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News of 150 Years Ago–March and April 1864

NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

March and April 1864

In March 1864, President Abraham Lincoln selected General Ulysses S. Grant to command all Union armies in the field. His trip to Washington, D.C., to accept the position was quite eventful.

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, March 3, 1864.

General Grant Nominated a Lieutenant General.

WASHINGTON, March 1.-The President, by a message, informed the House to-day that he had approved the bill reviving the rank of lieutenant general. Shortly afterwards the President sent to the Senate the nomination of General Grant for that position.

 

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, March 9, 1864.

THE LATEST NEWS.

BY TELEGRAPH.

FROM WASHINGTON.

U. S. GRANT AT THE CAPITAL.

He Receives an Impromptu Ovation.

THE QUESTION OF THE WESTERN NAVY YARD.

A Committee to Visit the West to Select the Site.

[Special dispatch to the Missouri Democrat.]

WASHINGTON, March 8. – It is entirely safe, I think, to presume that, in view of the recent action of the Union members of the Ohio delegation, Mr. Chase’s friends will not make any division that will tend to mar the harmony of the party in the approaching Presidential election. Mr. Chase himself will, it is believed, assist in accepting the action of the Union members of the Legislature as final in the case.

General Grant arrived here on the five o’clock train, and went at once to his room at the hotel. His arrival was still almost entirely unknown, when, a few minutes later, accompanied by his son only, he quietly walked into the long dining room of Willard’s Hotel and took his seat for dinner…

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From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, March 10, 1864.

THIRD DISPATCH.

WASHINGTON, March 9.—The arrival of General Grant proves a Godsend to the scribblers of the Jenkinsonian school. His appearance at the President’s levee, has promenade with Mrs. Lincoln, the particulars of her toilet, the affability and condescension of Chaperon Seward are all dwelt upon with a minuteness of detail, delightful to an unsophisticated mind. It is refreshing to know that he bears the order with becoming meekness, and has betaken himself with promptness to the business of his mission….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, March 11, 1864.

BY TELEGRAPH.

REGULAR AFTERNOON DISPATCHES.

FROM WASHINGTON.

MEETING OF THE MILITARY COUNCIL.

GENERAL GRANT’S PLANS.

Richmond to be Taken.

General Summary of Current News.

Etc., Etc., Etc.

[Special Dispatch to the N. Y. Tribune.]

WASHINGTON, March 9.—General Grant had a conference to-day three hours long with the Secretary of War and General Halleck upon the military situation in every one of the fighting departments.

In this important council a general plan of campaign was agree upon. That it is intended to be decisive in the particular policy, making a more energetic and decisive use of the army of the Potomac than has heretofore been made, was fully recognized….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, March 12, 1864.

THE LATEST NEWS.

BY TELEGRAPH.

FROM WASHINGTON.

GENERAL GRANT’S VISIT TO THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

HOW HE WAS RECEIVED.

He Wants to Re-organize the Armies, East and West.

McCLELLANISM A BUGBEAR TO THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

PASSAGE OF THE GOLD BILL BY THE SENATE.

THE PRESIDENTIAL QUESTION.

How Mr. Chase’s Letter is Received.

Speculation as to Who will Receive the Nomination.

The Case of Knox vs, Blair, Continued.

The Investigating Committees.

Congressional and Other Items.

[Special dispatch to the Missouri Democrat.]

WASHINGTON, March 11. – General Grant left this evening for Nashville. He arrived about ten o’clock this morning from the Army of the Potomac. He was received with great enthusiasm by the army, although the heavy rains prevented general demonstrations to his honor. He had a long conference with General Meade, at whose headquarters he spent the night, and by whom he was accompanied here. It is understood that he desires to reorganize the armies, both here and in the West, and that he has said that if permitted to have his own way, he could soon suppress McClellanism in the Potomac army, which he has regarded as the chief obstacle to its success. General Barry is to follow Grant to the West in a day or two….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, March 14, 1864.

New Military Arrangements.

NEW YORK, March 13.—A Washington special says by order of the President the following military arrangements have been made: Lieutenant General Grant has been assigned to command all the armies of the United States, General Halleck is relieved from duty as General-in-Chief and assigned to special duty at Washington as Chief of Staff of the army….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, March 15, 1864.

