Stephen Whicher 1862 Letter

The following correspondence will explain itself.  We rarely admit merely personal matters of this kind into our columns, but in this instance it seems that an injurious story has been circulated to the detriment of MR. WHICHER, and the readiest way to refute it is to give the letter of Capt. DAWES of Co. K, 6th Reg't, exhonorating him entirely from any reprehensible conduct.

New Lisbon
June 6th, '62

Dear CAPTAIN DAWES:  --- Volney Holmes has written a letter (dated April 25th 1862,) to his brother, Henry P. Holmes of Fountain, saying that I stole every thing I brought home with me from Arlington Heights, and Henry, as well as other enemies of mine, have, since receiving the letter, been industriously circulating the story to my injury. I knew nothing of it until about 24 hours ago; I went down there last night and read it. I think he wrote it from a purely malicious spirit. I would thank you to write to me a statement of the fact in relation to the matter, that I may use your name to refute the slanderous and serpent like story. I hope you will not think this letter obtrusive. I went to the officer of Co. B before touching anything, and he gave me permission to take the things lying in the camp.

From your humble friend,

June 20.h, 1862

FRIEND WHICHER: - I comply cheerfully with your request. The clothing, &c., that you are charged with pilfering, was abandoned by the men when leaving a camp to which they never expected to return. Had you not providently collected such articles as you took, they would have been gathered up by negroes and rag-men. I remember very well telling you to take no pains to return articles unjustly claimed by men who had once thrown them away, and then unexpectedly returned, where they would be useful. Your title to everything you took is recognized as properly valid in the army.
Yours truly,

Juneau County Argus, 02 Jul 1862

July 4th, 1862

TO THE EDITOR OF THE JUNEAU CO. ARGUS: - Having been favored with a copy of your paper of July 2nd, I noticed a correspondence purporting to have passed between Stephen J. Whicher and Capt. R. R. Dawes, in which was alleged that I had accused him, S.J. Whicher, of taking certain articles from the camp of the company while it was absent. And that I had done it with a malicious and slanderous intent. I will explain how I came to mention it. I had no idea of deprecating Mr. Whicher's character; he was about procuring his discharge; I, in a letter to my brother Henry, said I would probably send some articles home by him. When Whicher arrived home my brother called on him to inquire if I had sent them. Stephen showed him various article he had brought from here, stating that he bought them from the company and paid for them. The members of Co. B. know this to be a lie. Some of my friends were inquiring about me; my brother showed them the letter in which this statement was; it came to the ears of Whicher, who tried to fell indignant, and no doubt did get up a pretty good show of indignation. He called upon my brother that evening; the letter was shown to him. After he had perused it he immediately flew into a passion, and threatened to prosecute him for slander. I will state the facts just as they occurred and those who are interested in the affair can judge whether Whicher was slandered or not. When we advanced on Centerville, last March, the greater portion of our company's property was left in teh camp under the charge of a Lieutenant and thirty men, besides the sick light duty men were left to guard company quarters and officers effects. The men freed from the restrain t of discipline went where they pleased, leaving the camp open to the depredations of Whicher and others who were not slow in appropriating to themselves every thing that was saleable. - Whicher looked to the future, no doubt, intending to ship them home and sell them, as he could never, in the course of his natural life, wear them out. Not only clothing, but plates, cups, knives, forks, and blankets, and some sheet-iron stoves, Whicher and others sold and appropriated the money to themselves. Had we not been restrained by the influence of strict discipline of the company, Whicher would have been handled roughly, as teh company were indignant at such barefaced robbery. I did not intend to trouble myself any more about it; but my comrades urged me to vindicate myself, and, to sustain my statement, I give the names of honorable men and soldiers.

We, the undersigned, to vouch for the truth of the statements set forth by Volney Holmes, in teh foregoing article:
Erastus Smith
J. Yates
H. W. Trimble
A. R. Thompson
James L. Barney
Chancey Wilcox
A. F. Winsor
A. Gallop, corporal
Wm. Stevens
Hugh Slaty
Lorenso Pratt
E. F. Rase, Serg't
Ira Butterfield
J. P. Sullivan
Chas. A. Abbott
A. Tarbox, corp'l
Charles West
G. W. Covey
W. S. Campbell
Frank Gordon
W. H. Van Wie
W. N. Remington
Oliver Fletcher
E. Mitchell
S. W. Temple
Wm. Hancock
Edward Simons
Chas. A. Crawford
Chas. M. Taylor
Chas. A. Alton
Daniel D. Alton
J. W. Ranney
Levi S. Gardner
I. W. Hendrick
R. G. Emmons
Dennis M. Fuller
James Scoville

Juneau County Argus, 24 Jul 1862

Contributed by Jackie Hufschmid

return to home page