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1865 May 20: Two Presidential Proclamations, Sherman and Halleck Feuding, Confederate Ram “Stonewall,” and Other News

May 22, 2015

From the May 20, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.

B Y   T E L E G R A P H.

WASHINGTON, May 9—Special to the Herald :  The representatives of the Christian Commission, who paid their respects to LEE [Robert E. Lee], have been dismissed one year.  The soldiers are to be sent to their respective capitals, and mustered out of service at once.

WASHINGTON, May 9—President Johnson [Andrew Johnson] has issued a proclamation declaring

WHEREAS, Armed resistance to the authority of the government in certain States heretofore declared to be in insurrection, may be regarded as virtually at an end, and the persons by whom that resistance was directed are fugitives or captives, and

WHEREAS, It is understood that certain cruisers are are still infesting the high seas and others are preparing to capture, burn and destroy vessels of the United States, he enjoins all naval, military and civil officers of the United States dilligently [sic] to endeavor by all lawful means to arrest the said cruisers and to bring them into a ports of the U. States, in order that they may be prevented from committing further depredations upon commerce, and that those on board of them may no longer enjoy immunity for their crimes ;  and further proclaims and declares that if, after a reasonable time shall have elapsed for proclamation to become known in ports of nations claiming to have been neutral, said insurgent cruisers and the persons board of them shall continue to receive hospitality in said ports, this government will deem itself justified in refusing hospitality to the public vessel of such nations in ports of the United States, and in adopting such other measures as may be deemed advisable toward vindicating the national sovereignty.  [paragraph break added]

The President has also issued an executive order re-establishing the authority of the United States, and executing the laws within the geographical limits known as Virginia.  It is ordered that all accounts and proceedings of political, military and civil organizations which have been in a state of insurrection against the authority and laws of the United States, and of which Jeff. Davis, John Letcher and Wm. Smith,¹ were the late respective Chiefs, are declared null and void.  All persons who shall exercise the claim are at liberty to bring to judgment confiscation, and sale of property, subject to the confiscation in force, and to the administration of justice within said States, in all matters civil and criminal, within the cognizance of the Federal Courts ;  to carry into effect the guarantee of the Federal Constitution of a republican form of State government, and afford advantage and the security of domestic laws as well as to complete the re-establishment of the authority of the laws of the United States and complete the restoration of order within the limits aforesaid.  Francis H. Pierpont, Governor of the State of Virginia, will be aided by the Federal government so far as may be necessary in the lawful measures which he may take for the extension and administration of the State government throughout the geographical limits of said State.

The Herald’s Richmond correspondence dated the 11th inst., says that although it was expected that there would be a grand review of Sherman’s army on its passage through Richmond, none took place, owing to the bad feeling between Gens. Sherman and Halleck, generated, it is understood, by the proceedings of the latter in countermanding the orders of the former to his subordinates during the truce with Jo. Johnston.  [William T. Sherman, Henry W. Halleck, Joseph E. Johnston]

The Herald’s Nassau correspondent details a visit to the rebel ram Stonewall.  When the officers were told of the surrender of Lee and Johnston, they admitted that their vessel had been brought out too late.  She was intended especially to break blockaders, and would make bad havoc among wooden vessels.

Though she crossed the Atlantic the Chief Engineer let out that he would as soon go to sea in a coffin.  Her decks were flooded half the time.  Another officer claimed that she behaved like a duck.  She was to leave Nassau on the 7th, it was believed for Galveston.  Others said she had a more important destination on the American coast.  Our fleet at Key West has been notified of her presence.

Nassau has lost all its activity.  The rebel murderers Parr, Locke and Brain, who took part in the steamer Chesapeake affair, are there, wandering about in gray uniform.  The Stonewall captured and bonded the bark [barque] New Light, from Baltimore, on her way to Nassau.

WASHINGTON, May 12.—The Mexican emigration business here, attracts little or no attention.  President Johnson and several members of the cabinet, visited Secretary Seward to-day.  The Secretary hopes to be at his office next week.

The Navy department has made arrangements to give the Stonewall a warm reception, should she attempt operations on our coast.  It is believed however, that her commander will abandon his enterprise, now that the rebellion has collapsed.

The Tribune’s Raleigh correspondent says, that the people of N. C. are as rebellious as ever.  Indeed, they are more haughty, reacting, unsubdued, and if possible more devilish than they ever were.  One would think we were the subjugated and conquered people, and not the rebels.  He cautions the North not to take one half of what they hear of the fast returning spirit of loyalty as genuine.

WASHINGTON, May 12th.—The special to the Tribune says that General Sherman refused to see General Halleck when he called on him, though the later called to explain and apologize for the language he had used in his dispatches to Mr. Stanton.  Geneaal [sic] Sherman has heretofore been about the oldest friend and defender that Halleck had among officers of the army.

Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] said to-day he was in daily expectation of hearing of the surrender of Kirby Smith.  He has been officially notified that Smith was negotiating with our forces with a view to surrender.

General Sherman telegraphs that he will remain with his troops and march with them to Alexandria.

WASHINGTON, May 13th.—The Chronicle this morning, speaking of the Court engaged in the trial of the assassination conspirators, says the only action which has been taken not in accordance with ordinary trials, is that thus far, the Court has sat with closed doors.  How long it may be necessary to maintain this precaution cannot now be decided ;  as it was adopted to ascertain the truth, and truth alone, it will not be abandoned, if the complaints of the New York press are swollen into a torrent of denunciation.

Yesterday the evidence was of so much importance as to convincingly establish the propriety of this very alternative.  The life of some witnesses depends upon this regulation, and we feel free to say that none were more conscious of its necessity than the witnesses themselves, most of whom are honorable, intelligent citizens.

ST. LOUIS, May 13.—The Cairo Republican’s special says the Shreveport, La., papers of the 27th ult contain numerous accounts of action among the military and the people of Texas, in their determination to prolong the war.  A large meeting was held at Shreveport and addressed by rebel Governor Allen,² and several officers of high rank, all taking the same ground, as Kirby Smith’s appeal, already telegraphed, and urging the soldiers and people to renew their efforts and continue the struggle.

ALBANY, May 13.—Col. Flourney, of Texas delivered a glowing panegyric on Booth [John Wilkes Booth], and compared him to Brutus, and predicted for him like enduring fame.  Kirby Smith, Gens. Price [Sterling Price], Buckner [Simon B. Buckner] and Ex-Governor Reynolds, of Missouri, were present.

Col. Sprague, Gen. Pope’s chief of staff [John Pope], was at the mouth of the Red River on the 5th inst., waiting the arrival of Kirby Smith to Negotiate terms, and believed that Smith would surrender as soon as he hears of the action of Johnston and Dick Taylor [Richard Taylor].

NEW YORK, May 12.—The man supposed to be Surratt, arrested near Chambersburg, Pa., turns out to be no conspirator of any kind, though there is reason to believe he is a fugitive from justice.

The Herald says :  The Mexican emigration fever is still spreading, and all recruiting officers are daily thronged by discharged soldiers anxious to take part in the movement.  Seven new offices were established in this city yesterday, two in Brooklyn, and others in the surrounding towns.  A public meeting to assist  in forwarding it will be held in this city very shortly.

The Times’ Washington special says :  “Gen. Hancock [Winfield S. Hancock], who was personated [sic: impersonated] by a scoundrel in the recent daring attempt at the banking swindle in Chicago, is in this city in command of the middle Department, and has not been absent for several weeks.”

RALEIGH, May 6.—Chief Justice Chase [Salmon P. Chase] will go down the coast to New Orleans, and thence up the Mississippi and back to Washington.  His visit is of a judicial character.  From him it is ascertained that the administration will continue military rule in the rebellious States until they are thoroughly reconciled to immediate emancipation and the policy of the government, which gives great satisfaction here, as it defeats the plans of Gov. Vance [Zebulon B. Vance, of North Carolina] and his influential friends, whose efforts, if successful, would bring forth a second rebellion.

WASHINGTON, May 12.—The World’s Washington special says :  It will be difficult to establish a case against the prominent persons named as accessories.  The trial, it is thought, will be very long.  It is believed that it will not be concluded much before the 1st of August, as there are some 300 witnesses.

1.  William Smith (1797-1887), known as “Extra Billy,” was the 30th (1846-49) and 35th (1864-65) governor of Virginia. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1841-43 and 1853-61) and in Virginia state politics and the Confederate Congress (1862). A few weeks after the Civil War started, Smith was present during a Union cavalry charge at the Battle of Fairfax Court House (June 1861). He took command of the Confederate troops after the death of their commander and found he liked being an officer; he then requested a commission and was appointed colonel of the 49th Virginia Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines and again at the Battle of Antietam. Smith was promoted to brigadier general as of January 1863 and commanded a brigade at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Due to his poor performance at the Battle of Gettysburg, and being governor-elect by then, Smith resigned his commission. He nevertheless received an essentially honorary promotion to major general and Assistant Inspector General  and performed recruiting duty in Virginia. He was among the first Southern governors to advocate arming slaves to provide manpower for the Confederacy, and he occasionally returned to the field to command troops in the defense of Richmond. He was removed from office and arrested on May 9, 1865, and paroled on June 8.
2.  Henry Watkins Allen (1820-1866) was the 17th governor of Louisiana, serving from January 1864 to June 2, 1865. Before the Civil War, he served in the Texas Revolution, the Mississippi House of Representatives, studied law at Harvard, and served in the Louisiana Legislature. Allen enlisted as a private in the 4th Louisiana Infantry but was quickly promoted to lieutenant colonel and six months later to colonel. He was seriously wounded at the battles of Shiloh and Baton Rouge. He became a brigadier general in August, 1863, and became the governor of Louisiana in 1864. As governor, he tried to make the state self-sufficient and also guard the civil liberties of the citizens from infringement by the military. After the War, Allen moved to Mexico City where he edited the Mexico Times and assisted in opening trade between Texas and Mexico. He died in Mexico in April of 1866.

1865 May 20: Should Jefferson Davis Be Hanged?

May 21, 2015

The following are also from the May 20, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.  The “Should Jeff. Davis be Hung?” appeared in the May 27, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press, attributed to the Journal.

Items about J. D.

—  When Jeff Davis is hung, it should be in his petticoat, and he should be swung from a liberty pole, with the American flag flying above him.

— When the war broke out Mrs. Jeff Davis was anxions [sic] to go to Washington.  She can go now, if she chooses.  He husband has now the honor of an official invitation, and a strong escort to protect him.

Jeff Davis is very much indisposed at present, and it is believed is anxions [sic] to have someone “kiss him for his mother.”

— Jeff Davis has been believed to be personally a brave man.  His cowardly and ignominious conduct preceding his capture doubtless arose from the fact that

Conscience makes cowards of us all.”¹

— The most ridiculous farce ever enacted was when Mrs. Davis informed Col. Harding that his men had better not provoke Jeff. as he would hurt some of them.  He was dangerous, certainly—armed with a knife and entrenched in a petticoat.  No doubt our brave troopers were grateful to Mrs. D. for her solicitude for their safety.

— The much-vaunted Southern Chivalry never received such a crushing humiliation as in the conduct of Jeff Davis preceding his capture.  He was their chosen chief, an aristocrat by nature, all chivalry to the tip of his eyebrows, a great, brave, profound, mighty, terrible man—he was Chivalry’s purest blossom—its sweetest pink—its tallest persimmons,—and yet in the presence of personal peril he cowered like a cur, hid under a petticoat, and run like a common thief.  Great God !  What a spectacle for a gazing world.

Should Jeff Davis be hung?

Should Jeff Davis be hung ?  He is a traitor—he stabbed at the life of the Government which had honored him, and which he had solemnly sworn to defend.

Should Jeff Davis be hung ?  He has sought for and obtained the chief place among rebels, and is the legal representative of the rebellion which has studded the land with graves thicker than the sky is studded with stars.

Should Jeff Davis be hung ?  Ask the cripple you meet on the street, whose leg has been carried away by a shot fired at his dictation.

