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1865 October 14: Little Piece of Secret History–How the Confederates Got Lee to Join Their Side

October 16, 2015

The following article comes from The Polk County Press of October 14, 1865.

A Little Piece of Secret History.

Mr. Montgomery Blair has published in Washington a letter, from which we get at another reason for the sudden order of Jeff. Davis to Beauregard [P.G.T. Beauregard] to open on Fort Sumpter.  General, then Colonel, Lee [Robert E. Lee], it seems, was offered the command of the armies of the Union.  He hesitated.  Mr. Blair writes :

“My father¹ was authorized by the President [Abraham Lincoln] and Mr. Cameron [Simon Cameron], Secretary of War, to converse with General Lee, and ascertain whether he would accept the command of our army in the field.  The latter was written for, and he met my father at my house, where they conversed for an hour or more.  It was a few days before the ordinance was passed.  General Lee concluded the conversation by saying secession was anarchy, and, added if he owned the four million slaves in the South, he would cheerfully sacrifice them to the union ;  but he did not know how he could draw his sword on his native State.  He said he would see General Scott [Winfield Scott] on the subject before he decided.”

But he was caught up by some Virginia friends, who lay in wait for him, and he did not get to see Gen. Scott :

“A committee from the Virgina convention, while the General and my father conversed, were hunting for him through the city.  They met on his leaving the house.  He repaired with them, to consult with the convention, as I have since learned, about some mode of settlement. “

The secessionists on this committee, who were determined to have no settlement, and were also anxious to secure Lee, saw that action was necessary and telegraphed to that effect to the rebel leaders.  The result was Davis’ order to open fire on Sumter ;  and that crazy-headed old hanger-on of Calhoun [Calhoun], Edmund Ruffin, of Virgina fired the first gun.  As Lee’s Virgina confidents [sic] foresaw, he went over immediately.  General Scott and General Thomas [Thomas], who are also Virginians, did not go over to the enemies of their country.  Neither did General Philip St. George Cooke.  Neither did General John W. Davidson nor General L. P. Graham, nor General William Hays, nor General John Newton, all of whom were Virginians by birth and education.  Nor did scores of other officers of lower rank, all Virginians, and all faithful to the Union.  But Edmond Ruffin’s first gun brought down Lee—as his last gun brought down himself.

1.  Francis Preston Blair, Sr. (1791-1876) personally conveyed Lincoln’s offer to Robert E. Lee to command all the Union armies, which Lee rejected, as we see here. After Lincoln’s re-election, Blair organized the abortive Hampton Roads Conference, where peace terms were discussed with the Confederates, but no substantial issues resolved.  Francis Preston Blair, Jr., was Montgomery Blair’s brother.

1865 October 14: The 30th Wisconsin Comes Home

October 15, 2015

The following front page article comes from the October 14, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.

The Thirtieth.

The 30th Reg. is home.  So large a proportion of the officers and men of this Reg. went from this part of the State, that it has been watched here with more than usual interest.

No regiment in the State was made up of better material, or has more creditably discharged the duties which it was called on to perform.  So trusty was its character and so orderly its deportment that it was long kept in the State, engaged in the difficult and delicate duty of enforcing the draft.  Sent from the State into the far Indian country, it had no opportunity of winning laurels in battle, but it had much hard work, which was cheerfully done.

For considerable time past the regiment has been doing provost duty in Kentucky and has been remarkable for its efficiency, and honorable soldierly conduct.  Many of its members have been detailed to important  places, and Col. DILL has most of the time been Provost Marshal General of the State, and received high praise for the manner in which he filled that difficult position.  [Daniel J. Dill]

The boys are welcome home.  As they left bearing our warm wishes for their safe return, so now we rejoice that so many of them are spared to share in the prosperity and enjoy the peace which again blesses the land.

1865 October 14: Telegraph Summary

October 14, 2015

Once again The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press of October 14, 1865, both have inside pages from a Milwaukee paper.  The following news summary appeared in both of our local newspapers.


Jefferson Davis was removed Monday from the casement in which he has been confined to quarters in Carroll Hall.

The State Convention of Georgia unanimously adopted an ordinance declaring the act of Secession null and void.

The veteran reserve corps will be disbanded in a few days, the regular army having been recruited sufficiently to supply its place.

