Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Other News For February, 1863

The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) was not unlike other newspapers in that its pages were filled with news of the present conflict. On this evening of February 3, 1863, they could have no inkling that the town it served would become the headline. Here is what the paper brought its readers in Other News:

Locusts Coming This Year

Joseph Harris writes to the St. Clairsville (Ohio)Chronicle that the locust will be on hand this year, it being the 17th since their last appearance. He says:
The Pharaoh locust made their first appearance on the wing May 19, 1846; on the 23rd commenced singing;on the 31st commenced boring the trees and laying eggs. June 6, commenced dying; the males first. On the 25th all dead. (Taken from notes taken at the above dates.)
This year there will be locusts in abundance. Prepare your small trees by tying them up with straw for 25 days and you are safe, if you do it right.[1]

The Sentinel also reported of an interesting, yet disgraceful episode that occurred in the United States Senate. Under discussion was a bill pertaining to political arrests and the suspension of the writ of habeus corpus. This short article is a followup to the main disturbance and bears no headline:

In the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, Mr. Clark of Rhode Island, introduced a preamble and resolution,stating that Senator Saulsbury had behaved in a turbulent and disorderly manner when called to order by the Vice President, and had drawn a pistol and threatened to shoot the Sergeant at Arms, and that such conduct being disgraceful to the Senate, and destructive of all order and decorum, that said Senator be expelled from the Senate. The resolution was laid over.
On Thursday,Senator Saulsbury, having apparently returned to a sound state of mind, apologized for his conduct in the Senate on Tuesday last. It is probable that the resolution for his expulsion will not now be called up.

The account of the tumult is related across the page, and the tirade is full of anti- Lincoln venom. Statements from Saulsbury include:

(Saulsbury) stated that Mr. Lincoln was the weakest man ever placed in high office. He said he had been in conversation with him, and knew he was an imbecile.

(Saulsbury) if he wanted to paint a despot,he would paint the hideous form of Abraham Lincoln.[2]

The entire scene seems to have played out over several hours with the disgruntled Saulsbury being escorted from, then returning to the chamber several times. He was finally removed once and for all. Willard Saulsbury Sr. was a Democrat from Delaware. The resolution to expel him in fact was never taken up and he remained in office until 1871.
Willard Saulsbury Sr.

Pittsburgh Gazette Reports some mischief on February 26:

Snowballers Arrested

Two boys named Edward Fennity and – Howard were yesterday arrested for throwing snowballs at a man who was driving through the streets of Allegheny. The man declined to prosecute, and the boys were let off on paying the costs.

The paper also warns of a scam that the authorities feel may be in its early stages:

A few days since a rather good looking girl was engaged as a domestic at the residence of a gentleman on Penn Street, and worked well until the evening of the second day, when she suddenly disappeared, carrying away a set of fine furs, some dresses and some other clothing belonging to the lady of the house – together with her jewelry box,containing a valuable gold watch, three sets of jewelry, and other articles , worth probably $250. It is now believed that the whole affair was a well arranged scheme of robbery – that the girl had a confederate in the business, and that she will endeavor to play the same game upon others.[3]
George B. McClellan was seen in Boston, Massachusetts and the Boston Evening Transcript of February 6 reported two instances:


General McClellan visited the Everette School today, and was of course enthusiastically received by the little folks, to whom he was introduced by the teacher as “the savior of his country.” Mac being Mac. [4]

Another sighting found him at 11 o'clock on a special train bound for Salem.

At Lynn a large concourse of people were gathered to see him and a salute of 13 guns was fired. On his arrival at Salem a salute was also fired, and the pressure of the crowd at the railroad station made a passage through it very difficult. He was driven at once to the Essex House, and was there introduced to a large number of the prominent citizens. Col. Goodrich of Gen. Burnside's staff, and other soldiers who had seen service, were also present. Gen. McClellan was afterward entertained at the house of Geo. Peabody, Esq., and returned to this city [Boston] during the afternoon.
Last evening Gen. McClellan was presented with a very handsome sword, with a richly chased hilt containing a diamond. The sword was purchased at a cost of several hundred dollars by some of his friends in this city, and was presented by the Citizens Committee. No speeches were made, but a letter from the Committee requesting his acceptance of the weapon was read by one of their number. The General afterward attended a soiree at a private residence.[5]

McClellan at his finest no doubt. He may have been cultivating prominent citizens in an effort to return to command of the Amy of the Potomac or to the army in some other capacity. It surely appears that way.

The Daily Journal at Wilmington North Carolina got wind of the story and offered this in the February 7 issue, via the Richmond Whig. It questions McClellan motives:

Yankee Generals

The two dismissed Yankee heroes, McClellan and Burnside, are having a pleasant time down East. McClellan is in Bosting, hob-nobbing with the cod-fish aristocracy of the ancient Burg. He has been honored with a series of grand receptions,by Ed. H. Elridge,(Eldredge) Esq., Wm. Gray, Esq., Mr. Wolcott and Mr. Lawrence – 800 invited guests, refreshments. He had visited Cambridge, attended by that prince of flunkies, the Honorable Edward Everett, and was promised a grand demonstration in Faneuil Hall. “Those who have had the good fortune to meet the General (says Jenkins) are uniform in their commendations of the man. Though not a brilliant conversationalist, he is unmistakably a sensible man – which is much better.”

The motive of this visit to the Puritans is yet a secret. These are the people that had McClellan dismissed, and have persecuted all connected with him. Does he seek to humiliate them by extorting ovations, or is he seeking a restoration to the command of the Army, by a public acknowledgment of the supremacy of the genuine Yankee?[6]

This was only half of the short article reporting on the trip, and it was no more flattering to Burnside in the other half.
The Boston trip was made at the invitation of conservative Republicans there. Perhaps the article in the Daily Journal was correct in its assumption that McClellan was gaining a measure of satisfaction at the Boston elites, and the Republican Party's, expense. The Republicans may have found themselves with their collective heads in a noose. If they could cozy up to McClellan, the soldiers might tend to vote for their party. Affection for Mac was still high in the Army of the Potomac. After the Battle of Fredericksburg, Francis Blair Sr. wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln dated the December 18 urging him to give McClellan a high command, preferably the Army of the Potomac:
We must look to the army as a great political as well as war machine. The soldiers are to give us success in the field and at the polls. McClellan is dear to them. He will bring them to the support of the country & you.” [7] The Republicans needed Mac.
Democratic Presidential Campaign - 1864
McClellan may have began nursing his political aspirations during the Winter of 1862 – 63, and the trip to Boston was a way for him to gain some traction. It is interesting that McClellan was living in New York City (Manhattan) and was often seen in company of several prominent conservative Democrats, including John Jacob Astor who had been a volunteer on his staff during the Peninsular Campaign as well as other friends, old and new, who were influential Democrats. It would not be uncommon to continue long standing relations with those men. Still, it may have given the Republicans pause. New York City newspapers followed his movements as did numerous other papers around the country.

And there was :
The War
The Scientific American of February 21 brings news of a new implement of devastation:

Crozier's Patent Automatic Battery
All that is necessary, then, in this battery, is to work the handle up and down,and the battery vomits forth a discharge of bullets which is truly terrible to contemplate in its destructive power. [8]
Although the Seventh Indiana (119th Regiment of Volunteers) did not muster in until October 1863, news of the Enrollment Act was being spread in the Northern press in February. The act was signed by Lincoln March 3, and posters like this would blossom across the country during the late Winter and Spring of 1863.
The Picket


1-The Adams Sentinel, February 3, 1863 (image 2) from Google news


3- The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette, February 26, 1863, images 2 and 3 at Google news,

4-Boston Evening Transcript, February 6, 1863, image 2 from Google

5- Ibid, image 4

6- Daily Journal, Wilmington North Carolina, February 7, 1863 image 2 from Google

7- Sears, Stephen W., George B. McClellan The Young Napoleon, 1988, page 351

8- The Scientific American, February 21, 1863, page 1 and 2 from Internet Archives,

Broadside from Indiana Historical Society, Civil War Materials collection,

McClellan and Saulsbury from the Library of Congress

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