Monday, April 1, 2013

Confederate Newspaper Publicizes Gold in Idaho

In the spring of 1863, Chattanooga, Tennessee was Confederate territory. But Union forces were pushing south through the state.  The  Chattanooga Daily Rebel newspaper published the following: “Wednesday Morning, April 1, 1863. The war is about to [see] the interposition of an agent mightier than crown or sword. This agent is Gold. … Not from England or France, but from the Far West … ”

The paper described a place “hereafter to be known as Idaho, pronounced Ida’ho. The Yankee Congress at its last session passed an act for the purpose of organizing a territorial government for [the region].”
It went on, “A few years ago no white man resided within its wide limits. … [But that has changed because] Idaho is found to be a land of gold!”

The Daily Rebel had a suggestion: “Let the soldiers of [the Union Army] give up the poor pay, rations and reward of their vile crusade against the South, throw aside their muskets, shoulder their pick-axes, and start at once for the Gold fields of Idaho.”

Thus, 150 years ago today, the story of Idaho had reached across the battle lines to a city whose citizens knew it was only a matter of time before they came under siege. Perhaps they could be spared if enemy soldiers would mine Gold instead of making war.

Meanwhile, early arrivers in the Boise Basin were already finding fabulous amount of the metal, and “large numbers [of miners] are leaving Lewiston daily … for the Boise mines.”

Reference: Merle W. Wells, Gold Camps & Silver Cities: Nineteenth Century Mining in Central and Southern Idaho, 2nd Edition,  Bulletin 22, Idaho Department of Lands, Bureau of Mines and Geology, Moscow, Idaho (1983).
This being the Idaho Territorial Sesquicentennial (created March 4, 1863), I thought some shorter 150-year “On This Day” items would be of interest. (I’ll try to post one or two a week, although that may prove difficult.)

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I like to share what history I can on our little family adventure blog ( I'll certainly be following closely, picking up some books.