1865 August 19: The Latest from Texas, Railroads Functioning Again, Fullerton’s Work with the Freedmen’s Bureau, and Other News
The following reports come from The Prescott Journal of August 19, 1865.
B Y T E L E G R A P H
NEW YORK, Aug. 12.—The Herald’s New Orleans correspondent says a continuation of lawlessness is reported in portions of Texas, bordering on the Rio Grande ; bands of thieves infest the country driving off stock and stealing whatever they think worth laying their hands on.
The arrival of two divisions of National Cavalry, moving across the State from Louisiana, was anxiously awaited.
General Weitzel [Godfrey Weitzel], commanding the 25th Army Corps, has issued an order stating that it is probably that the command will remain there for some time.
Gen. Canby [Edward Canby], commanding in Louisiana, has addressed an important communication to Governor Welles [sic: James M. Wells] of that State, requesting him to warn local and civil officers against attempting to force any police laws for regulation of negroes who are in conflict with the act establishing the Freedmen’s Bureau, to the agents of which, the supervision of these matters exclusively pertain.
The Times’ Washington special says : Robert Ridgeway of the Richmond Whig, and Jno. S. Barbane, President of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, today announced themselves candidates for Congress, for Virginia.
Since August 1st there have been mustered out of the service 60 regiments and batteries, including over 20,000 men.
The receipts of Internal Revenue to day amounts to $1, 305,695.00.
The Railroads in Virginia are fast approaching completion and will shortly all be in running order, and cars will run to Lynchburg from Shenandoah on Monday, and the Richmond and Aquia Creek Railroad will communicate with Fredericksburg in a few days, thus doing away with staging.
The unfinished Loudon and Hampshire road will be completed at an early day.
The Herald’s special says: Mr. Greer, of the original South Carolina delegation, is in the city, and reports affairs progressing in that state, to the perfect satisfaction of every one.
Gov. Perry [Benjamin F. Perry] has been well received by the people of that state, and Mr. Greer knew nothing of the reported collision between the civil and military authorities until he read the radical papers at the North. He pronounces it a fabrication throughout.
Brigadier General J. T. Fullerton [sic: J. S. Fullerton],¹ of the Freedmen’s Bureau, returned to this city last evening, from a tour of servation in eastern Florida and central Georgia. The trip occupied about four weeks, and was productive of much and valuable insight to the operation of the scheme adopted by the Bureau for the development of freedmen. From a close observance throughout the states alluded to, Gen. Fullerton is inclined to believe that the number of whites and blacks who receive government rations is about equal.
1. Joseph Scott Fullerton (1835-1897) was originally from Chillicothe, Ohio, and attended law school in Cincinnati, graduating in 1858. Soon after receiving his law degree he moved to St. Louis, Missouri. There, while preparing to practice his profession, he took an active part with the Union men of Missouri in their struggle against secession. In October 1862 he entered service as a private and soon thereafter was promoted to lieutenant in the 2nd Missouri Infantry. He then served as General Gordon Granger’s aide-de-camp. In April, 1863, he was appointed major and assistant adjutant-general, and assigned to duty as General Granger’s chief of staff.General Fullerton participated in the first battle at Franklin, Tennessee; Shelbyville, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Buzzard Roost Gap, Dalton, Resaca, New Hope Church, Pine-Top Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, Peach-Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesborough, Lovejoy Station, Columbia, Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville. He was brevetted colonel for “distinguished services and gallantry in the Atlanta campaign,” and brigadier-general “for most valuable services and distinguished personal gallantry at the battles of Franklin and Nashville.”
In May, 1865, he was assigned to duty to assist General Howard in organizing the Freedmen’s Bureau. In October, 1865, he was sent by President Johnson to adjust the difficulties existing in Louisiana between State officers, citizens, officers of the military service, and officers of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Having succeeded in this work, he returned to Washington and offered his resignation from the military service, which was not accepted, and he was assigned to duty with the President as acting military secretary.
In April, 1866, he was sent South with General J. B. Stedman, by the President, to inspect the social and political condition of the people, and the conduct of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The reports made by these officers caused expressions of great bitterness from radical politicians then engaged in the work of reconstruction in the Southern States. For the third time, he tendered his resignation from the military, and was finally mustered out in September, 1866.
After the War Fullerton served as postmaster in St. Louis for two years before returning to the practice of law. He retired from the law in the fall of 1890 and from 1890-97 he was chairman of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Commission.
The following reports come from the August 19, 1865, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.
From The Polk County Press:
It is reported that the Cabinet of President Johnson [Andrew Johnson] is having stormy sessions upon the subject “Reconstruction.” The great issue seems to hinge upon “colored suffrage” at the South. The Green Bay Advocate (Union Democratic) in speaking upon the subject of negro suffrage, shows that all the objections urged against extending the right of suffrage to the Negroes of the South apply equally well to a majority of the whites there. If the negroes are ignorant, lazy, indisposed to work or to adapt themselves to the new order of things, the same is true of the mass of the white population. The Advocate closes by laying down a platform on the suffrage question, which is a very sound one :
Regardless of where it hits or misses, let the men in the South vote—
1. Who are able to read and write ;
2. Who have been in the habit of working and earning their own living ;
3. Who have borne arms in the Federal service during the rebellion, and
4. Who promptly assent to the Emancipation policy, and cheerfully yield allegiance to the Federal Government.
Negro Suffrage in Wisconsin.
This question is one of considerable importance, and is a question which is to come before the people of this State, at the next general election, (see suffrage law elsewhere). Upon this subject the Prescott Journal thus speaks in good sense and candor :
In this State, unlike the rebel states, the question of negro suffrage is one more of principle than of practical effect. The number of negroes in this State is now, and always will be, so small, that conferring the right of suffrage upon them can exert but little influence upon the politics and destiny of the State.
The negro, like every other human being, is entitled to justice, and while we do not think that his proper and natural position is as high as many do, yet we think that in this State, he has a right to vote. The alien has his property and person protected by our laws, but as he has no voice, was not held to military service.—But the negro was called on to fight for us. He stood his even chance in the draft with the whites, and now to deny to him the ballot is manifest unjustice. We are told this is the white man’s country. If so, why to compel the negroes to help defend it. The people accepted without disapproval the policy of holding the negro to military service, and the right to vote follows from that fact as logically as any corollary ever followed from a mathematicial [sic] proposition.
From The Prescott Journal:
B Y T E L E G R A P H
NEW YORK, Aug. 12.—The Herald’s correspondent says a long Cabinet session was held to-day, and report says a rather storming one.
The President’s reconstruction policy is understood to have been discussed in all its length and breadth, and his determination to adhere to it and carry it out regardless of opposition or consequences, is emphatically announced.
1865 August 12: Joseph Reichert of the 30th Wisconsin is Home, More Brevet Appointments, Civil War Songs, and More
Following are the smaller items from the August 12, 1865, issues of The Polk County Post and The Prescott Journal.
From The Polk County Post:
— Gen. O. O. Howard has been breveted as Major General in the regular army.
— An ocean steamer will leave for Europe in a short time, flying the American flag, being the first in four years. The passengers and freight traffic has heretofore been monopolized by English, French, and German lines.
— Bishop Andrews [sic],¹ of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has called a meeting of the bishops of the denomination, to be held at Columbus, Georgia, on the 10th of August, to take into consideration measures for the reorganization of the church throughout the Southern States.
— A correspondent of a New York paper estimates the loss of the rebel armies during the rebellion at 100,000 killed and died in service, and 100,000 permanently disabled ; while probably 200,000 others suffered under various degrees of disability.—The pecuniary losses of the South by the war are estimated at 89,300,000,000.
— The late fair at Milwaukee has proved the greatest success of anything of the kind ever held in the West. The receipts amount to about $120,000. The complete success of the enterprise is almost entirely due the ladies of the State, the Milwaukee ladies taking the burden of the labor and responsibility. Let it be recorded in their favor.
PERSONAL.—BRIG. GEN. SAMUEL HARRIMAN, returned to his home in St. Croix County on Saturday last. Gen. Harriman has distinguished himself for gallant conduct and comes home bearing the highest honors.—Long may he wear them.
SOLDIERS RECEPTION.—The returned soldiers of Pierce County, met with a hearty welcome at Prescott, on Friday last, by people of that county. The brave boys were highly pleased to be at home once again, to enjoy the society of their many friends. About 150 soldiers participated in the occasion, and a dance was given them by the city in the evening. One hundred and eighty couple were present.
— The Florida Union states that the father of Payne [aka Lewis Powell], the would-be murderer of Secretary Seward, has been making a visit to Jacksonville, in that state. The Union says, “He resides on a plantation three miles from Live Oak station, on the Pensacola & Georgia Railroad. He lost one son at the battle of Murfreesboro ; another returned home maimed for life. Lewis was his only hope in his old age. The afflicted father was a Baptist minister, as has been stated.”
— Gen. Pleasanton [sic: Alfred Pleasonton] has established his headquarters at Milwaukee.
— Gen. Banks intends to make New Orleans his permanent residence. [Nathaniel P. Banks]
— A movement on foot in St. Louis for the erection of a monument to Gen. Yyon [sic: Nathaniel Lyon], either in that city or on the battle-ground at Wilson’s Creek.
— The commissioner of pensions has decided that the rebel deserters who have enlisted into the United States service are not entitled to the benefits of the pension laws.
