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Dubuque County
February 1863
 ~ Contributed by Julia Krapfl ~


In January, 1863, the Chicago Tribune called Mahony "the Dubuque traitor; the spawn of a felon's cell." The Dubuque Herald ridiculed the appointment of Herron to a major-generalship and said: "His appointment is a suggestive commentary on the poverty- stricken military ability which characterizes the Federal army." Children of loyal parents sang during recess at the public schools "John Brown," which act was objected to by disloyal parents.

"The record we have labored to make up is one of opposition to the war--not a factious but a frank and conscientious opposition. We did not believe that war could restore the Union of these states," said the Dubuque Herald of February 18, 1863.

The Dubuque Daily Times declared on February 20, 1863, that the administration had just as much right to suppress a paper which was opposed to it as it had to spike a cannon of the enemy. The Herald asked the citizens if they were willing to submit to such extinguishment of the rights of free press.

The Dubuque Herald and all disloyalists were so outspoken in February that the Dubuque Daily Times and the Union men planned to secure here a branch of the Loyal League. Such a company was organized at Cascade early in 1863.

"In view of the disloyal and treasonable conspiracy against the government of the United States, for its overthrow by its enemies, and which is evidently fast developing itself throughout the Northwest, we whose names are hereunto subscribed do agree and form ourselves into a company or association to be called the "Cascade National Union Guard," to co-operate with like associations in this state, for the protection of life, liberty and the Union, to hold in check disloyal organizations, or any armed resistance to the laws, and at all times to be under the control of the state of Iowa, to organize, meet and drill after the manner of the state militia." Dr. W. H. Francis was sponsor of this company. It was armed and commanded by ex-soldiers.

"Our citizens do not know that in our county a secret society has begun to ramify--that in our city it has its adherents and that William L. Bradley is one of its instruments. They do not know that an S. B. society has been started here under Abolition auspices in Chicago and is rapidly spreading over the country. They think that when we warn the people of the danger we are fools or alarmists and fearful of our own shadow. We tell our readers that there is danger in the very air and that this administration and its minions, unable to conquer and devastate the South, are determined to conquer and subjugate the honest Union loving, patriotic masses of the North. Abolitionism is bent on mischief. Do our readers want further proof? They shall have it."

--(Dubuque Herald, February 24, 1863)


A spy of the Dubuque Herald reported that one night he saw Bissell, Conger, Allison, Blocklinger, David, Shiras, Adams and others steal out one by one from a secret meeting in old Turner Hall. "What did it mean?" was asked. The branch of the Loyal League was thus organized in this city and supplied with arms by the authorities. This fact angered the disloyalists. The Dubuque Herald advised caution and said: "We must be cautious in bringing them within the operation of the laws, that we do no wrong; we must meet them at the ballot box." This movement checked for a time much of the disloyalty here. The Dubuque Herald said the objects of this society were to establish a military despotism. It was at this time that the Dubuque Herald and its friends began to be milder in their attacks on the administration and less rabid in their strictures on the war. Abolitionism was taken into the school elections and caused much bitterness.

"We are glad that the proprietor and editor of the Times does not misunderstand our position. That office is safe just so long as is the Dubuque Herald office undisturbed. We are assured by Mr. Stewart that we are in no danger from mob violence. That is sufficient. There will be no conflict between ourselves or our friends and the friends of that establishment so long as our rights are respected."

--(Dubuque Herald, February 25, 1863)


"There is danger in this society and it should be met. The South is not subjugated and cannot be, but the North is to be brought under the yoke. We believe if the people could be aroused from their lethargy they would fling off the brood which hover around and defile the sources of power."

--(Dubuque Herald, February 24, 1863)





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