Should Jeff Davis be hung ?  Ask the mother, whose fair, brave sleeps in an unknown grave;—ask the wife, whose husband’s life went out in one great gush of blood, as the screaming shell went crashing through the living ranks.

Should Jeff Davis be hung ?  Oh, my countrymen !  have we forgotten the cry of mortal anguish and despair, which rose from rebel prison-pens, and sobbed through the shuddering air !  Have we forgotten the “dead line”—the strong men starved into idiocy, and expiring in unspeakable pain !

Should Jeff Davis be hung ?  YES !  Let human law be vindicated, and thus with the maledictions of his country upon him, let him pass to the just judgments of an avenging God.

1.  From William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1.

1865 May 20: Confederate President Jefferson Davis Captured!

May 20, 2015

The following comes from The Prescott Journal of May 20, 1865.  The official report by General James H. Wilson was also printed in the May 27, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.

 T H E   E N D !



The end is reached.  The armies of the confederacy are dispersed–its chief is a captive in our hands. The invincible President Jefferson Davis, who a few weeks ago, declared his determination to carry on the war for twenty years in Virginia, has been captured in a Georgia Swamp.  He has found the “last ditch.”  He entrenched himself in his wife’s clothes, brandished a bowie knife, and caved.  The following telegram give the most essential particulars of his capture :

MACON, May 13–9 AM.

To Hon. E. M. Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton], Secretary of War :

Lieut. Col. Harden,¹ of the 1st Wisconsin, has just returned form Irwinville.  He struck the train of Davis at Dublin, Lawrence county, on the even of the 7th, and followed him closely night and day, through the wilderness of Alligator Creek and Green Swamp via Cumberland to Irwinville.

At Cumberlandville, Col. Harden met Col. Pritchard² with 150 picked men and horses of the 4th Michigan cavalry.—Harden followed the train directly South while Pritchard having fresh horses, pushed down the Ocmulgee [River] toward Hopswell, and thence by House Creek to Irwinville, arriving there at midnight on the 9th ;  Davis had not arrived.  From citizens, Pritchard learned that his party were encamped two miles out of the town.  He made a disposition of his men, and surrounded the camp before day.  Harden had camped at 9 P. M., within two miles, as he afterwards learned from Davis, the trail being to indistinct to follow.  He pushed on at three A. M., and and [sic] gone but little more than one mile when his advance was fired up on by men of the 4th Michigan.  A fight ensued, both parties exhibiting the greatest determination: fifteen minutes elapsed before the mistake was discovered.

The firing in this skirmish was the first warning Davis had.  The captors report that he hastily put on one of his wife’s dresses and started for the woods, closely followed by out men.  They at first thought him a woman, but seeing boots while he was running, they suspected his sex, at once.  The race was a short one.  The rebel President was soon brought to bay.

He brandished a bowie knife and showed signs of battle, but yielded promptly to the persuasions of Colt’s revolvers without compelling the men to fire.

He expressed great indignation at the energy with which he was ___, saying that he has believed our government too magnanimous to hunt down women and children

Mrs. Davis remarked to Col. Harden, after the excitement was over, that the men had better not provoke the President, as he might hurt some of them—“Regan” behaves himself with dignity and resignation.  The party evidently were making for the coast.

. . .J. H. WILSON,
Brevet Major General.

Capture of Jeff. Davis.

Whatever dignity may have been attached to Mr. JEFFERSON DAVIS as the recognized head of the Southern rebellion, is thoroughly dissipated.  His ignoble flight from Richmond, his alleged complicity with the atrocious crime of assassination, the price set upon his head and, to crown all, the ridiculous plight in which he was found by his captors, reduces his reputation to that of an ordinary felon.—St. Paul Pioneer.

1.  Henry Harden, lieutenant colonel of the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry.
2.  Benjamin Dudley Pritchard (1835-1907).

1865 May 6: The End Approaches—An Editorial

May 13, 2015

The following editorial on the end of the Civil War comes from the May 6, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.  We continue with a few more articles from May 6 because we do not have issues of the Press for May 13, only from The Prescott Journal.

The End Approaches.

The end of treason draws near.  After four years of carnage, the fire created by “firing the Southern heart” has burnt itself to a bed of cold ashes, strewn over the broad field of battle, extending from the “Potomac to the Rio Grande.”  The armies of the Union remain masters of the situation.  They have marched against the ranks of treason in every Southern State.  They have bearded the lion in his den, and with victorious banners now occupy the entire strong ___ [fold in the newspaper obscures this word].

Where is the proud “Southern Confederacy” now ?  Its Capital is peopled by Uncle Sam’s children, and the bayonet of the loyal soldier—though a negro—shines brightly in the sun, as he marches proudly over the sacred soil of Virginia’s metropolis, enforcing law and order ;  its Cabinet officers are scattered to the four winds of Heaven ;  its armies are conquered, beaten and disbanded ;  its resources are wasted ;  its debt is unpaid ;  its leading men sent head-long into poverty, and its President, the vilest wretch of all the traitor crew, is a fugitive from justice—an outlaw, seeking with the craftiness of a thief to steal out of the land he has so long dishonored with his contaminating presence.

The vile wretch.  We fear after all that the gallows will get cheated of its due.

And where, O where ! is Toombs [Robert A. Toombs], and Cobb [Howell Cobb], and the other fellows who “fired the Southern heart ;” and that bloated pimp, Wigfall [Louis T. Wigfall], of Texas—the fire-eater and whiskey soaker ?  They too are running—evidently forgetting to hide in that “last ditch.”

And thus the boasted “Southern Confederacy,” whose corner stone was the poor despised negro’s back, has fallen to pieces, and Sambo is master now ;  for with the blue coat, and bright musket, he stands sentinel over the trator’s [sic] cities, and the traitor citizens are made to respect him as a loyal man.  In the language of a popular song,

“The whip am lost and the hand-cuff broken
And the master’s got his pay,
He’s old enough, big ’nough, and oughter knowed better,
Than to went and run’d away.¹

When we look over the events of the past four years, we can but wonder at the mighty results which have transpired.  From a peaceable and commercial people, we have been changed to a nation of warriors.—Great battles have been fought and won ;  cities have been destroyed, and the whole land deluged in blood.  The manicles [sic] of the slave have been stricken from his limbs, and he has gained his liberty forever more.  In the “mudsils” and “greasy mechanics” of the North have been found the elements of victory, and by their strong arms and stout hearts they have taught the rotten epithet flinging aristocracy of the South, that they are the true noblemen of the soil.  In the hearts of the loyal people the deep seated principle of universal Liberty has remained steadfast to the glorious end.  By the firmness and power of the Administration the Union has been preserved, the Constitution protected and upheld, and the Laws vindicated and enforced.

And now at the end of these four years of war and civil commotion, the curtain rises upon the last act—the fearful tragedy is ended in the assassination of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the nation’s second Washington.

And the end approaches.  Peace, though laggard, will soon shine serenely over all, and “in the future as in the past” the country will remain one and indivisible.  God be praised.

1.  The last lines of a song entitled “Kingdom Coming.” The Library of Congress has two published versions of the song. The words are slightly different than the ones used here.

De whip am lost, hand-cuff broken;
….But old massa will hab his pay—
He’s old enough and big enough, and ought to known better,
….Than to went and run away.

De whip is lost, de han’-cuff broken,
….but de massa’ll hab his pay;
He’s ole enough, big enough, ought to known better,
….dan to went, an’ run away.

From the Library of Congress, American Memory

From the Library of Congress, American Memory

1865 May 6: Results of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, Lincoln’s Funeral Train in Philadelphia, Washburn Outlaws Rebels in Tennessee, Jeff Davis Still a Fugitive

May 12, 2015

Following are the smaller items from both of our newspapers of May 6, 1865.

From The Polk County Press:

— Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] has returned to Washington with the fresh laurels won in the field where Sherman [William T. Sherman] had failed, and is taking measures to send 400,000 of our war scarred veterans to their homes, leaving, perhaps, 100,000 for garrison duty in the South, and to put down guerrillas

— Henry Heyneman who, at the commencement of the rebellion, made a vow that when our armies captured Richmond he would walk the whole distance from Boston to Washington, and carry an American flag, will start on his lengthy pedestrian tour on Monday next, at 8 o’clock.  A beautiful silk flag has been presented to him by Mayor Lincoln, in behalf of the city.

— About the most impertinent bit gossip that has lately crept into some of the journals alleged that the assassin Booth [John Wilkes Booth] was engaged to a daughter of the Hon. John P. Hale.  The National Republican says: “There is not slightest truth in the statement.  Booth attempted to force his attentions upon Miss Hale, but she always manifested decided aversion to the handsome villain.

— By the terms of the surrender of Lee [Robert E. Lee] and Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston], all the rebel troods [sic] in Virginis North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, have laid down their arms.  The guerrilla bands under Mosby in Virginia and Morgan’s freebooters in Tennessee and Kentucky have followed the example.  Dick Taylor [Richard Taylor], whose command appears to embrace all the country between the Chattahoochie [sic] and Mississippi, is already treating for surrender on the same terms.

— A proposition has been started that Ford’s Theater in Washington, the scene of the assassination of President Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln], should be purchased, the building removed, and a monument erected on the spot to tell to future generations that there felt the first martyr of the American Republic to the cause of universal freedom.  The project is well received and heartily commended by the press and people.  An amount sufficient to purchase the spot and erect the monument would, without doubt, be readily subscribed by the people, if the measure should be placed in the hands of respocible [sic] parties.

BOOTH’S BODY.—Very great curiosity prevails as to the disposition to be made of the remains of Booth, but it seems that the authorities are not inclined to give the wrenched carcass the honor of meeting public gaze, and it will probably be deposited in whatever place promises the most utter obscurity.  A photographic view of the body was taken before it was removed from the monitor.  It was placed in an ordinary grey army blanket, in which it was sewed up.  A plain box, measuring six feet by two, had been previously made in a joiner’s shop for the remains, but it was not used.

— The rebel ram Columbia, which was found hard and fast aground, up a creek at Charleston, is described by the naval officers as a well-equipped and superior vessel, which will be worth half a million of dollars, if she can be got off.  Three other ironclads, the Palmetto State, Chicora and Charleston, lying in the stream, were blown up before the evacuation.

— “THE BLACK REPUBLICAN” is the significant title of a newspaper established in New Orleans by colored men.  It is edited, the type set, and the editions worked off by men who probably were slaves a year or two ago.

— The end of the war many be dated from Johnston’s surrender.  There will be yet some confusion, some fighting with detached bands of guerrillas and robbers, but scarcely enough to make a sensation paragraph in a newspaper.

— The Herald’s Washington special says Gen. Grant, immediately on his return to Washington, starts upon making arrangements for the contemplated decrease for the armies.— It is thought the army will soon be reduced 400,000 men.

— Two women on the train from Skowhegan, Me., a day or two since, expressed themselves in an offensive manner, exulting over the murder of the President.  On their arrival in Augusta, they were quietly delivered over to Col. Littler, at the request of the conductor, and lodged in jail.

— Testimony from various sources is printed to show that President Johnson [Andrew Johnson] has never been a drinking man, and that he was overcome on inauguration day by a small glass of brandy, taken by the advice of a friend, to give him strength for the duties of the day, he having been sick in bed for a day or two previous.

— The “Times’ ” Washington special says in the further progress of the p[r]eliminary examination to the assassin conspiracy arrests are constantly being made, and thus far the whole number taken into custody will reach nearly 35.  The trial of these conspirators will be commenced, however, before a military commission.  If upon this hearing the same facts are brought out that have been disclosed in the preliminary examination the magnitude of the plot will astonish the whole country.

— The term granted Johnshn [sic: Johnston] embrace in the surrender four armies of the military district of the west, but excluding the fifth, that of Dick Taylor’s, lying west of the Chattahoogchie [sic] river.  Among the Generals surrendered is Beauregard [P.G.T. Beauregard].  The principle among the Lieut. Generals is Hardee [William J. Hardee].  Bragg [Braxton Bragg], lately relieved of command was not surrendered.—Wade Hampton refused to be surrendered and is reported to have been shot by Johnson in an altercation,¹ but a more trustworthy report is that he fled in company with Davis [Jefferson Davis].—The number actually surrendered is 27,400 although more names are given.  All the militia from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and the Gulf States are included.