General Conner [sic], commanding the expedition against the Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arraphoes, has returned to Fort Laramie.  He has fought four pitched battles with the Indians, suffering a loss of only 27, while the savages had 400 or 600 killed and a large number of wounded.  [Patrick E. Connor]

Proposals are out for a government loan of $50,000,000,—5-30’s—payment to be made in compound interest notes, treasury notes, and certificates of indebtedness.

At Paducah, recently, white soldiers attacked negro troops and killed five or six of them.

The provisional governor of Mississippi has issued a proclamation accepting a proposition from the freedmen’s bureau to transfer all negro cases to the civil courts of the State, on condition that the freedmen shall be accorded all the rights and privileges extended to whites.  Orders have been issued from the freedman’s bureau in Louisiana to a similar effect.

Chaplain Callahan,¹ of the Freedman’s [sic] Bureau in Louisiana, has been arrested by General Canby [Edward Canby], on account, among other things, of his recent arrest and trial of Judge Weems.²

The United States district court, at St. Louis, Tuesday announced that the oath prescribed by the act of Congress of January 24th, 1865, was a rule of the court ;  whereupon several attorneys who had refused to take the state constitutional oath subscribed to the federal obligation.

The President [Andrew Johnson] is said to be strongly disposed to set aside the Louisiana constitution, of 1864, and to appoint a provisional governor ;  but Gov. Wells [James M. Wells] does not meet with favor in his eyes.

The democratic State convention of Louisiana have nominated J. M. Wells for governor.

It has been decided gradually to muster out the colored troops stationed in the Northern States, including Kentucky.

Accounts from Mexico continue to be of a most contradictory character.  According to one statement, the imperialists are sweeping everything before them ;  while other statements give tidings of uninterrupted republican success.

It is believed that a large portion of the military forces congregated on the north-western frontier, will soon be withdrawn.

Major Generals Casey and Heintzelman, of the volunteer service, have been ordered to rejoin their regiments in the regular army.  The former is colonel of the 4th regiment of infantry and the latter of the 17th.  [Silas Casey, Samuel P. Heintzelman]

Dr. Gwin, and ex-Governor Clark of Missouri have been arrested and committed to Fort Jackson.³

Dr. Gwin and ex-Governor Clark, of Missouri, are on their way to Washington from New Orleans, under arrest.

An Augusta paper states that a dispatch has been received at Atlanta announcing that Alexander H. Stephens has been pardoned, and will return to his home.

A Philadelphia dispatch asserts that Gen. Grant, a few days ago, declared that our government would vindicate the Monroe doctrine ;  that Maximilian must leave Mexico ;  and that President Johnson would take open ground in the matter on the meeting of Congress.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

Gen. Slocum’s resignation has been accepted by the President.  [Henry W. Slocum]

About 1,600 additional French troops have lately arrived in Mexico.  Some negro troops are expected there from Egypt ;  apprehensions are felt that they will bring cholera with them.

A Louisiana delegation, in an interview with the President on Wednesday, sustained Governor Wells, praised Gen. Sheridan, and blamed General Canby for the disorder and dissatisfaction prevalent in that State, alleging that his interference with civil matters had been the cause of all the difficulties.  [Philip H. Sheridan]

Little Six4 and Medicine Bottle,5 the Sioux chiefs, are to be hung on Wednesday of next week.

Ex-Governor Clarke [sic: Charles Clark], of Mississippi, who has for some months past been imprisoned at Fort Pulaski, has been set at liberty by order of the President.

Dick Turner, the keeper of the Libby prison, who is to be tried on the charge of maltreatment of Union prisoners, has engaged Marmaduke Johnson as his counsel ;  and strong hopes are expressed by that gentleman of a disapproval of the charges against his client.  [Richard “Dick” Turner]

Judge Caton6 denies the truth of the statement made “on the authority of William H. Smith,”7 that General Grant, in a conversation with him (Judge C.) declared that the Monroe Doctrine would be enforced by our government, and that Maximilian must leave Mexico.  The General, who arrived in Washington Friday morning is said to be “much annoyed at the publication of expressions erroneously attributed to him.”

A meeting of 60,000 freedmen was held at  Edgefield, Tennessee, on Thursday Brig. General Fisk made an address.  “He wanted to put the black man in the jury box and on the witness stand.”  It is expected that, within a few weeks, there will be a general cleaning out of the negroes at Nashville, arrangements having been perfected to procure work for them in various localities.

