1865 July 1: A Female Soldier, Kirby Smith’s Surrender, Confiscating Rebel Property
Several shorter, but unrelated, articles from The Prescott Journal of July 1, 1865.
A Female Soldier.
[From the Stevenson (Ala) News)
The Seventh Ohio cavalry arrived at Bridgeport, Ala., and encamped on the island. Weary and fatigued with travel, many sought the shade of some friendly tree and fell asleep. The patrol in his rounds discovered what appeared to him a singularity in one of the sleepers. Beneath the open shirt bosom of a soldier he discovered a heaving, soft pair of full and voluptuous bosoms. To report the case to the officer of the day was the soldiers’ duty. Thereupon an arrest and delivery to Lieutenant Scripture, Provost Marshal of Bridgeport. Mrs. Scripture, and the ladies of the other officers and suttlers, furnished suitable female apparel, and with much apparent reluctance she gave up the “bonnie blue” for the “crinoline.” Sufficient funds were donated and she was sent north to the former home of her childhood, Beaver county, Penn. Her name is Miss Ida Bruce, a fine looking girl of sixteen, black hair and black eyes, intelligent and lady-like in appearance. Her father died the year before the war. Her mother and Ida, the only child, removed to Atlanta, Ga. Her mother died last summer, and Ida, left an orphan, was anxious to get north to her friends and relatives, but had no way or means to do so. The 7th Ohio of “Stoneman’s raiders” came along. One of the boys furnished her a suit of blue and a horse and passed her off as his cousin. As such, she traveled with them in cog.¹ from Atlanta to Bridgeport, doing soldiers’ duty, such as standing guard, &c., and it was by “standing guard” the night before that she became overcome with fatigue and sleep that caused the discovery of her sex.
Strange as it may appear, it seems that the surrender made by Lieut. Gen. Buckner and Major Gen. Price was not directed by General Smith. [Simon B. Buckner, Sterling Price, Kirby Smith] On the 30th inst., General Smith issued the subjoined order at Houston. He throws the whole onus of the surrender upon the troops, who, he says, left him without an army. He will be followed by recriminations, and will probably suffer the most in the controversy which will follow. He winds up his address with this wholesome advice :
HEADQ’RS TRANS-MISS. DEP’T, HOUSTON, May 30.—SOLDIERS : The day after I refused the demand of the federal government to surrender this department, I left Shreveport for Houston. I ordered the Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana troops to follow. My purpose was to concentrate the entire strength of the department, await negotiation, and if possible, secure terms alike honorable to soldier and citizen.—Failing in this, I intend to struggle to the last and with an army united in purpose, firm in resolve, and battling for the right, I believed God would yet give us the victory. I reached here to find the Texas troops disbanded and hastening to their homes. They had forsaken their colors and their commanders; had abandoned the cause for which we were struggling, and appropriated the public property to their personal use.
Soldiers ! I am left a commander without an army—a general without troops. You have made your choice.—It was unwise and unpatriotic, but it is final. I pray you may not live to regret it. The enemy will now possess your country and dictate his own laws. You have voluntarily destroyed your organization, and thrown away all means of resistance.
Your present duty is plain. Return to your families. Resume the occupations of peace. Yield obedience to the laws. Labor to restore order. Strive, both by counsel and example, to give serenity to life and prosperity. And may God in his mercy direct you aright, and heal the wounds of our distracted country.
E. KIRBY SMITH, Gen’l.
The Work of Confiscation.—The officers of the Federal Court are now in this city preparing business for the term which will be held in October next. The policy seems to be to proceed against the property, real and personal, of all persons included in the 14 classes who are denied the benefits of general amnesty by the late proclamation. The business of the officers of the court is to identify the property of all such persons and to collect proof of the participation of its owners in the war. As it is the property of such persons which is proceeded against, and not the persons themselves, the owners of it do not necessarily know whether their interests are implicated in the proceedings or not. We understand that nearly three hundred different properties are already embraced in these proceedings, and the number is, of course, increasing very rapidly. The tendency of this state of things is, of course, very prejudicial to the business of the city, which in many departments is brought to a stand still.
It is stated that 75 pieces of property in Richmond have been already libeled for confiscation, which is only a beginning. The proceeding is an in rem²—that is to say, against the property itself —the owner not being made a party to the cause. The term of the Federal Court at which the libels will be proceeded and acted upon will be held in the fall.— Richmond Republic, June 15th.
1. Incognito, from the Latin incognitus, refers to having one’s identity concealed, as under an assumed name, especially to avoid notice or formal attentions.
2. In rem jurisdiction, Latin for “power about or against ‘the thing,'” is a legal term describing the power a court may exercise over property or a “status” against a person over whom the court does not have in personam jurisdiction. Thus, if title to property is the issue, the action is “in rem.” The term is important since the location of the property determines which court has jurisdiction and enforcement of a judgment must be upon the property and does not follow a person.