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1864 December 17: St. Albans Raid and Other News of the Week

December 17, 2014

Following is the weekly summary of war news from The Polk County Press of December 17, 1864, with a very few items of news from The Prescott Journal of the same date.

Union General William T. Sherman will not capture Savannah, Georgia, until December 21.

Both newspapers mention the St. Albans Raid, which was the northernmost land action of the Civil War.  It was a controversial raid from Canada by Confederate soldiers meant to rob banks in retaliation for the Union Army burning Southern cities and to force the Union Army to divert troops to defend their northern border.  It took place in St. Albans, Vermont, on October 19, 1864.

The Battle of Nashville took place on December 15 and 15, 1864, which explains why this week’s newspapers don’t really know anything yet, just that Union General George H. Thomas and Confederate General John Bell Hood were in place.

From The Prescott Journal:

The News.

—The report is that SHERMAN has captured Savanah [sic], after a sharp battle, and taken the whole rebel force prisoners.

—The St. Albans raiders have been released by the Canada authority for want of jurisdiction.  Much indignation is felt at this act, especially by the frontier States.  Gen. DIX has issued an order to the military to go into Canada, if necessary, to capture such marauders, wherever found, and hold them.  [John A. Dix]

—There is nothing of importance from THOMAS and HOOD.

From The Polk County Press:

News Summary.

—The Canadian authorities having discharged the St. Albans’ Raiders, Gen. Dix has ordered the military in future to pursue such marauders into Canada.

— Mr. Washbarne M. C., who returned lately from Grant[‘]s Headquarters states, that Grant is confident of the whole situation, and that the late movement by Warren was a perfect success, resulting in great damage to the Weldon R. R., and the ruin of the new crossing from the Weldon to the Danville R. R.  [Ulysses S. Grant, Gouverneur K. Warren]

— There is nothing later from Nashville.  At last accounts, the armies of Hood and Thomas were confronting each other at that place, but there has been no fighting since the battle near Franklin.

— Gold has been falling a little for a few days, and is quoted at 234.

— The “Times” Washington special says Rosecrans has been relieved of his command, and also Gen. Steele.  [William S. Rosecrans, Frederick Steele]

— The rebel papers are denouncing the secret sessions of their Congress. The Charleston “Murcury” [sic] says it is high time that the people and the press should “lift a voice of earnest condemnation of this new system of smothering public opinion” which it adds “even the Yankees do not practice.”  The same paper in speaking of JEFF DAVIS sanction of emancipation by putting in slaves in the public service, to be subsequently freed cries out :  “Whither have fled the ‘constitutional scruples’ once so characteristic of our chief magistrate ?”  [Jefferson Davis]

The “Mercury” is nearly as unhappy as it used to be under the Government of the Union.

— The London papers of November 18 announce the arrival of Gen. Tom Thumb and family in that city.  They are holding daily “levees” in a hotel near St. James’ Palace.  The “Star” says :  “The baby is a pretty little girl with light silken hair and a vivacious disposition.  She will be a year old next month ;  and it may interest our readers to know that she weighs precisely seven pounds and three-quarters.”

— Governor Vance, in his recent message to the North Carolina Legislature, confirms the reports that the laws cannot be enforced in that State, owing to the existence of a band of desperadoes, consisting of rebel deserters.  They make raids upon the mountain frontier, and murder, rob and destroy with savage cruelty.  [Zebulon B. Vance]

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