Archiver > IAFREMON > 2006-07 > 1153166100

Subject: The Civil War, Fremont county, as it was during the winter of 1861-1862.
Date: 17 Jul 2006 13:55:00 -0600

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Surnames: Kirkwood, Baldwin, Bowen, Nuckolls, Davis, Lingenfelter, English, Freeman, Hiatt, Holloway, McCartney, Pugh, Welty, Cooper, Fugitt, Price, Cowles, Sipple, Cornish, Rector, Bovine, Hedges,
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA. January 17, 1862.
Hon. SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD, Governor of Iowa, Des Moines:

SIR: I received your letter, dated January 8, 1862, inclosing a communication from citizens of Fremont County, and in accordance with your instructions I proceeded on to Sidney on the morning of the 13th instant, for the purpose of carrying out said instructions, and have to report my action as follows:

I found the statements contained in the communication above referred to, to be true in all material points. I will answer the four interrogations propounded in your letter in order:

Yes. Rebels to the number pof thirty familes, at least, with a large amount of horses, mules, cattle, hogs &c., have left Missouri, came into Fremont County, and many of the same class have sent their property who have not come into this State themselves. These persons have come themselve or sent their property to save the same from seizure by the Government that they have outraged for the past year. I was able to find the whereabouts and names of but a portion of these persons, but such as I have found I append below, and will give you further information upon this point at an early day. The parties named below are all either rank secessionists or rebel sympathizers, and I will make no distinction between them. It is enough to know that they are "not with us"--are not Union men.

Mr. BALDWIN has 2 horses; owner unknown.
H. G. BOWEN has 15 horses and mules, owned by Nichols (sic: "Nuckolls") and Schouler. Nichols lives at Saint Stevens, Nebr., and has furnished the rebels in North Missouri with arms, and is a prominent rebel.
Mr. DAVIS has 8 horses, belonging to a man in Rockport, name unknown; can be found and identified, as he is well known in Iowa.
Mr. ENGLISH (the senator), some three weeks ago, went to Missouri and brought the personal property of one Poindexter, either the officer in Price's army or a brother; at all events a rabid rebel, and it is reported and believed in Sidney that Poindexter himself is about McKinsock's (sic; "McKissick") Grove. Mr. English has a horse belonging tto Poindexter now in his possession, but has sent him away from his own farm to a brother-in-law's for fear of jayhawking.
Mr. FREEMAN has 2 horses; owner unknown.
The HEATT brothers (sic; "Hiatt") have 6 horses, 60 hogs, and 25 or 30 cattle; owners' names unknown. They had consulted Mr. Cornish as to whether they could lawfully keep stock which belonged to secessionists in Missouri, for if they could they could make a large amount of money by so doing, as the secesh were willing to pay high prices. These men (Heatt) have 6 horses, owned by one Hall, who left Missouri in the night to save his property.
Mr. HOLLOWAY brought 25 horses and mules into this State, and has them scattered around at several places.
MILTON McCARTNEY has 8 or 10 horses and mules; owner unknown.
Mr. JOHN PUGH has 5 horses, owned in Missouri; owner's name unknown.
Mr. WELTY has 8 or 10 horses and mules, owned by Mr. Holland, who lives near Rockport.

The above property has all of it been sent from Missouri to avoid seizure and confiscation by the Government. There have also been horses sent from Missouri lately by rebels who dared not leave their goods in Fremont County, and one lot of 40 went on, the man saying he was too near home in Fremont. I think that there are at the present time 100 to 125 horses in Fremont County, brought there by rebels to save them. Many place the number much higher, but from all my information, I place the number as above.

In reply to your second question, I will say that by these acts I think the public peace is endangered, and I find all the Union men in Fremont are very certain it does, and say that unless it is stopped bloodshed will be the result. My reasons for thinking that it does endanger the public peace are that there is great danger of this property being pursued by jayhawkers and others, which would be almost certain to bring on a collision and bloodshed. Second, the accession of these rebels to the number of the same kind and their sympathizers in Fremont county increases the bitter feelings between the two parties, and which now requires but a word to bring on a civil strife in that county. As a sample, one John Cooper, of McKissick's Grove, has, he says, 25 Missouri friends with him, and he will keep them there as long as they will stay; that they are well armed, and will shoot the first man who tries to arrest any of their number or seize a horse.

QUESTIONS 3 and 4 (these I will answer together):
On the night of December 30, a body of armed men from Missouri and Nebraska, under Capt. Warren Price, who is said to be the leader of a band of jayhawkers, came to the house of T. F. Fugitt, between 10 and 12 p.m., for the purpose, as they avowed on their way, of seizing some horses which had been taken from Missouri and owned by rebels in Missouri. Several of the party entered the house and others went o the b arn for the horses. Fugitt got up and ran into another room and seized a double-barreled shot gun and instantly fired at the crowd. Then, instead of firing the other barrel, he clubbed his gun and knocked down another. At this, Price drew his revolver and fired four shots at Fugitt, all of which took effect, one in the neck, which is a serious but not dangerous wound. Fugitt is rapidly recovering. The party then left Fugitt's and went to several other places in the Grove and took in all 11 horses. These Captain Price sent in charge of two men to Missouri, but the men!
lost their way and at daylight were in sight of Sidney. They at once retraced their steps and tried to reach Missouri via Hamburg.

In the mean time a party of some 40 men were in pursuit of the robbers, and when these two men with 11 horses came to Hamburg they were hailed by C. McKissick and Giles Cowles. The men paid no attention to the hail when McKissick and Cowles both fired their rifles. Cowles killed his man dead, and McKissick wounded the other, who was taken prisoner, and is now in Fremont jail. He says that himself and the dead man were at Fugitt's, and that they reside in Nebraska. The horses taken from the prisoner were left at Hamburg and proved up and taken away by avowed rebels. No Union man has been molested, as I could learn.

The news of course spread like wild-fire, and early the next morning the sheriff and county judge started with a posse of 100 men to arrest the horse theives, and the sheriff said he would follow them to Arkansas if he did not get them. On their way an incident occurred worthy of note. These 100 men left Sidney in three parties, and it is asserted that when on the road persons in one party were heard to hurrah for Jeff. Davis. The sheriff denies this, but I think it can be proven, although it was not in the party in which the sheriff was at the immediate head. Arriving at McKissick's Grove this party stopped, and another one from the Grove, under the lead of H. English, went into Missouri and arrested 12 men and brought them to the Grove to lynch them, but as there was great doubt as to whether these were the men who were at Fugitt's, after keeping them at the Grove one day where they were guarded by an armed force for three days, when, upon a legal examination before the co!
unty judge, they were all dishcarged except one, who had vaived examination and given bail before, and the wounded man from Hamburg, who is now in jail.

Missourians complain bitterly of not only the arrest, but of the men under whom it was done and under whom they were placed as prisoners. They say that if they could have seen the face of one single Union man, either among their captors or guards, they would have attributed it to a mistake and said nothing, but now it looks as if their real enemies had run away to Iowa and sent rebel sympathizers from Iowa and given them Union men's names, to be arrested, maltreated, and nearly lynched.

There are many men whom I have seen from Atchison County who say that there is a large number of Union men sworn to shoot Han. (sic) English at sight, as they think him to be the leader of their enemies in Iowa while these prisoners were in the hands of Fremont authorities. The miltary at Rockport, hearing of the manner of the arrest, started to rescue them. At the line they left all but 20 men, who went to Sidney and demanded the release of the prisoners, which was refused, and there was danger of violence, but upon the assurance of Union men that the prisoners should have a fair trial and would at once prove themselves innocent of the crime charged, they were induced to return home, which they did, and on their way arrested in Iowa a young man who had been in Price's army as a cook. The captain of Missouri troops claimed to have made this and other arrests which he made in Missouri the same day by order of the commanding officer at Saint Joe. The truth of this I do not kn!
ow. What became of the prisoners taken from Iowa by the Missouri troops I was unable to learn.

In the mean time, on Saturday January 4, a report having gone to Rockport that the civil authorities were going to give up the prisoners to the mob to be lynched, some 200 men from Atchison County and thereabouts started for the rescue. They crossed the line and came to Hamburg, where they were met by some 50 Iowa troops, who tore up the bridge and refursed to let them pass. Here again was a very near approach to open hostilities between Iowa and Missouri citizens, but a flag of truce passed, and upon mutual explanation the Missouri men went home; did not go to Sidney at all.

The Union men of Missouri say that all the party who went into Missouri were seccesionists, and that Iowa allows rebels to flee into her State to avoid punishment, and then allows secessionists to come to Missouri and arrest Union men without a shadow of law or right. I was able to disabuse them of this idea, or at least all I had a chance to talk with.

This feeling is particularly bitter between Union men in Missouri and the secesh sympathizers in McKissick's Grove, who are neary all that kind, and being so near the line increases the danger of collision. An armed guard is kept out now in many neighborhoods to warn them of approach of enemies. I find, further, that many men who have been avowed rebels and hooted at all soldiers as Lincoln theives are now very clamorous for armed protection, and now there is organized a company which has memorialized you for commissions and arms that are not safe to arm.

The board of supervisors of Fremont are secesh, and they, at their last meeting, passed a resolution instructing their chairman, Mr. Sipple and Mr. Cornish, to transmit to you what they wanted. They got Mr. Cornish in to have some Union influence. The chairman of supervisors proposed a paper which did not suit Cornish, and he refused to sign it. Sipple then proposed another, which he would not show Cornish, and sent the same to you. It is supposed to be a request to commission, arm, and call in service their men at McKissick's Grove. They are not the men to have State arms. I also telegraphed you not to commission Fremont militia. I found the infantry were all good men, with sound Union officers, but the mounted company was formed by Judge Rector, and is not sound.

One officer, Mr. Bovine, has since his election said that he was a seccesionist, and he did not care who knew it. We want no such men with either arms or authority. I told Colonel Hedges that it should be disbanded and an infantry company put in its place, and told him that it was not legally organized, and it is not, as there has been no special authority granted, as is necessary to organize any but infantry. I presume you will get the organization of another infantry company, which will make Colonel Hegdes' regiment to a maximum, when it should be commissioned at once.

I did not call out any State troops, and will not, unless there should be an immediate necessity for their service, until I hear from you again. My reasons are, 1st, the immediate danger of collision I believe to have passed, and 2nd, that I doubt the policy of keeping an armed force of State troops in Fremont County unless for immediate use. They should be commissioned and armed and ready to go at an hour's notice, but I think should be called into camp only as a last resort.

The best way to preserve the peace and remove the danger of collision I believe to be in sending a small force of Federal troops, say one or two companies of cavalry, from Saint Joe or Leavenworth, under some prudent, reliable Union officer, and clothe him with powers to arrest armed secessionists either in Missouri or Iowa and seize their effects, to be sent at once to headquarters for adjudication. This will avoid increasing the personal hatred among the two classes of our own citizens, which would be increased by arming and calling out any State troops either from Iowa or Missouri, and lessen the danger of bloodshed if any arrests are to be made, and the State troops would have no place to send prisoners even if they have authority to make arrests. I feel certain that calling out any State troops would bring on a collision, and the aim is to preseve the peace more than to conquer rebels, as I understand it.

I am sustained in this view by all the Union men in Fremont except Colonel Hedges, who is very anxious to drill his regiment, but I would prefer sending an armed force in command of some Federal officer who would have no personal enemies to deal with, and I think the arrest of a very few men, and the seizure of the property belonging to rebels, who have sent the same to Iowa for safety, will not only quiet the present troubles, but remove the danger of a recurrence in future.

If I have been lengthy in this, it is because there was good deal of ground to go over. I find that in all facts I have stated the Union men from whom I receive my information are suppored by the statements of the other side, so far as I had an opportunity to inquire, in all meterial points. Many of the facts in regard to Fugitt's case and the prisoners arrested were received from one who was with the sheriff, and is called a secessionist by Union men. I refer to W. C. Sipple. He claims to be a good Union man now. The Union men from whom I received most information were Judge Sears, Colonel Hedges, Mr. Cornish, Mr. Lingenfelter, Mr. Warren, formerly sheriff, and Squire Farmer, who lives at McKissick's Grove, all of whom agree upon the case as I have presented it.

Since my return I have received your letter of 14th instant. I will proceed at once to Rockport, and on my return report such other facts as I may come in possession of. In the mean time I hope to receive further instruction s in regard to an armed force in Fremont county.

I remain, your most obedient servant.--H. C. NUTT

N.B.: In answer No. 1, I have alphabetized the names.

Missouri was the 12th State to join the Confederacy. During the middle of 1861, most of the victories from the skirmishes in Missouri had been won by the South. Southern sympathizers gave those families favoring the North a bad time. But, General John Charles Fremont's refusal to aid Missouri troops fighting for the Union seems to have led to his removal from the command in Missouri, and by the time winter had set in, Southern troops had been driven south into Arkansas. Now, it was time for reprisals from Union men in northern Missouri, and we find the situation as described above, of Southern sympathizers fleeing into southern Fremont county.--W.F.

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