1864 July 23: Early News of the Battle of Tupelo and Other Late News Items
The July 23, 1864, issues of both Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press contained a second news items column.
The first item refers to the Battle of Tupelo, also called the Battle of Harrisburg, which was fought July 14-15, 1864, in northern Mississippi. The supply lines for Sherman’s armies in Georgia had became increasingly vulnerable. The Union’s District commander, Wisconsin’s own Cadwallader C. Washburn, dispatched a force under General A. J. Smith to deal with Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest. The encounter was a Union victory. For more details on this battle, see the August 5, 1864, post on the Battle of Tupelo.
From The Prescott Journal:
— The brave Gen. A. J. Smith met Forrest, Lee [Stephen D. Lee], Walker¹ & Co. at Tupelo, Mississippi, on Wednesday, the 13th, and on that day and the two succeeding, whipped them thoroughly, with a loss to the rebels of over 2,000 men. Our loss was comparatively small, less than 300.
— The rumors which have been current for several days that Sherman [William T. Sherman] has crossed the Chattahoochie [sic], seem to be confirmed. It is said he is approaching Atlanta without serious opposition.
— A report from Harrisburg says Gen. Crook [George R. Crook] has overtaken the Maryland raiders and whipped them, capturing over 300 wagons and many prisoners.
— Between Saturday evening and Monday night last Gen. Sherman shipped to Nashville thirty-three rebel commissioned officers, 1,300 privates and non-commissioned officers, and 141 deserters, making in all 1,474 prisoners.
— There is a rumor that Atlanta is evacuated.
— The Tribune Washington special says we have upward of 62,000 rebel prisoners including 4,000 officers. This, we suppose means the whole number now in our hands.
From The Polk County Press:
Late News Items.
— One of the Boston aldermen has sent six men to the army.
— Robert Lincoln, the President’s son, who will graduate in a few days at Harvard College, will immediately enter the army as a private.
— They are having a great Soldier’s Sanitary Fair at Wheeling, West Virginia. At last accounts the receipts had reached $80,000.
— There are now 9,000 rebel prisoners in the barracks at Rock Island, Ill., and 5,337 at Camp Douglas, Chicago. There are also several hundred at Alton.
— The monster 20-inch army gun now finished at the Fort Pitt Works, is estimated to weigh 115,200 pounds. An immensely strong truck has been made on which to transport the “pocket pistol.”
— President Lincoln has sent a Major General’s commission to the wife of the brave Brigadier General Harker,² who lost his life while gallantly leading his men against the enemy’s works at Kinesaw [sic] Mountain.
— “Fighting Joe Hooker” [Joseph Hooker] has thus far borne the brunt of all the battles in Georgia, and the by-phrase with the entire army is that “if there is any fighting to be done old Joe Hooker is bound to get into it.” The army to a man love him, and their mouths are full of his praise.
— The New York “Times” says : “General Sigel [Franz Sigel] has been relieved, and this it is believed, will end his military career. We presume it will be generally conceded that he is one of the greatest failures that this war has developed. Some one said that Sigel might be used for the capture of Richmond. With his back to the rebel capital and an enemy in his front, he would retreat into the city.”
— Geo. Francis Train, C. Vallandigham [Clement L. Vallandigham], Sam. Medary,³ of the Columbus (Ohio) “Crisis,” and N. C. Claiborne,4 of Missouri, members of the Claib. Jackson5 rebel Legislature, and now leaders of the Fremont [John C. Frémont ] movement in this State, are all delegates to the Chicago Convention.
— The Cleveland “Herald” states that, so far its observation goes, there is not a German Union paper in Ohio that supports Fremont and Cochrane [John Cochrane]. The Toronto Express, the last German paper in Ohio to advocate Fremont, says that “unity and loyalty, under the circumstances, are identical ;” and it therefore runs up the Baltimore banner.
1. None of the many Confederate generals whose surname was Walker seem to have participated in this battle.
2. Brigadier General Charles Garrison Harker (1837-1864) graduated from West Point in 1858. He was shot from his horse and mortally wounded during the failed attack on Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, 1864.
3. Samuel Medary (1801-1864) was a Democratic politician from Ohio who also owned and edited the Ohio Statesman newspaper. He served as the 3rd Territorial Governor of Minnesota (1857-1858) and 6th Territorial Governor of Kansas (1858-1860). Returning to Columbus, Ohio, he established a newspaper he named The Crisis. In 1864 Medary was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy against the government and was arrested. He was released on bonds, but died in Columbus, Ohio, before he could be tried.
4. Nathaniel Charles Claiborne (1822-1889) was a lawyer in Saint Louis, Missouri. He took the Loyalty Oath in 1865.
5. Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson.