Saturday, May 15, 2010

New York Times - August 2, 1864

TREASON IN INDIANA.; Expose of the Sons of Liberty
Official Report of Gen. Carrington Interesting Details.

New York Times
August 2, 1864

The Indianapolis Journal publishes a series of documents, occupying no less than fourteen columns, exposing an organization known as the "Sons of Liberty," which is alleged to be in existence in that State. It seems to be substantially identical with the "Order of American Knights," regarding which we have already published a full statement from the St. Louis Democrat. The most interesting of the documents published by the Journal is the following:


GOVERNOR: In compliance with your request, I place in your hands a partial outline of the nature, work and extent of a disloyal society or order, now operating in the State of Indiana, under the name of "Sons of Liberty."

1. It is both civil and military. In its first relation it declares principles of ethics and politics, for adoption and dissemination, that are hostile to the Government of the United States. In the latter relation it assumes to organize armies for "actual service" in support of those principles, treating the United States Government as their enemy, and that of the rebellion as their friend.

2. It is secret and oath-bound.

3. It is despotic and absolute. The penalties of disobedience to its officers are unlimited, including the death penalty itself.

1. Absolute, inherent State Sovereignty.

2. The Union of the States as but voluntary and temporary, and revocable at the will of any individual State, so far as concerns that State.

3. Denies the General Government the power to enforce its laws, and, if it be the choice of a State, to reject them.

4. Recognizes the existing rebellion as legitimate, legal and just.

5. Holds revolution against the present Government not only right, but a duty.

6. Holds obligations to the order as paramount, to those due a single State, or the United States.

7. Declares its purpose to stop this war, treat with rebels, and make a treaty based upon the recognition of grades of civilization and race.

8. Declares a law of races, one of Caucasian supremacy, and one of African servitude.

9. Pledges a crusade in favor of all peoples attempting to establish new governments of their own choice, as against existing rulers or authorities.

10. Accepts the creed of the rebellion, its logic, its plans and its principles, as the nominal theory of democracy, and its own bond of coherence and ultimate success.

Exhibits are furnished as follows:

Exhibt A. "Constitution of Supreme Council of the States," that is, of all States that may join, recognizing the primary independence of each State. "The Supreme Commander of this Council is Commander-in-Chief of all military forces belonging to the order, in the various states, when called into actual service." -- See sec. 8.

C.L. VALLANDIGHAM, of Ohio, Supreme Commander.

ROBERT HOLLOWAY, of Illinois, Deputy Supreme Commander.

Dr. MASSEY, of Ohio, Secretary of State.

Exhibit B. Constitution of Grand Council of S.L. of Indiana.

H.H. DODD, Indianapolis, Grand Commander.

H. HEFFREN, Salem, Deputy Grand Commander.

W.M. HARRISON, Indianapolis, Grand Secretary.

"The members of this Council, additional to the regular officers, include, ex-officio, the Grand Commander's staff, and all military officers above the rank of Colonel," -- Sec. 3, Art. 2.

Exhibit C. Constitution of the County Parent Temples, subordinate to which, Branch County Temples may be organized.

The order during 1863 was variously named, but popularly known as "K.G.C.," KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, with whose ritual, oaths, &c., I furnished you in the Spring of 1863. The penalty of disclosure was then death, and this penalty was specified in their obligations.

During the Fall of 1863 the order changed name and ritual, and became the "O.A.K.," ORDER OF AMERICAN KNIGHTS -- the ritual, signs, pass-words, &c., of which are in my possession.

At the meeting of this order Feb. 16 and 17, 1864. the Grand Commander for the State of Indiana communicated the purposes of the order, as well as the views of C.L. VALLANDIGHAN, claimed by the order as its Head and Supreme Commander.

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For said address, the proceedings of the Indiana Grand Council, and so much of the official proceedings, as it was deemed best to publish for the private information of the Order, please see Exhibit D. here-unto annexed. This report gives the following States as organized:

New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, New-Hampshire. Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Delaware, Maryland and Missouri.

Besides the Constitutions of the "S.L." referred to, there is a formal Ritual for the Degrees, the same being a slight modification of the work of the "O.A.K.,'' which was abandoned only in May last.

These consist of the "V.," Vestibule of the Temple, and first, second and third Temple Degrees or Conclaves.

The organization of the "Society of the Illini." or Democratic Clubs, does not involve full membership in the order; for thus far, comparatively few in each Temple are advanced to the Chapters or Councils of the higher degrees, but the lower and subordinate bodies, and that of the "Illini" is educational and probationary, looking to full acceptance of the general principles of the order, before the advancement of the "Neophyte " to the higher degrees.

As appears from the official report of Feb. 17, there were then only twelve thousand members in this State, and a recent report from a portion of the State would hardly triple this number -- that is, of initiates -- though they claim for some counties full battalions, and in a few cases a full regiment.

Exhibits F.F.G. and H. give the ritual of said degrees.

