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25 February 1865: Confederate Treasury Fraud, Great Activity in Mobile, Indian Troubles in Wyoming

February 27, 2015

The following summary of national news related to the war comes from The Prescott Journal of February 25, 1865.

News Items.

Enormous frauds have been found in the rebel Treasury Department.  The Treasurer and stated the whole indebtedness of the Confederacy at $114,000,000 ;  but accusations of cash liabilities to the amount of $400,000,000, have been found to exist.

The Commercial’s Washington special says, officers from the fleet off Mobile report great activity in the removal of torpedoes and other obstructions in the harbor.   It was confidently expected that the rebels would evacuate the city.  The fleet is working its way up the harbor.

Private advises from Richmond represent matters there as in a very bad way for the rebels and the difficulty of supplying the people and the army with half rations is daily becoming almost insurmountable, and the evacuation of Richmond is becoming more imminent and probable.

Richmond papers state that a large Yankee force had landed at Smithfield, on the North Carolina coast and have brought locomotives with them, evidently intending to use the railroads to facilitate their military operations after they shall have captured Wilmington.

The World’s Washington correspondent reiterates a former statement that the rebels would soon evacuate Richmond and the Atlantic coast and fall back to the mountains interior.  He now says Lee [Robert E. Lee] and Beauregard [P. G. T. Beauregard] will command two grand armies, and that preparations are making for an overwhelming attack on Sherman [William T. Sherman].

The Commercial’s Newbern, North Carolina, correspondent says that an expedition to fitting out there which in all probability will make an advance upon Goldsboro.  If captured it will give us all of southeastern North Carolina.  Lt. Ware, of Gen. Palmer’s staff, was accidentally shot by Capt. Horn, of the 12th N. Y.  [John M. Palmer]

The telegraph is again working to Denver.  The Indians, in small bands, are at different points all along the road from Fort Kearney westward.  The main body has gone up the North Platte.  Col. Collins,¹ with his command had a series of engagements with the Indians between Julesburg and Laramie, which lasted for six days.  The Indians are estimated to number 2,000, while our soldiers number about 200, not sufficient to follow and chastize the savages.

The Herald’s dispatch from Sheridan’s headquarters show that though everything remains comparatively quiet in the Shenandoah valley, the strictest vigilance is still exercised by the National forces there, and the country is frequently patroled by scouting and reconnoitering parties.  The regular rebel troops are stationed at different points in the upper put of the Valley, but the guerrillas are prowling around in some of the counties between the Blue Ridge and Alleghany mountains.  [Philip H. Sheridan]

It appears that the rebels have lingering in their prisons many Southern Union men, civilians charged with Union proclivities.—These men have no friends who, under the existing state of affairs in the South, dare intercede for them, and the consequence is they are made to suffer as badly as our soldier prisoners.  It is said our Government has a number of civilian prisoners.  Efforts are making to get up an exchange which will release these sufferers.  It will require, however, much effort in their behalf, and it is hoped all good citizens will aid the undertaking.

The Herald’s Washington special says “officers from the forces operating against Mobile, who have arrived here, confirm the reported evacuation of that place.  Hundreds of deserters have come off to the army and to the fleet and unanimously agree in the statement, that nearly all the rebel troops have left that place, and that the city will be surrendered whenever a demand for it shall be made, even if the force by which it is backed up shall not be a very large one.  The cotton has all been removed from the city into the interior.  Our fleet are busily engaged in removing obstructions, and expect to be able to reach the city by the 1st of March.”

In a prize case before the United States District Court, it was charged in a libel that a certain vessel was forfeited by reason of having entered the port of Norfolk in violation of the regulations prescribed by the secretary of the Treasury and the several intercourse proclamations of the President.  The cargo was landed December 1863, and the seizure of the vessel was not made until the following June. During the interval the vessel made three or four innocent voyages.  The turning point in the case was the question whether the vessel, made guilty by the language of the admiralty law, by the violation above mentioned, was purged by the innocence of the subsequent voyages, coupled with the delay of the Government in making the seizure.  The court held the forfeiture as complete at the moment the cause of it arose, and this cause is the act violating the law.  Sentence of condemnation was accordingly pronounced.

The Richmond Examiner of the 10th inst., in an article on Southern railroad connections, endeavors to show how Lee’s army may be supplied from North Carolina and Georgia without the assistance of the Weldon road.

The Herald’s Paris correspondence states that two formidable naval rams, Sphynx and Cheops, built at Bordeaux some time ago, have been fitted out in the most complete manner for our Southern rebels, with the heaviest class of guns and full crews, and under the new names of Stonewall and Rapidan, were to sail in the beginning of the month from a little island off the coast of France for this port.  It was believed they were of so staunch a character that they would experience no difficulty in passing all the batteries in our harbor and coming right up to the city, which it is reported to be designed by their commanders to lav under heavy contribution or to destroy.  This scheme is said to have been concocted and assisted in its prosecution under a secret treaty between the Emperor Napoleon and the Jeff. Davis’ government.  [Jefferson Davis]

Richmond papers of the 9th contain severe denunciations upon the course of Jeff. Davis in advising his Cabinet that they should not resign in deference to the expressed desire of the rebel Congress, as they (the Cabinet) are responsible only to him, and not to Congress or the people.  The papers demand a reform on the part of the Executive, claiming that although their armies were numerous and valiant enough to defy subjugation, and the material resources of the country ample for the supply of the army and the people, yet the first have been scattered and the latter surrendered, until the armies in the field are insufficient to breast the invasion, and supplies are growing more limited daily.—The capture of Savannah is claimed as a disgrace to the Confederacy, and there is a painful total want of confidence in the administration of affairs in Richmond.  In the rebel Congress, on the 6th, Wigfall and Hayne [sic]² made a furious onslaught on Davis.  [Louis T. Wigfall]

1.  Lieutenant Colonel William Oliver Collins (1809-1880), for whom Fort Collins, Colorado, was named, was the the able and popular commander of the 11th Ohio Cavalry, headquartered at Fort Laramie. He was the son of Oliver and Mary Chapin Collins, born in Somers, Connecticut, August 23, 1809. He attended Wilbraham Academy and graduated from Amherst College in the class of 1833. He studied law in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was admitted to the bar in 1835, practicing law in Hillsboro, Ohio, before the Civil War, and was a member of the Ohio Senate (1860-1862). After the War he was a prosecuting attorney in Highland County, Ohio, and later president of the Cincinnati and Hillsboro Railroad. He died in Hillsboro, Ohio on October 26, 1880.
2.  Landon Carter Haynes (1816-1875)represented Tennessee in the Confederate States Senate (1862-1865). As a senator, he sought higher pay for troops, and introduced legislation that would allow pay for Confederate prisoners of war to be sent to their families. He supported conscription, but sought exemptions for members of state militias and overseers of plantations with twenty or more slaves. He supported the continued suspension of habeas corpus, but called for an end to martial law. Haynes favored fiscal conservatism, and called for the sale of cotton and tobacco to buy back Confederate-issued bank notes.
Prior to the Civil War, he served several terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives, including one term as Speaker (1849-1851). In the early 1840s, Haynes worked as editor of the Jonesborough-based newspaper, Tennessee Sentinel, garnering regional fame for his frequent clashes with rival editor, William G. “Parson” Brownlow. After the Civil War, Haynes moved to Memphis, was granted amnesty by Andrew Johnson, and practiced law.

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