Foster Blodgett.

Statement of Foster Blodgett and evidence in reply to the charges of Joshua Hill online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryFoster BlodgettStatement of Foster Blodgett and evidence in reply to the charges of Joshua Hill → online text (page 1 of 3)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


/











013 704 759 7



HoUinger Corp.
pH8.5



STATEMENT



OF



FOSTEE BLODGETT,



AND EVIDENCE,



IN EEPLY TO THB CHAKGES OF



JOSHUA HILL.



Made in the United States Senate, April 10, 1871.



^



' U.S.A.



WASHmOTON, D. C, APRIL 24, 1871.



^



STATEMENT.



Washington, D.C, April 24, 1871.
To the Honorable

The Senators of the TJ. S. Congkess :

Pkeyious to the wanton, public attack upon my private
character, by Joshua Hill, in the Senate of the TJnited States
on the 10th of April last, I had chosen to regard him as a lair
opponent, who would deal in facts, and use the language ot a
gentleman in his opposition to me. But his fierce, vmchctive
attack, which surprised and disgusted honorable senators on
that day, presents him to the world as a mahgnant falsiher,
and, were he not protected by his senatorial position, a slan-
derer of private character.

Who is Joshua Hill, who rises in the United States Senate,
and arraigns a republican senator elect, and opposes his ad-
mission to the enjoyment of the rights of his seat with your

honorable body ? ^ • ^

He was elected to the Senate, in 1868, by a vote of nmety-
six democrats and ten repubhcans ! Since his admission to the
Senate, he has regularly caucassed with the repubhcans, and,
in every instance, voUd with the democrats !

Still, in Washington, he claims to be a repubUcan, while m
Georgia, he is a sound democrat !

In his speech of April 10, 1871, Joshua Hill charged me
with having committed perjm-y in taking the " test oath, and
with having been a member of a vigilant committee m
Augusta, in 1861, and persecuting Union and Northern men

In answer to these charges, and aU others made by Hill, 1
have convincing and undeniable proof of their utter falsity,



and will first present a communication made by me to tlie
Postmaster-General, July 20, 1865, previous to receiving my
appointment as Postmaster at Augusta :

EVIDENCE OF FOSTER BLODGETT'S LOYALTY.

Washington, D.C, July 20, 1865.
To the Hon. Postmaster- General, United States.

Dear Sir, — The undersigned represents that a large num-
ber of the citizens of Augusta, Ga., have petitioned for his
appointment as Postmaster at the city of Augusta ; that he
has also the recommendations of the Hon. John P. King, en-
dorsed by the Hon. James Johnson, Provisional Governor of
the State of Georgia, also from the Hon. Benjamin F. Perry,
Provisional Governor of South Carolina, and from quite a
number of distinguished citizens of other states. He further
represents that he was, at the commencement of the late re-
bellion, and has been since, a Union man ; that he was the
President of a large Union meeting, held in Augusta, in De-
cember, 1860 ; that at that time he was mayor of said city of
Augusta, and that, both privately and officially, used his in-
fluence, and every effort in his power, for the preservation of
the Union ; that in consequence of the open and outspoken
course pursued by him, and the assistance rendered by him-
self personally, in extricating citizens of the JSTorthern States
from mobs and " vigilant committees," he rendered himself
extremely obnoxious to a large number of the people then in
Augusta ; that he was threatened, time and again, by anony-
mous letters, and* otherwise — with a coat of tar and feathers,
the destruction of his residence by fire, and even with death
itself ; that his family, consisting of a wife, four children, an
aged mother and a sister, were constantly in imminent peril,
as well as himself, from the violent mob spirit which at that
time prevailed ; that, ha"\ang a large family depending upon
him for support, and not being wealthy, it was impossible for
him to leave the country ; that he consulted with a number
of his friends who agreed with him in sentiment, and they
advised him to enter the army of the so-called Confederate



States, that the lives of himself and family might be spared,
and his property saved ; that upon that advice, he did enter
the army for a time, but as soon as he possibly could, he with-
drew, and from that time, by good management, succeeded in
keeping out of the Confederate service. He withdrew from
the so-called Confederate army in April, 1862.

