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1865 March 18: News from Sheridan, Sherman, Schofield, and Grant

March 19, 2015

The following comes from the March 18, 1865, issues of The Polk County Press.

Telegraphic Dispatches—



To Maj. General Dix [John Dix] :

The following report of Sheridan’s [Philip H. Sheridan] operations has been received by this Department.     E. M. STANTON [Edwin M. Stanton]

HEADQUARTERS, Middle Military }
Division, COLUMBIA, Va., Mar. 10 }

Lieut. General Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] :

In my last, dated Waynesboro, I gave you a brief account of the defeat of Early [Jubal A. Early] by Custar’s [sic: George Armstrong Custer] Division.  The same night this Division was pushed across the Blue Ridge and entered Charlottsville [sic] at two P. M.— The next day the Mayor and principal inhabitants came and delivered op the keys of the public buildings.

I had to remain at Charlottsville [sic] two days.  The time was consumed in bringing over from Waynesboro our ammunition and pontoon trains.  The weather was horrible ; rain incessant.

The second division were during this time occupied in destroying two large iron bridges, one over the Ravenna river and the other over Morris Creek, near Charlottsville [sic], and the railroad for a distance of eighteen miles in the direction of Lynchburg.

On the 6th of March I sent the 1st division, Gen. Devon commanding, to Scottsville on James River, with directions to send out light parties through the country and destroy all merchandise, mills, factories, and bridges on the Ravenna river, the parties to join the division at Scottsville.

The division then proceeded along the canal to Dugansville, fifteen miles from Lynchburg ;  destroying every lock and in many places the banks of the canal.  At Dugansville we hoped to secure the bridge to cross the river as our pontoons were useless on account of the high water.  In this we were foiled, as both this bridge and the bridge at Hardswicksville were burned by the enemy upon our approach.  Merritt accompanied this division.

The 3d division started at the same time from Charlottsville [sic], and proceeded down the Lynchburg railroad to Amherst C. H. [Court House], destroying every bridge on the road, and in many places miles of road.  The bridges on this road, are numerous and some of them are 500 feet in length.

We here found great abundance in this country for our men and animals in fact, the canal had been the great feeder of Richmond.

At the Rockfish river the bank of the canal was cut, and at New Canton where the dam is across the guard lock, was destroyed, and the James River let into the canal, carrying away the bank, and washing out the bottom.  The canal dam across the James at this point, was also partially destroyed.

I have had no opposition.  Everybody is bewildered by our movements.  I have had no news of any kind since.  I omitted to mention that the bridges on the railroad from Sweep’s Depot, on the other side of Staunton, to Charlottsville [sic], were utterly destroyed also bridges for a distance of ten miles on the Gordonsville Railroad.

Up to the present time we have captured fourteen pieces of artilery [sic]— eleven at Waynesboro and three at Charlottsville [sic].  The part I sent back from Waynesboro started with six pieces, but they were obliged to destroy two of the six, for want of animals.  The remainder of the pieces, but they were thoroughly destroyed.  I have also captured twelve canal boats laden with supplies, ammunition, rations, and medical stores.

Commodore Hollins¹ of the rebel navy was shot near Gordonsville while attempting to escape from our advance in that directing.


NEW YORK, March 10.

The Herald’s correspondent says Early was found near Waynesboro on a range of hills, with 5 pieces of artillery in position.  Gen. Custar [sic] dismounted two regiments of skirmishers.  In the rear on both sides of the road were two solid regiments.  The movement upon enemy’s works was made at once.  The rebels fired one volley and the fled like sheep.  Their attempt to escape was fruitless, as Custar [sic] closed his lines upon and surrounded nearly the entire force.

Gen. Early did not attempt to rally his men but rode off on a fleet horse attended by an orderly.  The victory was almost a bloodless one as we lost only 10 or 15 killed and wounded.



To Maj. General Dix:

Dispatches direct from Sherman [William T. Sherman] and Schofield [John M. Schofield] have been received this morning.  Sherman’s dispatch is dated March 8th, at Laurel Hill, N. C.  He says all are well and have done finely.  Details are for obvious reasons omitted.

Gen. Schofield, in a dispatch dated Newbern [sic], March 12, states that on the night of the 10th, near Southwest creek, Bragg was fairly beaten, and during the night retreated across Nesse river, at Kingston, and now holds the back of the river at that place.


NEW YORK, March 14.— The Times Army of the Potomac correspondent 11th, says rebel deserters report that Sheridan captured Lynchburg after a short battle.

Troops to the number of 1, 500 daily leave here for the front.

NEW YORK, March 14.— The Herald’s Washington special, dated 13th, says the military situation to-night is understood to be more promising than at any period during the war.

Richmond papers of to-day are filled with doleful comments on the condition of affairs, which they represent as being desperate.

Sheridan, they admit, has played the mischief with their avenue of supplies and fears are expressed that he will reach Burke’s station at junction of Petersburg and Lynchburg, and Richmond and Danville roads, and gone to Sherman or Grant.  This saves Grant the trouble of cutting the south side road, and leaves to Gen. Lee [Robert E. Lee] the alternative of starving or driving has already depleted force to open Richmond to a pomenade from Grant.

The steamer Virginia arrived at Fortress Monroe last evening from Wilmington.  The base of supplies for Sherman’s army, in view of his rapid movements northward, is to be established at Wilmington.  Sherman’s Chief Quartermaster had arrived there, and all the transports and other vessels laden with supplies have been ordered from both Charleston and Savannah, with orders to rendezvous at New Inlet, N. C.