— The Herald’s Mobile correspondent says our forses [sic] captured there 215 heavy guns, 10,000 stand of arms, and 30,000 bales of cotton, besides immense quantities of corn and other grains, and it is estimated that 100,000 bales of cotton and 75,000 bbls. of rosin are hidden in the swomps [sic] along the Alabama River most of which is within reach of our forces.  Over 10,000 stragglers from the rebel army have given themselves up, and guerila [sic] bands infest the neighborhood of our lines, and a party of them went to the battle house on the night of the 14th, intending to assassinate Gen. Granger [Gordon Granger], who fortunately was not there.

— The Lincoln Monument Association has been officially organized for donations to be made during the second week in May.  Every loyal man, woman and child will contribute toward this sacred fund.

From The Prescott Journal:

The News.

The News of the week is important and cheering.  J. Wilkes Booth, the assassin of the President, has been caught and killed.  He was taken about sixty miles from Washington, together with an accomplice.  In a barn.  He refused to surrender, and was shot.  He lived about two hours after he was shot, and died amid terrible suffering cursing his country.  He thus met a fitting fate was hunted down and killed like a dog, and buried in an unknown grave.  Several others implicated in the conspiracy have been arrested, and it is probable that the whole plot will be brought to light and all concerned in it punished.

— Johnston has surrendered his entire army to Sherman on the same terms on which Lee [Robert E. Lee] surrendered to Grant.  Johnston’s command embraced all the rebel troops in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  There is no rebel army now in existence expect the one under Gen. Kirby Smith, in Texas, and this will doubtless now surrender.

THE WAR IS ENDED !  Peace has not been formally declared, but it nevertheless actually exists.  We shall soon see our victorious armies disbanded and at home, and the Second American Revolution will pass into history.  Of course, there will be many important and complicated questions growing out of the settlement of the war, but these will be referred to the arbitration of statesmanship, and amicably adjusted.  “Hail Columbia !  happy land !”

— Orders have been issued by the War Department to all proper officers to proceed with the necessary arrangements at once for the mustering out and paying of all soldiers not in the regular army.


OUTLAWING REBELS.—Gen. C. C. WASHBURN, commanding the district of Memphis, has issued an order reciting that further fighting on the part of confederate soldiers within his district can only be from a spirit of malice or robbery, and without hope of good to the Confederate States ;  that a few such bands are yet in Tennessee, keeping the citizens in a state of alarm, and, when captured, claim to be confederate soldiers.  He notifies such that, if captured within his district after the 25th inst., they will not be treated as prisoners of war, but held for trial as felons.  The order is not intended to discourage any from laying down their arms and taking the amnesty oath, but declares that those in west Tennessee who continue in open hostility shall not be exchanged or allowed to take the amnesty oath when captured.

THE FUGITIVE JEFF. DAVIS.—It is stated on the authority of rebel officers, that the news of Lee’s surrender reached Jeff. Davis at Danville three days after his proclamation, and Jeff. left at daylight next morning for Greensboro.  Jeff. stated that, if hard pushed, he should go to Texas, where he was sure he could rally an army around him and make another stand, and that he should never leave the limits of the Confederacy.  The New Orleans Delta reports that “Davis, accompanied by a body guard of Texas cavalry, crossed the Mississippi at Laney Bend on Sunday, the 16th, and moved rapidly toward the Atchafalya river.  He escaped entirely the observation of our naval forces.”  If these accounts are reliable it seems pretty certain that the traitor has escaped the hands of justice.

Engine of Lincoln's funeral train

Engine of Lincoln’s funeral train²

HONORS TO THE DEAD PRESIDENT IN PENNSYLVANIA.—At Harrisburg crowds of people thronged to see all that was mortal of President LINCOLN, and all along the route the passage of the train was watched by eager crowds, who stood with uncovered heads as the funeral cortege passed by, flags at half mast, and emblems of mourning, being everywhere displayed, and all places where the train stopped, the people seeking to get at least a glimpse of the casket containing the

Lincoln's funeral car

Lincoln’s funeral car³

precious remains.  The body lay in state in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, all day Sunday, the 23d, to which it was escorted by an immense procession seven miles long and from four to twelve persons deep.  Thousands upon thousands thronged to see once more “the form they loved so well.”

AN INFECTED DISTRICT IN MARYLAND.—A dispatch from Secretary STANTON says, “the counties of Prince George’s, Charles, and St. Mary’s have, during the whole war, been noted for hostility to the government and protection to the rebel blockade-runners, rebel spies, and every species of public enemy.  The murderers of the President harbored there before the murder, and Booth fled in that direction.  If he escapes, it will be owing to rebel accomplices in that region.  The military commander of the district will surely take measures to bring these rebel sympathizers and accomplices in the murder to a sense of their criminal conduct.”

TIME TO STOP.—The rush upon President JOHNSON by all manner of men and women to see him, make speeches at him, and extort speeches in return, finally became unendurable, and with the reception of a delegation of sufferers and refugees from the border States on Monday, the gates were peremptorily shut on that sort of thing.  It was time to stop.  If the process had been continued, the President would soon have had time for nothing else.  He will have to take care now that he do [sic] not have the life worried out of him, by personal boring of office seekers.

THE TABLES TURNED.—Major DICK TURNER,4 the rebel commandant of Libby Prison, who perpetrated so many cruelties on the Union soldiers confined there, was captured the other day and brought into Richmond.  He was dressed as a private, but was recognized and would have been shot by an officer who had been one of his victims, but he begged so humbly that his life was spared.  He has been committed to the Libby, to be fed on bread and water.

