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1865 August 5: Battle of Platte Bridge, Rebel Pirate “Shenandoah” Still Doing Serious Damage, and More

August 11, 2015

The smaller items from both newspapers—The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal—of August 5, 1865, follow.

The fourth item refers to the Battle of Platte Bridge, or Platte Bridge Station, which took place on July 26, 1865, between the U.S. Army and Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians.  In late July, the Indians assembled an estimated 1,000-3,000 warriors, and descended upon Platte Bridge.

The bridge, a key crossing point across the North Platte River for wagon trains of emigrants traveling the Oregon and Bozeman Trails, was located near present day Casper, Wyoming.   Platte Bridge Station was a military outpost on the south bank of the North Platte River near the 1,000-foot-long bridge.

The Civil War had drained fighting power from the western outposts and only 120 soldiers were at the military station on July 26.  In the engagement at the bridge—and another one a few miles away—the Indians killed 29 soldiers, plus seriously wounding another 10.  Twenty-year-old 2nd Lieutenant Caspar W. Collins of Company G, 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, led the small detachment across the Platte River Bridge and was ambushed by a group of Indians much larger than was visible from the military station.  Five of that party were killed, including Collins.

Lt. Collins’ Drawing of Platte Bridge and Station¹

From The Polk County Press:

WISCONSIN AHEAD.—Adj’t Gen. Gaylord [Augustus Gaylord] states that when he was at Washington, Provost Marshal General Fry [James B. Fry] told him that up to the time recruiting was stopped, Wisconsin had furnished a larger proportion of men, according to her enrollment, than any other State under the call.

— The rebel pirate Shenandoah is still afloat and is doing serious damage among our whalers.  She captured and burnt ten ships last month.  Her commander was informed of the surrender of Lee and the collapse of the rebellion, but would not believe it.  She has an English crew and is said to be a very powerful vessel.  [Robert E. Lee]

— The slaves in Kentucky are flocking to the opposite sides of the Ohio, Gen. Palmer promising freedom to all who shall leave the State, and giving every facility to enable them to depart.  [John M. Palmer]

— The Indians on the plains in the vacinity [sic] of Fort Laramie are very troublesome.  A battle was recently fought with them, at Platt Bridge Station.  The fight lasted two days and resulted in great loss to the Indians.  Loss on our side Lieut. Collins and one enlisted man of the 11th Ohio, nine killed and 25 wounded of the 11th Kansas.  The Indians retreated West, tearing down the telegraph wire.  Lieut. Collins was horribly mutilated.  His hands and feet were cut off, his throat cut and his heart torn out.

— A working party of thirty-five men, commanded by a Quartermaster, is on the way to Andersonville, Ga., to enclose and mark as far as possible the graves of Union soldiers who perished at that place.  They carry 7,000 headboards and 14,000 feet of lumber for fences.

— President Johnson is reported to be seriously ill at Washington.  [Andrew Johnson]

Jay Cooke has disposed of the Seven-Thirty Loan.

COMING HOME.—The 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th Minnesota regiments are expected to arrive at St. Paul on the 10th inst.

— The Pierce County folks gave their returned soldiers a grand welcome at Prescott yesterday.  There were speeches, music, a good dinner, and a grand dance in the evening.

— Andrew Fee, 11th Wis. Cavalry, has received his discharge and returned home on Tuesday.  We regret to learn that he has been very sick, and that he is still suffering from disease contracted in the army.

ANOTHER POLK CO. SOLDIER GONE TO HIS LAST HOME.—LUCIAN PERKINS, formerly of Alden, this county, member of Co. H. 3d Minn.  Volunteers, died at Duval’s Bluff, Ark., on the 4th day of May, 1865, of lung fever.  He leaves many friends and relatives to mourn his loss.


— Yale College has sent five hundred and ninety-six of her graduates to the war.

— The log cabin which General Grant occupied at City Point is to be placed in one of the public squares in Philadelphia.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

— General Grant is reported to have said, in conversation with the Mexican Minister a few days ago :—“The French will have to leave Mexico.”

— The Boston Transcript is authorized to say that the estate of President Lincoln, with addition of contributions made in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, will amount to one hundred thousand dollars, and that the active labors of those obtaining subscriptions to the Lincoln Fund have now ceased.

— General Robert E. Lee is writing an elaborate history of his campaigns from the time he assumed command of the rebel army of Northern Virginia, after the battle of Seven Pines to the capitulation at Appomattox Court House on the 9th of April.—The Richmond Bulletin says it will be “a truthful and impartial narrative, by the greatest actor of the war.”

From The Prescott Journal:

— The telegraph office here is open for business.  It is in Beardsely and Lyford’s store.

PERSONAL.—The last remnant of Co. B. 6th Reg., five in number arrived home this week.  Capt. Smyzer [sic: Henry E. Smyser] and Lt. KINNEY [Darwin W. Kinney] are in poor health, Lt. Holman [Solomon B. Holman] is hale and hearty.

— Brig. Gen. SAM. HARRIMAN, Major ELLSWORTH BURNETT and Lt. J. W. WINCHESTER [Judson W. Winchester], of the 37th, arrived last night, looking finely.  The Gen. and Major don’t need any praises here ;  if they did, we would give it muchly.

— Lt. Col. MYRON REED, brother of Prof. REED, is spending a few days here.  For nearly two years past he has had charge of scouting parties in the Southwest, and led a life of great excitement and danger.  When a boy, MYRON “co’d do some things as well as others,” and he holds his size.²

THE CENSUS.—Last week we published the census returns of all the towns in this county, excepting El Paso, which are as follows :  White, male, 78 ;  female, 79.  Colored, male, 4 ;  female, 3.  Foreign birth, 38.

This makes the total population of the county 6,324, divided as follows :  White, male, 3,203 ;  female, 3,054.  Colored, male, 32 ;  female, 35.  Foreign birth, 1,052.  There are in the county 4 insane person, 4 deaf and dumb, and 1 blind.  The populations of Pierce county in 1860 was 4,672.

1.  From the Fort Caspar Museum’s temporary exhibit of “The Artwork of Caspar Collins,” showing from November 21, 2014, to November 7, 2015. The exhibit was in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Platte Bridge.
2.  Myron Winslow Reed (1836-1899) was in the 18th Michigan Infantry. After the War, he was a social reformer and religious leader. He moved to Denver, Colorado, where he was the minister of the First Congregational Church. In 1887, he co-founded and was the first president of Denver’s Charity Organizations Society, which became the United Way. Protestent, Catholic, and Jewish leaders cooperated for a united campaign to raise funds for 22 different health and welfare agencies. He also fought for the rights of working class people in Colorado and was called the “Christian Socialist of the American West.” His sermons were reprinted in over 50 newspapers nationwide. With growing popularity, he was nominated for congress in 1886 and 1892. In 1894, he sided with a Cripple Creek miners strike, that many of his middle-class parishioners disagreed with. Later that year he left the Congregational Church to found a nondenominational church in Denver. His brother was Rollin Lyman Reed (1832-1912), of Prescott.

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