— Some of the more popular ballads of the war have sold immense editions. Of “Who will Care for Mother Now,”² 491,000 copies have been disposed of, and of “Mother would Comfort Me,”³ 227,500 copies.
From The Prescott Journal:
The State Ticket.
It seems to be pretty certain that Gen. FAIRCHILD [Lucius Fairchild] will be the Union nominee for Governor. For Sec. of State, Mr. FIELD, late Speaker of the Assembly, and Gen. TOM. ALLEN [Thomas S. Allen] are prominent candidates. Mr. HASTINGS [Samuel D. Hastings] will be renominated as Treasurer, though there will be considerable opposition.—For the other offices there are plenty of excellent names mentioned. We have no doubt the ticket will be a worthy and acceptable one, and be heartily supported, and triamphantly [sic] successful at the polls.
— Mr. Jos. Reichert of the 30th Reg., has re-opened a saloon in town.
— The duty of placing the manacles upon Mrs. Surratt, escorting her until the trap fell, devolved upon Lieutenant Colonel W. H. H. McCall,4 of Lewisburg. When placing the irons upon here wrists, she told him that he was no gentleman, or he would not do so. Colonel McCall told her it was his unpleasant duty, in obedience to orders, and not his choice. Her parting salute to him was: “You are a scoundrel!” which were about the last words she uttered.
General Grant Dancing.—Everybody knows, or should be aware, of Grant’s ability to lead armies, and to cut up armies when they are not composed of men to suit his ideas of things ; but everybody did not know that the General could dance. Well, now, sobersides, don’t get shocked at what I am about to disclose—he can dance, and did dance on the evening of the 26th day of July, at West Point. It was amusing to see the General manœuvre in the intricate movements of a cotillon [sic] ; but he accomplished it manfully, and it must have been particularly delightful for the young ladies to be handled in the dance by the gallant hero.
1. James Osgood Andrew (1794-1871) was elected a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832. His ownership of slaves generated controversy within the M.E. Church, as the national organization had long opposed slavery. He was criticized by the 1844 General Convention and suspended from office. Disputing the authority of the Convention to discipline the bishop, southern members seceded and set up the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Andrew became the symbol of the slavery issue for the M.E. Church.
2. “Who Will Care for Mother Now?,” words by Charles Carroll Sawyer, music by Charles F. Thompson (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Sawyer & Thompson, 1863). Full sheet music available at Duke University Libraries Digital Collections.
Charles Carroll Sawyer was a major contributor to the body of sentimental works written during the Civil War period. Other songs by Sawyer include “I Dreamed My Boy Was Home Again” and “Mother Would Comfort Me Now.” The popularizing of the genre did much for the field of music publishing and by 1865 the song “Who Will Care for Mother Now,” self-published by Sawyer and Thompson, had sold nearly a half million copies.
3. “Mother Would Comfort Me,” words by Charles Carroll Sawyer, music by Charles F. Thompson (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Sawyer & Thompson, 1863). Full sheet music available at Duke University Libraries Digital Collections.
4. William Henry Harrison McCall (1841-1883) joined the Civil War first as a captain in the 5th Pennsylvania Reserves. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 200th Pennsylvania Infantry. In March 1865, McCall was brevetted colonel of Volunteers for his “coolness, bravery and skill at Ft. Stedman, Virginia.” Then in April 1865 he was brevetted brigadier general of Volunteers for his “valuable and meritorious service in the assault in front of Ft. Sedgwick, Virginia.”
The Prescott Journal of August 12, 1865, reprinted the following article, about former Confederate President Jefferson Davis, from the New-York Times of July 27. The Times prefaced the article with: “The very few here who are permitted to know the facts about Jeff. Davis’ health, his prison habits, diet, privileges, and so on, are much amused at the manufactured fol-de-rol that appears periodically in the New-York and Philadelphia papers. One would imagine, did he credit the statements of these sensationalists, that Jeff, is in the hands of brutish tyrants rather than of Christian gentlemen : that he is being worn away between the upper and nether stones of official restriction and prison torture, instead of enjoying to his full capacity every comfort which the necessary caution and watchfulness of his guardians will permit. ”
He is confined in a large casemate, where there is ample room for his bed, a table, several chairs and a bath-tub. He is in no way hampered about his person, everything being as free to-day as when he stamped defiance with his foot in Washington and waved adieu to his compeers of the Senate. To be sure he is not permitted to be alone, but the guard are cautioned against intrusion ; and at no time has he complained of either officers or men. Should he do so, and were his complaint based on the slightest foundation, it would be attended to. At night a lamp burns within his room. This, however, was done as a measure of precaution rather than annoyance. At first he complained of it, thinking it would interfere with his sleep ; but as experience demonstrated the folly of his fear, he withdrew the request that it should be removed. The guard is changed every two hours ; an inspection of the guard is made twice each day. The floor is neatly swept and every care taken to furnish water in abundance. The regularity with which Mr. Davis takes his morning bath is evidence of the care he yet takes of his person. His toilet is as faultless as ever, and he presents the same precise and well-ordered exterior as in earlier and happier days.
I have seen it stated that Jeff’s food was the same as is furnished the rank and file of the army. If it was it would be sufficiently better than that given our prisoners at Richmond, but as retaliation is not the practice of the government, it may be as well to state that this report is as far from the truth as is the other which says that he is allowed all the delicacies of the season. The fact is, strange as it may seem to some of our Copperhead friends, that Davis is taken care of by people who have at least an ordinary amount of common sense, and who know the folly of going to extremes. The food furnished the rebel chief is such he can eat with relish. He doesn’t have strawberries and cream, nor boned turkey and mince pie, but he does have tea and coffee, beef and other meats, vegetables and cigars. These complaints about food do not originate with the prisoner, and until he sees fit even to intimate to those in charge that his diet disagrees with him, it is hardly necessary for the newspaper oppositionists to worry themselves about it. Dr. Craven [John J. Craven], who has been with Mr. Davis every day since his arrival, is a gentleman and a practitioner of acknowledged merit, who would not forfeit the approval of his conscience for all the advancement in the power of his superiors, and to his opinion the officers in charge invariably yield the most implicit respect. At his advice sundry changes, vegetable mainly, were made in the bill of fare, but they were suggested as precautionary, rather than as absolutely necessary.
It is not true that Davis neither speaks nor is spoken to. Such rigor would be childish and absurd. With Maj. Gen. Miles [Nelson Miles], with Dr. Craven and other officers of the post he converses freely and unrestrainedly. They have no desire to be uncivil, nor would they consent to such a depth of degradation as would be needful were they expected in any way to irritate, annoy or disturb their prisoner. With the soldiers of the guard he is not permitted to talk, nor would he be if he was a simple visitor. It is customary at all military posts for visitors, and especially prisoners, to refrain from conversation with any soldier on duty. In case he needs anything at any time he has only to tell the sentinel, who calls the officer of the guard, who reports to the officer of the day.
HOW HE SPENDS HIS TIME.
Rising at an early hour, Mr. Davis takes a bath, then dresses, after which he is visited by the officer of the guard, the officer of the day, and the medical attendant. He then breakfasts, after which he walks up and down his room, converses with Gen. Miles, who generally visits his quarters about that time, or with Dr. Craven, reads the Bible, and quite likely longs for books and papers ; that he has not thus far been permitted either is a fact. Whether it is best to wholly deprive him of the society of books is a fair matter of argument. Many think that he should have everything of the kind with which to while away his time and make the tedious hours pass less slowly. Then there are many who entertain the idea that Jeff, deserves a little punishment, and that it is not at all desirable that his time should pass pleasantly or rapidly. Quite likely the government are of that opinion ; at all events, he don’t get the papers.
WHAT HE RECEIVES.
It has also been stated that no letters of sympathy had been received for him. This is incorrect. Mrs. Davis and other members of the family have written frequently, and although Mr. Davis is not permitted to read the letters, he is furnished with all items of domestic news and interest, such as the state of health and movements of the family generally. In addition to these, numerous letters of counsel and advice have been received, although none of them, with one exception, have been given him. It is not deemed right that intercourse by letter should be permitted with any one, although one would suppose it could do no harm if the mere home letters were allowed to pass freely. Of course there are hundreds of silly people in the country, and it would be strange if they who pester the President for opinions, bother persons of note for autographs, and deluge officials with advice, should not occasionally scribble a line of abuse to old Jeff. His friends, however, may rest easy on this point ; he is never annoyed by these impertinences, because he never sees nor hears of them. It is said that he rarely talks about or cares to have reference made to political or military matters. Quite likely this is in deference to the good advice of his counsel. When Davis was first incarcerated, he made application for pen, ink and paper; the application was refused. He then made no requests for several days, until after the reception of a letter from an eminent lawyer, when he again requested stationery. It was granted on one condition ; finding it difficult to comply with the terms, he returned the materials. He has several times expressed a desire for free correspondence with his wife and family, and seemed annoyed at the determined refusal given at each application.
HOW DAVIS LOOKS.
