Thursday, May 12, 2016

Fort Laramie, WY - E. H. Saltiel charged with mutiny, found guilty of disloyalty.

Many people have asked me about Fort Laramie when E. H. Saltiel was drummed out of the military at Fort Laramie.   William E. Unrau thoroughly researched this incident and published a lengthy article in Arizona and the West titled "Justice at Fort Laramie: The Trial and Tribulations of a Galvanized Yankee" in the summer of 1973.  I have Mr. Unrau's written permission to republish the article in it's entirety at some future point in time and would like to acknowledge the enormous amount of research he conducted in writing his article.

This is a very condensed synopsis of his article, interspersed with questions for future researchers.

As a bit of background, I need to show that in the 1861 England Census, we find E. H. Saltiel living with his mother and grandmother at 46 Crispin St, Artillery, Spitalfields, Middlesex England.  It shows he was age 16 and a "warehouseman."

Crispin St is located close to Aldgate where his grandmother, Rachel (Hart) Harris was born.  

E. H. Saltiel immigrated to America on the "Great Eastern" (ship) sailing on August 18, 1862.

He is listed as a "draper" which means he was a fabric maker.  From "foreign parts".  He is unmarried and age 18.    Being age 18 as of August 18, 1862 agrees with a date of birth of 1844.

Being a "draper" would make sense as the area where they lived in the 1861 census was an area of silk manufacture.

Here are a couple of questions for future researchers to ponder.    It has been written by others that E. H. Saltiel had a university degree and had military experience in England.  How did he do that by the age of 18?  In England, high school is sometimes called "university".  So that would explain how it has been said that he has a university degree - it is merely a high school diploma.

But the military service - how much did he have, what kind, when did he enroll?  No proof has been uncovered to date of any military service in England.  Only what he tells us in the US military records. 

In Aug, 1863, he is listed in the US Civil War Draft.  Living at 7th & Chestnut St, St Louis.  His occupation is Peddler.  His is unmarried. Shows his place of birth as “U. S.”  Age 21 in August 1863 makes him born before August 1841 and we know he was born in 1844 in England.

Is this the beginning of altering the facts?  He was not born in the US.  And being 21 would make his year of birth 1842, not 1844.

In the same year (1863) this happened at his address:

ST. LOUIS • A wagon escorted by Union soldiers pulled up to a fashionable home on Chestnut at Seventh streets. Ten women climbed on board for a clattering ride to the steamboat landing.
Among them were the wife of a Confederate general and the lady of the house, which had been converted into a prison for women accused of being disloyal. By Union decree, they were being banished to the Confederacy.
At the landing, soldiers marched them and 13 like-minded men onto the packet Belle Memphis on May 13, 1863, for a trip down the river. One month before, President Abraham Lincoln approved instructions for banishing civilians whose public sympathies were too comforting to the rebel cause.

No record has been located showing when he joined the U. S. military. But his military records show he was employed as a clerk prior to the civil war.  Nowhere else do we find that.   They also show he was a native of Alabama....again, incorrect.

E. H. Saltiel states that he was conscripted into the “rebel Army” (Confederate army) against his own will,  for service in Company B of the Third Georgia Infantry.  And later in his "career" he states that this should not have happened as he was still a member of the British forces.  Remember, no record of his enrollment in the British forces has ever been located.

Nonetheless, he was in the Confederate Army and on September 2, 1864, he was captured by Sherman’s army (Union) at Atlanta.  He became a prisoner of war.  On October 26, 1846, he was
incarcerated at the Louisville (Kentucky) prison Camp. He was placed in the "retaliation barracks" and most likely feared for his life.  From the article "Justice at Ft Laramie":

"That night, taking advantage of the slack security of the prison, he disguised himself with "a huge mustache" and a Union overcoat taken from the officer's sleeping quarters, marched across the prison yard, issued some hurried (and obviously vague) orders to the sentinel, and then boldly walked through the outer gate of the prison.  He then proceeded to the ferry landing, where he "endeavored to catch sight of the passes that all officers had to show" as they boarded the boat for New Albany.  Satisfied with the information he had obtained, he quickly walked to the home of "a banker well known in that city," where he apparently obtained the uniform of a Confederate enlisted man,  as well as papers that would allow him to identify himself as an enlisted man in the Georgia Infantry. 
Still in his Union disguise, Saltiel retraced his steps to the prison, gave the guard the proper password, and then walked body to the barracks where a group of Georgia prisoners were awaiting transportation to Camp Douglas for service with one of the Union or "Galvanized," regiments.  "The mustache and brown hair were hurried to the stove...and a plentiful supply of powder rubbed on his face and neck, and there appeared a very young and fair rebel soldier in full uniform, with remarkable dark eyes for one so fair..."  
It was at this point that Saltiel began using the name Joseph Isaacs, so that by the time he arrived at Camp Douglas (armed with the properly forged papers he had obtained in Louisville), there was no easy way to identify him with his real Confederate past."

