Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Our July annual dinner meeting speaker was Brian Dirck, associate professor of history at Anderson University, and author of two books on Abraham Lincoln. His presentation was on three individuals of historic importance in Indiana during the war, but not all well known. They were Gov. Oliver P. Morton, George Julian, and Lambdin Milligan.
Probably the most well known of the three was Morton who emerged as the most powerful of the war governors. He answered Lincoln's call for troops by raising twice the number requested for Federal service. Largely because of his efforts, Indiana provided 150,000 enlistments to the Federal army with little resort to the draft. A stalwart ally of Lincoln’s war measures, he waged a bitter campaign against Copperheads (Peace Democrats) and when growing peace sentiment pitted him against a legislature threatening to limit his military powers, rather than call the hostile representatives into session Morton kept the state government running with loans from Washington, advances from the private sector, and profits from the state arsenal he had established. He was criticized for arresting and detaining political enemies and suspected southern sympathizers.
George Julian worked as a lawyer in Greenfield before being elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1845. A member of the Free Soil Party he was elected to the 31st Congress in 1848 and over the next two years advocated land reform and women’s suffrage. He also opposed the growth of monopolies. Defeated in 1850 Julian continued his campaign against slavery and was an early member of the Republican Party. Julian was elected to the 37th Congress in 1860 and became a leading figure in the group that became known as the Radical Republicans. During the war he argued that the Union Army should not only free the slaves but to reconstruct Southern society. Julian strongly supported the Freeman’s Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill and the Reconstruction Acts. After the war Julian clashed with President Johnson and voted for his impeachment in 1868.
Lambdin Milligan, from Huntington near Fort Wayne, was a lawyer, farmer, and leader of the Knights of the Golden Circle during the war. He publicly protested the Union's waging war against the Confederacy and by the end of 1863, was widely believed to be involved in a huge conspiracy against the United States. Union authorities believed he was in contact with Confederate agents and was arrested in October 1864 by order of General Alvin P. Hovey and tried before a military tribunal. No warrant or affidavit was given to show Milligan's arrest was authorized. Milligan was told that he must prove his innocence. He was convicted and sentenced to hang but the sentence was later commuted to life by President Andrew Johnson. He appealed to the Supreme Court and in what became knows as the Ex Parte Milligan ruling, his conviction was overturned as unconstitutional for use of military tribunals when civil courts were still operating. (Photo courtesy of Larry Morris)
Thomas Flagel was our guest speaker for the September meeting. Author and professor, Mr. Flagel teaches American History at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee. He holds degrees from Loras College (B.A. History), Kansas State University (M.A. European History), Creighton University (M.A. International Relations), and has studied at the University of Virginia. Originally from Iowa, he has also lived in Austria and the Czech Republic. Among his ancestors are several Civil War veterans. He has authored the following books: The History Buff’s Guide to the Civil War, The History Buff’s Guide to Gettysburg. The History Buff’s Guide to the Presidents, and The History Buff’s Guide to World War II.
PROGRAM: “With the Desperation of Demons: How the Press Reported the Battle of Franklin.” Through their research historians have given us a detailed account of how the Battle of Franklin claimed 10,000 casualities in less than five hours. For the people that lived during that time their main source of news about this and other battles was the newspapers.
During the Civil War there were approximately 2,500 newspapers with 800 in the South. Reporters faced a difficult job since many generals did not want them following the troops. Gen. Sherman stated he would rather have spies in camp than have reporters. The Southern presses suffered a great disadvantage as Union troops advanced and destroyed printing facilities, telegraphs, and railroads. These losses could not easily be replaced. Northern cities could get the news from the front very quickly compared to the South. For example, Chicago would get the news about the Battle of Franklin the next day from the New York Times, while the Jacksonville Republican, only 100 miles from Franklin, would take two weeks to reach print. Newspaper reports often contained several inaccuracies. Confederate Gen. Hiram B. Granbury had his named spelled several ways. A General Williams was reported killed in action and he did not exist. In the South it was wrongly believed that Gen. Hood had won and recaptured Nashville. Newspaper reporters were eyewitnesses to one of the most memorable conflicts in history. They left a record that was brilliant, but at other times marred by shoddy journalism. They were however the American public’s primary source of information.
BOOK RAFFLE WINNERS:
Our winners for the September book raffle were: Steve Kweskin, Jerry Dill, and Dennis Hutchinson. Remember, if you have any books you would like to donate for the raffle, please bring them to the next meeting. (LM)
THE REST OF THE STORY: More “Digging” the Civil War
Georgia Southern University students have completed their second summer of the archaeological dig at Camp Lawton, the Confederate run prisoner of war camp located just north of Millen, Georgia. Project director Dr. Sue Moore called the amount and variety of artifacts found this summer as “stunning”. New artifacts include a soldier’s ring with the 3rd Corps insignia, a grocery token from Michigan, suspender buckles and a pocket knife. Foreign coins have been found which indicates that they may have belonged to Union soldiers that joined the army as soon as they arrived in the U.S. This camp was constructed in 1864 and housed more than 10,000 Union prisoners for six weeks before evacuation caused by Sherman’s approach on his “March to the Sea”. (BE)
CIVIL WAR QUOTE:
"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free. Honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth."
President Abraham Lincoln, message to Congress, 1862 (LM)
NOTE: You might have noticed some initials at the ends of sections of the newsletter such as BE or LM. They stand for your newsletter editors Bill Emmick and Larry Morris. They let you know who contributed to the article in case you have some further questions.
OCTOBER PROGRAM —
The Red Bank Reunion Band will present an all new program for 2012.To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, they have researched and rehearsed a program using the songs and stories of the Hope Indiana Coronet Band. (LM)
SESQUICENTENNIAL — 1861-2011: 150 YEARS AGO:
Oct. 4, 1861 — The USS South Carolina captured 4,000 to 5,000 stands of arms when the Confederate schooners Ezlida and Joseph H. Toone were taken near South Pass of the Mississippi River, south of New Orleans.
Oct. 7, 1861 — General John C. Fremont sets out to attack General Sterling Price in Missouri.
Oct. 10, 1861 — President Jefferson Davis recomends the use of blacks as laborers for the Confederate army.
Oct. 14, 1861 — President Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus. Oct. 16, 1861 — Union forces take back Lexington, Missouri
Oct. 21, 1861 — Col. Edward Baker, U.S. Senator from Oregon and a personal friend of Lincoln’s, is killed at Ball’s Bluff on the Potomac.
Oct. 24, 1861 — In western Virginia, the people vote to form a new state. (BE)/(LM)
October 20, 2011 – Red Bank Reunion Band
November 17, 2011 – Terry Hughes "The War Comes to Fredricktown"
December 15, 2011 – Trivia Contest
October 20, 2011 — Band
November 17, 2011 — Ron and Patsy Sproatt
December 15, 2011 — Phil Hare
The Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable is open to membership to anyone interested in learning more about the U.S. Civil War. Meetings are held monthly on the third Thursday of each month at the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library in downtown Evansville, Indiana at 7:00 p.m. Dues are $15.00 per family for a year and are due in January of each year. If you still owe dues for this year, be sure to see Ron Sproatt at our next meeting. Members are always encouraged to share information they have about any civil war topic by passing it along to the newsletter editors.
SICWRT officers are: Chairman – Alan Elsner; Treasurer – Ron Sproatt; Program Committee – Tom Murray and Larry Harms; Newsletter Editors – Bill Emmick and Larry Morris; Book Raffle Chairman – Larry Morris