November 13, 1863

Macomb Weekly Journal




            We take it for granted that all men, of whatever political cast, who are not in favor of the Southern rebellion, will, when they rightly understand the principles of the secesh Democracy, spurn it with contempt.  There are thousands of good loyal men in this State, who still adhere to the so-called Democratic party, believing it to be a loyal organization.  But there was never a greater mistake committed.  That the masses of the party are loyal is proven by the result of the late elections, which must have been carried by the assistance of loyal Democrats.  The leaders of the party, however, are now, and have been from the commencement of the war, notoriously disloyal.  Let honest Democrats, who are in favor of the restoration of the Union, read the record of the Democracy of McDonough county, and then say, if they can, that the charge of disloyalty to the government is not fully sustained by their own utterances.  Take, for instance, the Macomb Eagle, the acknowledged mouth piece of the party in this county, and see if it can be harmonized with the principles of loyalty.  As far back as January 18th, 1861, the editor of the Eagle said:

It is evident that the incoming administration is for war – war against our own people – war against our own blood and kindred.  There will be a call for volunteers; and if this means fail to secure men enough to shoot and be shot.  Those who, by their votes and speeches, and otherwise, have aided the work of compelling the South into rebellion (if they please to term it so), should have the glory of imbuing their hands in their kindred’s blood.  *  *  *  *  *  If war does come it will not be the fault of any Democrat.  Let those who shall cause it fight it out.  Let Democrats cultivate their fields, work at their benches, and pursue their usual business.  Let conservative, Union-loving Republicans – and there are many such – do the same thing.  Let them raise the corn and hogs and make up the goods to clothe the abolition fanatics who want to carry out Lincoln’s doctrine of making the States all free.  Again we say, let the abolitionists do the volunteering and be the subjects for drafting.  Democrats and Union-loving republicans can be engaged in better business than shooting their neighbors.

On the 13th of April of the same year, the Eagle, which has of late been a great lover of the “Constitution as it is and the Union as it was,” came out boldly in favor of recognizing the independence of the Southern Confederacy, and declared that the Government had no right to hold the United States forts that were located in the Southern States.  The following extracts are from editorial articles in that paper of that date:

If the administration wants to hold those forts, it wants to do it for the purpose of AGGRESSIVE measures against the Confederate States; it wants them as a basis of operations, from whence are to issue armies for the CONQUEST of an INDEPENDENT NATION, and to reduce a free people to the condition of vassals and serfs.  The pretext that hostilities will be commenced by the South is so shallow and frivolous that it is almost incredulous.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

            The whole conduct of the administration is brimfull of taunts and menaces toward the South – insulting and spurning them – and defying the Confederate States to help themselves.  It is pursuing the same policy toward the Confederates that the British crown pursued toward the Colonies.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

            The continued possession of forts, and the maintaining of armies in the territory of ANOTHER NATION, is tantamount to a declaration of war.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

            We repeat that the administration has no PRACTICAL use for Sumter or Pickens, except as a standing menace and defiance to ANOTHER POWER; and the attempted reinforcement of those fortresses, after the repeated declarations of the Confederate States that such reinforcement would be resisted to the last extremity, and be regarded in no other light than as a willful and deliberate intention on the part of Lincoln and his abolition advisers to wage a war of aggression, of conquest, of subjugation, against those States.  If he does not wish to do this, there can be NO DISHONOR IN RECOGNIZING THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES, or at least in exhausting all peaceable negotiation.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

            The “seceding States” are perfectly indifferent as to what we of the North may do in regard to negro slavery.  They “claim” to have a separate and independent sovereignty, and have no more desire or expectation of shaping or influencing the legislation of the Northern States, than they have of influencing the legislation of the Canadian provinces.  That they would like to see the great majority of our people understand and acknowledge the natural STATUS of the negro, is probable enough.  But this they want us, who are living under another GOVERNMENT, and in another climate, to “love slavery” and “assist” in its expansion, etc., is an idea so foolish that none but an abolitionist brain could conceive it.

We are well aware that the above are the sentiments of the Eagle, and unless approved by the Democracy of the county not justly chargable to them.  But how stands the matter in this respect?  In the fall of the same year, after Abbott has thus openly advocated the cause of the Southern traitors – the Democracy, in their township conventions, fully endorsed the Eagle in its treasonable course, and thus assumed the advocacy of the same principles.  In Hire township the following resolution was passed:

6. That we heartily recommend the Macomb Eagle as a bold and Independent Democratic journal, and well worthy the support of the Democratic party of McDonough county.

In Industry township:

2. That we cordially commend the Macomb Eagle for its bold and independent course as a Democratic journal, and as such consider it entitled to the support of good and true Democrats, and as many of our Republican friends as may prefer it to the little Tribune.

In Chalmers township:

9. That we heartily recommend the Macomb Eagle as a bold, independent, and true Democratic journal, and as such entitled to the support of every true Democrat and true patriot.

But this is not the only way in which the same principles were endorsed.  On the 17th of August, the Democracy of Tennessee township met for the purpose of electing delegates to the county convention, and UNANIMOUSLY passed the following resolutions:

RESOLVED, That the present civil war which Abraham Lincoln is waging upon sovereign States is alike unconstitutional, inhuman and unjust, and unless speedily checked must end in the complete overthrow of liberty and in the establishment of a military despotism.

RESOLVED, That the taking of human life under the frivolous pretext of war; before all reasonable means have been resorted to which human wisdom can invent to avert the evil, and before congress has made a declaration of war in a legal and constitutional manner, is as unjustifiable as the taking of life contrary to civil law.

RESOLVED, That we most cordially endorse the fearless and manly stand taken by the Hon. C. L. Vallandigham of the house of representatives, and the Hon. J. C. Breckenridge of the senate, in the debates of the last session of Congress.

It will be noticed that in these resolutions the miserable traitors, Vallandigham and Breckenridge, were fully endorsed; one of whom has been convicted as a traitor, and banished from the country, and the other is a general in the rebel army.  The delegates who voted for these resolutions were admitted to the County Convention, and took part in its proceedings.

On the 24th of August, 1861, men calling themselves Democrats, met in Emmet township, and passed the following resolutions, also endorsing Vallandigham and Breckenridge:

WHEREAS, we believe that the present war inaugurated by Abraham Lincoln is unnatural, unconstitutional and unjust, and that the liberties of our people and nation are endangered thereby; and

WHEREAS, We believe the whole scheme of prosecuting a war upon the Southern States, in preference to compromising with them, has for its end and aim the abolition of negro slavery in those States – therefore

RESOLVED, That we are in favor of peace and Union on compromise terms, to be effected by the voice of the people, through their delegates in a general convention of all the states.

RESOLVED, That we are opposed to general government interfering with the domestic institutions of any State or territory, especially the institution of negro Slavery, except to protect them according to the intent and meaning of the Constitution, and according to the law of nations.

That we most cordially endorse the fearless and manly Hon. C. L. Vallandigham of the House of Representatives, and the Hon. J. C. Breckenridge of the Senate, in the debates of the last session of Congress.

The secesh Democracy of Blandinville, in the same year thus put in their protest to the prosecution of the war:

2nd, That we are opposed to the present war policy; that we sincerely believe that its results will be to drive the remaining slave States from the Union, exasperate the whole South, consolidate their Confederacy, bankrupt the North, and render a reunion impossible; that as the Union was made in peace it should be preserved in peace, and can never be by force of arms.

The secesh Democracy of Bethel township protest in like manner:

RESOLVED, That of all wars a civil war is the most repulsive and inhuman; and that we regard it as the worst of all POSSIBLE means to be used in the settlement of our present difficulties.

The above is a true copy of the record made by the copperheads of this county during the first year of this war.  And let it be borne in mind that all this took place before the President had issued his Emancipation Proclamation – before negroes had been employed in the service – before the Confiscation and Conscription acts were passed, or even thought of.  The Eagle is now in the habit of declaring that the opposition of the copperheads to the war is predicated upon these acts of Congress and the Administration – that there has been a time when they were in favor of the war.  But reasoning men, with the above record before them, will fail to discover the exact point in time at which this was the case.  Since that time the party of this county have not improved upon the above record, unless a still more open advocacy of the rebel cause can be called an improvement.

A few days since the same party held another convention, and nominated a ticket for county officers, every one of whom have endorsed all the treasonable acts and doings of the party – a ticket that if elected will be claimed as an endorsement of the most treasonable principles.  Let no Union man be deceived.  The issue is the same in McDonough county that it was in the Ohio election.  The question before the people is will we stand for the government, or for the traitors who are seeking its overthrow.  The success of Vallandigham would everywhere have been taken as an expression of enmity to the government, and a refusal to stand by it in putting down treason.  The same will be the case in this county.  Every man who votes for the copperhead candidates, thereby endorses all the ungodly heresies of the men who are in favor of the recognition of the Southern Confederacy as an independent nation – who denounce our brave soldiers as cutthroats.  Again we say.


From the 84th Regiment.

            Chattanooga, Oct. 18.

            Friend John:  Several times I have written to you, but suppose duties and cases have prevented replies.  I have been in the service now 15 months, and today finds me in tolerable health, good spirits and strapped, notwithstanding hard fare, battles, bad weather, fever and ague, &c., have intervened. – The 84th went into the service 918 men, today, 450 total.  Co. C. then of 93, now 42, of whom 21 are present.  The account of the battle of Chicamauga, you have doubtless read once too often.  Correspondents are broken reeds to lean upon.  The country here is somewhat peculiar, skirting the Tennessee river, and running in a N. E. and S. W. direction is the range of Lookout mountains, on the west of this place, while on the east is a lesser range of mountains, called the Mission Range on the east of which is the Chicamauga River.  On the Lookout mountain at the nearest point of approach to Chattanooga is an abrupt eminence called Lookout Tower, which the rebels now hold and which overlooks our whole encampment.  Hood’s Division is there.  On Mission ridge Bragg has his headquarters, and the rebel lines are from the river to river around us.  Just beyond Mission Ridge is the Chicamauga and the battle-field. – Thomas and McCook endeavored to flank Bragg by crossing the Lookout mountains 35 miles below this place at the only available gap, which we supposed would, and did compel Bragg to retreat, as he had then, Sept. 8th and 9th, received no reinforcements.  Crittenden’s Corps watched and waited and when Bragg evacuated we slipped in.  This was on the 9th.  Early that morning we, the 23d Ky., 24th Ohio and 84th Id, got up at 3 p. m. and by a narrow pass climbed the rugged sides of Lookout mountain, some 7 miles from Chattanooga.  After a skirmish as we went, in which a rebel was killed and a few wounded, along the top of the mountain, we marched to the tower 1500 feet above Chattanooga, and a scene of unparalleled grandeur met our eyes.  At our feet away down stretched out like a patch work or map, nestled the valley of Chattanooga with its fields of grain, woodland and its innumerable roads, while nearly every road was occupied by the fleeing hosts of the rebel army of the Tennessee. – It was a sight not soon to be forgotten.  The 10th of Sept. our regiment was ordered to take possession of a gap near Rossville, and as we were on the march three shots fired at us threw us in line of battle, and we advanced  skirmishing, when orders came for us to join our division then en route for Ringgold.  Until the 17th, we perambulated the country between Ringgold and Gordon’s Mills, which includes the battle-field, shifting position to avoid a battle, until joined by the other corps; and at the same time to continually menace Bragg and create a diversion in favor of Thomas and McCook, and allow them time and freedom from harrassing movements of the enemy to effect a junction with us.  Often our Corps was compelled to shift lines by night to keep off the battle in the d[obscured] could not be delayed longer than the night of the 18th.  All felt that ominous feeling that overtakes the soldier at such periods.  We knew that a battle was nigh.  Bragg advanced to cut us off from Chattanooga and the tide of battle with its sanguinary waves was upon us, before Generals could get commands into position; make any strategic movements, concentrate bodies, or arrange any system by which unity of action could be displayed.  On the fight Saturday tolerable order, no straggling and bitter fighting was the order of the day.  We supported Parson’s Battery, 4th U. S. Artillery, which done us not much material good.  Towards night a great gap to our right was taken possession of by the enemy, and “purr,” “whizz,” came the bullets from the right and rear, for a Division of rebels were there to send them, and as our brigade had no ammunition, the artillery limbered up to the rear in a hurry, and the order was given for us to follow, which we saw the immediate necessity for going, and accomplished in good time.  Our brigade rallied again a quarter of a mile to the left where we waited in vain for the further approach of the rebels.  We lost about 80 men that day.  The battle had ended, and save the occasional flight a rebel shell over us, hungered, tired, chilly, but not dispirited we lay down in line to sleep, and as I looked at the pale moon that night, I peered into its crystal depths to know whether it would cast its beams over a more bloody battle-field on the morrow’s eve.  That night we held possession of all material points we first occupied in the morning. – Troops with heavy tramp, artillery with its rumble, wagons with grub and leaden jokers, all through the gloomy watches of that night, thrust their ominous noises upon the half-drowsy soldiers.  But sleep comes at last, despite danger, death and all, and thus alternating, by clangor and silence we passed the night.  A dense fog on Sunday, prevented early movements and attacks.  About 8 a. m. the fog lifted and we strained our ears to gather tokens of the coming storm.  We moved up to the front a little further, and the 84th commenced building breastworks, that proved to be of invaluable use to us during the day.  Just as they were finished, Col. Morton, 84th, on Palmer’s staff came to relieve us and put other troops in behind the works built by us.  He told us that “we should go behind other breastworks or go into the Reserve,” in consideration of Saturday’s hard work.  We were taken to an open piece of ground to the right and diagonal to the rear three or four hundred yards, halted, and I started to a battery just in our rear, borrowed two axes and again commenced building works. – Hardly had we begun, when “Fall in!” calls the Col., and still further to the left, diagonally to the left flank with Grose our brigade commander leading us we approached the front.  When near on a line with the works we had built, a fierce musketry fire was opened on us from the right front and away to our rear we were ordered into line, layed down, then ordered to advance which was done, and after moving forward and fell back all the time in a slaughter yard, the Col. in obedience to orders gave the order to fall back which having to be done through a thicket of thorns, scattered our brigade, regiments and companies so much that their organizations were not again effected during the fight.  The enemy had come in by lines 5 to 8 deep either through a gap or through Davis and Van Cleve’s Division, which 2nd Division had given way in great disorder.  We continued in the fight in different shapes all day until towards evening we fell back with the army towards Rossville.  Here we found parts of regiments arriving, badly cut up as we, and many much worse separated.  Strange to say there was but little despondency – no panic – no desire to straggle away from the respective commands, to the rear, though we knew as well as our General that disaster had befallen our arms.  The fight on Sunday was terrific, but the artillery part of it was the sheerest humbug, as not one hundred of our men in all that fight was killed or wounded by it.  Stone’s River has yet to be eclipsed in intensity and havoc, desperation and tenacity.  Night soon hovered over and bid adieu; those that were left to the world, fell to sleep ruminating upon a fight and no victory, or falling back with the dead and dying comrades in the enemy’s hands.  Rather gloomy weather, wasn’t it, John?  Co. C lost 13 men out of 26 guns, and the regiment lost a total of 110.  The Atlanta papers say that Palmer’s Division saved Rosecrans from annihilation.  Sunday phrenzy, and a mob-like spirit took the place of steady, adhesive discipline on our side; and as it was the case, I am glad to say it had a corresponding effect on the enemy.  Their lines were as disjointed, crooked and badly chosen as our own.  Generals, without staff, flew they knew not where, seeking their respective commands, and from a brigade commander up, no one could tell where all his command was posted.  Our confusion, doubly confused the enemy and really therein was the army’s safety and deliverance.