THE CHICAGO CONSPIRACY.—The trial of the conspirators engaged in attempting to release the rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas, and fire the city, was concluded some days since.  Gen. HOOKER [Joseph Hooker] has issued an order promulgating the findings of the military commission.  Judge MORRIS and MARMADUKE are acquitted ;  WALSH is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, and SEMMES to three years’.  GRENFEL’S [sic] sentence is not announced, but it is said to be death.5

MOBILE.—In  dispatch dated Mobile 5 P. M., April 14th, Gen. CANBY [Edward Canby] reports :  “We found in Mobile and its defences on the west side of the bay over 150 guns, a very large amount of ammunition and supplies of all kinds, and about 1,000 prisoners.  The quantity of cotton will probably reach 30,000 bales, with a large amount of provisions and forage.”  No cotton was burned.  The mayor formally surrendered the city about three o’clock on the 12th, tendering the services of pilots to bring our fleet safely to the city.—Gen. Granger met with the most enthusiastic reception on entering the city, from the people, glad to be delivered from rebel oppression.  A new paper has been started called the News.  Rebel deserters are arriving in large numbers, the most liberal treatment being promised.  There is a great rush by the people to take the oath.  All citizens are required to report forthwith to the provost marshal and deliver up all arms.

TESTIMONIAL.—New York dispatches say, “a plan is on foot to erect a monument to the memory of Abraham Lincoln ;  the expense to be defrayed by dollar subscriptions.  Over 5,000 names are already appended to the list.  It is proposed to erect the monument in this city.  Several ladies propose starting a subscription for the ladies of America to present Mrs. Lincoln with a comfortable home.

IMPORTANT DECISION BY ATTORNEY GENERAL SPEED.—The Attorney General of the United States [James Speed] has decided that, under the terms of capitulation, LEE’S officers have no right to come to loyal States ;  that former residents of Washington, who have been in the civil service of the rebellion ;  and that rebel officers have no right to wear their uniforms in loyal States.

Mr. LINCOLN’S REMAINS.—A Washington letter speaking of the remains of the late President says :  “Death has fastened into his frozen face all the character and idiosyncracy [sic] of life.  He has not changed in one line of his grave countenance.  The mouth is shut like that of one who had put his foot down firmly ;  and so are the eyes, which look as calm as if in slumber.”

THEIR BEST FRIEND.—The National Intelligencer says, “A member of the Cabinet remarked, on the day after the murder of Mr. Lincoln, that the rebels had lost their best friend—that Mr. Lincoln warmly at every Cabinet meeting, counseled forbearance, kindness and mercy toward these misguided men.”

Finger002  Nearly all the Union prisoners in rebel hands have now been exchanged, but we still have between 60,000 and 70,000 rebel prisoners in our hands, to be exchanged, and in addition to these, the paroled men of Lee’s army stand to our credit on the exchange account.

Finger002  The leading rebels in Toronto, Canada, with a Southern Clergyman at their head had a carnival in honor of Mr. LINCOLN’S assassination.  So says the Globe.

Finger002  What is known as the Mather place at Springfield [Ill.], with adjoining lots, has been purchased for the burial grounds of Mr. LINCOLN.  The price paid was $53,000.

Finger002  The great clock that stands on the walk in front of the Fifth Avenue House, New York, and which had not stopped since the building was erected, is now motionless, and the hands indicate 22 minutes past 7—the point of time when Mr. LINCOLN breathed his last.

1.  Hampton surrendered along with General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina. Hampton was reluctant to surrender, and nearly got into a personal fight with Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick (often called “Kill-Cavalry”) at the Bennett Farm.
2.  “[Engine ‘Nashville’ of the Lincoln funeral train],” taken in 1865, printed later. A digital copy is available from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-ppmsca-23855 (digital file from original) LC-USZ62-11964 (b&w film copy neg.).
3.  “[President Abraham Lincoln’s railroad funeral car],” Samuel M. Fassett, photographer, Chicago, 1865. A digital copy is available from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-ppmsca-19404 (digital file from original print) LC-USZC4-1832 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-14841 (b&w film copy neg.).
4.  Libby Prison’s commandant was Major Thomas Pratt Turner, often confused with another Libby official, Richard R. “Dick” Turner (no relation), who was universally despised by the prisoners and was investigated for the criminal treatment of prisoners by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton
5.  Conspirators:

  • Buckner Stith Morris (1800-1879), a former mayor of Chicago (1838-9), former judge, and frequent speaker at local Democratic club meetings. Although he had met Lincoln in his circuit-riding days, Morris was always critical of Lincoln’s administration.
  • Vincent Marmaduke (1831-1904), younger brother of Confederate General John S. Marmaduke.
  • Charles Walsh.
  • Richard T. Semmes, a fledgling lawyer whose older brother belonged to Judge Morris’ law firm.
  • George St. Leger Grenfell (1808-1868?) was a British soldier of fortune who, after immigrating the the U.S., fought for the Confederacy. He resigned from the Confederate Army in 1864 to join a plot to take over the governments of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and establish a Northwestern Confederacy. When the plan to take over Chicago was discovered, Grenfell and some 150 others were arrested. In what became known as the “Chicago Conspiracy,” Grenfell was tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang, although his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment due to the efforts of the British Minister to the United States. In 1868, Colonel Grenfell and three others escaped in a small boat from the prison at Fort Jefferson and Grenfell was never heard from again.

1865 May 6: The 11th Wisconsin at the Battle of Fort Blakely

May 11, 2015

From the May 6, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.  The Battle of Fort Blakely took place from April 2-9, 1865, in Alabama, as part of the Mobile Campaign.



The Cincinnati Gazette has a finely written account of the operations before Mobile, and the final occupation of that city.  One of the strongest defences of the city was Blakeley, in the storming of which the 11th Wisconsin, under command of Maj. MILLER,¹ won great distinction.  Col. HARRIS,² of the 11th, commanded a brigade.  We extract the account of the storming of Blakeley :


As I looked through the embrasures constructed for Capt. Rice’s guns, and saw the nature and extent of the ground over which our soldiers must pass in order to reach the enemy, I felt my heart almost sink within me.  It would be impossible for them to move in line.  Each man must climb and clamber for himself, and that over a distance of nearly seven hundred yards, through masses of matted timber, which really seemed insurmountable.  There could be none of the moral power and courage which moving in line of battle gives.  The strength of each stout soul must alone sustain its owner as he made the fearful journey.  There could be none of the enthusiasm and excitement produced by gallant officers careering around on spirited chargers.  From the Major General down to the private soldier, each must scramble along on foot—each one must pick and push his way through the tangled mass of timber at the same time that he breasted the fir from the works.


