Coughing up a Confederate Ball of Cast-Iron

William J. Bolton

William J. Bolton

This first article I found after the one that follows about General Bolton coughing up the Confederate bullet. I found it interesting in that it seems the Democrats used similar campaign tactics in this past current election as were used back in 1880 (finding so-called Republicans who were “in the bag” for their candidate).

MONTGOMERY COUNTY HANCOCK MEN. —

Montgomery county is getting a good deal of newspaper notoriety because it is the birthplace of Hancock, and one or two of its leading Republican citizens have declared their intention to vote for the Democratic nominee for President. The West Chester Village Record strikes at the matter in this manner: At the same time that it is ludicrous, and therefore, somewhat entertaining, the persistency of the discouraged Hancock press in trying to find recruits among the Republicans of Montgomery county becomes rather tiresome. The fact that there are not or [of?] any consequence has been perfectly demonstrated for some time, but the Philadelphia Times, after having made several efforts, sent a reporter up to Norristown, a few days ago, to attempt something heroic. He was determined, probably, to bring back a bagful of names, if he had to copy them off tomb-stones. The result was that he came in with four names and lots of padding. Among the four, of course, were Dr. Read and George Bultock, who must be getting somewhat fatigued by this time at their perpetual elevation on Democratic poles, as captives from the Republicans, and the other two were General W.J. Bolton and Mr. B.E. Chain.

Winfield S. Hancock

Winfield S. Hancock

It now proves that General Bolton is not for Hancock after all, and he publishes a vigorous letter saying so; while Mr. Chain, though a loyal man during the war, has always been a Democrat, and his support of Hancock was, of course, to be expected. It must be remarked that the Times, in printing without any revision General Bolton’s earnest letter defining his position, makes a palpable mistake. It looks odd, of course, and so would the letters of most men without revision by the editor and care by the proof reader. But the force and clearness of the missive are not obscured; it is easily understood, and its distinct declaration that the writer is not to be caught in a Democratic trap, even with a Union General as bait, will not be misapprehended. We suggest, with much respect, to our esteemed contemporary, that if General Bolton had written to it, saying that he was for Hancock, pains would have been taken to put his letter in first-rate order for the compositor’s hands, and that such a discrimination tells as much as a whole chapter of confession.

General Bolton had few advantages of education, but he was a brave soldier, and sustained terrible wounds at Antietam; and if he does not write a perfectly-constructed and exactly-punctuated letter, he makes one that goes to the front — as his leadership did in battle eighteen years ago. Had he voted for Hancock, we should not have assailed him; as he votes, however, with the party that sustained the Union armies, we all the more rejoice at his sound sense. But it is not about time to admit that the Hancock recruits in Montgomery county are not forthcoming?

James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield

Even the General’s first cousins, Republicans all their lives, will vote for Garfield, and the county is as unshaken by the Cincinnati nomination as if any other man had been chosen to carry the Solid South’s banner.

The Bucks County Gazette (Bristol, Pennsylvania) Aug 12, 1880

Antietam

Antietam

After Seventeen Years.
[Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Gazette.]

NORRISTOWN, May 22. — General Wm. Bolton was yesterday relieved of a Confederate bullet in his neck, which has been a source of pain for seventeen years past. While Colonel of the Fifty-first Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and awaiting orders on a mound at the time of the famous mine explosion at Petersburg, July 30, 1864, a Confederate canister shell exploded near him and a small bullet entered the lower right jaw at the very point where he had received a bullet wound some years previous at the battle of Antietam. Forty distinct incisions were made a few weeks later, but without success. Since then General Bolton has felt pain and oppression in his neck, especially during damp weather. Yesterday he had occasion to stoop while attending to a customer in his store, and was immediately taken with a violent fit of coughing. Placing his hand instinctively over his mouth, something dropped into his hand. On removing the blood and mucous covering  of the object he found it to be the painful little ball of Confederate cast-iron. It was covered with rust, weighed 273 grains Troy, and the surface was covered with sharp ridges.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 27, 1881

General Bolton of Norristown, carries a novel charm on his watch chain. It is the bullet which he received in the war and which he coughed up a short time ago.

Chester Daily Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Jun 20, 1881

squiggle37

DEATH OF GEN. W.J. BOLTON.

Member of Vicksburg and Antietam Battlefield Commissions.

Philadelphia Aug. 2 — Brig Gen William J Bolton died to-day of heart failure, at the age of seventy-four years. Gen Bolton served through the civil war in the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers first as captain of a company and finally as colonel of the regiment, and was brevetted brigadier general. He was wounded at Antietam and at Petersburg. Gen Bolton was a member of the Vicksburg and Antietam battlefield commissions.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Aug 3, 1906

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