Here we are now, as I think, impregnable, holding Chattanooga, the only prize for which we sought.  The situation you can more fully comprehend than I can.  Rebels are seen all around us, and at our picket posts we can hear their bugles and drums, and see their pickets only 600 yards distant, and on the hills of Mission Ridge their white tents shine in the sun, and their cannon bristle from their sides.  Lookout Mountain they use to cut off our communication with Stevenson and as a point of observation.  When the camp is quiet you can hear the rebels when they cheer.  Jeff Davis was here two or three days ago, when I was on picket and I could hear him speak, the men cheer, bands play “Bonnie Blue Flag,” “Dixie,” &c.  Strange times John, worth the risk to think about in after time.  Here we are, watching each other.  If what I have written you can help to digest or connect the contrariety of reports I’ll be satisfied.

Thomas gets the praise, and poor “we” of Palmer’s Division, although connected to Thomas’ corps all through the night, and under his orders for days after, are left out in the cold because our corps commander was as some allege indiscreet enough to wend his way to town early in the day on Sunday. – But Palmer is the noblest Roman of all.  His gizzard is sand somewhat; the fighter who excels him I don’t want to see.  Granger is unknown, and forsooth one division of his was in a fight two hours on Sunday.  He is a big tadpole at the War Department.  His hat represented to have been riddled by rebel bullets has still some of its former outline left.  Our corps lost 2900 men out of 12000, over 20 per cent.  The 78th Ill., done good work and she is now of the ones christened in blood. – John, Illinois has nothing of spot or blemish to fear from her soldiers.  They have a State pride to sustain as well as a personal and national one.  Our flag, a mere bundle of shreds, with its broken and shattered staff, certainly needs to be replaced by a new one; a hint &c.  The election news was made known to this army last night in the shape of a bulletin from Department Headquarters, and of all the ludicrous expressions of joy, we had it then.  Shouts that made old earth vibrate, bands with their gayest tones, and most exulting strains all got mixed up together and with the aid of the kind sutlers, things about the “wee small hours” assumed the shape of a newly arranged medley.

Capt. Ervin, a paragon of men is at present detached and the little squad I at present command.  Hope he will return soon again.  His boys love him as a father; tried amid the keenest fires and the most appalling of dangers. – You don’t have any idea of what war practically means.  God grant, you may never know.  Although I long for a return to times like the unruffled past, when the hammer and anvil shall turn to pruning hooks and plow shares, the weapons of war, yet I am for war, continued, persistent, cruel, unrelenting and stupendous, and what not else, until out of its havoc and destruction may arise like unto a “Phoenix” our flag of [obscured] , its white unspotted and its red deepened, a brighter and richer hue, by the blood of our slain, full high advanced as the symbol of a preserved nation and a reunited people.

As ever you friend,

Jos. G. Waters.


Latest News.

            The latest reports state that Gen. Meade’s forces are at Culpepper, waiting the arrival of the supply trains.  A Union scout reports that Lee has gone to Chattanooga, and commands Bragg’s army.  On the same authority it is stated that at a recent session of the rebel Cabinet it was resolved to abandon Virginia as soon as seriously pressed by Meade.  Our forces have captured 700 more prisoners, making 2,500 captured within a few days.

From Chattanooga there is intelligence of a considerable movement of rebel troops southwards.  It is reported that Bragg is preparing to retire to Rome or Atlanta, and that Longstreet is organizing a raid upon the Federal lines of communication.  A rebel paper expresses the opinion that a terrible battle will take place in Tennessee within a few days.  It is also reported on rebel authority, that Buckner is moving steadily towards Knoxville, with a large force.

The reported capture of Fort Sumter turns out to be a mistake.  The bombardment is still progressing, with a fair prospect of ultimate success.

The news from Arkansas is of the most cheering character, and signs of returning reason and loyalty are abundant.

The returns from the recent elections grow better each succeeding day.  In this State the Union majority will not be less than 20,000, and thus far not a single county or township has been heard from where the Copperheads have made gains.  The defeat of the treason sympathizers is complete and overwhelming.  There is not a grease spot left of Copperheadism.  Even slave holding Missouri and Maryland, have repudiated and spurned the unclean thing.


            A Change of Base. – The New York World, which is fast getting to be a power among the Democracy, takes the late defeat at polls very gracefully, and frankly admits that it was because the party had tried to make peace principles triumph, when the country was emphatically for war, and says now it is going to turn round, cease to be partisan and become patriotic.  This is significant of a decided change of base by the Democratic party.  It aims at power and if it cannot obtain it in one way, it is bound to in another.  It will be more dangerous in the new role than in the old one.


            That’s So. – The times are hard, and the price of provisions high, yet all this cannot destroy the natural taste of the American people for nick nacks and sweetmeats.  Taking advantage of this fact, A. B. Covalt, on the north side of the square, has just purchased a splendid stock of Confectionary, Nuts, Fruits, Flags, Toys, &c., which he is selling at reasonable prices.  He also has a large stock of fire-works of all kinds and descriptions.  Give him a call.


            Just So. – The Eagle says that “Gov. Seymour was the first governor who issued a proclamation calling on the people to volunteer in response to the President’s call.”  Just so, Gov. Seymour has sense enough to see that the course heretofore pursued by the copperheads is ruining the party.  The late election has had a wondrous effect upon a certain class of politicians.  They were perfect ‘eye-openers.’


            → Services will be held in the Universalist church on Sunday, Nov. 15th, at 10 1-2 o’clock a. m., and 7 o’clock, p. m.  The sermon in the evening will, by request, be on the text, “The wicked shall be turned into hell.”  The public are invited to attend.


            → The chilly winds of the past week should warn all that winter is almost upon us.  Then prepare for its cold, biting weather by securing a sufficient protection against it.  The Ladies can do this by calling on S. F. Wright, who has just opened a splendid stock of Furs of all kinds and styles. – He has Capes, Caps, Mitts, Muffs, and in fact Furs of all kinds both foreign and domestic.  Ladies, go and examine his stock.


            → A press of other work has prevented our paying any attention to the editorial department of the paper, but what is the readers loss, is our gain.


            → → The weather for November, is beautiful.


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