Our advance skirmishers began to feel their way, and the rebels immediately opened their artillery.  Now it so happened that the point where Gens. Garrard³ and McArthur [John McArthur] were stationed, (a little to the left of the 17th Ohio battery,) although the best for observation, was probably the most exposed of any along the whole line ;  for it was just at the mouth of a ravine which the enemy had all along taken special pains to sweep with his cannon.  A storm of shot and shell tore through the air immediately around us, and shivered to atoms some pine trees in our rear.  I stooped into the trench, and saw lying there the fragments of a shell which had burst almost at the feet of Major Sample.  The brave General McArthur stood cool and collected upou [sic] the works, glass in hand, to watch the advance of the skirmishers, as did also Colonel Harris, who was here near the center of his brigade.  It seemed impossible that they should escape, and General Gerrard warned both to descend for a moment into the ditch.  The next instant a huge shell darted like lightning within a couple of feet of them, and with a stunning shock exploded into fragments just beyond.  Both then betook themselves for a few minutes to such poor shelter as the trench afforded.


At six o’clock the advance of our skirmish lines had fairly begun ;  and the regiments I have named as constituting what may be called the first line of Gen. Garrard’s division, were moving with loud shouts towards the rebel works.  Then all sense of danger from shells or bullets was forgotten by those who remained behind, and hundreds who had hitherto lain closely in the trenches, jumped up and cheered on their comrades.

I looked with the rest and the scene was indeed a strange one.  Wreaths of thin, blue smoke were curling around the rebel ramparts, lit up continually by spurts and flashes of vindictive fire.  A rolling sound, like the call to battle, beaten upon a thousand drums, pulsated through the air.  Never for a moment did the fire slacken—not for an instant was there an intermission in the sound.  Secure behind their works, the rebel foe poured a continuous stream of bullets in the faces of the advancing soldiers.

And these were moving on, not in line of battle or in mass, nor yet in confusion or pell mell.  Each man had his own obstacle to encounter, while all glanced from time to time at the flags of their respective regiments, ready to form in serried phalanx the in[_]ant the nature of the ground would admit.  At one point they could be seen leaping successively over the huge trunk of a fallen tree ;  at another, they pushed and crept through a wilderness of tangled branches.  Here they disappeared for a moment in the depths of a ravine ;  there they leaped a line of obstacles at a bound.  But whether climbing, leaping or creeping, they still held their faces steadily toward the enemy ;  still looked steadily in the face of that line of angry fire ;  and scarcely deigning to discharge a musket in return, except at the rebel skirmishers who fled wildly before them, seeking the shelter of their works, they still advanced.  Now they have reached the abattis, and are pushing the sharpened branches aside with their bayonets.


A ringing cheer sounded along our lines.—A short, sharp struggle takes place at the foot of the rebel rampart.  Our men have flung themselves across the ditch, and are clambering up the outer slope of the works.  Another moment, and something flashes like a meteor through the smoke and fire.  Thank God, it is the sacred banner of the stars !  It floats as ever mid the storm of battle, the emblem of liberty and light ;  and in an instant long lines of blue-coated soldiers are ranged upon either side of it, standing proudly erect upon the crest of the hostile works !

It was the flag of the 11th Wisconsin, whose appearance there, betokening victory, sent a thrill through all hearts, and made each man who looked upon it, as it fluttered over the rebel breastworks, envy the heroes who had placed it there.  O, the ecstasy of that moment to the patriot soul, when the banner which symbolizes to him all the dearest objects of his enthusiasm, his reverence and his love—that flag whose every fold is bright with the light of freedom, amid whose brilliant stripes cluster sweet thoughts of country and of home ;  and whose every star speaks of the strength and glory of the Republic—how grand the moment when, after being borne by gallant hands amid the storm of battle, it is seen to flash at last upon the defenses of the foe, revealing the fact of victory !

The last rays of the setting sun struggling through the branches of the trees that fringed the river, fell on that waving flag ;  and I could almost fancy that the ray of light was the glance of a blessed angel, who, looking upon our banner through a curtain of clouds, had sailed in joy to see it once more triumphant, and had illumed it with the smile.

Scarce had the loud shout which greeted the appearance of the flag of the 11th Wisconsin broken forth, when my attention was directed a little further towards our left, and I saw the flag of the 119th Illinois also fluttering over the works.  Those of other regiments in the advance line were soon placed there also by the stout hands which bore them and the stern bayonets that guarded them.

1.  Jesse Stoddard Miller (1838-1923), from Richland Center, first joined Company K of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry (3 months). After mustering out, he re-enlisted as captain of the Richland County Plowboys, which became Company D of the 11th Wisconsin Infantry. In August 1863, he was promoted to major and commanded the regiment until June 16, 1865, when he mustered out. After the Civil War, Miller study law and was admitted to the bar; then manufactured sash, door, and blinds; was appointed foreman of the State Prison at Waupan; moved to Chicago (1872) where he was a contractor and builder; and finally moved to Nebraska where he practiced law and and served as the county attorney of Boone County and as assistant city attorney and city prosecutor of Omaha.
2.  Charles L. Harris (1834-1910) graduated from West Point but chose to study law instead of joining the military. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the 1st Wisconsin Infantry and shortly after became colonel of the 11th Wisconsin. He was wounded at the Battle of Cotton Plant (July 7, 1862) and later was given command of brigade operations at St. Louis. In 1863, the 11th Wisconsin was attached to the XIX Corps and they participated in the Battle of Port Gibson and the Red River Campaign. In 1864, they were assigned to the XVI Corps. Harris mustered out September 4, 1865. After the War, he moved to Nebraska where he where he worked as a lawyer and merchant, and became a Nebraska State Senator. Interestingly, Jesse Miller, followed him to Nebraska.
3.  Kenner Garrard (1827-1879) was member of a prominent Ohio military family—two brothers and a cousin were also Civil War generals—and his grandfather was the second governor of Kentucky. He graduated from West Point in 1851. He participated in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Garrard led a cavalry division during the Atlanta Campaign. He developed a reputation for personal bravery and was cited for gallantry at the Battle of Nashville as an infantry division commander. He ended the war in Alabama and was instrumental in the capture of Montgomery.