GENERAL GRANT IN WASHINGTON.

The Presidential Levee – Ovation to Lieutenant-General Grant.

[From the Washington Republican, March 10.]

The Executive Mansion was crowded last evening, on the occasion of the usual weekly reception by the President and Mrs. Lincoln. More than usual interest marked the grand levee. In the great company of people who paid their respects to the President were many distinguished gentlemen. Among them were noticed Edward Count Pieper, Swedish Minister; the Chevalier Bertinatti, Minister of Italy; Mr. W. DeRazelooff, Chargé d’Affaires of Denmark. The Cabinet, the Governmental Departments, both houses of Congress, and the army and navy were well represented. There was also a host of ladies, many of them conspicuous for their beauty and grace of manner in the brilliant assemblage. The President and Mrs. Lincoln appeared to be in the best of health and spirits, and received their visitors with a charming affability of manner

Among the military gentlemen present, Col. Streight, the lately escaped hero from Richmond, attracted much attention, and was most warmly greeted by all.

About nine o’clock in the evening, Lieutenant-General Grant, attended by Brig. Gen. Rawlins and Col. Comstock, his staff officers, made their appearance….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, March 15, 1864.

THE LATEST NEWS.

BY TELEGRAPH.

FROM WASHINGTON.

ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY OF THE DIFFERENT GENERALS.

Amendments to the National Bank Bill.

MILITARY PROTECTION FOR THE GREAT LAKES.

OTHER INTERESTING ITEMS.

[Special Dispatch to the Missouri Democrat.]

WASHINGTON, March 14.—The statements sent last night concerning important military changes, seem fully confirmed. The Intelligencer this morning says it has good authority for denying that Meade has been or is to be relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac; but there is very little doubt that it
is mistaken.

General Smith has been nominated Major General with the understanding that, on confirmation, he is to be assigned to command the Army of the Potomac….

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In March 1864, Union General Nathaniel Banks started his Army of the Gulf north from New Orleans with the objective of taking Shreveport, Louisiana, the Confederate headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi Department. The Federals followed the Red River up from its confluence with the Mississippi, skirmishing with Confederate forces under General Richard Taylor most of the way. On April 8, 1864, Confederates engaged lead elements of Banks’s army in the Battle of Mansfield, also known as the Battle of Sabine Crossroads. The campaign turned into a disaster for Banks.

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, April 21, 1864.

THE RED RIVER EXPEDITION.

A UNION DISASTER IN LOUISIANA.

THE 3D AND 4TH DIVISIONS OF THE 13TH ARMY CORPS BADLY CUT UP.

LOSS ABOUT 2,000.

GEN. RANSOM WOUNDED – CAPT. CYRUS E. DICKEY, OF OTTAWA, ILL., KILLED.

The Chicago Mercantile Battery Lose their Guns, Four Officers and Twenty-Two Men.

[Special Cor. of the Chicago Evening Journal.]

GRAND ECORE, LA.,
ON RED RIVER, April 10, 1864.

I have very bad news to write you. We have met with a severe disaster.

Our cavalry had been driving the enemy for two days, but in the forenoon of the 8th instant they sent back word for infantry support. General Ransom, in command of the 3d and 4th divisions of the 13th Army Corps, was ordered to send forward a brigade, and did so. At noon he was ordered to send up all of the 4th division, and he went with them. After advancing about five miles from where the 3d division of his command in the 19th Army Corps were encamped, the rebels made a stand and our line, consisting of only 2,400 infantry, was formed in a belt of woods, with an open field in the front, and the enemy in the woods on the other side. General Stone (of Ball’s Bluff fame,) Chief of General Bank’s staff, was on the field, and took direction of the movements. General Ransom was in favor of advancing only in force, but his wish was disregarded.

We were five miles from our reinforcements, with thick woods behind them, through which ran a narrow road, completely filled with wagon trains, and making an orderly retreat impossible….

