xt7hx34mm024 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7hx34mm024/data/mets.xml Holt, Joseph, 1807-1894. 1864  books b92e4588u6718642009 English Chronicle Print. : Washington, D.C. Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Sons of Liberty (1864) Northwestern Conspiracy, 1864. Report of the Judge Advocate General on text Report of the Judge Advocate General on 1864 2009 true xt7hx34mm024 section xt7hx34mm024 


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_A_ Western Conspiracy








if ajgh Genbrax. Meade : " Dismissing, as now useless to discuss, all questions ag to the orlglu of this war, wa have daily and hourly evidences that it exists, and that it can only be terminated by hard lighting, and by determined etforU to overcome the armed enemies of the Government." Iffi'mMi''*

U .MuGnmnu. Burnbidb: "Would it not ba cowardly for us to Bay th&t this rebellion osnnot bo crushed, and the authority of the Government sustained? There is, in my mind, 20 question of it. Tluire can be no such thing as laying down of arms or cessation of hostili-tica, until the entire authority of the Government ia acknowledged by every citicen of our

tory of the rebels, greater than utty Manas-sasos, and the only one tbat ean give tbetn a particle of hopa, will be to defeat the war party at tho Incoming campaign."

Major General Wool: "Nothing, for aught that I can discover, will save the Union and its government but the successes of Grant, Sherman, Karragut, and Sheridan."

ilAJOH General Bhbuman : "To stop the war wa must defeat the rebel armies that are arrayed against the laws and Constitution, which all must respect and obey."

Major General Dix.: " It has been my conviction from the beginning that we can have no honorable peace until the insurgent armies arc dispersed and the leaders of the rebellion expelled from the country. I believe that a cessation of hostilities ne for each election district, ten of which constitute a " brigade," with a " brigadier general" at its head. The whole is placed under the authority of a "commander-in-chief." A strict, otee* dience on the part of members to the orders of their superiors is enjoined.

The first "Supreme Commander" of the order was P. C. Wright, of New York, editor of the New York News, who was in May last placed in arrest and confined in Fort Lafayette. His successor in office was vallandig-ham, who was elected at the annual meeting of the Supreme Council in February last. Robert Holloway, of Illinois, is represented to have acted as Lieutenant General, or Deputy Supreme Commander, during the absence of Val-landigham from the country. The Secretary of State chosen at the last election was Dr. Mau-sey, of Ohio.

In Missouri, the principal officers were Chas, L. Hunt, grand commander, Charles E. Dunn, deputy grand commander, and Green B. Smith", grand secretary. Since the arrest of these three persons (all of whom have made confeE6)0  3, which will be presently alluded to), James A. Barrett has, as it is understood, officiated as-grand commander. He is stated to occupy also the position of chief of staff to the Sup feme Commander,

The Grand Commander in Indiana, H. IT, Dodd, has just been tried at Indianapolis by a military commission for "conspiracy against the Government," "violation of the lawa of war," and other charges. The Deputy Grand Commander in that State is Horace Heffren, and the Grand Secretary, W. M. Harrison. The-Major Generals are W. A. Bowles, John   . Walker, L- P* Milligan, and Andrew Humphreys. Among the other leading members of the order in that State are Dr. Athon, State secretary, and Joseph Ristine State auditor.

The Grand Commander in Illinois is--

Judd, of Lewistown; and B. B. Piper, of Springfield, who is entitled "Grand Missionary" of the State, and designated also as a member of Yallandigham's staff, is one of the most, active members, having been busily engaged throughout the summer in establishing temples and initiating members.

In Kentucky, Judge Bullitt, of the Court oi Appeals, is grand commander, and, with Dr. If, F. Kalfus and W. R. Thomas, jailor in Louisville, two other of the most prominent members, has been arrested and confined by the military authorities. In New York, Dr. R, F, Stevens, the chief secretary of the McClellah Minute Guard, is the most active ostensible representative of the secret order.

The greater part of the chief and subordinate officers of the order, and its branches, as vratt as the principal members thereof, are known to the Government, and, where not already arrested, may regard themselves as under a constant military surveillance. So complete has been the exposure of this secret league, that 
   'however frequently the conspirators may change its name, forms,, passwords, and signals, its true purposes and operations cannot longer be concealed from the military authorities.

ft is to be remarked that the Supreme Council Of the order, which annually meets on February 22, convened this year at New York city, and a special meeting was then appointed to be held at Chicago, on July 1, or just prior to the day then fixed for the convention of the Democratic party. This convention having been postponed to August 29, the special meeting of the Supreme Council was also postponed to August 27, at the same place, and was duly convened accordingly. It will be remembered that a leading member of the convention, in the course of a speech made before that body, alluded approvingly to the session of the Sons of Liberty at Chicago at the same time, as that of an organization in harmony with the sentiment and projects of the convention.

It may be observed, in conclusion., that one not fully acquainted with the true character and Intention of the order might well suppose that, in designating its officers by high military titles, and in imitating in its organization that established in our armies, it was designed merely to render itself more popular and attractive with the masses, and to invest its chiefs with a certain (5ham dignity; but when it is understood that the order comprises within itself a large army of well-armed men, constantly drilled and exercised as soldiers, and that this army is held ready at any time for such forcible resistance to our military authorities, and such active cooperation with the public enemy as it may be called upon to engage in by its commanders, it will be perceived that the titles of the latter are not assumed for a mere purpose of display, bat that they are the chiefs of an actual and formidable force Of conspirators against the life of the Government, and that their military system is, as it has been remarked by Colonel Sander-eon, " the grand lever used by the rebel Government for its army operations,"


The "Temples" or "Lodges-' of the order are numerously scattered through the States of .Indiana, Illinois, Ohio/ Missouri, and Kentucky. They are also officially reported as established, to a less extent, in Michigan and the other Western States, es well as in New Tork, and also in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Concecticut, Utiw Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Tennessee, Bodd, the Grand Commander of Indiana, in an address to the members in that State of February last, claims that at the next annual mooting of the Supreme Council (in February, 1885), every State in the Union will be represented, and adds, "this is the first and only true national organization the Democratic and Conservative men of the country have ever attempted^' A provision made in the constitution of the Council for a representation from the Territories shows, indeed, that the widest extension of the order is contemplated.

In the States first mentioned theorder is most strongly centred at the following places, where are.eituated its principal "temples." In Indiana, at Indianapolis and Vincennes; in Illinois, at Chicago, Springfield, and Qaincy (a

large proportion of the Lodges in and. about the latter place having been founded by the no to-, rious guerilla chief, Jackman); in Ohio, at Cincinnati, Dayton, and in Hamilton county (which is proudly termed by members " The South Carolina of the North"); in Missouri, at St. Louie ; in Kentucky, at Louisville; and in Michigan, at Detroit (whence communication was freely had] by the leaders of the order with VaHandigham "during his banishment, either by letters addressed to him through two prominent citizens and members of the order, or by personal interviews at Windsor, C, W.)., It is to be added that the regular places of meeting, as well as the principal rendezvous and haunts of the members in these and less important places, are generally well known to the Government.

The actual numbers of the order have, it is believed, never been officially reported* and; cannot, therefore, be accurately ascertained. Various estimates have been made by leading members, some of which are no doubt considerably exaggerated,. It has been asserted by delegates to the Supreme Council of February last, that the number was there represented to be from 80O,OCO to 1,000,000; but VaHandigham, in his speech last summer at Dayton, Ohio, placed it at 500,000, which is probably much nearer the true total. The number of its members in the several States has been differently estimated in the reports and statements of its officers. Thus, the force of the order in Indiana is stated to be from 75,000 to 125,000; in Illinois,, from 100,000 to 140,000 ; in Ohio, from 80,000 to 108,000 ; in Kentucky, from 40,000 to 70,000; in Missouri, from 20.000 to 40,000; and in Michigan and New York, about 20,000 each. Its representation in the other States above mentioned does not specifically appear from the testimony; but, allowing for every exaggeration in the figures reported, they may be deemed to present a tolerably faithful view of what, at least, is regarded by the order as its true force in the States designated.

It is to be noted that the order, or its counterpart, is probably much more widely extended, at the South even than at the North, and that a large proportion of the officers of the rebel army are represented by most reliable witnesses to be members. In Kentucky and Missouri, the order has not hesitated to admit as members, not only officers of that army, but also a considerable number of guerillas, a clas3 wh  i might be supposed to appreciate most readily its aims and purposes. It is fully shown that es lately as in July last several of these ruffians were initiated into the first degree by Dr. Kal-fus, in Kentucky.


A review of the testimony in regard to the armed force of the order will materially aid in determining its real strength and numbers.

Although the order has from the outset pans taken of the military character, it was not till the summer or fail of 1863 that it began to be generally organized as an armed body. Since that date its officers and leaders have been busily engaged in placing it upon a military basis, and in preparing it for a revolutionary movement. A general system of drilling has been instituted and secretly carried out. Members have been instructed to be constantly pro- 
   Tided with weapons, and in some localities it has been absolutely required that each member should keep at his residence, at all times, certain arms and a specified quantity of ammunition.

In March last, the entire armed force of the order, capable of being mobilized for effective service, was represented to be 340,000 men. The details, however, upon which this statement was based are imperfectly set forth in the testimony, and it is not known, how far this number may be exaggerated. It is abundantly shown, however, that the order, by means of a tax levied upon its members, has accumulated considerable funds for the purchase of arms and ammunition, and that these have been procured in large quantities for its use. The witness Clayton, on the trial   f Dodd, estimated that two-thirds of the order are furnished with arms.

Green B. Smith, grand secretary of the order in Missouri, states in his confession of July last: **I know that arms, mostly revolvers, and. ammunition have been purchased by members in St. Louis to send to members in the country where they could not be had;" and he enbse-qmently adds that he himself alone clandestinely purchased and forwarded, between April 15th and 19th last, about 200 revolvers, with 5,000 percussion caps and other ammunition. A muster roll of one of the country lodges of that State is exhibited, in which, opposite the name of each member, are noted certain numbers, ' under the heads of "Missouri Republican," "St. Louis Union," "Auzeiger," "Miscellaneous Periodicals," "Books," "Speeches," and "Reports;" titles which, when interpreted, severally signify single-barrelled guns, double-barrelled guns, revolvers, private ammunition, private lead, company powder, company lead; the roll thus actually setting forth the amount of arms and ammunition in the possession of the lodge and its members.

In the States of Ohio and Illinois, the order is claimed by its members to be unusually well armed with revolvers, carbines, &c.; but it is in regard to the arming of tbe order in Indiana that the principal statistics have been presented, and these may serve to illustrate the system which has probably been pursued in most of the States. One intelligent witness, who has been a member of the order, estimates that in * March last there were in possession of the order in that State 6,000 muskets and 60,000 revolvers, besides private arms. Another member testifies that at a single lodge meeting of two hundred and fifty-two persons, which he attended early in the present year, the sum of $4,000 was subscribed for arms. Other members present statements in regard to the number of arms in their respective counties, and all agree in representing that these have been constantly forwarded from Indianapolis into the interior. Beck Sc Brothers is designated as the firm in that city to which most of the arms were consigned. These were shipped principally from the East; some packages, however, were sent from Cincinnati, and some from Kentucky, and the boxes were generally marked "pick-axes," "hard ware," "nails," household poods," &e.

General Carrington estimates that in February and March last nearly 30,00(f guns and revolvers  entered the State, and thia esti-

mate is based upon an actual inspection or" invoices. The true number introduced was therefore probably considerably greater. That officer adds that on the day in which the sale of arms was stopped by his order, in Indianapolis, nearly 1,000 additional revolvers had been contracted for, and that the trade could not supply the demand. He further reports that after the introduction of arms into the Department oi the North had been prohibited in General Orders of March last, a seizure was made by the Government of a large quantity of revolvers and 135,000 rounds of ammunition, which had been shipped to the firm ia Indianapolis, of which H. H. Dodd, Grand Commander, was a member; that other arms about to be shipped to the same destination were seiesecl in New York city ; and that all these were claimed as the private property of John C. Walker, one of the Major Generals of th   order in Indiana, and were represented to haw been fi purchased for a few friends." It is to be added that at the office of Hon. D. W.    ocr-hees, M. C, at Terre Haute, were discovered letters which disclosed a correspondence between him and ex-Senator Wall, of New Jersey, in regard to the purchase of 20,000 Caribalifi rifles, to be forwarded to the West.

It appears in the course of the testimony, thai a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition were brought into the State of Illinois from Burlington, Iowa, and that ammunition was shipped from New Albany, Indiana, into Kea-tucsy; it is also represented that, had VaHandigham been arrested on his return to   hto3 U was contemplated furnishing the order wifch arms from a point in Canada, near Windsor, where they were stored and ready for use-There remains further to be noticed, in this connection, the testimony of Clayton upon the trial of Dodd, to the effect that arms were to be furnished the order from Nassau, N. P., by way of Canada ; that, to defray the expense of thes& arms or their transportation, a formal assessment was levied upon the lodges, but, that the transportation into Canada was actually to tee furnished by the Confederate authorities.

A statement was made by Hunt, Grand Commander of Missouri, before his arrest, to a fe*     low member, that shells and all kinds of munitions of war, as well as infernal machines, were manufactured for the order at Indianapolis; and the late discovery in Cincinnati of samples of hand-grenades, conical shells, and rockets, of which one thousand were about to be manufactured, under a special contract, for theO. 8, L., goes directly to verify such a statement.

These details will eonvey some idea of the attempts which have been made to place the order upon a war footing and prepare it f or aggressive movements. But, notwithstanding all the efforts that have been put forth, and with considerable success, to arm and equip its members as fighting men, the leaders of tbe order have felt themselves still very deficient in their armament, and numerous schemes for increasing their armed strength have been devised. Thus, at the time of the issuing of the general order in Missouri requiring tbe enrolment of alii citizens, it was proposed in the lodges of the O. A. K,, at St. Louis, that certain members should raise companies in the militia, in their respective wards, and thus get command. 

     as messy Government arms and equipments as possible, for the future use of the order. Again it was proposed that all the members should enroll themselves in the militia, instead   f paying commutation, in this way obtaining possession of United States arms, and having $he advantage of the drill and military instruction. In the councils of the order in Kentucky m June last, a scheme was devised for disarming all the negro troops, which it was thought