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1864 August 13: Impressing Horses in Kentucky, Refugees from Georgia, James B. McPherson Eulogy

August 16, 2014

Reports from various Wisconsin regiments appeared in the August 13, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.  We made each report its own post because of their length.  This post is a letter from a Wisconsin soldier in the hospital at Louisville, Kentucky.


Further from Sherman’s Army.

The  Battle  of  Peach  Tree [sic Creek.

Honor Won by Wisconsin.

 A Letter from a Kentucky Hospital.



From the Capital of Arkansas.

Slanders on the 35th Refuted.

From Kentucky.

Impressment of Horses in Louisville—More
Kentucky Loyalty—The Georgia Refugees
Slavery and its Friends—Northern Traitors.

July 30, 1864.          . }

Editors Journal : — Since writing my last, this city has been the theatre of exciting and ridiculous scenes.  Yesterday morning a great sensation was created by the appearance of guards on various corners, who, after dividing into squads of two and four, stationed themselves at the most prominent livery stables.  All sorts of rumors were soon afloat, as to the cause, as horse after horse was led out before the wandering owners.  The questions—”What’s up ?”  “What does all this mean ?” were frequently asked, and it was soon rumored throughout the entire city, doubtless to the satisfaction of rebel sympathizers, that a formidable force of guerrillas was in our immediate neighborhood, and that Col. Farleigh, (commandant of the post,) had given orders to press every horse into service that could be had.  This was readily swallowed by a certain class, and the pavements in front of the churches were not so extensively monopolized by horses and carriages, as is usual on the Sabbath.  Many a “devout worshiper” who left home for the purpose of attending divine service, upon hearing the “news” reversed motion, and his fine span of bays were turned in an opposite direction, and the family barouche, in which were ensconced his wife and daughters, thundered over the roughly paved streets at a fearful speed, while the wonder stretched lips of the sable driver disclosed to the observer fine setts [sic] of ivory.  The prospect of losing his “splendid outfit” chilled his religious ardor.

I must not forget to mention the case of a “very prominent Union man !”  who, before danger drew near, was “willing to sacrifice house, home, servants, (slaves,) goods and chattles, everything, if it would in any way help the cause of the Union, when in the presence of the military, and he may always be found in the “front ranks ;” but somehow since drafting for colored troops began—his “servants” have grown beautifully less—all those remaining at home being unfit for military duty.  Well, yesterday another example of his “watchfulness” was developed.  It was well known that he had a splendid team, and a guard was accordingly sent to allow this patriotic gentleman the great pleasure of making a slight sacrifice for the Union.  They proceeded to the stable, but found not the objects of their search, (though there was evidence that they had been recently in the stalls).  They proceeded to the house, and in reply to interrogatories learned that they were in the country, fifteen miles distant, having been driven there some four or five days previously.  The guard grew suspicious and invited the proprietor to the stables, where, upon looking into the stalls, he saw that which sorely puzzled him, but he happened suddenly to recollect that one of his kinfolk stabled his horses there the night before.  The ruse would doubtless have succeeded, had not a smothered and suspicious noise like the stamping of horses feet, at this juncture arrested the attention of the guard in the direction of the house.  They went to the spot—tore open the shutters—and there in one corner of the parlor stood the horses !  their feet carefully shod with tufts of cotton !  Oh, cotton !  how limitless they empire !  another argument in favor of thy coronation !  Suffice it to say, that the horses were soon upon the street, marching direct for Headquarters while the “good old patriot,” crimsoned with blushes, retired to his room, minus his certificate of Government indebtedness, to reflect upon the pleasures of sacrificing “trifles” to the cause of the Union.  Many other ridiculous scenes were enacted which I will not mention to-day.  The horses in question, are intended to mount the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  Several hundred were demanded, and every loyal man received a certificate of indebtedness from the Government.  Many, and bitter complaints have been made, but no truly loyal man should doubt the justice of the proceeding which has for its object the relief of the gallant 9th Pennsylvania.

Last evening, in company with a friend, I went to the Military Prison to see the factory hands from Roswell, Georgia.  Through the kindness of the Surgeon in charge we were permitted to go through the entire establishment, and if they are a fair specimen of Georgia refugees, I say let the refugees remain in Dixie.  Among the whole crowd I found but two Union persons.  A more degraded, ignorant, scaly set of men, women and children I never saw.  Were they less arrogant and brazen-faced, I should pit them, and in fact went with the intention of pitying the poor, suffering Union refugees, but my sympathy soon sank below zero, and disgust assumed its place.  They uttered loud and bitter curses on General Sherman, using language like the following :

“What did you’ns come down thar for and drive we’uns from home ?”

“That Gen. Sherman wants to steal our slaves, indeed he do ;  and he lit all the factories, and didn’t leave nothing for we’uns nor our kin.  Right smart way to fight, we reckons, drivin’ little childer’ and old folks out’er work and vitals, and toteing [sic] us way up here.”

“General Sherman is a wolf, a bar, a beast, and our Gov’ment will teach him suffing when they finds him.  Orphans cuss him, Gord cusses him, and the hull South cusses him.”

The above is a fair sample of their garulous [sic] loquacity.  The men are to be sent North of the Ohio, and the women and children are being sent to various places in the city to work.

The remains of Major General McPherson [James B. McPherson] are expected in the city to-day.  I am not advised as to whether any military demonstrations common on such occasions will be made or not.  The country will feel deeply the loss of Gen. McPherson, as he was an active and efficient officer.

Thus one after another of our noblest Generals are falling, sacrificed upon the shrine of slavery !  and may the Government never make peace until this curse of man and the cause of the war is utterly exterminated.—Experience tells us that it is a curse, and duty commands us to stop hot until the last vestige has disappeared from the land.  Her course through the land is marked with blood !  We cannot longer tolerate it.  The voices of murdered patriots call out to us from the shores of the eternal world, conjuring us to strike !  strike !  until the monster bends its brow in death !  Has the nation bled thus in vain ?  No !  great as may be the sacrifice, it shall be made to secure its everlasting overthrow !  And there are men at the North who must know the issues, and who still encourage the traitors by their sympathy and opposition to the Government.  A voice comes from the dying soldier at the front—

“Tell the traitors all around you
.That their cruel words we know ;
In every battle kill our soldiers,
.By the help they give the foe.”¹

Editors of Copperhead papers are not so ignorant as not to know the true situation, and why do they thus infamously, murderously oppose the measures of the Administration ?  Would they sacrifice the country for party’s sake ?  Would they barter away the future welfare of America to secure prestige for slavery ?  That they cause incalculable mischief, no one can deny.  They occasion treasonable utterances, would be spared to us ;  but the time is rapidly approaching when their influence against the increasing tide of liberty and war—against the policy of the Government, will be as futile as a straw in the hands of an infant, attempting to stay the resistless tide of Niagara !  The fist has gone forth !  Upon the forehead of slavery the finger of the Almighty has written “thous shalt die !”  The future policy of the Government, chizeled out of the “solid rock” by the hand of awakened justice, is seen, and known to all !  Upon its brow I read in glittering letters ” Emancipation ! ”  Noble statue !  the masterpiece of the 19th century ?—Statue, moved by an inward spirit, which will sweep ponderously, crushingly on, leveling the throne of oppression, rousing from their southern slumber, the angels of light and universal knowledge, by the thunder of its glorious progress, inaugurating the reign of true and lasting peace.  Who will oppose it ?  He that standeth in the way shall be ground to powder !


1.  Lyrics from one of the most popular soldiers songs of the Civil War, “Just Before the Battle, Mother,” words and music by George Frederick Root, 1864.

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