Macomb Weekly Journal
The Enrollment Troubles in Fulton County.
Statement of Deputy Marshal Phelps.
From the Canton Register.
In view of the troubles existing at this time in the Southern portion of Fulton county, and to allay any unnecessary apprehensions therefrom, and also for the purpose of correcting evils and misunderstandings naturally growing out of vague rumors and unfounded reports, many of which are afloat in the community, in relation to the late military proceedings enacted in South Fulton, I deem it due to the public that a fair and candid statement of the matter should be made, in order that all may fully understand the basis upon which troops were called into the county, their action since their arrival, and when their mission shall have been fulfilled.
It is a fact well known to the public, that there has been for several weeks past, a determined armed resistance, accompanied with violent threats, against the execution of the enrollment law in some of the townships in this county. The first demonstration noticeable of this spirit manifested in Pleasant township, and was a so violent a character as to compel Luke Elliot, the clerk duly appointed by Wm. McComb, the enrolling officer of this county, to stop the work. After some delay and much parleying, the enrollment was completed, without serious opposition, by another appointee. The spirit of resistance was caught up by the citizens of Isabel township, and culminated in a more formidable and determined resistance than had been exhibited in Pleasant, and finally terminated in intimidating one, and taking the books of another of the officers, by armed force, and with threats that no man should enroll the township except at the peril of his life.
In addition to this, there was manifested a bitter hostility to the arrest and return of deserters to the number of from 15 to 25, encouraged by this spirit had for some time past been encamped in the open field, and at other places of rendezvous, with the avowed purpose of resisting any attempt which might be made by the authorities to arrest them. Not only this, a large number of citizens of Isabel were in the habit of drilling and performing other military duty, with no other avowed purpose than to be prepared to resist the enrollment. This being the condition of things, it was manifest to the Provost Marshal that he and his little force were not able to enforce the law and bring the offenders to justice.
The Provost Marshal of the District, being informed of the condition of affairs in the county, visited it, and, by his direction, a small force of cavalry (61 in number) and one 6 pounder were ordered into the county for the purpose, and no other, of enforcing the enrollment of Isabel township, and for the arrest of deserters, and other individuals against whom legal process had been issued. This force arrived and encamped at Duncan’s mills, five miles south of Lewistown, on the 13th inst. About 12 o’clock that same night, this force being divided into three squads, of ten men each, leaving the remainder to guard the gun and take charge of prisoners, in case any should be arrested, started with their respective officers for three different points in the same neighborhood, viz: Charles Brown’s, John Lane’s and John Graham’s.
The first visit made by either of the squads was at Charles Brown’s. The officer taking two men with him, went to the house, and after knocking at the door and making his business known, entered the house and arrested John and Benjamin F. Brown, who were in bed, no opposition of any kind being made. These two prisoners were put in charge of two soldiers and sent to camp, while the officer, with the remainder of his men, joined those who were at John Lane’s. Here eight of the company were detailed to surround the house and barn of Mr. Lane. The officer then knocked at the door, made his business known and demanded admittance, which being refused, five minutes were given in which to comply, at the expiration of which, no compliance being made, the door was forced in, and three soldiers entered the house. There were nine men in the house, all armed. Two double-barreled shot guns, one rifle, three revolvers, one double-barreled pistol, all loaded, and one bowie knife, were also found in the house. Upon a demand to deliver up their weapons and surrender, all complied, except Aaron Bechelhimer and John Alexander, including James Lane, who first drew a revolver and afterwards surrendered. Bechelhimer and Alexander were in a backroom, and, as the soldiers approached, Bechelhimer offering resistance, was caught by a soldier and thrown out of a window, when he was instantly arrested by another soldier. Alexander, in the meantime, who had been ordered several times to surrender, attempted to draw a revolver, and was standing with one hand upon the collar of his coat, and the other in the act of drawing his weapon, when he was shot in the left breast by a soldier, and the revolver taken from him. Of the number in the house, Platt and Jas. Lane were arrested, the latter of whom escaped, also Aaron Bechelhimer and Marshal Athey, two deserters, and John Lane, who was afterwards released by the Provost Marshal.