What earthly honest purposes the presses hope to gain by circulating lies about Jeff.’s health it is difficult to conceive. He is in better condition to-day than he has been in five years. It will be remembered that a hacking cough seriously affected his throat and lungs during his last days at Washington ; it has gone entirely. He has been blind of one eye for many years, and the sight of the other was exceedingly poor of late. The power of his eye is greater now than at any time in ten years. He wears at times the famous green goggles, but there is not the need for them now that there used to be. During his rule at Richmond, the constant strain upon his eye wore upon it, and it was the opinion of his best and most intimate friends that he would eventually lose sight altogether. This is changed for the better. Regular hours, much sound sleep, almost total abstinence from wear and tear, are doing much for his health generally and very much for his eye-sight. His carriage is still erect. His hair is changing color, his cheeks, always sunken, are now covered with a light beard, making him look fatter and sounder, his physique is in good repair, his limbs are firm and his step square.
Of his mental condition, it is more difficult to speak. He is as eager for books, for mind food, as he is for the substantials needed by his body. Naturally nervous, years of ill health have made him irritable. Other years of absolute power made him impatient, and trouble seems to have made him querulous. Still he sleeps like a top. He retires early, and sometimes never turns till morning. If the people who write labored editorials about the “treatment of Jefferson Davis,” could contrast his appearance with that of thousands who barely escaped starvation and death at his hands, they would be compelled to keep quiet or change their tune.
Nor is it true that he has been denied the privileges of an occasional walk, any more than is the story that his near approaching dissolution compelled a change of programme. Gen. Miles, a prudent, efficient officer, has been in charge of the prisoner’s person and health. He is, in fact, held responsible for him by the President and the Secretary of War. At first, before the excitement of capture and confinement wore away, it was deemed best that he should be kept quietly in his ample room. Since then, however, at various times, at the suggestion of the General or of Davis, as the case might be, they have walked out upon the ramparts in the cool of the early evening, and sniffed the fresh air together. With Gen. Miles, Mr. Davis has ever been courteous and decorous in his bearing and conversation. There is no reason why he should not be, for so far as the externals of life and society go, he is as proper a person as can be found in a day’s tramp. The heat having become intense at the fort, Gen. Miles has made these little excursions more “frequently, and with great benefit to his mental and physical condition.
[The Times’ article ends with:
“Surmises are always in order. It is the matured opinion of one “well informed circle,” that he’ll be tried by a military commission, convicted and hanged.
“Another equally well informed circle is confident that he’ll be tried by a civil court and acquitted.
“One opinion is just as good as the other, and the reader can take his choice. Of one thing they may rest assured. The government has not yet determined what to with him, and when it does, it will do nothing inconsistent with its dignity.”]
1865 August 12: The Rebellion Finds Good Friends in New York, Another Andersonville Horror Story, and More
The following news comes from the August 12, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.
— The citizens of Galena have built General Grant a new house, furnished it from top to bottom, and laid a side walk in front. Now they want him to come back home. The Philadelphians have given him a splendid mansion; and want him to stay there. He will have trouble to decide. How happy he could be with either, were it the other dear charmer away. [Ulysses S. Grant]
B Y T E L E G R A P H
The Rebel Meeting in New York
What was Said and Done.
NEW YORK, Aug. 5.—It is reported that 24 officers, recently discharged from our army have proffered their services to the Mexican minister here, and propose to join the Mexican Army.
Mr. R. Brown¹ who was present at the Jeff. Davis meeting here, the other day, makes an affidavit to the following facts. [Jefferson Davis]
The meeting was first composed of citizens of New York, when, at the suggestion of some one, several Southern gents outside, were invited inside, when the doors were closed.
There were then ten men present. The object of the meeting being to raise funds to pay the expenses of defending Davis, a committee was appointed for that purpose, consisting of Mayor Gunther,² who was not present, Carlos Butterfield, Messrs. Douglass and Clancy.
A general conversation ensued, and they all agreed that the Davis trial was the most important one in the world’s history.
Mr. Cutler³ quoted from the Declaration of Independence to show that the southern States had a right to secede. Other New Yorkers took the same ground, citing the actions and opinions of citizens of New York and Massachusetts, when the Constitution was framed. Mr. Livingston4 of Alabama, read from several free State Constitutions the expressed right to secede. It was said that the effect of the trail of Davis would be a resolution of sentiment everywhere in favor of the South. It would be proved on trial that the secession cause was right and entitled to sympathies of the world.
Mr. Livingston declared that in twenty-five years, the man that now accuses the south of having committed treason, will be looked upon as a madman and a fool. One New Yorker denounced the execution of Mrs. Surratt [Mary Surratt], as a cool and deliberate murder. Mr. Martin [sic]5 said the court had no legal jurisdiction, and that the execution was a deliberate murder. Mr. Livingston said several Englishmen had told him that this cruel murder would send a thrill of horror through Europe, and the howl that would be sent back, would so strike terror to the American Government, that it will be afraid to bring Davis to trail. He asserted that the intention was to keep him lingering in prison.
