1865 May 6: Results of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, Lincoln’s Funeral Train in Philadelphia, Washburn Outlaws Rebels in Tennessee, Jeff Davis Still a Fugitive
Following are the smaller items from both of our newspapers of May 6, 1865.
From The Polk County Press:
— Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] has returned to Washington with the fresh laurels won in the field where Sherman [William T. Sherman] had failed, and is taking measures to send 400,000 of our war scarred veterans to their homes, leaving, perhaps, 100,000 for garrison duty in the South, and to put down guerrillas
— Henry Heyneman who, at the commencement of the rebellion, made a vow that when our armies captured Richmond he would walk the whole distance from Boston to Washington, and carry an American flag, will start on his lengthy pedestrian tour on Monday next, at 8 o’clock. A beautiful silk flag has been presented to him by Mayor Lincoln, in behalf of the city.
— About the most impertinent bit gossip that has lately crept into some of the journals alleged that the assassin Booth [John Wilkes Booth] was engaged to a daughter of the Hon. John P. Hale. The National Republican says: “There is not slightest truth in the statement. Booth attempted to force his attentions upon Miss Hale, but she always manifested decided aversion to the handsome villain.
— By the terms of the surrender of Lee [Robert E. Lee] and Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston], all the rebel troods [sic] in Virginis North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, have laid down their arms. The guerrilla bands under Mosby in Virginia and Morgan’s freebooters in Tennessee and Kentucky have followed the example. Dick Taylor [Richard Taylor], whose command appears to embrace all the country between the Chattahoochie [sic] and Mississippi, is already treating for surrender on the same terms.
— A proposition has been started that Ford’s Theater in Washington, the scene of the assassination of President Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln], should be purchased, the building removed, and a monument erected on the spot to tell to future generations that there felt the first martyr of the American Republic to the cause of universal freedom. The project is well received and heartily commended by the press and people. An amount sufficient to purchase the spot and erect the monument would, without doubt, be readily subscribed by the people, if the measure should be placed in the hands of respocible [sic] parties.
BOOTH’S BODY.—Very great curiosity prevails as to the disposition to be made of the remains of Booth, but it seems that the authorities are not inclined to give the wrenched carcass the honor of meeting public gaze, and it will probably be deposited in whatever place promises the most utter obscurity. A photographic view of the body was taken before it was removed from the monitor. It was placed in an ordinary grey army blanket, in which it was sewed up. A plain box, measuring six feet by two, had been previously made in a joiner’s shop for the remains, but it was not used.
— The rebel ram Columbia, which was found hard and fast aground, up a creek at Charleston, is described by the naval officers as a well-equipped and superior vessel, which will be worth half a million of dollars, if she can be got off. Three other ironclads, the Palmetto State, Chicora and Charleston, lying in the stream, were blown up before the evacuation.
— “THE BLACK REPUBLICAN” is the significant title of a newspaper established in New Orleans by colored men. It is edited, the type set, and the editions worked off by men who probably were slaves a year or two ago.
— The end of the war many be dated from Johnston’s surrender. There will be yet some confusion, some fighting with detached bands of guerrillas and robbers, but scarcely enough to make a sensation paragraph in a newspaper.
— The Herald’s Washington special says Gen. Grant, immediately on his return to Washington, starts upon making arrangements for the contemplated decrease for the armies.— It is thought the army will soon be reduced 400,000 men.
— Two women on the train from Skowhegan, Me., a day or two since, expressed themselves in an offensive manner, exulting over the murder of the President. On their arrival in Augusta, they were quietly delivered over to Col. Littler, at the request of the conductor, and lodged in jail.
— Testimony from various sources is printed to show that President Johnson [Andrew Johnson] has never been a drinking man, and that he was overcome on inauguration day by a small glass of brandy, taken by the advice of a friend, to give him strength for the duties of the day, he having been sick in bed for a day or two previous.
— The “Times’ ” Washington special says in the further progress of the p[r]eliminary examination to the assassin conspiracy arrests are constantly being made, and thus far the whole number taken into custody will reach nearly 35. The trial of these conspirators will be commenced, however, before a military commission. If upon this hearing the same facts are brought out that have been disclosed in the preliminary examination the magnitude of the plot will astonish the whole country.
— The term granted Johnshn [sic: Johnston] embrace in the surrender four armies of the military district of the west, but excluding the fifth, that of Dick Taylor’s, lying west of the Chattahoogchie [sic] river. Among the Generals surrendered is Beauregard [P.G.T. Beauregard]. The principle among the Lieut. Generals is Hardee [William J. Hardee]. Bragg [Braxton Bragg], lately relieved of command was not surrendered.—Wade Hampton refused to be surrendered and is reported to have been shot by Johnson in an altercation,¹ but a more trustworthy report is that he fled in company with Davis [Jefferson Davis].—The number actually surrendered is 27,400 although more names are given. All the militia from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and the Gulf States are included.