1865 May 6: Biographical Sketch of Mr. Lincoln

May 10, 2015

The following sketch of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln comes from the May 6, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.

M I S C E L L E A N E O U S.

Biographical Sketch of Mr. Lincoln.

The following condensed sketch of the life of Abraham Lincoln, previously to his assumption of the presidency, which is compiled from the American Cyclopedia, will be read interest :

Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, on the 12th of February, 1800, and was, therefore, a little over fifty-six years old when he died.  His ancestors, who were Quakers of an humble class, went from Barks county, Va. and from there his grandfather, Abraham, removed with his family to Kentucky, about 1784.  Thomas Lincoln the father of Abraham, was born in Virginia, and in 1806 married Nancy Hanks, also of Virginia, both belonging to the class of “poor whites.”  In 1816 he removed with his family to Spencer county, Indiana, when Abraham being large for his age, was put to work with an axe to clear away the forest, and for the next ten years was mostly occupied in hard labor on his father’s farm.  He went to school at intervals, amounting in the aggregate to about a year, which was all the school education he ever received.  At the age of nineteen, he made a trip to New Orleans as a hired hand upon a flat-boat.  In March 1830, he removed with his father, from Indiana and settled in Macon county, Illinois, where he helped to build a log cabin for the family home, and to make enough rails to fence a ten acre lot.

In the following year he hired himself at twelve dollars a month, to assist in building a flat-boat, and afterward in taking the boat to New Orleans.  On his return from the voyage his employer put him in charge as clerk of a store and mill at New Salem, then in Sangamon, now Menard county, Illinois.  On the breaking out of the Black Hawk war in 1832, he joined a volunteer company, and to his surprise, was elected captain of it, a promotion which he was wont to say gave him more pleasure than any subsequent success of his life.  He served for three months in the campaign, and on his return was in the same year nominated a Whig candidate for the Legislature ;  but the county being democratic, he was beated [bested?] ;  though his own election election [sic] precinct gave him 277 votes and only seven against him.  He next opened a country store, which was not prosperous, was appointed Postmaster of New Salem and now began to study law by borrowing from a neighboring lawyer books, which he took home in the evening and returned in the morning.  The surveyor of Sangamon county, offered to depute to him that portion of his work which was in his part of the county.  Mr. Lincoln procured a compass and chain and treaties on surveying and did the work.  In 1834 he was elected to the Legislature by a larger vote than was cast for any candidate, and was re-elected in 1836, 1838 and 1840.  In 1836, he removed to Springfield, and began to study law.  He rose rapidly to distinction in his profession, and was especially eminent as advocate in jury trial.  He did not, however, withdraw from politics, but continued for many years a prominent leader of the Whig party of Illinois.  He was several times a candidate for Presidential elector, and as such, in 1844, he canvassed the entire State, together with part of Indiana, in behalf of Henry Clay, making almost daily speeches to large audiences.  In 1846 he was elected a Pepresentative [sic] in Congress from the Central District of Illinois.  In Congress he voted 42 times for the Wilmot Proviso.¹  In 1849 he offered to the house a scheme for abolishing Slavery in the District of Columbia, by compensating the slaveholders from the Territory of the United States, providing a majority of the citizens of the District should ratify the proposition.  He opposed the annexation of Texas, but voted to defray the expenses of the Mexican war.  He voted also in favor of river and harbor improvements, in favor of a protective tariff and for selling the public lands at the lowest cash price.

He was a member of the Whig National Convention of 1843, and advocated the nomination of Gen. Taylor.  In 1849 he was a candidate for the United States Senate, against Gen. Shields, who was elected.  Alter the expiration of his Congressional term, Mr. Lincoln applied himself to his profession till the repeal of the Missouri Compromise called him again into the political arena.  It was mainly due to his exertions that the Republicans triumphed, and that Judge Trumbull was elected U. S. Senator in place of Gen. Shields.

At the Republican National Convention in 1856, the Illinois delegation ineffectually urged Mr. Lincoln’s nomination for Vice President.

On June 2d, 1858, Mr. Lincoln received the unanimous nomination of the Republican State Convention at Springfield as U. S. Senator in opposition to Mr. Douglas [Stephen A. Douglas].  The two candidates canvassed the State together, speaking on the same day at the same place.  The debate was conducted with eminent ability on both sides, and excited unusual interest.  The result of the election was a Republican majority of 4,000 on the popular vote—but the latter was elected Senator by the Legislature, in which his party had a majority of eight votes.

The national reputation won by Mr. Lincoln in his triumphant tilt with the Democratic champion secured him the nomination for the Presidency by the Republican National Convention, which assembled at Chicago on May 16, 1860.

In consequence of the disruption of the Democratic party, the Southern wing of which nominated John C. Breckinridge, and the Northern Stephen A. Douglas as his competitors, he was duly elected President of the United States—and this event, which was contemplated and contrived by the Southern Democratic leaders as a pretext for secession, was at once hailed as a signal for consummating the great conspiracy of Disunion, which had been on foot for many years.  And when, four months afterward, Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated—a new and vast organized power disputed his constitutional authority to execute the laws of the United States over nearly one half of the national domain.

How this plain and simple man met this prodigious peril to the life of the Republic, how he foiled this mighty public enemy, step by step, and how he finally put it under his feet—these constitute the history of his eventful administration, a brief notice of which we intended to make here, but which, as we approach it, unfolds in so many grand and impressive aspects, as to compel us to postbone [sic] a review of it to an occasion when when [sic] we have more space and time.  Into these last four years of his life are crowded centuries of history.  What has been accomplished, how wisely and how well the mighty work entrusted to Mr. Lincoln has been done, no one needs a verbal reminder.

1.  The Wilmot Proviso, would have banned slavery in any territory to be acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War. It was one of the events—like the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act—that led to the Civil War.


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