He would further represent, that he never was in any bat-
tle or skii'mish whatever, never fired a gun or di*ew a sword
against any soldier or citizen of the United States ; that he
was enlisted for twelve months, but only done servnce for about
half that time. He feels confident, that but for his having
been in the rebel army, that, strongly recommended as he is,
and endorsed by the Governor of his State, he would certain-
ly receive the office he seeks ; but wishing to conceal nothing,
he makes this statement, which can be substantiated by a
number of as good Union men, in Augusta, as ever lived. He
hopes that his reasons for having been found in the rebel army
for a short time, may not appear voluntary, but for the pur-
pose of protecting himself and family. He can conscientious-
ly take the oath of office prescribed by Congress, and will do
it if necessary ; but still, for the purpose of preventing any in-
sinuations from parties not conversant with the circumstances,
would prefer a slight modification. He represents that he
was always very popular in Augusta, never having failed to be
elected, till he took the course he did in defence of the Union.
He therefore respectfully prays that he may be appointed
Postmaster of Augusta, in consonance with the wishes of a
large majority of the citizens of that city.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Your obedient servant,
(Signed,) Fostee Blodgett.

P. S. — I would respectfully refer to the Hon. Benj. F. Per-
ry, Provisional Governor of South Carolina, and the whole
delegation who are now in this city. Also, to all the original
Union men of Augusta, Ga., where I have lived during my
whole life, except for a short time during the rebellion.

(Signed,) F. B.



6

Post-Office Depaetmetstt, Appoi:srTME]SiT Office,

Januarij 9, 1868.

I certify the foregoing to be a true copy of an original let-
ter on file in this office.

St. John B. S. Skinner,
First Assf. P.M. Gen.

By the foregoing it will be seen I made a fi'ee, frank, open
statement of my connection with the rebellion to the Post-
master General, attempting to conceal nothing, and desiring
to do nothing wrong.

Upon my statement to the P. M. General, that gentleman
decided that I could take the oath, which is shown by the fol-
lowing letter from Gov. Bullock, to Hon. A. T. Akerman,
Attorney General.

Executive Department, State of Georgia,

Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 1st, 18T0.

Hon. Amos T. Akerman, AUy. Genl., TJ. S. :

Sir, — At the request of the counsel for Hon. Foster Blodgett
I take pleasure in making a written statement of a fact that I
would testify to upon oath in court, if Mr. B. should be forced
to stand a trial upon the malicious prosecution which political
influence has caused to be broug-ht ag-ainst him.

In the year 1865 I made an application for the appointment
of Post Master at Augusta, and the Hon. Mr. Dennison, then
P. M. Gen'L, had decided to give me the appointment. After
this decision I learned that a large portion of the citizens of
Augusta desired the appointment of Mr. Blodgett to that office,
and that he was endorsed by Gov. Johnson and other promi-
nent men. Knowing that Mr. B. was competent and worthy,
and had been a Union man, though unavoidably connected for
a time with the rebel army, I decided to withdraw in favor
of his appointment, provided he could qualify.

Mr. Blodgett then made a written statement of his course
and of his connection with the Confederacy, and filed it with
the P. M. Gen'l., and upon reading this statement and hearing
my explanation, Geii'l. Dennison expressed the opinion that



2£r. Blodgett could qualify ^ and with that understanding the
appointment was made.

There was no concealment, or attempt made in that direc-
tion, of the connection which Mr. Blodgett had for a time
maintained with the Confederacy, and the oath of office vms
not talcen until after these statements had heen considered hy
the P. 31. GenH., and he was satisfied that Mr. B. could con-
scientiously swear that his connection with the rebellion was
not voluntary.

Yery respectfully,

(Signed,) Rufus B. Bullock.

The above statements of facts are from my own personal
knowledge. B.

As will be hereafter seen, the statement to the P. M. Gen'l.
is corroborated and fully proven by voluminous evidence.

In order to show I was not the willing and swift disunion-
ist Hill would make me out to be, I will present various
anonymous letters I received, being but a few of those sent
me, but all I can lay my hands on now :



ANONYMOUS LETTERS.

(1.)

ArGUSTA, April 10, 1861.
Mk. Foster Blodgett :

Sm, — Eemarks made by you of late in opposition to seces-
sion and in favor of the U. S. Government, renders it neces-
sary for you to at once enter the Confederate army or be
severely dealt with. The opposition against you is of such
a character as to lead to the most fatal results. Your rescue
of that man, Thayer, has never been forgotten or excused.
He should have been hung, and if you are not soon in the
Southern army you will share the fate he so justly deserved.
So if you desire to live act promptly. "J. word to the wise is
sufficient.''^ W.



(2.)

Augusta, April 12, 1861.