1.  George Nichols Hollins (1799-1878) entered the U.S. Navy as a midshipman in 1814. He served in the War of 1812 on the Erie in her attempt to break the British blockade of Chesapeake bay, and then on the President, where he served under Stephen Decatur until captured at Bermuda. In the Algerian War of 1815 he served under Decatur with such merit as to be presented a sword in recognition of his gallantry. He was promoted lieutenant in 1828, commander in 1841, and captain U. S. N. in 1855. In 1861 Captain Hollins resigned his commission. The War Department refused to accept the resignation and ordered his arrest, but he eluded capture and in March, 1861, was at the Confederate capital—Montgomery at that time—where he met other naval officers and the committees of the Confederate Congress to consult on the means to provide a navy for the new government. Hollins became a commander in the navy of the Confederate States, and quickly attracted attention by his capture (June 29, 1861) of the steamer St. Nicholas in the Potomac river. On July 10th the naval defenses of the James river were placed under his command, and on July 31st he was put in charge of the naval station at New Orleans, where he defeated the Federal blockading squadron in the following October. Being appointed flag officer, in December he took a fleet up the Mississippi river to assist in the defense of the works at Columbus, Ky. In April, 1862, he was called back to New Orleans by the appearance of the enemy in force, but before the fall of the city he was appointed to the court of inquiry on the destruction of the Virginia. After the War he resided at Baltimore.

1865 March 18: The Battle of Wyse Fork and Other News

March 18, 2015

Following is the weekly summary of the national news from The Polk County Press, and, mostly, from The Prescott Journal of March 18, 1865.  The Battle of Wyse Fork—also known as the Second Battle of Kinston and the Second Battle of Southwest Creek—took place March 7-10, 1865, near Kinston, North Carolina.

From The Polk County Press:


The news still continues glorious.  Our armies are everywhere victorious.  SHERIDAN [Philip H. Sheridan] is in the saddle with his invincibles is marching like a giant through the land of treason.—GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant] holds their heel at Richmond and is gallantly piloting the Union armies to victory.  SCOFFIELD [sic: John M. Schofield], with his “bully boys” has trashed the brag and insolence out of the rebel BRAGG [Braxton Bragg], and the ball is rolling onward towards the harbor of Peace and Union.  See particulars elsewhere.

From The Prescott Journal:


—The war news of the week is favorable ;  the following dispatch tells part of the story.


Major Gen. Dix [John A. Dix] :

Dispatches from Sherman and Schofield have been received this morning.  [William T. Sherman]

Sherman’s dispatch is dated March 8, at Laurel Hill, North Carolina.  He says :  We are all well, and have done finely.  Details are omitted for obvious reasons.

Gen. Schofield in a dispatch dated Newbern [sic], N. C., March 12, states that on the night of the 10th near Southwest Creek, Bragg was fairly beaten.  During that night he retreated across the Neuse at Kingston, and now holds the bank of the river at that place.

E. M. STANTON [Edwin M. Stanton],
Secretary of War.

It is also reported that Lynchburg is captured by Sheridan.  If so, Richmond is insulated, and Lee must run or be captured.  [Robert E. Lee]

— Private dispatches report Gold down to $1.74.

— The Conscription Law is now so amended that volunteers must be credited to the place where they are enrolled.

— HUGH MCCULLOCH¹ has been confirmed Secretary of the Treasury.

— Senator HARLAN² of Iowa, is to be Secretary of the Interior, Secretary USHER³ having resigned to take effect on the first of May.  JOHN P. HALE4 has been appointed Minister to Spain.

—The serious decline in Gold during the past week, consequent upon the brilliant victories of the army, has made a panicky market, and materially affected prices of commodities generally.  The farmer’s consolation is that while the products of his labor are gradually declining, so are the necessaries which he is compelled to purchase.

It is the opinion of sound business men that the present excitement in relation to paper money, is, at this time, entirely speculative in its origin, there being no cause for casting distrust upon the great body of currency now afloat.—There is no doubt but it must be gradually retired, yet our advice is not to act hastily in disposing of it.

— Nothing seems to stop Sherman.  The rebels may draw a check upon him, but he won’t honor it.

— Those who jump at the bounty offered for volunteers are the only right kind of bounty-jumpers.

— Bragg, Hardee, Beauregard and Hood are four runners of defeat.—Prentice.   [Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg, William J. Hardee, P.G.T. Beauregard, John Bell Hood]

News Items.

The Tribune’s Washington special says it is to be the policy to contract rather than expand the currency.

Judge Edmonds5 is recommended for the Interior Department by the Governors of nine States.

Notwithstanding the refusal of the Senate at the late session, to recognize Arkansas by the admission of her Senators, they confirmed the nomination of U. S. attorneys and marshall [sic] for the judicial districts of that State.

The Herald’s correspondent shows there are no less than 300 blockade runners lying in the port of Nassau, whose occupation is gone.  They represent capital to the amount of fifteen million dollars.

The Richmond Examiner of the 4th denounces the execution of Beall,6 the guerrilla and spy, and says threats were made in the streets of Richmond to hang any Yankee officers on parole and who might be found at large.

The Richmond Sentinel says the rebel Secretary of the Treasury would be glad to receive donations of money, bonds, plate, or other valuables, to enable him to pay the soldiers.

The Wilmington Journal, in it issue just previous to the occupation of the town by the National forces, admitted that Sherman’s movements, if he was not checked, might have the effect of compelling Lee to abandon Richmond and Petersburg.

The Richmond Enquirer pronounces the whole financial system of the Confederacy defective, and proposes an equation of the public debt to the specie value, saying that it involves no repudiation.  The rebel House of Representatives adopted a resolution to adjourn March 8th.

The act of Congress creating the office of Chief of Staff to Lt. Gen. Grant, confers that appointment upon Brig. Gen. Rawlings, who has shared in the hardships and dangers of Gen. Grant’s campaign from Belmont to the present time, serving from Vicksburg as Chief of Staff.

