1865 August 19: Swindling Soldiers, Breckinridge’s Character, Sheridan in Mexico
The following three smaller articles come from the August 19, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.
Caution to Soldiers.
We learn that certain vampire speculators are going about the country, purchasing the papers of discharged veterans. Their object is to sell them back to the soldier, should Congress pass a land bounty for the soldiers who enlisted in the second year of the war. No soldier can receive the benefit from a bounty act, unless he has evidence of an honorable discharge. If he sells his papers he can get nothing unless he repurchases them from the speculator.—Gov. Morton [Oliver P. Morton], of Indiana, has warned the veteran soldiers of that State against the swindle, and we now warn the soldiers of Wisconsin against selling those evidences which are truly the historical monuments of their courage in the field and their fidelity to the good cause. It is impossible to count the numerous modes in which the soldiers are fleeced by speculating sharks.
Discharge as a Man.
The rebel Breckinridge [John C. Breckinridge], whose arrival at Southampton is announced by the last European steamer, was comparatively little known out of Dixie, until his difficulty with Mr. Cutting, of New York, brought him into more extensive public notice. He was at that time so careless in his habits, that on being introduced to an elegant family at New York, the ladies would hardly believe that he was one of the chivalry. Though addicted to drink, he improved in cleanliness and manner after his election as Vice President ; but although he bore himself in that position with a certain dignity, there was that in his expression, which revealed to every true observer, the savage elements of his nature. Though rather a handsome man, and of gallant bearing, there was about him an undercurrent of coarseness, and an absence of intellectual refinement characteristic of men of his class, who are prone to fight duels and to rush into battle, but who are utterly destitute of the high moral and mental qualities which constitute the Christian statesman.
The Mexican Question.
General Phil. Sheridan [Philip H. Sheridan] who has become one of the foremost men in the nation and justly enjoys the confidence of the Lieutenant General [Ulysses S. Grant] and the Government, has written a letter which was read at a Mexican meeting in New York, which will create a sensation not only in America, but in Europe. He emphatically says that “the advent of Maximilian, was a portion of the rebellion,” and that our triumph will not be complete until the republic is re-established in Mexico.” His position as military commander on the Rio Grande gives such significance to this expression, that Louis Napoleon will regard it as a notice to quit.