Mk. Foster Blodgett :



Sm, — I wrote you two or three days ago, telling you that
you must go at once into the army. I have seen no indication
of your doing so. I now write to say that you have been ad-
judged a traitor to the South and deserve death, which will
be surely inflicted upon you, but we prefer you should go into
the Southern army, and perhaps you may be killed by some
of your d****d Yankee friends. You have said at the Court
House that you " never would fight against the United States."
Now you have your choice either to go into our anny or be
assassinated. You will be called upon by one of our men per-
sonally, in a day or two. Look well to your Residence, to
your head. Think of your Wife, children, mother and sister
tui'ned out houseless and homeless and you a corpse. Go, Go,
Go, to the army or die. "^ word to the wise is sufficient.''''

(3.)

Augusta, April lUh, '61.

Mr. Blodgett, — I write to inform you, although personally
unacquainted, that there is a conspiracy to take your life and
destroy your property. Last night I heard at a disreputable
house some of their plans. You are to be secretly murdered,
and fire set to your dwelling, unless you enter the army.
Some of them were for killing you anyhow, but it was deter-
mined that your life would be spared if you joined the army
right ofi". There was about fifteen of them. Barney Willis
and Henry Porter were the most bitter against you. I write
this as a duty, and advise you to join at once. Please don't
say anything about this letter, or they might kill me. I am
from the North, and the only thing they seem to have against
you is yom- kindness to the Yankees, and your hostility to
secession. Yours, F.



9

(4.)

Augusta, April 16, 1861.

Mr. Foster Blodgett, — Mr. H. J. P. has reported that he
saw you and you promised to join. I write to say you are
watched and your footsteps are dogged. You can't fool us.
So beware, for there are over twenty of us who have taken
the most solemn oath to kill you if you do not go into the
Southern army. ISTow, don't make this public, for if you do
you will die. Of course you only know positively one of our
party, but I assure you the remainder are as determined as
he, and wi 1 avenge anything that may happen to him. Go
at once into the army as you ought, and all will be well with
thee and thine. W.

Mr. " H. J. P." mentioned in the above letter, was, un-
doubtedly, designed for Henry J. Porter, mentioned in the
letter signed "F."

The following affidavits establish the authenticity of the
anonymous letters :

State of Georgia, Richmond County.

Personally appeared before me, Samuel Levy, a Justice of
the Inferior Court of said County, William H. StaUings and
Shadrach S. Pardue, who being by me duly sworn, depose
and say. That they verily believe the letters accompanying
this affidavit are a portion of the letters received by Foster
Blodgett in April, 1861, that a large number of anonymous
letters were shown to them by said Foster Blodgett in said
month of April, 1861, which said letters were all generally of
the import of those now exhibited, signed " W " and " F,"
and were all of the most threatening character. Deponents
further state, That they are citizens of Augusta in said Coun-
ty, well known in said City ; That they were well acquainted
with public sentiments in said City before the war, and that
the utmost violence of feeling was manifested by the turbulent
among the people against the said Foster Blodgett for the
stand he had taken in opposing secession, and in aiding the
objects of enmity of the Yigilance Committee to escape.
Deponent S. S. Pardue further swears, That when the



10

company commanded bv said Foster Blodgett was raising, he
desired to go in it, but be was dissuaded by said Foster Blod-
gett, who advised him not to go — said Foster Blodgett stating
that be would not go himself if he was not compelled to do
80. W. H. Stallings,

S. S. Pardfe.

Sworn and subscribed before me this Sept. 3d, 1867.
Samuel Levy, J. I. C. R. C.

State of Georgia, Richmond County.

Personally appeared Eliza S. Blodgett and Mary E. Ells,
who, being duly sworn, say, that they are the mother and sis-
ter of Foster Blodgett, of said county ; that it comes within
then- knowledge, that the sentiment of a large number of the
people of the city of Augusta, in said county, was exceedingly
violent against said Foster, on account of his Union feeling;
and that numerous letters were received by him, threatening
death, the burning of his residence, and other outrages, before
the war ; and that he went into the army, not from any desire
to benefit the rebellion, but solely on account of the reason-
able fears he entertained for his person, property and family.

Eliza S. Blodgett,
Mart E. Ells.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 3d day of Septem-
ber, 1867. David S. Boats,

Not. Pub. B. a, Ga.

The following affidavit of Wm. H. Stallings, one of the
Btaunchest and most respectable citizens of Augusta, attests my
Unioniam, and that my life was violentl}^ threatened by Henry
J. Porter, openly and publicly to my face :

THE KU-KLUX OF 18G1.
State of Georgia, Fulton County.

Before me, a notary public, in and for said county, this day,
came William H. Stallings, and on oath makes the following
statement :

That he is now, and was in 1860 and 1861, a resident of



11

Augusta, in this State ; and that in said city, in the fall of
1860, and winter and spring of 1861, there existed a highly
intense feeling and bitterness against any person known to be
opposed to secession. That Foster Blodgett was, in the fall
and winter of 1860 and 1861, a known, open Union man, and
presided, in December, at a Union meeting in the city. Much
bitterness and denunciation was directed against Mr. Blodgett,
and other Unionists, dm^ing the winter.

After the war broke out, and men commenced going into
the Confederate army, this feeling against Union men became
more heated ; so that most Union men who could, had left the
city. There was a very heavy pressure, to force men into the
Confederate army, and to my personal knowledge, many
threats were made against Union men who declined or hesi-
tated to engage in the Confederate service.

Mr. Blodgett was, and for years had been, a prominent pol-
itician in Angusta; and during the spring of 1861, I have
myself seen him take from the post-office "• bucket letters,"* and
I have read the same, which letters threatened his life, and to
burn his property, etc., unless he entered the Confederate
army.

In April^ 1861, Mr. Blodgett and I were walking the public
streets^ and met H. B. Willis and Henry J. Porter. Porter was-
a man of much influence among the rash and violent men^ and
was himself a notorious secessionist and violent man.

They both coramenced abusing us, hut especially 3Ir. Blod-
gett i and Porter and Willis said publicly to Blodgett, tlicd if he
did not join the Confederate army, that his life would be taken.
Porter said, '"''I will kill you myself. I am selected as a com-
mittee of one by the vigilance committee, to notify you that we
will kill you, if you do not volunteer. You cannot escape by
leaving ; tue will follow you, and kill yoit^ Much other abus-
ive language was used : the general tenor of all being, that
Blodgett must join the Confederate army, or neither himself,
his family, or property would escape violence.

Shortly after this, Mr. Blodgett entered the Confederate
army. He told me several times before he went into the
army, that he only did so to escape the violence to himself

* Note.— In the South anony mous letters arc called " Bucket Letters."



12

and family, with which he was clearly threatened. He talked
with me, showed me the anonjTiious letters he had received,
and advised with me about it. I saw two of the letters at his
office door, (left in the night,) and read them.

I thought his life and property in danger, and advised him
to go. And it is my judgment now, that if he had not gone
to the army, he would have been killed. I advised him to go.
I heard so many threats, from many persons, against Mr.
T31odgett, for his known opinions, that I thought his life not
safe. (Signed,) William H. Stalling.

Sworn and subscribed before me, this 1st September, 1870.

H. I. G. Williams,

Not Pah., F. a

Hon. Benj. Conley, President of the Georgia State Senate,
wrote the following letter to the U. S. Attorney-General :

WORDS OF TRUTH.

Atlajstta, Ga., Sept. 1st, 1870.

Hon. Amos T. Akerman, Atty.- General U. S.

Dear Sib,— At the request of Mr. Foster Blodgett, I write
this note to say that I have known him from boyhood, and
during all that time had every confidence in his honesty and
integrity, I know of my own knowledge that Mr. B, was an
ardent friend of the Union and opjX)sed secession with all his
power and influence, that he presided over the last Union
meeting held in Augusta previous to the Rebellion. That in
consequence of his open stand and out spoken course he was
threatened with violence and the destruction of his property
unless he should enter the Confederate service, that he com-
municated these threats to his friends then in Augusta, among
them to the late Thos. S. Metcalf and myself, asking our
advice in the matter, that we advised him, that, for the pur-
pose of saving his own life and being at peace, he had better
go into said service for a time. Ihnow that he did not volun-
tarily enter said service, but did so for the reasons above
named, and others which might be stated. I make this state-



13

ment of facts witliin my own knowledge as an act of justice to
my friend Mr. Blodgett.

With sincere regards I am, Yery Respectfully,

Your ob't. Servt.,
(Signed,) Benj. Conlet.

State of Georgia, Richmond County.

Before me Eichard W. Maher, a Justice of tlie Peace in and
for said County, this day came William Crittenden, who on
oath says that he now is, and for many years has been a
citizen of Augusta, Georgia, That in 1860 and 1861 he was to
a large extent familiar with the talk of the secession party in
Augusta, That Mr. Foster Blodgett was the special mark for
the hatred of the secessionists — he having labored to get up a
Union meeting in the city, and he also openly professing to be
a Union man at all hazards. This deponent knows that Mr.
Blodgett was forced into the Confederate ai-my from the fol-
lowing facts. Mr. Blodgett Wyis asked in a public crowd after
the war hrohe out if he was not now willing to fight for the
South, and he replied he was determined never to fight against
his Government. Witness heard him say this. It was upon
this, determined by many to force him to do so. Witness has
heard many speak of this statement of Blodgett — declare him
a traitor, and say that he should fight against the U. S., and
especial eifort was made by various persons by open threats,
anonymous letters, and otherwise to force Mr. Blodgett to go
into the Confederate army.

