« AnteriorContinuar »
hastily and rudely constructed by themselves from the shaft of a steamboat. Acting on the defensive they took a position in the suburbs of the city, a mile east of the temple, and threw up breast works for the protection of their artillery. The attacking force was sufficiently numerous to have simultaneously marched on both flanks of the besieged, beyond the range of their battery, and thus have taken the city without firing a single gun. Brockman, however, approaching directly in front, stationed his men about half a mile from the battery, and each party commenced a fire from their cannon, while some of the combatants with small arms occasionally approached closer, but never sufficiently near to do any damage.
The contest was thus continued at a great distance, with little skill till the ammunition of the besiegers was exhausted, when they retired to their camp to await a fresh supply. In a few days ammunition was brought from Quincy, and the conflict again resumed, and kept up several days, during whieh the Mormous admitted a loss of one man killed and 9 wounded, and the anti-Mormons of 3 killed and 4 wounded. It was estimated that some 800 cannon balls were fired on each side, and the small number killed can only be accounted for on the supposition that the belligerents either kept at a safe distance, or were very unskillful in the use of arms. The contest was finally ended by the interposition of an anti-Mormon committee from Quincy. According to the terms of capitulation dictated by the superior force of the besiegers, the Mormons were to surrender their arms to the committee. All, with the exception of trustees for the sale of their property, were to remove out of the city, and the anti-Mormon posse was to march in and have a sufficient force there to guarantee the performance of the stipulations. The posse with Brockman at its head, accordingly started on its mission, followed by several hundred spectators, who had come from all the surrounding country to see the once proud city of Nauvoo humbled and delivered into the hands of its enemies.
As soon as they got possession of the city Brockman, whose vulgar soul became intoxicated with success, commenced acting the part of a tyrant. Arrogating to himself the right to decide who should remain and who should be driven away, he summoned the inhabitants to his presence, and at his dictum most of them were compelled to leave their homes in a few hours in a destitute condition. It was stipulated that only Mormons were to be expatriated, yet at his behests armed ruffians commenced expelling the new citizens, ducking some of them in the river, and forcing others to cross it at the point of the bayonet. In a few days the entire Mormon population and the new citizens who had co-operated with them in resisting the mob, were expelled. The latter class had strong claims to be treated with more generosity by the conquerors. Having been attracted to Nauvoo from various parts of the United States by the low price of property, and knowing but little of the previous difficulties, it was but natural that they should offer their services to defend the town from mob violence and their property from destruction. They saw that the Mormons were industriously preparing to leave, and therefore considered the effort to expel them not only unnecessary but unjust and cruel.
The mob, however, under the influence of passion, could see no merit in this portion of their adversaries, and in the flush of victory dealt out indiscriminate brutality to all.
Brockman having sufficiently glutted his vengeance, returned home, leaving 100 of the lowest and most violent of bis followers to prevent the return of those who had been driven into exile. This remnant of the mob continued its acts of violence and oppression till they heard that a force was moving against them from the seat of government, when they also departed.
In the meantime, the Mormons were thrown houseless on the Iowa shore, without provisions and means to procure them, and were in a starving condition. It was also the height of the sickly season, and many had been hurried away while suffering with disease to die from exposure and privation. Without food, med. icine or clothing, the mother watched her sick babe till it died, and then became herself a victim to the epidemic, finding the grave a refuge from persecution and a balm for her sufferings. After this distress became known all parties hastened to their assistance, the anti-Mormons vieing with the Mormons in furnishing relief. The people of the State at first looked with indifference upon these outrages, but the hardships attending them at length began to cause reflection. They had seen a large tract of country compelled to submit to the domination of a self-constituted power, the legitimate government trampled under foot and a reign of terror substituted in its place.
With this change of sentiment, a force was raised in and near Springfield, of 120 men, and the governor proceeded with it to the scene of the disturbance. The principal object the expedition was to restore the exiled citizens to their new homes and property, a large part of the latter having been stolen in their absence. When the force arrived the riotous population was greatly incensed at the governor and could hardly find language sufficiently strong to express their astonishment that he and the people of other counties should interfere in the domestic affairs of Hancock. Public meetings were held in Nauvoo and Carthage, at which it was resolved to again drive out the citizens as soon as the State forces should be withdrawn.
Writs were also again sworn out against some officers of the State forces, with a view to calling out a posse and expelling them from the county, but the mob failed to enlist more than 200 or 300 inen, and these hesitated and finally abandoned their design of making the arrests or resorting to violence. To prevent further outbreaks a small force was left in the county till the assembling of the legislature on the 15th of December, 1846, when the cold weather put an end to the agitation and they were withdrawn. The western march of the Mormons who left the State the preceding spring, was attended with greater suffering than had been endured in their banishment from Missouri. On the 15th of Feb., 1846, the leaders crossed the Mississippi and sojourned at Montrose, Iowa, till the latter part of March, in consequence of the deep snow which obstructed the way.
When finally the journey was resumed, the fugitives taking the road through Missouri, were forcibly ejected from the State and compelled to move indirectly through Iowa. After innumerable hardships, the advance guard of emigration reached the Missouri river, at Council Bluffs, when a United States officer presented a requisition for 500 men to serve in the war against Mexico. Compliance with this order so diminished the number of effective men, that the expedition was again delayed and the remainder, consisting mostly of old men, women and children, bastily prepared habitations for winter. Their rudely constructed tents were hardly completed before winter set in with great severity, the bleak prairies being incessantly swept by piercing winds. While here cholera, fever and other diseases, aggravated by the previous hardships which they had endured, the want of comfort. able quarters and medical treatment, hurried many of them to premature graves Yet, under the influence of religious fervor and fanaticism, they looked death in the face with resignation and cheerfulness, and even exhibited a gayety which manifested itself in music and dancing during the saddest hours of this sad winter. At length welcome spring made its appearance; by April, the people were again organized for the journey, and a pioneer party, consisting of Brigham Young and 140 others, was sent in advance to locate a home for the colonists. On the 21st of July, 1847, a day memorable in Mormon annals, the vanguard reached the valley of Great Salt Lake, having been directed thither, according to their accounts, by the hand of the Almighty. Here, in a destitute wil. derness, midway between the settlements of the east and the Pacific, and at that time a thousand miles from the utmost verge of civilization, they cominenced preparations for founding a colony. Those who were left behind arrived at different times afterward, in companies sufficiently large to preserve discipline and guard against the attacks of the Indians who continuously hovered about them for purposes of plunder. At first they endured great sufferings for the want of food; immense numbers of grasshoppers having come down from the mountains and consumed a great portion of their crops. According to the Mormon historian, the whole would have been destroyed had not the Almighty sent great flocks of gulls which devoured the grasshoppers and thus saved the people from famine and death. The lands, as soon as they were properly irrigated, produced abundantly all the necessaries of life; and at length plenty alleviated the privations of hunger, and peace followed the fierce persecutions which had attended them in their former place of residence. New settlements were made as fresh companies of emigrants arrived, and in a short time the space occupied by the colonists extended nearly a hundred miles north and south, and Salt Lake City, the present capital of the territory, became a populous city. Nestled in a sea of verdure, at the base of the surrounding mountains, washed on the west by the Jordan, and commanding a view 25 miles southward, over a luxuriant plain silvered with fertilizing streams, it is now one of the most romantically situated cities on the continent. So picturesque is the valley, and its metropolis especially, when decked in the beauty of spring, that the traveler when he crosses the desert, imitating the enthusiasm of the saints, is wont to liken it to the New Jerusalem, surrounded by green pastures, and fountains of living water.
1846.- ILLINOIS IN THE MEXICAN WAR.
We cannot enter into details regarding all the causes of this war. Proximately, it grew out of the annexation of Texas. In 1836 the American settlers in that country defeated the Mexican forces at San Jacinto, captured Santa Anna, the dictator of all Mexico, and under duress wrung from him a treaty acknowledg. ing the independence of Texas. But this treaty the republic of Mexico ever repudiated. From 1836 on, overtures were frequently made to the United States by the “Lone Star," for admission into the Union. Mexico took occasion several times to inform the government of the United States that the annexation of Texas would be regarded as a casus belli. The question entered into the presidential contest of 1844, and the election of Polk was construed into a popular approval of the step. Congress no longer hesitated, and on the 1st of March, 1845, gave its assent to the admission of Texas into the Union. Mexico immediately broke off diplomatic intercourse with the U.S. In July the army of occupation, under Gen. Zachariah Taylor, was ordered to Corpus Christi. During the following winter, while Mexico was in the throes of revolution, during which Parades came to the surface as president, and while the administration sought an adjustment of the questions of boundary, through an envoy (Mr. Slidell), it ordered the army of occupation to a point opposite Matamoras, to take possession of the territory long in dispute, lying between the Nuces and the Rio Grande. This was a repetition of the diplomacy of Frederick the Great in Silesia. The Mexicans occupied the territory at the time with a military force stationed at Brazos Santiago, which, on the approach of Taylor to Point Isabel, withdrew west of the Rio Grande. Many outrages and robberies upon our citizens residing in Mexico had also been perpetrated through official sanction, with losses amounting to several million dollars, which our goverii. ment had labored to have adjusted, but with very tardy progress.
On the 28th of March, 1846, Taylor's army of some 4000 troops took position on the left bank of the Rio Grande within cannon shot of Matamoras, opposite. On the 24th of April Gen. Arista assumed command of the Mexican forces. On the same day Gen. Taylor, having learned that a large body of Mexicans had crossed the Rio Grande 20 miles above, detached a force of 60 men, under Captains Thompson and Hardee, to reconnoitre the enemy. They fell in with what they supposed was a scouting party, but which proved to be the advance guard of a strong body of the enemy posted in the chapparal. The American commanders, contrary to the advice of their Mexican guide, charged and pursued the
guard across a clearing, and in an instant their forces were surrounded by the main body of the Mexicans, who fired upon them, killing 16 and taking prisoners the remainder. A wounded soldier was sent into Taylor's camp by the Mexican commander, with a message that he had no traveling hospital to render him the needed medical aid.
Thus were hostilities actually commenced. Notwithstanding it was reasonably well known that war was almost inevitable from the advance of the army of occupation, which was about all the army the country had, all military preparation to meet such a calamity was calmly avoided. This gave it the appearance of a surprise. Reports of this disastrous engagement reached Washing. ton May 9th, together with many painful rumors that Taylor was surrounded and cut off from his base of supplies at Point Isabel. Consternation was rife; the president sent into congress au ex. traordinary message, declaring that Mexico had “at last invaded our territory, and shed the blood of our fellow citizens on our own soil.” Congress, with an alacrity unusual, two days after, passed an act declaring that "by the act of the republic of Mexico a state of war exists between that government and the United States ;" authorized the president to accept the services of 50,000 volunteers, and appropriated $10,000,000 to carry on the war. The intent was to conquer a peace in short order with an overpowering force.
All this was in the midst of the public excitement incident to the Oregon boundary question="54 40 or fight,” being
" our motto. Mr. Polk had been elected with the understanding that he would insist upon the line. The notice terminating the joint occupation of Oregon had passed congress, April 23d. But now happily with one war on our hands a collision with Great Britain was avoided by adopting the 49th parallel of north latitude, and sacrificing all that vast region of the northwest, equal to several States; but we gained largely in the southwest.
The call for volunteers was apportioned mostly to the western and southern States. The requisition upon Illinois was for three regiments of infantry or riflemen.” The pay was $8 per month, but with commutations it amounted to $15.50. The enlistments were for 12 months from the time of mustering into service at the place of rendezvous. The men were to uniform themselves, for which they would be allowed. The selection of officers was left to the volunteers, in accordance with the militia laws of the State whence they were taken. The number of privates was limited to 80 men in each company. Under date of May 25th, Gov. Ford, commander-in-chief of the militia of the State, issued his general order calling upon the major and brigadier generals and other militia officers to aid in raising and organizing the three regiments. As the militia had for a long time been in a disorganized state, it was further ordered that the sheriffs convene the regimeuts or old battalions en masse, and enroll such volunteers as might offer in their respective counties. The governor proposed to receive the first full companies that offered. The company officers were to act under their certificates of election until commissioned. And now many portions of the State seemed alive with the zeal of patriotism. The animating strains of martial music were wafted upon the air, everywhere inspiring the soldierly impulse. Our public men rallied the people with spirited, patriotic and effective