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In March 1864, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest began a cavalry raid on Union outposts between Paducah, Kentucky, and Memphis, Tennessee. On April 12, 1864, his troops attacked a Union fort on the Mississippi known as Fort Pillow. The 600-man Federal garrison there was composed of Tennessee Unionists and black volunteers. The fort was overwhelmed by Forrest’s men. What followed was one of the most notorious incidents of the entire war.

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, April 15, 1864.

FROM CAIRO AND BELOW.

Capture of Fort Pillow.

THE GARRISON OVERPOWERED.

Indiscriminate Murder of the White and Colored Soldiers.

FULL PARTICULARS OF THE BUTCHERY.

PARTIAL LIST OF CASUALTIES.

Another Demand Made for the Surrender of Paducah.

Interesting Items from New Orleans.

Etc., Etc., Etc.

[Special Dispatch to the Missouri Democrat.]

CAIRO, April 14 – The demand of Captain Horn, C. S. A., upon Colonel Lawrence, at Columbus, Kentucky, must have been a mere farce of rebel bravado, as no further demonstration on their part has been made since Colonel Lawrence made his reply. Nor is such an attempt feared at present. It is said by Union scouts and parties who suffered in the loss of horses, mules and other property that Horn’s command confronting Columbus, consisted of about eighty men, and they employed their time when the flag of truce was being considered, to steal everything of value they could place their hands upon….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

The response in the North was one of outrage. The section “What Justice Demands” in the following first-person account was typical.

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, April 16, 1864.

CAPTURE OF FORT PILLOW.

THE ASSAULT BY FOREST WITH 3,000 REBELS.

GALLANT RESISTANCE OF THE GARRISON.

The Bravery of the Negro Soldiers.

The Garrison Overpowered and the Troops Butchered.

DETAILS OF THE BUTCHERY.

A WALK THROUGH THE FORT UNDER FLAG OF TRUCE.

SCENES AND INCIDENTS.

Subsequent Occurrences.

Etc., Etc., Etc.

[Special Correspondence of the Missouri Democrat.]

CAIRO, April 14, 1864.

Before leaving Memphis Tuesday afternoon, we heard a report that Fort Pillow was captured, and at five P. M. we proceeded up the river in the Platte Valley, loaded down with passengers, and with the gunboat Silver cloud, No. 27, under Acting Master Ferguson, in tow. We designedly proceeded slowly, and arrived near the fort at eight A. M., where the gunboat cast off, and steamed up toward the fort. We were about three miles below the fort, and could see mounted pickets on the shore. After the gunboat got within reach she opened on the fort with shell, but met no reply. She continued slowly until she got near the fort and near the shore, where she fired a shot or two and then stopped. We had followed her at a distance, and now, about ten A. M., came up abreast and passed her and the fort. As we came up we saw fire and smoke proceeding from the shore, which proved to be some buildings and some hay on the levee. We also for the first time saw people moving about, some on foot and some on horseback, behind the smoke; and soon several persons came to the bank of the river with a white flag. The gunboat sent a skiff ashore, which returned in about twenty minutes, and then the gunboat landed. We at this time were a mile above, and being signaled by the gunboat, returned and landed by the boat. While returning near the shore we saw numerous dead bodies strewn along the river and on the sides of the bluff….

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Despite the fact that General William T. Sherman and his army were well on their way back to Vicksburg from their raid on Meridian, Mississippi, by this time, reports still placed him threatening other key points in Alabama.

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, March 4, 1864.

FROM CAIRO AND BELOW.

WHEREABOUTS OF GENERAL SHERMAN.

Scouting in Arkansas.

SUMMARY OF GENERAL ITEMS, &C.

[Special Dispatch to the Missouri Democrat.]

CAIRO, March 3. – The steamer Mississippi arrived early this morning from New Orleans, the 24th ult. One of her officers reports that at Vicksburg there was what was considered reliable information that General Sherman’s expedition had taken a shoot towards the South, and had reached within forty miles of Mobile, which place he was threatening. I give this report for what it is worth….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, March 4, 1864.

FROM NEW ORLEANS.

LOUISIANA ELECTION

The Whole Free State Ticket Triumphantly Elected.

CELEBRATION OF THE 22D.

Sherman Positively Marching on Mobile

The Mobilians Terrified.

NEW YORK, March 3. – The steamer Yazoo, from New Orleans, 24th, has just arrived. The whole Free State ticket has been elected by an overwhelming and unexpected large vote….

The Mobile News of the 11th says Sherman is positively marching on that city….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, March 7, 1864.

FROM MEMPHIS.

Particulars of Sherman’s Late Expedition.

[Special Dispatch to New York Tribune.]

WASHINGTON, March 4.—A dispatch dated Memphis, just received this evening, gives some new and interesting details of Sherman’s movements. The dispatch says, after having reached Meridian, Sherman sent out scouts to feel the ground and ascertain whether Logan, who had stared for Florence to meet him, and Smith and Grierson, on whose cavalry he relied to prosecute his march to Selma, were advancing….

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From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, March 14, 1864.

THE SHERMAN EXPEDITION.

What it Accomplished – Five Thousand Recruits.

(From the Cairo Democrat, March 10th)

We had a short conversation with a gentleman yesterday evening who had just arrived from Vicksburg. He informed us that part of Sherman’s expedition had returned to Vicksburg and that, ere this, the whole force was on this side of the Big Black, having fully accomplished the object of the movement….

Click here to read the complete article.

 

The announcement of the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair in February 1864 highlighted the work of the Fair’s main beneficiary, the Western Sanitary Commission. To persuade the public that their donations would not be wasted in inefficiencies and graft and would truly reach soldiers in need, the Commission submitted the following article for publication.

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, March 16, 1864.

WESTERN SANITARY COMMISSION.

WHAT IT DOES WITH ITS FUNDS.

WHY IT SHOULD BE AIDED IN ITS WORK.

[The following article has been prepared by the Secretary of the Western Sanitary Commission, to meet various inquiries:]

The Western Sanitary Commission was constituted September 5, 1861, and has ever since acted under the sanction and authority of the Government, depending for its resources on the voluntary contributions of the people of the loyal States, and acting with and aiding the medical authorities in fitting up of hospitals and hospital steamers; in furnishing hospital clothing and other needed articles, supplementary food for the sick, vegetables and other necessaries not supplied by the government to the regiments in the field; in providing for special emergencies after great battles, sending additional surgeons, nurses, went, bandages, and delicate food to the battle fields; in establishing soldiers’ homes for furloughed and discharged soldiers; in carrying out sanitary reforms, and in many other ways giving aid, comfort and strength to the brave men, who have answered the call of their country in the day of trial, leaving homes and kindred, to battle in its defence against the most unholy rebellion in the history of the world….

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Preparations and fundraising for the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair, scheduled for May 1864, were well-publicized in the pages of the DEMOCRAT.

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, March 3, 1864.

The Great Building for the Fair.

The large vacant area on Twelfth street, near and north of Olive, has been selected as the site of the great building to be erected for the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair. The structure is to be of wood, five hundred feet in length by one hundred and fourteen feet in breadth, with two wings—each sixty feet lon and thirty-five feet wide—affording a total area within of over sixty-one thousand square feet. The construction of this building, with the necessary lines of tables, &c., for the proper display of articles, has been fully determined upon. Fears are expressed that even such an immense edifice will not be spacious enough for the goods and the crowds anticipated, but additional arrangements are practicable, and will be adopted, to obviate this difficulty, should it arise.

The horse and cattle show, in connection with the Fair, will, we understand, take place at the Laclede track, which has generously been placed at disposal for this purpose.

 

Sanitary Fairs held before the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair were held entirely for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers. Being in a divided border state, St. Louis also faced a large influx of Union refugees fleeing guerrilla activity outstate plus freed slaves from neighboring Union-occupied slave states. In response, the St. Louis Fair organizers decided to add a department specifically for raising funds to aid these groups, becoming the first Fair to do so.

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, March 18, 1864.

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY SANITARY FAIR.

Freedmen’s and Union Refugees’ Department of the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair.

By unanimous vote of the Executive Committee of the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair, a special department has been assigned to the interests of freedmen and Union refugees, and the undersigned were appointed a committee to prepare an appeal to the friends of freedom everywhere, soliciting sympathy and co-operation. On such a subject few words are needed, for the cause speaks for itself….

Click here to read the complete article.