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1865 April 1: Battle of Monroe Crossroads and Other News

April 7, 2015

Following are the small items of news from The Polk County Journal of April 1, 1865.  The Prescott Journal did not publish an issue on April 1 due to a lack of newsprint paper.

The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads took place on March 10, 1865, near Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Following the destruction of Columbia, South Carolina (February 17, 1865), Union General William T. Sherman divided his forces to make it appear that Union forces were advancing to Charlotte, North Carolina.  General Judson Kilpatrick, however, led most of the troops toward Fayetteville.  Learning that Confederate General Wade Hampton’s cavalry was approaching from his rear, Kilpatrick positioned his troops to capture Hampton, but bad roads and weather prevented Kilpatrick from succeeding.  On the morning of March 10, General Hampton decided to launch a surprise attack at daylight.   Kilpatrick’s headquarters was taken, but Kilpatrick and his cavalrymen escaped and Kilpatrick led a counter assault.  The Confederates were unprepared for the quick counterattack.   A Union artillery officer retook the forgotten artillery and fired on the Confederates. The Confederates charged and disabled the cannons but at great cost.  Federal forces then repelled the Confederate attacks and retook the cannons.  Hampton, concerned that the Union infantry would soon arrive, ordered the Confederate cavalry to withdraw.  Both the Union and Confederate forces claimed victory.  The battle opened the road to Fayetteville for the Confederates, and the battle prevented Union troops from progressing toward Fayetteville on March 10.  More details on the battle, see the North Carolina History Project’s encyclopedia article on The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads.

Capture of Fayetteville.

(Official Bulletin.)

War Department, }
Washington, March 16. }
City Point, March 16, 1865. }

Hon. C. A. Dana [Charles A. Dana], Ass’t Secretary of War.

I am just in receipt of a letter from Gen. Sherman, dated the 12th, from Fayetteville.  He describes his army as in fine health and spirits, having met with no serious opposition.  Hardee keeps in his front, at a respectable distance.  [William T. Sherman, William J. Hardee]

At Columbia he destroyed the arsenals, railroad establishments and forty-three cannon.

At Cherawa [sic] he found much machinery and war materal [sic], including twenty-five cannon, and 3,600 barrels of gunpowder.

In Fayetteville he found twenty pieces of artillery and much other material.

He says nothing about Kilpatrick’s defeat by Hampton, but the officer who brought the letter says that before daylight on the 10th, Hampton got two Brigades in the rear of Kilpatrick’s headquarters, and surprised and captured all the staff but two officers.  Kilpatrick escaped, formed his men, and drove the enemy with great loss, re-capturing about all he had lost.  Hampton lost eighty-six left dead on the field.

(Signed)     U. S. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant],
Lieut. General.

NEW YORK, March 27.—The Tribune’s Washington special says the city has been full of rumors that the whole right wing of Lee’s army [Robert E. Lee] has surrendered, but the War Department has no such information.

CITY POINT, March 27.

Hon. E. M. Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton], Sec. of War.

I am in receipt of Sherman’s report of operations from the time he left Fayetteville, up to the 22d inst.  It shows he had fighting, resulting in very heavy loss to the enemy in killed and wounded, and over two thousand prisoners in our hands.  His loss, he says will be couered [sic] by 2,500 men since he left Savannah.  Many of them are slightly wounded.

U. S. Grant.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

QUOTA FULL.—T. Y. McCOURT¹ enlisted and was sworn in on Wednesday, and thus the quota of Osceola is full, as the town has furnished the full number called for by Pro. Mar. COOPER [Benjamin F. Cooper].

MUSTERED.—The volunteers who enlisted for Osceola all passed, and were sworn into the service.  All into Co. D, 2d Wis. Cavalry, except JOSEPH COREY and ANDREW FRE [sic], who chose the 4th Cavalry.²

MAKING AN EFFORT.—We learn that the citizens of St. Croix Falls, are making every effort in their power to raise the balance of their quota, and with flatering [sic] prospects of success.  The town is behind only four men.

NO COURT.—Owing to the fact that our Sheriff has enlisted, and gone to the war, and to the fact that there is no Under-sheriff, the Clerk of Court could not legally draw a jury, and thus we are obliged to go without our regular Jury term of Court.  We think Polk County can stand it however.

INDIANS CANNOT ENLIST.—Colonel Averhill [sic]³ received a telegram from the War Department yesterday stating that Indians cannot be received as volunteers.  He had previously been notified they would not be taken as substitutes.—St. Paul Press, 28th.

— Gen. Pope has restored civil law in Missouri, at the request of the governor of the State.  [John Pope]

ENLISTED.—Our friend George W. Murdock, has enlisted in the 15th Wisconsin Regiment, and has left to join Sherman’s army.  George has had experience in the army,4 and we bespeak a pleasant term of service for him.—Taylor’s Falls Reporter.

NEW YORK, March 27.—The Tribune’s Washington special says the city has been full of rumors that the whole right wing of Lee’s army [Robert E. Lee] has surrendered, but the War Department has no such information.

— The rebel Gen. Whitney’s funeral took place at Trinity Church, New York, last week.  It will be remembered that he died while a prisoner in our hands.  If a Union General dies in the South he is buried like a dog.

— Last but not least we have it, that General Sheridan, in his late raid around Richmond, picked up and brought safely in, over 3000 able-bodied negroes.  He also brought in 300 prisoners of war.  His entire loss as officially given is 50 men and two officers.  [Philip H. Sheridan]

1.  T. Y. McCourt does not seem to have served in the Civil War. The only two McCourts in Wisconsin regiments were both named John.
2.  Joseph S. Corey and Andrew Fee, both from Osceola, both enlisted March 16, 1865, in Company K of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry.
3.  John Thomas Averill (1825-1889) was colonel of the 6th Minnesota Infantry. Originally from Maine, he settled in Lake City, Minnesota, in 1857, where he was in the mercantile and grain business. Murdock served in the Minnesota Senate (1858-60). In November 1864 he was assigned as Provost Marshal General for Minnesota. After the War, he moved to Saint Paul (Minn.) where he was in the paper and stationery business and served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1871-75).
4.  George W. Murdock, from Taylor’s Falls, Minn., enlisted as a private in the Minnesota Mounted Rangers on February 12, 1863, and was promoted to hospital steward. He is not listed in the official roster of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry, perhaps arriving too late to be mustered in before the War ended.

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