Dr. Mudd recently made an attempt to escape from Dry Tortugas, by secreting himself in the coal bunker of the steamer Thomas A. Scott.  He was detected and put to work wheeling sand.  [Samuel Mudd]

General Carl Schurz is at St. Louis, and intends, it is reported, to establish a radical (English) newspaper at that point.

General Conner [sic] has issued a circular announcing “war to the knife” against the Indians, and advising officers in command of expeditions never leave a trail until the savages are overtaken and punished.

The 3rd Illinois cavalry, after a march of 1,500 miles, have reached Fort Snelling, whence they will leave for home in about a week, to be mustered out of service.

Count Joannes8 has volunteered to act as consul for General Lee in case of the trial of the latter ;  and the general has accepted his offer.  [Robert E. Lee]

The total number of pardons thus far granted by the President is 2,658.  Among the parties who have recently been recipients of executive clemency is L. Pope Walker, the first rebel secretary of war.  [L. P. Walker]

The work of re-establishing lighthouses along the southern coast is in course of vigorous prosecution.

1.  Thomas Callahan, assistant superintendent of the Freedmen’s Bureau in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was chaplain for the 48th U.S. Colored Infantry.
2.  Judge James J. Weems (1796-1872) was arrested on September 8, 1865.
3.  William M. Gwin, ex-senator of California, and ex-Governor Clark of Texas, were involved in a scheme to settle colonists from the Confederacy in Mexico. The colonists would be protected by veteran Confederate soldiers. The scheme fell apart.
William McKendree Gwin (1805-1885) was well known in California, Washington, DC, and in the South as a determined southern sympathizer. He served as a U.S. Representative from Mississippi (1841-43), and was one of California’s first two U.S. senators—John C. Fremont being the other, serving from 1850-61. After the the colonization scheme failed and the war ended, Gwin returned to the United States, and, after being arrested briefly, he retired from public life..
Edward Clark (1815-1880) was the 8th governor of Texas, serving from March to November 1861. He had previously been the lieutenant governor under Sam Houston (1859-61) and secretary of state under Elisha M. Pease. Clark became governor when Sam Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. After losing the governor’s race by 124 votes to Francis Lubbock, Clark joined the 14th Texas Infantry as colonel. He was promoted to brigadier general after being wounded in battle. Clark fled to Mexico at the end of the War, staying only briefly.
4.  Medicine Bottle (1831-1865) was a Mdewakanton Dakota warrior, who played a part in the Dakota Conflict of 1862. His Dakota name was “Wa-Kan’-O-Zan-Zan” or Wakanozanzan, and he was also known as Rustling Wind Walker. In 1863 Medicine Bottle fled to Canada, and during the winter of 1864 he was captured there and brought to Fort Snelling (Minnesota). There he was tried and convicted by a military commission for his participation in the Dakota Conflict and sentenced to death. President Andrew Johnson confirmed the sentence. A crude gallows for two was built and, on November 11, 1865. Medicine Bottle was hanged at Fort Snelling, alongside his friend, Chief Shakopee (III).
5.  Little Six (1811-1865), also known as Chief Shakoppe (Shakopeela), was the third Mdewakanton Dakota chief of that name. He was a leader in the Dakota Conflict of 1862, during which he said he killed 13 women and children. Like Medicine Bottle, he fled to Canada in 1863 and was captured in 1864, returned to Minnesota, tried and convicted, and hanged on November 11, 1865.
6.  John Dean Caton (1812-1895) was lawyer in Illinois. Governor Thomas Carlin appointed Caton as an associate justice of the Illinois Supreme Court in August of 1842. He became chief justice when Samuel H. Treat resigned from the post in 1855. Caton himself resigned from the bench in 1864.
7.  Possibly William Henry Smith (1833-1896), a newspaper editor and Republican politician who was the 16th Ohio secretary of state (1865-68), or William Hugh Smith (1826-1899) who will become the 21st governor of Alabama (1868-70).
8.  George, Count Joannes (born George Jones, 1810-1879) was an English-American actor, author, journalist, and litigator best known for his eccentric behavior later in life. The Count’s many letters and other interactions with the famous became fodder for the newspapers, particularly after his return to America in 1859. He filed lawsuits against Horace Greeley, Edward Sothern, Massachusetts Governor John Albion Andrew, writer Francis Henry Underwood, The New York Times, and others. His correspondence with General Robert E. Lee offering to defend him against charges of treason was reported in the newspapers, as we see here.

