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STRAIGHT TO ALTON. 106
ahead and take whatever he wanted. Accordingly, he took 10,000 more muskets, 500 new rifle carbines, 500 revolvers, 110,000 musket cartridges, to say nothing of the cannon, and a large quantity of miscellaneous accoutrements, leaving only 7,000 muskets in the arsenal to arm the St. Louis volunteers.
When the whole were on board, about two o'clock on Friday morning, the order was given by the captain of the steamer to cast off. Judge of the consternation of all hands when it was found that the boat could not be moved. The arms had been piled in great quantities around the engines to protect them against the battery on the levee, and the great weight had fastened the bow of the boat firmly on a rock, which was crushing through the bottom at every turn of the wheels. A man of less nerve than Captain Stokes would have despaired. He called the men from the arsenal on board, and commenced moving the boxes to the stern. Fortunately, when about two hundred had been shifted, the boat fell away from the shore and floated in deep water.
"Which way?" said Captain Mitchell, of the steamer. "Straight to Alton, in the regular channel," replied Captain Stokes. "What if we are attacked?" said Captain Mitchell. "Then we will fight," was the reply of Captain Stokes. "What if we are overpowered?" said Mitchell. "Hun the boat to the deepest part of the river and sink her," replied Stokes. "I'll do it," was the heroic answer of Mitchell; and away they went past the secession battery, past the entire St. Louis levee, and in the regular channel on to Alton, where they arrived at five o'clock in the morning.
When the boat touched the landing, Captain Stokes, fearing pursuit by some of the secession military companies. by which the city of St. Louis was disgraced, ran to the market house and rang the fire-bell. The citizens came flocking pell-mell to the river, in all sorts of habiliments. Captain Stokes informed them as to the state of affairs, and pointed out the freight cars. Instantly, men, women, and children boarded the steamer, seized the freight, and clambered up the levee to the cars. Rich and poor tugged together with "might and main" for two hours, when the cargo was all deposited in the cars, and then the train moved off for Springfield amid the; most enthusiastic cheers!
THE STATE AUTHORITIES AND WAR DEPARTMENT.
Six Regiments Wanted—Two Hundred Companies Offered—Selection—RegiMental Head-quarters—Cavalry Declined—Secretarial Wet Blanket—MesSenger To Washington—Four Additional Regiments Accepted—Reclaiming Enlisted Men—The Colonels—" Foraging Stopped"—u Go To Tour Consul"— Correspondence Between Governor Yates And Mr. Cameron—After Bull Run And Wilson's Creek—At Last—Cavalry—Ten Companies—Thirteen Regiments —Artillery—Infantry Regiments—Enlisting Again Stopped—Illinois And SisTer States.
ILLINOIS was permitted only to furnish six regiments, and two hundred companies were contending for acceptance, as zealously as ever knightly chieftains pressed for the privilege of leading the van. The task of selection was delicate and painful, but was promptly performed by the sixth of May, and the regiments ordered into camp in their respective Congressional districts, at the dates and places given below:
1st District, at Freeport, May 11th; 2d, at Dixon, May 9th; 3d, at Joliet, May 11th; 4th, at Peoria, May 13th; 5th, at Quincy, May 9th; 6th, at Jacksonville, May 11th; 7th, at Mattoon, May 9th; 8th, at Belleville, May 11th; 9th, at Anna, May 16th; and the regiment from the State at large, made up in part of regiments at Springfield, was ordered to rendezvous at Chicago June 13th,
The State authorities then tendered the War Department ten regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and a battalion of artillery, and urged their acceptance. But the War Department was not yet ready to abandon all its ideas of a short and easy campaign, and possibly in some other departments, there was the dream of a war terminated in ninety days by brilliant charges of rhetoric.
The venerable chieftain, Lieut.-Gen. Scott, the hero of many a THE WAR DEPARTMENT POLICY. 107
well-won field, was opposed to the employment of any considerable cavalry force. Its importance was to be demonstrated in the neai* future. May 3d the Governor received this dispatch:
"In reply to yours of the 2d, I am again obliged, at the solicitation of LieutGeneral Scott, to decline acceptance of cavalry. Adjutant-General Thomas is clear in his opinion that they cannot be of service adequate to the expense incurred in accepting them.
"Simon Cameron, "Secretary of War."
On the 15th, the expectant regiments were tantalized by another dispatch indicating the supremacy of the minifying policy, and the fatal dream, to be broken by the thunders of Bull Run, that there was simply a disturbance to be quieted. This is the dispatch:
"The quota of troops from your State for three years, or during the war, under the second call of the President, is six regiments. * * * As soon as the regiments are ready, the mustering officer sent to your State will muster them into service, who has been instructed to do so."
Six only! A few days later came a letter, dated the 16th, from, what the people, heart-sore with their disappointments, began to consider the Peace Department, in which Mr. Cameron more effectually than ever before placed the wet blanket upon the popular enthusiasm. It ran thus:
"It is important to reduce rather than increase this number, and, in no event, to exceed it. Let me earnestly recommend to you, therefore, to call for no more than twelve regiments, of which six only are to serve for three years, or during the war, and if more are called for, to reduce the number by discharge."