NEW YORK, August 5th.—The Times’ Washington special has the following : The internal revenue receipts since our last report foot up $280,316,286, viz: yesterday’s receipts 108,641,715, and today’s receipts, 171,675,671. It has been announced in some of the papers that the President [Andrew Johnson] would leave here to-day for Cape May. We understand the President had no such intentions. His health is improving. The Seamens’ Societies in this city are preparing an entertainment for the benefit of the Lincoln National Monument, to be erected here. The Baltimore Firemens’ Societies propose to take action to the same end. The monument associations already have a handsome sum on hand.
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 5.—By the recent completion of the line between Pine Bluffs and Camden, Ark., telegraphic communication is opened to Galveston, via Shreveport. The Marshall and Houston lines, in course of construction in western Texas, will soon give the Washington authorities connection with San Antonia, Brownsville, and other points on the frontier.
WASHINGTON, Aug, 5.—The Postmaster General [William Dennison] has been ordered to renew the mail service on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, from Mobile, Ala., to Columbus, Ky., including Macon, and other important points.
Capt. H. Dryden, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, died last night.—He had been sick only two days. He participated with Admiral Dupont [sic: Samuel F. Du Pont] in the taking of Port Royal, and other important places.
NEW YORK, Aug. 4.— The Post publishes the following affidavit, made by Peter J. Smith :
“I was a corporal in Co. I, 6th Conn. Vols., and was captured in front of Petersburg, July 18th, 1863, and taken to Libby Prison, thence to Belle Island, and to Andersonville, Sept. 5th, 1863. While there, the rations were served out by Maj. Allen of the 2d Va. Rebel cavalry. Allen would sometimes go to the U. S. men and ask them if they would take the oath to the confederacy, and upon their declining would say, “Don’t give them a d—d mouthful to eat to-day.” At one time he took eight of us, (myself among that number,) all non-commissioned officers, and upon our refusing to take the oath and persuade the privates to do so, tied each of us by our hands and arms, to our sides, and our feet together, so we could not use them, and then laying us upon our sides, took a pistol and resting it on our ears, fired it, causing the greatest agony, and the blood to flow from our ears.
He caused the pistol to be fired on my ear twelve times, saying he would make me so I could not hear the order of another Yankee general. The hearing of my right ear has been destroyed in consequence of this treatment. Upon my return through from my imprisonment I saw Major Allen in Richmond, Va., serving out provisions furnished by the United States government, to the poor of Richmond. There is now in Richmond a Mr. Wm. Schaffer who was baker for the military prison, who can substantiate this.”
1. Robert Brown.
2. Charles Godfrey Gunther (1822-1885) was the Democratic mayor of New York City from 1864-66. Gunther was actively involved with the Tammany Hall political machine.
3. Peter Y. Cutler was a New York City lawyer.
4. Robert M. Livingston, of Mobile, Alabama.
5. Theodore Martine (1806-1877)
1865 August 5: Battle of Platte Bridge, Rebel Pirate “Shenandoah” Still Doing Serious Damage, and More
The smaller items from both newspapers—The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal—of August 5, 1865, follow.
The fourth item refers to the Battle of Platte Bridge, or Platte Bridge Station, which took place on July 26, 1865, between the U.S. Army and Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians. In late July, the Indians assembled an estimated 1,000-3,000 warriors, and descended upon Platte Bridge.
The bridge, a key crossing point across the North Platte River for wagon trains of emigrants traveling the Oregon and Bozeman Trails, was located near present day Casper, Wyoming. Platte Bridge Station was a military outpost on the south bank of the North Platte River near the 1,000-foot-long bridge.
The Civil War had drained fighting power from the western outposts and only 120 soldiers were at the military station on July 26. In the engagement at the bridge—and another one a few miles away—the Indians killed 29 soldiers, plus seriously wounding another 10. Twenty-year-old 2nd Lieutenant Caspar W. Collins of Company G, 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, led the small detachment across the Platte River Bridge and was ambushed by a group of Indians much larger than was visible from the military station. Five of that party were killed, including Collins.
From The Polk County Press:
WISCONSIN AHEAD.—Adj’t Gen. Gaylord [Augustus Gaylord] states that when he was at Washington, Provost Marshal General Fry [James B. Fry] told him that up to the time recruiting was stopped, Wisconsin had furnished a larger proportion of men, according to her enrollment, than any other State under the call.
— The rebel pirate Shenandoah is still afloat and is doing serious damage among our whalers. She captured and burnt ten ships last month. Her commander was informed of the surrender of Lee and the collapse of the rebellion, but would not believe it. She has an English crew and is said to be a very powerful vessel. [Robert E. Lee]
— The slaves in Kentucky are flocking to the opposite sides of the Ohio, Gen. Palmer promising freedom to all who shall leave the State, and giving every facility to enable them to depart. [John M. Palmer]
— The Indians on the plains in the vacinity [sic] of Fort Laramie are very troublesome. A battle was recently fought with them, at Platt Bridge Station. The fight lasted two days and resulted in great loss to the Indians. Loss on our side Lieut. Collins and one enlisted man of the 11th Ohio, nine killed and 25 wounded of the 11th Kansas. The Indians retreated West, tearing down the telegraph wire. Lieut. Collins was horribly mutilated. His hands and feet were cut off, his throat cut and his heart torn out.