— The Herald’s Mobile correspondent says our forses [sic] captured there 215 heavy guns, 10,000 stand of arms, and 30,000 bales of cotton, besides immense quantities of corn and other grains, and it is estimated that 100,000 bales of cotton and 75,000 bbls. of rosin are hidden in the swomps [sic] along the Alabama River most of which is within reach of our forces. Over 10,000 stragglers from the rebel army have given themselves up, and guerila [sic] bands infest the neighborhood of our lines, and a party of them went to the battle house on the night of the 14th, intending to assassinate Gen. Granger [Gordon Granger], who fortunately was not there.
— The Lincoln Monument Association has been officially organized for donations to be made during the second week in May. Every loyal man, woman and child will contribute toward this sacred fund.
From The Prescott Journal:
The News of the week is important and cheering. J. Wilkes Booth, the assassin of the President, has been caught and killed. He was taken about sixty miles from Washington, together with an accomplice. In a barn. He refused to surrender, and was shot. He lived about two hours after he was shot, and died amid terrible suffering cursing his country. He thus met a fitting fate was hunted down and killed like a dog, and buried in an unknown grave. Several others implicated in the conspiracy have been arrested, and it is probable that the whole plot will be brought to light and all concerned in it punished.
— Johnston has surrendered his entire army to Sherman on the same terms on which Lee [Robert E. Lee] surrendered to Grant. Johnston’s command embraced all the rebel troops in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. There is no rebel army now in existence expect the one under Gen. Kirby Smith, in Texas, and this will doubtless now surrender.
THE WAR IS ENDED ! Peace has not been formally declared, but it nevertheless actually exists. We shall soon see our victorious armies disbanded and at home, and the Second American Revolution will pass into history. Of course, there will be many important and complicated questions growing out of the settlement of the war, but these will be referred to the arbitration of statesmanship, and amicably adjusted. “Hail Columbia ! happy land !”
— Orders have been issued by the War Department to all proper officers to proceed with the necessary arrangements at once for the mustering out and paying of all soldiers not in the regular army.
OUTLAWING REBELS.—Gen. C. C. WASHBURN, commanding the district of Memphis, has issued an order reciting that further fighting on the part of confederate soldiers within his district can only be from a spirit of malice or robbery, and without hope of good to the Confederate States ; that a few such bands are yet in Tennessee, keeping the citizens in a state of alarm, and, when captured, claim to be confederate soldiers. He notifies such that, if captured within his district after the 25th inst., they will not be treated as prisoners of war, but held for trial as felons. The order is not intended to discourage any from laying down their arms and taking the amnesty oath, but declares that those in west Tennessee who continue in open hostility shall not be exchanged or allowed to take the amnesty oath when captured.
THE FUGITIVE JEFF. DAVIS.—It is stated on the authority of rebel officers, that the news of Lee’s surrender reached Jeff. Davis at Danville three days after his proclamation, and Jeff. left at daylight next morning for Greensboro. Jeff. stated that, if hard pushed, he should go to Texas, where he was sure he could rally an army around him and make another stand, and that he should never leave the limits of the Confederacy. The New Orleans Delta reports that “Davis, accompanied by a body guard of Texas cavalry, crossed the Mississippi at Laney Bend on Sunday, the 16th, and moved rapidly toward the Atchafalya river. He escaped entirely the observation of our naval forces.” If these accounts are reliable it seems pretty certain that the traitor has escaped the hands of justice.
HONORS TO THE DEAD PRESIDENT IN PENNSYLVANIA.—At Harrisburg crowds of people thronged to see all that was mortal of President LINCOLN, and all along the route the passage of the train was watched by eager crowds, who stood with uncovered heads as the funeral cortege passed by, flags at half mast, and emblems of mourning, being everywhere displayed, and all places where the train stopped, the people seeking to get at least a glimpse of the casket containing the
precious remains. The body lay in state in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, all day Sunday, the 23d, to which it was escorted by an immense procession seven miles long and from four to twelve persons deep. Thousands upon thousands thronged to see once more “the form they loved so well.”
AN INFECTED DISTRICT IN MARYLAND.—A dispatch from Secretary STANTON says, “the counties of Prince George’s, Charles, and St. Mary’s have, during the whole war, been noted for hostility to the government and protection to the rebel blockade-runners, rebel spies, and every species of public enemy. The murderers of the President harbored there before the murder, and Booth fled in that direction. If he escapes, it will be owing to rebel accomplices in that region. The military commander of the district will surely take measures to bring these rebel sympathizers and accomplices in the murder to a sense of their criminal conduct.”
TIME TO STOP.—The rush upon President JOHNSON by all manner of men and women to see him, make speeches at him, and extort speeches in return, finally became unendurable, and with the reception of a delegation of sufferers and refugees from the border States on Monday, the gates were peremptorily shut on that sort of thing. It was time to stop. If the process had been continued, the President would soon have had time for nothing else. He will have to take care now that he do [sic] not have the life worried out of him, by personal boring of office seekers.
THE TABLES TURNED.—Major DICK TURNER,4 the rebel commandant of Libby Prison, who perpetrated so many cruelties on the Union soldiers confined there, was captured the other day and brought into Richmond. He was dressed as a private, but was recognized and would have been shot by an officer who had been one of his victims, but he begged so humbly that his life was spared. He has been committed to the Libby, to be fed on bread and water.
