren.  It will be remembered he is accused of betraying plots of Union prisoners to escape from Richmond to the rebel authorities.

The gunboat Conestoga collided with the Gen. Price on the 10th [of March] in the Mississippi, a short distance below Natchez.  The Conestoga, with a cargo of ammunition was sunk.  The boat and cargo are a total loss.

The Ways and Means Committeee [sic] have adopted an amendment to the National Banking bill allowing National Banks to issue $12 and $13 notes until special payments are resumed, when they will be called in.

The Herald’s correspondent from the fleet off Mobile has a rumor that Farragut [David G. Farragut] is to withdraw his fleet, being satisfied the city cannot be taken by water.  Thirty-five or forty of the rebels who mutinied in Fort Morgan have been shot.

Lieut. Col. Sanderson² is under arrest, on a charge preferred by Col. Streight [Abel D. Streight] of disclosing to the rebel authorities plot of the Union prisoners to escape from Libby Prison.  None of his friends have any doubt of his innocence.

The committee on the conduct of the war are investigating the Florida expedition.  The evidence already given, establishes the fact that neither the President nor any one else in Washington is responsible for its disastrous termination.

Reports have reached here that the rebels are preparing for another piratical expedition from some of the small inlets of Chesapeake Bay.  The utmost vigilance is required of the gunboats, and it is believed the next party trying such an experiment cannot fail of falling into our hands.

Vicksburg advices of the 7th state that all boats at that place have been pressed into Government service.  It is reported that movements will be made via the Red, Black, and Washita [sic: Ouachita] rivers to Monroe, thence by land to Shreveport, Louisiana.  Gen. Steele will co-operate from Little Rock.  [Frederick Steele]

Information deemed reliable says Longstreet’s headquarters are at Greenfield, Tenn. [James Longstreet], Buckner’s at Bull Gap [Simon Bolivar Buckner], and the main forces between those two points, and their pickets 8 miles above Morristown.  Gen. Vaughan [sic: John C. Vaughn] is at Rogersville and Gen. Jones³ at Long’s Mills, eight miles below Jonesville, Va.

Full details of Gen. Sherman’s expedition are published in the Herald and Tribune.  Some 150 miles of rebel railroad communication were destroyed.  This was its main object.  The future reoccupation of Mississippi by the rebels in the force is an impossibility.  The subsistence of our force has drawn off more than the surplus above the immediate wants of the home population.  Our entire loss was not over 150.  [William T. Sherman]

The Herald’s Norfolk letter says the late expedition resulted in the destruction of King and Queen’s county court house, where the gallant Dahlgren [Ulrich Dahlgren] was ambushed and murdered.  The defeat of the 5th and 9th Va. cavalry by the expedition has already been stated.  The notorious guerrilla, Bob Colton, was among the killed.  We had none killed, and but half a dozen wounded.

Gen. Fisk,4 commanding the department of St. Louis, has just returned from a tour of inspection in south-west Missouri.  He reports numerous bands of guerrillas have been committing depredations in that section and south-east Kansas, and that some bands are preparing for more extensive operations in the spring.  Energetic measures will be taken to drive out or destroy all such bands and establish law and order throughout this department.

Peace has been ratified with the North Carolina Cherokees, and those recently captured say that they were induced to take up arms under the belief that they were fighting for the U. S. Government.  Two were permitted to go in search of the band and represent the real facts.  Their chief, Lacca-Kaneechee, came in a few days since, with 80 of the tribe, and accepted the amnesty.  Since the return of the Indians to loyalty, the rebels have committed numerous outrages on them.  Some 20 have been thrown into prison.  The rest are concealed in the mountains.

A special to the Tribune says :  The Court of Inquiry appointed to investigate the conduct of Generals McCook [Alexander McDowell McCook], Crittenden [Thomas L. Crittenden] and Negley [James S. Negley] at the battle of Chichamauga, has reported the results of its investigation to the War Department.  They find that Gen. McCook did his entire duty in the battle proper, but made a mistake arising from an error of judgement in going into Chattanooga.  Gen. Crittenden is held entirely blameless, and the Court speaks in commendatory to [sic] terms of his conduct.  His forces had been sent piecemeal to Gen. Thomas [George H. Thomas] and he found himself without a command before leaving for Chattanooga.  Gen. Negley is also exonerated.

We have some particulars of the late expedition up the Ouachita river.  The gunboats Ouachita, Osage, Conestoga, Lexington, Fort Hineman [sic: Hindman] and Cricket composed the expedition.  Trinity was found strongly fortified.  The Ironclad Osage, in advance, was allowed to pass without interruption.  The flag-ship Hineman [sic] followed, when a heavy fire was opened upon her which after a time obliged her to return in a damaged condition with a loss of 2 men killed and 8 wounded.  The flag was then transferred to the Ouachita whose powerful guns silenced the enemy’s battery, which consisted of three 82-pounders.  But little difficulty was experienced in driving the enemy from his position at Harrisonburg.  Our forces burned the town.