— A working party of thirty-five men, commanded by a Quartermaster, is on the way to Andersonville, Ga., to enclose and mark as far as possible the graves of Union soldiers who perished at that place. They carry 7,000 headboards and 14,000 feet of lumber for fences.
— President Johnson is reported to be seriously ill at Washington. [Andrew Johnson]
— Jay Cooke has disposed of the Seven-Thirty Loan.
COMING HOME.—The 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th Minnesota regiments are expected to arrive at St. Paul on the 10th inst.
— The Pierce County folks gave their returned soldiers a grand welcome at Prescott yesterday. There were speeches, music, a good dinner, and a grand dance in the evening.
— Andrew Fee, 11th Wis. Cavalry, has received his discharge and returned home on Tuesday. We regret to learn that he has been very sick, and that he is still suffering from disease contracted in the army.
ANOTHER POLK CO. SOLDIER GONE TO HIS LAST HOME.—LUCIAN PERKINS, formerly of Alden, this county, member of Co. H. 3d Minn. Volunteers, died at Duval’s Bluff, Ark., on the 4th day of May, 1865, of lung fever. He leaves many friends and relatives to mourn his loss.
THE CHIP BASKET.
— Yale College has sent five hundred and ninety-six of her graduates to the war.
— The log cabin which General Grant occupied at City Point is to be placed in one of the public squares in Philadelphia. [Ulysses S. Grant]
— General Grant is reported to have said, in conversation with the Mexican Minister a few days ago :—“The French will have to leave Mexico.”
— The Boston Transcript is authorized to say that the estate of President Lincoln, with addition of contributions made in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, will amount to one hundred thousand dollars, and that the active labors of those obtaining subscriptions to the Lincoln Fund have now ceased.
— General Robert E. Lee is writing an elaborate history of his campaigns from the time he assumed command of the rebel army of Northern Virginia, after the battle of Seven Pines to the capitulation at Appomattox Court House on the 9th of April.—The Richmond Bulletin says it will be “a truthful and impartial narrative, by the greatest actor of the war.”
From The Prescott Journal:
— The telegraph office here is open for business. It is in Beardsely and Lyford’s store.
PERSONAL.—The last remnant of Co. B. 6th Reg., five in number arrived home this week. Capt. Smyzer [sic: Henry E. Smyser] and Lt. KINNEY [Darwin W. Kinney] are in poor health, Lt. Holman [Solomon B. Holman] is hale and hearty.
— Brig. Gen. SAM. HARRIMAN, Major ELLSWORTH BURNETT and Lt. J. W. WINCHESTER [Judson W. Winchester], of the 37th, arrived last night, looking finely. The Gen. and Major don’t need any praises here ; if they did, we would give it muchly.
— Lt. Col. MYRON REED, brother of Prof. REED, is spending a few days here. For nearly two years past he has had charge of scouting parties in the Southwest, and led a life of great excitement and danger. When a boy, MYRON “co’d do some things as well as others,” and he holds his size.²
THE CENSUS.—Last week we published the census returns of all the towns in this county, excepting El Paso, which are as follows : White, male, 78 ; female, 79. Colored, male, 4 ; female, 3. Foreign birth, 38.
This makes the total population of the county 6,324, divided as follows : White, male, 3,203 ; female, 3,054. Colored, male, 32 ; female, 35. Foreign birth, 1,052. There are in the county 4 insane person, 4 deaf and dumb, and 1 blind. The populations of Pierce county in 1860 was 4,672.
1. From the Fort Caspar Museum’s temporary exhibit of “The Artwork of Caspar Collins,” showing from November 21, 2014, to November 7, 2015. The exhibit was in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Platte Bridge.
2. Myron Winslow Reed (1836-1899) was in the 18th Michigan Infantry. After the War, he was a social reformer and religious leader. He moved to Denver, Colorado, where he was the minister of the First Congregational Church. In 1887, he co-founded and was the first president of Denver’s Charity Organizations Society, which became the United Way. Protestent, Catholic, and Jewish leaders cooperated for a united campaign to raise funds for 22 different health and welfare agencies. He also fought for the rights of working class people in Colorado and was called the “Christian Socialist of the American West.” His sermons were reprinted in over 50 newspapers nationwide. With growing popularity, he was nominated for congress in 1886 and 1892. In 1894, he sided with a Cripple Creek miners strike, that many of his middle-class parishioners disagreed with. Later that year he left the Congregational Church to found a nondenominational church in Denver. His brother was Rollin Lyman Reed (1832-1912), of Prescott.