A messenger was at once dispatched to Washington to urge upon the Department the importance of accepting the remaining four regiments. They were already in camp, and some of them had acquired much proficiency in drill, and to disband and send them home was to disgust them with the service, and to weaken public confidence in the wisdom and earnestness of the Government. The public saw that more men were needed, and it could see no reason why the same conclusion did not force itself upon the Government when the rebel flag was visible from the Executive Mansion.
The four regiments were finally accepted and an arrangement made by which the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh, three months' men, might enlist for three years, four-fifths of each regiment concurring, an offer which those regiments, weakened by disease, bad clothing and the vicissitudes of climate, declined, and of 4,680 men only about 2,000 re-enlisted at the expiration of their term the July following.
The policy so long persistently pursued by the War Department began to produce its results. Adjutant-General Fuller thus states them in his report to the Governor:
"The refusal on the part of the Secretary of War to authorize you to accept more troops caused several thousand of our best and impatient volunteers to leave this State in May, June and July, and enlist elsewhere. Denied the privilege of serving their country in regiments from their own State they sought other fields of usefulness. Many whole companies entered Missouri regiments, and are now in the service. From correspondence with many of these so-called Missouri regiments, and from estimates made by those whose opinion is entitled to credit, I have no doubt more than ten thousand Illinoisans left their own State and enlisted in regiments of other States.
"In several cases application has been made to you to have regiments, a large majority of which consisted of Illinoisans, recognized as Illinois regiments. To provide for these cases the War Department, on the 21st of February last, decided that 4 whenever a regiment is composed of companies from different states, it will be considered as belonging to the state from which the greatest number of companies was furnished for that regiment.' Under this order the 59th regiment, formerly 9th Missouri, and the 66th, formerly known as 'Birge's Sharp Shooters,' have been reclaimed, and other similar applications are now pending."
As we read the paragraph given below from the same document, we seem to be perusing the records of days long gone by, the annals of another era, so rapidly, and on a scale of such magnitude, has history been made:
"The 18th regiment was mustered at Dixon, July 24th, under Col. Wyman; the 14th, at Jacksonville, on the 25th, under Col. Palmer; the 15th, at Freeport, May 24th, under Col. Turner; the 16th, at Quincy, May 24th, under Col. Smith; the 17th, at Peoria, May 24th, under Col. Ross; the 18th, at Anna, May 28th, under Col. Lawler; the 19th, at Chicago, June 17th, under Col. Turchin; the 20th, at Joliet, June 13th, under Col. Marsh; the 21st, at Mattoon, June 15th, under Col. Grant; and the 22d, at Belleville, June 25th, under Col. Dougherty."
Wyman "sleeps the last sleep" in his soldier-grave; Palmer has bravely won and nobly wears his double stars; Ross received his
FORAGING FORBIDDEN. 109
well merited promotion; Turchin, now out of the service, believing from the outset that his men should be "subsisted" in the^ enemy's country, in the days when tender-footed surperiors were afraid of "exasperating their Southern brethren," and orders had been issued to stop foraging, came, one day, upon his men busy in a secessionist's potato field. The General raised himself in his stirrups and shouted: "Boys, what does this mean? Foraging is forbidden. If you don't quit, I will put a guard on this potato patch in just two hours from this time" Of course, prior to the set time, the boys had "quit," and foraging had "stopped." Seated, on another occasion, in his tent, a secession Tennesseean approached him and said, "Colonel, some of your men has stole my horse." "Are you a citizen of the United States?" "Wall, no, Colonel, not adzackly. You see—" "Go away with you, and see your Consul then, and get him to attend to your business. I am not out collecting for aliens."
And there, too, was "Col. Grant," a quiet man, who did little talking, but accomplished a great deal of work—he has been heard of elsewhere.
The report of correspondence between the Head-Quarters at Springfield and the War Department, indicates a gradual change in the policy of the latter. We copy from the report of the Governor to the Constitutional Convention on the 6th of February, 1862:
"The number of troops far exceeded the quota which the Government was willing to accept, and, as the character of the rebellion became more formidable, this pressure became so great as to induce me, on the 23d of July, 1861, to send the Secretary of War the following communication:
** 'Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War:
"' Sir: Being advised that you are receiving tenders of additional troops, I desire to tender you, for Illinois, thirteen additional regiments of infantry, three additional regiments of cavalry, and one additional battalion of light artillery. Illinois demands her right to do her full share in the work of preserving our glorious Union from the assaults of high-handed rebellion, and I insist that you respond favorably to the call which I have made. Respectfully yours,
"' Richard Yates.'
"On the 28th of July, 1861, I received the following reply by telegraph: •' 'Governor Yates: "* Will accept the thirteen additional infantry regiments, three additional cavalry