Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Fishing Creek Confederacy Part 1

In the next few posts in this series I hope to tell the story of the Fishing Creek Confederacy and Alvah Russel Rutan.

On August 28, 1861 the first arrests were made.  Roughly 100 men were gathered in a church in Benton, Columbia County, Pennsylvania.  Of the 100 gathered 45 men were arrested and marched to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania in Columbia County from Benton.  The men did not resist arrest even though they were not given a reason for the arrests.  From Bloomsburg the men were taken by train to Fort Mifflin (below Philadelphia). Once they arrived there they were denied contact with counsel, friends and family.  They were not told who was accusing them or what they were being arrested for.  All of the men who were arrested were Democrats and only one of them had been drafted or were eligible for the draft.

The men were honest, hard working men who believed in God and each other.  They did what they could to meet the draft quota for Columbia County.  During this troubled time political and personal differences led individuals to give false information about their neighbors.  There were rumors started that draft evaders and others against the war had formed an army of their own and built an armed fort on a mountain in Fishing Creek.  The rumors were fueled by both the Democratic and Republican newspapers in Columbia County and the surrounding area.  Soon  these rumors spread and leaders in Harrisburg and Washington sent solders to Columbia County to arrest the draft resisters and anyone else opposed to the war.  After the 45 men were arrested and taken to Fort Mifflin General Caldwallader returned to Columbia County with more soldiers to search for the fort.  Nothing was found.

One of the men arrested was Reverend Alvah Russel Rutan {my husband's 3rd great grandfather}.


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