1865 September 9: More on Jefferson Davis–Speculation on His Trial, Connection with Wirz; a Pardon Revoked and a Colonel Attacked
The following summary of the news comes from the September 9, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal. Due to the length of the article it was split into two parts, this being the second part, with the first part published yesterday.
Governor Fletcher [John C. Fletcher], of Missouri, has written a letter declaring that the constitutional provision requiring preachers and teachers to take the oath of loyalty, will be enforced by the employment, if necessary, of the entire military strength of the State.
A public meeting was held in Richmond, Virginia, on Tuesday last, at which resolutions were adopted avowing sincerity in the taking of the oath of allegiance, acquiescing in the results of the war, (the abolition of slavery included), and expressing confidence in President Johnson [Andrew Johnson] and Governor Pierpont [Francis H. Pierpont].
It is reported that the brother of Alexander H. Stephens has received permission to visit the rebel “vice-president” at Fort Warren.
Davis [Jefferson Davis], Clay [Clement C. Clay] and Mitchell [sic: John Mitchel], are now permitted to read newspapers. The letter of Davis to his counsel, Gillett, is the only communication which he has as yet been allowed to send off.
The Lincoln monument fund (at Springfield, Illinois) now amounts to $50,600.
It is said that the President and Secretary Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton] favor an early trial of Jeff. Davis, by a civil court—Knoxville, Tennessee, being preferred by Mr. Johnson as the locality of the proceedings ; that, if the trial shall be held before Chief Justice Chase [Salmon P. Chase], it will take place at Norfolk, Virginia, which point will suit the friends of the prisoner ; and that, when the trial shall occur, General Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] will take a prominent part in the prosecution of the rebel chief.
The report that Davis, in a conversation with a visitor, had disavowed all knowledge of the existence of Wirz [Henry Wirz], and of the cruelties perpetrated at Andersonville, is pronounced untrue. The only person who has had an interview with Davis, beyond the officers in charge, is a son of the President’s ; and the conversation on the occasion of his visit, related merely to the physical condition of the prisoner.
Herald’s Richmond correspondent says orders revoking the pardon of Mr. Dudley,² president of the York River R. R., emanated from President Johnson himself in consequence of Dudley, subsequent to receiving the executive clemency having indulged in strongly disloyal language.
Col. Mellon,³ of Vicksburg, was attacked by a band of robbers, near that place, a few days ago. He killed three or four and succeeded in making his escape.
FORTRESS MONROE, Aug. 31.—Jeff. Davis has been attacked with erysipelas¹ for the second time since his confinement ; the first attack was very slight, but this one is more severe, although not looked upon as serious. The health of Mr. Clay is improving.
1. Erysipelas, Greek for red skin, also known as “Ignis sacer,” “holy fire,” and “St. Anthony’s fire” in some countries), is an acute infection that typically has a skin rash on any of the legs, toes, face, arms, and fingers. It is an infection of the upper dermis and superficial lymphatics, usually caused by Beta-hemolytic group A streptococcus bacteria on scratches or otherwise infected areas. It can recur in 18-30% of cases.
2. An Alexander Dudley of King and Queen County, Virginia, was pardoned by President Johnson on July 6, 1865. The Richmond and York River Railroad was instrumental to the Confederate war effort on the Peninsula, but was wrecked during the Peninsula Campaign.
3. Probably Thomas Armour Mellon (1826-1873), who was colonel in the 3rd Mississippi Infantry, CSA. He had served in the Mexican War in the 5th Mississippi Infantry at Vicksburg (1846), and lived in Hinds County, Mississippi, which is the next county over from Vicksburg (Warren County).