Skip to content

1865 May 20: Two Presidential Proclamations, Sherman and Halleck Feuding, Confederate Ram “Stonewall,” and Other News

May 22, 2015

From the May 20, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.

B Y   T E L E G R A P H.

WASHINGTON, May 9—Special to the Herald :  The representatives of the Christian Commission, who paid their respects to LEE [Robert E. Lee], have been dismissed one year.  The soldiers are to be sent to their respective capitals, and mustered out of service at once.

WASHINGTON, May 9—President Johnson [Andrew Johnson] has issued a proclamation declaring

WHEREAS, Armed resistance to the authority of the government in certain States heretofore declared to be in insurrection, may be regarded as virtually at an end, and the persons by whom that resistance was directed are fugitives or captives, and

WHEREAS, It is understood that certain cruisers are are still infesting the high seas and others are preparing to capture, burn and destroy vessels of the United States, he enjoins all naval, military and civil officers of the United States dilligently [sic] to endeavor by all lawful means to arrest the said cruisers and to bring them into a ports of the U. States, in order that they may be prevented from committing further depredations upon commerce, and that those on board of them may no longer enjoy immunity for their crimes ;  and further proclaims and declares that if, after a reasonable time shall have elapsed for proclamation to become known in ports of nations claiming to have been neutral, said insurgent cruisers and the persons board of them shall continue to receive hospitality in said ports, this government will deem itself justified in refusing hospitality to the public vessel of such nations in ports of the United States, and in adopting such other measures as may be deemed advisable toward vindicating the national sovereignty.  [paragraph break added]

The President has also issued an executive order re-establishing the authority of the United States, and executing the laws within the geographical limits known as Virginia.  It is ordered that all accounts and proceedings of political, military and civil organizations which have been in a state of insurrection against the authority and laws of the United States, and of which Jeff. Davis, John Letcher and Wm. Smith,¹ were the late respective Chiefs, are declared null and void.  All persons who shall exercise the claim are at liberty to bring to judgment confiscation, and sale of property, subject to the confiscation in force, and to the administration of justice within said States, in all matters civil and criminal, within the cognizance of the Federal Courts ;  to carry into effect the guarantee of the Federal Constitution of a republican form of State government, and afford advantage and the security of domestic laws as well as to complete the re-establishment of the authority of the laws of the United States and complete the restoration of order within the limits aforesaid.  Francis H. Pierpont, Governor of the State of Virginia, will be aided by the Federal government so far as may be necessary in the lawful measures which he may take for the extension and administration of the State government throughout the geographical limits of said State.

The Herald’s Richmond correspondence dated the 11th inst., says that although it was expected that there would be a grand review of Sherman’s army on its passage through Richmond, none took place, owing to the bad feeling between Gens. Sherman and Halleck, generated, it is understood, by the proceedings of the latter in countermanding the orders of the former to his subordinates during the truce with Jo. Johnston.  [William T. Sherman, Henry W. Halleck, Joseph E. Johnston]

The Herald’s Nassau correspondent details a visit to the rebel ram Stonewall.  When the officers were told of the surrender of Lee and Johnston, they admitted that their vessel had been brought out too late.  She was intended especially to break blockaders, and would make bad havoc among wooden vessels.

Though she crossed the Atlantic the Chief Engineer let out that he would as soon go to sea in a coffin.  Her decks were flooded half the time.  Another officer claimed that she behaved like a duck.  She was to leave Nassau on the 7th, it was believed for Galveston.  Others said she had a more important destination on the American coast.  Our fleet at Key West has been notified of her presence.

Nassau has lost all its activity.  The rebel murderers Parr, Locke and Brain, who took part in the steamer Chesapeake affair, are there, wandering about in gray uniform.  The Stonewall captured and bonded the bark [barque] New Light, from Baltimore, on her way to Nassau.

WASHINGTON, May 12.—The Mexican emigration business here, attracts little or no attention.  President Johnson and several members of the cabinet, visited Secretary Seward to-day.  The Secretary hopes to be at his office next week.

The Navy department has made arrangements to give the Stonewall a warm reception, should she attempt operations on our coast.  It is believed however, that her commander will abandon his enterprise, now that the rebellion has collapsed.

The Tribune’s Raleigh correspondent says, that the people of N. C. are as rebellious as ever.  Indeed, they are more haughty, reacting, unsubdued, and if possible more devilish than they ever were.  One would think we were the subjugated and conquered people, and not the rebels.  He cautions the North not to take one half of what they hear of the fast returning spirit of loyalty as genuine.

WASHINGTON, May 12th.—The special to the Tribune says that General Sherman refused to see General Halleck when he called on him, though the later called to explain and apologize for the language he had used in his dispatches to Mr. Stanton.  Geneaal [sic] Sherman has heretofore been about the oldest friend and defender that Halleck had among officers of the army.

Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] said to-day he was in daily expectation of hearing of the surrender of Kirby Smith.  He has been officially notified that Smith was negotiating with our forces with a view to surrender.

General Sherman telegraphs that he will remain with his troops and march with them to Alexandria.