1865 August 5: Confederate General W.H.F. Lee Pardoned, 500 Female Clerks Helping Process Pension Requests, General Sheridan Going To Texas, and More
The following general news items comes from The Prescott Journal of August 5, 1865.
— A despatch from St. Paul says that a camp of surrendered Indians have been in a starving condition for some time near Fort Wadsworth,¹ but an immense drove of buffalo coming in that direction, they were enabled to kill 3000 and obtain supplies.
— Lord Brougham is very anxious to have the Cuban slave trade stopped.—But he was not at all anxious to have the rebels fail in their attempt to establish an empire with slavery as the chief corner stone.
— Gen. Sherman [William T. Sherman] says : “I always traveled with a copy of the census, in my saddle-bags. I could tell how many inhabitants, how many cultivated acres, how many head of cattle and horses, how many bushels of grain each county possessed at that time would be now, and how long it would subsist my army.”
— There are at present employed in the Treasury Department about 1,600 male clerks, messengers, laborers and watchmen, of which number at least 600 are disabled soldiers. About 500 female clerks are employed, many of whom are refugees, the relatives of deceased soldiers, and other having special claims upon the consideration of the government.
B Y T E L E G R A P H
NEW YORK, July 29—The Herald’s Washington special says : Another heavy installment of applicants for pardon was received at the Att’y General’s office. Among the number was that of the rebel Brig. Gen. W. H. F. Lee.—About 80 requisitions are daily made on the State Department, from the Att’y General’s office. The remainder have to wait. It is reported here, that Dill, the editor and publisher of the Memphis—General Jackson–Meridian–Atlanta–Augusta–Southern Confederacy Appeal, has obtained a pardon.
The Commissioner of Internal Revenue has decided that interest paid to depositors by Savings Banks, is considered a dividend within the meaning of section one hundred and twenty of the law, and the tax of five per cent should be withheld therefrom and paid to the government. He has also decided that an undertaking or claim by a third party, under the New York statute, is a joint agreement and is subject to stamp duty of five cents.
The Tribune’s N. O. [New Orleans] correspondent of the 22d, says : Maj. Gen. Sheridan left here for Texas, last Thursday. It is stated that the General will visit Galveston, Brazos Santiago and Brownsville before his return to this city. The trip will, in all probability, occupy two or three weeks. [Philip H. Sheridan]
The Quartermaster and Commissary Departments are forwarding large quantities of supplies for the use of the troops of Texas.
Captain Hill has just returned from an inspection tour of the Commissary Department, and reports the armies as being well supplied with commissary stores.
It is rumored that Gov. Madison Wells,² of this state [Louisiana], has taken, or is about to take, his departure for Washington, where he is going to try and counteract the influence which is being brought to bear on the Government to effect his removal and the appointment of a provisional Governor.
The Tribune’s Washington special says the special object of the ex-rebel Gen. Dick Taylor in visit here is to apply to the President for an interview with Jeff. Davis. He succeeded in seeing the President yesterday, but reached no definite point, and was requested to call again. [Richard Taylor]
Maj. Gen. G. M. Dodge has been assigned the General Commanding all U. S. forces serving in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, and that portion of Decotah³ lying west and south of the Missouri river. [Grenville M. Dodge]
Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasanton has been assigned to the command of the District of Wisconsin, head quarters at Milwaukee. [sic: Alfred Pleasonton]
The trial of the Andersonville jailor did not come off to-day, as anticipated. A preliminary examination of the witnesses is now being made, for the purpose of preparing the specification of the charges preferred against him. The trial will doubtless commence in the early part of next week.
1. Fort Wadsworth—later renamed Fort Sisseton—was prairie outpost in Dakota Territory built in 1864 as a result of the Dakota Conflict in Minnesota in 1862. You may remember that some of our Wisconsin and Minnesota troops, instead of going east to join the Civil War, went west to “deal” with the fleeing Dakota Indians. One of the main causes of the Dakota Conflict was that the Indians were starving.
2. James Madison Wells (1808-1899) was the 20th governor of Louisiana (1865-67), serving during Reconstruction. In 1860, he supported Stephen A. Douglas for president and was an ardent supporter of the Union. For that, he was criticized by his neighbors and his brother, and during the Civil War he was arrested by Confederate officials for his Union sympathies. By 1864, Union troops controlled all or part of 17 parishes in south Louisiana. Wells formed the Unconditional Union Club of West Louisiana. He was nominated both by radicals and moderates to be lieutenant governor. A conservative, he had little interest in the rights of African-Americans.
3. One of the many ways of spelling “Dakota” before it was standardized.