1865 October 7: Horace Greeley in Prescott, Repairing Petersburg, and Other News

October 8, 2015

From The Prescott Journal of October 7, 1865.


Married at River Falls, on the 3d. inst., by Rev. A. Gibson [Arrington Gibson], Mr. ALLEN HIGGINS, Serg’t Major 33d Reg. Wis. Volunteers, Kenosha, Wis., and Miss ROSANA FARNSWORTH, of River Falls, Wis.

Finger002  HORACE GREELY spoke here last Saturday evening.  It was late before he arrived, but a large audience collected to see the veteran journalist and politician.


— Major General Banks has made his final adieu to New Orleans.  [Nathaniel P. Banks]

Jefferson Davis has received the present of a case of choice liquor from some friends in Richmond.  He can now “drown his sorrows in the flowing bowl.”

— It is estimated that the sum of fifteen thousand dollars will be required to put the streets of Petersburg, Va., in order.

— The bloodhounds Hero and Jack, used to guard Union prisoners at Richmond and Andersonville, have been bought by George K. Goodwin of Boston, for $1,400.

—Letters recently received from the family of Judge Bates, late Attorney General, represent the health of that distinguished gentleman to be such as to create the most serious apprehensions.  [Edward Bates]

— It is but little known that the first anti-slavery paper started in the United States was published in East Tennessee.  It was called The Emancipator, and published at Greenville, the home of President Johnson, by Benjamin F. Lundy, a Friend in religious faith, and a native of Belmont county, Ohio.

— Brig. Gen. James P. Brownlow, son of the Tennessee “Parson,” is to be married to a daughter of Dr. Cliff of Frankfort.  President Johnson is expected to be present at the wedding.  [William G. “Parson” Brownlow, Andrew Johnson]

— A correspondent describes Provisional Governor Sharkey, of Mississippi, as being the embodiment of conservatism.  His spinal column is proverbially week, he is a pliable as a lump of dough, is immensely gullible, and slightly bibulous.  [William L. Sharkey]

—The Claremont N. H. Advocate says, a lady in Unity, not long since became the mother of a fine daughter.  A few days after, a copperhead neighbor happening in, said to the mother, “Well, I suppose you will call it Abe Lincoln.”  “No,” she replied; “I am sorry I can’t.  Like your friend Jeff. [Jefferson Davis] it will wear petticoats.”  Copperhead vamoosed.

1865 October 7: Telegraphic Summary

October 7, 2015

Once again The Prescott Journal of October 7, 1865, is using for its inside pages news printed by a Milwaukee newspaper.  It is unknown if The Polk County Press also used those printed pages because the October 7, 1865, issue is not on the microfilm roll.

Telegraphic Summary.

The election of delegates to the North Carolina convention, took place on Tuesday last.  Governor Holden in a dispatch under date of Saturday, says that half of the State has been heard from, and that the result was very gratifying.  [W. W. Holden]

In the Alabama State Convention, on Monday, the act of secession was declared null and void,—the vote on the question being unanimous.  The subject of the State debt has been referred to a committee, who will report in a few days.  The South Carolina State Convention refused to allow negroes to form a part of the basis of representation.

The amount of the 10-40 loan authorized by Congress was $200,000,000.  Of this $174,000,000 was issued when operations in connection with the loan were discontinued.  It is now thought probably that Secretary McCulloch will soon place the remaining 27,000,000 on the market.  [Hugh McCulloch]

Among the pardon-seekers now in Washington is L. Pope Walker, the first rebel secretary of war, who sent the order to Beauregard, “Open fire on Fort Sumter.”  [L. P. Walker, P. G. T. Beauregard]

The South Carolina convention, in its ordinance abolishing slavery, places the ground of abolition upon the fact that the slaves have been de facto emancipated by the act of the United States.

No request has been made of the government to allow Jeff. Davis to testify in the case of boat burners at St. Louis, though it is probably that such a request may yet be preferred.  [Jefferson Davis]

The belief is entertained at Washington that Howell Cobb has been arrested on charge of complicity in the Andersonville barbarities.

