Blood and Daring by John Boyko

Blood and Daring by John Boyko

Author:John Boyko [Boyko, John]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-0-307-36145-5
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Published: 2013-05-27T22:00:00+00:00


The American peace movement, spearheaded by the anti-Lincoln machinations of Thompson and the Copperheads, had sputtered as the Union made successful military advances in 1863, but it was revived in the late spring of 1864, not by Union defeats but by the enormous prices paid for its victories. Lincoln had appointed Ulysses S. Grant his general-in-chief. Grant summoned the same determination that had earned his reputation in the west, and in May and early June fought important battles in his Overland Campaign: The Battle of the Wilderness, and battles at Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. They were unprecedented in their ferocity and cost the Union 55,000 casualties. With increasing numbers of Northerners questioning the price of victory and the profits of peace, hope for the Confederacy rose.

The Copperhead movement crept back into the headlines and brought Vallandigham, still in Canada, back to public attention. In February 1864, peace movement agitators Dr. Thomas Massey from Ohio and Harrison Dodd from Indiana had visited him in Windsor and brought news of the growing strength of secret organizations that were dedicated to ending the war. Secret societies had long been part of American life. The Order of American Knights had grown in the Midwest and recently changed its name to the Sons of Liberty, to claim a spiritual connection with the courageous activities of the American Revolution. Massey and Dodd told Vallandigham that the Sons of Liberty had three hundred thousand passionate members in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. They were organizing themselves into county-based military units, each swearing their lives to defeating Lincoln in November in order to end the war. Vallandigham was further told that he had been elected to lead the Sons of Liberty as its Supreme Grand Commander, from his exile in Canada. He accepted, and there were soon rumours of his beginning a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.71

A few weeks later, Kentucky captain Thomas Hines met with Jefferson Davis. Hines was well respected for his cavalry exploits with Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s brave and free-ranging regiment. Hines was a rather small, effeminate man but he showed great strength in the saddle, fortitude when captured and determined grit in working with Morgan and five other officers who tunnelled their way out of the Ohio Penitentiary. Hines had an idea. He told Davis he would work with Thompson and Vallandigham to coordinate Sons of Liberty regiments and Canadian-based Confederates to perpetrate prison breaks at Chicago’s Camp Douglas and Johnson’s Island. The new army would initiate a popular revolution to realize the Copperhead dream of ending the war and establishing a Midwest republic, with Chicago as its capital.

Davis approved the idea and Hines left for Toronto. Secretary of War James Sedden’s written orders to Hines stated that he was “to proceed to Canada through the U.S.… collecting any members of Morgan’s command … in Canada and to employ them in any hostile operation against the United States consistent with neutral obligations in the British Provinces.”72 Hines was given access to two hundred bales of cotton, which he sold to finance his activities.


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