The third squad, composed of ten men, had gone to John Graham’s on a like errand, (to arrest deserters,) and also to arrest Graham, against whom charges had been preferred before the proper tribunal. Here, as at the other places, the officer in command knocked at the door and made known his business. Graham replied that no deserters were in the house, and that he was alone. Search was made at his barn for deserters, but without success. – Demand was again made for entrance into the house, and refused, when the door was forced open. No men were found in the lower story. Edward Trumbull, who was one of the squad, opened a door leading up a narrow stairway, and with a candle in his hand attempted to go up stairs, when he was fired upon by John Graham, the ball inflicting a slight wound in Trumbull’s breast, and passing down, lodged in his thigh, causing a severe flesh wound. – At the same time a shot was fired from the porch which barely missed Van Meter. Graham still refusing to surrender, a guard was placed around his house, and a messenger sent to the Captain of the company, at Duncan’s, to bring up the artillery. At this, and when Graham discovered what he was contending against, (for he said up to this time he supposed it to be Phelps and his posse,) he finally surrendered, and with Joseph Brown, was taken prisoner.
These are the facts, as related by the officers of the several squads, upon which I rely with the utmost confidence.
The prisoners, nine in number, were brought by the cavalry to Lewistown, where they remained until the afternoon train, when seven (two being released by the Marshal) were sent to the Provost Marshal of the district, to be by him delivered over to the United States District Marshal of this State, to be tried by the civil authorities upon the charges preferred against him.
From present indications, it is hoped and believed that the law will be enforced, the enrollment made, and deserters arrested, without any further resistance; and when this fact is clearly demonstrated, the military force now in the county will be withdrawn, and not till then.
I have been thus particular in collecting and detailing the facts connected with this transaction, which have been gathered from eyewitnesses, and other facts, some of which have come under my own observation and that of numerous other citizens of the county, for the purpose of guarding the people against false reports, and that they may understand the true condition of affairs in Fulton county. The excitement which followed the arrests by the military, and the demonstrations of six or seven hundred armed citizens exhibited in the environs of Lewistown within three hours thereafter, needs no comment from me, but of itself is a sufficient apology for an armed force being quartered in our midst.
Provost Marshal Fulton county,
Lewistown, August 17, 1863.
From the Peoria Transcript, August 19.
We copy in this morning’s issue a statement of Deputy Marshal Phelps in relation to the recent enrollment troubles in Fulton county, with a detailed account of the operations of the cavalry in arresting the parties engaged in it. The Canton Register furnishes us some additional particulars in relation to the attempt to prevent Marshal Phelps from carrying his prisoners to Springfield. Some two hundred copperheads assembled, and were marching on Lewistown, when Judge Bryant and some others went out and met them near the Fair Grounds, and addressed them, advising them to go home. This most of them acceded to, and the crowd dispersed. Considerable uneasiness, however, was still felt in Lewistown, and patrols were out all night; but no disturbances occurred, though several shots were fired during the night – probably to get up an alarm.
The Register states that Graham had barricaded his house and pierced it with loop-holes for small arms. Alexander was shot through his hand, the ball lodging in his stomach. At first the wound was considered mortal, but he was alive Sunday afternoon, with some hopes of his recovery. The wounded soldier was sent to Quincy, the ball having been previously extracted from his hip by Dr. Sollenberger, of Lewistown. Isabel township was enrolled on Monday by Messrs. Wm. Craig and W. McComb, without resistance.
We understand several hundred additional troops are en route to Fulton county, and appearances indicate they are needed. Reports were brought to Peoria by last night’s train from the west, that the passenger train out of Lewistown was fired into by the mob yesterday morning. A detachment of the 113th Illinois infantry, under command of Major Clark, numbering eighty men, came in from Springfield last evening, and encamped near the depot. They are under sealed orders, and go by the western train this morning, doubtless to Fulton county. We learn by the Springfield papers yesterday that the parties arrested by Marshal Phelps were expected in this city yesterday, when they were to be brought before the U. S. Commissioner for examination. They will be defended by S. C. Judd, of Fulton county.
Our readers will not forget the Great Union Mass Meeting, to be held at Springfield on the 3d day of Semptember. The most ample preparations have been made to accommodate the largest crowd of people ever assembled in this State. The C. B. & Q. R. R., and the Great Western R. R., have both agreed to carry for half fare. – Many of the most distinguished Union men of all parties, have signified their intention to be present, and address the meetings. In addition, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, is expected to be present. Let McDonough county be well represented. – Let the Union men of Illinois, turnout en masse. Let this grand demonstration be of such a character that secessionists and traitors will be awed into becoming silence. No meeting has been called in this county to elect delegates, but let every Union man in the county, who can possibly go, consider himself as a delegate. Let every man who loves the Government, and who hates the vile traitors who are seeking to destroy that Government, spend a few hours in the cause of his country.
Great Mass Meeting at Quincy.
The Union men of Adams and surrounding counties, are to have a great Union meeting at Quincy to-day, (Friday), on the Public Square. Governor Yates, Gen. Prentiss, and several other distinguished speakers are expected to be present.
The Latest News.
There was terrible work in Charleston harbor, on Friday and Saturday. – The bombardment of Forts Sumter and Wagner from land and sea was kept up with increased vigor. Gen. Gillmore demanded the surrender of Sumter and Morris Island, and if refused, would open fire on Charleston next day. Our advices are to Sunday. A report from Philadelphia states that an official announcement has been received at Washington that Fort Sumter has surrendered. It is probably true.
Rosecrans’ advance reached Chattanooga on the 21st, and opened fire on the enemy’s works. We will soon hear of warm work or a rebel retreat. Joe. Johnston is reported to have superseded Bragg in command of the rebel army. Reports continue to reiterate the oft-repeated story of rebel desertions and demoralization.
The Leaveworth Conservative has received news from Gen. Blunt up to August 10th. There had been no engagement, but a fight was daily expected. The rebel force is estimated at from twelve to fifteen thousand.
The situation on the western frontier is critical. Gen. Blunt’s little army was at last accounts encamped near Ft. Gibson, sixty miles from Fort Smith, the rebel headquarters, and a battle was thought imminent. The rebel force was larger than that of Gen. Blunt, but the 13th Kansas, with an ammunition train, was on its way to reinforce him. If not previously attacked, Gen. Blunt would then become the assailing party.
As soon as the intense heat subsides in the South-West, active operations will be resumed by the armies of Gens. Grant and Banks, now resting upon their well earned laurels in Mississippi and Louisiana.
It is believed by those who are in a position to judge, that Banks will have the task of redeeming Louisiana and Texas assigned to him, find that Grant’s forces will be massed and moved down the river, and, in conjunction with the fleet, proceed to the attack of Mobile.
Military affairs in the South-West are even now not altogether at a standstill, as is generally supposed. Movements of troops down the Mississippi are in progress, and preparations are going forward for an important Fall campaign, which will open as soon as these preparations shall have been completed.
The indications are that the call of a grand Mass Meeting of the loyal men of the State of Illinois, at Springfield, next Thursday, will be freely responded to from all parts of the State. It bids fair to be one of the greatest assemblages ever witnessed in the West. Let all go who possibly can, and give the Union sentiment of Illinois an emphasis that cannot be mistaken.
“Preserve the Peace.”
Under the above head the editor of the Macomb Buzzard calls upon the Union men of this county to guard against breaking the peace, and intimates that Republicans have been in the habit of making threats of violence towards Democrats. Now, Abbott knew that he was penning a falsehood when he made this charge. He knows that Republicans are law abiding men, and that there is no danger of their mobbing Democrats or destroying their property. No, sir, Mr. Abbott, unless the copperheads, who for a week past have been riding about the country with guns on their shoulders, break the law, there is no danger of any disturbance in this county. We do not charge that Democrats are meditating any mischief. But there is a class in this county who, having nothing to lose themselves, would, we doubt not, be glad of an opportunity to plunder and rob their neighbors. These men are copperheads, not Democrats, and they are the men who are laying around in the brush and drilling with arms in their hands. They are the men that are so loud in their denunciations of every act of the Administration, and they are the men who are threatening to resist the draft by force of arms. And these, too, are the men who are making threats to burn and destroy property. Let Abbott direct his advice to preserve the peace to these men, for he is in their confidence, and we doubt not, could exert a powerful influence over them. We fully agree with Abbott that “the duty of preserving peace and friendship, is reciprocal,” and we know that the law abiding property holding Democrats of this city, are willing to unite with the Republicans in maintaining peace and friendship, but in so doing, they know that they are only in danger from copperheads and Missouri renegades. – Again we say, let Abbott preach law and order to the radical element in his own party.
Under the above head the Buzzard of last week gives an account of the conduct of the squad of soldiers that camped over night near the residence of J. A. Gibson, at Middletown. It is needless to say that the account is false from beginning to end. We have conversed with several reliable persons who live in the same neighborhood, and they all tell a different story. We have also heard the father of J. A. Gibson tell his side of the story, and even he don’t make it half as bad as does the Eagle. The fact of the business is, the soldiers camped near Gibson’s, and went to the house and got some flour, hay, corn, chickens, molasses, &c., for which they paid part in money, and gave Quartermaster’s receipt for the balance. The Eagle’s description of the destruction of property is a base fabrication. Old Mr. Gibson says that they came to his house and borrowed his crockery ware and returned it again in good order, and neighbors who visited the house soon after the soldiers left, say that nothing was destroyed, the damage could not have exceeded fifteen dollars. But it is a part of the copperhead game to tell these big stories, for the purpose of getting up an excitement against the soldiers. By inducing the people to believe that the soldiers are in the habit of destroying property, they hope to get up a spirit resistance on the part of the copperheads. In fact, a party of copperheads did get together for the purpose of following after the soldiers, but they were careful to let twenty-four hours pass before they started, and then backed out.
If soldiers wantonly destroy property they should be punished, but that destruction ought to be proven by better evidence than the say so of copperhead editors.
The Union men in various sections of the State are holding Union meetings. Why cannot the Union men of McDonough county do the same. The copperheads are holding their meetings in every township in the county, and marshaling their hosts against the Government, and if the friends of the Union expect to thwart their infamous designs, they must be up and doing. Then let us have a county meeting. Let us invite Gen. Logan or Gen. McClernand to talk to the people on the occasion. – Who seconds the motion?
A few nights since the M. E. Church known as Bethel Church, in Bethel township, was destroyed by fire. This Church was in a copperhead neighborhood, and it is supposed that this fire was the work of some of them, who are opposed to carrying politics into the pulpit.
That Big Scare!
Abbott makes considerable ado over the big scare that the Republicans got on account of the guerrilla raid made into the city on Tuesday of last week. It turns out, however, that the scare was all on the other side of the house. On Monday a squad of fifty-two cavalry passed through the south part of the county, on their way to Fulton county. As soon as it became known among the faithful, there was a terrible flutter among the unterrified. They rushed from their homes for the brush and the Creek bottoms, taking with them their shot-guns and rifles to defend themselves, if need be, from Uncle Sam’s troopers. The clan that was in this city on Tuesday was a reconnoitering force, that twenty-four hours after the soldiers left the county, ventured out to see how the “land lay.” Some of them, more timorous than the balance, camped out in the brush for three or four nights after, afraid to venture to their homes. We can account for this fear only upon the principle that “a guilty conscience needs no accuser.” – They know that they deserved a punishment for their traitorous conduct, and the knowledge that a few soldiers were in the county filled them with the direst alarm. Even the redoubtable editor of the Buzzard partook of the general scare, and had a guard of the faithful stationed in the Eagle office for a night or two after the soldiers passed through the city. We believe that a few of the more chicken-hearted are still missing, and it is feared by their friends that they have perished in the brush or fled from the country. We trust that hereafter Uncle Sam will send his soldiers around this county, and not through it, copperheads are afraid of U. S. soldiers, and naturally take to the brush when they are around.
What’s the Matter?
Four weeks ago we asked the editor of the Eagle some questions, but failing to get an answer, we two weeks ago renews the questions, and still got no answer. It will be remembered by the readers of the Eagle that Abbott has time and again charged that the appropriation bills failed during the last session of the Legislature, on account of adjournment of that body by Governor Yates. The questions that we asked are as follows:
1st. Did not the Legislature have ample time and opportunity to pass all the necessary appropriation bills?
2nd. Did not the Republican members of the Legislature endeavor, by all means in their power, to get a vote upon the appropriation bills?
3rd. Did not the Democratic members just as persistently refuse to pass the bills?
Did not your party have a majority in both houses and have the power at all times to pass the appropriation bills?
Did not the Republicans on the very day that the Legislature was prorogued try to get these bills through?
For the third time we ask these questions. Will you answer them of shall we conclude that you willfully lied about the matter. We intend to keep these questions before the people until you answer them. How long shall we wait?
All Quiet on Spoon River.
The Copperheads in Fulton county have concluded that fighting against the United States authorities would not pay in the long run, and have gone to their home, and the soldiers have been withdrawn from the county. All the Government desired has been accomplished, and we are glad to say without the loss of life. But how much better it would have been if the copperheads had behaved themselves. Then it would not have been necessary to send soldiers among them. The next time they make armed resistance they won’t get off so easy.
Macomb, Aug. 20, 1863.
Mr. Editor: — I see that the Gentlemen “rush into print” in order to ventilate, and complain of their many troubles. Profiting by their example, I, as a lady, wish to do the same, although our sex is not subject to all the “ills that flesh is heir to,” our troubles are multitudinous – not among the least is the Post Office arrangements in this city. In the first place, I think it very wrong in the business men and other gentlemen in town to rush to the post office before it is open, because the room is small, and in consequence any amount of crinoline is smashed, us ladies, of course, always being there first as we ought to be. I am willing to admit as I am young and unmarried, that I do not expect letters every time I go to the Post Office, but then it is such a good place to meet my other female friends who are enjoying the same wretched single life that I am, and further, I often meet my beaux there, which is quite convenient. I think all the room in our small Post Office should be kept clear off all of both sexes, except young unmarried ladies, and a very few young men, if they are very nice, for one hour after the mail is open. I am aware that the war widows, who are expecting letters from their loved ones in the army, will complain of this, but no matter, they have already got husbands, and their letters will not “spile,” even if they do not get them before next day. If our worthy Post Master will not agree to this arrangement I propose he rent, for the use of Uncle Sam’s Post Office, Gilchrist’s large warehouse, which I think is about 125 by 75 feet, and then there would be room enough for all the ladies, both married and single, as for the men, they certainly can wait an hour after the mail is open for their mail matter, for I declare to you, our sex are aware of our privileges and rights, and knowing them are not going to back down. – “Nary back.”
New Carrier. – We have a new carrier on the route, and it is possible that some may not get their papers. If so, they will please report at the office.
Another McDonough Boy Killed. – Jos. Burton, Esq., of this city received a telegraph dispatch from Nashville on Tuesday, announcing the death of his brother, Jefferson Burton. The dispatch gave no particulars, only stated that he was killed on the 23d inst. The body reached here on Wednesday [?]ning, and was sent to Mt. Sterling, where his parents reside, on the same [?]ing. Mr. Burton was a worthy and estimable young man. He was just 28 years of age, and has for some [?] past been engaged in the mercantile business at Nashville.