It will be observed that the fundamental password is CALHOUN, transposed for use thus -- Nu-oh-lac.

The unwritten work and lectures of this Order vary in different States and counties, and in Temples of the same counties, though not in essentials. This is accounted for from the fact that organizing agents, in installing officers, could not take time to fully post and instruct them, and the work was imperfectly committed to memory.

While the penalties of disclosure are formally declared to be such as the officers of this Order shall direct, these penalties are specifically given in the verbal lectures and instructions. The oaths of 1863 specifically affixed the death penalty. The same is enjoined in the present Order. Instructions to execute this penalty upon at least one supposed informer, have been issued within the last two months. Injunctions to arm, and much of the detail of subordinate military features of the Order are also given in verbal lectures. Concurrent testimony from different sources confirms the above. Many of the documents you have already seen, and they are not necessary in this report.

A few facts, derived from many concurrent sources, give significance to passages in the Constitutions and Rituals. Of some you were advised at the time -thus:

1. The outbreaks in Eastern Illinois were mainly checked by Leaders of this Order, on the ground that such outbreaks were premature. This information comes from Canada, Michigan, Illinois, and other quarters.

2. A few days before the attack of FORREST upon Paducah, I was informed that the Temples of the O.A.K. in Northwestern Illinois expected such an attack, and that FORREST would cross into Illinois, and raise the standard of revolt. He came to Paducah, but was repulsed.

3. On the day that MORGAN first entered Pound Gap, I was informed at Indianapolis, in the morning, that MORGAN was about to enter Kentucky, of which you were at once advised, At 3 P.M. you showed me a telegram from Gen. BURBRIDGE, that MORGAN was in the Gap. This information, derived from you, was communicated to the secret order with my permission. Upon this, two members of the order, both prominent -- one, Col. W.A. BOWLES, of Buena Vista notoriety, and the other, Judge J.F. BULLITT, of the Supreme Court of Appeals, of Kentucky -- was soon reported to have stated that "MORGAN must be stopped, he was too soon, the order was not ready for him." Judge BULLITT, who had come to receive the new ritual (S.L.) took the first train for Kentucky that day. The fact was that MORGAN was stopped. The incident following and attending the visit of Major-Gen. LINDSAY, from Kentucky, you are familiar with, and the circumstances under which MORGAN threw part of his force loto Kentucky, when Gen. BURBRIDGE moved toward Virginia.

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4. Information was given you of the visit of VALLANDIGHAM to Detroit, his projected trip to Chicago, of the meeting of the Grand Council of Indiana, June ilton, June 15, and that VALLANDIGHAM's immediate recall was subject of debate, and the prospect of his being at that time at Hamilton. At least one rebel officer left Windsor, C.W., and visited Hamilton four weeks before, in the confidence of disloyal persons, of which I was advised at that time, by telegraph through Gen. NOBLE.

5. Five days before MORGAN attacked Mount Sterling, and the L. and L.R.R. was severed, written report was sent by disloyal persons, of which I have the originals, that the road was quiet, that "no mules," (U.S. soldiers) were on the line, and that a glorious work would begin the coming week.

6. A courier intercepted between Frankfort and Louisville, who reported to me at Louisville, as I was starting for Indianapolis, claimed that FORREST was moving upon Southwestern Kentucky, and that a portion of BUCHNER's commond would join the fragments of MORGAN in Western Virginia. Two days after, FORREST defeated STURGIE; BUCKNER, however, was west of the Missississippi. I give these among many facts to show that there is a close correspondence of design and feeling between traitors North and rebels South. The whole plot of the Order herein referred to, is in harmony with forcible interruption of the war.

W.A. BOWLES before referred to, has made no close secret of his disloyal purposes, and his sympathy with the South.

He is reported as one of the four Major-Generals of the Order in Indiana. The remaining three are, L.P. MILLIGAN, of Huntington; Major WALKER, of northwestern part of Indiana, vice YEAGLE removed, and ANDREW HUMPHREYS, of Green County. The Grand Commander has already been named.

Although the new work, S.L., was obtained at Indianapolis, by R. BARRETT, for Missouri, it is understood that the order is so far organized in that State as to run a risk of disappointment by a change, and that the work of the O.A.K. will retain its usage, as it differs only in non-essentials. Among the persons reported as at the conference with Judge BULLIT and BARRETT, were, J.J. BINGHAM, Dr. ANTHON and Mr. RISTINE, of Indianapolis. I will also give the names of a few other members, for your information, to enable you to watch the movement of this order in Indiana, viz.: Dr. GATLING; (associated with the Gatling gun); Mr. EVERT, of Vanderburgh; Mr. L. LEECH, Mr. OTEY, MYERS, of Laporte: Dr. LEMONS, A.D. RAGA, Mr. MCBRIDE, of Evansville; JOHN G. DAVIS, and LASSELL, of Cass County. Several of the above are delegates to the State Grand Council of Missouri; and, beside, H.H. DODGE, to the Supreme Grand Council, to be held at Chicago on the 1st of July next, preparatory to the political convention of July 4.