A train with General Grant on board and another with General Sherman, met with accidents on Tuesday ;  but neither of the distinguished officers experienced any injury.  [Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman]

In Roberts Co., Tennessee, recently, a gang of guerrillas perpetrated indiscriminate robbery and murder.  Harper is supposed to be the leader of the gang.

A grand jury in Kentucky has indicted Gens. Palmer and Brisbin,¹ “for abducting slaves, and otherwise interfering with the slave law” of that State.   [John M. Palmer]

By order of Governor Wells, a State and Congressional election will be held in Louisiana on the 6th of November.  [James M. Wells]

A life of Mrs. Surratt [Mary Surratt] is being written by Mr. Aiken,² one of her counsel.

The South Carolina state Convention has adjourned, after a session of fifteen days.  During its session, it repealed the ordinance of secession ;  abolished slavery ;  established epuality [sic] of taxation and representation in the senate ;  gaye [sic] the election of governor and presidential electors to the people ;  directed that legislative votes should be given viva voce³ ;  indorsed President Johnson [Andrew Johnson] ;  made provision for a code for the protection of colored people ;  appointed a committee to visit the president in behalf of Jeff. Davis, Governor Magrath [Andrew G. Magrath] and Mr. Trenholm4 ;  nominated James L. Orr5 for governor ; fixed the election for governor and legislature on the 18th of October, and the congressional election in November ;  and provided for an extra session of the legislature on the 25th proximo.  Governor Perry [Benjamin F. Perry], it is understood, will be sent to the United States senate.

The Alabama state convention has ordered a State election to take place on the first Monday of November.  An ordinance has been adopted repudiating the Confederate States debt, all State debts contracted in aid of the rebellion, and forbidden the passage by the general assembly of any measure providing for the payment of such debts.  The constitutional amendments adopted by the convention are to be submitted to a vote of the people.

It is said that the President has promised Gov. Bramlette [Thomas E. Bramlette] to relieve Kentucky at once from martial law, that the removal of General Palmer [John M. Palmer] has been determined upon, and that General Gordon Granger will be his successor.

Colonel John Orr,6 late of the 124th Indianan regiment, committed suicide at Connorsville, in that state on Wednesday, by shooting himself through the head.  Colonel Orr was wounded at Arkansas Post by the concision of a shell, and is said to have been subject to periodical fits of partial derangement ever since, in one of which, it is believed, he did the fatal deed.

The regular army, it is state “on good authority,” will hereafter consist of 50,000 men.  This number is expected to be reached within a few months, the average enlistments now being 300 per day, the men being mostly discharged soldier of the volunteer army.

General Lee has written a letter to a friend at Petersburg, in which he urges an avoidance of controversy as to the past, and a cultivation of friendly feeling.  [Robert E. Lee]

1.  James Sanks Brisbin (1837-1892) was a teacher, newspaper editor, lawyer, and prominent anti-slavery speaker before the Civil War. When the War broke out, he enlisted as a private in a Pennsylvania regiment but was quickly appointed a 2nd lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Dragoons and participated in the First Battle of Bull Run, where he was wounded. He was appointed a captain in the 6th U.S. Cavalry and was wounded again in action near Beverly Ford, Virginia. In 1863 he was brevetted major and was wounded again in combat near Greenbrier, Virginia. In the 1864 he was promoted to colonel and organized the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry. He served as the acting head of cavalry on the staff of Brig. Gen. Albert L. Lee during the Red River Campaign and was again wounded during the Battle of Mansfield. In December 1864 Brisbin received several more brevet ranks, including brigadier general in the Union Army and lieutenant colonel in the regular army. In 1865 he was on recruiting duty in Kentucky, and in May was promoted to brigadier general. After the War, Brisbin remained in the regular army, aiding in the establishment of other colored regiments. He was in command of the 2nd Cavalry of General John Gibbon’s Montana Column at the time of the Little Big Horn campaign. Of local interest, he is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Red Wing, Minnesota.
2.  Frederick Aiken (1832-1878) was one of Mary Surrat’s defense attorneys when she was tried for conspiracy in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Aiken was admitted to the Vermont bar in 1859 and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Little is known of his war service other than he was a captain in 1862 and a colonel by the end of the War, participated in the Battle of Williamsburg, and was an aide-de-camp for General Winfield S. Hancock.  After the War, Aiken and John Clampitt set up a law practice in Washington, D.C. Surratt’s official defense counsel was Reverdy Johnson, a former Attorney General and then-Senator from Maryland, but he did not participate much in the trial, leaving much of the defense to Aiken and Clampitt, who were both relatively new lawyers. Aiken and Clampitt were woefully unprepared for this big of a task. Their defense relied on trying to debunk the testimony of the prosecution’s two chief witnesses, but instead ended up strengthening the prosecution’s case. The defense was unsuccessful and Mary Surratt was hanged on July 7, 1865.
3.  Latin phrase meaning the votes were given orally, rather than in writing.
4.  George Alfred Trenholm (1807-1876) was a prominent politician in the Confederate States of America and served as their Secretary of the Treasury during the final year of the Civil War. At the beginning of the Civil War broke out, his business company had become the Confederate government’s overseas banker. With an office in London, it arranged for Confederate cotton to be sold, and financed its own fleet of blockade runners. Christopher Memminger used Trenholm as an unofficial adviser throughout his own term as Secretary of the Treasury. Trenholm was appointed to that post on July 18, 1864. He was a more charismatic figure than his predecessor, and this helped him with the press and with the Confederate Congress.
5.  James Lawrence Orr (1822-1873) was the 73rd governor of South Carolina, serving from 1865 to 1868. Before the Civil War, Orr served in the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina (1849-59) and was speaker of the House (1857-58). After the outbreak of the Civil War, Orr organized and commanded Orr’s Regiment of South Carolina Rifles, which saw little action before he resigned in 1862. He then became a senator from South Carolina in the Confederate Senate (1862-65), where he was a strong proponent of states’ rights. In 1872 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Orr as Minister to Russia in a gesture of post-Civil War reconciliation. Orr died in St. Petersburg, Russia, shortly after arriving to begin his service as Minister.
6.  John M. Orr (1829-1865) committed suicide on September 27, 1865.

1865 September 30: Telegraphic Summary

September 30, 2015

The following summary of news comes from the September 30, 1865, issue of both The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press.  Both papers have identical inside pages, with Milwaukee advertisements.

Telegraphic Summary.

A delegation from Texas is in Washington, urging the release of Jeff Davis.  [Jefferson Davis]

The South Carolina convention has repealed the ordinance of succession—there being three votes in the negative.

The trial of the rebel burners of steamboats commenced in St. Louis, before a military commission, Tuesday.  The counsel for one of the defendants gave notice that he should summon, among his witnesses, Jeff. Davis, the rebel secretaries Seddon [James Seddon] and Mallory [Stephen R. Mallory], and Admirals Farragut [David G. Farragut] and Porter [David D. Porter].

Champ Ferguson’s¹ trial, at Nashville, was closed Tuesday, and the decision of the court has been forwarded to General Stoneman.  [George Stoneman]

In the Indian council at Fort Smith, on Monday, the treaty was signed by the rebel Creeks, Cherokees, Osages, Comanches, Choctaws and Chickasaws.

The late rebel Gen. Pillow is in Washington seeking pardon.  [Gideon J. Pillow]

The total number of colored troops enlisted in the army was 180,000.  Of these, 50,000 have died or been killed, and 60,000 of the remainder have been ordered mustered out.

The Secretary of the Treasury has addressed addressed [sic] a letter to officers of customs, allowing the shipment to the Southern States of firearms and ammunition for sporting, and blast powder for mining purposes, the amounts to be left at their own discretion.

The notorious John H. Surratt, one of the assassination conspirators, and son of Mrs. Surratt [Mary Surratt] who was executed, was recently seen in Montreal where he has been concealed.  He is on the eve of leaving for Scotland.

Private letters from the 12th Illinois cavalry, of September 3d, announce the arrival of Custar’s [sic] Division at Hempshead, Texas,  on the Texas central railroad, forty miles north of Houston, where the command would remain three weeks.  The division is composed of the 5th and 12th Illinois, 7th Indiana, 2d Wisconsin [emphasis added], and 1st Iowa, all cavalry, in two brigades.  It left Alexandria, La., August 8th, and performed the march of nearly 350 miles in nineteen days.  It was expected next to proceed to Austin, 175 miles, stay several weeks, and afterwards to San Antonio, 80 miles, at which latter place Gen. Merritt’s cavalry division is already arrived.   [Wesley Merritt]

In the Alabama State Convention, on the 20th, the provisional Governor was requested, by resolution, to call out the militia for the suppression of prevalent lawlessness.  The consideration of the ordinance abolishing slavery was postponed, after debate, till the following day.

