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1864 August 27: Barrett, Beardsley, Brainard, Dahlgren, Grant, Lincoln, McClellan, an Empress and a Texas Deck

September 2, 2014

Following are the smaller news items from the August 27, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.


In Hospital, at New Orleans, of Chronic Diarrhea, June 19th, 1864, Cyrus Beardsley, Sergeant in Co. I, 153d Regt., N. Y. Volunteers, aged 34 years and 8 months.

The deceased came to Prescott in 1853, and returned to New York, his native State, in 1860, leaving many friends in this county.  He enlisted in September, 1862, and performed the duties of a soldier and christian [sic] faithfully.

Death loves a shining mark.¹

Finger002  Recruiting is still going on, and the prospect is favorable for filling the quotas in most of the towns in this County.  Let the good work continue.

ADMIRAL DAHLGREN’S DEFENSE OF HIS SON.—Admiral Dahlgren [John A. Dahlgren] has written a touching letter defending the character of his son against the imputations attempted to be cast upon it by the rebel authorities, with regard to alleged brutal orders for his proposed dash into Richmond, as a justification for their barbarous treatment of his body.  After examining the photographic copy of the document alleged by them to have been found on the body of Colonel DAHLGREN [Ulric Dahlgren], he pronounced it a “bare-faced, atrocious forgery.”  He feelingly alludes to to [sic] the attributes of his dead son, and describes in the most touching manner the last letter of that son to him, written just before the gallant Colonel departed upon the expedition which resulted in his death.

— The New York Herald comes out in favor of an armistice—as a war measure—and says if Old Abe [Abraham Lincoln] will act upon this hint it will save the country and secure his election.  The Herald desires it to be distinctly understood that this “armistice” is an original Herald idea.  It says Lincoln has tried “my plan,” and Greeley’s plan [Horace Greeley], and several other plans, but he never will be able to accmplish [sic] anything till he acts upon the Herald’s plan.  In case Old Abe will surrender the whole question to the Herald’s management, that bashful sheet guarantees to finish up the job in short order.

— The New York Herald is a dirty and infamous sheet, but possesses tact and shrewdness.  It wants General McCLELLAN [George B. McClellan] elected President, but it has sense enough to understand that his prospects cannot be promoted by assailing General GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant].  The Copperhead World having proclaimed GRANT the last and worst of military failures, the Herald says :

“Gen. Grant’s achievements are great and tangible.  His victories are counted by the half dozen, and when the people run over in their minds the lists of our great battles they name six of the victories of this illustrious soldier where they name one achieved by any other.  Gen. Grant is the man who has planted the Stars and Stripes on all that part of the rebel territory that we now occupy.  *  *  Those politicians cut their own throats who try to ignore, underrate or sneer down a man who has fought more battles and won more victories than any other general in the army, and who has won his way from a colonelcy of militia to the Lieutenant Generalship of the United States.”

— George Dawson, writing from Washington to his paper, the Albany Evening Journal, says, “the draft in September is a fixed fact.  It will be neither modified nor postponed.  Those subject to the draft might as well prepare for it—by procuring substitutes in advance, or by ‘setting their house in order’ for departure, if they choose to give their person service.”

ATTACK ON A MISSISSIPPI STEAMER.—The steamer Empress on her up trip from New Orleans, was fired into by a battery of six guns on the 10th near Gaines’ Landing, and narrowly escaped destruction.  She was struck while making a distance of 300 yards, about 30 times by cannon shot, disabling her machinery.  The balls ploughed through her in every direction and showers of musket balls fell on every side.  There were about 500 persons on board and great alarm and confusion existed.  The Captain, JOHN MALLOY, who was at his post forward of the texas,² was instantly killed by a cannon ball, which took his head off completely.  His last words were “never surrender the boat.”  The pilots, mates, and engineers heroically kept their posts until finally the steamer was rescued by the tin clad gunboat “No. 3.”  Five persons were killed, including S. E. BRAYNARD,³ Co. I, 16th Wisconsin infantry, and several wounded.

Finger002  If Grant wins a battle, it is in part a triumph over the fundamental law of the Government.  If Sherman [William T. Sherman] conquers Atlanta, an essential portion of the Constitution is thereafter dead.  If our soldiers win a victory, its glory is lost in the consciousness that a portion of its fruit is a marred and battered Constitution.—Milwaukee News.

Men who announce such sentiments as the above desire of course that the rebels should succeed.  If LEE [Robert E. Lee] wins a battle they have no fears for the Constitution.  If HOOD [John Bell Hood] were to drive back and scatter the yet victorious legions of SHERMAN, the News and such as it speaks for would doubtless hail it as a constitutional triumph.  Whatever interferes with the success of rebellion, is a blow at the Constitution, according to the Copperheads.

SOME of the opposition Journals are so violently in favor of peace, that they cannot tolerate the mild and milky belligerency of Gen. McCLELLAN.  Thus the Catskill, (N. Y.) Recorder, an ardent Democratic sheet says :

We know where McClellan stands ;  he is for war !  for “more vigorous prosecution of the war.”  He is for more conscription, for more taxes, for doing Lincoln’s work more thoroughly than Lincoln is doing it !  Let any Democrat put the record thus deliberately made by McClellan with his agency in the infamous arbitrary arrest of the Maryland Legislature, and then say if he has not seen enough to cure him of all desire to see such a man in the Presidential chair.

PENSIONS AND THE HUNDRED DAY MEN.—JOS. H. BARRETT,4 Pension Commissioner at Washington, has published a letter stating that “the same rights in regard to pensions are granted to those called into the service for one hundred days, (and to their widows or dependent relatives, in case of death,) as to those who have enlisted for the term of three years.  This law, under which all pensions based on service in the present war are allowed, is unequivocal in its language, making no distinction between those engaging for a longer or a shorter period.”

CLOTHING FOR THREE MONTHS’ MEN.—The War Department has decided that the allowance for clothing for three months’ men who have served less than that time shall be fixed for the full time of service.  The same rule applies to six and nine months’ men.  The 100 day men will be treated in this respect the same as the three months’ troops.

BRIDGED.—The great railroad bridge over the Chattahoochee river which the rebels destroyed, was re-built by Gen. Sherman, and trains passed over it on Friday.  Cars now run to within three miles of Atlanta.

1.  From Edward Young’s poem “The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality”—better known simply as Night-Thoughts—was published in nine parts between 1742 and 1745. This quotation is from Night V, line 1011.
2.  The texas deck gets its name from the steamboat tradition of naming the highest deck after the largest state of the union in the 19th century (Texas). On a riverboat, that is the flat deck immediately behind the pilot house.
3.  In the published Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, he is listed as Lu E. Brainard, from Mauston (Wis.).  He enlisted November 26, 1862, and was “killed August 10, 1864, Miss. River, by guerrillas.” Capital “L” and capital “S” in 19th century handwriting are often hard to distinguish.
4.  Joseph Hartwell Barrett (1824-1910) was President Lincoln’s friend and biographer (Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1864; Abraham Lincoln and His Presidency, 1904). He was admitted to the Vermont bar in 1851 and served two years as secretary of the Vermont Senate.  By 1860, Barrett was the editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, and was a member of the Republican political machine in Ohio. He served as commissioner of Pensions under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson.

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