Monday, April 10, 2017

Copperheads of Lawrence County

In past posts we have published research about the Copperheads who lived in Lawrence county during the Civil War. Barns were burned, people arrested, and tempers flared.  

J King continues to research this part of our history.   "The local Copperhead trouble was a very small part of something called the Northwestern Conspiracy, hatched by Vallandigham and funded by the Confederacy of the South.  The Confederate POW's were to be busted out of Camp Douglas, Rock Island and other places, armed with stolen guns from Arsenals in the Midwest.  Then the Midwest was to become part of the CSA, and the war would soon end.  This treasonous plot soon failed and was foiled by good intelligence and by good policing by federal troops stationed throughout the North to put down the plot. Dr.  Morgan was the head of the Copperhead snake, responsible to organize and drill local folks in behalf of the Southern agenda. He was caught with 6000 rounds of live ammunition in Russellville.The Knox Co sheriff was also hauled in and locked up in Cairo."  (See previous posts for more information.)

From an article in the Weekly Vincennes Gazette on December 10, 1864:

"We learn that a company of United States soldiers has been encamped on Allison Prairie, in Lawrence county, Illinois, charged with the duty of making arrests of persons disloyal to the Government of the United States. Their presence we are informed has created a good deal of uneasiness... 

Two men in the employ of the rebel Government have for some months past been engaged in Indiana and Illinois in recruiting for the rebel army. Recently one of them has repented of his treason and has reported to Gen. John Cook, at Springfield, Illinois, in command of that Department. His statement is to the effect that he and a certain Col. Snow, of the rebel army, have recruited and sent off to Gen. Forrest quite a number of the copperhead Democrats to help their Southern brethren to fight for their rights and invade the peaceful homes of the people of the North. These recruits all belonged to the organization known as the Sons of Liberty, who profess to have been nearly crushed to death by the sons of despotism. Among the last recruits sworn into the rebel service by Col. Snow, are six citizens of Lawrence County, whose names we withhold for the present.This Col. Snow has had his headquarters at the house of a prominent democrat of Allison Prairie, and whose confidence and hospitality has been most lavishly bestowed upon the rebel officer. 

On last Sunday the officer in command of the soldiers arrested in Vincennes a Dr. Jackman of Russelville. He came to Lawrence County some time last summer pretending to be a refugee from Missouri, and his sesesh proclivities naturally led him to locate in Russelville. Here he indulged in his denunciations of the Federal Government and praises of Jeff  Davis to an extent that would not have been tolerated by the citizens of any other locality outside of the rebel States. Recently the military authorities received information that this exile was engaged in the very loyal occupation of recruiting for Gen. Forrest of the rebel army, as also were several others in the same neighborhood, and a force was sent down to arrest them. 

The Doctor, however, did not stay to see it done at Russelville, but came to Vincennes and sought the hospitalities and protection of Dr. Patton, in whose store he was found secreted. After his arrest he was placed in jail for safe-keeping. On Tuesday night, as we are informed, nine men came to jail disguised, seized the sheriff, got possession of the jail keys, let the Doctor out and locked the sheriff in. They were, however, kind enough to leave the keys behind, so that the sheriff was not kept in the cell very long. We understand that Dr. Patton left town Tuesday evening in the company with another sawbones, and of course he had nothing to do with the liberation of his friend.

Dr. Morgan whom the copperheads of Lawrence and Wabash elected to the legislature, of Illinois has likewise disappeared from Russelville since the advent of the blue coats in that neighborhood. It is reported that he has declared his purpose not to take his seat in the legislature for fear of being arrested by the military authorities. Arrested for what? For being loyal to the Government, or for giving aid and comfort to rebels? His friends and supporters can perhaps answer that question. 

And then there is Farmer Lagow. He took special pride in avowing his sympathy for Jeff Davis, and has frequently declared that if a confederate force came into his neighborhood, he would with pleasure give them anything he had. But unfortunately the blue coats, and not grey backs, came, and as he declined playing the host to these uninvited guests, they have been forced to help themselves, and are faring sumptuously on the turkeys, chickens, and pigs that their absent host had intended for his friends in the South.