A dispatch from Washington says it is understood that the President regards with disfavor the extent of power exercised by agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau; and he is expected to make some changes in this regard.

The report that Jeff. Davis’ quarters at Fortress Monroe had been changed is contradicted.

Hannibal Hamlin, Horace Greeley, General Fremont and other notabilities, are expected to arrive at Detroit to-day, on board the revenue cutter Commodore Perry.  [Horace Greeley, John C. Fremont]

Fayette McMullen, of Virginia, who was formerly a member of the federal, and latterly of the rebel congress, has received a pardon.

Kenneth Raynor and Alfred Dockery, of North Carolina, and John McQueen, of South Carolina, all formerly members of the United States congress, have also been pardoned.

General Blair, who is in temporary command of the department of the Missouri, during the temporary absence of General Pope, has been assigned to the command of the cavalry in that department.  [Francis P. Blair, John Pope]

Iowa is credited by the provost marshal general with 76,000 troops—3,000 less than she claims.

In the case of the steamboat burner Murphy, at St. Louis, Friday, the motion of his cou[n]sel to summon Jeff. Davis and his cabinet as witnesses, was overruled.

A mutiny has occurred among the troops at Fort Rice, and some of them decamped on government horses.

General Sully’s force has returned from Devil’s lake to Fort Rice.  Nothing was accomplished by the expedition.  [Alfred Sully]

1.  Irregular guerrilla forces under the notorious Champ Ferguson murdered white and black Union soldiers who had been wounded and captured. Ferguson was tried after the War for these and other non-military killings and was found guilty and executed.

1865 September 27: “There are still stories about that this command is to be mustered out of service”

September 27, 2015

The original of this letter is in the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University Archives and Area Research Center.

Camp 4th Wis. Cavalry.                   .
San Antonia, Texas.              .
Sept. 27th  1865

My Dear Mother

                                I think it is about time that I should write a few lines to you, although I can find but little of interest to note.  The greater portion of the Regiment is out on a scout and will not be in until the first of October.  I was left in camp as I had just had another visitation from my old friend “Chills and Fever.”  The hot weather is now nearly over and I am hoping that with the cool days my usual good health will return.

My main trouble arises from exposure to the hot sun.  We have one of the finest camps I ever saw.  It is situated in a pleasant grove with a fine stream of clear sparkling water running close by.  The good water we have here is one great advantage over Louisiana.  There our best water is the muddy Mississippi, while here there are plenty of fine springs where the water gushes out from beneath ledges of solid rock.

Well tomorrow we are ordered to leave this delightful camp and locate ourselves on the top of a bluff near by.  There being only three or four men in a company present, it gives us a more work than a few lazy soldiers can appreciate.  Therefore we have remonstrated with the Genl and he has fairly promised us that we may stay in our present location until the return of the boys.  If he fully consents all right, if he don’t I hope the vilest torments of His Majesty down below will haunt him through endless years.

There are still stories about that this command is to be mustered out of service, but I can tell you nothing reliable about it now.  I think we shall know in a few weeks whether we are to remain through the winter or not.  Unless we can go home very soon, I believe I would prefer to remain here until spring.  I would like to hear from home very much, but our facilities for mail are so very poor now that I presume that is the reason I do not get any letters.

I have not heard from Helen¹ for six months.  Tell Phineas¹ to let me know where she is next time he writes.  What can I do for living if I get out of the service pretty soon.  Is there any work to do? Wont [sic] it be hard though to come right down to the manual labor?  It is really dreadful to think of, and then only sixteen or eighteen dollars a month after getting a hundred and fifty.  Oh it is awful, awful.  I enclose five dollars to get you a pair of fur lined shoes for winter.  If it is not enough tell Phin¹ to pay the balance and send the bill to me.  If I remember right you are troubled to keep your feet warm in the winter.

Remember me to Grandmother and all other friends.  Hoping this may find you well and in the enjoyment of all the blessings of life.  I remain as ever

Your Boy,
.                  .Jerry

1 .  Jerry’s sister, Helen, and his brother, Phineas, or Phin for short.

Jerry Flint letter of September 27, 1865, from the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center

Jerry Flint letter of September 27, 1865, from the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center