Orris S. Ferry, from the Library of Congress

Orris S. Ferry, from the Library of Congress

1.  Orris Sanford Ferry (1823-1875) was a Connecticut lawyer who was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the 12th Regiment of Connecticut Militia during the Mexican War but he did not fight in any battles. He was a Connecticut state senator (1855-1857), the state’s attorney for Fairfield County (1856-1859), a U.S. Representative from Connecticut (1859-1861), and after the War a U.S. Senator from Connecticut (1867-1875). When the Civil War broke out, Ferry was one of the men who formed the Cassius Clay Guard to protect the rebels from burning the U.S. capital. Then in July of 1861 he became colonel of the 5th Connecticut Infantry. In early March 1862, Ferry led his troops across the Potomac River, and attacked the Confederates at Winchester, Virginia, which lead to what became the First Battle of Winchester. He also participated in the Peninsula Campaign, the Valley Campaign, and the Battle of Cedar Mountain. Ferry was well praised for his ability as a leader and as a military strategist and was promoted to brigadier general in March, 1862. He was also the head of the District of Lehigh, from August 20, 1863 until May 1864, and served as the head of the District of Philadelphia from December 16, 1864 until July 15, 1865. Ferry was brevetted a major general of volunteers in recognition of his services during the Peninsula Campaign. He resigned from the military on July 15, 1865.
The image of “Orris S. Ferry” is from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (LOT 4192).

James M. Sanderson, from the Library of Congress

James M. Sanderson, from the Library of Congress

2.  James Monroe Sanderson enlisted in Company S of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry. He was commissioned a 1st lieutenant on September 4, 1861, and was the regimental quartermaster. three days later, on September 7, he was promoted to captain and became an officer in the U.S. Volunteers Commissary of Subsistence Department. On July 15, 1862, he was promoted to major and became an officer in the U.S. Volunteers Aide-de-Camp. On January 1, 1863, Sanderson was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Volunteers Commissary of Subsistence Department. He was dismissed on June 6, 1864, and reinstated to the Commissary of Subsistence Department on May 27, 1865. He was honorably mustered out time on  August 15, 1865.
Colonel Sanderson was confined in Libby Prison, along with Colonel Streight, and escaped in the famous tunnel. But while there, he was in charge of the food for the men in two of the rooms. Knowing something about cooking, and being in the Commissary Department, he helped prepare the food and make it as tasty as possible. But some of the officers accused him of hoarding food or not giving them the best food he could. When that accusation did not lead anywhere, he was accused of issuing a statement sustaining the contention of the Confederate authorities regarding the rations issued the prisoners. He was denounced by a mass-meeting of officers held in the prison who declared that their food was insufficient to sustain life. At some point he and Streight, who by all accounts had opposite personalities, had some sort of altercation. After the escape, and before Sanderson had even made it home, Streight accused him of disclosing the plot of the Union prisoners to escape to the rebel prison’s authorities. You will notice in his record that he was dismissed from service for nearly a year, and during that time a Military Commission was convened. In 1865, Sanderson had printed all of the evidence he collected, called My Record in Rebeldom, as written by Friend and Foe, Comprising the Official Charges and Evidence before the Military Commission in Washington, Brig. Gen’l J. C. Caldwell, Pres’t, Together with the Repost and Finding of the Court, printed for private circulation and future reference by James M. Sanderson (New York: W.E. Sibell, 1865).
Sanderson’s image is also from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (LC-B813- 1515 C [P&P]).
3.  William Edmondson “Grumble” Jones (1824-1864) graduated from West Point and was a career military officer until he resigned in 1857 to become a planter. At the start of the Civil War, Jones joined the 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment as a captain, commanding a company he had raised. On May 9 he was promoted to major in Virginia’s Provisional Army, and later that month both Jones and the regiment were transferred into the Confederate Army. Jones served under Col. J.E.B. Stuart in the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861. The following month he was promoted to the rank of colonel was given command of the 1st Virginia Cavalry. In March 1862 Jones was given command of all cavalry in the Valley District. Jones’s cavalry was distinguished in the Second Bull Run Campaign, and he was wounded in a skirmish at Orange Court House (August 2, 1862). He was promoted to brigadier general on September 19, 1862, and on November 8, was assigned to command the 4th Brigade of Stuart’s Cavalry Division in the Army of Northern Virginia. On June 9, 1863, he fought in the largest cavalry engagement of the war, the Battle of Brandy Station. In October of that year, J.E.B. Stuart’s ongoing dissatisfaction with Jones resulted in Stuart having Jones court-martialed for insulting him. Although Grumble was found guilty, Robert E. Lee intervened, and Jones was transferred to the Trans-Allegheny Department in West Virginia. Jones recruited a brigade of cavalry there and campaigned in eastern Tennessee with General James Longstreet during the winter and spring of 1864. In May, Jones assumed command of the Confederate forces in the Valley Campaigns of 1864. In the Battle of Piedmont (June 5, 1864), Jones was shot and killed while leading a charge.
4.  Clinton Bowen Fisk (1828-1890) was a merchant, miller, and banker in Coldwater, Michigan, until the financial Panic of 1857; he then moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and started working in the insurance business. An abolitionist, Fisk was appointed colonel of the 33rd Missouri Infantry of the Union Army In September, 1862 and was commissioned brigadier general in November after organizing a brigade. He served most of the American Civil War in Missouri and Arkansas, commanding first the District of Southeast Missouri and later the Department of North Missouri. The primary duty of these commands was opposing raids into Missouri by Confederate cavalry and guerrillas. After the War, Fisk was appointed assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau for Kentucky and Tennessee. After authorizing legislation expired for the Freedmen’s Bureau, Fisk returned to his native New York and became successful in banking. In 1874 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him to the Board of Indian Commissioners. Fisk was a leader in the temperance movement and was the Prohibition Party’s candidate for president in 1888. Fisk University is named for him.

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