March 7, 1863

Macomb Eagle

The “S. B.”

            Elsewhere in this paper will be found an exposure of the infamous order organizing under the symbolic letters “S. B.”  To that exposure we refer the reader for particulars.  We have full confidence in the truth of the assertions there made.  It will be seen that the “S. B.” – which may mean Strong Brotherhood, Small Bullies, Sacred Butchers, Sorry Bunglers, or something else – is about the most villainous organization that ever was concocted by corrupt scoundrels or put in practice by abject and cringing sycophants.  It aims at villainy, and aims to do it by system and on a gigantic scale.  It is to have a thorough system of spies and vile informers, and it will not scruple to rob and destroy in the name of liberty.  A division of the “S. B.” has been organized in Macomb, and will be controlled by the corrupt demagogues who have controlled the republican party for years past in this county.  They will be subservient to the higher power under which they act – that is, they will be governed by those who excel them in political infamy, because they act on a larger scale.  This order is to stir up strife – to excite hatred – to domineer over others – to destroy liberty of speech – to systematize the persecution and assault upon all who do dare to question the infallibility of the Lincoln administration.  These societies are to be armed, and ready [obscured] from any act which the fanaticism and despotism of the hour may require of them.  Men who are so debased and dastardly as to organize such societies, and entrap or seek to entrap honorable citizens into the meshes of their villainous schemes, should be marked and watched; and if trouble should come or be attempted, let the leaders in this villainy be the first on whom retributive vengeance shall fall.


A Bill of Infamy.

            Elsewhere in this paper we publish a synopsis of the conscription bill, which has been approved by the President.  It is a bill of infamy.  It ignores the existence of State governments, and is in that respect a brutal return for the devotion shown by the States, and for the resources which they have placed in the hands of an administration too corrupt and imbecile to use them.  This experiment of forcing white soldiers by draft into the army is accompanied by a scheme to accept the volunteer services of negroes.  We predict a failure of both.  Behind all this, however, stands a scheme of military tyranny, through the agency of an army of provost marshals, with white and black guards to assist them, exercising the power of arrest and the right of trial, everywhere in the Union.  The liberty of no man is safe, who may be obnoxious on any account to an unscrupulous informer.  The ostensible purpose of meeting the rebellion, we fear, is less the design of this bill, than the covert design of tyrannizing over the people and destroying the rights of the States.  In the earlier and honest age of the Republic the author of such a bill would have received the universal execration of his countrymen.  With this bill in unresisted and peaceful operation, it only remains for Lincoln to declare himself perpetual President to complete the record of the blackest infamy that ever characterized the assaults of despots upon constitutional liberty.


More Men.

            About eight months ago six hundred thousand men answered the call of the President and entered the army.  Three battles have been fought since then – Fredericksburg, Mrufreesboro, and Vicksburg.  Two were disastrous defeats, and the other was a victory barren of results.  The sacrifice of life in these battles was enormous, but they were but [obscured] of the deaths from fevers and malaria.  The cost to the government has been about two and a half millions a day.  With this record a conscription for six hundred thousand more men is about to be made – who will be sacrificed as the last six hundred thousand have been.  The administration certainly thinks that human life is cheaper than the greenbacks which it prints and squanders by the million.


What the Soldiers Think of the War for Negroes.

Extracts from Letters.

Nashville, Tenn; Feb. 19, 1863.

                Mr. Abbott: I take the present opportunity of trying to inform you how matters are here, concerning the war.  Things went on fine, and the boys were in good spirits, until the proclamation, issued by the President. – Since then they are out of humor, and say they never volunteered to fight for niggers or their liberation; that if Uncle Sam will pay them off they will go home, and leave him to do his nigger fighting.

We left Louisville the 1st of October, a part of the grand army to drive Bragg out of the country; we were in fine spirits and eager to overtake the enemy.  But if a march was ordered today half of this brigade would not get ten miles from here, before the soldiers would be scattered in every direction making their way home.  The brigade consists of the 85th, 86th, 125th Illinois, and the 52nd Ohio, all good and true Union Democrats, who are in for the enforcement of the laws and the Constitution as it was.  That is what we enlisted for, and that is all that we will fight for.

I have seen enough of the negroes to do me.  We marched forty-one days, part of the time through lime dust four inches deep.  Often I saw men lay down by the roadside, unable to march further, they could not get to ride in ambulances nor even in baggage wagons; but negroes were riding the finest horses.  What were all our sufferings for? to restore the Union?  No, sir!  It was for the niggers who rode horseback, while soldiers fell exhausted by the wayside.  One man in the 125th Illinois was prodded by bayonets until night, when laid down and the next morning died.  Did he die for the Union?  No!  He died for the niggers that rode by as he toiled on foot in his death agony.

It makes my blood boil when I think of all we have endured and suffered, and how we have been cheated of our object.  If it was for the Union, I could cheerfully bear it all.  At the present time, we have to sleep in the mud, and when we get up in the morning the print of our bodies is left in the Tennessee soil.  Yesterday it was rumored in camp that we were ordered to the front; the usual exclamation of the boys was, “If they get me there they will have to do it at the point of the bayonet.”  This is the temper of the soldiers.

I hope you will print this letter, so that the folks at home may know the feelings of the men who carry the muskets.

From a letter written by a soldier of the 119th regiment, dated Humboldt, Tenn., Feb. 18th, 1863, to a citizen of this town, we are allowed to take the following extract:

“We have seen some pretty hard times since we came out, but not worse than we expected to see.  Seven men deserted our regiment last week, and four or five the week before.  The soldiers do not like the nigger proclamation, and say they did not agree to fight in such a war.  We have not received a cent of our pay (except $27 of our bounty) since we enlisted, now near seven months ago.  We have been told every week that the paymaster is coming – but we don’t see him yet.  I guess the officers are afraid to let us be paid, for fear we will desert.  Some say if they don’t get their pay soon they will desert, and some say you if they are paid they will desert anyhow.”

Extract from a letter from a soldier in the 168th Pennsylvania regiment, dated Newbern, N. C., Feb. 18th, 1863, and addressed to a gentlemen in this county.

“I hope this war will soon cease; yet the abolitionists do not care; I think it is their intention to destroy this government; they and Jeff Davis are in partnership, playing into each others’ hand; although, I think the abolitionists hold all the big cards, as far as the destruction of the government is concerned; they are doing more than old Jeff.  But they are getting rather weak in the army, especially in this department, where there are so many niggers.  There are now about 10,000 contrabands fed and clothed here by the government, and better fed than the soldiers.

Mr. Kimble, the man that attends to the wants of these “Americans of African descent” on this side of the river says they do not eat near all the rations that he draws for them, while there are men in our regiment who very often want for something to eat.  They do not like us Pennsylvanians; they say we are so insulting, and do not treat them as well as the Massachusetts men who were here before we came.  We make them do all the dirty work about our camp; we have 40 at work in our camp to-day digging a ditch through a swamp.  The abolitionists in our regiment are getting scarce, and if we stay here until our time is out that disease will be cured in this regiment.  They have commenced raising negro soldiers here.  They had about 1000 yesterday to drill.  I did not see them drill, nor do I wish to see them.  If we cannot restore the government without the aid of the nigger, I think we had better soon stop.  I think bringing the negro in is only making the gap wider, and is discouraging the soldiers, as they do not want the nigger to be their equal.


→ The Circuit Court for this county will commence the spring term on Monday week.  The docket is light.


→ We direct attention to the advertisement of G. W. Smith’s nursery.  Good trees at low prices are offered.


→ The Christian Church in this city have lately added a number of members to their organization.


→ There are boys in this town who need looking to.  Throwing mud on church and school houses, and entering churches and burning sunday school books, are tricks which need correcting.


→ After a season of mud, the length and depth of which has defied all attempts at cal[obscured], the weather this week has assumed all the proportions and a great deal of the severity of a regular winter.  We believe the ground is frozen as hard now as it has been during the winter.


A White Woodchuck. – We have heard of white blackbirds, but never of a white woodchuck till the other day, when we were shown one at Adcock’s grocery.  Those who are curious in examining game birds can get a new idea in natural history by calling at Adcock’s and looking at his white woodchuck.


→ Dr. Nesbit has opened an office for practising dentistry, over Mr. Burton’s store.  He will take pleasure in relieving the aches that teeth are liable to, and is prepared to furnish teeth, from one to a full set, to all who are deficient.  Work done in the best style and satisfaction guaranteed.


→ Tremont House, Quincy. – This best hotel in Quincy is still kept by Mr. Davis, who has, for several years past, made the Tremont renowned among the travelers as a delightful stopping place. We recommend everybody who goes to Quincy to try the Tremont, and they will be slept well, fed well, and treated well in every respect.


Letters from the Soldiers. – We give in this paper a few extracts from letters from soldiers in the army.  These letters show the feeling among the boys who carry the muskets – who suffer the hardships – who endure the fatigue – who live on hard bread and “sow belly,” as they term the meat – who do the fighting and get neither money nor glory for all they accomplish.  The soldiers are anything but satisfied with the shape the war has assumed.  They did not volunteer to fight for negro freedom.  They all wish peace could be made – the Union restored as it was – and they permitted to return to their homes.  The extracts we publish are not exceptions to the general content of soldiers’ letters.  We could fill our paper week after week with them.  Why should they not be listened to?


“Wolf! Wolf!” – From all parts of the county we hear reports that wolves are more numerous this winter than they have been known since the early settlement of the county.  They are not only numerous but quite bold – coming up to enclosures, and trotting along the public roads. – Oquawka Spectator.


On the first Monday of last month, a sale of slaves came off at Fayette, Mo.  First class field hands went off at about $900, and others of less value in the same proportion.  It was a cash sale.


The New Abolition Secret Society,

Astounding Disclosures!

A Conspiracy to Inaugurate Terror and
Rob Honest Citizens of their

Spot the Scoundrels!

[From the Carthage Republican]

            About three weeks ago the undersigned observed an editorial article in the Daily Keokuk Constitution, containing some information in regard to a secret military organization, which was being rapidly extended over the country, and which, it was thought, was intended to aid in fastening on the American people an odious military despotism.  It immediately attracted our attention, and we determined to endeavor to learn the true facts in reference to this oath bound, secret, and dangerous organization. – We observed that the Gate City, an abolition paper of Keokuk, contained an article advocating the formation of S. B. societies in Lee county, Iowa, and stating that arrangements were made to form them in that locality.  It was further stated that persons desirous of obtaining information in regard to it, could address John Trimble, Jr., D.D., Box 6295, Chicago, Illinois, who would send Circulars, Constitutions, Rituals, &c.  We at once decided to address this individual. – Thinking it might be better to use some other name than our own, we obtained the consent of Mr. T. B. Griffits of this place, and sent John Trimble, D.D., a letter asking information and requesting him to send such documents as he thought proper.  He replied to Mr. Griffits by sending two printed circulars.  In one of these circulars it is said that “every thing now depends on SPEED; what we do must be done in the next ninety days or all is lost.”  He requests Mr. Griffits in this to send him the name of a good loyal man to act as Colonel for this county, and five or ten suitable names for Captains.  To them he promised to send Commissions, Rituals, and private instructions, &c.  In the other circular he explains what the S. B. mean.  They imply “Strong Band” or “Strong Brotherhood,” and their private meaning is “Spartan Band,” and they are borrowed from “those German ‘Bunds’ which in the last days of Napoleon did so much in uniting the people of Prussia, Holland, &c.”  He says “the idea implies the cementing of loyal citizens together in an indissoluble bond.”  He says “the first men of the nation approve it,” and they expect to have a quarter of a million by the 4th of July next, and four times that number by New Years.  Among other objects it is stated, that they “teach by covenants, emblems, and solemn ceremonies, the harmony, strength and beauty of National Unity.”  He says “that a recruit must be 18 years and upwards of age” – but that they will take in youths of 14.  He also says in this circular that the organization is “essentially military,” and that it is “warlike in structure.”  He further tells Mr. Griffits that proper persons are “bring sought out in every county in your State” to enlist men into this dangerous midnight organization.

These Circulars are signed “John Trimble, Jr., General Secretary, S.B.”

Mr. Griffits sent the following letter in reply to these Circulars:

Carthage, Hancock Co., Illinois,
Feb. 8, 1863.

                Dear Sir: Yours of the 4th inst. came to hand last evening.  I have shown your circulars to a few reliable friends, and we have agreed that an organization should be immediately formed.  This is a strong Copperhead county, and we wish to organize as quietly as possible.  In consultation with our friends last evening, we decided to recommend A. M. Osmon as Colonel for this county, and you may send a commission to me as Captain for this township, as this is our understanding here.  In the meantime I will visit other parts of this county and get suitable friends to act as captains.  It will probably be better to have their consent before any other commissions are sent.  Please send immediately the Rituals, Commissions, Guides, and such private instructions as are necessary.

Yours for the Union, T. B. Griffits.
John Trimble, Jr., Chicago.

To this letter Mr. Griffits received the following reply:

Office Gen. Sec. S. B.
P. O. Box 6295, Chicago, Illinois,
Feb. 10, ’63.

                Dear Captain: Y’rs of the 8th is rec’d, and we forward to you by express your commission, Ritual, &c.  Write me immediately on their receipt and I will send by mail the private key.  The rule is not to send commissions, documents, &c., until the person agrees to act.  Does Mr. Ossmon agree to act?  If so, let me know and I will forward his documents right away.  Please let me hear from you by return mail on this subject.  I think that you will have no difficulty in operating after you have studied the Ritual carefully.  Hoping to hear from you soon.

I am Y’rs for the Union,
John Trimble, Jr., Gen. Sec.

            In reply to this, Mr. Griffits stated on the 16th inst., that Mr. Ossmon consented, and requested him to forward all necessary documents, and in order to encourage him to think that he was actively at work he sent him two fictitious names for captains to wit: John Tompkins and Wm. Sparry.

On the 17th inst., the box came by express, containing Captain Griffits’ commission, several copies of the Constitution, the Ritual, the Guides to enlistment, 50 invitation cards, several circulars, and a nice little card, stating that John Trimble has room No. 6, up stairs, No. 96 Randolph street, Chicago.  The commission is printed on fine parchment paper, has the Great Seal of the S.B., and is as follows:

Office of the General Secretary,
Chicago, Ill., February 10, 1863.

To all whom these presents shall come, Greeting.

Know ye that T. B. Griffits having been duly appointed Captain in the Illinois S.B. in the county of Hancock, I, John Trimble, Jr., D.D., Secretary of the S.B. association and Adjutant General for the time being for the State of Illinois, for and in behalf of the entire Comradeship of said Association do commission him to take rank in the S.B. as Captain from this date.  He is therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the duties of said office by doing and performing all matters and things thereunto belonging.  And I do strictly require all officers and Comrades of the S.B. under his command to be obedient to his orders.  And he is to obey all such orders and directions as he shall receive from time to time from his superior officer or from this office.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the General Registration Office to be attached.

Done at Chicago, Illinois, this Tenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

[SEAL.]                                                  John Trimble, Jr., D.D.
General Secretary and Adj. Gen. pro tem.

In one of the circulars he enjoins on Captain Griffits the necessity of “vigorous action,” and tells him that they are going to have a grand convocation on July 4th next, at the State Capital, and also that each “recruit” is expected to pay one dollar.  Also that Capt. Griffits is charged $5 for the honor of his commission which he is not required to pay until he collects it from recruits.  He will not get this five dollars.  The Ritual contains 58 pages.  In the preface it is said that the strictest secrecy is to be maintained.  In Chapter 1, Section first, it is said that the association is “essentially military,” and that the “requirements, mental and physical, of a recruit for the armies of the United States are followed in the S. B. as nearly as practicable.”

We have not time to quote more from the Constitution, Ritual Guide &c.  We have given enough to show our fellow citizens the nature, objects and intentions of this secret oath-bound, and dangerous organization.

We submit below our last letter to this Trimble, and his reply.  We thought that if we could get him to say that they were to arm themselves that we would have stronger proof of their intentions than any inference we could draw ourselves from their Rituals, &c.  We also give the private Key, and show by it how they can know each other, and how we can know them, and spot the infernal scoundrels who are trying to subvert the government and rob us of our liberties.  Our last letter is as follows:

Carthage, Feb. 17, 1863.

                DEAR SIR: The Box containing my commission came this morning.  I have not yet had time fully to examine it, but hasten to acknowledge its receipt before the mail leaves.  Have the kindness to send the private Key, and such other instructions as I may need.  I desire to ask confidentially whether you think we had better quietly procure arms to use or not.  We do not know what contingency may arise, and hence ask for information.
Yours for the Union,
T. B. Griffits.
John Trimble, Jr., D.D., Chicago.

To this Capt. Griffits received the following letter; and the honest and unsuspecting people can see the hellish purposes of these devils in human shape:

Office of the General Secretary S. B.
P. O. Box 6295,
Chicago, Ill., Feb. 10, 1863.

T. B. Griffits (Capt. S. B.), Carthage,

DEAR CAPT.: Y’rs of the 17th is rec’d, and I enclose Key.  We leave the matter of arms to the State Division when formed.  I will say this individually, that arms will not be wanting to defend our Flag when the times require it.  I will send you the Camp Ritual to-day.  You can have arms in your Camp if you desire it.  Wishing you all success, I am                                                 Yours for the Union,
John Trimble, Jr., Gen. Sec.

We give the following letter in reply to ours asking him to send the commission for Mr. Ossmon:

Office of the General Secretary S.B.
P. O. Box 6295,
Chicago, Ill., Feb. 18, 1863.

Capt. T. B. Griffits:

DEAR SIR: Your letter of Feb. 16, affords us great great pleasure as giving evidence of your going heartily to work.  Since your last, the Colonelcy has been accepted by Mr. Thomas Geddes, of Fountain Green.  The Captains already commissioned are yourself; Joseph Ogden, Durham; K. N. Leach, Foutain Green; John Roth, Pilot Grove; L. Smith Cogswell, La Harpe.  Your nomination for Captains will to-day be submitted to Col. Geddes, and unless others have already been made in their townships they will doubtless be approved.  In which event the commissions will be promptly forwarded.  I hope ere this you have received your package.
Yours for the Union,
John Trimble, Jr., Gen. Sec. S. B.

It will thus be seen that we have men base enough in our county, to go into this famous organization.  We have given their names, in order that their fellow citizens may spot them and beware of them.  Here is the Key above referred to:


Page 33 (Ritual) At A use the word Gideon.
Page 35 At B use the word Marathon.
Page 36 At C use the word Bannockburn.
Page 38 At D use the word Switzerland.
Page 40 At E use the word Yorktown.
Page 52 Here deliver the following explanation:

                Gideon was the battlefield described in the 10th chapter of Joshua.  There the Israelites under the immediate supervision of Jehovah; achieved their final triumph over their foes and gained the Promised Land.  Marathon is where the Grecians routed the hosts of Persia and preserved the freedom of their country.  Bannockburn is the scene of the defeat of the English by the Scottish army under Bruce.  That brave people achieved immortal honor and independence upon that field.  Switzerland has been in all ages the ground of the noblest struggles between freedom and despotism.  Yorktown witnessed the crowning struggle between the British and the Americans, and virtually terminated the Revolutionary War in our favor.  These five names, designated on the Signet Ring by the initials G. M. B. S. Y., call to mind come of the sublimest events on the pages of history, and arouse every impulse of patriotism in emulation.

Page 52.  G.  There are seven means of Recognition.  The first is to exhibit the Registration Certificate.  Without this no Comrade can be recognized outside of the immediate circle of his acquaintances.  Second.  The Signet Ring which should always be worn by comrades when travelling.  Use it by explaining to each other alternately the initials, beginning with the letter B.  Third.  The Medal.  This is worn as a breastplate or suspended on the watch guard, &c., and the wearer’s name and number on it.

Page 53.  Use the following address:  “I have already explained to you the first three means of Recognition, viz: the Registration Certificate, Signet Ring, and Medal.  The fourth is the Quarterly Password, used for gaining admission into the Camp.  The fifth is a reference to the five worthies of the S. B., viz: Warren, Webster, Clay, Jefferson, and Washington.  The sixth is a reference to the thirty-four States as on the seal of the Registration Certificate.  The seventh is by the use of a five barreled revolver.  [Full explanations of the seven Recognitions are found in the ‘Ritual of the Camp,’ now in press.]”

This is a correct copy of their Key.  By it any one can tell these fellows who recognize each other by the use of a “five barreled revolver,” for the purpose of taking the lives of their fellow citizens.  We have not adverted to half of the astounding statements contained in the Ritual, because we have not the time at present to do so.  The public will hear more from us on this subject.  Enough is here given to arouse the people of this State and of all the States to a full sense of their danger.  All around us are secret bands of men – our neighbors – who are nightly devising plans whereby we can be deprived of our liberties.  Let the Democrats and the conservatives of the land arouse; and while these desperate men are arming under State and federal influence, Democrats and conservatives can also procure “five barreled revolvers.”  Let the Democratic Invincible Clubs be formed all over the land, hold all their meetings openly, and openly resolve to maintain their rights or die defending them.  The people must arm against these  secret assailants of our government, and when they strike, let the people strike in return, and give them bullet for bullet.  We are not alarmists, but we have felt it to be our duty to expose this most infamous organization, and warn our fellow citizens of the dangers impending.

We obtained all these secrets by simply writing for them.  We have taken no obligation to keep them.  We have not even signed any receipt for them, or given any promise or pledge to not expose them.  Neither has Mr. Griffits.  We informed John Trimble, Jr., D.D., that this is a strong copperhead county, and we think that he will agree with us, and that when he sees this he will conclude that he has been bitten by three “copperheads.”

Geo. W. Hall.
M. Couchman.

Carthage, Illinois, Feb. 28, 1863.

                The undersigned hereby certify that all of the foregoing statements that relates to us is true.

T. B. Griffits.
A. M. Ossmon.


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