WASHINGTON, May 13th.—The Chronicle this morning, speaking of the Court engaged in the trial of the assassination conspirators, says the only action which has been taken not in accordance with ordinary trials, is that thus far, the Court has sat with closed doors.  How long it may be necessary to maintain this precaution cannot now be decided ;  as it was adopted to ascertain the truth, and truth alone, it will not be abandoned, if the complaints of the New York press are swollen into a torrent of denunciation.

Yesterday the evidence was of so much importance as to convincingly establish the propriety of this very alternative.  The life of some witnesses depends upon this regulation, and we feel free to say that none were more conscious of its necessity than the witnesses themselves, most of whom are honorable, intelligent citizens.

ST. LOUIS, May 13.—The Cairo Republican’s special says the Shreveport, La., papers of the 27th ult contain numerous accounts of action among the military and the people of Texas, in their determination to prolong the war.  A large meeting was held at Shreveport and addressed by rebel Governor Allen,² and several officers of high rank, all taking the same ground, as Kirby Smith’s appeal, already telegraphed, and urging the soldiers and people to renew their efforts and continue the struggle.

ALBANY, May 13.—Col. Flourney, of Texas delivered a glowing panegyric on Booth [John Wilkes Booth], and compared him to Brutus, and predicted for him like enduring fame.  Kirby Smith, Gens. Price [Sterling Price], Buckner [Simon B. Buckner] and Ex-Governor Reynolds, of Missouri, were present.

Col. Sprague, Gen. Pope’s chief of staff [John Pope], was at the mouth of the Red River on the 5th inst., waiting the arrival of Kirby Smith to Negotiate terms, and believed that Smith would surrender as soon as he hears of the action of Johnston and Dick Taylor [Richard Taylor].

NEW YORK, May 12.—The man supposed to be Surratt, arrested near Chambersburg, Pa., turns out to be no conspirator of any kind, though there is reason to believe he is a fugitive from justice.

The Herald says :  The Mexican emigration fever is still spreading, and all recruiting officers are daily thronged by discharged soldiers anxious to take part in the movement.  Seven new offices were established in this city yesterday, two in Brooklyn, and others in the surrounding towns.  A public meeting to assist  in forwarding it will be held in this city very shortly.

The Times’ Washington special says :  “Gen. Hancock [Winfield S. Hancock], who was personated [sic: impersonated] by a scoundrel in the recent daring attempt at the banking swindle in Chicago, is in this city in command of the middle Department, and has not been absent for several weeks.”

RALEIGH, May 6.—Chief Justice Chase [Salmon P. Chase] will go down the coast to New Orleans, and thence up the Mississippi and back to Washington.  His visit is of a judicial character.  From him it is ascertained that the administration will continue military rule in the rebellious States until they are thoroughly reconciled to immediate emancipation and the policy of the government, which gives great satisfaction here, as it defeats the plans of Gov. Vance [Zebulon B. Vance, of North Carolina] and his influential friends, whose efforts, if successful, would bring forth a second rebellion.

WASHINGTON, May 12.—The World’s Washington special says :  It will be difficult to establish a case against the prominent persons named as accessories.  The trial, it is thought, will be very long.  It is believed that it will not be concluded much before the 1st of August, as there are some 300 witnesses.

1.  William Smith (1797-1887), known as “Extra Billy,” was the 30th (1846-49) and 35th (1864-65) governor of Virginia. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1841-43 and 1853-61) and in Virginia state politics and the Confederate Congress (1862). A few weeks after the Civil War started, Smith was present during a Union cavalry charge at the Battle of Fairfax Court House (June 1861). He took command of the Confederate troops after the death of their commander and found he liked being an officer; he then requested a commission and was appointed colonel of the 49th Virginia Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines and again at the Battle of Antietam. Smith was promoted to brigadier general as of January 1863 and commanded a brigade at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Due to his poor performance at the Battle of Gettysburg, and being governor-elect by then, Smith resigned his commission. He nevertheless received an essentially honorary promotion to major general and Assistant Inspector General  and performed recruiting duty in Virginia. He was among the first Southern governors to advocate arming slaves to provide manpower for the Confederacy, and he occasionally returned to the field to command troops in the defense of Richmond. He was removed from office and arrested on May 9, 1865, and paroled on June 8.
2.  Henry Watkins Allen (1820-1866) was the 17th governor of Louisiana, serving from January 1864 to June 2, 1865. Before the Civil War, he served in the Texas Revolution, the Mississippi House of Representatives, studied law at Harvard, and served in the Louisiana Legislature. Allen enlisted as a private in the 4th Louisiana Infantry but was quickly promoted to lieutenant colonel and six months later to colonel. He was seriously wounded at the battles of Shiloh and Baton Rouge. He became a brigadier general in August, 1863, and became the governor of Louisiana in 1864. As governor, he tried to make the state self-sufficient and also guard the civil liberties of the citizens from infringement by the military. After the War, Allen moved to Mexico City where he edited the Mexico Times and assisted in opening trade between Texas and Mexico. He died in Mexico in April of 1866.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: