Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 10, 1863 (Tuesday): Anti-War Men In Terre Haute

Camp Morton

Terre Haute, August 10, 1863.
Acting Assistant Provost-Marshal-General:
    SIR: The active movements of the anti-war men in this district have recently caused me to institute inquiry as to their designs, and while I cannot say that I actually believe that they are getting ready to resist the draft, yet there are many circumstances which point strongly in that direction. They hold meetings nearly every day, and the burthen of all their speeches, as reported to me, is denunciation of the conscription laws, &c. In private they swear they will resist, and their orators all unite in counseling them to arm themselves to "defend their rights." They are making extraordinary exertions to procure arms, and an effort was made there to-day to buy fifty sabers and a number of guns by persons belonging to them. Now, it seems to me that something ought to be done to arrest this state of things. Of course I cannot suggest that is best, but I hope you will bring it to the notice of General Willcox, and let him apply the remedy. Would it not be well to suspend the sale of arms entirely until after the draft? It strikes me that it would. At all events, there should be a man assigned especially to the duty of examining all the freight shipped from Indianapolis to see that no arms are sent. They can purchase them there or at Cincinnati. You recollect that I called your attention to some guns purchased a week or so ago for Parke County. I looked out for them and had several detectives at work, yet I understand they got them, and of course they were shipped at Indianapolis. Please call the attention of General W[illcox] to the matter, for it is important. These men must mean something, and the last few days have developed matters which cause me to suspect them very much.
     I have the honor to be, &c.,

      R. W. THOMPSON,

Official Records, Series III., Vol. 3, Part 1, Page 661.

The war was prosecuted with general public backing, but in some areas there was more support than others.  The draft of 1863 was unpopular in many quarters and there were fears of small scale insurrections. 

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