It seems that the main purpose is political power, by union with the South, regardless of men or measures. The Eastern and Western Council leaders differ as to means to this end; and again, the radicals and conservatives differ, at the West.

Men like Dr. W.A. BOWLES seem indifferent to any presidential canvass, and to preter an early armed rupture and positive union of the Northwest with the South.

Such men are ready and anxious for such an armed invasion as will give them a nucleus for open defiance of the United States. This is not speculation; but proof is example. I have adverted to some facts already, and will advise you, as I have the Government and Gen. HEINTZELMAN, as events progress.

Very respectfully yours, HENRY B. CARRINGTON, Brig.-Gen., Com'd'g Dist. Indiana.

His Excellency Gov. O.P. MORTON, Indianapolis, Indiana.

The following documents are also of interest:

To the Grand Council of Indiana:

Your committee beg leave to submit to this honorable body the following report:

"It being of the greatest importance that the Grand Council be amply provided with the necessary means to meet the urgent demands upon it at this period of its organic existence, and that, without sufficient funds in its treasury, no permanent or systematic organization of the State can be effected, would first urge upon every Parent Temple which has not already responded to the previous assessment of $20 made by the Grand Council on each County or Parent Temple, the necessity of meeting that demand without delay. And, second, that in order to provide an annual fund for the use of this Grand Council, that each County or Parent Temple be required to pay into the treasury of the Grand Council, on the first Monday in May, 1864, and annually thereafter, until otherwise ordered by the Grand Council -- for each member in the county who has received the full degree, the sum of twenty-five cents. This assessment to include all members of the S. of L. in each county throughout the State, whether members of the Parent Temple, or the subordinate temples throughout the townships.

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And they would recommend that the demands of the Supreme Council on this Grand Council be paid out of the funds to be provided by the foregoing assessment. And they would also recommend that the Grand Treasurer be required to give bond in double the amount of money that may come into his possession by virtue of his office, conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties. Such bond to be given to the Grand Commander on or before the first day of May, 1864, and afterward, upon entering upon the duties of that office.

M.E. Grand, Commander:

In compliance with the resolution adopted by this body, I beg leave to submit the following report, showing the number of counties in the State that are organized, the number in process of organization, and the number of members in the organization, so far as I have received. Reports have been received but from seventeen counties. We have organized in the State forty-one counties, leaving the number of counties yet to report their membership thirty-four.

Judging from the reports received, I place the membership in the State at this time at at least 12,000, not including the membership in the other organizations in the State that worked conjunctly with us.

The following is a summary of the reports received:

Grant County 201 members and 6 branches.

Clay County 194 members 3 branches.

Blacklord County 50 members and no branches.

De Kalb County 34 members and no branches.

Harrison County 615 members and 11 branches.

Marshall, County 30 members and no branches.

Washington County 1,100 members and 10 branches

Allen County 40 members and no branches.

Brown County 322 members and 4 branches.

Wells County 51 members and no branches.

Vigo County 500 members and 5 branches.

Fountain County 373 members and 10 branches.

Sullivan County 600 members and 10 branches.

Parke County 533 members and 7 branches.

Marlon County 75 members and 1 branch.

Vermilion County 135 members and 3 branches.

Vanderburgh County 200 members and no branches.

Showing a total membership in the counties reporting of 5,053.

The above report does not include those counties from which have been received intelligence unofficially of their organization, which would perhaps increase the number of counties organized and in process of organization to say sixty-one.

The above report is respectfully submitted.

Resolved, That it is the instruction and advice of this Grand Council to the different Temples of the State, that they proceed forthwith and perfect a thorough organization of their respective counties, and thereby prepare themselves to carry into effect each and every order of this body.

Resolved, That the delegates present report the number of subscribers obtained, or that can be obtained for the Constitutionalist, the proposed organ of the Order.

Reports on the above resolutions gave assurance that the subscription lists of the Constitutionalist should be immediately taken in hand, and that at least ten thousand subscribers could and would be obtained.

At this meeting of the Grand Council, thirty-one counties were represented, and there is no doubt, had it not been for the extreme cold, every organized county in the State would have been present, through its delegate.

The organization in this State is in its infancy; and when we reflect that we have succeeded in organizing, in the short space of six months, over one-half the counties in the State, and have a membership numbering over twelve thousand, we have every reason to feel encouraged for the future.

The organization is extending its influence, popularity and usefulness daily, and is already at work in the States of New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, New-Hampshire, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Delaware, Maryland and Missouri, and numbers in its membership many of the noblest and most devoted champions of civil and religious liberty remaining in our unhappy and distracted country.

In conclusion, it is urged upon our friends in the counties to work with untiring energy for the purpose of thorough organization. This is the first and only true national organization the democratic and conservative men of the country have ever attempted, and we are assured that through it, and it only, can the peace, harmony and union of these states ever be restored.