THE CHICAGO CONSPIRACY.—The trial of the conspirators engaged in attempting to release the rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas, and fire the city, was concluded some days since. Gen. HOOKER [Joseph Hooker] has issued an order promulgating the findings of the military commission. Judge MORRIS and MARMADUKE are acquitted ; WALSH is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, and SEMMES to three years’. GRENFEL’S [sic] sentence is not announced, but it is said to be death.5
MOBILE.—In dispatch dated Mobile 5 P. M., April 14th, Gen. CANBY [Edward Canby] reports : “We found in Mobile and its defences on the west side of the bay over 150 guns, a very large amount of ammunition and supplies of all kinds, and about 1,000 prisoners. The quantity of cotton will probably reach 30,000 bales, with a large amount of provisions and forage.” No cotton was burned. The mayor formally surrendered the city about three o’clock on the 12th, tendering the services of pilots to bring our fleet safely to the city.—Gen. Granger met with the most enthusiastic reception on entering the city, from the people, glad to be delivered from rebel oppression. A new paper has been started called the News. Rebel deserters are arriving in large numbers, the most liberal treatment being promised. There is a great rush by the people to take the oath. All citizens are required to report forthwith to the provost marshal and deliver up all arms.
TESTIMONIAL.—New York dispatches say, “a plan is on foot to erect a monument to the memory of Abraham Lincoln ; the expense to be defrayed by dollar subscriptions. Over 5,000 names are already appended to the list. It is proposed to erect the monument in this city. Several ladies propose starting a subscription for the ladies of America to present Mrs. Lincoln with a comfortable home.
IMPORTANT DECISION BY ATTORNEY GENERAL SPEED.—The Attorney General of the United States [James Speed] has decided that, under the terms of capitulation, LEE’S officers have no right to come to loyal States ; that former residents of Washington, who have been in the civil service of the rebellion ; and that rebel officers have no right to wear their uniforms in loyal States.
Mr. LINCOLN’S REMAINS.—A Washington letter speaking of the remains of the late President says : “Death has fastened into his frozen face all the character and idiosyncracy [sic] of life. He has not changed in one line of his grave countenance. The mouth is shut like that of one who had put his foot down firmly ; and so are the eyes, which look as calm as if in slumber.”
THEIR BEST FRIEND.—The National Intelligencer says, “A member of the Cabinet remarked, on the day after the murder of Mr. Lincoln, that the rebels had lost their best friend—that Mr. Lincoln warmly at every Cabinet meeting, counseled forbearance, kindness and mercy toward these misguided men.”
Nearly all the Union prisoners in rebel hands have now been exchanged, but we still have between 60,000 and 70,000 rebel prisoners in our hands, to be exchanged, and in addition to these, the paroled men of Lee’s army stand to our credit on the exchange account.
The great clock that stands on the walk in front of the Fifth Avenue House, New York, and which had not stopped since the building was erected, is now motionless, and the hands indicate 22 minutes past 7—the point of time when Mr. LINCOLN breathed his last.
1. Hampton surrendered along with General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina. Hampton was reluctant to surrender, and nearly got into a personal fight with Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick (often called “Kill-Cavalry”) at the Bennett Farm.
2. “[Engine ‘Nashville’ of the Lincoln funeral train],” taken in 1865, printed later. A digital copy is available from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-ppmsca-23855 (digital file from original) LC-USZ62-11964 (b&w film copy neg.).
3. “[President Abraham Lincoln’s railroad funeral car],” Samuel M. Fassett, photographer, Chicago, 1865. A digital copy is available from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-ppmsca-19404 (digital file from original print) LC-USZC4-1832 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-14841 (b&w film copy neg.).
4. Libby Prison’s commandant was Major Thomas Pratt Turner, often confused with another Libby official, Richard R. “Dick” Turner (no relation), who was universally despised by the prisoners and was investigated for the criminal treatment of prisoners by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton
- Buckner Stith Morris (1800-1879), a former mayor of Chicago (1838-9), former judge, and frequent speaker at local Democratic club meetings. Although he had met Lincoln in his circuit-riding days, Morris was always critical of Lincoln’s administration.
- Vincent Marmaduke (1831-1904), younger brother of Confederate General John S. Marmaduke.
- Charles Walsh.
- Richard T. Semmes, a fledgling lawyer whose older brother belonged to Judge Morris’ law firm.
- George St. Leger Grenfell (1808-1868?) was a British soldier of fortune who, after immigrating the the U.S., fought for the Confederacy. He resigned from the Confederate Army in 1864 to join a plot to take over the governments of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and establish a Northwestern Confederacy. When the plan to take over Chicago was discovered, Grenfell and some 150 others were arrested. In what became known as the “Chicago Conspiracy,” Grenfell was tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang, although his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment due to the efforts of the British Minister to the United States. In 1868, Colonel Grenfell and three others escaped in a small boat from the prison at Fort Jefferson and Grenfell was never heard from again.