The bill to repeal the section of the act which provides for the appointment of agents to purchase cotton and other products of insurrectionary States, was not vetoed by the President, but it was said failed to receive his signature, which amounts to about the same thing, viz.:  its failure to become a law.

The packet James Watson, laden with government freight, a large number of passengers and 86 soldiers, was sunk 12 miles below Napoleon on the morning of the 2d.  Over 30 lives were lost, including Adams Express messenger and 20 soldiers, and several ladies and children.  The officers and crew of the boat were mostly saved.  The steamer and cargo is a total loss.

The Herald’s Shenandoah Valley correspondent says :  “A few days ago three families by the names of Sherrard, Lee and Buelnel, were sent over our lines on the charge of disloyalty.  It was discovered that they had conspired together to get up a social ball, to which Gen. Sheridan was to be an invited guest, and that during its progress a detachment of Mosby’s guerrillas was to seize the General, take him captive and convey him to Richmond, along with Kelly and Crook.  The plan was frustrated, and the leaders who concocted it are now in full communion with those for whom they have expressed sympathy.”

1.  Hugh McCulloch (1808-1895) served two non-consecutive terms as the Secretary of the Treasury (1865-69 and 1884-85), and was the first Comptroller of the Currency (1863-64). During his tenure, McCulloch maintained a policy of reducing the federal war debt and the careful reintroduction of federal taxation in the South, and he  worked during his career to bring back the gold standard.
2.  President Lincoln had nominated his close friend James Harlan (1820-1899) to replace John P. Usher as Secretary of the Interior; Harlan had been confirmed by the Senate when Lincoln died, and took over as the 8th Secretary under President Andrew Johnson, serving from May 1865-August 1866. While Secretary, Harlan fired Walt Whitman for writing what he deemed was a morally offensive book, Leaves of Grass. Harlan was also a U. S. senator from Iowa (1855-65 and 1867-1873), and during his Senate tenure, Harlan was chairman of the committees of Public Lands, District of Columbia, Education, and Indian Affairs.
3.  John Palmer Usher (1816-1889) was the 7th U. S. Secretary of the Interior, serving from 1863-65. He was known as a genial, courteous, and unobtrusive secretary. In November 1863, he accompanied President Lincoln to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
4.  John P. Hale (1806-1873) was a member of the U. S. House of Representatives (1843-45) and U. S. Senate (1847-65), both from New Hampshire, and U. S. Spain Minister to Spain (1865-69). Hale was one of the first senators to make a stand against slavery. He was a leading member of the Free Soil Party and was its presidential nominee in 1852.
5.  John Worth Edmonds (1799-1874) was Judge of the First Judicial District (New York) from 1845 to 1847, and a justice of the New York Supreme Court (1st D.) from 1847 to 1853. He had been an Indian agent for two years for the U.S. government.
6.  John Yates Beall (1835-1865) was a Confederate privateer who was arrested as a spy in New York and executed on February 24, 1865, at Fort Columbus, Governors Island, New York. At the start of the war, he joined “Bott’s Grays,” Company G of the 2nd Virginia Infantry, he received a wound in the lungs, which left him incapable of active service. Inspired by John Hunt Morgan, he decided to try to free some captured Confederate officers by derailing a passenger train, but instead he and a companion, George S. Anderson, were arrested in Niagara, New York, on December 16, 1864.

1865 March 11: New Volunteers and Draftees on Both Sides of the St. Croix River, Plus Other News Items

March 17, 2015

Following are the smaller news items from the March 11, 1865, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.

From The Polk County Press:

ST. CROIX.—St. Croix Falls raised eight men, which is expected to be enough to fill the quota required of her.

POLK COUNTY VOLUNTEERS.— The following is a list of the Volunteers under the last call for 300,000 men :

ALDEN.— C. C. Fisk, Geo. Emory, __ Tamset.¹
ST. CROIX FALLS.—Micheal Kreiner, Henry Demling, Adam Beaver, Howard Scott, D. E. Tewksbury, __ Tyler, Joseph Churchill, Gus. La Grue, __ Newman.
LINCOLN.—John Metheney.
OSCEOLA.—Abraham Gillispie, Wm. A. Kent, Joseph Corey, Worthy Prentice, Andrew Fee, John H. Baker.²

PERSONAL.—Captain S. S. STARR, A. Q. M., 2d Division, 19th Army Corps, has been appointed Post Quartermaster at Savannah.  Captain S. was formerly editor of the Hudson North Star in this State, and entered the service as Quartermaster of the 30th Wisconsin.  He is a competent and faithful officer.  [Sidney S. Starr]

— The people of Hastings, Minn. have raised the sum of $14,000 in cash to pay volunteers to fill the quota of that city.

— The Draft commenced in Minnesota on Wednesday last.

THE DRAFT IN MINNESOTA.—The following men were drafted in Chisago county on Wednesday last :

CHISAGO LAKE.—Gustave Nelson, A. T. Walner, John Okerson, And’w Holtman, Peter Sweinson, 2d, Nels Iverson, Carl Helston, Johannas Magmerson, Elias B. Fost, Charles Gustave Kellburg, Andrew Maline, Lars Swenson, Gustave Melander, Nichola Johnson, Peter Johnson, Chas. Dahlgren, Carl Isuagleson, A. J. Anderson, Daniel Lindston, Mathias Bengston, A. P. Nelson, Carl Dock, Nels Pierson, C. J. Johnson.
RUSHSKBA.³—Morton Norris, John Emans, Pat. Flynn, Robt Nessic.
TAYLOR’S FALLS.—Anthony Scharles, Aaron M. Mathews, A. N. Welmarth, Sam’l Hames, William Cox, Jos R. Blackburn, John Johnson, J. H. Smith, John Mazenson, George De Attly, Francis B. Jones, Frank Johnson, John Taney, John Paine, Jacob Berthley, James Rogers, Silas Humphrey, John Nelson, Lucas K. Stannard, Chas. W. Jellerson, John A. Hammone, John Byland, Oscar Roos, Chas. P. Johsnon, Silas Rolf, Gustave Helquist, E. Perget, Enos Jones, Sam’l Holt, Wm. Dobney, J. O’Brien, Jas. J. Mathews, Moses Marshall, Jeremiah D. Ballard, Philip Lipeet, Richard Rovertson, Jas. W. Wooley, Geo. Snow, Stephen J. Merrill, Wm. McKinely, L. F. Ballard, Eric Peterson, Joseph Schottmuller, S. S. Hamilton, Ambrose C. Seavey, Adam W. Thaxter.

THE DANCE.—The Volunteer’s party on Tuesday evening was a most agreeable affair.  The company was large, and our “young folks” were much gratified to be able to welcome the ladies and gentlemen from Taylor’s Falls, who came to enjoy the festive occasion.  From the reports that have reached us, all seem to unite in pronouncing it one of the most pleasant parties of the season.  Mrs. HAYS furnished an excellent supper, and ministered to the wants of all in her motherly way, which is duly appreciated by the participants.

PAPERS FOR THE SOLDIERS.—Nearly every day we receive letters from the soldiers asking us to send them papers, but it is utterly impossible for us to comply with all the requests.—We send packages to all the regiments nearly every week when we can ascertain their whereabouts.—The immediate friends of the soldier should supply him with books and papers.  In no way can you more contribute to the pleasure of the soldier than by furnishing him reading.  Particularly should home papers be sent.  They are nearly as welcome as letters.  When you have read your local paper send it to some friend in the army, and thus help to enliven the weary hours of camp or hospital life.

Constitutional Amendment in Wisconsin.

The Legislature has ratified the Constitutional amendment by a vote of twenty seven to six in the Senate, and seventy-two to sixteen in the Assembly, or by a majority of four and a half to one.  In the Senate two democrats voted for the amendment and in the Assembly six.  The vote in the legislature does not more than express the sentiment of the people.

—  ABOUT TO RESIGN.— Col. W. A. Barstow, Third Wisconsin cavalry, who has been acting President of the courts martial and military commissions in session in St. Louis for nearly two years, is about to retire from the service.— Milwaukee Sentinel.

About time, we should think, for the old bag of wind to stand aside, and let brave officers who have been with their regiment at the front, fill his place.  BILL BARSTOW has disgraced the service long enough.

NEW REGIMENTS.—Gov. Lewis has organized two more new regiments, the 51st and 52d.  [James T. Lewis]

TO THE FRONT.—The 44th, 45th, 46th and 47th Wis. Vol’s., have been ordered South.

TENNESSEE.—The election in Tennessee has resulted in a glorious Union triumph.  Parson Brownlow is elected Governor.  The amendment to the State Constitution which does away with slavery has been adopted by a large majority, and so Tennessee stands to-day a FREE STATE.  [William G. Brownlow]

— Union meetings have been already held in Charleston and Wilmington.

— The States of Maine and Missouri, which were admitted into the Union together, ratified the amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery on the same day.

— By order of the War Department, a ration of fish, viz: fountain ounces of dried fish, or eighteen ounces of pickled fish, will be issued hereafter to troops in lieu of the fresh beef ration.

— The negroes who followed General Sherman on his march through Georgia and South Carolina, are being organized into regiments at Hilton Head.  It is estimated that one of the effects of Sherman’s movement will be to add from 25,000 to 30,000 loyal banks to our army.  [William T. Sherman]

— The Legislature of West Virginia has adopted an amendment to the Constitution of that State, disfranchising all those who have voluntarily participated in the rebellion.—The loyal men of the new Commonwealth, who have suffered in their homes and properties the evils of rebellion and civil war, believe in punishment for crime so rank and bloody as treason

Sound to the Core.

“My opinion is that no negotiations are necessary, nor commissioners, nor conventions, nor anything of the kind.  Whenever the people of Georgia quit rebelling against their Government, and elect member of Congress and Senators, and these go and take their seats, then the State of Georgia will have resumed her function to the Union.”


From The Prescott Journal:


We have not yet received the quotas of the different towns.  From all that we can learn, we see but little prospect of the quota of this District being reduced.  The quota, as assigned, calls for over a quarter of the enrolled men.

— Quite a good story is told by Charmy Dunbar, at the expense of Mr. G. W. Cairns, Deputy Treasurer of this County.  All of the men in Perry who were liable to draft, except Mr. Cairns, have volunteered, and Dunbar says the town owes seven men for one year, or one man for seven years, and they concluded to send Mr. Cairns for seven years.  We congratulate friend Cairns on his brilliant prospect.  Seven years of service will nearly make him as venerable a revolutionary veteran.

— JOHN DALE starts for Madison to-day with the volunteers from this section.

“NEGRO SOLDIERS SUPERIOR TO WHITE.”—So the rebels begin to think.  The war had wrought some strange transformations in opinion.  The Southern rebels began it under the impression that military glory was the highest of all, and that the “master race” of the South surpassed in prowess all other peoples.  When the North began organizing negro regiments, the rebels scouted the idea that a negro could fight.  Their newspapers said that a single Southerner could disarm a whole black regiment by simply ordering them, with a voice of command, to lay down their weapons.  Now mark what a mighty change has come over the spirit of their dreams!  Read the following respecting the martial qualities of the negro race, which we clip from from an article in the Richmond Whig of February 20th :

“It is by no means certain that the negro is so deficient in courage as in generally believed if we are to credit the statements of travelers in Africa, the native negro is the most sanguinary warrior in the world.  In their battles hand to hand, they fight till either party is almost annihilated; and our very slaves are in great part the descendants of prisoners captured by war.  We see the negro altogether in his servile condition.  He naturally shrinks, without regard to appearances.  He, however, makes a fearless sailor and fireman.  The English have long used him as a soldier, and he has done good service.  But the experiences of this war are abundantly sufficient to show his adaptability as a soldier.  The enemy has taught us a lesson to which we ought not to shut our eyes.  He has caused him to fight as well, if not better than have his white troops of the same length of service.  Our prisoners from Ship Island and elsewhere declare that they are far the best sentinels and most thoroughly drilled of the Union troops.  I have myself seen them, in the hands of a single engineer officer, entirely without organization, work under fire, where certainly he could not have held white men.  Now, if the enemy has succeeded in the making any kind of troops of these people, with all their non-commissioned officers and a great part of their officers black, how much better could we make with all those white!”

WHAT GRANT SAYS.—The Post’s Washington special says Gen. GRANT writes that, “If Gen. SHERMAN’s success continues a few days longer, the country can safely indulge in exultation.”  [Ulysses S. Grant]

— GEN. GRANT’S PRIVATE VIEWS.—The Quincey (Ill.) Herald publishes an extract from a private letter written by Lieut. Gen. Grant to his old friend and school-fellow, the Hon. Isaac N. Morris.  The letter is dated “Head-Quarters Armies of the United States, City Point, Virginia, Feb. 15th 1865,” and was written, not dictated, by General Grant himself.  The following is the extract, which will be read with interest:—

“Everything looks to me to be very favorable for a speedy termination of the war.—The people of the South are ready for it if they can get clear of their leaders.  It is hard to predict what will become of them, the leaders, whether they will flee the country or whether the people will forcibly depose them and take the matter in their own hands.  One or the other will likely occur if our Spring Campaign is as successful as I have every hope it will be.”

Yours truly,
.                   .U. S. GRANT.

It seems by the Herald’s Charleston correspondence that even in the hot-bed of secession love for the old Union survived all the vicissitudes.  The remaining inhabitants of the city manifested the wildcat delight at the unfurling over them once more the old flag, and when a small body of colored troops, the first to land in town, started up the principal streets, their officers were scarcely able to proceed with them, being met with a perfect ovation.  Men and women thronged the avenues, shouting, waving handkerchiefs, and cheering for the Stars and Stripes, President Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln], and the Yankee army.  The rebels destroyed much property by burning and explosions, before they left, but large amounts were found remaining in the city, after the Union forces took possession.  Over 200 pieces of artillery and immense supplies of ammunition were found in the forts.

GEN. LEE OF NEGRO SOLDIERS.—The Richmond papers of the 22d, contain an extract from a letter addressed by Gen. Lee [Robert E. Lee] to Mr. Miles, of South Carolina :

“We must  use the negroes, as the enemy will use them against us.  They have been used now a long time, and with great help to our adversaries and to our disadvantage, and as the number of soldiers diminish in our ranks and are increased in those of the enemy, he will overrun more territory and accumulate from the black material still more  overbearing superiority.”

Our dispatches mention another letter by Gen. Lee, declaring that the arming of the negroes has become an absolute necessity.  Won’t copperheads begin to have some respect for the negro now?

STILL THREATENING.—The Richmond Whig says that when SHERMAN reaches Charlotte, “dangers will begin to thicken round him.”  Ever since SHERMAN left Chattanooga, in May last year, the rebel newspapers have been throwing out mysterious hints of this nature.  If they were to be believed, he has constantly just about to fall into some terrible trap laid for him, and to which the rebel generals have been adroitly “drawing him on.”  And still he moves triumphantly forward.

Finger002  The Richmond Enquirer thinks it would “be a glorious thing for history to tell that the North was whipped and conquered by the assistance of negroes for whose benefit they falsely pretend this war was waged.”

On the other hand how will it sound when history will show that the rebels were compelled to call on the poor, despised, “inferior race” for aid.  And suppose after calling the negro to come to their rescue, they are whipped?

GEN. SCHURZ.—Gen. CARL SCHURZ has been assigned to duty on Gen. HANCOCK’s staff to assist in the organization of the 1st Army Corps, and to command a division when raised.  He is expected to start in a few days on a tour through the West to investigate the system at various recruiting stations there.  [Winfield S. Hancock]

EXCHANGING NEGROES.—A number of negro soldiers, who have been held as prisoners by the rebels, arrived within the Union lines on the 22d inst., having been exchanged under the recent arrangement.

ILLINOIS.—The last of the ten new Illinois regiments has left for the front.  They have all been sent to join THOMAS.  [George H. Thomas]

1.  Francis M. Tamsett, from Alden, enlisted March 18, 1865, and served in Company B of the 53rd Wisconsin Infantry. In June this company was consolidated with the 51st Wisconsin Infantry as Company H, the original Company H having mustered out May 6, 1865. Tamsett mustered out July 11, 1865. This particular Fisk and George Emory do not seem to have served.
2.  William Kent, Worthy Prentice, and “Abram” L. Gillespie served in Company D of the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry. Joseph Corey and Andrew Fee served in Company K of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry.
3.  The township in Chisago County, Minnesota, that Rush City is located in; now spelled Rushseba.

1865 March 11: Sam Harriman Suggests Using Rebel Deserters as Wisconsin Farm Laborers, Plus a Letter from the 22nd Wisconsin Infantry

March 16, 2015

Two letters from the March 11, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.  The second letter comes from someone in the 22nd Wisconsin Infantry who, unfortunately, is not named.

Deserters from the Rebels—A Chance to Procure Laborers.

HEADQUARTERS 1st BRIG., 1st DIV., 9th A. C. }
February 23d,1865. }

 Messrs. Atwood & Rublee,, Editors Wis. State Journal.

GENTLEMEN—The great number of deserters now coming into our lines, taking the oath of allegiance and being sent North has suggested the idea that if we would guard against the civil effects of such a class, who have been taught by their institutions that labor is degrading to the white man, and being thrown upon the charities of the people of the North, whom they have been taught to believe are their enemies, that we should take some means to furnish these men labor, whereby they can return to their homes and families.

 The farmers of Wisconsin need the labor of these men, and they assure us they are ready and willing to labor.

If any agency were established in Wisconsin who would receive these men and furnish them places among the honest and loyal farmers of Wisconsin, where their morals would not be corrupted, such agency would not only subserve the cause of humanity, but would do much towards putting the finishing touch upon the dissolving scenery of rebellion.

Thirteen came into my lines last night, all fine, intelligent looking men and have more or less every night.

Should it be desirable, I would ticket such as appeared most deserving, to any name that might be sent me.

The recent elections in Wisconsin have shown that she can safely bear quite an influx of even disloyal men, without endangering her institutions.  Trusting you make such suggestions through your journal as you may deem expedite.

.             .Very respectfully &c.,
.                                .SAM. HARRIMAN, [Samuel Harriman],
Col. 37th Wis. Vols., Com. 1st. Brig.; 1st
.      .Division, 9th A. C.

From the Twenty-Second. 

A letter from our excellent correspondent in the 22d Regiment, dated Robertsville, S. C., February 1st, has been so long coming that much of its interest is lost.  Instead, therefore of publishing it in full, we give the substance and make some extracts.  He says the advance as far as the place where his letter was dated, was through a low, swampy, wild region where progress was very difficult.  Frequent halts were made in the early part of the march, and whenever they army stopped the soldiers set about making themselves comfortable.  The country was widely swept for forage and the army gathered strength for the rapid advances it has since made.  Good water was found abundant everywhere.  The idea that the Sunny South was free from the breath of winter was dispoiled by the presence of ice in the ponds, frozen roads and chilly night air.

Of the difference between the Georgia and South Carolina campaigns, and the conduct of the baser sort of men in the army, our correspondent says :

There is this notable difference between our Georgia campaign and this movement into the interior of South Carolina, that whereas, in the former, the out-buildings were doomed to the fire, in the latter, a clean sweep is made, and only the tall twin chimneys mark the site of the Carolina planter’s home.  We never saw the incendiary who does this work, he does not march in the ranks, nor carry a musket, but in first to plunder, and is well informed concerning the battle, of which he was a distant observer.  I say this of the “Bummer” for the reason that shameful crimes are committed, and charged to the soldier, who scorns the act and despises the actor.  Women and children are homeless and hungry in these woods, and it is charged to the army ;  and our men in rebel hands suffer every indignity at the revengeful heart of the exasperated Southerner ;  hereafter let the real criminals be known.

Carolina has sown to the winds and will reap a whirlwind, but we will but cripple her cities, and when she asks for mercy, drop the sword for the olive branch, and not imitate the savage by extending our power to the harih [sic] of the helpless—the old man, the woman and the child.

Of the way in which the soldiers amuse themselves, and the feeling of the army he says :

With the month of February, has come a genial sky and a spring-like day, and for the first time in months, large numbers of men are engaged in sports of school-boy-days—the running leap, the wrestle and the base ball.  Where these exercises are practiced, there is no depression, and it is a simple truth to say, that Sherman’s soldiers are perfectly equipped, well acclimated, and confident of their ability to manage Carolina.




1865 March 11: Furloughed and Paroled Wisconsin Soldiers

March 15, 2015

Two reports to Wisconsin Governor James T. Lewis from George W. Sturges, one of Wisconsin’s agents in the field to help soldiers.  These reports were published in The Prescott Journal of March 11, 1865.

Notice to Furloughed Soldiers. 

ST. LOUIS, Mo., Feb. 23d, 1865

His Excellency James T. Lewis, Governor of Wisconsin :

DEAR SIR :  I cut the attached “notice to furloughed soldiers” from the Democrat of this date.  Although it is an old subject, still in publication in our State papers may be of utility and save the fair “name and fame” of some of our Wisconsin soldiers, who are still absent from the hospitals through ignorance of regulations.  A charge of desertion recorded against a soldier, always makes more or less trouble for him.

Your ob’t serv’t,       GEO. W. STURGES,
.                       .Wisconsin State Agent.

Washington, Nov. 9, 1864. }

Application for transfer of men absent from hospitals on furlough, will not be entertained, nor will such transfer be made, except upon sufficient evidence or inability to travel. All men failing to return to hospitals from which they received furloughs, upon the expiration thereof, will be reported as deserters.

We understand that many soldiers, instead of returning at the expiration of their furloughs, send back to the hospital certificates of physicians of inability to perform military duty, thinking thereby to get an extension of furlough.

Furloughs are not extended in this way, and such men are to be reported as deserters. We are informed that a large number of men who were furloughed just before the election last fall, have not returned to the hospitals, and that they, as well as many others who received furloughs before and since the election have been reported to Washington as deserters. Men furloughed from hospitals are not expected to be fit for duty before returning, but they are required to return promptly, if able to travel.

Paroled Wisconsin Prisoners.

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 27, 1865.

His Excellency James T. Lewis, Gov. of Wis.

RESPECTED SIR :—Information has been received at this Post and preparations made for receiving 7,000 paroled Union soldiers.  They receive all attention and those not fit for service in sixty days are being furloughed.  I sent some nine men of the 19th Regiment home yesterday.

I was called on by two paroled Wisconsin soldiers for assistance ;  they represented they were necessitous, and wanted some shirts, drawers and socks.  I gave them an order on Sanitary Commission, with instructions if they were not satisfactorily served to bring back the order to me.  They were furnished promptly.

I immediately went to Col. B. L. E. Bonniwell, U. S. A., in charge of Benton Barracks, and he requested me in all future cases to send such applications to him direct, and he would personally see their wants supplied.  I have sent all other applications to him, and he has promptly supplied them with all necessary clothing, and when he furloughs men he pays them two months’ wages, and in the absence of their descriptive rolls charges the amount paid on their furloughs.

I take pleasure in reporting these facts.  Col. Bonniwell knows his duty, and appears to wish to do it.  All assistance I can render the men in getting transportation and seeing them on their way, I cheerfully do, but it is no sinecure duty.

.       .Wis. State Agent.

1865 March 11: Care of Sick and Wounded Wisconsin Soldiers

March 14, 2015

The Prescott Journal of March 11, 1865, printed two articles on sick and wounded soldiers.

Care of Sick and Wounded Wisconsin Soldiers
—Report of the Governor About State Agencies.

The following message, showing what has been done under the direction of the Governor [James T. Lewis] for the relief of sick and wounded Wisconsin soldiers, was sent to the Legislature on the 1st :


To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of Wisconsin :

By chapter 354 of the General Laws of 1864, the sum of ten thousand dollars was appropriated and set apart “to be paid out upon the order of the Governor of the State, for the liquidation of all such claims as shall hereafter accrue by the authority of the Governor, in the necessary care of the sick and wounded soldiers of “Wisconsin, and for carrying such sick and wounded into this State, when the same shall be proper and necessary.”  By section three of said chapter, it is provided that the Governor shall “make out and report to the Legislature, at its next session, the amounts so expended by him, and fully in what manner such money has been expended.”  I have the honor to submit the annexed detailed statement of expenditures under said chapter, vouchers for which are on file in this office, showing amounts expended, by whom and at what time.  As to the manner of its expenditure, I have the honor to state, that seeing no more practical method of meeting the wants of the class of persons intended to be benefited by the appropriation, than by the appointment of agents whose duty it should be to visit and care for them, I selected a number of agents, giving to each certain territory, with directions to visit the fields and hospitals within prescribed limits, and to do all within their power to” alleviate suffering and aid the sick and wounded.

Section two of the chapter above alluded to, provides that “the Governor is hereby authorized to draw his order or orders upon the State Treasurer for so much money, not exceeding the sum of ten thousand dollars in all, as shall be actually necessary, &c.”

By this provision it will be seen that I could in no event draw more than ten thousand dollars.  I was under the necessity, therefore, of limiting the number of agents, and the amount to be expended by each, so as not to use in all beyond this sum.  The number of agents at present employed is five, as follows :  Mrs. C. A. P. Harvey, Geo. W. Sturges, E. L. Jones, W. Y. Selleck and D. Ostrander.  Others have been employed during the year for short periods of time as necessity seemed to demand, whose names also appear in the statement hereto annexed.  Mrs. C. A. P. Harvey has charge of hospitals from Memphis to New Orleans.  Geo. W. Sturges has charge of hospitals at St. Louis, Paducah, Mound City, Keokuk and Cairo.  E. L. Jones has charge of hospitals at Nashville, Louisville and Chattanooga.  W. Y. Selleck had, until recently, exclusive charge of hospitals at Washington, Alexandria, Philadelphia, York (Pa.), Baltimore and Annapolis ;  but the armies having been largely increased in the vicinity of Washington, I deemed it necessary to appoint another agent, and have therefore appointed D. Ostrander to assist Mr. Selleck in that department.  As will be seen by the annexed statement the amount remaining for which I am authorized to draw is small ;  probably little if any more than sufficient to pay the claims already outstanding.  I would therefore suggest that in case it is thought best to continue the employment of these agents, further appropriation be made soon, as I shall be under the necessity of discharging them within a short time unless further means are placed at my disposal to pay their expenses and furnish them with means to carry on their work.  I would further state that owing to the Increased [sic] expenses of living and traveling, it will probably be necessary to increase the pay of these agents in order to secure their services in the future.  The necessity of making larger appropriations for the future than have been made in the past, even though no larger force is employed, will therefore be apparent.  We owe it to our soldiers to use all proper means to care for them and their families.  Thus far no state has more fully performed its duty in this respect than has Wisconsin.  The thousands of dollars that have been paid from the treasury toward are sufficient evidence of the truth of this statement.

That the sanitary agents have been of great service in caring for the sick and wounded soldiers from Wisconsin, there can be no doubt.  The reports of these agents, published from time to time in the public prints, are also of great service to the whole people of the State, affording them information concerning the condition and fate of their friends in field and hospital which it would be difficult for them otherwise to obtain.  I should therefore deem it unwise to dispense with the services of these agents at the present time.

Of the agents at present employed, I will only remark, that they have proved themselves worthy.  So efficient and self-sacrificing have they been—so well have they performed their duties to the soldiers and the State, that I should regret very much to lose their services.

Owing to pressing duties in my office I have been able to visit but few of the hospitals during the past year, but intend as soon as possible after the adjournment of the Legislature to visit all hospitals where Wisconsin soldiers are to be found, with a view of procuring, as far as possible, the discharge of such soldiers as can be of no further service to the Government, and desire to be discharged, the transfer to our own State of those who can be benefited by such transfers, and of rendering such other service to the sick and wounded as may be within my power.


Vouchers accompanying the message show an expenditure of $7,710.27, mainly through State Agents, for the period from January 8th, 1864, to February 27th, 1865.

Transfers of Sick and Wounded Soldiers. 

The following communication from Col. R. C. WOOD, Ass’t Surgeon General U. S. A., to the Governor, with accompanying circular, is published for the information of soldiers in hospitals in the Western Medical Department and their friends at home. It will be seen that applications for individual transfers are useless, but that transfers will be made in all proper cases as fast as practicable and consistent with the good of the service :

Louisville, Ky., Feb. 23, 1865. }

His Excellency, James T. Lewis, Governor of Wisconsin.

SIR :  Applications for leaves of absence and transfers have become so urgent and numerous that I think proper to submit to you my views.

All applications from General Hospitals should pass through the medical officer, for the reason that they have to be returned to the hospital for a statement of the case ; this produces delay.

The directions already given by the War Department embrace leaves of absence over which I have no control ;  a certain quota of sick are given leaves of absence.

The interest of the service requires that all men not permanently sick or disabled, should be kept as near the theater of operations as possible, for obvious reasons.

I propose, and shall direct semi-monthly examinations of all the sick, not too remote, to be made.  All permanently disabled, or who will not be fit for service in sixty days, will be sent to their respective states.

This course will absorb all cases, if fit subjects, of that class of men who are now, in large numbers, applicants for individual transfers, and will save the State Executive much importunity, and this office from serious embarrassment.

The hospitals in the Western Department are now abundant, not crowded, and afford sick soldiers every facility for prompt recovery and return to duty.

I am disposed to unite with you in every effort to extend indulgences to sick soldiers, where it does not impair their efficiency, or retard their recovery.

Your obedient servant,
.                              .R. C. WOOD,
.            .Asst. Surg. Gen., U. S. A.

Louisville, Ky., Feb. 25, 1865. }

The following circular having been submitted to, and approved by the Surgeon General, is published for the information of all concerned. Its provisions will be strictly complied with.

R. C. WOOD, Asst. Surg. Gen. U. S. A.

Louisville, Ky., Feb. 25, 1865. }


Applications for individual transfers have become so numerous that it is necessary to establish the following regulations.

All applications for transfer must be made to the Medical Officer in charge of General Hospital, who will endorse his opinion in the case and then transmit to the Assistant Surgeon General through the Medical Director of the Department, or Superintendent of General Hospitals, for action.  This will expedite transfers, as individual cases have to be returned to the Surgeons in chafe, for statement of the case.

Surgeons in charge will recommend for transfer only such sick or wounded soldiers who are permanently disabled, or those who will not be available for duty in sixty days.

Surgeons in charge of General Hospitals in the Western Medical Department will, on the 1st and 15th of every month, transmit through the Medical Director of the Department or Superintendent of General Hospital, all cases which, in their opinion, come under the provisions of these regulations, for the action of the Assistant Surgeon General, who will take the most speedy measures to transfer all proper cases to their respective States.

The regulation will free the Department from the embarrassment of individual appeals, and will ensure equal justice to the friendless.

There is no authority in this office to give leaves of absence or grant furloughs.

.       .R. C. WOOD,
Asst. Surg. Gen. U. S. A.

1865 March 13: “The rebs bushwhacked a little too much to suit us so we concluded to go through them”

March 13, 2015

 The original 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.

Port [___], La.   Mar. 13, 1865.

My dear Cousin,

                             About a week ago my soul was made glad by the arrival of an epistle from yourself.  I believe it was the first received from you for many weeks, and though I had been trying to make myself that I cared but little whether anyone wrote me or not.  When it came, it breathed so much of real friendships that I thought to my self that such missives were a blessing.

We have just returned from an expedition into the country.  The only object of the move was to attract the enemy’s attention toward us while other campaigns were in progress.  We had only two quite sharp skirmishes.  At one time, my company was out with two others and making our way cautiously towards Clinton.  The rebs bushwhacked a little too much to suit us so we concluded to go through them.  Accordingly we charged and did go through, but paid rather dear as several good men were lost.  None of your acquaintance were injured.  Lyman Carlton’s¹ horse was shot but no great injury was done to himself.  The good Lord was again on the side of your humble servant and he escaped without a scratch.  Shall I always be as fortunate?

It is raining now with more than seven furies and in fact, for the most of the last month it has been one incessant storm.  The country is in danger of being wholly inundated.  There is but little of interest transpiring here at present.  Nearly all the troops on the Mississippi have been going towards Mobile and today, rumor has that our regiment is to follow.  I care but little whether it be so or not.

Charlie² is well and moves along in the same style as of old and writes letters enough to make a man poor just to pay the postage.  Rossie [Roswell V. Pratt] is quite and orderly as usual a noble soldier and he has a soul is big as though he weighed two hundred pounds.  He harasses me every time I see him about the use of my favorite beverage, but for all that, I love him as a brother.

Please give my love to cousin Sarah Pratt Parker.  Tell her I love to think of her as she was but thought it too gloomy to think of her as she is.  ‘Tis too bad she changed to such a sober sturdy woman.  I wish that winter at the Falls could be stricken from the rolls of time.  How does Uncle Tilson and Aunt Sarah get along ?  I hope they are well.  Has grandmother stood the winter as well as usual?  Is mother’s health good?  And how are your folks flourishing?

It is getting quite late and my duty as officer of the day calls upon me to visit the picket lines before I lay down.  Wishing I may hear again from you soon and that this may find you in good health and spirits, I remain your Friend and Cousin,

Jerry E. Flint

1.  Lyman H. Carlton was recruited by Jerry Flint on December 24, 1863.
2.  Charles P. Nichols was recruited by Jerry Flint on October 23, 1863.


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