1864 December 17: Sand Creek Massacre; Government Jobs for Disabled Veterans; Rosser’s Raid on New Creek; To Hood: “Go to Nashville or to hell”
Following are the smaller items from the December 17, 1864, newspapers in northwestern Wisconsin, The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.
From The Polk County Press:
— A detachment of the 1st and 3rd Colorado cavalry, under Col. Chivenglen [sic],¹ had a fight with the Indians, near Fort Lyon, and killed between four and five hundred Indians and captured about five hundred ponies and mules.
Chief Black Kettle,² White Antelope and [L]ittle Rope were killed. The Indians were about 9,000 strong.³
Our loss was nine killed and thirty-eight wounded.
The troops are still pursuing the savages.
A Noble Letter From the President.
Mrs. Brisby, a poor widow, was recipiant [sic] of the following letter from President Lincoln. Her sixth son, who was recently wounded, is now lying in hospital.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21.
DEAR MADAM :—I have been shown on files of the War Department, a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachussetts [sic] that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming ; but I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you your only son, the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
— Capt. H. H. Pratt, 7th Minnesota Volunteers, has been discharged from the service by order of the Secretary of War for physical disability.
DESERTERS.—Deputy Pro. Marshal Vincent [William J. Vincent], of Polk Co., passed through this city Sunday, on his way to La Crosse, with a couple of deserters.—Hudson Star and Times.
— The 30th regiment is at Nashville, Tenn. The boys will soon have a chance to smell powder,—what they have been praying for so long.—Ib.
From The Prescott Journal:
The Chief Justiceship.
SALMON PORTLAND CHASE is the Chief Justice of the United States. The new life of the Nation has begun. It recognizes eternal truth, and an undreamed of glory and development awaits our future. The progress of ideas in the four years past is wonderful. It may be summed up in four words—TANEY then ; CHASE now. Then, the dangerous and disloyal system of slavery seemed securely protected by law ; now, outlawed as a traitor, condemned as an assassin, and despised as a thief, it feebly draws its expiring breath.—How fitting, how consenant [sic] with the triumph of ideas and the march of events, that SALMON P. CHASE, a liberty-loving son of the loyal North, now assumes the roles of the Chief Justiceship, and expounds the scriptures of American law.
The Prohibition of Slavery.
In his Message, Mr. LINCOLN speaks of a constitutional amendment, prohibiting Slavery in the United States, as an assured fact, which if not accomplished by this Congress, will assuredly be by the next. In this respect he but reiterates the voice of the people, as expressed in the late election, and in this case the voice of the people is the voice of God. The prohibition of Slavery is not only a moral duty, but the demand of patriotism and common sense. Slavery was the combustible material in the National edifice. Its devotees fired the building, and when the flames are extinguished and the edifice is to be rebuilt, it seems to be the dictate of good policy and sound sense to build it fire proof. We are not working primarily for the negro, but for our own safety, and if the negro is benefitted thereby, we are certainly glad of it.
The Calls of Charity.
At this season of the year, the calls of charity are frequent and pressing. “The poor ye have always with you,” says the Savior, and in nothing is the excellence of christian civilization more manifest than in the charity which alleviates the sorrows and supplies the wants of the poor, the suffering, and the unfortunate.
First of all should the families of the soldiers, if needy, be supplied, Then, the Sanitary, and Christian, and Freedmen’s Aid Commissions appeal to us—all noble charities, to which it is a duty, and should be a pleasure, to contribute freely. But while our hearts are moved by the needs of the suffering, let us not be blind to the wants of the poor at home. There should be an organization in this city to quietly relieve those who, not entirely destitute, are yet struggling ineffectually for those comforts which they actually need.
Let us give liberally of our store, and the remainder will be sweetened by the consciousness of having lightened the burden of the heavy laden, and given strength and courage, where else were sorrow and despair.
SHOULDER STRAPS.—Recent orders of the War Department declare that officers serving in the field are permitted to dispense with their shoulder straps and prescribed insignia of rank on their horse equipments. The marks of rank prescribed to be worn on the shoulder-straps will be worn on the shoulders in place of straps. Officers are permitted to wear overcoats of the same color and shape as those of the enlisted men of their command. No marks of rank will be required on overcoats, hats or forage caps, nor will sashes or epaulettes be required.
INTERESTING TO DISABLED SOLDIERS.—It is asserted that the movement of department clerks at Washington for increase of salaries will be met by a counter movement for employing in all the Government offices, so far as is compatible with the public interest, those who have become disabled in the military and naval service of the country. It is expected to pass Congress in form of a resolution enjoining upon heads of departments to give all such, found competent, a preference.
“COWARDLY SNEAKS.”—The Richmond Enquirer ridicules the idea that the incendiarism at New York was the result of a plot having the sanction of the confederate government, and expresses the hope that Gen. DIX [John A. Dix] will hang all the southern refugees in that city, whom it characterizes as “a set of cowardly sneaks, not above burning hotels.” Those who defend rebellion have no business to shrink from bearing its burdens.
The rebel papers are denouncing the secret sessions of their Congress. The Charleston Mercury says is is [sic] 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 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.
Richmond newspapers of Saturday contain accounts of the recent rebel raids on the the [sic] Baltimore and Ohio railroad. Gen. Rosser [Thomas L. Rosser] is said to have been in command, and it is stated that he captured at New Creek and Piedmont 800 prisoners, 8 cannon, 200 wagons and ambulances, 800 small arms, 1,500 horses, 1,600 head of cattle and a great amount of other property.4
1. John Chivitngton (1821-1894) was a former Methodist minister who served as colonel of the 1st Colorado Volunteers during the Colorado War and the New Mexico Campaigns of the Civil War. In 1862, he was at the Battle of Glorieta Pass and earned high praise for his decisive stroke at Johnson’s Ranch, even though his discovery of the Confederate supply train was accidental it did force the Confederates to retreat since they lost their supplies. Two years later, on November 29, 1864, Chivington gained infamy for leading a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia in a massacre of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho at Sand Creek, about two-thirds of whom were women, children, and infants. The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War conducted an investigation of the massacre, but while they condemned Chivington’s and his soldiers’ conduct in the strongest possible terms, no criminal charges were brought against him or them.
2. Black Kettle (ca. 1803-1868) was a leader of the Southern Cheyenne Indians who was a peacemaker who accepted treaties to protect his people. He survived the Sand Creek Massacre, but was killed four years later at the Battle of Washita River.
3. Most of the warriors were out hunting, which is why the victims were primarily women and children.
4. Rosser’s Raid on New Creek took place on November 28, 1864, near Keyser, West Virginia.