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1865 August 26: Applications for Confederate Pardons Pour In; Will Henry Wirz Escape Trial?; and News of the Indians from General Pope and Sully

September 1, 2015

The following news items come from the August 26, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.

B Y   T E L E G R A P H

NEW YORK, Aug. 19.—The property of Shoyer and Ludwig of this city, has been libelled for confiscation.  These men are immensely rich, and did the entire engraving of bank notes, bonds, and checks for the late rebel government.  This one righteous act points quite plainly the intent of the government.

The Time’s Washington special says :  Applications for pardon still pour in by the hundreds.  Every day about four hundred received.  To-day, Governor Sharky [sic]¹ sends them up from Mississippi, Governor Pierpont [Francis H. Pierpont] from Virginia, Governor Parsons² from Alabama, and Governor Holden [W. W. Holden] from North Carolina.

From Georgia come fewer than from any other of the southern States.

Gov. Johnson [James Johnson] does not believe in the efficacy of pardons as strongly as some of his brethren.  He thinks reflection, meditation and true repentance better than amnesty oaths and lip service loyalty.  Neither does he believe that the appointment of provisional Governors confers sovereignty powers, nor that if at all authorizes them to usurp the functions conferred only by the constitutions of the State.

A number more of the $20,000 claims of rebels were pardoned to-day.

Maj. John B. Castleman and Lieut. Wm. Mumford, of the rebel army, who were arrested last winter as spies within our lines and confined at Indianapolis, have been pardoned by the President, to leave the country immediately.

Lafayette McMullen³ of Virginia, a member of the rebel congress, arrived here yesterday, armed with a letter from Gov. Pierpont to the Secretary of War, recommending the withdrawal of the colored troops from that state because they are obnoxious.  Mr. McMullen had an interview with Sec. Stanton to-day [Edwin M. Stanton].  The order for the withdrawal of the black troops has not been issued.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18.—An opinion  has been confidently expressed to-day by parties competent to judge, that the Government will not undertake the trial of Wertz [sic],4 but will cause that person to turn state’s evidence in the approaching trial of Jeff. Davis [Jefferson Davis], whereby it will be proved that the rebel President was the direct and prime instrument of cruelties practiced upon Union prisoners, and the numberless other atrocities which were from time to time committed in defiance to the usages of warfare.  It is known that Wertz [sic] has expressed his desire to make some important revelations as to the extent that Davis was implicated in the outrages of the Southern prisoners.

Telegrams were received from Major General Pope [John Pope], to-day, at the Indian Bureau, containing a communication from General Sully [Alfred Sully], now conducting the military expedition in Dakota, announcing that there is no doubt but a permanent peace can now be secured by the Government, with the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes, on the Upper Missouri River.  Endorsing this intelligence, and referring it to Secretary Harlan [James Harlan], Gen. Pope suggests that no civil or military person in the section resided in by these Indians, should be appointed a commissioner for treating with them.

In addition to the above, Gen. Sully remarks, that in that quarter, the inhabitants are apprehensive that the coming winter will be one of great severity, and it is feared that the troops will suffer even more than they did last season, and that all efforts, the present season to raise garden vegetables for the use of the camps, were futile, by reason of  the ravages of insects.

General News.

— A soldier who was guilty of gross cowardice at the battle of the Wilderness, was tried by court martial at New York for the offense and sentenced to be shot.  He was taken to Broome Street Barracks, but had not been there half an hour when he sent a polite note down to the officer below for a pass.  Those in charge of the office failing to keep a correct account of their prisoners, gave the pass, and the result was the fellow walked out and has not been seen since.

1.  William Lewis Sharkey (1797-1873) was the 25th governor of Mississippi, appointed by President Andrew Johnson on June 13, 1865, as the provisional governor. Before the Civil War, Sharkey was a highly successful lawyer in Vicksburg, served briefly in the state legislature, and was elected chief justice of the Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals, a position he held for eighteen years. After leaving the bench, Sharkey served briefly as the American counsel to Cuba and compiled the Mississippi Code of 1857. He was a strong unionist and one of the few Mississippi political leaders who did not support the Confederate States of America. Governor Sharkey did not take an active role in the Reconstruction of Mississippi after he left office in December 1865. He continued his law practice in Jackson until his death.
2.  Lewis Eliphalet Parsons (1817-1895) was the appointed provisional, and 19th governor of Alabama, serving from June to December of 1865. He had been a member of the Alabama House of Representatives (1859 and 1865). In April 1865, Parsons fought as a Confederate lieutenant at the brief Battle of Munford near Talladega (Alabama). President Andrew Johnson appointed Parsons provisional governor of Alabama on June 21, 1865. He ordered the election of delegates to a constitutional convention that met September 12, 1865. The convention repealed the ordinance of secession, renounced the state’s war debts, abolished slavery, and scheduled elections to choose state officials and representatives to Congress. Parsons attempted to purchase the panhandle of Florida for Alabama, which sparked rumors that he had access to unclaimed confederate gold. Parsons’s term ended on December 13, 1865, with the inauguration of Robert M. Patton. Parsons was elected to the U.S. Senate, but was refused his seat by the Republicans.
3.  LaFayette “Fayette” McMullan (1805-1880) was a member of the Virginia state house of delegates, a member of the Virginia state senate (1839-49), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1849-57), the second governor of Washington Territory (1857-61), a representative from Virginia in the Second Confederate Congress (1864-65), and ran unsuccessfully for governor of Virginia in 1878.
4.  Heinrich Hartmann Wirz, better known as Henry Wirz (1823-1865), was a Swiss-born Confederate officer best known for his command of Andersonville Prison (aka Camp Sumter), the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp in Georgia. He was tried after the War for conspiracy and murder relating to his command of the camp, was convicted, and was executed on November 10, 1865.

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