Witness has a personal knowledge of these facts, and says
that this remark of Blodgett's made publicly at the Court House
gave great offence, and was the occasion and reason why
special resolves and efforts were made to force Mr. Blodgett
rather than others into the Confederate army.

(Signed,) Wm. Crittenden.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 9th day of Septem-
ber, 1870.

(Signed,) Richard W. Maher, J. P.



14

"When tlie indictment for perjury was pending the following
testimonial was given me, signed by some of the most honored
citizens of Augusta, of all jDolitical shades of opinion :

State of Georgia, Richmond County.

The undersigned citizens of Augusta hereby certify that
they have been personally acquainted with Foster Blodgett,
of said County, for many years ; that they were acquainted
with the sentiments of said Foster Blodgett in relation to se-
cession, and the motives which induced him to enter the Con-
federate army; that he was violently opposed to secession,
and exerted all his influence against it, and entered said Con-
federate service solely on account of the great odium excited
against 1dm hy the ultra secessionists and the threats of violence
uttered against hi?n and Ids 2)'''02)erty in the event of Ids failure to
go into said service.

(Signed,)

Benj. Conley, Ephraim Tweedy, David L. Roath,

William Doyle, George McKenney, Wm. P. Rhodes,

A. Deas, B. H. Broadnax, Thos. R. Rhodes,

Thos. N. Philpot, D. G. Cotting, Amos P. Wiggins,

Jas. R. W. Johnston, Thos. T. Wright, Thos. S. Skinner,

Jas. B. Rodgers, J. E. Burch, W. E. Broadnax,

J. Danforth, Thos. S. JVIetcalf, John P. King,

Wm. C. Derry, Wm. Shear, John Coskery,

G. Crawford Rhodes.

While the charge of perjury was pending against me in the
U. S. Court, at Savannah, Col. Henry S. Fitch, formerly U. S.
District- Attorney, and who procured the indictment against me,
addressed the following letter to Judge Lochrane, my counsel,
showing that he had been made a tool of by my political op-
ponents to injure me on account of my political opinion :

POLITICAL PERSECUTION.

New Tokk, March 27, 1870.
Dear Judge, — I have seen Mr. Foster Blodgett, and he
has introduced the subject of his approaching trial and in-



15

forms me that you are one of liis counsel. Of course my past
official relations to this somewhat celebrated case makes it a
matter of considerable delicacy for me to express any opinion
as to its real merits ; justice, however, to Mr. Blodgett, as
well as to his friends, seems to require that I should, when
called upon, personally give him, as well as my successor in
office, the benefit of my opinion, to be by them taken for
whatever it may be worth. For a long time I scorned to be-
lieve that there could be any political animus at the bottom
of the complaints made against him, and thought the only ohject
VMS to vindicate the laio. Subsequent events have convinced
me that such ivas not the case, and I really regret that I toas
made use of in this connection. If Mr. Akerman should enter
a nolle prosequi in the case it would only, in my opinion, be
an act of justice. I have seen the Attorney-General upon
the subject, in order that my motives might not be misunder-
stood, and while he does not deem it his province to instruct
his District- Attornej^s in such matters, but leaves it entirely
optional with them, he expressed a desire that I should give
my views to Mr. Akerman, and I have no doubt would be
glad to see it ended amicably.

I will see you in Savannah at Court.

Yours truly,
(Signed,) Henry S. Fitch,

Late V. S. District- Attorney.

The following letter from Gen. Henry R. Jackson, of Sar
vannah, one of the most distinguished lawyers and gentlemen
in the State of Georgia, to the U. S. District-Attorney, but
speaks the truth as to the justness of my course.

An influential member of the Democratic Party, which
latter fact gives his testimony great weight.

Savannah, Ga., Oct., 25, 1869.
Hon. John Milledge, U. S. District- Attorney, etc.

My Dear Sir, — I have the honor to acknowledge the re-
ceipt of your letter of the 22d inst. If I am to understand
that you desire such information as will aid you in deciding


1 3

Online LibraryFoster BlodgettStatement of Foster Blodgett and evidence in reply to the charges of Joshua Hill → online text (page 1 of 3)