One has to wonder how he thought he could get away with a false identity....but he did...for a time.  From this point forward, he was known as Joseph Isaacs or J. M. Isaacs.

He was next sent to Camp Douglas, IL.  This was a known Union prisoner's camp.  He took advantage of Lincoln's amnesty program and obtained release from prison by enlisting for service in Indian country, aka a "Galvanized Yankee."  He swore his allegiance to the United States.

Now an enlisted man in Company H under Capt Charles W. Ferrers, E. H. Saltiel, known as Joseph Isaacs was promoted to First Sergeant and arrived at Camp Rankin in Colorado Territory.  His Company was stationed with Company I under Capt John T. Shanks.  Isaacs (Saltiel) entertained ambitions of rapid advancement.  They were then located at Fort Laramie, Wyoming.

Ferrers and Shanks were occasionally expected to provide military escorts for civilian wagon trains.  The wagon masters paid nominal sums of money to the enlisted men for their services.  In late June, 1885, Leander Black agreed to pay $1 per day to each enlisted man in Co H & I who made the trip from Rankin to Fort Laramie with his train.  Shanks seized the money at gunpoint and the men threatened violence.  The money was returned to the men and the commanders were able to persuade their superiors that no outright theft had been attempted.  This was known as the "Black affair."

Isaacs (Saltiel) next landed a sympathetic ear to reasonable complaints voiced by the enlisted men and made sure that additional misconduct on the part of Ferrers came to the attention of the regimental Commander in Denver whom he was friends with.  Tensions between Ferrers and Isaacs (Saltiel) increased and Ferrers saw Isaacs (Saltiel) mounting influence in company affairs as a threat to his own position.  

An August 12, 1865, Ferrers placed Isaacs (Saltiel) under arrest after a confrontation in which Isaacs (Saltiel's) words were considered a direct attack on Ferrers.  Ferraris then searched Isaacs (Saltiel's) quarters and discovered private correspondence that might terminate Isaacs (Saltiel's) military career.  This included papers showing his real name was Emanuel H. Saltiel, he was and Englishman, an Officer of Cadet in the Tenth Tower Hamlet Riflemen in England....and that his loyalty was with England.  

More words/threats ensued and Isaacs (Saltiel) found himself confined to the Fort Laramie guardhouse awaiting a general court-martial  The charges were:

1) mutiny and sedition, carrying a possible death sentence
2) encouraging desertion
3) entertaining and promulgating disloyal sentiments.

His trial began November 13, 1865.  In the interim, he did hard labor.  He was kept in irons.  During his trial, E. H. Saltiel said that he had fought under the confederate flag for 3 years.  The trial was quite involved with much testimony. 

The mutiny, sedition and desertion charges were dropped.  He was found guilty of 2 counts of disloyalty to the government.  His sentence was "to be reduced to the ranks and to be publicly drummed out of the service of the U. S. and forfeit all pay now due him and be marched outside the garrison to the tune of the Rogue's March." This happened in May, 1866.

Saltiel openly stated that his allegiance was with England.  This is after he had pledged his allegiance to the US in order to take advantage of Lincoln's amnesty program and join the Union Army in Indian territory.  The charges he was found guilty of were justified.  Today, it might not mean much to pledge your allegiance to a country, but in 1866 - it was a significant crime.

Of note is that he was never charged with using a false identity in the Army.  While he did this to potentially escape death while in the retaliation camp, keep in mind that he was a prisoner, who escaped prison, obtained the false identity papers, came back and used this identity to escape death.

While he was not found guilty of mutiny, he was charged with that.  Mutiny in the Civil War had to be considered a great crime in this country.  I assume that if HEAS had known any of this, they would not have allowed the Jews to come to Cotopaxi.

I will let you decide the character flaws in this man....but it is becoming more and more apparent that at a very young  age, he was incapable of being truthful. He was just 21 years old when he was drummed out of the military at Fort Laramie.

*****  All content is copyright protected and may not be copied, reproduced, reused or reposted in any manner without permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment