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1864 December 10: A Sword for General Joseph Bailey

December 13, 2014

From the December 10, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

A Sword for Gen. Bailey.

It will be remembered that last summer, during the unfortunate Red river campaign, the vessels of the Mississippi squadron were caught by the low water above the falls at Alexandria, and for a time it was feared they would be lost.

By the skill and energy of Col. BAILEY [Joseph Bailey], of the 4th Wisconsin—Acting Engineer of the 19th Army Corps—in planning and superintending the construction of a dam across the river, however, the vessels of the squadron were all released.  For this achievement, Admiral PORTER [David D. Porter] expressed the warmest thanks and praise in his official reports, and Col. BAILEY was breveted a Brigadier General and in that capacity rendered efficient service in the recent operations in Mobile bay.  Our correspondent with the Mississippi squadron wrote at the time that the officers of the Navy purposed uniting in some testimonial of their gratitude to Col. BAILEY for what he had done and appreciation of the man and his services.

This testimonial has taken the form of an elegant and costly sword, with a rich scabbard and belt, from the celebrated firm of TIFFANY & Co., New York. The scabbard of the sword bears the following inscription :

“Presented to Brevet Brigadier General Joseph Bailey, U. S. Volunteers, by Read Admiral David D. Porter, commanding Mississippi Squadron, as a mark of respect for his indomitable perseverance, energy and skill, in constructing a dam across Red river, enabling the gunboats under his command to float out in safety.”

The letter of Admiral PORTER, offering the sword, was dated at Georgetown, D. C., Sept. 18th, and expressed the warmest pleasure in thus acknowledging the service performed by Gen. BAILEY, and his readiness at all times to give due credit to the army for any service rendered the navy.

Gen. BAILEY’S reply, dated “Headquarters, District of West Florida, Barrancas, October 23d,” tenders his heartfelt thanks for the gift, modestly attributes much of the success on Red River to the good will with which Army and Navy joined hands to save the Mississippi Squadron ;  expresses his sense of the importance of the Army and Navy working in unison and good feeling ;  his desire to do all in his power to aid in crushing this rebellion ;  his high regard for the officers of the Mississippi Squrdron [sic], and his trust never to bring dishonor on the sword of which he is the recipient.

As circumstances prevented the personal presentation, and acceptance of the gift, Gen. BAILEY suggested that it should be sent to Gov. LEWIS [James T. Lewis], to await his orders.  It has arrived here, and may for the present be seen at the Executive office.  Its bestowal is a compliment of high value, and it affords pleasing evidence of the entente cordiale which should always exist between those who fight for the Union, whether on land or water.—State Journal.

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